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Strange DesireBleachers will release debut album 'Strange Desire' on RCA Records. The highly anticipated album was written and produced by Grammy Award winning musician Jack Antonoff with co-producer John Hill (MIA, Jay Z, Empire of the Sun) as well as Vince Clarke (Depeche Mode, Yaz, Erasure) and others.
"It's the 2 words that perfectly title what this Bleachers album is as a documentation of my life as I can remember it at this point", wrote Antonoff yesterday afternoon in the Craigslist ad he posted announcing the album title.
Bleachers first single "I Wanna Get Better" has already streamed over 1.5 million times, was deemed "the song of the summer in February" by the Huffington Post and quickly skyrocketed into the top 10 at Alt radio.
Since the Bleachers launch in February critics have been nothing but excited and eager to hear more. Rolling Stone exclaimed "We'll be shocked if it's not all over the radio by spring", TIME raved " it's exciting to imagine what else Antonoff has up his sleeve" and Hilly Dilly proclaimed " this is the kind of music that can't get big enough."
Hailing from New Jersey, 29 year old Jack Antonoff has been in the music scene for over a decade. In 2002, with Jack as the lead singer, the success of New Jersey born indie rock band Steel Train was well underway. Steel Train's cult following lead them to make their national television debut on Late Night With Conan O'Brien and later appeared on Late Show With David Letterman. In 2008, Jack joined Nate Ruess and Andrew Dost to form the Grammy award winning fun.
In addition to being a multi-talented musician, Jack is a critically acclaimed songwriter and producer. His achievements include fun. being honored with the Vanguard Award at the 2014 ASCAP Pop Music Awards and co-writing fun.'s Grammy award winning song "We Are Young" and Grammy nominated album Some Nights. He also received a Golden Globe nomination for his collaboration with Taylor Swift on her song "Sweeter Than Fiction. Jack has also worked with Sara Bareilles, co-writing her Grammy nominated hit "Brave, and Canadian Indie icons Tegan and Sara.1. Wild Heart
4. I Wanna Get Better
5. Wake Me
6. Reckless Love
7. Take Me Away (ft. Grimes)
8. Like A River Runs
9. You're Still A Mystery
10. I'm Ready To Move On/Wild Heart Reprise (ft. Yoko Ono)
11. Who I Want You To Love$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Gone NowPressed On 180-Gram Red and White Marble Vinyl
Gone Now is BLEACHERS' highly-anticipated sophomore album and follow up to 2014's Strange Desire. Featuring the singles "Don't Take The Money" & "Hate That You Know Me."1. Dream of Mickey Mantle
3. Hate That You Know Me
4. Don't Take The Money
5. Everybody Lost Somebody
6. All My Heroes
7. Let's Get Married
9. I Miss Those Days
10. Nothing Is U
11. I'm Ready To Move On/Mickey Mantle Reprise
12. Foreign Girls$22.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
(Strange Songs) In The DarkBack in print and readily available (for perhaps the first time), we have Merchandise's debut LP (Strange Songs) In The Dark.
The album, recorded in early 2010, marks a decisive break from the band's straightforward early post-punk EP's, moving instead toward the more experimental studio-based pop constructions that would be further explored in the subsequent Children of Desire and Totale Nite albums. (Strange Songs) was recorded by the core duo of Carson Cox and David Vassalotti. Despite the lo-fi nature of this home recording, there are tons of hooks to be found amidst the haze (notably "I Locked the Door" and "Worthless Apology"). Occasionally veering into abstractions, the album as a whole is a piece that warrants listening as such. It's a sad bastard of a record, but one with plenty of range and ideas. Not rehash but reimagination. Many moments on (Strange Songs) In The Dark (especially the moody "Foolish" and "In The Dark") foreshadow Merchandise's eventual signing to the 4AD label. Fans of the band's later albums will find much to enjoy on this early effort. [[Originally a split release between DIY punk labels Katorga Works and Drugged Conscience Records.]]1. Loss
2. I Locked The Door
3. Foolish (Her Song)
4. I Get Lost
5. Worthless Apology
6. What Was Left Behind
7. In The Dark$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Never Really Been Into ItThe legacy of North Carolina's Ashrae Fax seems destined to be
appreciated in retrospect, in no small part given to the
tremendous power of the group's 2003 release Static Crash!,
reissued twice from its initial CD-R run before appearing on
Mexican Summer last year. The Goth/ethereal duo of vocalist
RenÉe Mendoza and producer/guitarist Alex Chesney had built a
long, strange and mostly undocumented legacy prior to that
release, and Never Really Been Into It extends the tale back even
further: ten songs, sketched out in the late '90s, most of which
were never completed and remained unheard until now. "This
would've been our first full-length," reflects vocalist RenÉe
Mendoza, "if we had any idea what we were doing [back then]."
Rescued from a shoebox of ephemera from the band's earliest
days, when Mendoza and guitarist Alex Chesney drifted out of
high school and into the uncertainties of early adulthood, these
songs were the product of a band whose members had nothing
but time and ambition, influence and desire to transcend their
humble beginnings. Pieced together and re-recorded over a five-month period in 2013 by RenÉe Mendoza in her home studio,
from mere stems and forgotten takes preserved on decades-old
minidisc recordings, the songs on Never Really Been Into It reflect
disquiet, uncertainty, hope and numbing, absolute beauty, along
teenage obsessions with The Cocteau Twins, The Cure, and
perhaps the Projekt Records roster, refracted through the lens of
latter-day experience - pristine musicianship, gorgeous vocals,
cryogenically frozen until now. Had these songs been properly
released when initially conceived, Ashrae Fax would have no
doubt found themselves in the midst of the upswell of ethereal
pop bands of the '90s (The Underflowers, Ultracherry Violet, The
Curtain Society). As such, their moment keeps happening, and
never ends.1. Dreamers Tied to Chairs
3. The Big Lie
4. Fits and Starts
6. Hurricanes in a Jar
7. You Make Me Question My Mind (in a thousand words about time)
9. Seconds Chances
10. In Motion$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
URPD-ART-0013xEight And A Half
Eight And A HalfJustin Peroff of Broken Social Scene plus Dave Hamelin and Liam O'Neil of The Stills equals Eight and a Half. When Broken Social Scene first emerged out of Toronto 10 years ago, a great deal of the band's success was attributed to the fact that most of its individual members had ties to other bands, or boasted established solo careers. Peroff, the band's drummer since 2000, was not without extracurricular pursuits of his own (acting, DJing, party promotion), but had never released music outside of the BSS banner. By 2009, the urge to explore something new was proving ever more impossible to suppress.
Hamelin and O'Neil were old friends of Peroff's, Broken Social Scene and The Stills had shared stages as far back as 2003, but they weren't necessarily the most logical choice of collaborators: after all, Peroff was splitting his time between his temporary home in Los Angeles and recording sessions in Chicago for Broken Social Scene's Forgiveness Rock Record, while Hamelin and O'Neil were in the thick of touring for The Stills' 2008 album, Oceans Will Rise, and living in their native Montreal when off the road.
However, over the course of several phone calls and emails, the trio realized they all shared a desire to create music that was distinctively different than the big-tent anthems their primary bands were known for, so much so that Peroff was willing to spend much of 2009 hopping back and forth between L.A., Chicago and Montreal to get this new, more electronically focused project off the ground, if only in fits and starts.
What a difference a year makes, fast forward to the end of 2010 and Peroff was calling Toronto home once again, after Broken Social Scene completed its marathon Forgiveness Rock Record tour. And fortuitously enough, O'Neil and Hamelin had also become fellow residents, albeit for markedly different reasons: the former was hired to engineer Metric's follow-up to Fantasies at the band's Toronto-based Giant Studios, while the latter relocated after his girlfriend scored a new job in the city. O'Neil and Hamelin also suddenly found themselves with a lot of spare time on their hands: following a fall 2010 tour with Kings of Leon, The Stills had unceremoniously disbanded.
And so the conditions were in place to elevate Eight and a Half from sideline recording project to a primary concern for those involved. And each member seized the opportunity to reinvent himself: where Peroff's steady back beat has always provided the solid foundation atop which Broken Social Scene could freely experiment, with Eight and a Half his drumming is thoroughly deconstructed, as reliant on electronic programming and looped breaks as live performance.
O'Neil, traditionally a piano and horn player, focused on coaxing strange sounds and eerie ambience out of synthesizers and samplers. And Hamelin, who attempted a more rootsy, conversational style of singing as The Stills' secondary vocalist, pushed himself to croon in a higher register, and adopt a more confessional, emotionally naked mode of songwriting to better complement the minimal, mechanized productions.
Though Eight and a Half's formation precedes The Stills' dissolution, it's tempting to interpret these songs from the melancholic desolation of "Scissors," to where-did-it-all-go-wrong self-examination of "Go Ego," to the turn-a-new-leaf pledge "The Turn Around," as a direct response to their demise. But the vulnerability, doubt and resignation embedded in Hamelin's voice and words are easily transferrable to anyone who's invested years of their life into something special only to watch it vanish in an instant.
And Hamelin's recovery process, as well as Eight and a Half's own evolution from piecemeal recording project into proper flesh-and-blood band, is mirrored in the album's sequential shift from darkness to light: what begins as a chilly, claustrophobic and insular experience gradually opens up into a widescreen, kaleidoscopic splendor, spanning the mountainous surge of "Took A Train to India," the exuberant digital psychedelia of "Two Points" and the climactic/ecstatic curtain closer "Oh, My Head."1. When I Was Twenty Nine
3. Go Ego
4. The Turn Around
5. Took A Train To India
6. Wait Up
7. Two Points
8. Walked Into Diazepene
9. Oh, My Head
10. My Forevers$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
InsidesLike many others, Ghostly became enamored with Fort Romeau's idea of slow
listening, the concept of enriching relationships with music through careful
attention and focus. His understated take on deep, groove-friendly house started
pushing this practice three years ago, when the producer's debut LP, Kingdoms,
appeared via 100% Silk. The native Londoner, born Mike Greene, has evolved
considerably since then, finessing his sound over the course of three breezy 12s,
one EP, and lengthy DJ sets at some of the best clubs in Europe-not the least of
which were Berlin's famed Panorama Bar, London hotspot Plastic People, and
Robert Johnson in Frankfurt. Those years Greene spent immersed in his craft and
new inspirations have generously informed the eight stunning productions which
comprise Insides, Fort Romeau's long-awaited sophomore album.
Playing in those clubs definitely had an affect on how I approach composition and
pacing, Greene shares. I want to allow things to breathe and develop gradually
over longer track lengths, rather than cram everything into four or five minutes. His
patient methods are a central component to the billowy house music on Insides,
though this isn't an indulgent album of gratuitous buildups and tiresome
breakdowns. Each production is pointed and purposeful, as the artist crafts every
second of analog electronics with rich detail, nuance, and refinement.
Throughout Insides, Fort Romeau guides us down misty corridors lined with supple
synth pads, quietly thumping kicks, and elastic low-end sequences reinforced by an
emotive confidence. Thick dancefloor cuts like All I Want and Folle are built on
such satisfying elements-sounds so full-bodied, you'd swear they're knocking
against your bones. This, too, is by design. I wanted to make sure all the songs
have a tangible quality, says Greene of his LP's physicality, to make texture and
grain become as important a part of the vocabulary as timbre and pitch. This was
accomplished with an arsenal of machines, including his Moog Voyager, Yamaha
DX7, Roland Juno-6, and Korg 770, a vintage synth he describes as having so much
presence and vitality, it almost feels like it's alive. Equally important to the weighty
presence of his music is meticulous post-production. The record was mixed on an
analog desk and mastered to tape, Fort Romeau elaborates. These processes are
as much a part of the sound as the synths and sample sources themselves.
There is also a deep stylistic eclecticism to Insides, and coming from Greene, this
was galvanized by deep cuts he discovered while digging to find music for his
extensive DJ sets. Old kosmiche, disco, and early electronic records are among the
strongest influences, and Fort Romeau used them as an impetus for creation. It's
those strange and wonderful tracks that you find on the b-side of an old record that
sparked my desire to make something new, he shares, but it's very important for
me never to feel like I'm making a pastiche. Indeed, the sleek expanse of Lately
and the title track's jacking grooves take cues from buoyantly cosmic dance music.
And yet it's the personality of a young artist coming into his own that makes Insides
such a graceful collection of house music, one that only further enriches the soul
over time.1. New Wave
3. All I Want
5. Not A Word
8. Cloche$22.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
MadmanSean Rowe has spent much of the last year traveling the country with just his guitar, performing in people's living rooms. "It's like I'm some kind of a bearded salesman," he says, "Going door to door but instead of vacuum cleaners I'm selling all these feelings that come with the songs. It's a really intense experience for listeners to have me there in their homes playing. They're not used to having a stranger show up, play music, drink their beer and eat their food. But I think that's how we're supposed to be. It only feels strange because we've made it that way."
It is this same sense of unflinching connection that has shaped Rowe's extraordinary new album Madman. The singer, who The Wall Street Journal wrote "recalls the ecstatic intensity of late-'60s Van Morrison and stark subtlety of late-era Johnny Cash" has created a beautifully primal work. Madman is deliberately simple in both arrangement and composition. It is soul music in the purest and most literal sense, hypnotic rhythms, warmly distorted guitars and Rowe's incredible voice recalling a time, real or imagined, when music and people seemed
distinctly more connected.
The sound of Madman is influenced, in large part, by the hypnotic guitars of Delta blues. The influence is most apparent on the album's second track "Shine My Diamond Ring" with its guitar and stomping bass drum. "Desiree" is a raucous deconstructed take on early disco, with a pulsating bass, Nile Rogers-like guitar picking and a looser than ever Rowe singing with absolute abandon. But there are still the trademark ballads that first gained Rowe attention on his debut, Magic, showcases for the astonishing voice and honest emotional songwriting that continues to garner Sean Rowe much deserved acclaim.1. Madman
2. Shine my Diamond Ring
4. The Game
5. The Drive
6. Spiritual Leather
7. Done Calling You
8. The Real Thing
9. Razor of Love
10. My little Man
11. Looking for the Master
12. It Won't be Long$21.99Vinyl LP + CD - Sealed Buy Now
Silver KobaltIn between work for Björk, The Cinematic Orchestra and Anoushka Shankar, the prodigious Hang player and percussionist Manu Delago has inked a deal with Tru Thoughts to release his own new album, 'Silver Kobalt'. The ambitious LP draws lines from pop to the avant-garde.
Aged just 30, Manu Delago is the world's leading Hang player (with 5 million YouTube views for his DIY performance video "Mono Desire") and possesses equally virtuosic skills as a percussionist and drummer alongside ever maturing instincts as a songwriter and producer. The accessible yet startlingly original sound of 'Silver Kobalt' draws on the experience and ideas built up by the London based Austrian native across a high-flying and diverse career to date. From overachieving teenaged rock bands, through extensive classical training; from his exploits at the cutting edge of art pop as the lynchpin of Björk's band, to a London Symphony Orchestra commission which saw him playfully subverting their expectations; this endlessly curious artist has been honing his own style rich in melody, wit and invention.
The title, 'Silver Kobalt', plays on the strangely linked themes of magnets, goblins and human behaviour. Throwing a pair of small magnets in the air one day, Delago recorded their frantic, thrumming sound for the track "Plus Minus"; he also experimented with the detuning effect of a magnet on the Hang. Magnet fascination deepening, he read that some rare elements are permanently magnetised, of which one is cobalt. Then, up popped the pleasing story that cobalt was actually named after the German word for 'goblin' ('kobold') by hapless silver miners who suspected little kobolds had taken all the silver and left them with this substance. Further reading revealed also that all humans contain cobalt which we need to survive. "I really enjoyed this string of information", he says. "As well as this fun idea of little goblins within us, it really struck a chord because I had been thinking a lot about attraction and repulsion - what makes people magnetically drawn to some things, away from others - and that is a strong theme in the music. 'Silver Kobalt' tied it all together."
Tying together the many sonic threads is co-producer Matt Robertson (Björk, The Prodigy, The Streets, Bat For Lashes), following his work on Delago's acclaimed 2013 LP 'Bigger Than Home', the record on which he began to truly develop his current sound. This is a sound that revolves around the unique timbre of the Hang, but encompasses much more, from acoustic percussion, bassoon, piano and chimes to multi-layered beats and a variety of synths.
The hypnotic, nursery rhyme-like Hang melody of lead single "Disgustingly Beautiful" feat. Isa Kurz opens the album; the affecting vocals of Kurz (also the pianist and violinist on record and in the live outfit Manu Delago Handmade) ride a bass-heavy undercurrent, with added beats from Grammy nominated producer j.viewz. On the spiky yet melodically catchy "Plus Minus", the aforementioned magnet theme is extended into the composition, with two main lines that are pulled together and pushed apart. "Drumheart feat. Anil Sebastian" is pristine bassy pop lifted onto another plane by the haunting, androgynous vocals of the up-and-coming singer.
Stealthily moving into a fascinating instrumental section, "Down to the Summit" (which, unusually, uses the Indian drone instrument Surpeti for harmony) leads to the punchy, subby Hang sound and four-handed piano tinkering of "Wandering Around" and on to the joyful "Simon is Psychling", which calls to mind a DJ with speakers on a bike, circling a big field, one lap bringing a bassoon solo, another an industrial noise-fest. Restoring calm, "Sun In The North feat. Isa Kurz" is a potent lyrical snapshot from a day on the beach on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, its rhythms inspired by playing with Indian musicians there. Cobalt gets its glory in the shape-shifting "Chemical Reaction feat. Rahel", and the lovelorn "Dearest" was conceived on tour in Australia where Delago captured the fairytale vocals of celebrated Australian folk singer Katie Noonan. "Almost Thirty", in Delago's words, "draws a bow from Eurotrash Dance Music to Austrian folk music, with some brainy immature rhythm ejaculations in between"; a banger that skirts the border between strange-town and club-land, it is a thrilling way to see out both his third decade on Earth and the album.
Having been given his first drum kit aged two, also learning the accordion and piano in childhood, Manu Delago was a professional performer by his teens, but it was in 2003, when he began playing the Hang - an enchanting new sound sculpture from Switzerland - that he discovered his passion for writing music. On graduating from the university Mozarteum in Innsbruck, he moved to London and studied at Guildhall School of Music & Drama and Trinity College of Music. With this pedigree, the lessons learned from collaborating with his heroes, and influences from The Prodigy to Bon Iver, Michael Jackson to Stravinsky and Beyonce to Rage against the Machine, his music is as impeccably realised as it is impossible to classify. Delago has featured heavily in the world's media, having toured on six continents and played festivals including Shambala, Green Man, Haldern Pop, Reeperbahn, Eurosonic and Popfest Vienna.1. Disgustingly Beautiful feat. Isa Kurz
2. Plus Minus
3. Drumheart feat. Anil Sebastian
4. Down to the Summit
5. Wandering Around
6. Simon is Psychling [sic]
7. Sun in the North feat. Isa Kurz
8. Dearest feat. Katie Noonan$14.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now