LUNA music essentials...

for the week of 26 AUGUST 2014...
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>The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers CD/LP+MP3 (Matador)
Brill Bruisers is the first new release in four years from the acclaimed supergroup The New Pornographers, who NPR called "virtually peerless in the world of power-pop and indie-rock." "This is a celebration record," in the worlds of the lead-singer and main songwriter A.C. Newman, and that describes it perfectly – massively melodic, joyous pop music helmed by the soaring vocals of Neko Case, Dan Bejar and Newman himself.
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>Ty Segal – Manipulator CD/2xLP/Cassette (Drag City)
Mr. Segall's fifth long-player for Drag City. The clarion call/siren sound of his guitar, the helium-steamed ride of the vocals, track after track, releasing the thought that have been holding us down, all in the name of getting higher on pop songs. Why have one when you can have two? It's a big world, and
Manipulator has only begun to fight. Features Mikal Cronin (bass/string arrangements).
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>Merchandise – After The End CD/LP (4AD)
Drawing from too many places to be classified punk, Merchandise certainly has been informed by its ethics, earning all they've achieved. Still self-recording and producing their music, this time over a six month period,
After The End is a real achievement in showing what bands can achieve on their own.
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>J Mascis – Tied To A Star CD/LP+7"+MP3 (Sub Pop)
Tied To A Star, led by the songs "Every Morning" and "Wide Awake," was recorded and produced by Mascis and mixed by John Agnello at Bisquiteen in Amherst, MA. The album also features guest appearances from musicians Ken Maiuri (Young @ Heart Chorus), Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession), Mark Mulcahy (Miracle Legion) and Chan Marshall (Cat Power). Limited copies also available on pink vinyl with lithograph print.
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>Shovels & Rope – Swimmin' Time CD/2xLP (Dualtone)
Swimmin' Time is Shovels & Rope's follow-up to their acclaimed 2012 album O' Be Joyful.
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>Motel Beds – These Are The Days Gone By CD/LP (Misra)
Motel Beds are ever on the rise. The no-frills rock & roll band have otherwise-refined citizens soiling their trousers left and right. They've recorded with Kelley Deal (The Breeders, R. Ring) and Beds member Derl Robbins serves as engineer for Guided By Voices. Along with playing music, all five members are also male dancers at Applebee's on Wilmington Pike in Dayton (Tuesday, lunch shift, 11 AM – 2 PM).
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>Rentals – Lost In Alphaville CD/LP+MP3 (Polyvinyl)
The band fronted by ex-Weezer songwriter/bassist Matt Sharp release their first full-length in 15 years. Features appearances by Jessica Wolfe and Holly Laessig (Lucius), Ryen Slegr (Ozma), Lauren Chipman (The Section Quartet) and Patrick Carney (The Black Keys).
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>Cymbals Eat Guitars – Lose CD/LP (Barsuk)
"Wanna wake up wanting to listen to records / But those old feelings elude me / I raise a toast to the rock n' roll ghost," sings Cymbals Eat Guitars frontman Joseph D'Agostino on the hyper-adrenalized "XR," which sounds like a
Tonight's The Night outtake recorded at triple speed, with its braying harmonica and spitfire vocal delivery. It's the track that perhaps best captures the spirit of the band's third LP, Lose, one of coping with abject loss and grief by rediscovering what you've always loved, as difficult as it may be — the redemptive power of music.
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>Robin Hitchcock – The Man Upstairs CD/LP+CD+MP3 (Yep Roc)
Modern standards like The Doors' "The Crystal Ship" and The Psychedelic Furs' "The Ghost In You" are reimagined as stark and melancholy folk ballads, and then set to powerful effect alongside haunting new songs like the plaintive "Recalling The Truth."
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>The Young – Chrome Cactus CD/LP+MP3 (Matador)
Taking influence from early ZZ Top, Link Wray, Lungfish and Dead Moon, Chrome Cactus is a ball of power and controlled feedback disguised as ten of the catchiest songs you'll hear this year. This is far darker than they've ever sounded before. The breezy optimism of their earlier albums has been switched out for sinister, creeping dread in both the lyrics and music.
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>Basement Jaxx – Junto CD/2xCD/2xLP (PIAS America)
Junto is a bold, boisterous, brilliant album full of amazing gust vocal performances, richly layered production and the irresistible sense of groove that has set them apart from the very beginning. Spanish for "together," the concept behind Junto is one of unity and soulfulness, fusing dance music's sub-genres into on cohesive multi-flavored confection. Available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds bonus disc of remixes and three extra non-album tracks.
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>The Bug – Angels & Devils CD/2xLP (Ninja Tune)
Angels & Devils escapes the London cage, drawing on it for influence yet blowing it up into a world-view now seen from Kevin Martin's new Berlin home. A record that simultaneously draws on London Zoo, completes a triptych cycle which started with his Bug debut Pressure, and fills the spaces between and inserts what was missing previously. Both a year zero re-set and a continuation of what has been. Like the Bowie/Eno classic Low, or Can's Tago Mago, the album is split into two distinct themes and explorations of light and dark.
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>Rustie – Green Language CD/2xLP (Warp)
Rustie returns this summer with
Green Language, a development and testament to his true passions and influences, the album is a high energy 40 minutes that showcases Rustie's signature sound at new found heights. It's a mediation on everything from grime and hip-hop to sci-fi computer games and even prog rock. The album features guests such as Danny Brown, D Double E and Redinho. The tracks are expansive and inspired by such disparate sounds as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, My Bloody Valentine, trance music and the Glasgow electronic scene Rustie helped mold.
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>Mono/Poly – Golden Skies CD/LP (Brainfeeder)
Specializing in a kind of beat-driven cosmic soundscape which he describes as "electronic-classical-alchemy music," Mono/Poly aka Charles Dickerson has drawn on the lessons he's learned from collaborating on last year's Thundercat album as well as the Flash Bang Grenada hip-hop project with Busdriver and Nocando, and made a beautifully realized, endlessly expansive record.
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>Various Artists – XL Recordings: Pay Close Attention 2xCD/4xLP+DVD (XL)
XL Recordings is a collaborative endeavor, and many people have contributed to its evolution. In the song ''Out Of Space'', Liam Howlett of The Prodigy provided a blueprint when he sampled Kool Keith of Ultramagnetic MC's rapping these words: "Pay Close Attention." And whilst XL has never had any outside ownership, Gil Scott-Heron advised me not to even consider XL "independent" because everything is connected. This compilation is an attempt to illustrate some of these connections.
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>M83 – M83 [Reissue/2001] CD/2xLP+MP3
– Dead Cities Red Seas & Lost Ghosts [Reissue/2003]
– Before The Dawn Heals Us [Reissue/2005] CD/2xLP+MP3 (Mute)
M83's first three albums are back in print on CD and vinyl.
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>The Unicorns – Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone [Reissue/2003] CD (Caterpillar)
WWCOHWWG? was the third and final full- length album by the Canadian indie rock act The Unicorns, and was originally released in 2003. The album gained wide and immediate praise, with broad critical and commercial acclaim from outlets as diverse at NME, Pitchfork and The Village Voice. Vinyl version due October 7.
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>Lowell George – Thanks I'll Eat It Here [Reissue/1979] CD (Friday Music)
Thanks I'll Eat It Here finds Lowell George groovin' back to the earlier boogie and New Orleans rock and R&B feel found on his earlier Little Feat albums. Released a very short time before his untimely death, the album included his brilliant "20 Million Things," a funk infused Little Feat revisit with "Two Trains," plus several inspiring collaborations with notable friends like Van Dyke Parks and Little Feat's Fred Tackett, as well as significant cover versions like Allen Toussaint's What Do You Want The Girl To Do, and two bonus tracks never issued on original LP version.
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>Lewis – Romantic Times [Reissue/1985] CD/LP (Light In The Attic)
Sourced soon after the re-release of
L'Amour, Romantic Times is the 1985 follow-up - a familiar blond posing on the sleeve, a familiar, tortured voice pouring his heart out over languid synths and synthetic waltz beats.