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Nothing Was The Same'
Funky Was The State Of AffairsFergus and Geronimo's leap between their early R&B-influenced singles and their first wildly diverse record was so daring, many music writers and fans were forced to reconsider the pigeonhole to which they had already damned them. Happily damned them, since, after all, those early tracks went over exceptionally well. But observers and admirers were also left doing something not many get to experience in this dime-a-dozen singles renaissance: scratching their heads concerning what this group would do next. After a first record that was such a departure, not only did they wonder, they actually cared.
Founding member Andrew Savage is very conscious of the risks the band took, the changes that were made in order to avoid being marginalized. Says Savage: "Jason (Kelly) and I had no interests in becoming lost in the indie rock/garage rock milieu. The nature of those early singles was that they were instantaneously gratifying, and we both wanted to make a record that was ultimately gratifying, but not necessarily instantaneous."
Now we have an idea of how far Fergus and Geronimo are continuing to take their gradually conceptual ambitions, in the form of their second full-length record, Funky Was The State of Affairs.
Like some of history's most well-regarded and oft-reissued acts, the group is doing exactly what they are compelled to do: making an album that actually plays like a cohesively complete statement. "I feel like bands aren't really making albums anymore. By that I mean, a start to finish concept meant to be listened to in its entirety. Labels are more interested in singles, which is in a tail-wags-dog sort of way.
And yet the record is entirely unpredictable, even as it tackles reoccurring themes, which Savage says include, "aliens, technology, intergalactic dating/hooking up, the Roman Empire, and the earthling resistance movement." At times the story seems filtered through the earthling point of view; in the next, extraterrestrials listen to phone-tapped conversations by some understandably paranoid humans.
Though at times it sounds like fairly serious subject matter, the group employs a sharp-tongued attack with the same sort of gallows humor cracked wise by the likes of their equally Doubting Thomas inspirational figures, everyone from the Mothers of Invention to Devo. Within the first few minutes, the tone is set; the bright, spiky, opening track over a Krautrock rhythm, "No Parties," contains a line summarizing the restlessness caused by the alienation of modern habits, sung in a mock-English accent: "Collecting devices, you're paying the prices/Of over consumption, with mental destruction."
"Basically, its a dystopian sound-scape of our civilization's collapse," says Savage. Indeed, those feelings of dread are sometimes instrumentally emphasized by passages of synthesizer static and noise, which Savage attributes to being influenced by groups like Chrome. New members Bob Jones (guitar, bass, analog synth) and Jef Brown (Tenor Sax) also add to the playful chaos. Savage says the original duo added members in order to achieve "the tightness that can only come from recording with a live core," as "musicianship is extremely important to Jason and I."
Since Brown and Jones both played in the self-explanatory Evolutionary Jass Band, which evolved out of the equally experimental Jackie-O Motherfucker, there is an expansion in the group's improvisational capabilities that wasn't as obvious on past recordings. Yet nothing sounds forced, each interlude is enjoyable, each hip-hop-inspired skit serves a narrative-pushing purpose. The record bounces from Booker T-styled soul ("Wiretapping Muzak I and II") to early '80s New York dance rock ("Marky Move") with an immodest ease.
"Hi, I'm Heather Strange, and I'm a 23-year-old human earthling female" says a woman between the first and second track. "Really, I'm just looking for a man whose cerebral capabilities haven't been fried by LCD screens yet." Most people reading this might be able to relate to Heather's plight, or worse yet, sink under the weight of being the type of person she's desperately seeking to avoid. But such is the genius of Fergus and Geronimo. They have made all of these variously opposing forces; dark and light, alien and earthling, melody and noise, condemning and being condemned, something that you feel like listening to over and over again. If only to hear what happens next.1. Planet Earth is Pregnant for the 5th Time
2. No Parties
3. The Strange One Speaketh
4. Roman Tick
5. My Phone's Been Tapped, Baby
6. Roman Nvmerals/Wiretapping Muzak I
8. Earthling Men
9. The Uncanny Valley
10. Earthling Women
12. Wiretapping Muzak II
13. Off the Map
14. The Roman Stuff is Where it's At
15. Marky Move
16. Funky Was the State of Affairs$14.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
VisualsMew frontman Jonas Bjerre has worked on the projections for the band's live shows since their early days. Usually, the Danish trio finish an album and Bjerre gets to work on the visuals. For their seventh record, though, the singer decided to turn things upside down, working on the visuals first and seeing if they informed the music. The resultant record feels like a culmination for one of rock's most ambitious and inventive groups: Visuals is where Bjerre and his bandmates, bassist Johan Wohlert and drummer Silas Utke Graae Jørgensen, join the dots of a career that has spanned over two decades. "We do everything on this album ourselves," says Bjerre. "We produced it ourselves, I did the artwork, I'm doing the visuals. Visuals felt like a fitting title. I like the idea that each song has a visual aspect to it somehow."
Mew have a tradition of, as Bjerre puts it, hiding away in a cave for three or four years between albums. The tour that accompanied 2015's +- album found the band reaching a creative peak that they felt was too exhilarating to be dampened by a period of extended cave-dwelling. They arrived home with demos that had been written on the road and the spark was lit. They wanted to break the cycle and make an album quickly. "We just felt like, "if we do it the normal way, it's gonna be another three or four years before we get to do it again'," says Bjerre. "If you keep doing it like that, ultimately you make a handful of albums and then you're ready for retirement." The trio wanted to make an album spontaneously, keeping the energy they'd generated on the road going.
They set to work in Copenhagen and started knocking the demos they'd written on tourbuses and in hotel rooms into shape. At the same time, new songs were emerging in reaction to what was going on around them. Mew aren't a political band but couldn't help but be affected by rolling news and the death of an icon. "It was pretty dark last year, so some of the darkness in the lyrics comes from that. You definitely get the feeling that things don't last forever when someone like David Bowie dies." Visuals was completed in just under a year - what Bjerre describes as an "incredible" feat for a band used to periods of prolonged tinkering. "Spending less time on it, you can still maintain the feeling you had when you first wrote it," says Bjerre.
Bjerre doesn't know where Mew songs come from. He finds it hard to pin down his lyrics, his melodies, himself. It's what makes his band so special, that thrill that songs could go anywhere, that understated verses could suddenly rocket skyward, anthemic choruses could implode into beautiful soundscapes or sophisticated grooves could be crushed like a tincan. "I don't consciously know why the songs come out the way they do," says Bjerre. "It's a lot of trial and error for us. Even though a song is on an album, it keeps growing because we get to go out and perform it for an audience. I like the thought it can keep growing. It's never really finished."
Visuals is Mew at their most compact, their chemistry at its most potent. With only one song over five minutes, it's their most concise album. Bjerre says there was no need for a grand, overarching concept. Each song on Visuals represents its own little chapter and story: nothing needed to be overly long. "Each album is like a collection of thoughts and ideas that fit the time we're in," he says. "They're like little diary entries, except they're a little bit more veiled perhaps. To me, albums are memories of times in my life."
The song that led the way was the slow-building euphoria of Nothingness And No Regrets. Bjerre says that Mew lyrics often have two or three different meanings, and the opener is a reflection on life and death at the same time as "imagining this team of people trying to accomplish something and ultimately failing." The expansive 80s-style pop of The Wake Of Your Life is about legacy and what's left after you've gone. "These are things you think about more and more the older you get." It started out as a synth-pop track with lots of programming before taking on a different shape when the band added guitars over the top. "We try to change the method of how we reach the destination all the time cos if you do things the same way all the time, the results will often be very similar," says Bjerre.
The discordant stomp of Candy Pieces All Smeared Out came about after Bjerre went back over some demos he'd made as a youngster on an Omega 500. "Some of them were interesting sonically so I kept some of the programming. We built the song on top of this really weird 8-bit computer track." The song sums up the emotional to and fro and ca
ptivating contrariness at the heart of Visuals: it's an album that's both nostalgic and contemporary, that looks back whilst marching forward.
The blissful glide of In A Better Place is a prime example of the impulsive environment that the songs were written in, a drumbeat by Jorgensen inspiring Bjerre to write a song immediately, whilst the atmospheric rock of Ay Ay Ay was based around a choir part that Bjerre had come up with a few years ago. All of the vocal parts were recorded in the booth that Bjerre had constructed in his apartment in Copenhagen. "I like waking up in the middle of the night and feeling inspired by something and being able to go in my booth and just sing it," he says.
Bjerre says that the celebratory groove of Learn Our Crystals "is one of our weirdest songs." Poppy and fantastical, it had a familiar feeling to the singer as soon as he wrote it. The soulful sway of Shoulders has an R'n'B feel to it, whilst Bjerre had earmarked the mesmerising intricacy Carry Me To Safety as the album's closer as soon as it'd been written. "I just like how it twists and turns," he says. "It's a reflection on life and being in a band, what it means to be in a band, dedicating so many years of your life to this thing."
Twenty years into their career, Mew have the irrepressible ebullience of a band on their debut album. Visuals feels like the beginning of a new chapter. "Mew is what I always come back to, it's a companion to my life. It's always been there, as long as I can remember. It's a big part of the footprint that we'll leave behind," says Bjerre. Mew march on: this is the sound of a band seizing the moment.1. Nothingness and No Regrets
2. The Wake of Your Life
3. Candy Pieces All Smeared Out
4. In a Better Place
5. Ay Ay Ay
6. Learn Our Crystals
7. Twist Quest
11. Carry Me to Safety$23.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Nothing Can Stop UsLimited Edition
Only 2000 Copies Made
Its far too easy to abuse the phrase living legend, but when used to describe Robert Wyatt, youre in no danger of hyperbole: gifted songwriter; political activist; drummer in the Canterbury jazz/prog pioneers Soft Machine and contemporaries of the original lineup of Pink Floyd; collaborator with the likes of Brian Eno, David Gilmour, Phil Manzanera, Fred Frith, Paul Weller, Scritti Politti, Elvis Costello and his beloved wife Alfreda Benge, to name but a few.
Perhaps his greatest gift though is his voice, a reedy instrument of great warmth and emotion; one need only hear his interpretation of the classic Shipbuilding (a song that was written for him by Costello and producer Clive Langer) and you shall be smitten for life. Domino is incredibly honored to be releasing a near-complete re-issue series of Roberts solo recorded works in the form of these limited edition LP+CD versions. Each title is limited to 2000 copies. There will be only one pressing so, once these are gone, they are gone for good.
Nothing Can Stop Us was recorded with a straight, simple, beauty informed by the experience of geopolitics just as the term was being invented. Arauco drew on the street 'mass songs' of a Chile protesting at the imminent arrival of Pinochet. Stalin Wasn't Stallin' was a playful resurrection of a barbershop quartet that sincerely, and unbelievably, aligned the USA with the Soviet Union. Most startling of all was Wyatt's version of Chic's At Last I Am Free. Breathless and hymnal it gave pause for thought for anyone who liked to use the words personal and political in the same sentence.1. Born Again Cretin
2. At Last I Am Free
5. Stalin Wasn't Stallin'
6. Red Flag
7. Strange Fruit
9. Trade Union
10. Stalingrad$24.99Vinyl LP + CD - Sealed Buy Now
Lost Highway SoundtrackLost Highway is the soundtrack album for the 1997 David Lynch film of the same name. It was produced by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), and includes original music from the film recorded by Reznor, Angelo Badalamenti and Barry Adamson, as well as songs by other artists used in the film. The album reached No. 7 on the Billboard 200 and reached Gold status in the United States.LP 1
1. David Bowie - I'm Deranged (Edit)
2. Trent Reznor - Videodrones; Questions
3. Nine Inch Nails - The Perfect Drug
4. Angelo Badalamenti- Red Bats With Teeth
5. Angelo Badalamenti - Haunting & Heartbreaking
6 The Smashing Pumpkins - Eye
7. Angelo Badalamenti - Dub Driving
8. Barry Adamson - Mr. Eddy's Theme 1
9. Lou Reed - This Magic Moment
10. Barry Adamson - Mr. Eddy's Theme 2
11. Angelo Badalamenti - Fred & Renee Make Love
12. Marilyn Manson - Apple of Sodom
1. Antonio Carlos Jobim - Insensatez
2. Barry Adamson - Something Wicked This Way Comes (Edit)
3. Marilyn Manson - I Put A Spell On You
4. Angelo Badalamenti - Fats Revisited
5. Angelo Badalamenti - Fred's World
6. Rammstein - Rammstein (Edit)
7. Barry Adamson - Hollywood Sunset
8. Rammstein - Heirate Mich(Edit)
9. Angelo Badalamenti - Police
10. Trent Reznor - Driver Down
11. David Bowie - I'm Deranged (Reprise)$29.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
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
Storm CorrosionStorm Corrosion is the long-discussed and highly anticipated collaboration between two of the modern progressive rock scene's most innovative and multi-talented artists: Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson and Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth. The pair will release their self-titled debut album via Roadrunner Records.
The sound of Storm Corrosion can best be described as enchanting, orchestral, ambient, epic (half the album's tracks clock in around the 10-minute mark) and nothing short of surprising to the new ear. However, the musicians' respective fanbases will be primed to appreciate the new output, with Wilson's recent solo album, Grace for Drowning, and Opeth's Heritage having brought them to a logical place to understand Storm Corrosion. This eponymous collection is almost viewed as one side of a musical triangle.
Says Wilson, "If you'd asked me three months ago about the music, I would have said, 'Expect the last thing you would expect.' But actually, now that Heritage and Grace for Drowning have come out, I don't think it's going to be that much of a shock to people, because it's almost like a third part of the trilogy, in a way. If anything, it's even more orchestral, even more stripped down, even more dark, twisted and melancholic, but it certainly feels like it comes from the same place as Heritage and Grace for Drowning, which indeed it does because it was written during the same period."
"Some of the music on this record I think is the most beautiful music I have participated in ever," adds Åkerfeldt. "There's some magical sections on there. Musically I think we've created something earthy, a bit frightening, exhausting, profound and rather intense. All at the same time. I can safely say I don't know any other band or artist that sounds anything like Storm Corrosion. I guess that was also one of our goals, so to speak."1. Drag Ropes
2. Storm Corrosion
5. Lock Howl
6. Ljudet Innan$38.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
A New Day Yesterday LiveSomething of an odd release, A New Day Yesterday Live documents the final date of a 60-day jaunt during blues guitar prodigy Joe Bonamassa's 2001 tour in support of his major-label debut bearing the same title, and (this is the odd part), released just a few months earlier. Just why his record company felt the need for it, then, is up for grabs (more promotion...thinking Bonamassa's virtuosity came across stronger in a live setting...who knows?), but what's clear is that the young guitarist's trio lacked nothing in terms of on-stage presence and performing tightness as compared to what was heard on said studio album. Their kinetic reinventions of oft-overlooked '70s rock classics such as Free's Walk in My Shadows and Jethro Tull's A New Day Yesterday instantly distinguish Bonamassa from teenage blues competitors such as the overly Stevie Ray Vaughan-reliant Kenny Wayne Shepherd or the more purist (and technically less dazzling) Jonny Lang, and his better-conceived originals (Colour & Shape, the wonderful Miss You Hate You) stand up under any circumstance -- but again, so what? Didn't listeners just buy their studio versions a few months ago? Yes, there's the additional benefit of extended jamming and incendiary guitar soloing to expand upon their themes, but suffice to say that this set need only be sought out by Bonamassa fanatics, or, in the event that they've yet to hear the studio version, first timers, too -- why not?
-All Music Guide1. Jam Intro
2. Cradle Rock
3. Stepping Out/Rice Pudding
4. A New Day Yesterday
5. Miss You, Hate You
6. Walk In My Shadows
7. I Know Where I Belong
8. Colour And Shape
9. Trouble Waiting
10. If Heartaches Were Nickels
11. Don't Burn Down That Bridge$35.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Flesh And Machine
LP Contains CD Of Full Album
Daniel Lanois is one of the most influential record producers
of the modern era: the man who brought Bob Dylan back;
longtime collaborator with Brian Eno, soundsculpting a series
of mammoth releases for U2; and producer of breakthrough
late-career albums by Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris. But
before all that, Daniel Lanois was an experimental musician, recording his unique guitar voicings for groundbreaking albums
with guys like Brian Eno and Jon Hassell, along the way helping
to invent a genre called ambient music. What is lost in the
wild success of his production career is Lanois' musical life at
the edge, which is where Flesh and Machine, his new album
on ANTI-, comes full circle.
A wildly ambitious, diverse exploration of modern sonics, Flesh and Machine careens from the
huge guitar skronk of "The End" to the haunted landscapes of
"Iceland." But perhaps for the first time, Lanois' new album
highlights the strange parallel evolution that has taken place in Daniel's music; alongside
the developments in IDM that launched from the same 70s avante-intrumental roots as Eno
and company, Lanois' music has developed a rhythmic complexity heard in the most adventurous music by Autechre or Matmos. Only for Lanois, nothing is digital. Dense, visceral
music that combines the primitive stomach-pounding volume of rock with the heartbreaking
found sonics of early electronic music, Flesh and Machine reminds us that we are bodies in a
mechanized world, and that in the midst of our digital noise we must not forget to breathe.1. Rocco
2. The End
3. Sioux Lookout
4. Tamboura Jah
5. Two Bushas
6. Space Love
8. My First Love
11. Forest City$19.99Vinyl LP + CD - Sealed Buy Now
Hamburg Recordings 1967The Monks - a strange, rare group with a story that sounds like a drunk friend's generous
hyperbole. A group of American G.I.s stationed in Germany on the precipice of Western
cultural revolution starts playing music loosely connected to the rock n' roll craze,
contrastingly incorporating a critical and often offensive avant-garde edge. Nothing
was off limits - screeching vocals, dark aesthetics, staccato-strummed banjo, sardonic
lyricism, critiques of the Vietnam War and full monk costuming down to the tonsure.
When viewed on the whole, it seems like an art school student's senior thesis on what
the craze means and its future possibilities. Due in large part to original Polydor vinyl
collectability and years in the word-of-mouth hype machine, their legend and cult status
has steadily blossomed since their last shows in 1967.
Fast forward to 2017, the crew at Third Man, already huge fans, are presented with an
honest-to-God treasure trove of original Monks photos, newspaper clippings, business
cards, letterhead, contracts, postcards and, yes, analog tapes, containing trailblazing,
wild compositions completely unheard by public ears.
"I'm Watching You" would have been recorded on February 28th, 1967 at the same
sessions that would produce the Monks' final single "Love Can Tame the Wild" b/w "He
Went Down to the Sea." The remaining four songs were recorded after hours in the Top
Ten Club later that year, just prior to the break-up of the band.
These songs have been unreleased for 50 years and are quite possibly the last music left
to be heard by this legendary band.1. I'm Watching You
3. P.O. Box 3291
4. I Need U Shatzi
5. Yellow Grass$9.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
AerosmithRemastered from the original source tapes!
Contains the classics Dream On & Mama Kin
In retrospect, it's a bit shocking how fully formed the signature Aerosmith sound was on their self-titled 1973 debut -- which may not be the same thing as best-executed, because this album still sounds like a first album, complete with the typical stumbles and haziness that comes with a debut. Despite all this, Aerosmith clearly showcases all the attributes of the band that would become the defining American hard rock band of the '70s. Here, the Stones influences are readily apparent, from the Jagger-esque phrasing of Steven Tyler to the group's high-octane boogie, but the group displays little of the Stones' deep love of blues here. Instead, Aerosmith is bloozy -- their riffs don't swing, they slide. They borrow liberally from Led Zeppelin's hybridization of Chess and Sun riffs without ever sounding much like Zep. They are never as British as Zeppelin -- they lack the delicate folky preciousness, they lack the obsession with blues authenticity, they lack the larger-than-life persona of so many Brit bands. They are truly an American band, sounding as though they were the best bar band in your local town, cranking out nasty hard-edged rock, best heard on Mama Kin, the best rocker here, one that's so greasy it nearly slips through their fingers. But the early masterpiece is, of course, Dream On, the first full-fledged power ballad. There was nothing quite like it in 1973, and it remains the blueprint for all power ballads since. The rest of the record contains the seeds of Aerosmith's sleazoid blues-rock, but they wouldn't quite perfect that sound until the next time around.
-All Music Guide1. Make It
3. Dream On
4. One Way Street
5. Mama Kin
6. Write Me
7. Movin' Out
8. Walkin' The Dog$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Cheap TrickCheap Trick's eponymous debut is an explosive fusion of Beatlesque melodic hooks, Who-styled power, and a twisted sense of humor partially borrowed from the Move. But that only begins to scratch the surface of what makes Cheap Trick a dynamic record. Guitarist Rick Nielsen has a powerful sense of dynamics and arrangements, which gives the music an extra kick, but he also can write exceptionally melodic and subversive songs. Nothing on Cheap Trick is quite what it seems. While the songs have hooks and attitude that arena rock was sorely lacking in the late '70s, they are also informed by a bizarre sensibility, whether it's the driving He's a Whore, the dreamy Mandocello, or the thumping Gary Glitter perversion ELO Kiddies. The Ballad of TV Violence is about mass murder, while Daddy Should Have Stayed in High School concerns pedophiles. All of it is told with a sense of humor, but it doesn't come off as cheap or smirking because of the group's hard-rocking drive and Robin Zander's pop-idol vocals. Even Oh, Candy, apparently a love song on first listen, is an affecting tribute to a friend who committed suicide. In short, Cheap Trick revel in taboo subjects with abandon, devoting themselves to the power of the hook, as well as sheer volume and gut-wrenching rock & roll -- though the record is more musically accomplished than punk rock, it shares the same aesthetic. The combination of off-kilter humor, bizarre subjects, and blissful power pop made Cheap Trick one of the defining albums of its era, as well as one of the most influential.1. Hot Love
2. Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace
3. He's a Whore
4. Mandocello (Album Version)
5. The Ballad of TV Violence (I'm Not the Only Boy)
6. ELO Kiddies (Single Version)
7. Daddy Should Have Stayed in High School
8. Taxman, Mr. Thief (Album Version)
9. Cry, Cry (Album Version)
10. Oh, Candy (Album Version)$26.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
CongratsA cyborg dance party for a broken future that's closer
than you think - Pitchfork
Off Your Face Euphoria - The Line of Best Fit
hypnotic, electronic climax-rock - SPIN
scuzzy, funk-fuelled energy - FACT Mag
Holy Fuck took the world by surprise around 2005 because there was
just nothing like them-a hardcore thrift-store found-object punk
band with a relentless commitment to rhythm and a sense for
atmosphere better matched to a close encounter of the third kind
than a simple rock concert. Think EinstÜrzende Neubauten re-inspired
by Fela Kuti with Brian Eno working as keyboard tech and every
channel on the mixer set to max power. It was the best ride out there
while it lasted, up to and including their 2010 full-length Latin,
recorded largely in too-brief breaks while on the road. That album
cemented Holy Fuck's sound and reputation for unapologetic
instrumental noise but at the end of yet another insane touring cycle,
it was time to take a break which turned into a hiatus which turned
into a chance to explore other projects and production work. (Like the
bands Lids, Dusted and Etiquette, or production for Metz, Alvvays and
They'd been moving faster than they'd ever expected, especially after
a 2007 sophomore release that came close to securing Canada's
prestigious Juno and Polaris Music Prize. (Not to mention festival slots
at All Tomorrow's Parties, Glastonbury, Coachella and more-plus Lou
Reed said they were the best band he'd seen at SXSW.) The strategy
was just to stay busy, says founder and noisemaster Brian Borcherdt,
but soon they started to feel like Indiana Jones running from that
boulder: "He had to step aside and let things settle!"
But there's nothing Indiana Jones does better than the shock reveal, is
there? And so in 2016 Holy Fuck suddenly announced the release of
Congrats, a surprise full-length two years in the making that is by any
scientific measure their holiest fuckiest release ever: "When you're
sitting still in a van and staring out the windows, you start to dream
about all the other things you want to do," says Borcherdt. "This album
is exactly what we couldn't do then."
Checking into a "proper" studio, rather than the barn in rural Ontario
where most of Holy Fuck's records were made, Congrats was
recorded by the same lineup that recorded Latin: Borcherdt, Graham
Walsh, Matt "Punchy" McQuaid, and Matt Schulz. As they worked, they
discovered that Congrats was a process of refining things, Walsh
says-both physically and philosophically. Their ad hoc arsenal of
low-budget hi-tech toys has been streamlined down to what he calls
the nervous system of the band: "What gets run through our system is
the seed of the idea for our music, and the system is what we play. This
record is almost a beginning-the first stage of a new way for us."
So consider those previous albums prelude to Holy Fuck's true
breakthrough, and recognize Congrats as the moment when Holy
Fuck take the chaos and craziness (and charm) that have always been
at the heart of their band and not so much control it as concentrate it.
Now they're heavier, wilder, leaner, sharper, more daring and more
unpredictable than ever before, on fire with the power of inspired
outsiders like Suicide, Silver Apples, Can, Mission of Burma or the
Monks or even Sun Ra, says Borcherdt, whose pursuit of his own kind
of musical purity is exactly what Holy Fuck are after. Yes, it took them
a few years, which in 2016 is supposed to be the career suicide, but
they took that time to take chances. "We were told we did everything
wrong," Borcherdt says now, laughing-but really Congrats is the
sound of a band doing absolutely everything right.1. Chimes Broken
2. Tom Tom
4. Xed Eyes
5. Neon Dad
6. House Of Glass
10. Crapture$21.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
GetawayIncludes Bonus CD compiling 2001's Slush Fund EP & 2003's Syd's Pink Wiring System Album
2001's Getaway may be the best illustration of whatever mercurial, inexplicable musical power animates The Clean. After the band's initial rush of activity between 1978 and 1982, the trio lay dormant until the end of the '80s, when a string of reunion shows inspired the Kilgours and Scott to start recording again. After three well-received albums in the first half of the nineties-1990's Vehicle, 1994's Modern Rock, and 1996's Unknown Country-The Clean disappeared again until the end of the decade, when another tour inspired another record.
While playing gigs across New Zealand in celebration of their original label Flying Nun, David says they brought along a TEAC 4-track quarter-inch tape machine. "As usual, we started jamming and recording, and before you know, we thought we may be onto an LP." Speed and spontaneity ended up defining Getaway. Robert says, "I remember writing 'Silence or Something Else' while the others went for a long walk. It was done by the time they got back. I probably would have gone for a straighter version, but I still like it." David remembers, "Hamish wrote the instrumental 'Jala' in about five minutes in a motel outside of Turangi." At one point in the process, Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley were visiting from America, and they ended up on the record too. Getaway came out in August of 2001, with cover art by Hamish who says that his original artwork was the actual size of a compact disc case. After that, The Clean set out on another tour-including in New York City, where they happened to be during the terrorist attacks on 9/11. They coped with the tragedy by playing gigs with their American friends, and staying in the same creative space they'd been in since before they started working on the album. "I remember we did some great gigs on the New Zealand tour, debuting some of the new material," Hamish says. "'Stars' was a favorite for the big 12-string sound."
A live version of the pulsing, soaring "Stars"-along with a couple of other Getaway songs and Clean classics like "Fish," "Side On," "Quickstep," and "Point That Thing Somewhere Else"-appear on the rare 2003 album Syd's Pink Wiring System. That record is included with the Getaway reissue, along with the more experimental, piano-driven EP Slush Fund, from the same era. These bonus tracks reinforce the idea of the Getaway-era Clean as especially plugged in, generating inspired and beautiful music almost on instinct. Indeed, they've done justice to a key album in The Clean discography-a record that honors the band's origins as garage-rock-loving New Zealand kids, excited just by the hum of a good, cheap amplifier. Songs like the twangy, easygoing "Crazy," the jaunty acoustic snippet "Cell Block No. 5," and the trance-inducing "Circle Canyon" are more fine examples of Scott and the Kilgours' interest in immediacy and a strong vibe, applied to catchy melodies. "Each album is a completely different beast," Robert says. "We all change in different ways between each one, bringing different things to the table, and sometimes bringing nothing much at all." But if Getaway proves anything, so long as all three members of The Clean are in the same space at the same time, anything can happen.LP 1
4. Golden Crown
5. Cell Block No. 5
6. E Motel
7. Twighlight Agency
8. Poor Boy
9. Silence or Something Else
1. Alpine Madness
2. Circle Canyon
4. Holdin' On
5. Reprise 1*2*3* & 4*
Slush Fish (2001)
2. Slush Fund
3. Filling A Hole
5. Point That Thing Somewhere Else
6. Wipe Me I'm Lucky
Syd's Pink Wiring System (2003)
10. I Wait Around
11. Hold On To The Rail
12. At The Bottom
13. Do Your Thing
16. Side On
18. Jala$27.99Vinyl LP + CD - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Skin & EarthThroughout a year long process, she began secretly working on an unprecedented idea writing and drawing her own comic book based around this alter ego of sorts. And on top of that, just to make things more difficult - an album to coincide with the whole thing.
Thus came Skin&Earth, the Canadian singer's fourth record and her most open and vulnerable to date. In the past, Lights wouldn't write about being angry or Lights wouldn't write a song about fighting or Lights wouldn't write about sex, she says. So En is me in another dimension, and I was able to write about all the things that I never wrote about before.
The album form of Skin&Earth also brings help from some of music's brightest including Corin Roddick of Purity Ring, Big Data and Josh Dun of Twenty One Pilots. Everything that happened on this record was really fun and natural and felt like we were all working towards the same goal, she says. It was this organic mutual fan-ship kind of thing that brought it all together. She continues, This is the most fun I've had doing a record. I've never felt that I understood a record more and I've never felt like I understood a reason for a record more.
Ultimately for Lights, the most important takeaway from the story of Skin&Earth is of a young woman entranced by a spirit that she and she alone must overcome. This is based on internal, emotional stress and turmoil - stuff that I've dealt with and stuff that a lot of people have dealt with. I've always believed that all those battles can be fought and you come out of this stronger. And that was the foundation of the story, she says. At the end of the day, if nothing else, I want people, especially young women, to see in this character a little bit of themselves - see that an ordinary person can do amazing things and fight battles nobody else can see, and there's no shame in that. In fact, there's a lot of beauty in it.1. Intro
3. Until the Light
4. Savage (feat. Josh Dun)
5. New Fears
7. We Were Here
12. Magnetic Field
13. Fight Club
14. Almost Had Me$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
WARB-ROA-9919xThe Devil Wears Prada
08:18THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA release 8:18 via Roadrunner Records. The album was recorded with producer/engineer Matt Goldman. KILLSWITCH ENGAGE guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz, who handled production duties on THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA's Dead Throne LP, served as executive producer on the upcoming effort. Songtitles set to appear on the disc include Gloom and Martyrs, both of which the band has been performing live at recent shows.
Asked how the new effort compares to 2011's Dead Throne, Hranica told Music Feeds: I think it's kind of a totally new animal. It definitely is a very cohesive record. A lot of the times, I feel like we'll write songs and a lot of them are really cool songs and they'll all have kind of a theme, but sometimes they stray from that path of the theme that we originally intended. And I think that this album as a whole, it all sounds like the album, it all is a cohesive idea. Which, don't get me wrong - I don't mean to say that all the songs sound the same, because they definitely, each has their own unique personality. But as far as 'Dead Throne', our progression from 'Dead Throne', I definitely do think that this album is just a more mature record and has a lot more thought put into it. As always - we're always gonna put a little bit more effort and thought into the new record than our previous effort.
Hranica told Loudwire about the songwriting process for the new album: For me, I definitely feel a little bit of a carry-over from 'Dead Throne', particularly because it was a very cool record for me learning, for me learning to write better and that was working with a new [producer] working with Adam for the first time and having [A DAY TO REMEMBER's] Jeremy McKinnon working on some of the songs with us, and I feel I took a lot from that. On 'Dead Throne', there were better vocal parts and everything was more cohesive and understandable and made for better song structure and everything and that had had a big impact on me creatively and so it's definitely carried over into this.
He added: Conceptually, the concepts of 'Dead Throne' didn't carry over. I feel like that would be repetitive and monotonous to keep going at the same subject matter, but obviously, it all comes from the same place and I can say that nothing got more happy or uplifting, really. So I think it's very much THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, but also it's got a bit of freshness and originality to it and I think that even musically we started approaching the songs differently. Like, this song could be more like this and working off of a base we never really worked off of before.
- Blabbermouth1. Gloom
3. First Sight
6. Sailor's Prayer
7. Care More
9. Black & Blue
11. Number Eleven
12. Home for Grave
13. In Heart$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Glass HousesStill Rock and Roll to Him: Joel Toughens Up and Increases the Animosity, Sarcasm, Confidence, and Rock on 1980 Set
Accessible and Angry: Phil Ramone's Stalwart Production Bristles With Boldness, Raucousness, and Directness on Definitive Mobile Fidelity Reissue
Chart-Topper Certified Seven-Times Platinum: Includes "You May Be Right" "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me," "Don't Ask Me Why"
Elvis Costello long had a reputation for being the "angry young man." With apologies to the former Declan McManus, he had nothing on Billy Joel's Glass Houses. Fed up with inexcusable critical backlash and believing he'd still not been regarded as a serious artist, Joel ratcheted up the angst on the 1980 set that, oh, by the way, happened to sell another seven-million-plus copies and top the Billboard charts. Revenge is sweet.
An integral part of Mobile Fidelity's Billy Joel catalog restoration series, Glass Houses is mastered from the original master tapes and pressed on 180g LP at RTI. Honing in on producer Phil Ramone's radio-tailored albeit looser, straightforward production, this edition opens up the previously veiled soundstages, spotlights the clean yet raucous arrangements, and decongests the imaging so that every note comes to the fore. Thanks to the extra-wide grooves and meticulous remastering, Joel's urgency and temperament have never sounded so vibrant.
In addition to firing shots at detractors, Joel further solidifies his reputation as a pop maestro on the hit "Don't Ask Me Why" and mellow classic "C'etait Toi (You Were the One)," each replete with sparkling structures and shimmering melodies. Throughout, he dials down the grand gestures, focusing more on an attitude and directness. At the time, Joel was conscious of the punk movement, and seems inspired to follow that genre's preference for simplicity, frankness, and irritability. The album's legendary artwork-the singer preparing to toss a brick through the windows of his house-is a metaphor for Joel shattering his image as a cocktail-lounge pop crooner.
Such changes are evident in the now-signature "You May Be Right," a hard-rocking and scathing rebuttal to a romantic partner on which Joel embraces the identity of a tough-skinned madman that won't stop at anything. He inhabits the role with convincing theatrics, his voice mixing pushiness, smugness, self-evident humor, and cool that fits the resistive tone of the record's songs. Glass Houses is Joel's megaphone for stubborn independence, dogged assertiveness, and blustery confidence.
It's also an announcement of artistic intent, a statement that's simultaneously catchy and barbed, well-crafted and rowdy. And it succeeds on all levels, bringing to commercial pop-rock a brashness and grit often absent from fare that sticks in your head for days. Joel would never be seen the same way again.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. You May Be Right
2. Sometimes a Fantasy
3. Don't Ask Me Why
4. It's Still Rock and Roll to Me
5. All for Lenya
6. I Don't Want to Be Alone
7. Sleeping With the Television On
8. C'etait Toi (You Were the One)
9. Close to the Borderline
10. Through the Long Night$49.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP 45RPM - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
VillainsHoused In a Gatefold With Two Inner Sleeves & A Lyric Sheet
Etching On Side 4 (No Music)
The title Villains isn't a political statement. It has nothing to do with Trump or any of that shit. It's simply 1) a word that looks fantastic and 2) a comment on the three versions of every scenario: yours, mine and what actually happened Everyone needs someone or something to rail against-their villain-same as it ever was. You can't control that.The only thing you can really control is when you let go.-Joshua Homme
Hundreds of epic shows, memory lapses, unexplained injuries, one yearlong detour with Iggy Pop and multiple Grammy nominations later, Queens Of The Stone Age reemerge from the desert newly scarred and somehow strangely prettier with lucky seventh album, Villains, set for release on Matador Records.
Produced by Mark Ronson and co-produced by Mark Rankin and mixed by Alan Moulder, Villains is the first full album offering from Queens Of The Stone Age since 2013's Like Clockwork gave the band its first #1 albumin the U.S. Like the stunning artwork of returning illustrator Boneface, the sonic signatures of the lineup that took Like Clockwork around the world and back are as unmistakable as ever, though coexisting with sufficient new twists to induce recurring double takes. As Homme himself puts it, The most important aspect of making this record was redefining our sound, asking and answering the question 'what do we sound like now?' If you can't make a great first record, you should just stop-but if you can make a great record but you keep making records and your sound doesn't evolve, you become a parody of that original sound.
Longtime Queens cohort co-producer Mark Rankin added, After the baptism of fire that was Like Clockwork,I was excited to get into the studio again with the challenge of pushing the sound for this record, especially with the addition of Ronson into the creative mix What we've made is forward looking yet unmistakably Queens.LP 1
1. Feet Don't Fail Me
2. The Way You Used to Do
3. Domesticated Animals
5. Head Like a Haunted House
6. Un-Reborn Again
2. The Evil Has Landed
3. Villains of Circumstance$27.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Teacher Don't Teach Me NonsenseTeacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense: Fela explains the role of the teacher in any society with the concept that: all the things we consider as problems, and all the good things we accept from life as good, begin with what we are taught. The individual teaching begins with when we are children - our mother is our teacher. When we come of school age, our teacher is the school-teacher. At the university, the lecturers and professors are our teachers. After university-when we start to work, government becomes the individual's teacher. When then is government's teacher? 'Culture and Tradition' says Fela. This is the order of things everywhere in the world. However, it is the problem side of teacher and student that interests Fela in this song. Because every country in this world except in Africa, it is the respective culture and tradition of that country that guides the government on how to rule their people. Going for specifics, Fela mentions France, Germany, England, Korea, Japan, Syria, Jordan, Iran, Etc., it is the culture of these countries that shapes and guides their respective government's decisions. The culture and traditions of these countries serve as a teacher to their respective governments. Turing his attention to Africa and her problems. Problems which he had sang about: corruption, inflation, mismanagement, authority stealing, electoral fraud, the latest addition which even makes him laugh is -austerity. Fela says if you ask him why 'austerity makes him laugh? The answer is that it is beyond crying. The government steals money from the country, the same government is introducing austerity measures-forcing the poor people to pay for their own greed and calling it 'austerity measures'. How funny if to say the least. Who taught African 'leaders' to rule the way they do today? 'Na the oyinbo' (meaning in Yoruba language: 'it is them white folks') referring to ex-colonial ruler of each country. Take electoral fraud, which is a true test of our democracy. Many African leaders rig elections with impunity and their respective ex-colonial rulers say nothing against this form of 'democracy'. While the same 'white folks' are quick to claim credit for Africa's 'civilization'-which Fela disputes in this song. Is this democracy? , he asks. Turning to other problems like the ever-growing gap between the rich and the poor. Particularly, since the rich are the rules, and also the people stealing the country into poverty. Is this democracy? Or dem-all-crazy? In conclusion, as an African personality, Fela says he is not in the same league as those who believe in dem-all-crazy, so he calls on the Western powers who claim to be Africa's teachers not to teach him nonsense-Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense.
Look and Laugh: By 1981 when Fela wrote and started to perform live the song Look And Laugh, he was living a life that could be described as a recluse. Fela, who loved to go out in public places, clubs, etc. Suddenly, was always found sleeping or playing sax at home with women around him, or performing at the Africa Shrine. His old attitude of keeping abreast of events, giving lectures at universities and institutions of higher learning stopped. He rarely gave press conferences or press releases, like he used to do. Finally he wrote the song to explain what was going-on with him. He sang: ' many of you go dey wonder why your man never write new song! wetin I dey do be say I dey look and laugh.' Meaning: many of you must have been wondering why, your man has not written new songs! what I am doing is just look and laugh! Fela went on to explain his contributions and sacrifices for the cause of black emancipation, the countless beatings and arrests from the Nigerian police and army, his trials and tribulations, his ultimate sacrifice being the burning down of Kalakuta by the Nigeria army. But despite his sacrifices and sufferings like millions of other Africans, it was obvious that things were not getting better for the average man on the street. There is still injustice everywhere, no freedom, no happiness. All these made him feel disillusioned and all he could do about the situation is to Look and Laugh.
Just Like That: This song is a call to arms from Fela to all Africans to rise up and do something about the political, economic, social and cultural retrogression that has plagued Africa since independence. For more than three decades of independence, there is glaring mismanagement of people's lives, corruption in the highest echelon of government-all these carried out with impunity-'Just Like That' he sings. Using the Nigerian experience as an example of the 'lack of maintenance culture', in Africa's present day neo-colonial administrations, he says: 'White man ruled us for many years, we had electricity constantly, our leaders take over! No electricity in town-Just like that!' Fela explains that the attempt to transplant 'Western style democracy' in an African society is the cause of all the problems. Despite calls for African Unity from leaders like Kwame Nkrumah, who said: '..Until all foreign institutions and culture are removed from the African land, that is when the African genius will be born and African personality will find its fulfillment..'. Instead of heeding Nkrumah's call, Nigeria's political founding fathers, like most African leaders at independence, chose the option of fashioning the constitutions of their respective countries after those of the departing colonial 'masters'-Just Like That. The ambiguity of such decisions can be seen in the poor imitation we make of our attempt at 'Western style democracy'. Persistent political gangsterism, military coups, and sometimes wars, are means used to enforce the already compromised constitutions. As another example of enforcing a fragile constitution, Fela stresses the face that in 1966, Nigeria for a civil war to keep the country ONE. General Gowon, the military head of state, divided Nigeria into twelve administrative regions, subsequent administrations divided the regions into more-Just Like That. He adds that if the idea of the civil war was to keep the country ONE, sub-dividing Nigeria into more regions would separate rather than unite the country. Turning to the position of traditional rulers in the mess called government, Fela sings: ' nothing good for town to give the youths good examples, how our traditional ruler they do, them come make youths look-up to Europe and USA, in those places them don lose them common sense, na the number of Nuclear weapons you get, na him give you power pass! Right now! Fight now! Suffer must stop! Just Like That". Therefore, calling on the people to fight now for a better society.1. Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense
2. Look and Laugh
3. Just Like That$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Blue Colored Vinyl
The late Nashville songwriter Harlan Howard famously defined the ingredients of a great song as three chords and the truth. Every songwriter knows three chords, but laying bare the truth? Now that can be an altogether trickier affair. In January of 2012, The Gaslight Anthem piled into their old tour van and headed across the New Jersey state line for a 14 hour road trip to Nashville on their own quest for the truth. Their destination was 2806 Azalea Place, Nashville, Blackbird Studio, where the New Brunswick quartet had booked five weeks recording time with producer Brendan O'Brien (Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, AC/DC). Their mission: to reconnect with rock 'n' roll in its most feral, pure, stripped-raw form.
Brian Fallon was thirteen years old when he discovered The Clash's self-titled debut album in the racks of Sound Effects Records in Hackettstown, New Jersey: the owner of the store promised the young teenager that the record would change his life. He wasn't wrong. But there was a time, not so very long ago, when The Gaslight's Anthem frontman had grown weary of the sound of electric guitars. After three albums of soulful, impassioned, hearts-on-fire punk rock, Sink Or Swim (2007), The '59 Sound (2008) and American Slang (2010), Fallon needed a change of pace, a change of scenery.
And so, in January of 2011, together with TGA guitar tech Ian Perkins, he formed The Horrible Crowes, a darkly melancholic side-project inspired by his love of The Afghan Whigs, Tom Waits and PJ Harvey. After the band's acclaimed debut album Elsie dropped in September, Fallon joined fellow punk rock troubadours Chuck Ragan, Dan Andriano (Alkaline Trio) and Dave Hause (The Loved Ones) on the acoustic Revival Tour, airing stripped-down versions of Gaslight Anthem and Horrible Crowes songs to packed rooms across Europe. And then he returned home to New Jersey and Gaslight, re-energized, renewed and ready to make a full-tilt rock 'n' roll record again.
After six weeks of that there's nothing you want to hear more than a Marshall stack turned all the way up, he says with a laugh. The result is Handwritten, the most committed, affecting and compelling album of The Gaslight Anthem's career to date. Introduced by muscular lead-off single 45, which received it's world premiere on BBC Radio 1 as Zane Lowe's Hottest Record In The World on April 30, it finds the Jersey boys in inspired form, decanting '60's soul, '70's stadium rock, '80s hardcore and '90's grunge into eleven white-knuckle, blue-collar everyman anthems. Fallon likens its incandescent electrical storms to Tom Petty songs (being) played by Pearl Jam. Put more simply, it's a supercharged American rock 'n' roll classic.
We've taken everything we do and gone to 10 with it, explains Fallon. This is definitely the Gaslight Anthem record I would want next, if I were a fan. American Slang was cool, but this sounds like a band who has plugged back into the electric socket again. I think these songs are the closest thing to what we should have always sounded like, adds guitarist Alex Rosamilia. We just hadn't figured out yet how to play it right.
Fallon credits Brendan O'Brien for capturing the raw, live-off-the-floor feel of Handwritten. Fine-tuned in the living room of the small rental house the band shared in Nashville, its eleven tracks were recorded with the whole band eyeball-to-eyeball in one room at Blackbird, vibing off one another's energy. The electricity in the recordings is tangible. Brendan taught us a ton about songwriting and recording as a band, Fallon notes. The whole experience was amazing. That's the guy that recorded Pearl Jam, that's the guy that recorded Bruce Springsteen, that's the guy that did Rage Against The Machine; and that's the guy you want to say 'It's good', because when he says it's good, that's when it's good.
The purity of O'Brien's stark, unadorned recording process served to inspire Fallon's approach to the lyrical themes on Handwritten too. Where previous Gaslight Anthem albums evoked deathless images of Americana, all Cadillacs, jukeboxes, Ferris wheels and wistful, romanticized vignettes of star-struck lovers disappearing into the great wide open, Handwritten is rooted in Fallon's own experiences, lending the record a more immediate, emotional edge. Now I am no angel but I got nothing to hide, the singer rasps on the brooding grunge-noir of Too Much Blood. Can you say the same thing for yourself tonight?
It's supposed to be a letter to whoever is listening, says Fallon. Like, this is what we got beat up by and maybe you did too. There's so many things that I just never wrote about, real personal stuff that I just wasn't ready to talk about yet. Now I think being an adult I have some reflection on it. We wanted to look back on the music that we first found when we were in high school. The truth is, if you're my age, you were listening to Peal Jam and Nirvana and Soundgarden. When that music came out these were guys that we could relate to. They weren't the biggest bands in the world by accident.
And it's no accident either that with Handwritten, the Gaslight Anthem themselves sound built to take on the world. After years paying their dues in the punk rock underground, their major label debut is assuredly the work of a young band who know their time is now. And their laidback, charismatic frontman is ready. I've always been ready for arenas, Fallon smiles. I've just been waiting for them to catch up to me. I want to play Giant Stadium, I always wanted to be a major label, major league band. If I can be the kid that's on the cover of Time magazine, I'll take it. And I'll buy you a drink while I'm at it.1. 45
3. Here Comes My Man
4. Mulholland Drive
6. Too Much Blood
8. Biloxi Parish
11. National Anthem$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
WhorlIn April, Simian Mobile Disco trekked out to the Southern California desert, taking with them their new live set up - two modular synths, two sequencers, and a mixer. Over a period of three days, they jammed and rehearsed in the desert, culminating in a one off sold out live show at Pappy & Harriet's, Pioneertown, allowing 900 fans to witness part of the recording process.
Those sessions, taped under the desert sky, became the basis for their brand new album / live project "Whorl". Now, after completing mixing and mastering, they are pleased to announce that the final studio album will be released through Anti- Records (Tom Waits, Kate Bush).
SMD's new live system was born out of a desire to challenge themselves - to remove computers altogether, going back to hardware sequencers, and limiting themselves to a suitcase sized rack of modular synth gear each -which both reduces the sound palette but allows much more hands on, real time manipulation - constraining themselves technically, to free themselves up musically.
Jas, on the recording process - "The recordings we did in the studio while we were writing and rehearsing the new material for Whorl were simply live takes - the system we're using has limited ability to save patterns in the sequencer, but nothing like the flexibility of a computer. Live performance and studio composition are essentially now the same process, rather than the common method of writing a track using the computer, and then working out ways to perform it live. We planned not to slavishly limit ourselves just to this performance - when we came to mixdown the album, we used portions of three sessions - the show itself, an extended jam we did in the desert the day before, and a little of our London studio rehearsal. Future live performances of Whorl are currently being planned, with a full list of tour dates to come - each show will be a live recreation of that recording process, so each time "Whorl" will be slightly different.
To reflect the organic, analogue aims of the new musical set up, long time SMD art & video collaborators Jack Featherstone & Hans Lo have built a complimentary bespoke hardware system to create the album's visual aesthetic. The system involves feeding live generated digital content through an oscilloscope, filming the oscilloscope's screen, then further processing the image produced. This system will be used in forthcoming videos and SMD's live shows (it was debuted at Sonar this weekend). The cover image is a still grabbed from one of these oscilloscope jams, capturing a moment of flux in performance.
The accompanying trailer showcases all the elements of the Whorl project, including the desert valley where the rehearsal/jam was recorded, the landscape that inspired the performances, the oscilloscope visuals and the show at Pappy & Harriets. In the coming weeks, further video pieces will explore different elements in more detail. The video is set to a short excerpt of "Tangents".1. Redshift
2. Dandelion Spheres
3. Sun Dogs
4. Hypnick Jerk
6. Z Space
9. Jam Side Up
11. Iron Henge
12. Casiopeia$21.99Vinyl LP + CD - Sealed Buy Now
This Time I'm Swingin'
Numbered Limited Edition 180g LP from Mobile Fidelity
Legendary Crooner Backed by Orchestra Conducted by Nelson Riddle
1960 Capitol Album of Then-Recent and Classic Standards Arguably Martin's Most Timeless Set: MoFi Edition Includes Bonus Track Ain't That a Kick in the Head
Mastered from the Original Master Tapes: No Martin Album Sounds Like This
Dean Martin was always at his best when he sounded effortless, when the singing required no exertion-just the same amount of investment required to order a martini. Confident, refined, breezy, and easygoing, this 1960 Capitol album epitomizes the crooner's charm. In pairing with arranger and Frank Sinatra right-hand-man Nelson Riddle, Martin strikes all the right notes on this collection of then-recent and retro standards.
Mastered from the original master tapes and pressed at RTI, Mobile Fidelity's 180g LP gets inside the core being of Martin's impeccably smooth, relaxed singing by presenting every phrase, dip, and inflection with lifelike realism. The LP does similar wonders for Riddle's backing orchestra. Horns teem with punch and midrange; rhythms possess incredible pacing; strings saunter and float. No Martin album has ever sounded like this. Mobile Fidelity also secured the rights to a bonus track, Ain't That a Kick in the Head, left off the album and released as a single in order to promote the movie Ocean's Eleven.
While Martin enjoyed his biggest commercial success at Reprise, the aptly titled This Time I'm Swingin' is considered by many critics and vocal-pop fans to be his finest studio hour. He approaches each song with supreme confidence and debonair control, never overreaching his limits or breaking a sweat. Here, he more than lives up to his nickname: The King of Cool. Charismatic, assured, and note-perfect, the album belongs alongside any of the period sets cut by his pal and once-and-future labelmate Sinatra. No wonder that his most recognized hit, the aforementioned and included "Ain't That a Kick in the Head," was actually cut at these sessions.
Riddle's expert ordering of the charts and direction of horns, strings, and piano equates to jazz and swing genius. Brass blows hard and strong during breaks, calm down for verses during which slinky 88s and swaying strings join the dance, and then rise up, the mix elegantly performed and irresistibly catchy. If you're not snapping your fingers and instantly transported to a swank nightclub within the first few passages of the opening "I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me," check your system's setup.
Yet Martin is the real star. Hearing him handle such classics as the devotional "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," upbeat "You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You," hopeful "Someday (You'll Want Me to Want You)," bluesy "You're Mean to Me," and clever "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone" with such aplomb-and now, in such ravishing detail-will remind you why you love music, and why nothing of this ilk will likely ever be made again.
Martin convincingly conveys the mood each song demands, but a sense of optimism, playfulness, and feel-good romance pervade this stylish effort. If you are a fan of real singing and emotional crooning, you cannot live without this analog edition. A veritable gem.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me
2. True Love
3. You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You
4. On the Street Where You Live
6. (It Will Have to Do) Until the Real Thing Comes Along
7. Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone
8. I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face
9. Someday (You'll Want Me to Want You)
10. Mean to Me
11. Heaven Can Wait
12. Just In Time
13. Ain't That a Kick in the Head$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Wonderful World Of Jazz (Pure Pleasure)There is nothing hurried about this disc. That said, the music is focused and will stretch your mind. Lewis employed masterful melodic improvisers here: Paul Gonsalves, Eric Dolphy, Jim Hall among others. Listen to Body And Soul as it builds powerfully and the soloists explore every possible melodic theme, where the quiet power of these master musicians is almost too much to take. Listen to I Remember Clifford where the players are essentially the MJQ with Jim Hall replacing Milt Jackson. This set swings, but oh-so-elegantly. Just like Mr. Lewis. - S.C.Berry
Whether you're an old-time jazz afficionado or new to the genre, this album is essential. In my opinion, Lewis' lovely solo on Body & Soul makes his version virtually definitive - 15 minutes of bliss. The rest of the album, particularly Afternoon In Paris, is at the same level. Wonderful is the perfect title for this record. - E Barrios
- John Lewis (piano)
- Eric Dolphy (alto saxophone)
- James Rivers (bassoon)
- Paul Gonsalves (tenor saxophone)
- Herb Pomeroy (trumpet)
- Gunther Schuller (french horn)
- Jim Hall (guitar)
- George Duvivier (bass)
- Connie Kay (drums)
Recording: July and September 1960
Production: Nesuhi Ertegun & Tom Dowd
About Pure Pleasure
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, Pure Pleasure 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 existent 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 emphasize that Pure Pleasure 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 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 and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. Body And Soul
2. I Should Care
3. Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West
4. Afternoon In Paris
5. I Remember Clifford$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
TookahTookah is Emiliana Torrini's fourth album and it follows 2008's critically acclaimed Me And Armini. It sees Emiliana back in the studio with her long-time producer/collaborator Dan Carey.
'Tookah' was written at different stages over a 3 year period, the oldest song being "When Fever Breaks" which was written having come off a tough two year tour which took it's toll in many ways.
"The only way to deal with things is to go into the studio and do music, it is like brain scrambling. You come out of the session clearer as you get to step out of yourself take a look and deal with it."
Other songs like 'Autumn Sun' were written in Iceland.
"We had done that before, gone on a week's writing trip to Iceland, wrote five songs in that week which all made it onto ´Me and Armini´. We were kind of expecting the same to happen. It didn´t. We only wrote 'Autumn Sun'. It was extremely frustrating. Lyrics were hard to write for this album and I spent day and night trying to finish it - with Dan standing over me in military mode. The only time in my life I did not like him much."
On the airplane we realized Dan had left his computer at the airport - it had the only copy of the song. He ran out to find it and just made it back just before the doors closed. We had a terrifying landing that almost ended badly. We grabbed each other and the only thing we said was "Nooo the song! It will be lost forever!"
This record was my sound journey. I had not long had my baby and was getting my head around this huge love I had for him and then being absolutely devastated that I might have dragged him out of a world where he was wild and free, riding horses, swimming in rivers and eating over open fires, to this world where the bad is too much to handle. I had a new identity to figure out and the record was the tiger in the rowing boat. It was going nowhere. I did not like the music we were doing because we had done it before. We knew how to craft that. I needed a challenge, proof that something in me had shifted and it had to be musically as well. I was driving myself too hard.
Dan told me I was not ready to make a record, that I should forget about it for a while, just hang out.
So, we started hanging out, in the studio. In my head the difference was we were not making a record. I discovered the Oberheim on Youtube and that changed everything. That and the Swarmatron Dan had bought. We knew we would plaster it all over the record before we knew what the record was.
I pulled some friends together I was writing with Simon Byrt, ("Blood Red", "Elísabet"), Ian kellett (´Elísabet) and Matt Robertson who are real synth nerds and we started playing around and having fun. We went to Dan´s and jammed and started doing some synth symphonies.
After you have a baby there comes a time where you need to go out with your girlfriends and dance. I went to the studio with Dan and did a dance track "Speed of Dark." We danced. It had to be on the record it was a part of the journey. From that the sound of the record was born, it was a challenge bringing it all together.
The sound was worked very visually. There are almost two stories to each song there is the lyrical visual and then there is a whole different visual that comes with the instrumental and that is how the sound was often directed. "Home" is a very good example of how the sound was built from a visual. When we were writing it, it was clear it had to have a very certain feeling. ´I wanted it to have the visual of you standing in snow blinding white, watching your breath in the cold, not feeling the cold. You look to your left and a lake stretches out frozen and huge. You walk over it to the other side into a forest, you lose direction. Completely lost and helpless. Fireworks start lighting up the sky and you feel a wave of relief. You walk towards them. In the king blue sky they start changing into jelly fish in neon flashing colours, leading the way to home.´ We did not stop until we saw that when playing it.
'Tookah' is a made up word. It came when I was improvising and I connected with that word or name in a very deep blissful way. It is the core of you. The 'you' you were when you were born, before life decorated you like a Christmas tree with all the baggage. It is what connects us with everyone and everything.
It is what the sufis spin for, what we are looking for all our lives. It is the sudden thankfulness you feel when doing nothing in particular, where everything is gently perfect for a moment. God has many names. I call mine 'Tookah'.
- Emiliana Torrini1. Tookah
3. Autumn Sun
6. Animal Games
7. Speed of Dark
8. Blood Red
9. When Fever Breaks$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed 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