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MoonBorn from love, musical empathy, a baby grand piano discovered on Gumtree and an expired visa, Snowbird duo Stephanie Dosen and Simon Raymonde have crafted an album of exquisite melody and mood that radiates the uncanny mystery of the object it's named after: moon.
Released on Bella Union, the label that Raymonde has run and curated since his former band Cocteau Twins went their individual ways in 1997, moon comprises 11 songs composed between two continents; Raymonde was in London while Dosen was in North Carolina after being based in the capital following her 2007 debut A Lily For The Spectre. Snowbird's album was subsequently crafted via the wonder of technology, and yet moon has one unifying and intimate sound and vision, from gently pulsating, pop-centric trails ("I Heard The Owl Call My Name", "Bears On My Trail") and lingering, luminous ballads ("All Wishes Are Ghosts", "Come To The Woods") to the musical equivalent of floating downstream, bathed
in silvery light ("Charming Birds From Trees", "In Lovely").
The eagle-eyed out there will notice the predominance of flora and fauna on moon, starting with the name Snowbird. There's more on "Where Foxes Hide", "We Carry White Mice" and "Heart Of The Woods". But there is one human subject in"Amelia", and others came out to play too, a suitably transatlantic roster of friends: Radiohead drummer Philip Selway and guitarist Ed O'Brien, Midlake guitarist Eric Pulido and drummer McKenzie Smith and two more gifted guitarists in Paul Gregory(Lanterns On The Lake) and Jonathan Wilson.
If the 11 tracks weren't enough there is a 2nd half of the record!. An album of remixes (one for each 11 tracks) by Michigan's electronic music genius by the name of RxGibbs, who expands, annotates and shines a whole new light on the wonder of Snowbird, adding and subtracting beats, creating otherworldly ambient passages, and building the other half of a distinctly beautiful and passionate whole that gives a whole new meaning to the term"moonstruck" The album cover (above) is by Vaughan Oliver, famed graphic designer known for his distinctive work for 4AD, including many album covers for Cocteau Twins.LP1
1. I Heard The Owl Call My Name
2. All Wishes Are Ghosts
3. Charming Birds From Trees
4. Where Foxes Hide
6. Bears On My Trail
8. Come To The Woods
9. We Carry White Mice
10. In Lovely
11. Heart Of The Woods
Track by track remix by RX GIBBS$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
The Trials Of Van Occupanther (10th Anniversary Edition) (Awaiting Repress)10th Anniversary Edition On 180-Gram Gold Vinyl
Includes A B2 Pull-Out Poster, Handwritten Lyrics & Previously Unseen Photos
Comes With A Special Bonus 7 With 2 Unreleased Songs
Limited To Only 1000 Copies For North America
This Autumn Midlake will celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Trials of Van Occupanther with a deluxe reissue via Bella Union on 180g gold vinyl, complete with a B2 pull-out poster, handwritten lyrics and previously unseen photos. The cover artwork has been reimagined in a fittingly flushed, hallucinatory painting by neo-impressionist (and pavement-scorching skateboarder) Brian Lotti. The original album will be accompanied by a special bonus 7" featuring two previously unreleased tracks, the plaintive rolling lament of "The Fairest Way" and the revelatory psychedelic swirl of "Festival," two tracks recorded before original vocalist Tim Smith departed the band.
In 2006, Van Occupanther was hailed as an instant classic and over the course of the next year proved to be the band's commercial breakthrough. While their debut, 2004's Bamnan and Slivercork, had drawn acclaim alongside comparisons to Grandaddy and Radiohead, Midlake looked further afield and deeper within for the follow-up. Suffused with a romantic yearning for the simpler life, this was a record pitched between 1871, 1971 and somewhere out of time: between Henry David Thoreau and Neil Young's After the Gold Rush, between 1970s Laurel Canyon thinking and a longing for something more mysterious. Rich reserves of wistful melody, dreamy horns, rolling guitars and plaintive pianos reflect its elusive, idiosyncratic narratives: a couple long to be robbed by bandits so they can start anew, an outcast scientist ponders his pariah status, a woman chases a frisky deer, a river leads who knows where yet leaves you little choice but to follow
Famous admirers included Thom Yorke, Beck, The Flaming Lips, Paul Weller, James Dean Bradfield, St Vincent, actor/skateboarder Jason Lee and The Chemical Brothers, and the album went on to secure high placings in the end-of-year polls. Since then, their influence has perhaps been felt in the breakthrough of many a band or singer at one with the stuff of beards, bucolic yearning and blissful West Coast harmonies, from Fleet Foxes to Band of Horses, The Low Anthem, Jonathan Wilson, Matthew E White and beyond.
Not that Midlake stood still to lap up the praise: a band acutely attuned to nature's shifts, they embraced change. In 2010 they ventured into darker psych-folk thickets for The Courage of Others and backed John Grant on his celebrated breakthrough album, Queen of Denmark. When Tim Smith subsequently departed, guitarist/singer Eric Pulido stepped up to the lead vocal role for 2013's freshly exploratory Antiphon. Since then, Pulido and various Midlake members have embarked on a new musical project with a cast of all-stars including members of Grandaddy, Franz Ferdinand, Band of Horses and Travis, for an album due for release next year. All of this serves to remind us what fertile seeds were sown with The Trials of Van Occupanther: a modern classic, made of vintage craft and timeless magic.1. Roscoe
3. Head Home
4. Van Occupanther
5. Young Bride
7. In This Camp
8. We Gathered In Spring
9. It Covers The Hillsides
10. Chasing After Deer
11. You Never Arrived
Bonus 7" Single
2. The Fairest Way$27.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP + 7 Single - 2 LPs Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
AntiphonMidlake returns with their new studio album "Antiphon". An antiphon is a call-and-response style of singing, from Gregorian chants to sea shanties. In the
case of Denton, Texas' favorite sons Midlake, it's the perfect title for a bold response to a new phase in the band's illustrious career, with a re-jigged lineup
and a newly honed sound as rich and symphonic as it is dynamic and kaleidoscopic.
Anyone who knows Midlake's preceding albums will recognize some constituent parts of Antiphon: the quirky psychedelia of 2004 debut Bamnan and
Slivercork, the '70s soft-rock strains of breakthrough album The Trials Of Van Occupanther and the Brit-folk infusion of 2010's The Courage Of Others.
But their fourth album is another fascinating departure, but also a logical progression. The sound is simultaneously familiar and changed.
"It's always through the scope of Midlake," says vocalist/guitarist Eric Pulido, "but on Antiphon we wanted to embrace the psychedelia, style and nuance
you might hear in bands from yesteryear while also being aware of music influences leading up to and present now. The result was less folk and more
rock. Less nostalgic and more progressive. Now the sky's the limit."
This growth is down to the ambition and ability of Pulido (vocals, guitars, keyboards) Paul Alexander (bass, keyboards, bassoon, guitars, backing vocals),
McKenzie Smith (drums, percussion) and Eric Nichelson (guitars, autoharp), plus Jesse Chandler (keyboards, piano, flute, backing vocals) and Joey
McClellan (guitars, backing vocals) from Midlake's last live incarnation. But it's also down to the absence of Midlake's former principal singer Tim Smith,
who left the band in November 2012.In the fall-out over the spoils of what had been recorded, the remaining members decided to start afresh, and wrote
and recorded Antiphon in six harmonious months - bar 'Vale', which had been demoed without Smith during one of the sessions. With its ravishing,
rippling textures symptomatic of Antiphon's scale, 'Vale' showed how far they'd already come. The remaining nine tracks - the album is free-flowing in
feel, concise in structure - confirm it's very much Midlake, but uncannily rebooted, and relaxed.
After the costumed antics of the band's last two album covers, the color-saturated globe on Antiphon takes a different tack, and a broader picture outside
of Midlake's internal dynamic. "It conjures imagery of a celebratory fireworks display," Pulido suggests "but it's actually a diagram of an exclusive group of
connected entities with disproportionate amounts of control over the global economy. It's a beautiful way to show a darker side of things in the world."
Antiphon has a similarly paradoxical nature - from stress and upset, something positive and creative has emerged. Midlake is dead, long live Midlake.1. Antiphon
3. The Old And The Young
4. It's Going Down
6. Aurora Gone
8. This Weight
10. Provider Reprise$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
St. Vincent (Awaiting Repress)Annie Clark, better known by her stage name, St. Vincent, is an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. She began her music career as a
member of The Polyphonic Spress and was also part of Sufjan Stevens' touring band before forming her own band in 2006. Annie currently resides in
Her debut album was Marry Me, and was followed by Actor (2009). Her third album Strange Mercy was released on September 13, 2011.
Clark has opened shows for such acts as Television, Arcade Fire, Andrew Bird, Jolie Holland, John Vanderslice, Death Cab for Cutie and Grizzly Bear.
Teased late last year in a series of cryptic status updates, the forthcoming self-titled album from St. Vincent is one of the most anticipated of 2014.
The album was produced by John Congleton and features Dap-Kings drummer Homer Steinweiss and Midlake's McKenzie Smith on percussion. I knew the groove needed to be paramount, Annie Clark said in a press release. I wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral.1. Rattlesnake
2. Birth in Reverse
3. Prince Johnny
4. Huey Newton
5. Digital Witness
6. I Prefer Your Love
8. Bring Me Your Loves
10. Every Tear Disappears
11. Severed Crossed Fingers$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Strange MercySt Vincent, the nom-de-stage of Annie Clark, releases her second album for 4AD, Strange Mercy. The records 11 tracks showcase Clarks gift for fusing the cerebral and the visceral, her melodically elegant arrangements packing hefty emotional punches. Clark reunited with producer John Congleton and recorded the album in her hometown of Dallas, TX.
Strange Mercy finds St. Vincent redefining the idea of the guitar hero, utilizing the instrument as a pointillist artist might wield a brush. Countless judiciously placed riffs and instrumental flares, each distinct and unique, cohere into grand tableaus.
Other musicians on the album include the Grammy Award winning Bobby Sparks on mini Moog, clavinet, Arp and Wurlitzer, Midlakes MacKenzie Smith on drums and Daniel Hart on violin. Also contributing were Beck keyboardist and musical director Brian LeBarton, Evan Smith on woodwinds and Phil Palazzolo.1. Chloe In The Afternoon
5. Northern Lights
6. Strange Mercy
7. Neutered Fruit
8. Champagne Year
10. Hysterical Strength
11. Year Of The Tiger$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Stone Beads And SilverMarc Carroll weaves together folk and country influences on Stone Beads and Silver, an album that evokes the space and distance of the deserts and coasts of California. To record the album Marc put together a band boasting some of the best musicians working in American music today, including Bo Koster (My Morning Jacket), Nelson Bragg & Probyn Gregory (Brian Wilson), McKenzie Smith (Midlake) and Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm).1. Muskingum River
2. The Fool Disguised In Beggars Clothes
3. Nobody, No Nothin'
4. They'll Never Find Us Here
5. If Only To Remind Her
6. (It Was) Lust Not Love
7. The Silence I Command
8. Sat Neath Her Window
9. You Can Never Go Home
10. Delicate Grace$15.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
ActorActor is the highly anticipated new album by St. Vincent (Annie Clark), and the follow-up to her first album Marry Me, one of the most acclaimed debuts of 2007. Actor was co-produced by Clark and John Congleton (Modest Mouse, Polyphonic Spree etc.) and features eleven new songs, all written and arranged by Clark. The new album takes the ambitious compositional and sonic underpinnings of Clark's debut as a starting point and never looks back. The arrangements are more masterful, the songwriting grander, the performances ever more confident and inspired. Clark sings and plays guitar, bass and keys on Actor, with woodwind contributions from Hideaki Aomori (Sufjan Stevens) and Alex Sopp (Bjork, Phillip Glass), and additional rhythm section work by McKenzie Smith and Paul Alexander of Midlake. Other musicians on the album include Mike Atkinson (French horn, score consultant), Daniel Hart (violin, sarongi), William Flynn (bass) and percussionists Jeff Ryan, Matthias Bossi and Aynsley Powell. Before recording as St. Vincent, Annie Clark was a member of The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens' touring band, and performed with Glenn Branca's guitar orchestra.1. The Strangers
2. Save Me From What I Want
3. The Neighbors
4. Actor Out Of Work
5. Black Rainbow
6. Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood
8. The Bed
9. The Party
10. Just The Same But Brand New
11. The Sequel$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now