kimber – diiv
lindsay – lucinda williams, diiv
dario – nap eyes
jeff – porches, diiv
THIS WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
Beacon – Escapements CD/LP+MP3 (Ghostly Int’l)
“Our very own 2011 Band To Watch honorees Beacon tinker with beat-driven, addictive electro-pop goodness that works just as well on the dance floor or in headphones, and their newest single ‘Preserve’ is no exception to the rule. The Brooklyn band start off with hard-hitting bass beats alongside a sparkling flurry of synths, driven by anchored, steadied resolution. It flits towards the more ambient-pop side of the spectrum and leans away from the likes of R&B, but its frothy beats will be hard to resist under the lights of the disco ball. “Preserve” is pulled from Beacon’s LP titled Escapements.” – Stereogum
John Cale – Music For A New Society/M:FANS [Reissue/1982] 2xCD (Domino)
Cale’s long out-of-print 1982 masterpiece, Music For A New Society, has been remastered and is now reissued along sidea radical new reworking of that critically-lauded albumentitledM:FANS. (Both were released on vinyl a few weeks ago.)
Michael Cerveris – Piety CD (Low Heat)
After years of high volume punk and alternative rock, Cerveris follows up his indie-rock guest star-studded 2004 Dog Eared solo debut with a return to his southern roots for this album of lushly orchestrated, melodic Americana. Vinyl edition due March 4.
Jason Collett –Song And Dance Man CD/LP (Arts & Crafts)
“Song And Dance Man,” the title track from Jason Collett’s sixth full-length album, finds the singer/songwriter back at center stage, with three-minutes-and-change and a story to sing. Featuring the bright production touch of Bahamas’ Afie Jurvanen, “Song And Dance Man” covers the trials and triumphs of the modern musician with poignant poetry: If you can tweet something brilliant, you got a marketing plan. Song And Dance Man’s thirteen songs bear the wit and melody of classic Jason Collett: contemplative reflections on getting older, backed with an affinity for freewheeling ‘70s dance music. The album’s conspiring themes of love and loneliness, sun and shadows, are buoyed by its soaring sound. Each song rises into an easy, spacious groove, lead by Jason’s languid melodies and Afie’s sun-drunk bass.
The Cult – Hidden City CD/2xLP (Cooking Vinyl)
Following up their 2012 album, Choice Of Weapon, singer Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy teamed up for the writing as the band’s only remaining original members. Explaining the concept behind the new record, Astbury said, “Hidden City is a metaphor for our spiritual lives, our intimate interior lives,” adding “I find today’s gurus are trying to peddle some cure, product or insight as if it’s a new phenomenon. My place is to respond, not react, to observe, participate and share through words and music. There is no higher authority than the heart.”The song “Dark Energy,” opens the album with a jumpy, swinging rhythm that sees Astbury’s signature croon enter shortly after. Keeping the bouncing rhythm, Duffy injects his ethereal, textured guitar playing hinting back at the band’s post-punk and goth rock days while maintaining their modern day sound.
Luther Dickinson – Blues & Ballads (A Folksingers Songbook) Volumes I & II CD/2xLP+MP3 (New West)
“This acoustic collection of songs interpreted simply, recorded live, solo or with a small group of friends, celebrates my relationship between music, songs, the written word and legacy. Blues & Ballads celebrates the American oral tradition of blues and folk songs, not only being passed down and evolving but being transcribed (the original recording technique) and entered into the discipline of written sheet music and songbooks. I represent the Memphis underground and the mid-south region’s music. This art is not for the masses. It is meant to wither and fade and then rise from the ashes again and again, evolving and mutating.” — Luther Dickinson 2015
DIIV – Is The Is Are CD/2xLP (Captured Tracks)
“There are plenty of bands that have served as their own worst enemies. DIIV had all the makings of a band banging on the door to stardom—hooks for days, a distinctive aesthetic in a crowded field, an edgy frontman who has acquired his own mythos. So the wait between their debut and sophomore efforts was an unwelcome wrinkle. After curating one of the finer entries into the Captured Tracks discography, the Brooklyn genre-melders hit a few snags, most notably Zachary Cole Smith’s arrest in late 2013 and drummer Colby Hewitt’s departure due to drug addiction. It all made a one-and-done affair seem like a real possibility.Is The Is Are’s opening line captures this sentiment perfectly: ‘You’re out of sight/And out of mind.’ DIIV were essentially off the grid for three years, more than enough time to be supplanted by a new rival. But rather than a distraction, the tabloid drama surrounding the band became the fodder for their new album. Is The Is Are takes everything that DIIV did well on Oshin, deepens it, broadens it, fiddles with more permutations, and does it all to excess.” – Pretty Much Amazing
Lou Doillon – Lay Low CD (Verve)
New release from the French singer/songwriter. Lou is Charlotte Gainsbourg’s half-sister, the daughter of Jane Birkin and French filmmaker Jacques Doillon. Like her famous half-sibling, Lou also dabbles regularly in both music and film.
Dr. Dog – The Psychedelic Swamp CD/LP+MP3 (ANTI-)
“Philly’s Dr. Dog made their first record, The Psychedelic Swamp, in 2000 but never officially released it. Sure, there’ve been bootlegs, and any long-time Dr. Dog diehard can list the LP’s songs — but the collection never got a chance to really shine. Now 15 years later, the album has gotten a complete makeover.The strange thing is not that the band is returning to the first thing they ever created together, but that returning was their intention all the while. ‘The concept behind it is that we were always going to redo it and make it super-accessible pop, which was built into the concept of The Psychedelic Swamp. Part of the original record that is so unlistenable is that,” he pauses to laugh, ‘it was trapped in a psychedelic swamp.’” – Charleston City Paper
Dressy Bessy – Kingsized CD/LP (Yep Roc)
First new album from the Denver “sweet-and-tart power-poppers” (Stereogum) four-piece since 2008 – features guest appearances from e R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, Wild Flag keyboardist Rebecca Cole, the Polyphonic Spree drummer Jason Garner, Young Fresh Fellows/The Minus 5’s Scott McCaughey, Apples In Stereo’s Eric Allen,and more.
C Duncan – Architect CD/LP (FatCat)
The son of two classical musicians, Christopher was drawn so persuasively to indie and alternative music and playing in school bands as a teen that he added guitar, bass guitar and drums to his existing repertoire of viola and piano, studying all five instruments at the same time. His debut LP for FatCat, Architect, is full of achingly personal songcraft that’s been recognized by NME, BBC Music, The Gurardian, Stereogum and most recently nominated for the UK’s Mercury Prize.
Field Music – Common Time CD/2xLP+MP3 (Memphis Industries)
“The first thing to note is the title. Field Music, aka the brothers Brewis, are not known for writing songs in ‘common time’, with regular numbers of beats to the bar. Their last, quite brill album Plumb was full of tunes in wonky time signatures, just like their other three studio albums. Intelligent pop music like Hot Chip, Steely Dan and Pet Shop Boys are the models, but Field Music have a real claim on being their own genre. For all the lop-sidedness of their tunes, there are still tunes within them.” – Press PLAY
Freakwater – Scheherazade CD/LP (Bloodshot)
“After 10 years of no new material, Freakwater have released an eighth kickass album, Scheherazade. This Kentucky-recorded album is both haunting and alluring. Scheherazade is diverse in style but consistent in talent, an album divided between fiddling murder ballads like ‘What The People Want’ and Southern-beachy-feeling tracks like ‘Velveteen Matador.’ This electric-folk album presents a track that is instrumentally upbeat, and then the next is slow-going and grave. Lyrically, Scheherazade reflects on affliction and imminent death. With distant-sounding harmonies and soothing electric-sets, Freakwater manifests the best elements of a bluesy, electric, country-folk band.” – Slug Magazine
Game Theory – Lolita Nation [Reissue/1987] 2xCD/2xLP+MP3 (Omnivore)
This expanded reissue of Game Theory’s ambitious fourth album adds a disc of alternate mixes, live recordings, and radio sessions – 48 tracks total. “Game Theory leader Scott Miller has never made much of a secret of his fondness for Big Star, but while Real Nighttime favored the sound of #1 Record and The Big Shot Chroniclessuggested the harder-edged tone of Radio City, Lolita Nation sounded like Game Theory’s variation on the themes of Big Star’s masterfully damaged swan song, Third/Sister Lovers. Certainly Game Theory’s most ambitious album, Lolita Nation was a two-LP set that combined some of Miller’s most user-friendly power pop with dark, moody ruminations on betrayal, failed love, and mortality, bursts of avant-garde noise, and fragments of unclassifiable studio doodling, all thrown into a sonic Cuisinart through Miller’s aggressive use of aural montage.” – AllMusic
The James Hunter Six – Hold On! CD/LP (Daptone)
“In early 2013, the James Hunter Six’s long-awaited release, Minute By Minute, a collaboration with producer Gabe Roth of Daptone Records fame, was released via Fantasy Records although Daptone secured the vinyl issue rights. Now, the two entities have gone even deeper as the James Hunter Six’s new album, Hold On!, is a full-on Daptone release.Across ten tracks, their signature sound—one they call retrogressive—is instantly recognizable. With a thump of bass and warm horns adorned throughout, it’s easily just as good as their previous album, which was one of the highlights in all of 2013” – Wax Poetics. “The UK’s best soul singer.” – Mojo
Junior Boys – Big Black Coat CD/LP+MP3 (City Slang)
Big Black Coat is a rich, direct, synth-pop record that introduces a new side to Junior Boys. It finds their signature sound counterbalanced by a new minimal approach. The second half of the album embraces a boiled down simplicity, incorporating elements of industrial and dubstep, reminiscent of long nights on the dance floor.
The London Suede – Night Thoughts [Deluxe Edition] CD+DVD (Rhino)
This Deluxe edition of The London Suede’s seventh album includes a bonus DVD containing a film based on the album. “The mark of a successful relationship is if its parties can evolve together. Britpop luminaries Suede proved theirs could be built to last when they reunited after a decade apart for Bloodsports in 2013, and lord knows they faced challenges during their ’90s heyday: industry pressure, member turnover (founding guitarist Bernard Butler acrimoniously left after 1994’s Dog Man Star), a frustrating name change (a lounge singer’s early ’90s lawsuit forced them to be billed as ‘The London Suede’ in the US), rampant drug abuse, and, ultimately, burnout. But breaks can lead to happy reunions, and on their second album post-comeback, Night Thoughts, the glam-rock revivalists again sound physically rejuvenated despite carrying an emotional albatross.” — SPIN
Mass Gothic – Mass Gothic CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Sub Pop)
Mass Gothic is led by former Boston-based band Hooray For Earth singer Noel Heroux. “If you’ve spent any time around rock and roll, you know that some great music has come out of depression, oftentimes when the musician explores it alone. In attempt to get back to his four-track days, Heroux made an album of weird synth-rock largely on his own, under the moniker Mass Gothic. It’s a surprising album, mostly in its ability to sound buoyant and tense simultaneously; its first single, ‘Nice Night,’ is the apex of the latter.” – Vulture
Nap Eyes – Thought Rock Fish Scale CD/LP+MP3 (Paradise Of Bachelors)
Recorded live to tape, with no overdubs, on the North Shore of Nova Scotia, Nap Eyes’ quietly contemplative sophomore record refines and elaborates their debut, offering an airier, more spacious second chapter, a bracing blast of bright oceanic sunshine after the moonlit alleys of Whine Of The Mystic. But the briny, cold Atlantic roils beneath these exquisite, literate guitar pop songs, posing riddles about friendship, faith, mortality, and self-doubt. For fans of The Only Ones/England’s Glory, The Modern Lovers, The Clean, The Verlaines, The Go-Betweens, Bedhead, and all things Lou Reed.
Porches – Pool CD/LP+MP3 (Domino)
Pool marks a major step forward for Porches frontman Aaron Maine—as an evolving singer/songwriter, and as a nascent producer. Written and recorded almost entirely in his Manhattan apartment, Pool is an elegant set of gorgeous synth-driven pop songs. The album is a fully immersive listening experience highlighting Maine’s insightfully filtered melancholy. “Musical and romantic partner Greta Kline of Frankie Cosmos lays her vocals like a cool sheet on ‘Hour,’ the album’s reflective first listen, a calming salve to Maine’s ragged loner stonerisms…” – SPIN
Sunflower Bean – Human Ceremony CD/LP (Fat Possum)
“As a band, Sunflower Bean have grown exceptionally fast. On the heels of strong live shows around their Brooklyn hometown and festivals like CMJ, the three-piece dropped an EP earlier this year. Since then, they’ve nailed down tours with the likes of Wolf Alice, DIIV, Best Coast, and others, leading to a staggering 100 performances in the span of just one year. That’s a lot for a fresh outfit. Recorded in just seven days, Human Ceremony sees them refining their psych rock ways into something with a bit more of a fuzzy pop edge, with a press release referencing influences like The Cure, The Velvet Underground, and The Feelies.” – Consequence Of Sound
Various Artists – Why The Mountains Are Black – Primeval Greek Village Music: 1907-1960 CD/2xLP (Third Man)
Double-disc collection of primal and unhinged Greek village music that at times sounds more like free jazz or doom folk, feral and trance-like as it is. After years of research, fieldwork and collecting, Christopher King—Grammy-winning producer, sound-engineer, curator and writer—has gathered together from his private 78 rpm archive the most mind expanding and libido inducing song and dance music from the rural hinterlands of mainland Greece and its islands. Recorded between 1907 and 1960, this collection contains the first and the last—the alpha and the omega—of Greek demotika—or folk music.
Trixie Whitley – Porta Bohemica CD (MRI/IUnday)
“Based in Brooklyn, the Belgian-American multi-instrumentalist Trixie Whitley delves into dark, bluesy rock that sits adrift more sinister-sounding undertones. [Album track] ‘Soft Spoken Words’ simmers and boils in angry waters, the shadowy instrumentation of guitars billowing under Whitley’s own soulful vocals, both doing well to balance the other. It’s fearless and unwavering, the content of the lyrics anything but soft.” — Stereogum
Lucinda Williams – The Ghosts Of Highway 20 CD/LP (Highway 20)
We’ve all heard about the iconic vibe of Route 66, the neon lights on Broadway and the ocean air of the Pacific Coast Highway. But there are untold stories emanating from countless blue highways across the land like Interstate 20, which cuts a 1500-mile swath from South Carolina to Texas, and cuts deep into the spirit of those who’ve spent their lives traversing it. Lucinda Williams is one of those people, and with the expansive, enveloping The Ghosts Of Highway 20, she brings those stories to life and gives listeners a remarkably vivid look at how the highway has been a literal and figurative backdrop throughout her entire life.
Grimes – Geidi Primes [Reissue/2010] LP (Arbutus)
Geidi Primes has a strange air of being created unconsciously while the artist herself was asleep. It is a vastly intriguing set of pop tunes highlighted by its amazing fifth and sixth songs: “Avi” and “Feyd Rautha Dark Heart,” which are each frighteningly reminiscent of an unaccountable psychic experience you may have never had. It seems like an album made for very tall people about what it’s like to be very small. It calls to mind the glowering of a child king amidst the many vestments and decorations of his coronation. Listening to Geidi Primes is what its like to suddenly realize you are being watched while taking a cold shower… on the moon.
The Pharcyde – Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde [Reissue1992] LP (Bicycle Music)
Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde is the debut album from The Pharcyde. The album was produced entirely by J-Swift with easily some of the tightest and most inventive beats of the era, and features only one guest appearance — provided by little known Los Angeles rapper Buckwheat (who would become known as ‘Bucwheed’ from The Wascals). Released during the dominant Gangsta Rap era of the West Coast, the music was described as ‘refreshing’ due to its playful, light-hearted humor and lush, jazzy production.
The Prettiots – Funs Cool LP+MP3 (Rough Trade)
With their debut album, Funs Cool, The Prettiots reveal themselves to be a powerhouse: led by Kay Kasparhauser, a ukulele shredder (?!) who writes some of the sharpest lyrics in the indie pop world right now, with Lulu Prat’s bass and vocal harmonies bringing serious rock muscle into the equation.
NEXT WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
BASIA BULAT – Good Advice CD/LP
JAMES SUPERCAVE – Better Strange CD/LP
ELIOT SUMNER – Information CD
FRANK TURNER – Ten For Ten
SNARKY PUPPY – Family Dinner CD
DONKEYS – Midnight Palms CD/LP
FRIGHTS – You Are Going To Hate This CD/LP
LISSIE – My Wild West CD/LP
RADIATION CITY – Synesthetica CD/LP
RESIDENTS – Gingerbread Man CD
COLLEEN – Everyone Alive Wants Answers LP
BRANDI CARLILE – Self-Titled LP
JASON COLLETT – Song and Dance Man LP