LUNA music essentials...

for the week of 25 MARCH 2014...
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>Future Islands – Singles CD/Cassette/LP (4AD)
Despite the kind-of-just-a-little-bit-confusing title,
Singles is not a collection of singles but is, in fact, a completely new full-length record. The Baltimore trio consists of enigmatic frontman Sam Herring, bassist/guitarist William Cashion and keyboardist/guitarist/programmer Gerrit Welmers. Herring's poetic tales of heartbreak, love and loss are finally up front and in high fidelity, thanks in part to a newfound creative partnership with producer Chris Coady (Beach House, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Grizzly Bear).
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>Liars – Mess CD/2xLP+CD (Mute)
The follow up to 2012's
WIXIW is an angry, ecstatic, primal burst of ritualistic synth-rock that sacrifices self persecution for potent, purposeful abandon. Liars' career has seen the band rattle through pigeonholes in an attempt to avoid them all together: brittle yet taught punk funk, liminal no-wave, ecstatic noise-pop, 21st-century garage rock, post-millennial post-rock, and delicate electronics.
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>Howler – World Of Joy CD/LP (Rough Trade)
Minneapolis four-piece's follow-up to the catchy, youthfully brash 2012 debut
America Give Up.
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>Tokyo Police Club – Forcefield CD/LP (Mom + Pop)
The fourth full-length release for the Canadian indie rock quartet was produced by Doug Boehm and the band's lead singer, David Monks. "It’s a goldmine of catchy power pop, with the odd misstep, but anyone claiming to find little here in the way of feel good factor is likely to be deaf, ignorant or just sitting within their own sound-proof forcefield." – musicOMH.com
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>The Hold Steady – Teeth Dreams CD/LP (Razor & Tie)
The Hold Steady return with their sixth album and first in four years. The title refers to a common nighttime dream. Dreams about teeth are usually triggered by anxiety. Anxiety is a theme that shows up in a number of songs on the album.
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>London Grammar – If You Wait CD (Columbia)
Vinyl version due April 1. "This is an enthralling, stunning, deeply emotive album that perfectly marries understated electronica to sublime vocals and melodies. In a year dominated by titanic LPs, London Grammar have not only made the most perfectly formed debut album of the year – they’ve made one of the best LPs, period. [A-]" – Pretty Much Amazing
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>Nine Inch Nails – Recoiled CD/LP (Cold Spring)
Recoiled is a rambunctious alchemy, of magical Coil sensibilities and hi-tech home circa '90s mixing technique, all fused in the cave-like early studios of Danny Hyde/Peter Christopherson. These were the unrestrained pre-big studio mix downs of four songs which long time Coil admirer/collaborator Trent Reznor requested Coil to remix.
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>The Baseball Project – 3rd CD/2xLP+CD+MP3 (Yep Roc)
Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Scott McCaughey (Minus 5), Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Linda Pitmon and Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate) continue their tradition of inspired rock songs that provide passionately funny and sarcastically reverent commentary on the sport of baseball.
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>Johnny Cash – Out Among The Stars CD/LP+MP3 (Legacy)
By 1980, the business of country music had changed to incorporate sounds that were incongruous with Cash's. His signature blend of folk and that "boom-chicka-boom" beat was out of vogue amongst the slick string-laden "countrypolitan" sounds that had become popular.
In one effort to enhance his commercial appeal, Columbia Records paired Cash with producer Billy Sherrill who was having major success with this new country sound. Cash employed an expanded band, featuring a young Marty Stuart on guitar and fiddle as well as long-time duet partners June Carter Cash and Waylon Jennings. Much of what was recorded was locked away in the vault lost and not to be heard again. Discovered in 2012,
Out Among The Stars is truly a lost, previously unreleased Johnny Cash album. These aren't alternate takes or different versions of songs that you've heard. These are brand new songs to the Cash canon.
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>D’Angelo – Live At Café Jazz, London [1996] CD (Virgin)
This new release of Live At The Jazz Café, London (originally as a Japan-only release) contains the complete show along with four unreleased performances -- three of them covers of tracks originally by D'Angelo influences Mandrill, Ohio Players and Al Green -- plus a longer version of "Lady."
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>Lavender Country – Lavender Country [Reissue/1973] CD/LP+MP3 (Paradise Of Bachelors)
Widely recognized as the first openly gay country music album -- and cited as such even by Nashville institutions like the Country Music Hall Of Fame and CMT -- this landmark 1973 LP stands as nothing less than an artifact of courage, a sonic political protest document of enormous power, clarity, and grace. The inimitable aesthetics and glimpses of cockeyed humor recall some ethereal psych-folk nexus of the Flatlanders and The Holy Modal Rounders as much as any standard country & western forebears, rendering the biting poetry in an even more other wordly and timeless light.
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>Aztec Camera – High Land, Hard Rain [Reissue/1983] 2xCD (Domino)
In his liner notes for this expanded reissue, David Fricke calls
High Land, Hard Rain "ten songs of anxious yearning, romantic urgency, big hurt and hard-won learning, distilled into compact dramas of buckskin-folk jangle and skewed-pop elegance." Includes a second disc of rare live and studio tracks, including alternate mixes.