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Lost In AlphavilleLost In Alphaville is the long awaited and highly anticipated follow-up to The Rentals' landmark albums Return of the Rentals and
Seven More Minutes.
When listening to Lost In Alphaville for the first time, one can't
help but be stoked by the perfect amalgamation of the sonic
components: the dense wall of Slegr's punishing guitars, the
primal smack of Carney's drums, Sharp's driving, distorted
bass and thick buzz of saturated Moog synthesizers -- all
tempered by Laessig's and Wolfe's beautifully lush voices and
Chipman's elegant string arrangements serving as an extremely
rich foundation for the layers and layers of Sharp's detached,
voyeuristically breathy vocals.
Sharp created a wall of sound so dense and powerful with
arrangements that several songs on the album exceed 200
individually recorded tracks. During this process of arranging,
Sharp would slip into what he described as "euphoric, psychedelic
daydreams." Sharp says, "If you can't whip yourself up into a state
of full-blown rapture while you're creating, I don't really see the
point of making music."
Lost In Alphaville is a true sonic achievement, The Rentals' best
album by a mile, a blissfully righteous storm of broken-up guitars,
buzz-saw synthesizers, brutally, barbaric rhythms which crumble
and crackle against a wash of strings, male and female voices-all
blending into 10 perfectly formed pop songs. Not only have The
Rentals completely surpassed their first two albums, but Sharp
just might be putting forward the best work of his entire career.1. It's Time To Come Home
2. Traces Of Our Tears
4. 1000 Seasons
6. Irrational Things
7. Thought Of Sound
8. Song Of Remembering
9. Seven Years
10. The Future$20.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Hunger And ThirstKyle Morton sings the first line of Typhoon's Hunger & Thirst, I've started a new beginning... suspiciously like the old one, only this time, I'm ready, with the bravery and trepidation of someone who is staring down a familiar path, with all its known challenges and potential pitfalls, surrounded by his dearest longtime friends. Fittingly, producer Paul Laxer recorded Hunger & Thirst in Morton and his bandmates' beloved old Victorian rental house. The lease was about to be up; the landlady was about to be back from Korea - all 12 band members knew their time there was limited, that they were crafting an aural snapshot using room mics and dining rooms. That house can be heard all over the record if you're listening for it, spaciously framing Typhoon's lush, well-edited orchestration, its wood floors perfectly warming Morton's empowered, concerned, delicate vocals in a way that any studio environment would be hard-pressed to capture.
These are songs about striving for what you want, then realizing that once you have it, you don't want it anymore; that maybe that elusive thing was never really the issue anyway. Morton sings about the searches, in all their permutations, the bruises healed by those important to you, impermanence, joy, and finding peace within the incessant desire that has always been man's burden. He sings with strength and hope about renewal (Starting Over), with the entire band in gospel-chorus about confronting and progressing (the .47 second The Mouth of the Cave) and with brutal honesty about struggling with a lifelong illness (The Sickness Unto Death). Everyone has their own unique path to follow, and Hunger & Thirst is a record that should remind us of the preciousness of exploration, the value of those we meet along the way, and the power within that sustains us on our quests.1. Starting Over (Bad Habits)
2. White Liars
3. CPR - Claws Part 2
4. Ghost Train
5. Body of Love
7. Happy People
8. Old Haunts, New Cities
9. Mouth of the Cavern
10. Belly of the Cave$17.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl 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
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
Brothers Of The 4x4The king of Hellbilly, Mr. Hank3 himself, is pleased to announce a triple-threat of new releases. Hank3 will release a brand new DOUBLE country album, entitled Brothers of the 4x4, and a single punk album, entitled A Fiendish Threat, with his new project "3".
Recording in his own home and releasing music on his own label, the Megaforce distributed Hank3 Records, allowed Williams complete creative control during the four month period it took to make both records.
Besides living the songs subject matter first, Hank3 sang and played both guitar and drums on the records. As if pulling triple duty wasn't enough, he engineered, produced, mixed and mastered all the tunes as well. Not bad for someone who in his own words is dyslexic and has ADD, according to Hank3 "my mind is all over the place". But even a man talented and driven enough to do (count 'em) seven jobs at once has his limits, so Hank3 has once again assembled a top-notch ensemble of pickers and pluckers for Brothers Of The 4x4 and A Fiendish Threat.
The required stand-up bass holds the low end down at the deft hands of Zach Shedd, with David McElfresh and Billy Contreras whipping razor sharp bows across the fiddle. Daniel Mason handles banjo, with a special guest appearance on Possum In A Tree by former National Old-Time Banjo Champion Leroy Troy working his banjo in the old school clawhammer style, while Andy Gibson wrings the sweetest of notes out his stand up steel guitar. Finally, long-time collaborator and fellow multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire Johnny Hiland rips his chicken pickin' guitar to feathers and shreds.
Hank3's latest country record is just that- country, and the realness of it shines throughout the record like moonlight hitting a mason jar of corn liquor- it ain't always the smoothest, and it doesn't come wrapped in a fancy package, but it's 100% pure whoop-ass in a bottle that gets the job done quicker and better and reminds you of where you originally came from once you figure out what just hit you. On Outdoor Plan he sings of fishing and hunting as a way of life, and it's a fact that more than one deer and turkey has met its maker at the end of Hank3's gun's barrel. The title track, Brothers of the 4x4 celebrates the wide open full throttle love of off roadin' and rootin' in a four wheel drive - the cover of the record shows Williams mud bogging in a custom 4x4, and it's not some redneck rental - that's his ride. And because life ain't always happy, when the heartbreak and hard times cracks through the sonic celebration on songs like Loners 4 Life and Ain't Broken Down, it's because Hank3 is well acquainted with the darker side of life, and not as some tourist. The album is a rich and gritty sounding mixture of sadness, pride, hope- in other words, it's a great country record.
With the release of Brothers of the 4x4 and A Fiendish Threat, Williams is ready to hit the road, and when he hits the road, he hits it much harder than most. Hank3 shows are legendary for their length and intensity, averaging three hours a night, starting with a country set and ending with whatever his latest musical experiment happens to be.
With these dual releases, Brothers Of The 4x4 and A Fiendish Threat added to his already huge and varied arsenal of music, Hank3 will be raising all sorts of hell on stage while the fans raise their glasses in the audience once again, and you can bet your last dollar a damn good time will be had by all. The man goes full throttle all the time, every time, as anyone who has ever been to one of his innumerable shows will attest.
Listen to Brothers of the 4x4 and A Fiendish Threat, go to a show, and find out for yourself. Just remember the next day, after a few aspirins, a dinner at your own table, and a sleep in your own bed, that Hank3 will be down the road doing his thing again, and for that rebel, "doing the best I can" means something a little different than it does for the average man.1. Nearly Gone
2. Hurtin' For Certin
3. Brothers of the 4×4
4. Farthest Away
5. Held Up
6. Outdoor Plan
7. Deep Scars
8. Lookey Yonder Commin
9. Ain't Broken Down
11. Loners 4 Life
12. Dreadfull Drive
13. Getting Dim
14. Possum in a Tree
15. Broken Boogie
16. Toothpickin$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Strict Joy (Out Of Stock)The Swell Season are Glen Hansard (from the Irish band the Frames) and Marketa Irglova (classically trained Czech pianist and vocalist). In 2007, Once, a film about two people meeting and falling in love on the streets of Dublin, became an indie phenomenon, as audiences everywhere responded to the unassuming charm of the two leads, Glen and Marketa, and the beautiful music they made together. On the way to going gold, the Once soundtrack brought the Swell Season onto the stage of the Academy Awards, where the band won the Best Original Song award, and into the hearts of the audience and host Jon Stewart. Since then they have toured to sold-out venues as the Swell Season, Once has become a perennial top DVD rental and seller, and now the film is in development for a Broadway musical to open early in 2010.
Now comes the much anticipated follow-up, Strict Joy, and from the first notes of first track Low Rising, the musical magic audiences found in Once is back. The band returns to map the rocky peaks and valleys of relationships in songs like the haunting I Have Loved You Wrong, a Marketa feature, and the driving, anthemic The Rain. A feature documentary will make the festival rounds this fall, covering the making of Once and Glen and Marketa's musical coming together, but in the meantime, the beautiful songs of Strict Joy will tell their story.1. Low Rising
2. Feeling the Pull
3. In These Arms
4. The Rain
5. Fantasy Man
6. Paper Cup
7. High Horses
8. The Verb
9. I Have Loved You Wrong
10. Love That Conquers
11. Two Tongues
12. Back Broke$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Temporarily out of stock