LUNA music essentials...

for the week of 28 april 2015...
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>Blur – The Magic Whip CD/2xLP+MP3 (WB/Parlophone)
The new album from Blur started life in Hong Kong when the band had an unexpected break in touring in May 2013, and arrives 16 years since
13, the band's last record as a four-piece. "Familiar but also exploratory, the legendary band's first album since 2003 is a triumph. Parklifers are thrown the bone of opener 'Lonesome Street'. With its Britpop swagger and talk of catching 'the 5.14 to East Grinstead,' it's a pleasing self-pastiche, a welcoming beckon inside. Other tracks hark back to their history – the grinding 'Go Out' could sit on 13 with its coruscating guitar squalls, and catchy knees-up 'Ong Ong' will be the new song lapped up at Hyde Park this summer, resembling a beery 'Ziggy Stardust.' But a crowd-pleasing recreation of past glories a la Suede's 2013 comeback Bloodsports just wouldn't be Blur. The fascination of The Magic Whip is in how a reanimated Blur imagine they'd have developed by 2015, and how the Hong Kong environment fed into that." – NME
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>Mew - +- CD/2xCD/2xLP (PIAS)
Mew has proven itself to be one of the biggest and most influential bands on the Danish indie scene, having achieved several Gold and Platinum albums, as well as winning numerous awards (Steppeulvs Prize, Danish Music Award, MTV Award, Gaffa Prize) in the band's home country of Denmark. Mew has always had an affinity with the symphonic grandeur of indie rock's troubled creature and pop immediacy. This unique combination has not only given Mew chart topping albums, lots of airplay and many fans in the Nordic countries, but also across the world with huge followings established in Europe, Asia and here in America. In addition to its own extensive worldwide headline tours, Mew has toured as special guests with artists such as Nine Inch Nails, Pixies, Muse, and Kings of Leon. The new music on
+- soars. It's alive, it's vibrant and spacious. Its skewed pop sensibilities coupled with an ever-expansive musical backdrop denotes the extremities of Mew's creative DNA, showing once more a band treading its own unique path. Available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds a live album and is packaged in a 24pg hardback book with expanded artwork.
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>Bill Fay – Who Is The Sender? CD/LP (Dead Oceans)
Ask Bill Fay about his relationship with his instrument and he says something revealing, not "Ever since I learnt to play the piano," but "Ever since the piano taught me..." What the piano taught him was how to connect to one of the great joys of his life. "Music gives," he says. And he is a grateful receiver. But, it makes him wonder, "Who is the sender?" Fay -- who after more than five decades writing songs is finally being appreciated as one of our finest living practitioners of the art -- asserts that songs aren't actually written but found. He recorded two phenomenal but largely overlooked albums for Decca offshoot Nova in 1970 and 1971. After 27 years of neglect, people like Nick Cave, Jim O' Rourke, and Jeff Tweedy were praising those records in glowing terms. Recorded in Ray Davies' Konk Studios, North London,
Who Is The Sender? sees Bill expanding upon themes he has touched on from the beginning, spiritual and philosophical questions, observations about the natural world and the people in the city he has lived in all his life.
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>Orgone – Beyond The Sun CD (Shanachie)
Orgone is one of the most exciting bands in the new generation of funk bands; led by the powerhouse vocals of Adryon de Leon, Orgone recalls such legendary groups as Rufus and Sly & The Family Stone at their best. The band has backed Alicia Keys on her
As I Am album and Cee Lo Green on his Grammy-winning track "Fool For You."
for the week of 21 april 2015...
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>Built To Spill – Untethered Moon CD/LP (WB)
"
Untethered Moon is almost undeniably a classic slice of BTS, but with a twist. You've got all the constituent parts present: the bracing call-to-arms opening track ('All Our Songs'), treatises on Martsch's various dreamstates ('Living Zoo,' 'Another Day'), six-string flights of fancy where the vocals and slide lines wrap together and unwind like strands of pipe cleaner ('Some Other Songs'), lyrical trips to the planetary rings where science and art collide ('C.R.E.B.,' which stands for 'cAMP response element-binding protein,' the cellular basis for memory formation in the brain—and a nice conceit around which to build lines such as 'I never meant to forget you/I always forget people I really like') and the eight-minute-plus 'When I'm Blind,' which closes the LP on about the most discordant note possible, like listening to Strats being ripped apart by a miter saw. The twist? The pervasive mist of sadness that hangs over the album like a low-altitude cloud layer" – Magnet. (Vinyl version was a Record Store Day 2015 exclusive.)
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>San Fermin – Jackrabbit CD/LP (Downtown)
Brooklyn-based baroque pop outfit San Fermin returns with their sophomore album,
Jackrabbit. For the follow-up to the band's self-titled 2013 debut, San Fermin has turned into an eight-piece ensemble, after a majority of the songs existed on frontman Ellis Ludwig-Leone's laptop for nearly a year. Jackrabbit was produced by Peter Katis, best known for his work with Interpol and The National.
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>Death – N.E.W. CD/LP/Cassette (Tryangle)
Literally and metaphysical NEWness from seminal Detroit punks — life lessons from Death! Transcendence through screaming to your soul. Rock and roll. The historical sounds of Death arrive at today without missing a step. If their first record since the sessions of 1976 isn't
N.E.W., then what is?
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>Nils Frahm – Solo CD/LP (Erased Tapes)
Berlin-based composer and pianist Nils Frahm celebrates the first annual Piano Day (March 29, 2015, the 88th day of the year) with the release of
Solo. The group behind Piano Day, made up of Frahm and his closest friends, plans to support various exciting, piano-related projects; the first of these is the building of the world's tallest piano, the Klavins 450. As the life-long dream of David Klavins, it will exceed the current record-holder, the Klavins M370. Located in Tübingen, Germany, the M370 weighs 1.8 tons, stands 12.14 feet tall, and boasts strings up to about 10 feet in length. It was on this piano, in one sitting, that Frahm recorded the eight improvised piano motifs that form the album.
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>Speedy Ortiz – Foil Deer CD/LP+MP3 (Carpark)
Foil Deer is the sophomore album from Massachusetts Speedy Ortiz. "I'm not bossy, I'm the boss," Sadie Dupuis sings on first single "Raising The Skate," invoking in spirit one half of the Carter-Knowles clan and echoing the other's wordplay. And wordplay makes sense, considering Dupuis the band's songwriter, guitarist, and frontwoman spent the band's first few years teaching writing at UMass Amherst. She's drawn to the dense complexity of Pynchon, the dreamlike geometry of Bolaño, the confounded yearning of Plath all attributes you could easily apply to the band's 2013 debut Major Arcana, which fans and press alike have invested with a sense of purpose and merit uncommon in contemporary guitar rock.
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>Passion Pit – Kindred CD/LP+MP3 (Columbia)
Kindred is the third album from Passion Pit. It was written by Passion Pit creative force and frontman Michael Angelakos and recorded in New York City, and was produced by Angelakos alongside longtime collaborators and co-producers Chris Zane and Alex Aldi, as well as Benny Blanco. Angelakos' songwriting process for Passion Pit has always been to filter and reshape. Many sounds on Kindred that one would assume are synths are Angelakos' voice, manipulated by computers and pedals. Angelakos frequently repurposes sound: using top 40 signifiers for outré ends, crushing weird natural and synthetic detritus together into pop.
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>Mavis Staples – Your Good Fortune CDEP (Anti)
In conjunction with the new career documentary film
Mavis!, Your Good Fortune is a unique collaboration between the gospel and soul legend Mavis Staples and singer/songwriter/producer Son Little, recording two new Son Little original songs, and two vivid reworkings of Staple Singers classics. To hear Mavis' clarion voice bedded in Son Little's ancient/modern swirl of swamp guitar and b-boy programming is to discover the knife-edge of Mavis Staples' art.
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>Rocky Votolato – Hospital Handshakes CD/LP+MP3 (No Sleep)
Seattle singer/songwriter Rocky Votolato's new full length,
Hospital Handshakes, is a surprisingly positive explosion of energy that examines themes of healing from trauma, overcoming depression, spiritual longing and finding true meaning in life. It also marks a turning point in Votolato's career, the end result of a tumultuous transition that began after the release of his seventh album, Television Of Saints, in 2012 with the songwriter second-guessing his gift and even considering retiring from music. "It became painful for me to make music," Votolato recalls. "I was hemmed in by the construct of who I thought I was supposed to be and I stopped believing in myself as a writer. On the surface I looked like a functioning artist, but behind the scenes I was completely blocked creatively, fighting a battle with severe depression, and struggling to keep my sanity." Collaborating with a standout cast of Seattle musicians, including his brother Cody Votolato on electric guitar (The Blood Brothers), Eric Corson on bass (The Long Winters), Andy Lum on drums (Craft Spells/My Goodness) and Casey Foubert contributing Aux instrumentation (Sufjan Stevens), the core of Votolato's new music is the same earnest, impassioned, seeking voice, but now with a little more perspective, the product of self-realization hard-earned from a period of darkness and doubt. Available on CD and on black/white/light blue tri-color vinyl.
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>They Might Be Giants – Glean CD (Idlewild)
"They Might Be Giants are continuing their legacy of innovation and originality by re-launching the Dial-A-Song streaming service. To celebrate, they unveil a new album entitled
Glean featuring songs recently featured on the music website. The Grammy winning rock band, responsible for one of the catchiest songs in history ('Birdhouse In Your Soul'), are making a comeback with what they became famous with in 1983; the Dial-A-Song service. Originally an answering machine that allowed listeners to hear their material, the service has been reconfigured to the internet, proving that these guys are pioneers in the world of free listening" – Contact Music. Vinyl version due May 19.
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>Turbo Fruits – No Control CD/LP (Melvina)
Turbo Fruits have made their name with notoriously wild live shows and frenetic rock songs about girls, drugs and frying their brains.
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>Squarepusher – Damogen Furies CD/2xLP+MP3 (Warp)
Damogen Furies, Tom Jenkinson's first full-length since 2012's Ufabulum, sees Squarepusher's powers in full flow. The techniques and craftsmanship that he has honed over the course of his career have become some of his signal qualities. He has spent the last decade creating and refining his own unique software system, and this album is the first to be made using that system exclusively. It is the culmination of years spent experimenting with and hacking hardware and software, having long since abandoned the limitations of out-of-the-box offerings. Squarepusher has remained truly experimental in part because he has rejected those limitations, choosing instead a compositional process that places the act of building instruments at its heart. On Damogen Furies we hear a truthful, unembellished representation of how those instruments sound. All of the recordings here were made in one take, with no edits.
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>Adrian Younge – Presents: Something About April 2xCD (Linear Labs)
In the four years since Adrian Younge's
Something About April album first appeared, the Los Angeles-based producer and multi-instrumentalist has become his own musical cottage industry. Not only has he collaborated with musical legends ranging from The Delfonics to Ghostface Killah, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and The Souls of Mischief, his work has also been sampled by such rap giants as 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Common. This deluxe reissue package includes a bonus instrumental song from the original album sessions, "Niacin," plus an entire extra disc of never-before-issued instrumentals. Vinyl version due May 5.
for the week of 14 april 2015...
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>Earl Sweatshirt – I Don't Like Sh!t, I Don't Go Outside CD (Columbia)
The second album by the rapper, producer and member of the Los Angeles-based hip-hop collective Odd Future. Includes collaborations with Dash, Wiki, Na'kel and Vince Staples. "At just 10 songs in a half-hour,
I Don't Like Sh!t is surprisingly concise — even if it's sometimes dark and paranoid enough to make There's a Riot Goin' On sound like the Three's Company theme. And who needs more? Even a half-hour with Earl is enough to leave you with a lifetime of creepy memories." – Rolling Stone
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>Villagers – Darling Arithmetic CD/LP (Domino)
Darling Arithmetic is the third album from Villagers' Conor O' Brien. His 2010 debut Becoming A Jackal and {Awayland} his 2013 release – both Mercury Prize-nominated, while the latter won Ireland's Choice Prize – were detailed, multi-faceted affairs, so Darling Arithmetic is a brave and committed new step forward. O'Brien plays every instrument on these exquisite, melodic songs in a beautifully sparse, spacious, intimate, acoustic-leaning fashion, as well as recording and mixing it himself at home, revealing a single-minded artist at the peak of his already considerable songwriting powers.
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>The Replacements – The Complete Studio Albums 1981-1990 8xCD (Rhino)
Limited eight CD set from the legendary band released to coincide with their first headlining tour in 24 years. This box contains the seven albums and one EP that that The Replacements released between 1981 and 1990. Includes the original versions of the albums
Sorry Ma, Stink, Hootenany, Let It Be, Tim, Pleased To Meet Me, Don't Tell A Soul and All Shook Down.
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>Sonic Youth – Bad Moon Rising [Reissue/1985] CD/LP (Goofin')
Sonic Youth's second full-length LP
Bad Moon Rising was originally released on Homestead and Blast First in 1985. The album is a fascinating examination of the junction where hippie idealism [meets] the cold hard world, says guitarist Lee Ranaldo, where Woodstock [meets] Altamont Death Valley, Charles Manson, Brian Wilson, musicians, murderers, heroes and villains. Its original eight-song tapestry of droning guitar feedback, distant clattering percussion, and sullen vocals, all held together with interstitial noise loops and shadowy haze, ambles through a long, dark night before the feverish Death Valley 69, driven by runaway guitar riffs and a frantic Thurston Moore/Lydia Lunch vocal duet, pounds the capstone into place.
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>Tori Amos
– Little Earthquakes [Reissue/1991] 2xCD/LP (Atlantic)
– Under The Pink [Reissue/1993] 2xCD/LP (Atlantic)
Digitally remastered and expanded two CD editions of the songstress' first two albums, each featuring a bonus CD containing non-album tracks and live recordings. (Vinyl versions are single-disc.)
for the week of 07 april 2015...
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>Shlohmo – Dark Red CD/LP (True Panther Sounds)
Dark Red is the second full-length album from Shlohmo, aka 25 year-old Los Angeles native Henry Laufer. The album is an uncanny marriage of his ever-evolving, richly textured sound with shades of '90s IDM, R&B, cassette-tape jungle, and, in an unexpected turn, sludge metal. "It sounds like if Electric Wizard tried to make an R&B record," he says, "or Boards of Canada meets Burzum by the River Styx."
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>WAXAHATCHEE - Ivy Tripp (Orange & White SWIRL vinyl edition) LP
out 07 APRIL 2015...
Recorded and engineered by Kyle Gilbride of Wherever Audio at Crutchfield's home on New York's Long Island—with drums recorded in the gym of a local elementary school—Ivy Tripp presents a more developed and aged version of Waxahatchee. "The title Ivy Tripp is really just a term I made up for directionless-ness, specifically of the 20-something, 30-something, 40-something of today, lacking regard for the complaisant life path of our parents and grandparents. I have thought of it like this: [Waxahatchee’s last album] Cerulean Salt is a solid and Ivy Tripp is a gas."
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>Toro Y MoiWhat For? (Blue & White STARBURST vinyl edition) LP+MP3 (Carpark)
Opening to the scream of F1 s speeding around a racetrack, and maintaining that intensity with booming guitar riffs and psychedelic effects throughout, the new album from Toro Y Moi is makes a statement. While it is obvious that each song is crafted around a personally meaningful experience, Chaz seems to purposefully leave the lyrics just vague enough to let each listener mold it into something unique. He presents you with a few themes: love, beauty, nature; and gently lets go of your hand so you can wander off on your own.
What For? is a glimpse into the life of a guy trying to figure out what it all means, and is influenced by bands like Big Star, Talking Heads, Tim Maia, and Todd Rundgren.
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>The Mountain Goats – Beat The Champ CD/2xLP+MP3 (Merge)
In 2014, John Darnielle published his first novel,
Wolf In White Van. A story involving time travel, a post-apocalyptic America, and text-based RPG games, the book opened to critical and commercial acclaim, earning a spot on the New York Times Bestsellers list and a nomination for the National Book Award. His next project is equally ambitious: a new Mountain Goats concept album about pro wrestling. As Darnielle explains, professional wrestling "was an avenue of escape for me when I was a kid. Wrestling was low-budget working class entertainment back then, strictly UHF material. It was cheap theater. You had to bring your imagination to the proceedings and you got paid back double. I wrote these songs to re-immerse myself in the blood and fire of the visions that spoke to me as a child, and to see what more there might be in them now that I'm grown." (Vinyl version is available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe is pressed on color vinyl (one disc gold/one disc green) and is expanded with a bonus red vinyl 12" featuring the tracks "Blood Capsules" b/w "Dub Capsules").
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>Lord Huron – Strange Trails CD/LP (IAmSound)
Strange Trails is the highly anticipated follow-up to Lord Huron's acclaimed debut album Lonesome Dreams. The new record was written and produced by frontman Ben Schneider and recorded at the band's own Whispering Pines studio in Los Angeles. Strange Trails is an anthology of weird fiction -- a new 14-track collection of tales from the world introduced on Lonesome Dreams. Schneider explains, "There's no direct narrative connection between the two albums. The stories here are separated by time, location and characters. Many of the themes have carried over and evolved."
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>Doldrums – The Air Conditioned Nightmare CD/LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
On the follow-up to his 2013 debut Lesser Evil (which yielded tours with Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Crystal Castles, Grimes and Purity Ring, and remixes for Peaking Lights, Grimes and Portishead), the DJ, producer and performer makes a sizeable leap from being darling of the Montreal warehouse creative explosion that gave the world the likes of Grimes, Majical Cloudz, Blue Hawaii to being a stand-alone artist and composer on the cusp of something quite special. Doldrums apply a punk rock ethos to electronic music, creating songs using samplers and DJ gear in place of guitars. Bold, anxious, dream-like, uplifting, glacial, hypnotic, constricting, expansive, alien - this is an album that is ever-changing.
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>East India Youth – Culture Of Volume CD/2xLP (XL)
Named after a fragment of verse from the poem
Monument by Rick Holland, Culture Of Volume is William Doyle's dizzying sophomore achievement, mainly recorded (like his debut Total Strife Forever) on his own, in his bedroom at home in London. He explains: "I always wanted to make quite sophisticated music using very unsophisticated means." Weaving Pet Shop Boys style pop bangers next to industrial techno, next to sci-fi Scott Walker style ballads next to ambient explorations, next to Krautrock style synthesizer laments, Doyle makes his point: "Part of the thing with this album and surrounding elements such as artwork has been trying to combine things that wouldn't usually go together. The whole vibe of the album is certainly trying to force errors by making unlikely connections and seeing what happens."
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>Josh Rouse – The Embers Of Time CD/LP (Yep Roc)
"Singer/songwriter Josh Rouse's journey has taken him from his rural Oshkosh, Nebraska home through a stint in Nashville and now to his adopted hometown of Valencia, Spain, where he wrote and recorded much of
The Embers Of Time. He says the songs were inspired by an existential crisis—he calls it 'my surreal expat therapy record'—and on the lead single 'Some Days I'm Golden All Night,' he grapples with some of his faults, but it's far from a heavy listen. Rouse offsets the confessional lyrics with a arrangement of vibraphone, steel guitar, and gently propulsive drums that gives his bluntly honest self-assessment a remarkable buoyancy, as well as a more-than-passing resemblance to the softly rocking countrypolitan sound that came out of Nashville during the '70s." – Entertainment Weekly
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>Pokey LaFarge – Something In The Water CD/LP+MP3 (Rounder)
Pokey LaFarge makes original Midwestern music. With one foot deep in the heart of the American musical tradition and the other firmly planted in the present, he continually challenges the notion that tradition-bearers fail to push musical boundaries. An eclectic writer and performer, he incorporates elements of early jazz, ragtime, country blues, Western swing, and beyond, transcending the confines of genre to present a sound very much his own. Treated with a heavier dose of catchy rhythms and traditional drum kit percussion throughout, the 12 tracks on
Something In The Water see LaFarge's sound imbued with new life. Produced by kindred spirit Jimmy Sutton, the album showcases his peerless gifts as a songwriter, performer, and entertainer, and further solidifies his place at the forefront of American music.
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>Matt And Kim – New Glow CD/LP (Harvest)
The fifth LP from Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino, is an exhilarating effort as always. "Anyone who has seen us knows we love any style of music you can have fun and get wild to," Johnson said in a press release. "I'm not sure we were able to put that diversity on any of our albums the way we did on
New Glow." The first song they shared from the album, "Get It," makes this willingness to get weird clear with a supremely catchy, hip-hop inspired beat. "While there are definitely songs that will feel familiar to people who know our stuff, there are also songs like 'Get It' which have always been part of who we are but went unrecorded to this point" Johnson said.
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>µ-Ziq – XTLP CD (Planet Mu)
IDM adventurer µ-Ziq drops another sound bomb on Planet Mu. On
XTLP however, the tone is a little less frantically experimental than a lot of µ-Ziq work. Parts of XTLP may conjure up blissful rave memories in the heads of some of the older among you. The release combines 2013's vinyl-only XTEP and Rediffusion EPs plus a new bonus track, "Forger." First time on CD for previous vinyl-only releases.
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>Scuba – Claustrophobia CD (Hotflush)
Over the past 11 years, Scuba's music has zigzagged through bass, techno and house, at times dark and contemplative, at others bright and anthemic. "
Claustophobia spends as much time looking inward as it does contemplating the reactions of the massing crowds. Stylistically, the album is roughly split between techno, ambient, and IDM, with one foot in the living room and one foot in the club." [8.1] – Pitchfork