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CriminalCriminal, The Soft Moon's fourth studio album, is a confessional work. Through
the stark lens of shame and guilt that has followed Luis Vasquez since a violent
childhood growing up within the humming ambient sprawl of '80s Mojave
Desert, here he documents the gut-wrenching sound of going to war with himself.
Battling with his own sanity, self-hatred, insecurity, self-entitlement and grappling
with the risk of these things transforming him into a person he despises, Vasquez
has laid his feelings bare with this: his confession and most self-reflective work to
"Guilt is my biggest demon and has been following me since childhood. Everything
I do strengthens the narrative that I am guilty," Vasquez reflects. "The
concept of Criminal is a desperate attempt to find relief by both confessing to my
wrongdoings and by blaming others for their wrongdoings that have affected me."
Criminal marks a striking and important chapter in his self-exploration, both
artistically and emotionally. As a young musician living in Oakland, Vasquez
began to try and process the narrative of his difficult upbringing veiled through
Working with producer Maurizio Baggio at La Distilleria in Bassano Del Grappa,
Italy, Criminal sees Vasquez further explore putting his lyrics at the forefront and
letting his raw emotions flow. The album begins with a confrontation with his
true self through the torrid bass lines and searing vocals of "Burn," a song evoking
a loss of control akin to demonic possession, stating: "Eyes, reflecting the person
that I am, and it burns". In this track, Vasquez's guilt bores deeper and deeper into
a condemnation that ultimately is: "Fire, hell is where I'll go to live, so I burn."
The album is Vasquez's way of holding himself accountable and seeking redemption
for the abuse he inflicts on himself, and acknowledges roots in the abuse
which, inflicted upon him as a child, broke him.1. Burn
3. Give Something
4. Like a Father
5. The Pain
6. It Kills
9. Born Into This
10. Criminal$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
DeeperThe Soft Moon was never intended for the public's ears, but you found it,were drawn in by its danger, and insisted that others hear. Oakland's Luis Vasquez began the project in order to better know his own self. He'd holed up in his apartment and let the tape roll, allowing gut and memory guide him. Those twin sherpas, however, led him to a place of darkness, claustrophobia and dread: a musical wasteland moving to a Motorik tic, its edges made jagged in the image of early post-punk, swathed in the moody atmosphere of vintage darkwave.1. Inwa Rd
11. Being$21.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
A Different Arrangement"A study in aching, moaning, human emotions set against robotic rhythms... there's a sense of decay present in every note."- About.com
"[Their] darksider organ drone and Goth vocals charm rather than wear."- Capital NY
"A promising Hardly Art debut."- Seattle Weekly
Black Marble's Weight Against the Door was an auspicious, attention-grabbing debut that made the Brooklyn duo the go-to opening act for today's darkwave greats (Light Asylum, TRUST, the Soft Moon). Now, less than ten months later, bedroom producers Chris Stewart and Ty Kube follow that gritty, surgically-precise EP with A
Different Arrangement, a new full-length that is, as its title suggests, a departure from Weight's calculated
A Different Arrangement surveys a wide variety of sounds, from the radiant, bouncing ebullience of "A Great Design" to the haunted playground-bop of "Limitations" (which juxtaposes sampled rim-drum clacks with layers of sentimental synth melodies and Stewart's resonant, reverb-smeared baritone). The warm, Peter Hook-inspired basslines shapeshift across Arrangement's runtime, and vintage synthesizer arrangements by Kube (formerly of electropop outfit Team Robespierre) are likewise versatile-airy ("MSQ No Extra"), astral ("UK"), and at times so distinctly manipulated and sculpted as to be otherworldly ("Last").
The influence of early synth pioneers like Thomas Leer and Robert Rental is felt across A Different Arrangement's eleven tracks, as are the fingerprints of the record's hard-line do-it-yourself architects.
"All the music we gravitate towards has that quality where you can imagine the space it was created in and the people who made it. Not this handed-down-from-on-high sensibility. A certain handmade feeling is what we're after," Stewart explains. "The music doesn't have to be complex, but it's important to carry some residue of the
process, especially when working with what [can sometimes] be construed as cold-sounding electronics. It's humanizing."
If Weight Against the Door constituted a long, cold night, then A Different Arrangement heralds the moment when the radiator finally sputters to life, flooding the room with heat as the sun rises over a horizon of Brutalist tower blocks. The homemade soundtrack to a still, uncertain dawn, A Different Arrangement is a striking evolution in Black Marble's sound.1. Cruel Summer
2. MSQ No-Extra
3. A Great Design
4. A Different Arrangement
10. Safe Minds
11. Unrelated$13.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Lo Moon (Pre-Order)
Lo Moon is the highly anticipated self-titled debut album from this Los Angeles, California based indie rock band. The band consists of principle songwriter Matt Lowell (lead vocal, guitar and keyboard), Crisanta Baker (bass guitar, keyboard and backing vocals), and Samuel Stewart (guitar, keyboard and backing vocals). The album is produced by Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie) and Francois Tetaz (Gotye), and includes the previously released songs Loveless, This Is It, and Thorns.
The band formed in Los Angeles after coming from different corners of the earth. Singer/guitarist Matt Lowell is from Long Island, New York, bassist Crisanta Baker from Denver, Colorado, and guitarist Samuel Stewart from London, England, and the band has been building their story since 2014. Their songs have been highly praised in the music press. And this debut album, Lo Moon is a dark, luscious collection of songs full of crescendo rock and sparkling electronics. The songs bridge a gap between soft experimental rock and atmospheric electronic pop. The record is a cool, dark, meditative exploration of bittersweet sadness and cathartic joy.LP 1
1. This Is It
3. The Right Thing
5. Tried To Make You My Own
1. My Money
2. Real Love
4. Wonderful Life
5. All In$26.99Colored Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed PRE-ORDER Buy Now
The DiverLed Er Est emerged from a series of jam sessions that core members Shawn O'Sullivan and Sam De La Rosa started having in early 2007, using bass guitar, some cheap drum machines and synths. They were inspired to record music largely by '70s synth-prog, and '80s lo-fi electronic and industrial music.
They recorded a number of songs at friend Will Burnett's studio that Fall. Their first officially released track was on the Wierd Records compilation, Analogue Electronic Music Vol II. Owen Hutchinson joined the band for their first live show at the Wierd party that December. In January of 2008, they released their first 7, a split with Excepter member Jon Porkchop aka SSPS.
Throughout 2008 and 2009 they self-recorded their first album, Dust on Common, which Wierd Records released in Nov. of 2009. In the Spring of 2010, they toured Europe with Xeno and Oaklander, playing shows in the UK , Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Italy. Subsequently they released a 7 and then the May EP on Captured Tracks. Led Er Est did a brief west coast run with Soft Moon last fall and just played SXSW.
On stage and in the studio Led Er Est create a thick wall of atmospheric soundscapes using vintage analog recording devices, samplers and synths while using sci-fi soundtracks and cold wave as reference points. Led Er Est's sophomore full-length album, The Diver, was mixed by Chris Coady and will be released courtesy of Sacred Bones Records.1. Animal Smear
2. Housefire at Zumi's
3. Kaiyo Maru
4. The Diver
6. Agua Fuerte
7. Arab Tide
8. Divided Parallel
9. Iron the Mandala
10. La Lluvia y Memoria
11. Sanetta$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Paradise FreaksRecording with a core group featuring Al Doyle (Hot Chip/LCD Soundsystem) on bass and guitar Rob Smoughton (Hot Chip/Grovesnor) on drums and guitar and Kenny Dickenson (KT Tunstall/Red Ken) on keys, Seahawks invited some of their favourite singers to contribute vocals. Maria Minerva, Tim Burgess, Indra Dunis of Peaking Lights and missing-in-action psychedelic songsmith Nick Nicely all added their unmistakeable tones. A set of final overdubs from Tom Furse (The Horrors) and some tinkering from Seahawks' regular Cornish musical mates sealed the deal. The whole process took time but what is time when faced with the epic expanse of the cosmos - a cosmos full of soft tones and brilliant corners, unexpected collisions, warm openings, deep colours and fresh textures.1. Rainbow Sun (feat. Maria Minerva)
2. Looking At The Sun (feat. Tim Burgess)
3. Drifting (feat. Indra Dunis Of Peaking Lights)
4. Safe Harbour (feat. Indra Dunis Of Peaking Lights)
5. Paradise Freaks
6. Moon Turn Tides (feat. Maria Minerva)
7. Sky Is You (feat. Maria Minerva)
8. Didn't Know I Was Lost (feat. Tim Burgess)
9. Electric Waterfalls (feat. Nick Nicely)
10. Islands$23.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Then It All Came DownThen It All Came Down is J.R. Robinson s second long-form composition as Wrekmeister Harmonies. Employing an enormous ensemble of some of Chicago s best talents in the metal and experimental communities, including Wrest (Leviathan), Ryley Walker, and members of Indian, Corrections House, Twilight, Yakuza, Anatomy of Habit, Come, Mind Over Mirrors, and Bloodiest, Robinson has created a work that is equally gorgeous and menacing. The CD edition also includes 2013 s You ve Always Meant So Much To Me (on CD for the first time), bringing the total running time to over 73 minutes. Few artists have perfected the nuances of beauty as well as annihilation, and Robinson s mastery of both sides of the spectrum makes his a unique voice in the field of doom. J.R. Robinson perceives life as a long, gradual process of decay. Lightness fades into darkness, while innocence succumbs to the evils of modern society. His music reflects not only this worldview but his emotional response to it. Then It All Came Down is an exploration of that existential deterioration and an attempt at attaining a deeper understanding of its process. Then It All Came Down opens with a low, soft drone, creeping in almost imperceptibly. Bells chime as more tonal voices emerge from the ether, Walker s acoustic guitar echoing in the abyssal soundscape. Several women sing as sirens: Beautiful Sun. The piece is inspired by and takes its name from an essay written by Truman Capote following his interview with Manson-associate Bobby Beausoleil (which translates as beautiful sun ), whose dangerous spirit and embodiment of occult ideals offer an extreme example of the light into dark transition the piece explores. As the soft drones and angelic voices are replaced with threatening rumbles of distortion and low cackles courtesy of Wrest, an overwhelming sense of unease permeates the piece s atmosphere, only a harbinger of what is to come. When the piece does explode into crushing howls and heavy doom, all semblance of tranquility and stillness, the light, the peace, is exterminated. Then It All Came Down was debuted at the Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago under a full moon in July of 2013, the first in a continuing yearly series called Beyond The Gate. The series continued in 2014 with a debut of another new Wrekmeister composition which will be released in early 2015. Wrekmeister Harmonies will continue to bring large-scale productions involving a rotating cast of guest musicians to unconventional performance spaces throughout 2014-15, and has a future collaboration planned with The Body. An essay by Robinson about Beausoleil s influence on Charles Manson and his ideological lineage from Alastair Crowley is available for deeper insights into Robinson s fascination with the controversial cult figure.1. Then It All Came Down$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
PlanetariumPlanetarium is a concept album that occasionally gives way to ambient interludes and majestic brass chorales, buttressed by a percussive drive that keeps the momentum skyward. In spite of all the experimentation in sound and style, Sufjan's vocals provide a clear and coherent center of gravity. The album includes some of his most diverse vocal performances to date (from soft hush to guttural scream), and whether he's singing through effects pedals, vocoders, auto-tune or not, his voice delivers an ambitious flight map through the cosmos. Planetarium is an album co-composed by four musicians: Bryce Dessner, James McAlister, Nico Muhly, and Sufjan Stevens.
Flanked by a string quartet and a consort of seven trombones, this unique collaborative ensemble has assembled an expansive song cycle that explores the Sun, the Moon, the planets and other celestial bodies of our solar system (and beyond) through soundscape, song, science and myth. The result of this creative alliance is a musical and aesthetic journey as far-reaching as its subject: from lush piano ballads to prog-rock political anthems, curious electronic back-beats to classical cadenzas, the vast musical styles seek to explore the diversity and mystery of our cosmos. The subject of the album is not just the wilderness of outer space, but the interior space of human consciousness and how it engages.LP 1
3. Halley's Comet
7. Black Energy
5. Kuiper Belt
6. Black Hole
8. In The Beginning
10. Mercury$29.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Hurry Up, We're Dreaming (Colored Vinyl)Pressed On Clear Pink & Clear Blue Vinyl
With these soft spoken words on the simply-titled opening track-"Intro"- M83 mastermind Anthony Gonzalez introduces us to his sixth record and first double disc album, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming.
Dauntlessly singing into the void that was left behind since Saturdays=Youth, Gonzalez suddenly surges with overwhelming emotion as the music mounts an invisible precipice. Historically, he softly eased you into his world, introducing you to the lush and radiant spaces between captivating melodies and intimate lyrics, but not this time. Not on this record.
Graduating from the fuzzy, fumbling emotional cobwebs and draped ambiance of past records, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming careens past its audience. Brazenly stretching out along the horizon, spilling glittery, golden arms of sound across the landscape, it holds your breath hostage without you even noticing you were missing it. If it seemed that Anthony was basking in the sunshine-drenched days of his youth when he released Saturdays in 2008, then it can be said that in 2011, at the age of 30, he is tempestuously charging towards his future with Hurry Up, We're Dreaming.
Relocating to Los Angeles from Antibes, Gonzalez surrounded himself with players pivotal to completing his childhood dream of a double disc record. Producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, NIN, The Mars Volta, Goldfrapp) and guitarist Brad Laner (from 90s band Medicine) had been hugely influential on Anthony growing up and now were central to the new record's creation.
"In France there is this show on TV where at the end there is a musical guest who plays one or two songs. I remember one night when I was a teenager being at home watching the best of performances and looking at this crazy bass player with a big afro and thinking, 'Wow this guy is so cool.' "And now I am working with him. It's so intense that thinking about it makes me feel weird. But it's weird in a super good way. Same thing with Brad, I was listening to his music when I was first getting into music and now he's on my album."
Anthony and Justin met backstage in 2009 at Scotland's T In The Park. Later, "he came to me very genuinely stating that 'he was a fan and that he would love to work with me,'" explains Gonzalez. "I love when people do that because I can tell it's coming from the heart. He was sincere and that's the way I like to work with people."
Stepping away from his work with producers Ken Thomas and Ewan Pearson on Saturday, Gonzalez freckles his new chapter with signature M83 fingerprints while pushing himself beyond the constricting emotions of a guarded musician. Bored with being frustrated and shy, Anthony is respectful of the precious time given to him and doesn't want to leave behind any regrets, thus thrusting himself into the spotlight vocally. He tests out different ways of singing, ranging from a spectral breathy whisper to a howling scream, and each voice clings to us like a dew-heavy spider web at dawn.
Fans will recognize band member Morgan Kibby, her vocals flirting with the shadowy places in between verses, leaping off the record in spoken word or blending with an adult choir. Morgan will join Anthony on tour but she was never meant to sing as much on this record as she had on pervious projects. Quenching his desire to work with a different person on each record, Gonzalez added LA-based chanteuse Zola Jesus to the mix for the completion of "Intro." "The song was already written but I really wanted a female vocal on it and I was kind of struggling to find the right person, but then I heard her music and it just made sense."
Where Saturday=Youth is drenched in lustful exploration and hungry adolescent wonder, Hurry Up is decadently cunning and seductive. "Intro" and "My tears are becoming a sea" eerily croon to you, swirling all of the glitter and growth from the past records into an epic swell, mysteriously and dramatically warning you of the impact you are about to experience. "Midnight City" (disc one) and "OK Pal" (disc two) are humid, adrenaline driven dreams unlike anything we have heard from M83 in the past. "Midnight City" adeptly sweeps you through abandoned concrete streets swimming in broken neon light and aggressively pushing and pulsating to synthetic beats. While "OK Pal" catcalls you to a locker full of mapped out Peter Gabriel-esque echoing lyrics, leaving you stranded in a post-apocalyptic landscape. These journeys are about awakening, craving and conquering. Throughout Hurry Up, We're Dreaming Anthony carries the listener to different countries of sound in his own universe, "We didn't need a story, we didn't need a real world. We just had to keep walking and we became the stories- we became the places." Drifting away from his previous records and reigned in politeness he unleashes all that he has been dreaming of and yearning for. Even when he takes a second to look back on "Echoes of Mine" the velvety, elderly voice of a woman heartbreakingly tells the story of a girl drenched in the shadows of her youth, knowing she has to grow up.
Grandiose in scale and inspired by Smashing Pumpkin's revered double disc Melancholy & The Infinite Sadness, Anthony has long had the goal to create his own monumental double disc record. "I saw when I was a teenager that I could dig into it [the album]. It was like a treasure. If I were a teenager nowadays I would try to find something as creative as this album. They had so much to say in their songs."
Impressed with the juxtaposing sun and moon artwork featured on Melancholy, Anthony focuses in on another natural duality: siblings. The cover artwork mirrors this relationship, featuring a photograph of a little boy with a little girl sitting on a bed. The photograph perpetuates the conversation for the two distinct voices we behind each disc, representing two sides of an overall piece that are almost the same. "I want people to listen to it as two different human beings that are connected somehow, but every song on the album has a secret on the other side."
Soaring and scraping up against the sky while sharing each uncharted frontier with new collaborators is what M83 does best. Gracefully coming into the next decade of his life, Anthony delivers what makes each record sincere, innocent, and full of joy: he gives us his past and his future.
"I think it is a reflection of my 30 years of being a human being. It's a compilation of all my previous music together. It's a retrospective of myself."LP 1
2. Midnight City
4. Where The Boats Go
6. Raconte moi une histoire
7. A Train To Pluton
8. Claudia Lewis
9. This Bright Flash
10. When Will You Come Home?
11. Soon, My Friend
1. My Tears Are Becoming A Sea
2. New Map
3. OK Pal
4. Another Wave From You
6. Year One, One UFO
8. Steve McQueen
9. Echoes Of Mine
10. Klaus I love You
11. Outro$28.99Colored Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now