LUNA music essentials...

for the week of 18 september 2015
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>HeCTA - The Diet (RED vinyl edition with AUTOGRAPHED poster) LP
out 18 SEPTEMBER 2015…
Using the idea of combining the notion of "song" and elements from stand-up comedy, and electronic music and a shared love of the electronic form and its many permutations, HeCTA respectfully, playfully explored and experimented to make 'The Diet'.

HeCTA is Scott Martin (drums, percussion, piano, synths, programming, editing), Ryan Norris (synthesizers, vocoder, electric guitar, electric bass, synth bass, programming, editing), and Kurt Wagner (voice, keyboards, programming, editing).
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>Lucero – All A Man Should Do CD/LP (ATO)
Lucero has shifted their sonic approach a bit on
All A Man Should Do, noting "we felt comfortable enough to take some chances with a palette of new tones that sound understated yet powerful, bringing life to the stories behind the lyrics without overshadowing them." As for the lyrics, Ben Nichols' latest group of lines read like chapters from his life on the duality of relationships, getting older, finding where you want to be in this world. Also joining the band on the album is Big Star's Jody Stephens. Appropriately, he's added backup vocals to Lucero's cover of his band's "I'm In Love With A Girl." This marks the first-ever cover to appear on a Lucero studio LP.
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>Battles – La Di Da Di CD/LP+MP3 (Warp)
Battles are the Networked Band, or perhaps the-band-as-network. An island chain linked by a unique combination of artistry, experimentation, technology and singular focus. A band that holds computerized loops in their brains, leaves sweat on their machines and whose sonic heartbeat is almost brutally human. Dave Konopka, Ian Williams and John Stanier have turned the tables on themselves this time, confronted their own ideas of what Battles is and here on their third album, have willed an answer to that question into existence. As the name might imply,
La Di Da Di is a mushrooming monolith of repetition. Here is an organic techno thrum of nearly infinite loops that refuse to remain consistent. The rhythmic genus of Battles is here as ever; full frontal, heightened and unforgiving the gauntlet through which melody and harmony must pass, assailed at every turn.
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>Lana Del Rey – Honeymoon CD /2xLP (Interscope)
Fourth studio album by singer Lana Del Rey, which she started planning just two months after releasing her third studio album
Ultraviolence (2014). (Limited copies pressed on translucent red vinyl.)
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>The Front Bottoms – Back On Top CD/LP+MP3 (Fueled By Ramen)
"The Front Bottoms have spent the last seven years building up a reputation grassroots style. From self-released albums to unassailable live shows, the New Jersey quartet has garnered praise from journalists and fellow musicians alike. They've opened for everyone from Brand New to Say Anything, and completely stole the show at this year's Skate and Surf Festival. Now, after a pair of acclaimed albums on Bar/None Records, the band makes their Fueled by Ramen debut with
Back On Top. Considering how close to the end of summer Back On Top drops, it's fitting that the album's latest single is an ode to summer love. ‘Summer Shandy' strolls along on staccato guitar notes and a sturdy marching drum, punctuated here and there with the sudden burst of trumpets. Frontman Brian Sella's rambling lyrical delivery is the song's true centerpiece, though, as he pines about a romance he knows will never last." –Consequence Of Sound
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>Ought – Sun Coming Down CD/LP (Constellation)
Ought returns with their second full-length album, following a break-out year for the Montréal quartet that saw its 2014 debut
More Than Any Other Day make well-deserved waves, with a Best New Music nod from Pitchfork and appearances on countless year-end lists. Sun Coming Down maintains the band's tight, twitchy, economical sound. Ought pursue an artistically apposite austerity in committing these new songs to tape, referencing the arid and unvarnished production of no-wave and early indie rock while balancing carved-out angularity against an evolving comfort with textural coalescences and measured pacing. It makes for an album that's consistently, insistently propulsive but also feels unhurried and pleasantly unhyped.
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>Baio – The Names CD/LP (Glassnote)
On his own, Vampire Weekend bassist Chris Baio makes warm, homespun, gently emotive dance-pop. He's been releasing singles and EPs for a few years, and has now released his first-ever solo album,
The Names. The album takes its title from Don DeLillo's 1982 novel. "The Names is a record that has reverberated through my mind for much of the last five years," Baio said in a press release. "Its themes began to take shape when I moved from New York to London in 2013."
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>Bob Moses – Days Gone By CD/2xLP+MP3 (Domino)
Occupying the fertile ground between organic band and electronic production project, Brooklyn-via-Vancouver electronic pop duo Bob Moses draw on the two poles to vividly resonate across both.
Days Gone By, the debut album from Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance, plays with a sonic duality that combines the elegantly icy with an indelibly human touch. Alternating between dancefloor burners and moments of reflective repose, the album is not in a rush to get to its destination, preferring to slowly seduce rather than swagger into submission, weaving a rich spectrum of sensation over the course of its ten tracks.
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>David Gilmour – Rattle That Lock CD/CD+DVD/CD+Blu-ray/LP+MP3 (Columbia)
Rattle That Lock is the new solo album by David Gilmour, the voice and guitar of Pink Floyd. This is his fourth solo album, and the first since 2006's On An Island. The album's primary lyricist is Gilmour's long-term writing partner, Polly Samson, and was co-produced by David Gilmour and Roxy Music's Phil Manzanera. There are several versions available: The single Regular disc version; a double disc Deluxe box version that adds either a DVD or Blu-ray featuring ten bonus audio-visual tracks, four bonus audio tracks, the complete album in surround sound, and expanded packaging with memorabilia; and as a single-disc HQ-180gm vinyl edition in a gatefold jacket with download.
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>Keith Richards – Crosseyed Heart CD/2xLP (UMe)
Third solo album by the Rolling Stones guitarist. "As always, Richards' ragged voice is an instrument that's more serviceable than distinguished -- it's the equivalent of a crude raft that can take the user from one bank of a river to the other, not traverse long distances with tremendous style or panache. Yet Richards gets emotions across in the album's 15 songs, and that's always been what rock 'n' roll is about. The album opens with the title track, just Richards playing guitar and croaking a vocal that connects him with the Delta blues, which has always been a cornerstone of his guitar-playing. Several songs offer up big Stones-like rockers with beefy grooves and tasty guitar work, which is probably what most listeners look for in a Richards album." – L.A. Times
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>Glen Hansard – Didn't He Ramble CD (Anti)
Didn't He Ramble is Hansard's most intimate and elegant record since his work in Once and features guest appearances by John Sheahan (Dubliners), Sam Beam (Iron And Wine) and Sam Amidon. Glen Hansard is the celebrated principal songwriter and vocalist/guitarist for the influential Irish group The Frames. Whether busking the streets of Dublin, where he got his start, or headlining a gig, Hansard has garnered a reputation as an unparalleled frontman. He is also one half of the acclaimed duo The Swell Season. In 2007, he and Czech songstress Markéta Irglová took home the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Falling Slowly" off the Once soundtrack. In 2013, the Broadway adaptation, Once The Musical, won eight Tony Awards including the top musical prize. Most recently, Hansard has won critical acclaim for his moving interpretations of the songs of Jason Molina of Songs:Ohia. Vinyl version due October 9.
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>Dave Rawlings Machine – Nashville Obsolete CD (Acony)
Acony Records proudly presents
Nashville Obsolete, the highly anticipated second album from Dave Rawlings Machine. Recorded on analog tape at Woodland Sound Studios in Nashville, TN, the record features seven original compositions written by Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings. Produced by Rawlings, Nashville Obsolete highlights the brilliant musicianship of Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch on lead vocals and guitar, Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers) on bass, Willie Watson on vocals and guitar and guest appearances from Brittany Haas (fiddle) and Jordan Tice (mandolin).
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>Atreyu – Long Live CD/LP (Spinefarm)
After a three-year hiatus, embers started to glow again for Southern California metal trailblazers Atreyu. They hit the studio with producer Fred Archambault (Avenged Sevenfold) began cutting what would be their sixth album,
Long Live (and first since 2009's Congregation Of The Damned). "From the first ‘go' uttered by Alex Varkatzas on the title track, Atreyu lets it rip with a brisk pound on the verses. They make no bones they're still a metalcore act as the breakdowns manifest and Varkatzas volleys his squelchy yelps with drummer and clean singer Brandon Saller. ‘Live To Labor' thereafter plants down the pedal through its popping verses. As with the opening number, the breakdown arrives at the expected spot and the choruses rain with engulfing harmony." -- Blabbermouth
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>Metric – Pagans In Vegas CD/2xLP (Metric Music)
The Canadian synth pop band's first album in three years is explores the band's sonic influences, paying homage to inspirational artists like Depeche Mode, Joy Division and Underworld. Frontwoman Emily Haines explained that the aim was to capture "the romance of another time without falling into nostalgia." The new songs bring together acoustic and synthetic sounds that provide the framework to explore "the quandaries of life in an age where bad news is unavoidable and great art is a life-saver." The writing process found guitarist/producer James Shaw experimenting with a CS80 synth at his Toronto studio, while Haines discovered an array of acoustic instruments during time spent in Nicaragua and Spain. The differing approaches resulted in enough material for two albums — the second of which is expected in 2016. (Limited copies pressed on red vinyl.)
for the week of 11 september 2015
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>LOW - Ones And Sixes (YELLOW vinyl edition) LP
"It's one thing for Low to have made a rewarding career of spare, dramatic, glacially paced music — for song after slow-moving song to have been constructed out of little more than crystalline guitar lines, minimal bass, maybe a few effects here and there, brushes of snare and the alternating or intertwined voices of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker. It's another to make those ingredients sound so incredibly dynamic; to spend 20-plus years making a dozen albums that each feel distinct, and that each introduce new ideas, twists and ways to wring drama out of the space between notes. Low's unwillingness to repeat itself comes in especially handy on
Ones And Sixes. Here, the palette feels magnified from the very first song: The tense thud and crackle of 'Gentle,' reminiscent of the unease that pervaded 2007's Drums And Guns, announces that upfront. From there, Ones And Sixes broadens to include sounds that feel as intimate as a whisper over pillows or as obtuse as transmissions from a faraway satellite. Sometimes, they're intermingled." – NPR
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>Beirut – No No No CD/LP (4AD)
"Finding a new love sparked the creativity and songwriting that went into the making of
No No No. Condon and his bandmates, bassist Paul Collins and drummer Nick Petree, worked on the new album in the fall of 2014, finally recording it in two weeks live in the studio. Last June, videos of Beirut playing several new songs at Brooklyn's Northside Festival appeared online. One of them is 'No No No,' the title track to the nine-song collection. It's a jaunty, syncopated, playful tune with a simple yet anthemic melody. The horn arrangements bring depth to the song's spirited repetition. It's undeniably Beirut — and a joyfully welcome return" – NPR.
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>Gary Clark Jr. – The Story Of Sonny Boy Slim CD/2xLP+MP3 (WB)
"On his 2012 major label debut, Gary Clark Jr. was hungry for all the music he could get his hands on. He rose up out of Austin as a certified bluesman and killer guitar player, sure, but
Blak And Blu also pulled funk, soul, and molten garage rock under its wide roof. What that album lacked in cohesion it made up for in spirit and a whole pile of hot licks. Three years later, The Story Of Sonny Boy Slim smooth's out some of that wayward fire, as Clark uses the album to comb through states of danger, frustration, and especially love." – Consequence Of Sound
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>Ben Folds – So There CD/2xLP+MP3 (New West)
Ben Folds takes a turn on his new album,
So There. He embraces strings and chamber music yet still maintains a passion for his love of pop. The album consists of eight chamber pop songs with the very talented yMusic Ensemble and a 21-minute piano concerto performed with the Nashville Symphony. Ben Folds meeting and recording with yMusic became the bridge between the classically themed concerto and the contemporary chamber rock songs that live in harmony on So There. The combination is an inspired body of work on both small and grand scales.
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>Micachu And The Shapes – Good Bad Happy Sad CD/LP+MP3 (Rough Trade)
Micachu And The Shapes' return, three years after the release of their last record, is almost an accident: the trio of friends decided to rehearse in an East London studio, and found themselves immersed into an hours-long jam. Drummer Marc Bell had an Eiderol field recorder in hand, and unbeknownst to his bandmates, recorded the whole session; Bell, Mica Levi, and Raisa Khan were so enamored of those off-the-cuff audio experiments that they became the underpinnings of a new record. With one listen, it's easy to see why.
Good Sad Happy Bad maintains the avant-pop sensibility the band has brought to previous efforts, combining the lightness and bounce of their best singles with the sonic textures of field recordings, industrial effects alongside straightforward instrumentation.
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>Shannon And The Clams – Gone By The Dawn CD/LP (Hardly Art)
Gone By The Dawn, the Oakland trio hooked up with studio wizard and renaissance man Sonny Smith to record the album at Tiny Telephone Recording in San Francisco. Best known as the driving force behind San Francisco's beloved Sonny and the Sunsets, Smith uses his refreshing production techniques to create an engaging sonic landscape without compromising the Clams' signature Lou Christie-meets-The Circle Jerks sound. The Clams have evolved: their skills are sharper, their chops are tighter and weirder and they've added new instruments to to the mix. A whole new dimension of the Clams has emerged. In the West everything is big. The mountains are towering, the rivers broad, the deserts vast, the canyons deep, and the emotions huge. The Clams have painted themselves into a massive landscape of sound and desolation. Gone By The Dawn is monumental; immense, magnificent, and unforgettable.
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>Phil Cook – Southland Mission CD/LP (Middle West)
Southland Mission is a soundtrack of shared experiences and Phil's purity in leadership is self-evident from the moment the needle hits the record. The songs have no prerequisite, no pretension. Instead, as a collection, they call on listeners to witness and immerse themselves in their own journey. Placing focus on the way the tracks make them feel in lieu of searching for superfluous descriptors and categories. Each track is a palpable glance back at the heritage of our shared musical culture, subtly encouraging what will be a vital shift in keeping true artistry alive.
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>Craig Finn – Faith In The Future CD/LP+MP3 (Partisan)
Faith In The Future is the second solo album from Craig Finn. At times stark and spare, at other times vibrant and dynamic, the album is Finn's most compelling collection thus far, each song a powerfully alluring and subtly nuanced composition wedded to his distinctive short story narratives, which owe as much to authors such as John Cheever and Raymond Carver as they do any rock influences. Most of the material on Faith In The Future was written several years ago, around the time Finn's mother died, and while none of them directly address that loss, he insists the idea of transcending grief and finding redemption running through the album can be directly traced to that event.
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>The Libertines – Anthems For Doomed Youth CD/LP (Harvest)
Anthems For Doomed Youth is the long-awaited follow-up to the band's 2004 self-titled, second album. The Libertines was formed in London in 1997 by front men Carl Barât (vocals/guitar) and Pete Doherty (vocals/guitar). The band, centered on the songwriting partnership of Barât and Doherty, was part of the garage rock revival and spearheaded the movement in the UK. "A third Libertines album once seemed about as likely as a fifth Smiths LP. Like recovery, Anthems For Doomed Youth takes things one step at a time. It's an absorbing listen front to back, rich with mood and gorgeous melodies." – Pitchfork
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>The Fresh & Onlys – The Early Years Anthology CD (Castle Face)
A very valuable release here from The Fresh & Onlys, compiling together top-notch early material.
The Early Years Anthology is bursting at the seams with Bay Area DIY garage-punk fun, and is released with the assistance of John Dwyer (Thee Oh Sees) on his very own Castle Face label. Vinyl version due September 25.
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>Legendary Shack Shakers – Southern Surreal CD (Alternative Tentacles)
The infamous, explosive Southern wrecking crew The Legendary Shack Shakers are back with a brand new full-length titled The Southern Surreal. Their first release in five years, the album lands on the band's 20th anniversary and is their Alternative Tentacles debut. The infamous, explosive Southern wrecking crew The Legendary Shack Shakers are back with a brand new full-length titled
The Southern Surreal. Their first release in five years, the album lands on the band's 20th anniversary and is their Alternative Tentacles debut. Vinyl version due October 9.
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>Slayer – Repentless CD/CD+DVD/CD+Blu-ray/LP (Nuclear Blast)
The past couple of years have been tumultuous for the veteran thrash metal band. On May 2, 2013, Slayer guitarist and co-founder Jeff Hanneman died of liver failure at a Los Angeles hospital; he was 49 years old. Surviving guitarist Kerry King and bassist/vocalist Tom Araya refused to let their friend's death deter them from carrying on with Slayer, and set to work writing a new album. Drummer Dave Lombardo was kicked out of the band for the third time; Paul Bostaph came back on board, and Exodus' Gary Holt, who had filled in for Hanneman when he was seriously ill with necrotizing fasciitis in 2011, joined as his permanent replacement. The new album was eventually finished in 2015 and is titled
Repentless. Available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds either a DVD or Blu-ray featuring "Live At Wacken 2014" and a making of the album documentary.
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>Various Artists [Nils Frahm] – Late Night Tales CD/2xLP+MP3 (Late Night Tales)
A hypnotic voyage through modern and classical composition, experimental electronics, jazz, dub techno, soundtracks and soul; Frahm's
Late Night Tales haunts and beguiles. It's not mixing, so much as gently layering, like a particularly fluffy goose-down duvet folding in on itself, the folds part of the attraction, the layers part of the overall picture being painted. Many of the tracks have been edited, effected and re-made.
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>Guilty Simpson – Detroit's Son CD/2xLP+MP3 (Stone's Throw)
For years Guilty Simpson has been a rock on the Detroit hip-hop circuit alongside those such as J Dilla, Slum Village, Eminem (whom Guilty still calls "Marshall") and D12, Obie Trice, Proof, Phat Kat and Black Milk. Guilty's testosterone-charged, inner city themes possess of a sense of humor at times so side-splitting, it only proves how serious he really is. This rapper was raised on the field of battle and he has more to say than just how fresh he is and how fresh "they" are not. As a matter of fact, he's found that he's here to remind the hip-hop world – currently captivated with that manufactured freshness – that life in the ghetto is real. With the subject of life in the Motor City placed front and center on
Detroit's Son, Guilty's uncompromising rhymes fit seamlessly with producer Katalyst's hard-hitting beats.
for the week of 04 september 2015
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>The Arcs – Yours, Dreamily CD/LP (Nonesuch)
The Arcs is a new band led by The Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach. The band's aesthetic isn't too far removed from the Black Keys' utilitarian blues-rock, but it puts a little more emphasis on fleshed-out arrangements that recall classic Southern soul. Features contributions from Richard Swift (who has played with the Shins and released a bunch of solo albums), Leon Michels (who worked with Action Bronson and Michael Bublé), Homer Steinweiss (whose drumming credits include Amy Winehouse and Bruno Mars), bassist Nick Movshon (another Winehouse collaborator), versatile Nashville guitarist Kenny Vaughan, and the women of New York's Mariachi Flor De Toloache. "This project was about making music with some of my longest relationships in music," Auerbach told NPR. "Leon (Michels), Richard (Swift) and I have not only worked in The Black Keys together, but we have produced together, played on various projects of each other's, and we've collaborated longer than a lot of bands stay together. It just kind of came naturally."
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>Lou Barlow – Brace The Wave CD (Joyful Noise)
Vinyl version due September 18. "Lou Barlow's circuitous path as a recording artist has taken him through key roles in Sebadoh and Dinosaur Jr., not to mention The Folk Implosion, which cracked the pop charts with 'Natural One' back in the '90s. He's also put out a bunch of solo work, both under his own name and in the bedroom-recording project Sentridoh, but in recent years he's focused more on repairing old professional relationships. That's meant rejoining Dinosaur Jr., in which he once feuded famously with bandleader J Mascis, and putting out 2013's Defend Yourself, the first new Sebadoh record in 14 years.
Brace The Wave keeps Barlow's sound stripped to its barren bones, an approach suited to the pleas and confessions therein." – NPR
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>Dâm-Funk – Invite The Light CD/3xLP+MP3 (Stones Throw)
Dâm-Funk's second album features Snoop Dogg, Q-Tip, Flea, Ariel Pink, Junie Morrison, Jody Watley, Computer Jay, Nite Jewel, JimiJames, Jane Jupiter, Novena Carmel, Leon Sylvers III and IV. Design by Freddy Anzures. "Just as you try to get a grip on Dâm-Funk's sound, he glides away and comes at you from a new direction on Invite The Light. In the last few years, he's worked with the likes of former Slave frontman Steve Arrington, Snoop Dogg and new beat producers like Benedek and Computer Jay, so it's no surprise that the guest list runs long on his latest. In addition to the folks named above, Dâm-Funk also invites Q-Tip, Jody Watley, Nite Jewel and Kid Sister along for the ride, with each song changing to fit the contours of its guests. But beyond all the interlopers, this remains Dâm-Funk's show, and for all his chameleonic funk moves, it's the skate-rink boogie of the penultimate track that makes his modus operandi evident: 'Kaint Let 'Em Change Me.'" – NPR
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>Against Me – 23 Live Sex Acts 2xCD/3xLP (Total Treble)
Against Me released
Transgender Dysphoria Blues in early 2014, chronicling Laura Jane Grace's highly publicized gender transition. This double-disc live set includes older fan-favorites "I Was A Teenage Anarchist" and "White Crosses," along with highlights from the latest album, including the focus track "True Trans Soul Rebel." (Vinyl version is available as a Regular and Deluxe HQ-180gm gram clear with blue and yellow splatter vinyl.)
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>The Libertines – Anthems For Doomed Youth CD/LP (Harvest)
Anthems For Doomed Youth is the long-awaited follow-up to the band's 2004 self-titled album. The Libertines was formed in London in 1997 by front men Carl Barât (vocals/guitar) and Pete Doherty (vocals/guitar). The band, centered on the songwriting partnership of Barât and Doherty, was part of the garage rock revival and spearheaded the movement in the UK.
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>Joan Shelly – Over And Even CD/LP (No Quarter)
"If Kentucky folk singer and guitarist Joan Shelley had written the stories of her second album,
Over And Even, for a book instead, its cover would be the forest green of middle Appalachia, and its edges would be worn. Her voice is milky and smooth, but her songs are aged and made wise by their lyrical weight. From the best of her genre she's inherited the illusory ability to write songs that sound ancient and unimpeachably true. So there would be no first edition of her book — it would arrive well-loved." -- NPR
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>Fidlar – Too CD/LP (Mom + Pop)
This 12-song collection of pop-infused garage rock expands on the band's 2013 self-titled album that put them at the forefront of modern punk music.
Too showcases a band that continues to fine-tune its sonic approach while also highlighting a more introspective and revelatory approach to songwriting. It also marks the first time the band has worked with a producer (Jay Joyce, Nashville). "We could have made record number one again… but instead we decided to challenge ourselves and admit that we don't know everything," said guitarist and lead vocalist Zac Carper. "Up until this point we had recorded everything ourselves, so working with a producer taught us so much. I didn't want to make a standard rock record. The goal for this album was to think outside the box and I think Jay really helped us do that."
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>Public Image Ltd. – What The World Needs Now… CD/2xLP (PiL Official)
PiL's 10
th album follows the huge critical success of 2012's This Is PiL, the band's first album in 17 years. In winter 2014 PiL returned to Steve Winwood's Wincraft studio in the Cotswolds' to record What The World Needs Now... Commenting on the album, John Lydon says, "Buy now while stocks last." It is self-funded by PiL and released on their own label, with artwork partly inspired by Native American Hopi characters, was designed and painted by John Lydon. "t's a sturdy, muscular affair wherein Lydon rants energetically about everything from blocked toilets to Botox and the iCloud, on quintessentially cranky, ruck-friendly fare such as ‘Double Trouble' and ‘I'm Not Satisfied'" – Record Collector. "A record of disarming directness…" -- Mojo