LUNA music essentials...

for the week of 30 june 2015
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>Neil Young + Promise Of The Real – The Monsanto Years CD/CD+DVD (Reprise)
For this guitar-centric, full steam-ahead and highly-charged ecologically/environmentally-focused rock album, Young is joined by Promise Of The Real, an L.A.-based rock band fronted by Willie Nelson's sons Lukas Nelson (vocals/guitar), and Micah Nelson (guitar, vocals), along with Anthony Logerfo (drums), Corey McCormick (bass) and Tato Melgar (percussion). Available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds a DVD featuring a documentary about the making of the album. Vinyl version TBA (tentatively August).
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>Matt Pond PA – The State Of Gold CD/2xLP (Doghouse)
"More No More,' the shimmering opening track on
The State Of Gold, Matt Pond PA's 10th full-length, bounds out of the gate as though it's been building momentum for ages. In a way, of course, it has: Behind this album is the accumulated energy and weight of nearly two decades, as well as more albums, EPs, singles and tours than can be counted without paper and a pencil." -- NPR
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>Joy Williams – Venus CD/LP (Columbia)
Many know Joy Williams as one half of the four-time Grammy-winning folk-rock duo The Civil Wars. Until their 2012 hiatus (and eventual break up in August 2014) the singer/songstress with her long sea witch hair and Mona Lisa half-smile rarely revealed herself, except through the duo's bruising and stark lyrics of romantic conflations and doomed intimacies. On
Venus she changes all that. No longer content to just conjure the antique grace of some mythic, bygone world, Williams was intent to actually pierce the veil of metaphor and an imagined history and tell a more honest, human story of one woman's journey out of darkness. Over 11 unstintingly honest songs, she unabashedly re-counts what occurred in her life over the past two and a half years. She doesn't try to defend or explain, but instead tells a simple straightforward story of events, sparing no one, especially herself.
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>Failure – The Heart Is A Monster CD/2xLP+MP3 (Failure)
Failure's new album, the band's first full-length since 1996. Over the years, Failure has become known as a band's band whose songs have been covered by such diverse artists as A Perfect Circle ("The Nurse Who Loved Me") and Paramore ("Stuck On You"). Tool/A Perfect Circle singer Maynard James Keenan said, "Failure has been a huge inspiration to me. They say amateurs borrow and professionals steal. Well over the years this pro has robbed those poor saps blind."
for the week of 23 june 2015
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>Son Lux – Bones CD/LP (Glassnote)
Son Lux, founded by New York's Ryan Lott, began as a solo exploration of the jagged, icy line between the strange and the familiar, in which sonic structures supplant the conventions of pop form. Over the last eight years, though, the name has taken on myriad meanings, just as the work has subsumed sounds and collaborators. Now, Son Lux is a band. A trio, to be exact; one that has meticulously woven together dizzying percussion, fraying guitar, symphonic bluster, and haunting vocals into a quaking and vivid post-pop (post-everything) burst called
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>Meg Baird – Don't Weigh Down The Light CD/LP (Drag City)
Like Meg's previous LPs (and much of Espers output,) the foundation of
Don't Weigh Down The Light is her lyrical, precise, and propulsive fingerstyle guitar work and a voice that moves from soaring and tender to soothing and spellbinding. A voice that more than a few have likened to folk's greatest female voices: Sandy Denny, Jacqui McShee, and Shirley Collins.
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>DESAPARECIDOS - Payola (Indie Exclusive GREEN Colored Vinyl) LP
More than a decade after putting out their first album, Desaparecidos return with a follow-up that breathes new life into their brutal fusion of protest music and punk. Though the band never truly parted ways, vocalist/guitarist Conor Oberst, guitarist Denver Dalley, keyboardist Ian McElroy, bassist/vocalist Landon Hedges, and drummer Matt Baum have spent much of the past 13 years pursuing other ambitions (including Oberst's work as a solo artist and Bright Eyes frontman).
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>Cayucas – Dancing At The Blue Lagoon CD/LP+MP3 (Secretly Canadian)
As Zach Yudin and his twin brother and bandmate, Ben, went in to create their new album, what it all came back to was something personal. While they now call Los Angeles home, they drew from the nostalgia of their childhood growing up in Davis, CA; the nostalgia in their music that is as much about a place they've never been as any actual experience. And it was that wandering imagination and a punchy California dream that eventually grew to become
Dancing At The Blue Lagoon. While their sun-drenched, jangly, sometimes melancholic sound is quintessentially Californian, the album very much their California. It's the sound of kids from the suburbs who fantasize in Technicolor, whose view of the Golden State is its own form of idealism.
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>Baby Dee – I Am A Stick. CD/LP (Tin Angel)
"Dee's songs read like short stories: though they easily blend in with whatever state you're in, there are details and details to take in. Except for the occasional divertissement indebted to her humorous, 'dark cabaret' side (and to her past as a street performer), most of her songs are exquisitely moody and spacious, much like Current 93's piano-only masterpiece
Soft Black Stars or Kate Bush's A Sky Of Honey. Take 'Unheard Of Hope' from A Book Of Songs For Anne Marie (2010): just three notes on the piano and her meandering voice, typically divided between singing and recitative. It could hardly be more stripped-down, but Dee's a master in keeping you on your toes. I Am A Stick travels at different speeds. What has remained intact is Dee's ability as a storyteller. 'Big Love' tells the story of a nun who failed to keep her vow of chastity, and of how a merciful St. Brigit intervened to interrupt her unwanted pregnancy. Segmenting the plot into a series of short scenes, Dee swings and captivates for nearly six minutes. As with all Dee's best songs, it's creepy, tragic and oddly funny." – Drowned In Sound
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>Richard Thompson – Still CD/2xCD/2xLP (Fantasy)
"Richard Thompson's 16th solo album
Still closes with an unusual homage to his longstanding sources of inspiration. It's called 'Guitar Heroes,' and though it's predominantly a standard jump blues, it's laced with extended interludes in which Thompson — arguably the most under-appreciated guitar hero currently recording — tips his hat to Django Reinhardt, Les Paul and other titans. Each detour is rendered in an idiomatically correct rhythm, and each shows Thompson's command of the relevant style. It's like a high-speed history class, taught by one who has pondered, in depth, the signature sounds and moves of the greats" – NPR. Produced by Jeff Tweedy. Available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds a bonus CD containing five songs from a previously unreleased session entitled The Variations EP.
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>Nils Frahm – Music For The Motion Picture Victoria CD/LP+MP3 (Erased Tapes)
Music For The Motion Picture Victoria finds Frahm at his most restrained. It's as sparse as his other album of 2015, Solo, but with an even greater emphasis on ambience, rather than prettiness. The music begins with chords flanked by silence, widely spaced out, and he doesn't raise the pulse much more from there. It's not as expressive or as lyrical as his main work, presumably letting the film's narrative and images do the heavy lifting on that front; complimenting the picture rather than distracting from it. It is a score, after all." – Drowned In Sound
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>Bunnygrunt – Vol. 4 CD/LP/Cassette (Happy Happy Birthday To Me)
They started off twee but spent so much time on the road that they learned how to rock. The missing link between Teenage Fanclub and Teenage Wasteland, like a bat out of hell baby, Bunnygrunt was born to run. They've been tearing it up for years now—legends of the underground teaching the indie kids how to rock and the rockers how to weep.
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>The Cairo Gang – Goes Missing CD/LP (God?)
Playing with other artists over the years, Emmett Kelly has exhibited an encompassing approach to music which lends flexibility to The Cairo Gang's song-style. He's a harmony singer of supreme skill, bringing not only a sweet and supple voice but also a tremendous sympathy to the singing of it (as anyone who's caught Cairo onstage with the Bonnie 'Prince' will ever know).
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>Creepoid – Cemetery Highrise Slum CD/LP (Collect)
After releasing two albums with No Idea, an EP for Graveface, and countless miles logged on the road with everyone from Against Me! and Balance And Composure to Kurt Vile and A Place To Bury Strangers, Philadelphia's Creepoid lands at Collect Records for
Cemetery Highrise Slum—a document of stunning growth that finally crystallizes the promise of an already feverishly loved band. Produced and mixed by Peter Mavrogeorgis (The National, Sharon Van Etten) at Dollhouse Studios in Savannah, GA, Creepoid have stripped away at the reticence of previous albums for a bold and focused effort that places equal measure on high definition and playful ambiguity alike. That critics have never quite been able to contain Creepoid's style—they've been called everything from punk and psych to dream-pop and grunge—is not as much a conflict as it is a statement, and on Cemetery Highrise Slum, the band finds itself at this idiosyncratic intersection of their own design: This is how it feels when a feisty, aggressive impulse agrees to be led by a firm, but graceful hand.
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>Pete Rock – Petestrumentals 2 CD/2xLP (Mello Music)
The sequel to the 2001 classic that helped define the hip-hop instrumental record.
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>Black Mountain – Black Mountain [10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition] 2xCD/2xLP+MP3 (Jagjaguwar)
The work of a small collective of musicians operating from Vancouver, Canada, far from any industry buzz but firmly in the eye of their own storm of creativity, Black Mountain's debut album was, of course, a beginning, but it also marked an ending – for Jerk With A Bomb, the group that preceded Black Mountain. Their jaunt across the world as guests of perhaps the biggest band in the world right then is a tale for another time, perhaps: the start of Black Mountain's next chapter, and all that followed. For now, savor the compact, spacey brilliance of that cosmic, heavy and subtle debut album, expanded now with a raft of delicious bonus tracks scavenged from the Black Mountain Army archives.
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>Jerry Garcia Band - On Broadway: Act One - October 28th, 1987 3xCD (Round)
The first installment in a new archival series celebrating Jerry Garcia's magical thirteen night run on Broadway.
On Broadway: Act One presents three complete, previously unreleased sets from the October 28th, 1987 performances at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in NYC: the early and late Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band sets and the Jerry Garcia Band's electric evening set. Highlights are many, but include "I Ain't Never," "Bright Morning Stars," "Run For The Roses" and Bob Dylan's "Tangled Up In Blue."
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>Swans – Filth [Reissue/1983] 3xCD (Young God)
Expanded reissue package constitutes a definitive picture of Swans in the years 1982-1983/4. Disc One feature the Swans' original debut LP
Filth from 1983, with the line up of M.Gira, Norman Westberg, Roli Mosimann, Harry Crosby, and Jonathan Kane. Also features versions of "Strip/Burn," "Heatsheet," "Blackout," "Clay Man," "Stay Here," and "Weakling," all recorded live. Disc Two includes Body To Body material comprised of various studio outtakes and live recordings 1982-85, with a nine-minute version of "Raping A Slave," recorded live in Berlin, 1984 (originally released with Filth on YGD-11) while Disc Three features the Debut 12'' EP #1, originally released in 1982, plus additional live performances from NYC and London.
for the week of 16 june 2015
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>Hudson Mohawke – Lantern CD/2xLP+MP3 (Warp)
Glaswegian super-producer Hudson Mohawke returns with a new LP,
Lantern. With the rap-focused sound ever so slightly on the back burner, HudMo allows a boundless maximalism to fuel the experience. The euphoric chipmunked sample on Ryderz, the invigorating drop on 'Very First Breath' and the starry-eyed boldness of 'Brand New World' all come together for an LP that puts a brand of luminous joy at the forefront. Having pulled in headlines and credits with some of the planet's biggest names, Lantern proves that Hudson Mohawke deserves the adoration from the other side of the mixing desk. His commitment to this fascinating and cinematically uplifting sound palette places him as one of the UK's finest talents. This is the record that proves it. (Limited vinyl edition features a print and a bonus track.)
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>Active Child – Mercy CD/LP (Vagrant)
"Los Angeles-based artist Pat Grossi (aka Active Child) is no stranger to Hype Machine. He's been heaped with attention from music blogs since his first release in 2010, and even had Ellie Goulding cover one of his songs on her second album. For his own sophomore LP, the former Philadelphia Boys Choir member wrote primarily on harp and piano, then traveled to Brooklyn to record with producer Van Rivers (Glasser, Fever Ray, Matthew Dear) who, Pat says, 'really pushed me vocally, more than anyone ever has before.'" – Hype Machine
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>HEARTLESS BASTARDS - Restless Ones (Indie Exclusive CLEAR vinyl) LP
"Erika Wennerstrom has a voice – deep, throaty, loose – that could make even the most uninhibited vocalist feel uptight and contained by comparison: Each note she sings feels deeply animated, as if it’s got its own heartbeat and fully formed pair of fists." – Rolling Stone
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>Slum Village – Yes! CD/LP (Ne'astra Music Group)
"The long-running Detroit rap group Slum Village has been around since the late '90s, and they've been through a ton of lineup changes over the years. The late production legend J Dilla was a founding member.
Yes! includes a mournful and piano-laden Dilla beat on the track 'Right Back.' On the song, the current Slum Village members trade bars with smart-rap icons De La Soul, another group who has a long history with Dilla." – Stereogum
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>High On Fire – Luminferous CD/2xLP (eOne)
"There may be no band on the metal underground more consistently great than the long-running Bay Area power trio High On Fire. The band always comes off like a hoard of stampeding elephants, just ripping through these magnificently huge gutbuster gallops. But
Luminiferous, the band's new album, might stand as one of their best albums. Even on the moments where it lets up, as on the sludge-blues dirge 'The Cave,' it doesn't really let up; it just finds another, more interesting way to stomp ass." – Stereogum
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>The Dream Syndicate – The Days Of Wine And Roses [Reissue/1982] CD (Omnivore)
The Dream Syndicate's debut album,
The Days Of Wine And Roses, has long been considered a cornerstone release of the early '80s Paisley Underground scene. The original Steve Wynn/Karl Precoda/Kendra Smith/Dennis Duck line-up took seminal '60s rock and filtered it through more modern sounds. Bonus tracks from previous editions have been replaced by rehearsal tapes that capture two songs that later turned up on Medicine Show, as well as four songs that no one has ever heard, including a nearly 10-minute Krautrock inspired jam.
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>James Taylor – Before This World CD/CD+DVD/LP (Concord)
Legendary singer/songwriter and five-time Grammy Award winning artist James Taylor presents his first collection of original recordings in over 13 years. Available in Regular, Deluxe and Super Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds a making-of-the-album DVD. Super Deluxe adds a 40-page hard bound book featuring photos, liner notes, and a collector's envelope with handwritten lyrics and other memorabilia, all housed in a numbered, die cut package. "…Reminiscent of Taylor's most enduring work from the 1970's." -- Rolling Stone
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>The Silver Lake Chorus – The Silver Lake Chorus CD (Six Degrees)
The Silver Lake Chorus performs choral arrangements of indie music and exudes both the edgy, independent spirit of Silver Lake and the heart of community choral singing. TSLC's self-titled album, produced by Aussie crooner Ben Lee, features rare and new tracks written exclusively for the chorus by the likes of Sia, Aimee Mann, The Bird And The Bee, Tegan And Sara, Ben Lee, The New Pornographers, Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie), John Roderick (The Long Winters), The Flaming Lips, and Justin Vernon (Bon Iver).
for the week of 09 june 2015
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>J. Fernandez – Many Levels Of Laughter CD/LP (Joyful Noise)
There's a certain, undeniable feeling associated with the songwriting of J. Fernandez. There are plenty of familiar touchstones and influences deep and intricately woven;
Marquee Moon guitars, an affectless, Kraftwerk-ian singing style, psychedelic dissonance and melodic structures not entirely unlike The United States of America, and a modern warmth like Chris Cohen's work with The Curtains and Deerhoof. But, dropping these names doesn't adequately sum up what J. Fernandez has captured here.
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>Arthur Russell – Corn CD/LP (Audika)
"Since Arthur Russell's passing, Steve Knutson's Audika Records have been celebrating his memory with a number of releases from his expansive archive of unreleased material left behind mostly on ¼" tapes.
Corn is the first release of the celebrated experimental producer's officially sanctioned material since 2008's Love Is Overtaking Me. Corn comes from original ¼" tape test pressings from 1985 that never made it to release due to Russell's tendency to second guess his recordings. Its material largely consists of solo work with Russell contributing his iconic cello as well as keyboards, rhythm machine programming, vocals and production with assistance from Mustafa Ahmed (percussion), Peter Zummo (trombone), and Rik Albani (trumpet)." -- DIY
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>The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers [Reissue/1971] 2xCD/3xCD+DVD+7"/LP/2xLP (UMe)
Regarded as one of The Rolling Stones' all-time great albums,
Sticky Fingers captured the bands trademark combination of swagger and tenderness in a superb collection. All Deluxe and Super Deluxe formats feature a generous selection of previously unavailable material. These include the alternative version of the chart-topping single "Brown Sugar" featuring Eric Clapton; unreleased interpretations of "Bitch," "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" and "Dead Flowers;" an acoustic take on the anthemic "Wild Horses," and five tracks recorded live at The Roundhouse in 1971 including "Honky Tonk Women" and "Midnight Rambler." Remastered album plus bonus CD featuring previously unreleased alternate takes and live performances with 24-page booklet. (Super Deluxe version adds a DVD featuring two tracks from Live At The Marquee, a 7" vinyl single of "Brown Sugar" b/w "Wild Horses," an expanded 127-page hardback book, and more.)
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>Damaged Bug – Cold Hot Plumbs CD/LP (Castle Face)
John Dwyer has a surprise... While everyone eagerly anticipates the next Thee Oh Sees record, he's been working tirelessly in his synth laboratory, hand-crafting a follow-up to last year's neon-noir Damaged Bug debut -- one that shakes up the snow globe considerably. If
Hubba Bubba was a brush with a robotic exoskeleton on deep-space patrol, Cold Hot Plumbs visits the alien world that sent it into the cosmos. Lush, textural and psychedelic, the songs breathe with a otherworldly sadness and heart.
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>FFS – FFS CD/LP+MP3 (Domino)
FFS = Franz Ferdinand and Sparks Collaborations don't work, or that's what FFS would have us believe on their debut album. When the seminal Los Angeles duo Sparks and Glasgow-based quartet Franz Ferdinand decided to record together, it was a flawed and potentially disastrous idea, right? Kimono My House-era Sparks fans will recognize how FFS highlights their classic 'pop rock' DNA, and Franz Ferdinand fans won't be disappointed to hear the band at their peak of their powers as they bring their exhilaratingly unique and witty modern rock sound to the collaboration. Very much a new project, FFS doesn't truly sound like either band, but a striking and fascinating mutation.
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>Ryan Adams – Ten Songs From Live At Carnegie Hall CD/LP (Blue Note)
Ten career-spanning live tracks from two special performances at New York's legendary Carnegie Hall on November 15/17, 2014. The set list includes fan favorites like "New York, New York" as well as cuts from his most recent Grammy nominated eponymous album like "Gimme Something Good." Tracks include live performances of two new previously unreleased songs "This Is Where We Meet In My Mind" and "How Much Light."
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>Sharon Van Etten – I Don't Want To Let You Down CDEP/12"+MP3 (Jagjaguwar)
One of music's most astute cartographers of the heart, able to squeeze enormous sentiments into especially small spaces, Sharon Van Etten offers up documents of surrender and disappointment, admission and longing with this new five-song EP.
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>Onra – Fundamentals CD/LP/Cassette (All City)
Fundamentals, Parisian producer Onra's new album, is a paean to '90s hip-hop and R&B long players, an album that wears its Golden Era inspirations proudly on its sleeve. Taking the production levels up a notch with a more crafted, polished sound across the whole LP, the album was produced entirely on an MPC with no computer software used.
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>Umberto & Antoni Maiovvi – Law Unit CD/LP (Death Waltz Originals)
Law Unit is a brand new creation by maestros Umberto and Antoni Maiovvi, an original concept that in the composers' own words "moves past the retro-futurist works of their individual solo releases to explore a world of early industrial and experimental music." The resulting album is made up of ten dangerously cool and evocative cuts, the kind of tracks that put you in the mood for L.A. circa 2019, or the Detroit of 1987.
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>Of Monsters & Men – Beneath The Skin CD (Republic)
Of Monsters and Men are getting bigger and barer on its sophomore album:
Beneath The Skin, amplifies the sound of the Icelandic folk-rock group's debut My Head Is An Animal while also peppering its anthems with more revealing lyrical passages. Ragnar "Raggi" Þórhallsson, who shares lead vocal and guitar duties with Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, says that writing a more intimate record was a natural process for the band, which had grown closer while touring exhaustively behind their first album. 'For the first album, being from Iceland, you could feel in the lyrics that we wanted to go out and explore,' says Þórhallsson. 'Because we've toured for two years, I think you can hear in this album that we're going more inwards. We're writing more about us instead of what's out there. It's much more personal'" – Billboard. Available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds four bonus tracks. Vinyl version due June 30.
for the week of 02 june 2015
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>Sun Kil Moon – Universal Themes CD (Caldo Verde)
Benji follow-up was recorded over this year and last in San Francisco and Hoboken, and features percussion from Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth. The album will contain last year's one-off 'The Possum,' and its B-side 'Cry Me A River Williamsburg Sleeve Tattoo Blues.' And the tracklist also contains some gems like 'With A Sort Of Grace I Walked To The Bathroom To Cry' and 'This Is My First Day And I'm Indian And I Work At A Gas Station.' Vinyl version TBA.
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>Jamie xx – In Colour CD/2xLP/3xLP (XL)
In Colour comes on the back of an incredible six year creative period for Jamie xx, which has seen him alternate effortlessly between his role as founding member and producer of The xx, and creator of more electronic and club orientated music as Jamie xx. A string of acclaimed productions in recent years including debut solo single ''Far Nearer,'' remixes for the likes of Adele, Radiohead and Florence & The Machine, production work for Drake and Alicia Keys plus We're New Here -i Jamie's reworking of Gil Scott-Heron's final studio album i- hinted at what was to come. With In Colour -- a bold, celebratory, emotional record that features collaborations with The xx band mates Romy Madley Croft ("Seesaw" and "Loud Places") and Oliver Sim ("Stranger In A Room"), Young Thug and Popcaan ("Good Times") and Four Tet ("Seesaw") -- Jamie delivers his definitive artistic statement. (Vinyl version is available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe is cut at 45 rpm with three randomly colored 12"s and three random color inner sleeves, plus two bonus tracks.)
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>Dawes – All Your Favorite Bands CD/LP+MP3 (Hub)
Intimacy has always been a defining trait of folk music—it's music of the folk, after all. There's a more palpable connection between artist and observer because, at its heart, folk music is the manifestation of the strife and traditions and pleasures of the people. Couple that with the ubiquity and accessibility of its acoustic instruments and you have something inimitably relatable. Still, just because you can play four chords in a row doesn't mean we want to hear you—it's human nature to want to be impressed by things that are actually impressive. Such is the case for Dawes, a talented band the Chicago Sun-Times just described as perhaps the "most satisfying American band of its generation."
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>Algiers – Algiers CD/LP+MP3 (Matador)
The debut LP by Algiers is haunted by promises of the past: the rapturous call and response of millenarian gospel, the bellowing urgency of '60s protest soul, the scene-searching intensity of DC hardcore and the smeared viscosity of post-punk and no wave.
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>Vaadat Charigim – Sinking As Stone CD (Burger)
Sophomore record from Israeli shoegaze and dream pop trio. Vinyl version due July 10.
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>Daughn Gibson – Carnation CD/LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
Daughn Gibson of Carlisle, PA is a singer/songwriter and musician possessed of a singular and strange vision. Carnation, his third album, is the latest exhilarating and dark embodiment of that vision. It's an album that's more elegant and sophisticated than anything he's done to date, and which sees the elements of country music, more prominent on 2012's
All Hell on The White Denim label and 2013's Me Moan on Sub Pop, undone to extraordinary effect by ambient textures and sounds. Shot through with a deep sensuality, Carnation is a high-wire balancing act, at times sexual, emotionally intense and comforting.
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>Eternal Summers – Gold And Stone CD/LP (Kanine)
Nicole Yun of Roanoke, Virginia based noise pop, power rock trio Eternal Summers has this to say: "On this self-produced album, we wanted to target lusher and radiant textures, some classic rock riffs, some jazzier elements and some full-on punk snarl." Nicole isn't exactly sure how influence happens, "Whether it creeps in or just bashes you on the head, I think we made it a point to be as open as possible. We love to listen to bands and think about how their albums came together. We were listening to a lot of Blur, early Radiohead, And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Echo And The Bunnymen, Ryan Adams, Lush, Dinosaur Jr., Cleaners From Venus and Stereolab in the van on tour before writing
Gold And Stone." You'll have to give Gold And Stone a spin to see whether you can pick out those influences or even find traces of the early Eternal Summers "dream punk."
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>Florence + The Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful CD/2xLP (Republic)
Fans of Welch's most expansively raving anthems won't go wanting here. Songs including 'Queen Of Peace' and 'Third Eye' offer all the sky-high layered harmonies, rolling and echoing drums, and orchestral exclamation points one could desire, with horn arrangements by Will Gregory of Goldfrapp. But the intensity is relieved by sparse, restrained songs like the organ-led meditation 'St. Jude' or 'Long & Lost,' which, with its hovering guitar and strings and clunks of electronic ­percussion, evokes the dreamy swells of mid-1990s Kate Bush B-sides, or maybe even Cocteau Twins" – Billboard. Available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds five bonus tracks.
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>Goatsnake – Black Age Blues CD/2xLP (Southern Lord)
Black Age Blues closes a fifteen-year gap between full-length albums from the revered act, without a doubt making it one of the most highly anticipated doom/metal releases of 2015. With nearly fifty minutes of their most soulful yet boisterous material to date, the quartet expands their already mammoth tones and pummeling rock riffs with a variety of additional influences and elements, and guest contributions from a variety of players including David Pajo (Slint, Aerial M, Papa M) and soul vocal trio Dem Preacher's Daughters, comprised of Wendy Moten, Gale Mayes and Andrea Merrit.
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>Jaga Jazzist – Starfire CD/LP+MP3 (Ninja Tune)
The long-running, skronked-out Norwegian jazz octet returns with a beautiful, visceral, utterly exhilarating piece of work that keeps spiraling up and away, structurally complex, musically rigorous, but without ever losing touch with a certain earthy sensuality and human sympathy.
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>Chris Stamey – Euphoria CD (Yep Roc)
Euphoria, Chris Stamey returns to the guitar-driven rock band dynamic to deliver ten stellar songs rooted in his trademark sound: Strong hooks, expansive production, solid musicianship, wonderful harmonies and unexpected twists. Where his last album, Lovesick Blues, was rooted in slower tempo acoustic chamber pop, Euphoria, hums with upbeat songs, centered on the electric guitar. Vinyl version due June 16.
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>Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah [10th Anniversary/Reissue/2005] CD/LP+MP3 (CYHSY, Inc./The Orchard)
"Clap Your Hands Say Yeah has stockpiled a mass of oft-trampled influences, including what amounts to a 12-course meal of in-vogue '80s acts. What's interesting is the manner in which the players assemble this source material. The Cure and The Smiths, for instance, are probed for neither nostalgic angst nor fashion cues. The Reagan-era creepiness that often surfaces when contemporary acts dabble in such sounds in curtailed by Clap Your Hands' apparent affinity for The Clean and other indie slouchers, to say nothing of the harmonica strapped in front of singer Alec Ounsworth's mouth. (Republicans play keyboards, but it takes a socialist to pull of the consecrated harmonica holder)" -- Jay Ruttenberg Timeout NY. (Vinyl version includes custom download card redeemable for twelve new solo acoustic cassette recordings by Alec Ounsworth.)
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>Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Betty's Blends: Best Of The West Volume Two CD/2xLP (Silver Arrow)
Recorded and mixed by the legendary Grateful Dead archivist Betty Cantor-Jackson, the nine-track collection features performances captured on The CRB's 2014 summer tour throughout the western United States, including "Rosalee" from the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, "Shore Power" from Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, "Burn Slow" from Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver and a standout 15-minute plus version of "Vibration & Light Suite" from Theatre Deville in Vacaville, CA. In addition to CRB originals, the set includes a pair of covers: "They Love Each Other" by The Grateful Dead and "Driving Wheel" by Tom Rush, which are invariably highlights of The CRB's live shows.
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>Paul Williams – A Little On The Windy Side [Reissue/1979] CD (Real Gone Music)
During his reign as perhaps the '70s most in-demand songwriter ("Rainbow Connection" was a massive hit of his), Williams also kept busy as an actor, television personality and recording artist. He came into his own as a vocalist at Reprise and A&M Records on albums such as
Someday Man (1970) and Just An Old-Fashioned Love Song (1971) before moving to Epic Records sister label, Portrait. At Portrait also the home of Heart and briefly, Ringo Starr, Williams recorded what he later described as "one of the most listenable and good-feeling records I've ever been associated with." That record was A Little On The Windy Side, reissued here with four bonus tracks.