LUNA music essentials...

for the week of 30 SEPTEMBER 2016
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>Bon Iver – 22, A Million CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Jagjaguwar)
22 stands for Justin Vernon. The number’s recurrence in his life has become a meaningful pattern through encounter and recognition. A mile marker, a jersey number, a bill total. The reflection of '2' is his identity bound up in duality: the relationship he has with himself and the relationship he has with the rest of the world. A Million is the rest of that world: the millions of people who we will never know, the infinite and the endless, everything outside one’s self that makes you who you are. The other side of Justin’s duality is the thing that completes him and what he searches for.
22, A Million is thus part love letter, part final resting place of two decades of searching for self-understanding like a religion. And the inner-resolution of maybe never finding that understanding. When Justin sings, “I’m still standing in the need of prayer” he begs the question of what’s worth worshipping, or rather, what is possible to worship. If music is a sacred form of discovering, knowing and being, then Bon Iver’s albums are totems to that faith. The ten songs of 22, A Million are a collection of sacred moments, love’s torment and salvation, contexts of intense memories, signs that you can pin meaning onto or disregard coincidence.
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>Pixies – Head Carrier CD/LP (PIAS America)
With their new album and second since reforming in 2004, David Lovering, rhythm guitarist/vocalist Black Francis and guitarist Joey Santiago officially welcome bassist Paz Lenchantin to the Pixies' permanent line-up. Lenchantin has been the band's touring bassist since January 2014, and played an integral part in the recording of
Head Carrier. “When talking about the modern incarnation of the Pixies, it’s hard to avoid discussing the absence of bassist Kim Deal, who was a huge part of what made the band so memorable to begin with. Luckily, new bassist Paz Lenchantin proves more than capable of filling her shoes, and actually contributes vocals to ‘All I Think About Now,’ which is one of the album’s most poignant moments. Head Carrier thrives for one simple reason: it sounds like a Pixies album.” “There are bits of enthralling guitar throughout, and the album as a whole feels like a combination of the catchiness of ‘Here Comes Your Man’ and the futurism of Bossanova. If the letdown of Indie Cindy caused you to lose faith in the Pixies, let Head Carrier bring you back to the flock. It’s one of the best albums of 2016, and an incredible return to form for an all-time great band” – Uproxx. [Limited Pink vinyl edition also available -- Part of the Ten Bands One Cause benefit for Gilda’s Club NYC, an organization that provides community support for both those diagnosed with cancer and their caretakers.]
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>Drive-By Truckers – American Band CD/LP+7” (ATO)
“Drive-By Truckers are pretty damn pissed. Not ‘drunk pissed,’ but ‘pissed pissed’ – thoroughly miffed at the odious political climate that hangs heavy over the United States in the run up to the presidential election; utterly disgruntled at the startling rise of ill-informed prejudices held by an unthinking public, brainwashed by the embarrassing media circus of the far right.
American Band the first Truckers album since the band began 20 years ago not to feature the vibrant, colorful illustrations of the unmistakable Wes Creed on its sleeve. The mood is bleaker – much bleaker – and instead we have merely a subdued grey image of the national flag at half-mast. The deep-rooted distrust and resentment of the music here may not be immediately apparent to the most casual of listeners. Mike Cooley is no stranger to the Jagger aping blues rock jam of ‘Kinky Hypocrite,’ having adopted such a persona before on the likes of ‘Three Dimes Down’ and ‘Gravity’s Gone,’ and you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s party time when this one plays, while sparring partner Patterson Hood’s ‘Sun Don’t Shine’ seems on the surface to be a kind of soulful ballad feasibly inspired by his late friend and R&B musician Eddie Hinton. But it doesn’t take much of a genius, once you’ve sat and paid proper attention to the lyrics, to recognize the sorrow, the anger, and above all, the exasperation of these most poetic of world weary observers.” -- God Is In The TV. [Limited red color vinyl edition also available.]
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>Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition CD (Warp)
Atrocity Exhibition is a fresh, bold rap album -- a sonic swirl inspired by the work of Talking Heads and Joy Division that sounds like nothing else from the past or present. Featuring contributions from producers like Evian Christ, Petite Noir (who also lends vocals to the world-weary clang of ‘Rolling Stone’), Black Milk, The Alchemist and frequent collaborator Paul White, the album is full of laser-beam guitars, gym-teacher whistles, creaking vocal samples, and air-raid drones. It is the most intriguing take on hallucinatory rap since the heady heights of Cold Vein or Madvillainy. Known for his wide range of collaborations, including everyone from Purity Ring, The Avalanches and Rustie to Schoolboy Q, E-40, and Ghostface Killah, Atrocity Exhibition sees a continuation of this carefully curated mix. Kelela lends her snaking vocals to the intriguingly murky “From The Ground,” Cypress Hills B-Real delivers a languid hook on “Get Hi,” and Earl Sweatshirt, Kendrick Lamar, and Ab-Soul all convene for the twinkling ominousness of album standout “Really Doe.” [Vinyl edition due October 28.]
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>Van Morrison – Keep Me Singing CD/LP (Caroline)
Keep Me Singing is Van Morrison's 36th studio album to date and consists of 13 tracks -- 12 original songs written and performed by Morrison, as well as a cover of the blues standard “Share Your Love With Me” -- written by Alfred Baggs and Don Robey and previously recorded by artists such as Aretha Franklin and Kenny Rogers. The dozen originals on the new album circle around themes of letting go of old hurts (“Too Late”), of valuing the bonds of friendship (“Every Time I See A River”), of acknowledging the past without being governed by it (“Memory Lane”) and of remaining open to love (“Let It Rhyme”). Over time, Morrison has become more interested, and adept, at delving into deeply personal territory in his songs, even using the compositions as a window into the realm of his spirituality. “In the early days, I was just finding archetypal songs,” said the singer, songwriter and instrumentalist whose body of work is as celebrated as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and other rock poet-musicians. [Limited vinyl edition featuring a lenticular cover also available.]
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>Jenny Hval – Blood Bitch CD/LP (Sacred Bones)
“Contemporary pop culture teems with unfiltered first-person narratives and cathartic self-exposure, from search-engine-optimized ‘it happened to me’ essays to the highbrow family memoirs of authors like Maggie Nelson. At its worst, the form is trashy; at its best, it can convey ideas that extend far beyond the confessor, tapping into something both intensely intimate and universally political. The avant-garde Norwegian singer Jenny Hval pulls off this feat with a rare grace, layering prose poems, both spoken and sung, over synths, pulsing house rhythms, and noise-rock fuzz. Where Hval's last studio album,
Apocalypse, Girl, served as a withering feminist commentary on the sexual politics of American consumer culture (sample lines: ‘I beckon the cupcake/The huge capitalist clit’; ‘I grab my c*nt with my hand that isn't clean’), Blood Bitch, deconstructs the menstrual cycle, the aging body, and the symbiotic relationship between lovers, vampires, and prey” – The Village Voice. [Limited red color vinyl pressing also available.]
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>EZTV – High In Place CD/LP+MP3 (Captured Tracks)
Many of EZTV’s foundational inspirations -- the Feelies' jangle, the upside-down pop architecture of Arthur Russell's The Necessaries, Shoes' aching harmonies -- are back in play on their sophomore album,
High In Place.
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>Machinedrum – Human Energy CD/2xLP+MP3 (Ninja Tune)
Human Energy, Travis Stewart (aka Machinedrum) has made a career-defining album. From opener "Lapis," Machinedrum sets out his stall -- an arpeggio ascending to heaven which, apparently building towards the mother of all drops, instead fades up and off into the ether. The music throughout is scintillating: from the mind-candy riffs of "White Crown" (featuring some crazy guitar work from Tosin Abasi of progresive metal band Animals As Leaders), the ecstatic d&b finale of "Do It 4 U" (an absolute stand-out with showstopper vox from singer-of-the-moment DAWN), the smile-inducing, melodic brilliance of "Color Communicator," or the precision and build of first single "Dos Puertas," featuring Rihanna collaborator Kevin Hussein. [Limited color vinyl edition also available.]
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>Banks – The Altar CD/LP (Harvest)
Goth R&B artist Banks follows up 2013's brooding
Goddess with her sophomore effort.
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>Regina Spektor – Remembering Us To Life CD/2xLP (Sire)
Remember Us To Life is composed entirely of all new songs recently written by Spektor, a change from past albums when she would record songs written throughout her career. Spektor gave birth to her first child in 2014 and she spent considerable time writing during and after her pregnancy. Says Spektor “I made more art and felt more inspired than I had in a long time.” “In many ways it's classic Spektor, lilting and lovely with percussive twists and glossy pop polish, but [album track] ‘Bleeding Heart’ also embraces nimble strings and surprising synths that skip throughout. An artist who blossomed from NYC's fertile music scene in the early 2000s to become arguably the most commercially successful of her peers, and yet she's still retained that punkish chutzpah (noted at the two and half minute mark) that we fell for when she was playing plinking keys and clattering with her drumsticks back in 2003” – Vice/Noisey. [CD is available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds three bonus tracks. Double-LP vinyl edition contains the three bonus tracks.]
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>Nick Waterhouse – Never Twice CD/LP+MP3 (Innovative Leisure)
A cool and elegant post-post-modern cocktail of 1950s R&B and club jazz, mixed with 1960s soul and boogaloo, and shaken with a minimal contemporary sensibility,
Never Twice finds the artist taking his time, refining his vision, and speaking with new authority. “There’s been a prominent R&B revival over the last few years, with new artists coming in to modernize the sounds of the likes of old school Usher and Toni Braxton. But true, soulful rhythm and blues has also produced a number of noteworthy musicians recently, those who harken back to the roots of Ray Charles and Bo Diddely. That’s where San Francisco’s Nick Waterhouse comes from, the kind of bluesy swing that feels lovingly throwback without sounding aged.” – Consequence Of Sound
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>Eric Clapton – Live In San Diego (With Special Guest JJ Cale) 2xCD (Reprise)
On March 15, 2007, Eric Clapton's world tour stopped at San Diego's iPayOne Center (originally the San Diego Sports Arena and now the Valley View Casino Center). The band lineup for the tour consisted of Derek Trucks and Doyle Bramhall II on guitars, Chris Stainton and Tim Carmon on keyboards, Willie Weeks on bass, Steve Jordan on drums, and backing vocalists Michelle John and Sharon White. During the set, Clapton's long-time musical inspiration, JJ Cale, sat in for five songs, including three from their Grammy- winning 2006 album
The Road To Escondido. [Vinyl edition due November 4.]
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>Temple Of The Dog – Temple Of The Dog [Reissue/1991] CD/2xCD/2xCD+DVD+Blu-ray (Interscope)
25th anniversary reissue of Temple Of The Dog’s landmark, platinum certified 1991 album -- a tribute to Andrew Wood, the former lead singer of Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone, who died on March 19, 1990 of a heroin overdose. Newly mixed by Brendan O'Brien, this reissue is available in four configurations, including Regular single-disc, a double-disc set including demos and unreleased tracks, and a four-disc Super Deluxe set featuring a total of 48 unreleased tracks and/or mixes. The vinyl edition is due November 11.
for the week of 16 SEPTEMBER 2016
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>Kishi Bashi – Sonderlust CD/LP+MP3 (Joyful Noise)
Sonderlust is an album forged through heartbreak. After his two previous studio albums and his String Quartet Live! release, Kishi Bashi was at a musical impasse. “As I sat down to write songs last summer, I went to all my usual conduits of creation: violin loops, guitar, piano, and I came up with the musical equivalent of fumes,” says K Ishibashi. “I tried to create orchestral pop recordings that I assumed were my forte, and in turn I found myself standing in front of a creative wall of frightening heights.” At this very same moment of musical uncertainty, K's personal life was falling apart... He and his wife of 13 years had briefly separated and were struggling to keep their marriage together. In his own words, “Touring and its accompanying lifestyle took a heavy toll on my soul and my family.” As an outlet, K submerged himself in a new musical direction. Sonderlust emerged as a direct result of this personal struggle that took place at an artistic crossroads. With the help of producer Chris Taylor (Grizzly Bear), engineer Pat Dillet (Angelique Kidjo, David Byrne), and drummer Matt Chamberlain (Morrissey, Fiona Apple, of Montreal), Kishi Bashi has created a personal and artistically adventurous work. [Limited gold and black color vinyl edition also available.]
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>Dawes – We’re All Gonna Die CD/LP+MP3 (HUB Records II LLC)
L.A. band Dawes return with their fifth album.
We’re All Gonna Die was produced by Grammy nominated producer Blake Mills (Alabama Shakes) and includes backing vocals from Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Brittany Howard of The Alabama Shakes, Mandy Moore, Will Oldham, and Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of Lucius. Of the album, Taylor Goldsmith (guitar, vocals) explains, “Pretty much every song on this record explores a difficult situation and tries to find a way to find the good in it, or at least remind yourself that it's not always that big of a deal. After all, as scary as it is, we are all gonna die.” “If last year’s All Your Favorite Bands was a sweet source of comfort-rock, We’re All Gonna Die is something of a wake-up call, with sharper sounds and harsher vibes, straight from the jarringly fuzzy note that opens its title track” – The Fader. [Limited yellow marble color vinyl pressing also available.]
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>Alex G – DSU CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Run For Cover)
Two years after its initial release on boutique Brooklyn label Orchid Tapes, Alex G’s fourth LP
DSU is back in print across all formats. Considered by many to be the record that shone a spotlight onto the longtime lo-fi Bandcamp-favorite, DSU is an indie rock record empowered and enlightened by Alex Giannascoli’s bedroom-pop sensibilities.
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>El Perro Del Mar – KoKoro CD/LP (The Control Group)
Written and produced by El Perro Del Mar and Jacob Haage, the 10 original songs of
KoKoro are her most ambitious and musically adventurous to date, yet no less emotionally direct, covering themes that speak to both big and small matters of the heart. With soundscapes that echo of Thailand, Sumatra, India, Ethiopia, and China, the orchestration of KoKoro is unlike any of El Perro Del Mar’s previous releases, a direction only hinted briefly on the Pale Fire LP highlight “I Was A Boy.” It features the Chinese string instrument Guzheng, the Japanese Shakuhachi flute, various other Asian flutes, Arabic strings, Dulcimer, and rhythms influenced by Ethiopian music.
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>Cymbals Eat Guitars – Pretty Years CD/LP+MP3 (Captured Tracks)
On their fourth album,
Pretty Years, Cymbals Eat Guitars’ trademark cacophony guitar rock and innate propulsion are still abundant, now buttressed by raucous synth and keyboard lines and an extemporaneous saxophone performance, which enrich when they could easily clutter these songs. The band also worked more quickly and efficiently than they had in the past, facilitated by years on the road in which they've played close to a thousand shows, which rendered them a tight, fully-oiled machine in the studio.
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>Die Antwoord – Mount Ninji And Da Nice Time Kid CD (Zef/Kobalt)
Mount Ninji And Da Nice Time Kid is the fourth studio album by South African rap-rave group Die Antwoord (duo of Ninja and ¥o-landi Vi$$er). “When Ninji, ¥o-landi and God hooked up with The Black Goat and started recording Die Antwoord's 4th album around 2 years ago the mood of the tracks we started banging out was rough and tough and mischievious and wild and hard and dark and at that point were going to call this album Rats Rule, cos in life you get the champions and the underdogs and in our minds we sometimes feel like 1 level below the underdogs in this fucked up pop world, but we also know our time is coming, and soon we gonna take over this whole bitch. So anyway, then we made some more tracks and the core of the album stayed all dark and ratty but a new layer oozed out around our dark core that was kinda mental and lunatic and random and juicy and 2 much fun and so we changed the name of our album to We Have Candy. Then recently while we was finishing up this album another layer exploded out of our dark wild juicy core like a giant supernatural mega aura and suddenly our album was so epic and sometimes vulnerable and sometimes sweet and romantic and so brave and full of mystery. ¥o-landi said, ‘Why don't we call the album Mount Ninji And The Nice Time Kid?’”
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>Kool Keith – Feature Magnetic CD (Mello Music)
“In a world filled with cheesecake rappers, one man Kool Keith, has assembled a phenomenal team to bring you madness. Critics are calling it sensational. So stop what you're doing and get ready for a journey you've never taken before. The ultimate adventure into
Feature Magnetic. You will never be the same. Free association, sci-fi, sextastic, horrorcore, Kool Keith invented it all. His newest excursion into rhyme finds a who's who of rappers holding it down alongside Keith. From Dirty Nasty to Slug, MF Doom to Bumpy Knuckles, Mac Mall to Rass Kass -- the best to have ever done it spit hotter fire than even Dylan. Like butterscotch ice cream on your crotch or eating dead bok choy with Soldier Boy, you've got to think about it. Get cozy and sit inside the paragraph. This is Feature Magnetic, Kool Keith's newest reality breaker.” [Vinyl edition due September 27.]
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>Tim Presley The WiNK CD/LP/Cassette (Drag City)
The dark force behind White Fence steps into the solo light. “The man inside White Fence’s psych-punk dirigible is shown to be just that — a man, unwashed and yeah, somewhat slightly dazed. Tim’s sharp-hooked tunes, produced by Cate Le Bon in a shattered fashion implying calamitous twists of fate, pull at us addictively, pull us narcotically inward. Dark, compelling listens on repeat!”
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>Trentemøller – Fixion CD/2xLP+MP3 (In My Room)
The fourth full-length offering from Danish artist Anders Trentemøller.
Fixion succeeds in traversing a swathe of influences and unassuming genres -- yet all the while holding true to Trentemøller's unique and sometimes challenging vernacular. From cascading minimalist synth-scapes to driving electro-punk, each track is bound together with a contemplative melodic complexity.
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>Carrie Newcomer – The Beautiful Not Yet CD (Available Light)
Newcomer joined forces with producer and banjo virtuoso Jayme Stone (Lomax Project) to create
The Beautiful Not Yet. It is a collection of joyous, earthy songs featuring elegantly layered chamber/roots arrangements, Newcomer’s signature warm, intimate vocals and filled with the ache and awe of human longing. “We live in an ever accelerating world where we are not encouraged to stop, reflect or pause the perpetual motion of our lives,” Newcomer remarks. “I’ve always been more intrigued by good questions than easy answers questions like, what do I love beyond words or measure, what sustains and connects us, where do we find help in hard times, how can I be more present in my daily life, and when I stop and pull back the layers of distraction, what is at the very heart of my life?”
for the week of 09 SEPTEMBER 2016
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>The Head And The Heart – Signs Of Light CD/LP (WB)
“The Head And The Heart, a sextet hailing from the lush scenery and music of Seattle, releases its third record, Signs of Light, after a six-year tumultuous whirlwind of constant touring and musical soul searching. When the group made its 2010 debut with the critically acclaimed self-titled album, the world was introduced to an indie-folk, chant-rocking band of wayward hipsters that brought pulse back to an Americana scene that was growing weary of galloping new-grass and Irish-undertoned sloshy sing-alongs. They brought West Coast vibes with heartland hopes and dreams laden with rambling pianos and Billie Holiday garnishes.
Signs Of Light reveals an ever-widening landscape that allows for their inspirations, new and old, to be revealed and perfectly crafted into an emotional trek that connects cranial synapses with the mysterious passions of the heart. It’s the perfect soundtrack to accompany the season of a new school year and everything that comes with early autumn.” – Columbia Country Magazine
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>Jack White - Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016 2xCD/2xLP+MP3 (Third Man)
Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016 is the definitive Jack White songwriting collection, spanning his 20+ year career. It includes White's acoustic-based recordings with the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, and his acclaimed solo projects. The music included here is all-encompassing, highlighting White's versatility, and the songs are presented with unique character in chronological order. As noted American author and music journalist, Greil Marcus, conveys in the albums liner notes: "The lack of electric guitar opens songs up to their own contrivance, and cuts out pretentions of seriousness and grandiosity in favor of the quiet, the ridiculous, the sly." The completely remastered collection includes album tracks, B-Sides, remixes, alternate versions, and previously unreleased studio recordings.
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>Allah-Las – Calico Review CD/LP (Mexican Summer)
Calico Review, Allah-Las weave their dreamy version of west coast psychedelia with advanced songwriting and exquisite production detail. “Despite being direct heirs of folk-rockers extraordinaires The Byrds in their laid-back West Coastness, Allah-Las always seem more detached from the vicissitudes of the real world than their pioneering ancestors. Their music is about letting go and being beautiful. Their songs soundtrack the act of embracing what is given to you as if it were the most precious treasure in the world. Calico Review is as enjoyable and feel-good as one expects an Allah-Las album to be, and once again underlines their pertinence as a band of their time, in opposition to a mere revisitation of the psych-folk golden era. The instrumental experimentation is spot-on, not imposing itself too much on the melodies nor serving as a vehicle for virtuosity; they sound solid and everlasting, yet serene enough to know how to take their music to the next level.” – The 405
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>Local Natives – Sunlit Youth CD/LP+MP3 (Loma Vista Recordings/Infectious Music)
Expanding, questioning, digging, changing every tactic: These are all elements of the creative process that's led to the uplifting music on Local Natives' new album
Sunlit Youth. The southern California band's debut album, 2010's Gorilla Manor, was named for the Silver Lake house where the band gave birth to the music. The sound of that album defined Local Natives from the get-go: indie rock mixed with Afropop rhythms, lots of guitars and distinctive harmonies. Most important was the band's process of writing and creating collectively within Gorilla Manor's walls, and the house served as a studio for the darker-sounding 2013 album Hummingbird, too. But for the shiny Sunlit Youth, Local Natives has broken out from behind those walls. The world became the band's studio, with writing and recording taking place on extended excursions to Thailand and Nicaragua. That's where the band's members listened to a wide variety of music — D'Angelo, Vince Staples and Kendrick Lamar were all part of their diet — and asked themselves, ‘Well, what is Local Natives?’ Musically, Fountain Of Youth isn't an entirely new sound for Local Natives; while the band's moved away from indie-rock guitars, its impassioned vocals and expansive harmonies are intact.” – NPR
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>St. Paul & The Broken Bones – Sea Of Noise CD/LP (Records, LLC)
Sea Of Noise, the second full-length album by St. Paul & The Broken Bones, marks a quantum leap in sound and style for the high-voltage Birmingham, Alabama-based band. Produced by Paul Butler and recorded at Nashville’s Sound Emporium, the group’s sophomore effort features an expanded eight-piece lineup of the widely praised soul-based rock unit. Longtime members Paul Janeway (lead vocals), Jesse Phillips (bass, guitar), Browan Lollar (guitars), Andrew Lee (drums), Al Gamble (keyboards), and Allen Branstetter (trumpet) are joined by Jason Mingledorff (saxophone, clarinet, flute), and Chad Fisher (trombone). Sea Of Noise is a successor to the Broken Bones’ 2013 debut album Half The City, which introduced the group’s blazing mating of ‘60s soul fire – daubed with latter-day influences like Sly Stone, David Bowie, and Prince -- to Janeway’s impassioned singing and writing. The new album witnesses a deepening and broadening of the unit’s musical reach and lyrical concerns.
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>Teenage Fanclub - Here CD/LP+MP3 (Merge)
Six years used to be a lifetime in rock ’n’ roll. Kids driven by the urgency of youth form bonds, plug in, play gigs, find a label. Acclaim, exhaustion, over and out. Teenage Fanclub’s early years were propelled by that kind of frantic energy (thankfully without the flameout). As outliers of the sound of young Scotland’s second wave, they released five albums in their first six years together. The tenth Teenage Fanclub LP—
Here—arrives six years after the release of 2010’s hugely acclaimed Shadows (described by Uncut as “the sound of a great group ageing gracefully”). Here is the work of a band entirely confident in their own craft—the consolidation of nearly three decades of peerless songwriting and almost telepathic musicianship. From the almighty chime of opener “I’m In Love” (“We will fade into history, I’m in love with you love … And I like your trajectory, I’m in love with you love”) through the ecstatic soul-search of “The First Sight” (“Will I ever get to see the first sight of a heart that’s true?”) and the paean to unerring friendship “With You” (“I will hide with you from sadness, and bad philosophy / I will laugh with you at madness, and learned stupidity”), Here is a collection of twelve songs about the only things that truly matter: life and love. [Limited edition clear vinyl pressing also available.]
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>Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree CD/LP (Bad Seed Ltd.)
Skeleton Tree is many things: foremost it is the sixteenth studio album from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, and a companion to Andrew Dominik’s feature film One More Time With Feeling. Filmed in both black-and-white and color and in 2D and 3D, Dominik’s film was initially intended to be a performance-based film of the recording of Skeleton Tree. But, following the death of Cave’s 15-year-old son Arthur in November 2015, a statement said: “The film evolved into something much more significant as Dominik delved into the tragic backdrop of the writing and recording of the album.” “Most of us don’t want to change, really. I mean, why should we?” wonders Cave in the black-and-white trailer. “But what happens when an event occurs that is so catastrophic that you just change? You change from the known person to an unknown person. So that when you look at yourself in the mirror, you recognize the person that you were, but the person inside the skin is a different person.”
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>CLIPPING – Splendor & Misery CD/LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
“It would be hard to find an album in 2016 more ambitious than Clipping.'s Splendor & Misery. It's a high concept project, but think of it less like the recent work of Kendrick Lamar and more like a sci-fi horror film (think Moon or Event Horizon) with heavy racial implications. The record tells the story of ‘the sole survivor of a slave uprising on an interstellar cargo ship, and the onboard computer that falls in love with him.’ MC Daveed Diggs is as skilled as any rapper in the game, and he's become a hot commodity thanks to his award-winning turn in Hamilton. He's the star here, using the sparse instrumentals from Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson. He reels off some impressive bars, including a speedy flow on "The Breach" that echoes Andre 3000's recent turn on Frank Ocean's Blond in its precision. Though they often draw comparisons to Death Grips, Clipping.'s music is more restrained and at times can feel more workmanlike. ‘All Black’ stands out for its eeriness, but its title also encompasses much of the record's mindset,
Splendor & Misery is unceasingly grim, to the point that it can make for a challenging listen even while admiring the skill that went into it.” – The Line Of Best Fit
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>Okkervil River – Away CD/2xLP (ATO)
Since releasing 2013’s
The Silver Gymnasium, the last Okkervil River album, Will Sheff, the sharp and literate songwriter who masterminds the band, has changed the entire lineup of the group. Sheff has relocated from Austin to New York, and he seems to be investigating the question of what it even means to be in a band when you’re the only permanent member. New album Away features contributions from Marissa Nadler, yMusic, and former Okkervil River member/current Shearwater frontman Jonathan Meiburg. “This is a dazzlingly euphoric and utterly stubborn album. It is rock music that resents other music; it’s other music trying to escape rock music. It’s about Sheff’s grandfather’s death, along with his band’s, addressing both the way you might in life: a multitude of listless emotions, organized and crashed, bitter and embracing. Parts of Away are so beautiful I can hardly believe it: in moments, the record chooses ornateness over grandstanding, and it sounds like Get Lonely as performed by Nils Frahm. In other moments the sageness disappears and verses spill like guts, jubilant in their rock ‘n’ roll bloodiness. Sheff has been capable of all this before, but this record sounds like a freeing experience, an attempt to make a fresh start without sacrificing a single piece of history.” – Sputnik Music
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>Daniel Lanois – Goodbye To Language CD/LP+MP3 (ANTI-)
Daniel Lanois is one of the most influential record producers of the modern era: the man who brought Bob Dylan back; longtime collaborator with Brian Eno, soundsculpting a series of mammoth releases for U2; and producer of breakthrough late-career albums by Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris. But before all that, Daniel Lanois was an experimental musician, recording his unique guitar voicings for groundbreaking albums with guys like Brian Eno and Jon Hassell, along the way helping to invent a genre called ambient music.
Goodbye To Language is the perfect joining of the dots, through the world-changing experiments of his early days with Eno, to his flights through the most rarefied atmospheres of the mainstream of music. Constructed entirely from the sounds of the pedal steel guitar, Daniel on the pedal steel and his mate Rocco Deluca on the lap steel with compositional rigor that recalls the 20th century dreamscapes of Ravel and Debussy, with a sense of sonic futurism and yet also with the naturalness that can only come from someone rooted in centuries of grassroots music.
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>Grouplove – Big Mess CD/LP+MP3 (Atlantic)
Recorded in Los Angeles and Seattle with producers Captain Cuts (Grouplove's own Ryan Rabin) and Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, Band Of Horses, The Shins),
Big Mess features the signature anthemic choruses and infectious hooks that first brought the Los Angeles quintet to prominence “The opening tracks of Big Mess are legitimately phenomenal. ‘Welcome To Your Life’ sounds like it should be the next big Katy Perry song, only with more heart as vocalists Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi dedicate the track to their child. It’s incredibly sappy, but the track is just so joyous that they get away with it. ‘Do You Love Someone’ is equally catchy, displaying the group’s mastery over the dynamics between the verses and chorus. The shift into the main chorus hook is accompanied by an explosive burst of guitars, and the effect is intoxicating. ‘Standing In The Sun’ isn’t quite as strong, but works as a solid imitation of rock bands like Powderfinger. ‘Good Morning’ is another standout, with catchy ‘ooh’ backing vocals. Hooper also provides vocals again on this track, and proves that the band are at their best when the vocal duties are shared” – Renowned For Sound. [Limited color vinyl edition also available.]
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>Bastille – Wild World CD/2xLP (Virgin)
Wild World is the second studio album by the English indie rock band. In an interview with NME, following the release of the lead single, “Good Grief,” Dan Smith hinted about the album’s sound: “I think we’ve really pushed our sound. The whole album weaves through these different moods and scenes, going from massive to tiny and intimate and then back to bombastic again. Because the first album was initially a bedroom project and I couldn’t play guitar at the time, there were no guitars on it. But then from touring we found that Will [Farquarson], who plays bass in the band, is also a really good guitarist. So we’ve tried to incorporate guitars into this album without falling into that clichéd indie sound. We’ve never really given a f**k about existing within a genre. If we wanna have a ridiculous, over-the-top blaring horn sample on one song and then go into minimal electronica on the next, that’s completely fine.” [CD is available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds five bonus tracks.]
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>New Order – Singles [2015 Remaster/Reissue/2005] 2xCD/4xLP (Rhino)
Singles charts New Order's finest moments, ranging from their 1981 debut "Ceremony" through to the influential classic "Blue Monday" and other career highlights including "Confusion," "True Faith," "Regret," and "Crystal" plus the chart-topping football anthem "World in Motion."
for the week of 02 SEPTEMBER 2016
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Anyone reckless enough to have typecast Angel Olsen according to 2013’s 'Burn Your Fire For No Witness' is in for a rethink with her third album, 'MY WOMAN.' The crunchier, blown-out production of the former is gone, but that fire is burning wilder. Her disarming, timeless voice is even more front-and-center. Yet, the strange, raw power and slowly unspooling incantations of her previous efforts remain.
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>The Frightnrs – Nothing More To Say CD/LP (Daptone)
“Crafted under the meticulous eye of black-belt reggae mastermind/producer Victor Axelrod (aka Ticklah),
Nothing More To Say is a rocksteady masterpiece the likes of which has not reared its head since the golden era of Studio One. However, you'll find no imitation here -- none of the faux-jamaican cliches of lesser reggae bands. Like all things Daptone, this record is above all soulful and honest.”
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>Zomby – Ultra CD/3xLP (Hyperdub)
“Zomby marks his first new gear on Hyperdub in eight years with the elusive club constructions of Ultra. Fourteen tracks that sculpt a neon-lit blend of eski grime, hardcore junglist futurism and cyberpunk UKG blues. Coming nine years after his first 12",
Ultra showcases all the styles and sounds that are the core of Zomby's sound, echoes of street level Wiley Kat grime filtered through a knowledge of hard to find UK hardcore tunes that even the deepest old school jungle YouTube channels couldn't throw up. Showing just how deep his connections run, the set calls on a jaw-dropping list of producers to help signify his sound. Rolling up the highly anticipated Burial track, ‘Sweetz’ flexes a stoned hardstep vocal loop over a drenched drum shuffle and that melts into the backdrop of Burial's trademark Metal Gear Solid atmospherics. Ultra is a sick LP and if you have ever rinsed any records by Zomby, Burial, Aphex Twin, Wiley, Rufige Kru, Metalheadz, Reinforced, Dumpvalve, Dream Catalogue etc. etc. then this is about as good as they come. There's a sound in London and we call it Zomby.” -- Bleep
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>James Vincent McMorrow – We Move CD/LP+MP3 (James Mahogany Books, Ltd.)
“We Move is not just the new James Vincent McMorrow album. It’s the next phase in a career that’s constantly changing. We’re very far from the earthy shores of 2010’s
Early In The Morning and further past the sunset haze of Post Tropical, this time around McMorrow’s music feels like the destination not the journey. Now resting in the fully formed sound of We Move, both McMorrow’s voice and songwriting become more vivid, and more grand in the great synthpop-esque sheen of the record’s production. The soulful close of ‘Last Story’ with its wall of harmony and lush melody fills every corner of the spectrum, finally bursting into an epic sonic passage that characterizes the clear ambition of the record. While also highlighting how far JVM has come.” – The Last Mixed Tape
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>Eluvium – False Readings On CD/2xLP+MP3 (Temporary Residence)
“As one of the preeminent artists in the ambient and electronic scene,
False Readings On is a welcome and much anticipated return from Eluvium (Portland’s Matthew Cooper). The album is inspired by the troubling, highly visible and very real aspects of ‘cognitive dissonance in modern society,’ and the music becomes a meditation on the separation from one’s self, the injuries inflicted by self-doubt and a mind under threat from a constant, crawling anxiety. Soft harmonies emit a slow, pulsing glow, but sometimes they shy away and retreat in on themselves, searching their own introverted hearts instead of merely pointing to, observing and studying other areas of society. The underlying electronics flow smoothly, and everything unites. An operatic vocal embellishes the music, but it actually does more than that; frequent appearances make it an essential part of the record’s soul.” – A Closer Listen
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>Mike & Rich – Expert Knob Twiddlers [Reissue/1996] 2xCD/3xLP+MP3 (Planet Mu)
Recorded in 1994, this collaboration between Aphex Twin (Richard D. James) and μ-Ziq (Mike Paradinas) has been remastered, resequenced, and expanded with seven bonus tracks. “For anyone with even a passing interest in the esoteric techno that rose to dominate the record shop racks and collections of many a mid- ‘90s DJ and home listener, this lesser known classic is considered to be one of the decade and scenes definitive LP's by those who know it. Having been recorded during the 1994 world cup when Mike and Rich shared a flat in North London, the vibe throughout
Expert Knob Twiddlers is one of lighthearted moog jams influenced by '70s British TV themes that also has a strong techno feel that saw it placed high up on the shelf of outer reaches electronica, a space shared with other stand out releases of the time from Cylob, Seefeel, DMX Krew and Squarepusher (who also all released groundbreaking albums on Rephlex in ‘96).” -- Bleep