kimber – fruit bats
lindsay – fruit bats
dario – mark pritchard
jeff – david bazan
THIS WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
David Bazan – Blanco CD/LP/Cassette (Barsuk)
Blanco is made up of songs that were previously available in a very limited edition 7″ vinyl series called Bazan Monthly, Volume 1 and Volume 2. David picked ten of those songs to update, remix and flesh out into a cohesive album format. “Former Pedro The Lion leader David Bazan is back with a new solo album calledBlanco. Recorded with Crystal Skulls co-founder Yuuki Matthews, it features a heavy dose of keyboards and drum machines alongside the mournful acoustic strums that have long been Bazan’s calling card, transforming tracks that were previously available through the Bazan Monthly 7” series.” –Stereogum
Karl Blau – Introducing Karl Blau CD/LP (Raven Marching Band)
Introducing Karl Blau, all covers, is a crate-digger’s feast of forgotten hits and deeper cuts, most of them from the Nashville country-soul renaissance in the late- ‘60s and early- ‘70s: Tom T. Hall, Bobby Bond, Allen Reynolds. Other songs are from the Bee Gees (“To Love Somebody”), Link Wray (“Fallin’ Rain”), and Townes Van Zandt (“If I Needed You”).
Death And Vanilla – EP [Reissue/2010] CDEP/12” (Fire)
Death And Vanilla – Death & Vanilla [Reissue/2012] CD/LP (Fire)
Formed in Malmö, Sweden by Marleen Nilsson and Anders Hansson, Death And Vanilla use vintage musical equipment such as vibraphone, organ, mellotron, tremolo guitar and Moog to emulate the sounds of ‘60s/’70s soundtracks, library music, German krautrock, French ye-ye pop and ‘60s psych.“Recallisthe eerie, haunted ambience of Angelo Badalamenti/Julee Cruise’s Twin Peaks soundtrack, Stereolab/Broadcast’s experimental vision of ‘50s lounge muzak/exotica and French ‘60s pop, and the narcotic country-noir of Mazzy Star.” — The Guardian
Eagulls – Ullages CD/LP+MP3 (Partisan)
Whilst Eagulls’ self-titled debut album was a juggernaut of a record, often moving at breakneck speed and intensity, it was also a deeply melodic one, one that underneath the heady fuzz and gushing charge of the guitars laid a band with just as many pop leanings as they had punk. It’s these moments that have been brought to the surface on the new record: dense, deeply textured explorations that recall the shimmering opulence of the Cocteau Twins and the ominous gloom of Disintegration/Pornography-era The Cure. On opening track “Heads Or Tails” one might be temporarily fooled into thinking Smiths-era Johnny Marr had resurfaced to lend his melodic touch to the track but the song, much like the guts of the rest of the album, has a faint whiff of such timeless song structure but takes a new shape, unmistakably becoming the band’s own. On “My Life In Rewind” the group allow ruminating bass-lines to power the underbelly of the song as luminous guitar lines dance afloat on top and powerful but restrained drums color the background.Whilst thunderous drums and heavy hammering bass may lead the opening to “Lemontrees,” it’s songs such as these that display the group’s natural propensity for plucking out a melody as beautiful as it is gutsy from seemingly nowhere — it’s a trait that can be found peppered throughout the entire record.
Fruit Bats – Absolute Loser CD/LP (Easy Sound)
Eric D. Johnson is Fruit Bats. And Fruit Bats is back. Johnson has picked up the name again for a sixth album,Absolute Loser. Though he made music, scoring films like Our Idiot Brother, and built up his own Hulchica Music Festival in Sonoma, Fruit Bats was on hold following a family tragedy. His 2014 solo record, EDJ, dealt with that head on and it led him to realize that it was time to head back to the “punk rock” name he’d slapped on his music years earlier.
David Grubbs – Primrose CD/LP (Blue Chopsticks)
Prismrose is a nearly wordless collection of six pieces for electric guitar, all given real time to breathe, grow unpredictably, mutate. The album begins with “How To Hear What’s Less Than Meets The Ear,” an eleven-minute duo written for Tony Conrad’s 75th birthday bash with Grubbs on chiming, tolling Telecaster and wunderkind percussionist and composer Eli Keszler on backwards-somersaulting drums.
Hard Working Americans – Rest In Chaos CD/LP+MP3 (Melvin)
Fronted by singer/songwriter Todd Snider, the Hard Working Americans includes guitarists Neal Casal (solo artist, Ryan Adams’ Cardinals) and Jesse Aycock, bassist Dave Schools (Widespread Panic), keyboardist Chad Staehly (Great American Taxi), and drummer Duane Trucks (Widespread Panic). This diverse group of musicians has managed to create an inspired mix of American roots music – rock, blues, country – that is delivered with energy, intelligence, and humor. Produced by Schools, Rest In Chaos is said to take the band’s sound into new and exciting new sonic directions. The thirteen-track Rest In Chaos offers a cover of Guy Clark’s “The High Price Of Inspiration,” with Clark himself sitting in on guitar, along with a dozen original songs written by the band while touring, the material recorded live in six different studios.
Hatebreed – The Concrete Confessional CD/LP (Nuclear Blast)
New studio album from the Connecticut-based metalcore unit. Frontman JameyJasta describes the record as “no glitz, no glam, just pits, all slam.”
Islands – Should I Remain Here At Sea? CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Manque)
Islands – Taste CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Manque)
Prolific songwriter Nick “Diamonds” Thorburn took a break from Islands to reunite The Unicorns in 2014 and release a solo album called City Of Quartz last year. Returning to his main band, he’s now released not one but two Islands albums.Taste is considered the band’s sixth album and sees Thorburn exploring electronic sounds.Should I Remain Here At Sea?, meanwhile, is the band’s seventh full-length and is a sequel to the band’s 2006 debut Return To The Sea.
Jessy Lanza – Oh No CD/LP (Hyperdub)
Canada’s Jessy Lanza stormed the electropop scene in 2013 with her debut album, the Polaris Music Prize-nominated Pull My Hair Back. She’s looking to replicate that success with her follow-up, Oh No.The LP was recorded in Hamilton, Ontario with Junior Boys’ Jeremy Greenspan, who also had a hand in co-producing Pull My Hair Back.
Modern Baseball – Holy Ghost CD/LP/Cassette (Run For Cover)
Read any recent interview with Modern Baseball, or watch the documentary the band released charting the run up to and creation of their newest album, and the weight behind the words on Holy Ghost is exposed for all to hear. Falling in love and falling apart, faced with the loss of loved ones and struggling not to lose themselves, the 11 songs on this record are openly rooted in turmoil and confusion. Written in two halves (the first six tracks penned by Jake Ewald and the last five by Brendan Lukens), the album is a tempestuous storm of very real emotion, with the music as a means of expression for everything that couldn’t quite be said any other way.The shiver-inducing, stripped-back set up of the opening track is made all the more potent in its contrast to the rest of the record, but the hauntingly raw intensity of ‘Holy Ghost’ is an energy that surges strongly throughout. With no holds barred, the band lay all their worries and hopes bare, and invite the listener to do the same. Adjusting to the distressing nature of the events that surround them behind a mask of upbeat melodies on ‘Wedding Singer,’ yearning for the romance of home on ‘Mass,’ and clamoring for self-acceptance on ‘What If…,’ it hasn’t been an easy journey for the Philadelphia quartet, but their spirit remains resolute” – The Line Of Best Fit. [Limited color vinyl pressing also available.]
Nothing – Tired Of Tomorrow CD/LP+MP3/2xLP+MP3 (Relapse)
Deriving beauty from a turbulent life, Nothing is a shoegaze band formed by former Horror Show member Dominic Palermo. “Tired Of Tomorrow is [a] powerful batch of messy-yet-dreamy songs: The rippling sheets of guitar noise in ‘Fever Queen’ and the sludgy ‘Curse Of The Sun’ show that this is a band that loves its ’90s shoegaze, alternative rock and even spacious black metal. But Nothing also diversifies its formula. ‘Nineteen Ninety Heaven’ kicks off with a big, heavy rock beat, leaving listeners to anticipate another mighty onslaught that never comes. Later, ‘Everyone Is Happy’ sways gently with a crisp acoustic guitar while piano and atmospheric reverberations amplify the feeling of drifting to sleep in a haze of meds” – NPR [A very limited double-vinyl edition was also made available by Relapse.]
Mark Pritchard – Under The Sun CD/2xLP+MP3 (Warp)
Following countless seminal releases that have seen Mark Pritchard through his various groups and pseudonyms, constantly propel himself forward into new areas of experimentation, Under The Sun marks his return to the production limelight by weaving traces from his vast array of previous projects together to produce a record that pushes his sound forward, in to something that sounds quite unlike anything he has put his name (or alias) to before. His Harmonic 313 beats, Link acid, Global Communication ambience, and Africa HiTech rhythms all glimmer throughout, but the overall direction of this record is rooted in the realms of modern composition, traditional folk and soundtrack-heavy incidental music. Guests include: Bibio, Thom Yorke, Linda Perhacs, and underrated and criminally overlooked rapper Beans.
Corinne Bailey Rae – The Heart Speaks In Whispers CD (Capitol)
The Heart Speaks In Whispers is the third studio album by British singer/songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae. Recorded both at her studio in Leeds, and in Los Angeles, the album is co-produced by Corinne with Steve Brown, her collaborator on her critically acclaimed previous album The Sea. Guests include Pino Palladino (D Angelo, Erykah Badu, The Who), James Gadson (Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers), Marcus Miller (Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock), Esperanza Spalding and Moses Sumney (best known for his work with Beck). “Corinne Bailey Rae’s heart may speak in whispers, but it dreams in glorious technicolor. The title of the Leeds-born songwriter’s new album is an echoey chorus line that swims among the layers of its opening track – a song with the bridge of a boiling ocean that hints at dance-pop beats, reinvention. Fans concerned, from that giddy opener, that new love and a six-year hiatus have turned Bailey Rae into a generic pop artist should hang on for the second track. ‘Hey, I Won’t Break Your Heart’ is a gentle, soulful hymn to second chances, small enough for the jazz clubs until its lush backing vocals – which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Supremes record – kick in” – The Art Desk
Red Krayola with Art And Language – Baby And Child Care CD/LP (Drag City)
Drag City presents a newly-unearthed artifact from the long history of The Red Krayola: 1984’s previously-unheard Baby And Child Care. Grooving sinuously in prime mid- ‘80s form in a production redolent with funk, dub and new-wave inflections, Baby and Child Care is of a musical vintage whose dry complexity is even more appreciable today.
Al Scorch – Circle Round The Signs CD/LP (Bloodshot)
Balanced on wedges of punk, old-time string band, American and European folk, and soulful balladry, Al is an entertainer, road warrior, storyteller, and one helluva musician. His second album Circle Round The Signs is built on a sonic framework sharing an intersection with the Bad Livers’ lawless next-gen take on traditional country & bluegrass, and Black Flag’s burn-it-all-down revolt and breakneck tempos.
Twin Peaks – Down In Heaven CD/LP/LP+7” (Grand Jury)
“You’d think that, with David Lynch bringing back the Twin Peaks TV show, maybe Chicago garage rockers Twin Peaks would change their name. Nope! The 2014-vintage Band To Watch is coming back this spring, following up their sophomore album Wild Onion with a new one called Down In Heaven, and they’re keeping the name intact. The band has added a member, becoming a five-piece, and they recorded the album live to reel-to-reel tape at a friend’s house in Western Massachusetts. Dinosaur Jr. producer John Agnello mixed the album. First single and album opener ‘Walk To The One You Love’ is a confident and relatively restrained choogler” – Stereogum. “If you’re going to borrow that name, you’ve got to live up to it. Thankfully Chicago garage rockers Twin Peaks do a decent job. On Down In Heaven their sound is less scuzzy and more indebted to 1960s pop like the Mamas and Papas. Groovy and dense guitars keep the pace over bright and memorable melodies” – Norman Records UK. [Limited vinyl pressing with bonus 7” also available.]
Foy Vance – The Wild Swan CD/LP+MP3 (New Elektra)
Irish singer/songwriter Foy Vance’s new album The Wild Swan (recorded in Nashville and executive-produced by Elton John) opens with “Noam Chomsky Is A Soft Revolution,” a rock’n’blues celebration of a roll-call of musical, philosophical, literary and polemical insurrectionists. It ends with a dash of uilleann pipes pipes and “The Wild Swans On The Lake,” a stop-you-in-your-tracks breath of Celtic balladry inspired by WB Yeats’ The Wild Swans At Coole. Vance’s rich voice also gets up close and personal on the hymnal “Burden,” then digs deep for “She Burns,” a song and a performance evocative of Bruce Springsteen’s “Tunnel Of Love.” On the ancient-but-modern “Be Like You Belong,” Vance’s soulful rasp weaves through pedal-steel and simple piano chords. “Ziggy Looked Me In The Eye” is a piano-based, strings-buoyed soul-stirrer, a dignified tribute to, says Vance, “various people who I think have been part of a revolution. I’m not talking about Che Guevara or Ghandi or even Russell Brand for that matter — I’m talking about personal revolution. I like that idea constantly revolting against your own parameters.”
Wire – Nocturnal Koreans CD/LP (Pink Flag)
Eight previously unreleased tracks recorded during the Wire album sessions in 2015. “Nocturnal Koreans ranks among Wire’s most musically relaxed releases, with Newman mostly singing in calm, sometimes hushed tones. But it’s only relaxed in the sense that a sleepless night in your bedroom is relaxed—the pillows and sheets feel familiar, but your thoughts are riddled with anxieties over the unknown.” – Pitchfork
Head Wound City – New Wave Of Violence LP (Vice)
Head Wound City is comprised of members of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Blood Brothers, and The Locust. All come from diverse backgrounds, steeped in metal (thrash and grind in particular), goth, and every permutation of hardcore and punk imaginable. [Limited red color vinyl pressing also available.]
Rogue Wave – Delusions Of Grand Fur LP (Easy Sound)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. Delusions Of Grand Fur marks the sixth album from Rogue Wave and is their first since 2013’s Nightingale Floors. Longtime bandmates Zach Rogue & Pat Spurgeon recorded and produced the album on their own at their home studio. Instead of recording demo versions that would evolve into a song, the band wrote and recorded these demo’s as the songs. The album is easily Rogue Wave’s least predictable, where ambient synth tones, mottled textures, and electronic beats stand in for the breezy, acoustic gems fans have long come to expect.
NEXT WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
CAR SEAT HEADREST – Teens of Denial CD/LP
MUTUAL BENEFIT – Skip A Sinking Stone CD/LP
MARISSA NADLER – Strangers CD/LP
TIGER ARMY – V CD/LP
ANGRY ANGLES – Self Titled (Jay Reatard) CD/LP
RICHARD ASHCROFT – These People CD/LP
DAVID BOWIE – Changesonebowie CD/LP Reissue
BRETT DENNEN – Por Favor CD
BOB DYLAN – Fallen Angels CD
SO SO GLOS – Kamikaze CD/LP
BRAIDS – Companion CD
TANYA DONELLY – Swan Song Series 3CD
JAPANTHER – Eat Like Lisa Act Like Bart CD
MERCURY PROGRAM – New Myths LP
MRS MAGICIAN – Bermuda CD/LP
MF DOOM – Live From Planet X LP
SAY ANYTHING – I Don’t Think It Is LP
WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS – These Four Walls LP reissue
ADULT JAZZ – Earrings Off CD/LP
GRIMES/D’EON – Darkbloom LP
TYCHO – AWAKE REMIXE lp