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AntemasqueDebut studio album by Antemasque, an American rock band formed in 2014 by former members of At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta, Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala.
Antemasque was recorded at The Boat in Silverlake, California.1. 4AM
2. I Got No Remorse
3. Ride Like the Devil's Son
4. In the Lurch
5. 50,000 Kilowatts
6. Momento Mori
7. Drown All Your Witches
9. People Forget
10. Rome Armed to the Teeth$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Snakes And ArrowsFeatures Etched Designs on Side D of the Album
200 Gram Double LP
A return to their former glory days, Snakes and Arrows shows this seminal prog rock band reclaiming their sonic territory. It's not certain what contributed to this artistic rebirth, but Rush has crafted a historical and emotional odyssey that shows many both where they've been and where they're going--from the baroque soundscapes of The Main Monkey Business, reminiscent of their earliest work to the seductive almost folkloric urgency of The Way the Wind Blows, which is as dangerous, anxious, and prophetic as anything that Arcade Fire or Mars Volta is doing currently.
Main Lyricist Neil Peart has spent the last decade getting over the death of his wife and daughter, and those tragic events have given his songwriting more depth and gravity as he explores the strengths and limitations of faith in both metaphoric and literal detail.
While never didactic or ponderous, this disc is really an instruction manual for how one conducts themselves with grace and hope through unendurable pain and the vagaries of life. Gone is much of the shrillness of their earlier incarnations--Geddy Lee's trademark high pitch shrieks have mellowed considerably and Alex Lifesong's guitar playing has an assurance and freedom that can only come with age. --Jaan Uhelszki1. Far Cry
2. Armor And Sword
3. Working Them Angels
4. Larger Bowl
6. Monkey Business
7. The Way The Wind Blows
10. Bravest Face
11. Good News First
12. Malignant Narcissism
13. Hold On$39.99200 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
in.ter a.li.aPressed On 180-Gram Colored Vinyl
The music industry sees artists come and go on a regular basis. Plans change, life gets in the way and bands fade away. Occasionally we're lucky enough to see an important band return from their silence: enter At The Drive In. While At The Drive In was quiet, the members (Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Tony Hajjar and Paul Hinojos) were incredibly busy, selling millions of albums, winning Grammys and putting out a lot of quality music with their other projects (The Mars Volta, Antemasque, Gone Is Gone and many more).
After a 15 year break, the band returned to the studio to create the follow-up to 2000's Relationship of Command. It's the moment fans have been waiting for since their return to the stage as 2012 Coachella and Lollapalooza headliners prepare for in·ter a·li·a. Produced by the band's own Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Rich Costey (Muse, Sigur Rós, Santigold), in·ter a·li·a includes eleven songs that resonate the classic At The Drive In intensity that fans love, while breaking the band's 15-year drought with something fresh and exciting, that slides right into 2017.
Their impressive catalog has earned At The Drive In positions on the Billboard Top 200 chart, spots on various "Greatest Albums" lists, and performances on David Letterman, Jools Holland, Conan O'Brien and more. This album is sure to provide nothing less. The band will be touring throughout 2017 to support this release, as well as perform on late night television. The silence is finally broken resume transmission.1. No Wolf Like The Present
3. Tilting At The Univendor
4. Governed by Contagions
5. Pendulum In A Peasant Dress
6. Incurably Innocent
7. Call Broken Arrow
9. Torrentially Cutshaw
10. Ghost-Tape No. 9
11. Hostage Stamps
12. Call Broken Arrow
14. Torrentially Cutshaw
15. Ghost-Tape No. 9
16. Hostage Stamps$20.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
UNIM-DOW-7747xCold War Kids
Dear Miss LonelyheartsLong Beach blues rockers Cold War Kids present their fourth studio album, Dear Miss Lonely Hearts. Marking the band's first new material since the release of 2011s Mine Is Yours, the album was recorded in their California studio with producer Lars Stalfors (The Mars Volta, Matt & Kim). It's the first release to feature former Modest Mouse member Dann Gallucci, who replaced the Jonathan Russell earlier this year.
Lead singer Nathan Willett said of the new album: "We were shaken up, ready to let certain songs go further than before by trying new styles and arrangements, while keeping others sparse and caring more about the finished product and less about how we got there."
The album will be preceded by lead single "Miracle Mile. The track features ragtime piano in the mould of earlier Cold War Kids tracks, with crashing drums and guitar building to a minimalist pop chorus showcasing Willett's expressive vocals.
-Jamie Boyd1. Miracle Mile
2. Lost That Easy
3. Loner Phaser
4. Fear & Trembling
6. Bottled Affection
8. Water & Power
9. Dear Miss Lonelyhearts
10. Bitter Poem$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Can You Deal?Pressed On White Vinyl
Los Angeles-based sister duo Jennifer and Jessie Clavin knew things were going to be different for their band Bleached's sophomore LP Welcome The Worms. Not only had they managed to charm world renowned producer Joe Chiccarelli (Morrissey, The Strokes, Elton John) to join them and their bassist Micayla Grace in the studio, but the sisters had been crawling out of their own personal dramas. While emotionally spinning, they dove head first into music.
In the studio, Chiccarelli and co-producer Carlos de la Garza (Paramore, YACHT) helped the band perfect their fervent songs into fearlessly big pop melodies. They drew inspiration from the iconic hits of everyone from Fleetwood Mac to Heart to Roy Ayers. The result is an ambitious rock record with a new found pop refinement that somehow still feels like the Shangri-Las on speed, driven forward in a wind of pot and petals, a wall of guitars in the back seat.
After touring extensively worldwide and finding success with their hit single Wednesday Night Melody Bleached is back with four new blazing tracks on their Can You Deal? EP. Fueled by the experiences they've had as women in their calling for music, Can You Deal? takes on the complexities of issues female musicians encounter in an industry dominated by men. With this fire in their bellies, they connected with Alex Newport (Bloc Party, Mars Volta) to produce the EP. With their singularly triumphant mix of sunny melodies, thrashing guitars and lyrics highlighting the darker sides of life, Bleached continues to demand your attention.1. Can You Deal?
3. Turn To Rage
4. Dear Trouble$14.9912 Colored Vinyl EP - Sealed Buy Now
Hurry Up, We're Dreaming (Colored Vinyl)Pressed On Clear Pink & Clear Blue Vinyl
With these soft spoken words on the simply-titled opening track-"Intro"- M83 mastermind Anthony Gonzalez introduces us to his sixth record and first double disc album, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming.
Dauntlessly singing into the void that was left behind since Saturdays=Youth, Gonzalez suddenly surges with overwhelming emotion as the music mounts an invisible precipice. Historically, he softly eased you into his world, introducing you to the lush and radiant spaces between captivating melodies and intimate lyrics, but not this time. Not on this record.
Graduating from the fuzzy, fumbling emotional cobwebs and draped ambiance of past records, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming careens past its audience. Brazenly stretching out along the horizon, spilling glittery, golden arms of sound across the landscape, it holds your breath hostage without you even noticing you were missing it. If it seemed that Anthony was basking in the sunshine-drenched days of his youth when he released Saturdays in 2008, then it can be said that in 2011, at the age of 30, he is tempestuously charging towards his future with Hurry Up, We're Dreaming.
Relocating to Los Angeles from Antibes, Gonzalez surrounded himself with players pivotal to completing his childhood dream of a double disc record. Producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, NIN, The Mars Volta, Goldfrapp) and guitarist Brad Laner (from 90s band Medicine) had been hugely influential on Anthony growing up and now were central to the new record's creation.
"In France there is this show on TV where at the end there is a musical guest who plays one or two songs. I remember one night when I was a teenager being at home watching the best of performances and looking at this crazy bass player with a big afro and thinking, 'Wow this guy is so cool.' "And now I am working with him. It's so intense that thinking about it makes me feel weird. But it's weird in a super good way. Same thing with Brad, I was listening to his music when I was first getting into music and now he's on my album."
Anthony and Justin met backstage in 2009 at Scotland's T In The Park. Later, "he came to me very genuinely stating that 'he was a fan and that he would love to work with me,'" explains Gonzalez. "I love when people do that because I can tell it's coming from the heart. He was sincere and that's the way I like to work with people."
Stepping away from his work with producers Ken Thomas and Ewan Pearson on Saturday, Gonzalez freckles his new chapter with signature M83 fingerprints while pushing himself beyond the constricting emotions of a guarded musician. Bored with being frustrated and shy, Anthony is respectful of the precious time given to him and doesn't want to leave behind any regrets, thus thrusting himself into the spotlight vocally. He tests out different ways of singing, ranging from a spectral breathy whisper to a howling scream, and each voice clings to us like a dew-heavy spider web at dawn.
Fans will recognize band member Morgan Kibby, her vocals flirting with the shadowy places in between verses, leaping off the record in spoken word or blending with an adult choir. Morgan will join Anthony on tour but she was never meant to sing as much on this record as she had on pervious projects. Quenching his desire to work with a different person on each record, Gonzalez added LA-based chanteuse Zola Jesus to the mix for the completion of "Intro." "The song was already written but I really wanted a female vocal on it and I was kind of struggling to find the right person, but then I heard her music and it just made sense."
Where Saturday=Youth is drenched in lustful exploration and hungry adolescent wonder, Hurry Up is decadently cunning and seductive. "Intro" and "My tears are becoming a sea" eerily croon to you, swirling all of the glitter and growth from the past records into an epic swell, mysteriously and dramatically warning you of the impact you are about to experience. "Midnight City" (disc one) and "OK Pal" (disc two) are humid, adrenaline driven dreams unlike anything we have heard from M83 in the past. "Midnight City" adeptly sweeps you through abandoned concrete streets swimming in broken neon light and aggressively pushing and pulsating to synthetic beats. While "OK Pal" catcalls you to a locker full of mapped out Peter Gabriel-esque echoing lyrics, leaving you stranded in a post-apocalyptic landscape. These journeys are about awakening, craving and conquering. Throughout Hurry Up, We're Dreaming Anthony carries the listener to different countries of sound in his own universe, "We didn't need a story, we didn't need a real world. We just had to keep walking and we became the stories- we became the places." Drifting away from his previous records and reigned in politeness he unleashes all that he has been dreaming of and yearning for. Even when he takes a second to look back on "Echoes of Mine" the velvety, elderly voice of a woman heartbreakingly tells the story of a girl drenched in the shadows of her youth, knowing she has to grow up.
Grandiose in scale and inspired by Smashing Pumpkin's revered double disc Melancholy & The Infinite Sadness, Anthony has long had the goal to create his own monumental double disc record. "I saw when I was a teenager that I could dig into it [the album]. It was like a treasure. If I were a teenager nowadays I would try to find something as creative as this album. They had so much to say in their songs."
Impressed with the juxtaposing sun and moon artwork featured on Melancholy, Anthony focuses in on another natural duality: siblings. The cover artwork mirrors this relationship, featuring a photograph of a little boy with a little girl sitting on a bed. The photograph perpetuates the conversation for the two distinct voices we behind each disc, representing two sides of an overall piece that are almost the same. "I want people to listen to it as two different human beings that are connected somehow, but every song on the album has a secret on the other side."
Soaring and scraping up against the sky while sharing each uncharted frontier with new collaborators is what M83 does best. Gracefully coming into the next decade of his life, Anthony delivers what makes each record sincere, innocent, and full of joy: he gives us his past and his future.
"I think it is a reflection of my 30 years of being a human being. It's a compilation of all my previous music together. It's a retrospective of myself."LP 1
2. Midnight City
4. Where The Boats Go
6. Raconte moi une histoire
7. A Train To Pluton
8. Claudia Lewis
9. This Bright Flash
10. When Will You Come Home?
11. Soon, My Friend
1. My Tears Are Becoming A Sea
2. New Map
3. OK Pal
4. Another Wave From You
6. Year One, One UFO
8. Steve McQueen
9. Echoes Of Mine
10. Klaus I love You
11. Outro$28.99Colored Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Above & Down BelowAeges second full length album, Above & Down Below, sees them galloping confidently over any notion of a sophomore slump. Expanding upon the foundation of the sound that already drew influence from the 90s post-hardcore era, the new record mixes that same heavy edge of Quicksand with the more melodic heavy rock sheen of Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and Queens of the Stone Age. The album was mixed and mastered by Matt Hyde (Deftones, Slayer, Behemoth) at his home studio. Casey Howard (Mastodon, Deftones, The Mars Volta) handled the art direction, design and layout for the album.1. Echoes
2. The Hunter
6. My Last Words
10. The Line
11. Wasted Time
12. As I Grow Old$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Shangri LaBarely a year after his debut, in November 2013 Jake Bugg returns with its bar-raising follow-up, Shangri La. The album shares a title with the Malibu studio where it was made, once the 70s haven of Bob Dylan and The Band, now the creative hib of legendary producer Rick Rubin, the recording Titan whose jawdropping c.v. spans from Def Jam and Johnny Cash to Adele and Kanye West.
Rubin's assembled wrecking crew of Shangri La session regulars includes guitarist Matt Sweeney (Bonnie `Prince' Billy, Neil Diamond, Endless Boogie), bassist Jason Lader (The Mars Volta), and drummers Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello). Yet for all its stellar cast and production kudos, the real star of Shangri La is, unquestionably, Bugg himself.
Asked to compare Shangri La with its predecessor, Bugg concludes: 'My first album felt like a list of songs, whereas this one feels like a whole entity with something to say. Or if my first album was the colour of grey reality, this one's the colour of the sun'. The colour of our planet's nearest star. Or maybe the sound of a new star intensifying their musical colours. Listening to his second album, you dare to wonder where a talent like Jake Bugg could find themselves in ten years' time. His prediction: 'Up front for England'.1. There's A Beast And We All Feed It
2. Slumville Sunrise
3. What Doesn't Kill You
4. Me And You
5. Messed Up Kids
6. A Song About Love
7. All Your Reasons
9. Kitchen Table
10. Pine Trees
11. Simple Pleasures
12. Storm Passes Away$25.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Broken LinesWith 5 Grammy nominations and 2 wins; Golden Gods, Kerrang! And VH1 awards; headlining slots in many major festivals and countless Top 10 albums and singles, the members of Giraffe Tongue Orchestra are ready to re-write the rules of the successful rock 'super-group.' Comprised of William DuVall of Alice In Chains, Ben Weinman of Dillinger Escape Plan, Brent Hinds of Mastodon, Pete Griffin of Dethklok and Thomas Pridgen of The Mars Volta, Giraffe Tongue Orchestra has created an album akin to classic cinema. Their innovative debut record, BROKEN LINES, is being released through Party Smasher Inc / Cooking Vinyl. The name itself represents strength and ingenuity per guitarist, Brent Hinds, "During the time Mastodon was there for Soundwave, I was at the zoo in Sydney, Australia and was checking out the giraffes. They are amazing animals - one just grabbed a bunch of bananas from my hand with its tongue and peeled them with it as well - by the time the bananas got to its mouth, they were ready to be eaten. I saw Ben who was at Soundwave too and said 'Man I think I found the name for our band,' and told him the story." Ben adds "That giraffe made it happen like us, he figured it out."1. Honey from a Knife
2. Elemental Light
3. The Wolf
4. Life > Death
5. For The Animals
7. Wilderness Now
9. A Pale Horse
10. This Night In The City Forever$20.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Golden Age Of KnowhereLimited Edition
Funeral Party, a three-piece alternative rock band rising out of the East L.A. party scene, makes their full length debut with The Golden Age of Knowhere. The album was produced by Lars Stalfors (Matt & Kim, The Mars Volta) and mixed by Dave Sardy (Band of Horses, LCD Soundsystem, Oasis.)1. New York City Moves To The Sounds Of LA
2. Car Wars
4. Where Did It Go Wrong
5. Just Because
6. Postcards of Persuasion
7. Giant Song
8. City in Silhouettes
9. Youth & Poverty
10. Relics to Ruins
11. Golden Age of Knowhere$22.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Blackest BeautifulLP Contains CD Of Full Album.
From the streets of Inglewood CA come letlive. Their self-produced and released debut Fake History was picked up by Epitaph in 2011,and quickly established the band as a force to be reckoned with, inheritors of that uncategorizable blend that made bands like the Deftones, Mars Volta and Rage Against the Machine so crucial.
Such was the rapt reception for the album that by end of year frontman Jason Aalon Butler was being named the #1 rock star in the world by Kerrang (yes, #1,that's not a typo). Mixing hardcore punk, metalcore, and even jazz and R&B influences in their sound (Jason's dad was a well-known LA bandleader who pioneered rock/soul crossover with Eric Burdon), letlive.'s melting pot of influences reflects the melting-pot Los Angeles neighborhood in which the band came together.
Now with their proper debut on the label, The Blackest Beautiful, the band comes fully prepared with a mammoth sonic attack, produced by longtime co-conspirator Kit Walters and mixed by pop guru
Stephen George (Britney Spears, Michael Jackson).
Opening salvo "Banshee (Ghost Frame)" announces a band that has remained loyal to their hardcore origins, while tracks like "Younger" and "Pheromone
Cvlt" display a new melodic sophistication.1. Banshee (Ghost Fame)
2. Empty Elvis
3. White America's Beautiful Black Market
4. Dreamers Disease
5. That Fear Fever
6. Virgin Dirt
8. The Dope Beat
9. The Priest And Used Cars
10. Pheromone Cvlt
11. 27 Club$19.99Vinyl LP + CD - Sealed Buy Now
Language & Perspective (Awaiting Repress)Los Angeles natives, Bad Suns, are pleased to announce the release of their debut album, Language & Perspective. Comprised of eleven tracks,
Language & Perspective moves effortlessly from start to finish showcasing the band's stadium ready anthems and undeniably catchy hooks.Produced by
Eric Palmquist (The Mars Volta, Wavves, Trash Talk) Language & Perspective serves as a follow up to the band's breakout debut EP Transpose, which
hit streets earlier this year. In a short time since their inception, Bad Suns have performed the first single, 'Cardiac Arrest,' on Conan and the track is
already fast approaching Top 20 at Alt Radio with a weekly audience of 1 million plus and building."It's pretty incredible what you can accomplish with
time, work, and patience. Playing our songs to receptive audiences, across the country, has been surreal for us; it's what we've always dreamed of. We're
excited for people to hear the album that we've made, and then come experience it in a live setting," says frontman Christo Bowman. Bad Suns is
currently on tour directly supporting The 1975 until the beginning of June when they kick off a run of headlining shows in the US.1. Matthew James
2. We Move Like The Ocean
3. Cardiac Arrest
5. Take My Love and Run
6. Dancing on Quicksand
9. Learn To Trust
10. Sleep Paralysis
11. Rearview$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
WaterfallIt's safe to say since his emergence at the tail end of 2011 Evian Christ, aka Joshua Leary, has had a whirlwind two years. Off the back of his breakthrough mixtape "Kings And Them" which came out on Tri Angle Records in February 2012, the 24 year old, Ellesmere Port, UK native has produced on Kanye West's "Yeezus", collaborated with acclaimed conceptual artist Matthew Barney, released the notably abstract sound-piece Duga-3, performed around the world alongside the likes of Purity Ring, Actress and Four Tet and garnering positive reviews and features in global tastemaker press including Details Magazine, Dazed & Confused, Pitchfork and VIBE amongst many others.
Most notably, Evian Christ has signed a publishing deal with DONDA, run by Kanye West, where he will continue with his work as a producer.
His latest EP "Waterfall" finds Evian Christ exhibiting a creative restlessness that continues to make it harder to pigeonhole this young, evolving artist. On "Kings And Them" Evian Christ conjured up a sound that was influenced by hip hop as it much as it was by more ambient forms of music. On "Waterfall" Evian Christ has taken his unique sound into a far noisier and more aggressive territory.
The lead track from "Waterfall", the hip hop laced 'Salt Carousel' may open the record with the sort of dreamlike serenity that typified the vast majority of Kings, but it's really the quiet before the storm as harsher, more abrasive elements rush in and dominate. On 'Fuck Idol' huge walls of digital distortion clash with code red beats that grow more and more frantic as the track progresses, while the title track is a blast of metallic dancehall dread that mutates multiple times over the space of 4 minutes into something truly epic.
Having spent the past year experimenting and challenging himself, and in refusing to simply duplicate a sound that garnered him so much attention to begin with and led one of, if the not, the world's biggest hip hop artists to seek him out, "Waterfall" finds Evian Christ growing in confidence as a producer and continuing to elude any sort of easy categorization.
Recorded partially in his hometown of Ellesmere Port and partially in New York, "Waterfall" was mixed by Noah Rubin (Pusha T, Wu Tang Clan) and mastered by Heba Kedry (The Mars Volta, Liturgy, Fis). Track 2, 'Propeller', contains a sample of 'Nine' by close friend and affiliate producer, Lukid.1. Salt Carousel
2. Fuck Idol
$14.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Holographic ViolenceIn the five years since Grave Babies' debut album Deathface was released, founder Danny Wahlfeldt has been handling all songwriting and recording duties for the Seattle-based band, with invaluable help from friends in performing their material live. For their newest album entitled Holographic Violence, Wahlfeldt chose a different path, causing a significant change in the band's overall sound.
Holographic Violence is Grave Babies' second Hardly Art full-length after Crusher (2013), and further explores the themes of nihilism, the pending doom of mankind, and shaming humanity, which the band has been building their gloomy reputation on since the beginning. This time however, instead of recording everything in his basement, Wahlfeldt enlisted the help of Bryce Brown (Crypts) on bass and Mark Gajadhar (Blood Brothers, Past Lives) on drums in the early stages of recording. The songs on Holographic Violence fell into place in Mark's studio on Orcas Island, Washington. Mixing was handled by Matt Bayles (Alice in Chains, Mastodon), with final mastering by Chris Common (Chelsea Wolfe, Mars Volta). As a final touch, Claire Haranda was added to the lineup on keyboards and synth to round out the band's live sets. By leaving the edgy, lo-fi haze of earlier output in the past, these songs have clarified what the music of Grave Babies has to offer the future.
That is, if humanity has a future?
"I wanted it to be a last cry for sanity going into our dystopian future," Wahlfeldt says about Holographic Violence. Grave Babies has long held a crush on morbidity, death, and corruption, building a romantic relationship around the juxtaposition of the dark contextual matter with hook-heavy songs rife with pretty melodies and harmonies. The 11 new songs on Holographic Violence present this powerful combination from a science fiction perspective, begging the question: has our imagination outpaced the confines of our reality as we keep going down the same path, believing there's hope? Playing anthemic pop songs with a strange male choir-esque sound to the vocals adds a distinctly cultish feel to the abrasive exercise of figuring out if it is possible to circumvent destructive human predispositions.
Thus, Holographic Violence is a lesson in authenticity as we must look deeper into the subject matter for the finer details, instead of skimming the surface and believing we have things right at a mere glance. Maybe we just have to come to terms with the fact that the things that we're constantly running away from are inherent in ourselves and inescapable? Grave Babies mission is not to find the answers to these questions, but to challenge the listener and on Holographic Violence, their uncompromising aesthetic makes the suffering a little prettier.1. Eternal (On & On)
2. Beautiful Lie
3. Try 2 Try
4. Something Awful
5. Punishment (Only A Victim)
6. Metal Me
7. Pain Iz Pleasure
8. Positive Aggression
9. N2 Ether
10. Concrete Cell
11. War$14.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Psychic Temple IIIt may seem hard to imagine a place where indie rock visionaries like Sufjan Stevens and Castanets' Ray Raposa could meld minds with the genius of Brian Wilson, where death metal pioneer Paul Masvidal might wield his legendary six-string chops on a blissed-out soul ballad, where adventurous young jazz players like Kris Tiner and Devin Hoff share credit with Mars Volta keyboardist Ikey Owens and singer/songwriter Aaron Roche.
Long Beach composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist (not to mention truck driver) Chris Schlarb has not only imagined such a place but has now made it manifest for a second time. Released by Asthmatic Kitty, Psychic Temple II is a labor of love, envisioned by Schlarb to bring his most far-ranging inspirations to life - as he puts it, "a dream ensemble that could never actually exist." The ensemble's sophomore release was painstakingly constructed over more than a year with the cooperation of some of the most progressive musical minds from a staggering variety of genres.
"I love interesting juxtapositions, where you bring together people from different communities," Schlarb says. He cites iconoclastic predecessors like Bill Laswell's ever-changing group Material, which once brought together a young Whitney Houston with jazz legend Archie Shepp and future Soundgarden and Red Hot Chili Peppers producer Michael Beinhorn to cover a song by Hugh Hopper of English prog-rock pioneers Soft Machine. On 2010's Psychic Temple, Schlarb assembled a 29-member ensemble that included Minutemen bassist Mike Watt, vocalist Julianna Barwick, and pianist Mick Rossi of the Philip Glass Ensemble.
"It seems like a crazy combination of people," Schlarb says, "but they're all just musicians. Why not bring them all together? It may not always work, but it's always worth reaching further."
Psychic Temple II reaches beyond the long-form experiments of its predecessor for a more tightly focused yet conceptually dense collection whose songs are no less exploratory for their briefer durations. "I never see the point in continuing to regurgitate," Schlarb says of the new album's unique direction. "What was natural at that time would now feel contrived. I have to keep moving forward."
Schlarb also includes three cover songs by composers who share his boundary-demolishing mindset: Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out," Frank Zappa's "Sofa No. 2," and Brian Wilson's "'Til I Die," a gorgeous, lesser-known Beach Boys song that features vocals by Sufjan Stevens, Castanets' Ray Raposa, and Cryptacize's Nedelle Torrisi.
Psychic Temple had its origins in Create (!), a large improvising ensemble with which Schlarb used to perform. The free-form group would often incorporate multiple drummers, a concept that Schlarb decided to pursue in a more composition-oriented setting. No matter how much Psychic Temple mutates from track to track, the rhythmic possibilities of its two drummers (in this case, Tabor Allen and Andrew Pompey) remain intact.
Schlarb's imaginative leaps are evidenced from the outset of Psychic Temple II, on the intoxicating opening track, "Seventh House." Featuring the sinuous vocals of Sarah Negahdari, who recently served as touring bassist for Silversun Pickups, the song weaves together lyrical and musical references to Neil Young's "Will To Love," to the Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers album Pisces, and to Sheena Easton's notorious Prince-penned pop hit "Sugar Walls."
Then there's "The Starry King Hears Laughter" and "She Is the Golden World," two songs that pay simultaneous homage to poet William Blake and jazz legend Bill Evans; or "Solo in Place," Schlarb's attempt to filter classic soul through his own "weird prism," a missing link between the Isley Brothers and the Alan Parsons Project that features guitar wizard Paul Masvidal of the death metal bands Death and Cynic.
Despite such a mind-blowing array of talent from the farthest reaches of the musical spectrum, Psychic Temple II is a surprisingly cohesive album, a testament to Schlarb's clear controlling vision. "One of the fundamental flaws of modern music is the idea of the record as a pastiche," he says. "With hip-hop and R&R records starting in the '90s, you had ten tracks with ten different producers so every track sounded completely different. There was no aesthetic where you could just put on a record and listen to it beginning to end. I admire people who are control freaks."
Schlarb has wielded control over a number of vastly different projects himself. The New York Observer called his debut solo album, Twilight & Ghost Stories, "40 minutes of avant-garde bliss," while Interoceans, recorded with experimental jazz duo I Heart Lung, was chosen by NPR as one of the top five jazz albums of 2008. He composed the score for Nicklas "Nifflas" Nygren's video game Nightsky and has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and Meet the Composer. In 2001, Schlarb founded the eclectic Sounds Are Active record label, which has released music by the likes of Nels Cline, Mike Watt, and Castanets.1. Seventh House
2. The Starry King Hears Laughter
3. Solo In Place
4. Bird In The Garden
5. 'Til I Die
6. She Is The Golden World
7. Steppin' Out
8. All I Want Is Time
9. Sofa No. 2
10. NO TSURAI
11. Hyacinth Thrash Quarter$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Marnie Stern (Out Of Stock)Includes coupon for free MP3 download of album.
Marnie Stern the album mirrors Marnie Stern, the woman. Birthed during a challenging period in her life, the self-titled album is a compendium of life stories both bitter and sweet. From ballads to her signature pop guitar-tapping style, Stern and long-time co-conspirator Zach Hill (Hella) have churned out (for lack of a better word) an enormous album that will further cement Stern as a rising star in today's progressive music landscape. Stern also enlists the bass talents of psych-rock Canadian musician Matthew Flegel (of the band Women) and up-and-coming mixer Lars Stalfors (Mars Volta, Funeral Party) resulting in Stern stepping up her sonic game and revealing a mature and more focused side of herself.1. For Ash
2. Nothing Left
3. Transparency Is the New Mystery
4. Risky Biz
5. Female Guitar Players Are the New Black
7. Cinco De Mayo
8. Building a Body
9. Her Confidence
10. The Things You Notice$14.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Temporarily out of stock