LUNA music essentials...

for the week of 29 JANUARY 2016
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>Nevermen – Nevermen CD/LP (Ipecac)
Nevermen is the leaderless trio of
Tunde Adebimpe (TV On The Radio), Adam “Doseone” Drucker (Anticon/cLOUDDEAD) and Mike Patton (Faith No More/Tomahawk). It is neither side-project nor super group; it's merely meant to be — a years-in-the-making partnership in which these men shared all duties, discovering their collective sound with the sort of glee and freedom usually reserved for first-timers. Amid this wild, weird churn of rock, pop, rap, soul, and other, it's shockingly easy to lose track of who's singing at what moment, and that's the point: to quote Tunde/Adam/Mike in song, “The frontman digests its self.”
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>Bloc Party – Hymns CD/2xLP (Vagrant)
Hymns is the fifth studio album by British indie rock band Bloc Party and the first to feature new members Justin Harris (formerly of Menomena) and 21-year-old YouTube-discovery drummer Louise Bartle. In a press release, co-founder Russell Lissak stated “It’s still a very live record. Everything has been played, though it doesn’t necessarily sound like that. We take a lot of influence from electronic music, for example, and then try to bring that into a completely different environment.” Meanwhile, Kele Okereke said, “What Russell is doing now is completely blowing my mind. He’s using the guitar as an instrument of white noise, as well as a melodic tool. I’m super-excited about getting this music in front of people.”
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>Emily Wells – Promise CD (Thesis + Instinct/Lefse)
Eighth album from the composer/multi-instrumentalist – “a soul record in baroque clothing… a pauper’s opera.” Wells’ songwriting combines electronics, orchestral strings, jazz structures, pop sensibilities, and vibrato-laden vocals into one eclectic package. Vinyl edition due February 19.
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>Benji Hughes – Songs In The Key Of Animals 2xCD/LP+MP3 (Merge)
Charlotte, North Carolina’s Benji Hughes fronted a rock band in the ‘90s. He’s written commercial jingles (“Got A Little Captain In You?” for Captain Morgan rum). He’s made music for film and television (
Walk Hard, Eastbound & Down). He released 2008’s A Love Extreme, his excellent double-LP debut record. But these ventures aren’t different hats Hughes wears. They’re not different paths traveled. This is Hughes playing in different keys. Now, for his first record on Merge, Benji Hughes is playing Songs In The Key Of Animals. Recorded over two years mostly at Frisbie studios in New York, the album is 41 minutes of pop-music exploration.
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>Night Beats – Who Sold My Generation CD/LP (Heavenly/PIAS)
“Seattle-based garage-psych berserkers take it to the 99th floor on an album that positions them alongside Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees as cutting edge garage rock innovators. Opener ‘Celebration #1’ kicks off with an antique found-sound snippet before pitching straight into an intense trance groove that brings to mind Alan Vega jamming with The Red Krayola. ‘60s garage rock enthusiasts might hear echoes of Higher Elevation’s tripped-out nugget ‘The Diamond Mine,’ but then we’re quickly speeding into ‘Power Child’, and it becomes crystal clear that Night Beats are on a purposeful trip on their Heavenly Recordings debut. The second track encapsulates the satisfying rawness and louche, bohemian spirit that suffuses this album, as Danny Lee Blackwell’s guitar cascades shards of ‘60s soul, early Stones/Pretty Things and untrammelled psych freakout.” – Louder Than War
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>Saul Williams – MartyrLoserKing CD/LP (The Fader Label)
MartyrLoserKing is the fifth studio album from musician, actor, poet, and activist Saul Williams. A thinly veiled concept album carved from the tales of its main character a computer hacker living in Burundi with the screen name mrtyr_lsr_kng the album confronts a bevy of timely issues head on and unapologetically, from economic disparity and police brutality to issues of privacy in the digital age. “Hacking is the main theme and undercurrent of Saul Williams’ new album Martyr Loser King in which he wraps every line and sample in cyberpunk clothing, especially with the warping of ‘glitch art’. Glitch is a movement which involves breaking down and subverting reality, intentionally distorting and manipulating photography, artwork or (in this case) sound to be something else entirely. The album is layered in loops and awash with these glitch effects. For a man so enamoured with words, it’s an interesting challenge to make them sound so off kilter with this manipulation.” – God Is In The TV
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>Tedeschi Trucks Band – Let Me Get By CD/2xCD/2xLP (Fantasy)
Let Me Get By is the third studio album from Tedeschi Trucks Band, featuring ten new, original songs that stand together as a testament to the spirit and commitment of the tightly-knit 12-member ensemble. Driven by Susan's soaring, spiritually charged vocals and Derek's masterfully lyrical slide-guitar, the band's musical talents are on display in full force. Available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe includes an 8-track bonus disc that features live recordings from the legendary Beacon Theatre in New York as well as alternate mixes, early song takes and additional studio material, an expanded booklet with exclusive studio and live photos, and a custom-designed vintage amp box.
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>Buddy Miller & Friends – Cayamo Sesssions At Sea CD/LP+MP3 (New West)
In 2012, Cayamo veteran Buddy Miller brought along some recording gear and set up a studio in the ship's library where he and his Sirius XM co-host Jim Lauderdale recorded episodes for their Buddy & Jim Radio Show. Buddy thought the radio show recordings sounded really good so, in 2014, he brought more gear, an engineer and some great musicians. They took over the Bliss Lounge where Buddy set up a temporary recording studio between the lanes of the bowling alley. For two days and nights, guest artists came to record and fans came to watch. It was so much fun, they did it all again in 2015. The audio presented on
Cayamo Sesssions At Sea comes from those sessions.
for the week of 22 JANUARY 2016
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>Ty Segall – Emotional Mugger CD/LP/Cassette (Drag City)
Emotional Mugger neither abandons Segall’s penchant for classically raw rock ‘n’ roll attitude nor does it find him resting in place. The record makes adjustments toward more sophisticated compositions, with sudden shifts in tempo, more varied guitar effects, and unexpectedly complex drum patterns taking a more forward position in Segall’s previously slim arsenal. It’s also his messiest, most caustic album yet, taking the grit of his beloved garage rock to extreme new levels even he has never played with in his extensive discography.” – Pop Matters
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>Jesu/Sun Kil Moon – Jesu/Sun Kil Moon CD (Caldo Verde)
Debut collaboration between Mark Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon) and Justin Broadrick (Jesu), and featuring guests Will Oldham aka Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, members of Low, Rachel Goswell of Slowdive and Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse.
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>Savages – Adore Life CD/LP+MP3 (Matador)
Savages’ sophomore album
is “audibly the work of a band making efforts to outrun their initial influences and trying to find a path beyond a debut that seemed so fully formed – image, sound and manifesto all neatly worked out – that it was hard to imagine how they might develop it further without tumbling into self-parody. The guitars are still serrated, but Adore Life feels looser and slightly more relaxed than its predecessor. The listener feels a little less like every song is being screamed at them, an inch and a half away from their face. The mood is, well, moodier. The lyrics are less ascetic, immersed as they mostly are in the vagaries of love and relationships.” – The Guardian
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>Tortoise – The Catastrophist CD/LP+MP3 (Thrill Jockey)
Simply put, Tortoise has spent nearly 25 years making music that defies description. While the Chicago-based instrumental quintet has nodded to dub, rock, jazz, electronica and minimalism throughout its revered and influential six-album discography, the resulting sounds have always been distinctly, even stubbornly, their own. It’s a fact that remains true on
The Catastrophist, Tortoise’s first studio album in nearly seven years. And it’s an album where moody, synth-swept jams like the opening title track cozy up next to hypnotic, bass-and-beat missives like “Shake Hands With Danger” and a downright strange cover of David Essex’s 1973 radio smash “Rock On” sung by U.S. Maple’s Todd Rittman. Also included is the bittersweet, honest-to-goodness soul ballad “Yonder Blue,” sung by Yo La Tengo’s Georgia Hubley.
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>Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Pond Scum CD/LP/Cassette (Drag City)
There are no Peel sessions anymore -- that tradition was buried in the pyramids with John Peel himself upon the great man’s passing. Of the thousands left in the wake, six are ascribed to Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and of those six, three have been combined to form the deeply congruous experience of
Pond Scum.
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>The I Don’t Cares – Wild Stab CD (Dry Wood Music)
Paul Westerberg and Julian Hatfield are The I Don't Cares.
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>Chairlift – Moth CD/LP (Columbia)
Third album by the Brooklyn, New York-based synthpop duo.
Moth was written and produced by Chairlift over the course of two years in the band's own studio, which they built in an old pharmaceutical factory in Brooklyn. Throughout the recording process, Patrick Wimberly and Caroline Polachek both pursued other recording projects and collaborations - from Caroline penning a song for Beyoncé and collaborating with SBTRKT and Blood Orange, to Patrick producing for Solange and Wet. Alongside these collaborations, Moth was born. It has strong pop and R&B leanings, but pared with their own distinctly Chairlift style, and led by Caroline's expressive vocals.
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>The High Llamas – Here Come The Rattling Trees CD/LP (Drag City)
With witty, artful musical strokes, Sean O'Hagen and The High Llamas have crafted deft musical sketches with the signature Llamas sound that has evolved over ten album releases since 1992. A colorful array of electric, acoustic, and synthetic instruments, alongside Sean O'Hagan's gentled vocals, are deployed to transport the listener to the low-key highs and lows of the British working week an incisive, sympathetic view to the wonders slipped in between the pages and too often passed over in everyday life.
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>Shearwater – Jet Plane And Oxbow CD/LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
“Formed in 1999 by Okkervil River’s multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Meiburg and Will Sheff as an outlet for their quieter songs, Shearwater has evolved to cinematic music on a grand scale.
Jet Plane And Oxbow is perhaps their loudest and boldest album, yet it is populated with intricate patterns and delicate passages linking it all together. Listening to the dynamic opening track ‘Prime’ with its unusual instrumentation (including hammered dulcimer), you are instantly sucked into its dreamy soundscape. Meiburg keeps the listener riveted by both the song’s beauty and its ambitious reach. “Quiet Americans” is an odd choice for the album’s first single, maybe because of the uneasiness it evokes. Even as the song’s bridge entrances you, Meiburg’s slightly dour outlook puts the listener off kilter. Yet, there is a bit of lightness in the song’s final third with some sparkling piano to tie it all up with a bow. Now, to me, ‘A Long Time Away’ is a better choice for a single, perhaps because it amps up the volume, has a great set of lyrics, and a wonderful sing-along chorus. The beat surges along with the song’s tempo and ends with the faint ringing of bells.” – Big Takeover
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>Tindersticks – The Waiting Room CD/LP (City Slang)
“There’s something very elemental about Tindersticks’ new album/video project, like a frayed nerve spewing forth pure, unadulterated feeling. Yet the album accomplishes this with impressively few components. It’s a quiet and tense work, with arrangements stripped to their bare essentials, emphasizing the negative space in much the same way as the donkey-headed figure sits in front of blackness on the album’s cover, made all the more striking for the simplicity of the background. Whilst Tindersticks have been making music since 1991, they have never sounded more present and more urgent than they do on
The Waiting Room” – Renowned For Sound. (Vinyl format includes a companion DVD showcasing renowned filmmakers from around the globe. A track by track interpretation of the music on the album, it features new work from Christoph Girardet, Pierre Vinour, Claire Denis, Rosie Pedlow and Joe King, Gregorio Graziosi, Richard Dumas and Gabriel Sanna, and Stuart Staples.)
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>Badly Drawn Boy – The Hour Of The Bewilderbeast [Reissue/2000] 2xCD/2xLP/3xLP (XL)
The Hour Of Bewilderbeast was originally released in 2000, it was met with critical acclaim and won the Mercury Prize that year. The album is both ambitious and extremely entertaining and while it's not a traditional pop album, it's a continually beguiling trip through lo-fi postmodern folk, drawing as much from Harry Nilsson as it does Beck. This reissue features 16 bonus tracks. ((Vinyl edition is available as a double-LP (Regular) and triple-LP (Deluxe) set.))
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>Black Sabbath
– Black Sabbath [Reissue/1970] 2xCD/2xLP (Rhino)
– Paranoid [Reissue/1970] 2xCD/2xLP (Rhino)
– Master Of Reality [Reissue/1971] 2xCD/2xLP (Rhino)
– Past Lives [Reissue/2002] 2xCD/2xLP (Rhino)
Remastered and expanded editions of Black Sabbath’s first three albums, each featuring a bonus disc of outtakes.
Past Lives was originally released in 2002, but consists of original live recordings from the band's heyday. The double-disc set includes performances recorded between 1970 and 1975 when the band was at the height of it's dark powers and includes live versions of “War Pigs,” “Paranoid,” “Snowblind” and “N.I.B.” (Vinyl editions are HQ-180gm.)
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>Milk ‘n’ Cookies – Milk ‘n’ Cookies 2xCD (Captured Tracks)
Milk 'n' Cookies are the stuff of legends -- or would be legends. Forming in the early ‘70s in Long Island, New York, this power pop group was originally signed to Island Records and seemed destined for greatness. Yet, through many cases of “wrong place, wrong time,” the band never managed to break. The core line-up of the band was made up of Ian North, Justin Strauss, Sal Maida and Mike Ruiz and, in their time, they played classic NYC venues like CBGB's and Max's Kansas City. They shared bills with everyone from Talking Heads to The Ramones and have amassed a cult following, influencing the likes of Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) and Debbie Harry (Blondie). After working extensively with the band members, Milk 'n' Cookies is a lavish reissue of the group's entire recorded output. Vinyl edition due February 5.
for the week of 15 JANUARY 2016
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>Daughter – Not To Disappear CD/LP (Glassnote/4AD)
Nearly three years after the release of their debut album
If You Leave, Daughter -- the London-based trio of Elena Tonra, Igor Haefeli and Remi Aguilella – return with a new album. “The slow, improbable rise of gorgeous slowcore-folk trio Daughter brings me great pleasure. Elena Tonra is a masterful lyricist and vocalist, but it’s not just her that makes Daughter such a well-balanced, elegant act. Guitarist Igor Haefeli and drummer Remi Aguilella expertly and carefully construct the kind of wounded, dark pop prisms that let Tonra’s voice, and the stories of pain it tells, take front and center.” – Stereogum
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>Lycus – Chasm CD/LP+MP3 (Relapse/Ozium)
Oakland, CA quartet Lycus return with
Chasms, an intensely powerful and emotive masterpiece of funereal doom metal.
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>Dylan LeBlanc – Cautionary Tale CD/LP (Single Lock)
“Singer/songwriter Dylan LeBlanc comes through with an absolutely beautiful album here. It’s teeters between folk and blues very well which creates a nice dynamic in the lyricism and instrumentation. Add in LeBlanc’s soothing vocals and you have yourself one hell of an album.” – Genius
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>Panic! At The Disco – Death Of A Bachelor CD (Decaydance)
Produced by Jake Sinclair (Taylor Swift, Fall Out Boy),
Death Of A Bachelor marks the first release from Panic! At the Disco in nearly two years, following 2013's acclaimed Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die! The album's title track, “Death Of A Bachelor,” has been described as, “It's like some Beyoncé beats with some Sinatra vocals. It's really crazy... [Sinatra's] music has been a major player in the soundtrack of my life. So it's only right that I return the favor and/or pay it forward.”d authentic-seeming than the latest stuff from, say, Kadavar or The Sword.” – Metal Blast
for the week of 08 JANUARY 2016
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>David Bowie – Blackstar CD/LP (Columbia)
Blackstar is David Bowie's 28th studio album, and was released on his 69th birthday—his last. It is his first since 2013's The Next Day. "The arty, unsettling Blackstar is Bowie's best anti-pop masterpiece since the Seventies. Produced with longtime collaborator Tony Visconti and cut with a small combo of New York-based jazz musicians whose sound is wreathed in arctic electronics, Blackstar is a ricochet of textural eccentricity and pictorial-shrapnel writing." – Rolling Stone
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>Hinds – Leave Me Alone CD/LP (Mom + Pop)
Twelve perfectly imperfect and charmingly lo-fi tracks inspired by contemporary American garage rockers like Mac DeMarco, Ty Segall and The Black Lips. "Sometimes the change you don't think you're ready for is exactly the one you need. At the end of 2014, the Spanish quartet Deers had to abandon its name for legal reasons. It wasn't a revision the band wanted to make, but the moniker it chose instead, Hinds (hind being another word for a female red deer), is one that might take the Madrid-based group to garage-pop stardom.
Leave Me Alone, Hinds' debut full-length, is the sound of a band settling into exactly what it wanted to be all along." – NPR
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>Villagers – Where Have You Been All My Life? CD/LP+MP3 (Domino)
Villagers, a solo vehicle for Irish singer/songwriter Conor J. O'Brien, specializes in atmospheric, indie folk/chamber pop that balances the youthful exuberance of contemporaries Jens Lekman, Eugene McGuinness, and Johnny Flynn with the classic rock and pop of artists like Paul Simon and Robert Wyatt.
Where Have You Been All My Life? is a collection of songs that distils five years and three albums of Villagers' songwriting into one flowing narrative.
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>Albert Ayler - Bells / Prophecy: Expanded Edition 2xCD (ESP-Disk Ltd.)
Albert Ayler's trio with Gary Peacock and Sunny Murray is best known for the July 10, 1964, recording of
Spiritual Unity, the album that made both Ayler and ESP-Disk' famous when it was released in 1965. A decade after that, in 1975, ESP-Disk' also released, as Prophecy, the first documentation of the group, recorded a month before Spiritual Unity by Canadian poet Paul Haines at a concert at a 91st Street club. These Cellar Café recordings are augmented here beyond the five cuts from the original Prophecy release by another six tracks from the same gig. 1965 yielded Ayler treasures as his style shifted. The transitional Bells was just under 20 minutes, originally released in 1965 as one side of a clear vinyl LP, with the other side empty of music. It was recorded at a May 1, 1965, Town Hall concert of ESP artists, displaying Ayler's new group.