LUNA music essentials...

for the week of 27 january 2015...
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>The Lone Bellow – Then Came The Morning CD/LP (Descendant)
"Brooklyn folk-rockers the Lone Bellow worked with Aaron Dessner on their upcoming album
Then Came The Morning, and some of the National's dark elegance is present in 'Fake Roses,' the second single they've shared from the project. The tune's warm tones and steady pulse also hearken to Arcade Fire's somber Funeral ballad ‘Une Année Sans Lumière' or Wilco's 'Via Chicago,' and there's a weathered grace to the vocal that reminds me of Van Morrison. And at the risk of turning this into nothing more than a long list of influences, the sighing pedal steel and moody twilight atmospherics evoke Justin Townes Earle's great 2012 release Nothing's Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now, which is high praise coming from me. (Earle's album was in my top 10 that year.) Reference points aside, The Lone Bellow have made a fantastic leap here, distancing themselves from the post-Mumford hordes and proving that a certain class of stately indie rock is still capable of sounding fresh and vital." – Stereogum
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>Natalie Prass – Natalie Prass CD (Sony)
New album from the Nashville-based singer/songwriter. While her delicate alto evokes clear benchmarks of influence (see early Rilo Kiley, Feist, Karen Carpenter, etc.) Prass never seems weighed down by the artists she's absorbed. Instead, she has developed a refreshing guitar-grounded musical vocabulary and a knack for infectious and entrancing tunes. Vinyl version 03 February 2015.
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>Punch Brothers – The Phosphorescent Blues CD (Nonesuch)
After working with T. Bone Burnett numerous times—most recently on the soundtrack for the Joel and Ethan Coen film
Inside Llewyn Davis and the related Town Hall/Showtime concert Another Day, Another Time—Punch Brothers decided to join forces with the multiple Grammy Award–winning producer for their new record. Last summer, the band and Burnett spent a month at Hollywood's Ocean Way Recording laying down the songs that guitarist Chris Eldridge, bassist Paul Kowert, banjo player Noam Pikelny, mandolinist and lead singer Chris Thile, and fiddler Gabe Witcher had written during several writing "retreats" last winter and spring. Vinyl version due February 24.
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>Twerps – Range Anxiety CD/LP+MP3 (Merge)
Formed in Melbourne in late 2008, Twerps enjoyed immediate success, releasing a series of vinyl singles and cassettes on various labels around the world. The release of their 2011 self-titled debut album led to appearances at SXSW and CMJ and tours with Real Estate, Mac DeMarco, and others. Not wanting to wait until 2015 to unleash new songs on present and future fans, Twerps quickly recorded the delightful
Underlay EP, which Pitchfork described as "songs fraught with universal, emotionally familiar sentiments."
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>Dengue Fever – The Deepest Lake CD (Tuk Tuk)
Dengue Fever is in the vanguard of an emerging global pop sensibility, making music that's both familiar, yet eerily unique. The Los Angeles sextet blends the rhythms of ‘60s Cambodian pop -- heavily influenced by American surf, rock and early psychedelic garage bands -- with their own eclectic mix of American and international styles. Vinyl version due February 24.
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>Doomtree – All Hands CD/2xLP+MP3 (Doomtree)
New release from the Minneapolis independent hip-hop collective. The production from Cecil Otter, Lazerbeak, Paper Tiger, and P.O.S. twists through 13 booming tracks, building the raw and epic soundscapes that the group has become well known for, while adding more of-the-moment musical elements and techniques for a genre-spanning effect.
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>Milo Greene – Control CD/LP (New Elektra)
New release from the L.A.-based cinematic pop band.
Control was recorded with producer Jesse Shatkin (Sia, Foster The People, Ellie Goulding) at his Highland Park, CA home studio. The band also enlisted the help of legendary drummer Joey Waronker (Beck, Atoms For Peace, R.E.M.), who shaped much of the album's complex rhythmic backdrop while also contributing drums to a number of tracks.
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>Mogwai – Music Industry 3: Fitness Industry 1 CDEP/12" (Rock Action)
New 6-tracker from late 2014. Remixes of three songs off the
Rave Tapes album, plus three exclusive cuts.
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>Various Artists – Dance Mania: Ghetto Madness CD/2xLP (Strut)
Strut return to the archives of seminal Chicago house label Dance Mania for this compilation. The follow-up to Strut's Dance Mania
label retrospective Hardcore Traxx from early 2014, this new installment places the spotlight on the raw, stripped back, hyper BPMs of ghetto house and the rise of the movement's fresh generation of stars during the mid-‘90s including DJ Deeon, DJ Funk, Jammin' Gerald and DJ Milton.
for the week of 20 january 2015...
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>Belle & SebastianGirls In Peacetime Want To Dance CD/2xCD/2xLP/4xLP+MP3 (Matador)
Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance is the long-awaited follow-up to 2010's Write About Love. Produced and mixed at Maze Studios in Atlanta by Ben H. Allen III, best known for his work with Gnarls Barkley, Animal Collective, and Raury, among others, the band -- who have been listening vintage Detroit techno and Giorgio Moroder -- have brought a dance party element into their gorgeous tales of sensitive souls navigating a world gone awry. (Vinyl edition is available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe features four extra songs plus extended mixes of two album tracks and a poster. Packaged in an outer box with four individual LPs with unique album art. Includes a download card for all of the tracks.)
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>Sleater-KinneyNo Cities To Love CD/LP+MP3/LP+12"+MP3 (Sub Pop)
No Cities To Love is the first album in ten years by Sleater-Kinney (guitarist/vocalist Carrie Brownstein, vocalist/guitarist Corin Tucker, and drummer Janet Weiss), who came crashing out of the '90s Pacific Northwest riot grrrl scene, setting a new bar for punk's political insight and emotional impact. Formed in Olympia, WA in 1994, Sleater-Kinney were hailed as "America's best rock band" by Greil Marcus in Time Magazine, and put out seven searing albums in ten years before going on indefinite hiatus in 2006. No Cities To Love was produced by the band's longtime collaborator John Goodmanson and is available on CD and in Regular (black) and Deluxe (HQ-180gm white) editions on vinyl. Deluxe also adds a bonus 12", poster, and custom slipcase.
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>Viet Cong – Viet Cong CD/LP (Jagjaguwar)
Debut LP from Calgary outfit Viet Cong, featuring former Women members Matt Flegel and Michael Wallace. Recorded in a barn-turned-studio in rural Ontario, the seven songs that make up
Viet Cong were born largely on the road, when Flegel and bandmates Mike Wallace, Scott Munro and Daniel Christiansen embarked on a 50-date tour that stretched virtually every limit imaginable. Close quarters hastened their exhaustion but also honed them as a group. You can designate records as seasonal, and you can feel Viet Cong's bleakness and declare it wintry. But the only way you get a frost is when there's something warmer to freeze up.
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>The Decemberists – What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World CD/LP (Capitol)
With their two most recent albums,
The Hazards Of Love and The King Is Dead, the songs flowed out of an overall theme. Entering the studio in May 2013, The Decemberists reversed that approach. "Typically we book four or five weeks in the studio and bang out the whole record," explains singer Colin Meloy. "This time, we started by just booking three days, and didn't know what we would record. There was no direction or focus; we wanted to just see what would come out. We recorded 'Lake Song' on the first day, live, and then two more songs in those three days. And the spirit of that session informed everything that came after."
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>Elephant Micah – Where In Our Woods CD/LP (Western Vinyl)
For the past 14 years, Elephant Micah's Joseph O'Connell has quietly self-released his music, sometimes collaborating with the psych-folk imprint Time-Lag Records or other very small labels. Despite the project's almost secretive status, Elephant Micah has repeatedly caught the attention of NPR, and has been championed by an impressive cohort of like-minded artists including Jason Molina, Hiss Golden Messenger, Dark Dark Dark, and Hurray For The Riff Raff.
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>Mac DeMarco – Demos, Volume 1 CD (Captured Tracks)
Available for wide release for the first time ever on one CD, Captured Tracks brings listeners the demos of Mac DeMarco's latest record
Salad Days, as well as the demos for Mac's critically acclaimed '2'.
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>Hanni El Khatib – Moonlight CD/LP+MP3 (Innovative Leisure)
On his 2011 debut
Will The Guns Come Out, Hanni El Khatib tried something he'd never tried before -- making a bedroom-style recording of his then stripped-to-the-skeleton guitar-and-drums rock 'n' roll mostly for the sheer joy of making it. For his ferocious 2013 follow-up Head In The Dirt, he tried something new again, showing up at producer Dan Auerbach's analog-dreamland Nashville studio with nothing but the clothes on his back and an open mind. For Moonlight, El Khatib spent 30 days locked in L.A. studio The Lair. The result is the rarest and most welcome kind of album, made at that perfect point in life where confidence, experience, and technique unite to help an artist do anything they want.
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>Perfect Pussy – I Have Lost All Desire For Feeling CD/LP (Captured Tracks)
Just over a year after playing their first show as a band, Perfect Pussy have quickly made a name for themselves as one of the most intense bands in the indie rock and hardcore punk communities, both live and on record. Their fast rise to success all stemmed from this four-track demo EP, originally released as a cassette only.
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>Siskiyou – Nervous CD/LP+MP3 (Constellation)
Siskiyou returns with
Nervous, a majestic album of carefully constructed art rock built around songwriter and lead singer Colin Huebert's stacked acoustic guitars and intimate, whispery vocals. Siskiyou's sound has been previously dubbed a sort of 'Northern Gothic', conjuring cold winds and the life-saving warmth of temporary shelters and tiny hearth fires. With Nervous, the band continues to push beyond the crisp lo-fi intimacy of its early work.
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>Joey Bada$$ - B4.DA.$$ CD/LP (Cinematic Music)
Influenced by the indie yet street attitudes of crew like Black Hippy, rapper Joey Bada$$ rose to fame by releasing mixtapes and forming his own hip-hop collective, Pro Era. Born in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn, Joey began performing under the name JayOhVee, but changed it to Joey Bada$$ before signing his Pro Era crew to the Cinematic Music label in 2012. It was the same year Joey made his solo debut with the mixtape
1999, which was followed in 2013 by the mixtape Summer Knights. Later that year he made his official debut when the Summer Knights EP landed, featuring four tracks from the mixtape of the same name. B4.DA.$$ is his debut album.
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>Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor 2xCD/2xLP (Loma Vista)
Marilyn Manson's ninth album does not just capture our cultural moment, but sinks swamp-deep into equally redneck, snake-handling Baptist-revival-tent terror. He shape-shifts vocally from preacher man to the fangs and venom of the serpent that he holds. Sounding like a conflicted black and blues combination of a life-lived,
The Pale Emperor is a nod to Manson favorites like Tom Waits, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Joy Division and T. Rex. In its use of space and texture, the album evokes shades of PJ Harvey, The Birthday Party and Bauhaus. The CD version is available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe is packaged in an eight-panel soft pack with a sand paper-grit front and back cover. Features a black polycarbonate disc with thermographic reveal ink print. Includes three bonus tracks plus exclusive interior photos by Nicholas Cope. The vinyl edition is pressed on either black or limited edition white wax.
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>Jellyfish
– Bellybutton [Reissue/1990] 2xCD (Omnivore)
– Spilt Milk [Reissue/1993] 2xCD (Omnivore)
Jellyfish's 1990 debut,
Bellybutton, has been remastered for the first time for this deluxe reissue. The full-length is joined on the first CD of the set by ten live performances recorded during that album's tour. These tracks include Jellyfish originals, as well as covers of songs from Paul McCartney & Wings and The Archies. The second disc of the set is composed of demos — nine that would end up on Bellybutton and one eventually recorded for Spilt Milk, as well as others of which studio versions were never cut, and a cover of Donovan's "Season Of The Witch." The band's follow-up, Spilt Milk, is also treated to a revelatory remastering, with the first disc adding eight demos of songs considered for, but not recorded for the release. The second disc contains demos for the album tracks, four live performances from the tour, the last studio recording from the band (a cover of Harry Nilsson's "Think About Your Troubles"), and a special message from Jellyfish recorded in the studio during the album's creation and originally sent to fan club members.
for the week of 13 january 2015...
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>Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper CD/LP (Domino)
Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper is the fifth studio album from Animal Collective founding member and critically acclaimed solo artist Noah Lennox, aka Panda Bear. It finds our hero leaving the airy minimalism of 2011's Tomboy and unpacking his sonic toolbox again (with the help of Pete "Sonic Boom" Kember), rearranging the multitude of his disparate influences into the ever-morphing concoction he refers to as "the soup." Old school hip-hop textures and production techniques meld with the intuitive, cyclical melodies he has become known for, for a sound that is at once dense and playful.
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>Guster – Evermotion CD/LP (Nettwerk)
Produced by Richard Swift (The Shins, Foxygen, Stereolab),
Evermotion bulldozes inhibitions, propelling the band to a harder-charging, more freewheeling sound as heard on lead single, "Simple Machine." Packed with tight hooks, muscular guitar riffs, clanging percussion and surprisingly dark lyrics, the new album features adventurous turns on slide guitars, brassy trumpets and a glockenspiel, with sax and trombone accompaniment.
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>Mark Ronson – Uptown Special CD (RCA)
As a teenager growing up in New York City in the early '90s, Ronson gravitated towards hip-hop, funk, soul and R&B. Those were the records he lugged around in boxes in the early days of his club DJ career and that scratchy, influential vinyl was what he returned to when creating the album.
Uptown Special, Ronson's fourth album, was written and produced with producer Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, Drake, Alicia Keys) over 18 months. The majority of the album's lyrics although not the lead single with Mars - were written by Pulitzer-winning American novelist Michael Chabon. Ronson's favorite living author, Chabon became a part of the songwriting process early on and was fully immersed in the album's narrative creation, often working with Ronson and the vocalists in the recording studio. Guests include: Bruno Mars, Mystikal, Tame Impala's Kevin Parker and more.
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>Justin Townes Earl – Absent Fathers CD/LP (Vagrant)
Following the success of his fifth-studio-album,
Single Mothers, Justin Townes Earle releases the companion album, Absent Fathers. Comprised of 10 tracks, Absent Fathers was recorded alongside Single Mothers as a double album, but as Justin began to sequence it, he felt each half needed to make its own statement and they took on their own identities.
for the week of 06 january 2015...
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>Dylan Gardner – Adventures In Real Time CD/LP (WB)
"Simply put, this is one hell of an accomplished debut. If Gardner's occasionally guilty of wearing his influences a little too enthusiastically on his sleeve (the record's first lines are ‘I'll be John and you be Yoko') and there's a puppyish eagerness to the aggressively layered production, the overall effect is more ingratiating than irritating. Gardner's energy is infectious, and no matter how hard these arrangements push the line between clever and cluttered, they never let you forget that there are honest-to-God songs keeping things anchored under all the oohs, aahs, and handclaps. You can tell they were built from the ground up rather than bloated out as a misguided means to an end." -- Popdose
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>Cybotron – Cybotron [Reissue/1976] CD/LP (Dual Planet)
Recently released on vinyl – now available on CD. Digitally remastered edition of the 1976 debut album from the legendary Australian electronic duo. Cybotron was the synthesis of progressive rock and electronic music experimentation. Conceived by pioneers of the Australian electronic underground, Steve Maxwell Von Braund and keyboardist Geoff Green, together they produced a series of mind-altering cosmic albums throughout the 1970s which set the tone for the minimal wave and electronic post punk scene of early 1980s Melbourne. Part Tangerine Dream, part Ash Ra Tempel, Cybotron channeled the spirit of Krautrock to create their own unique brand of throbbing komische electronica rivaling the futuristic vision of their German counterparts.
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>Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross – Gone Girl OST CD (Columbia)
Gone Girl is directed by David Fincher. The music for the film is by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Trent and Atticus have worked with Fincher on two previous films, The Social Network, for which they won an Oscar for Best Original Score, and the critically acclaimed The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Gone Girl is a thriller based on the bestselling book of the same name and stars Ben Affleck, Rosamond Pike and Neil Patrick Harris. Vinyl version due January 20.