LUNA music essentials...

for the week of 25 FEBRUARY 2014...
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>Beck – Morning Phase CD/LP (Capitol)
Morning Phase is true to its title: the beginning of yet another amazing chapter in Beck's peerless career and catalogue. Featuring musicians who have backed him on many of his most acclaimed albums, as well as the current live shows widely hailed as the best of his career (Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Joey Waronker, Smokey Hormel, Roger Joseph Manning Jr., and Jason Falkner), Morning Phase harkens back to the stunning harmonies, song craft and staggering emotional impact of Beck's most classic ballads, all the while surging forward with undeniable optimism. "A tenderly stunning song cycle of languid, prairie-dusted psychedelia that recalls reflective 2002 classic, Sea Change." -- Rolling Stone
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>Wild Beasts – Present Tense CD/LP (Domino)
"Wild Beasts revel in their idiosyncrasies; you can hear it in the dueling vocals and choral layers, the words that shouldn't fit, the tunes that veer off in unexpected directions. What's new here is that they have tempered and honed those flourishes. It's modest in its experiments, never forgoing an accessible ear for the sake of being difficult." – The Guardian
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>St. Vincent – St. Vincent CD/LP (Loma Vista)
St. Vincent was recorded with Actor/Strange Mercy/Love This Giant producer John Congleton and features percussion from Homer Steinweiss (Dap-Kings) and McKenzie Smith (Midlake). "I knew the groove needed to be paramount," Annie Clark says in the press release." I wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral."
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>CEO – Wonderland CD/LP (Modular)
Spanning just eight tracks but a kaleidoscope of emotions,
Wonderland is CEO in perfect form -- "a chipper jaunt through a fantastical sonic realm with tinges of darkness at its fringes" – Stereogum. "As demented and blissful as the best parts of once-popular 'freak-folk' movement, with Berglund leading a big top full of whining recorders, sweet-tooth synths and cackling samples." -- Billboard
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>Notwist – Close To The Glass CD/2xLP LOSER EDITION +MP3 (Sub Pop)
The Notwist's eighth album is a catchy and unpredictable marriage of playing your heart out on an instrument and the magnetic pulse of precise programming.
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>Death Vessel – Island Intervals CD/LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
Island Intervals is Joel Thibodeau's third record as Death Vessel and his second for Sub Pop. An inveterate and intuitive wanderer, Joel traveled to Reykjavík on an invitation from Sigur Rós singer Jónsi and producer Alex Somers, where they spent three months together conjuring an album that's both a song cycle and a window into a mysterious and singular landscape. Pete Donnelly (The Figgs, NRBQ), Samuli Kosminen (Múm), Thorvaldur "Doddi" Thorvaldsson and Jónsi contribute.
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>Lo-Fang – Blue Film CD (4AD)
Matthew Hemerlein, the man behind Lo-Fang, is classically trained in violin, cello, bass, piano and guitar, performing all the instruments on his debut album,
Blue Film. The album was written and recorded in a farmhouse in Maryland, hotels and studios in Cambodia, London, Nashville, before being completed in the legendary Capitol Studios in Los Angeles. Highly detailed, the album has roots in electronic, R&B, classical, and folk music, cast through a pop prism. Vinyl version due March 4.
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>Yellow Ostrich – Cosmos CD/LP+MP3 (Barsuk)
"Fox doesn’t launch its updated version of Carl Sagan’s
Cosmos until March 9, but space nerds can get amped up for Seth MacFarlane and Neil deGrasse Tyson’s passion project with—believe it or not—Yellow Ostrich’s new record. The band’s own Cosmos is inspired by Sagan’s original." – A.V. Club
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>Vertical Scratchers – Daughter Of Everything CD/LP+MP3 (Merge)
Vertical Scratchers is John Schmersal (ex-Brainiac/Enon, live Caribou, and Crooks On Tape) and Christian Beaulieu (ex-Triclops!/Anywhere). Persistent elements you will hear throughout
Daughter Of Everything is the percussive nature in which the guitars were played and recorded. Guitar playing is vertical scratching, and in this band, the guitar strums are almost louder than the amps. John explains, "Part of the aesthetic we were establishing when writing Vertical Scratchers songs was to maintain a sense of urgency and raw energy without relying on volume and distortion."
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>Tacocat – NVM CD/LP (Hardly Art)
NVM, pronounced "Nevermind" (get it?!), feature songs about frustration, alienation, psychedelic quinceañeras, and anthems ("Crimson Wave" and "Pocket Full Of Primrose") for mother natures monthly gift, all set to boppy-poppy sunny and sugary bouts of bouncy rock. Tacocat are the musical version of a Trapper Keeper filled with old issues of Riot Grrrl fanzines and Cheap Trick CDs.
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>Natural Child – Dancin’ With Wolves CD/LP (Burger)
New album from Nashville’s favorite trad-rock troupe. Teasing the record, Spin said of the lead single, "Saturday Night Blues," "a sore-throated tune as a "piano-juiced sing-along for dive bar jukeboxes."
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>Schoolboy Q – Oxymoron CD (Interscope)
New album from the rapper featuring guest appearances by Kendrick Lamar, 2 Chainz, Jay Rock, Tyler, The Creator, Suga Free and Kurupt among others. Available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds three bonus tracks. Vinyl version due March 25.
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>Various Artists [Brandt Brauer Frick] – DJ Kicks CD/2xLP (!K7)
The German Trio’s
DJ Kicks mix is an across-the-board selection. The opening stages features the likes of Jan Jelinek, Theo Parrish and African musician William Onyeabor, before things take a more club-friendly turn via French Fries, Cosmin TRG, MMM and Jam City.
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>Various Artists – Studio One Rocksteady: Rocksteady, Soul And Early Reggae At Studio One CD/2xLP+MP3 (Soul Jazz)
With excellent sleeve notes by Lloyd Bradley (author of the classic book
Bass Culture - When Reggae Was King) this compilation is dedicated to rocksteady at Studio One as well as covering reggae soul and the birth of reggae. Featuring an all-star selection of artists: Ken Boothe, Marcia Griffiths, Jackie Mittoo, The Heptones, John Holt, Alton Ellis, Dennis Brown and more.
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>Morrissey – Your Arsenal [Reissue/1992] CD+DVD/LP (Rhino)
New remaster of Morrissey’s classic 1992 album, featuring the US mix of "Tomorrow." The CD version includes a bonus DVD featuring a previously unreleased live concert recorded at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA on October 31, 1991 with the future Your Arsenal band, while the vinyl edition is HQ-180gm gatefold (with a rare Kevin Cummins photo of Morrissey and his band taken in Koln, 1991).
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>Superchunk – Indoor Living [Reissue/1997] CD/LP+MP3 (Merge)
Remastered reissue includes new liner notes by John Plymale and Laura Balance and is expanded with
We'd Like to Thank The Homecoming Committee - Live At Duke 1997 via download coupon.
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>Bob Mould – Workbook 25 2xCD/2xLP (Omnivore)
Bob Mould’s debut solo album from 1991 gets the deluxe reissue treatment, featuring a bonus disc of B-sides and a complete 1989 performance at Chicago’s Cabaret Metro. "A plaintive, sepia-toned, glimmering, acid-scratched, coal-black masterpiece of disgust, dissolution and redemption." -- Scott Devendorf/The National
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>Muscle Shoals – DVD/Blu-ray (Magnolia Home Entertainment)
Located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama has helped create some of the most important and resonant songs of all time. Overcoming crushing poverty and staggering tragedies, Rick Hall brought black and white together to create music for the generations. He is responsible for creating the "Muscle Shoals sound" and The Swampers, the house band at FAME Studios that eventually left to start its own successful studio known as Muscle Shoals Sound. Gregg Allman and others bear witness to Muscle Shoals' magnetism, mystery and why it remains influential today. 111 minutes.