AJJ–The Bible 2 CD/LP+MP3 (Side One Dummy)
New album from AJJ, the Phoenix, AZ band formerly known as Andrew Jackson Jihad. For their sixth album, garbage-pop veterans AJJ chose to reinforce their strengths and leave any limp frivolities behind. They reconvened with producer John Congleton (St. Vincent, Xiu Xiu, Chelsea Wolfe), who oversaw 2014’s sonically expansive Christmas Island, but recorded and mixed the album in a mere nine days, having arranged most of the songs during tour sound checks and down-time in the van. This made for a confident stride into more elaborate arrangements and wider dynamics while staying just as dour. They also opted, amid some sensation, for the simplified band acronym (previously Andrew Jackson Jihad). Singer Sean Bonnette told The A.V. Club that, among many reasons, the change cleared a space for new imagery and allowed their music to define them, not their band name.
As a result, their new album, The Bible 2, is their most ambitious and assured collection of scuzzy punk screeds, employing even more production heft while sparing none of the vulnerability. The album’s mantra is placed right at the center: “No More Shame, No More Fear, No More Dread”. The Bible 2 finds the band choosing intimacy over isolation, gravity over the vacuum, the stage instead of the scene. The album is also an examination of boyhood from an adult distance, putting some of its tumult and pain to rest.
Blood Orange – Freetown Sound CD/2xLP+MP3 (Domino)
Freetown Sound is the third full-length album from Devonté (Dev) Hynes aka Blood Orange. Written and produced by Hynes, Freetown Sound is a tour de force, a pastiche of Hynes’ past, present, and future that melds his influences with his own established musical voice. For well over a decade, Dev has proven himself a virtuoso of versatility, experimenting with almost every conceivable musical genre and working with a wide variety of artists as a writer and producer. On his solo work he has created a singular style of urgent, delicate pop music by carefully stitching a sound palette that gently recalls elastic funk, slinky R&B, and pure pop. Thematically, the album is profoundly personal and unapologetically political, touching on issues of race, religion, sex, and sexism over 17 shimmering songs.
Peter Broderick – Partners CD/LP+MP3 (Erased Tapes)
For close to a decade, Portland’s Peter Broderick has cut his own unpredictable path through the world of contemporary music. So far, his wanderings have led him from solo works into the realms of film, dance and documentary scores, as well as art installations. Now Peter takes that unpredictability one step further. For his latest album, a series of voice and piano recordings, he experiments with chance, surrendering an entire song’s composition to the roll of dice. It was John Cage’s tendency to remove himself from his music, to somehow automate his own process, which inspired the strange mechanics with which this record was created. In the words of Cage himself, “the world is teeming; anything can happen.”
Carl Broemel – 4th Of July CD/LP (Stocks In Asia)
4th Of July is the second solo album by My Morning Jacket guitarist Carl Broemel. He put together the album in Nashville between MMJ studio sessions and tour cycles. “This album is just me trying to compete with my own abilities — it was a challenge to do it on my own,” Broemel said in a statement. For the effort, Broemel collaborated with My Morning Jacket bandmates Bo Koster and Tom Blankenship, with both appearing on the LP and Koster co-writing a few tracks. Guest appearances also include Neko Case, Laura Veirs, Russ Pollard, Shelly Colvin, Richard Medek and Jordan Caress.
Nick Cave & Warren Ellis – Hell Or High Water [OST] CD (Milan)
Directed by David Mackenzie Hell Or High Water is a heist film starring Ben Foster, Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges. Based on the infamous 2012 Black Listscript, the film is set in West Texas, in an area formerly known as Comancheria, and tells the story of two brothers who plan a bank robbery to save their family farm. Nick Cave and his musical partner Warren Ellis deliver a ravishing score perfectly fitting the dry and arid landscape in which the characters strive to survive.
Sam Coomes – Bugger Me CD/LP (No Quarter)
Sam Coomes is probably best known as one half of the long running underground pop duo Quasi, who’ve managed to release 9 or 10 albums on labels such as Up, Domino and Touch & Go. Coomes has also toured and/or recorded with numerous other artists such as: Elliott Smith, Built To Spill, Jandek and many other less recognizable names. Bugger Me is his first solo album, and was recently described as “Suicide meets Plastic Ono era John Lennon.”
Crystal Castles – Amnesty (I) CD (Last Gang/Casablanca)
Crystal Castles fourth album (and first in four years) is their first without original singer Alice Glass. “Amnesty (I) comes as the group’s first record since the critically acclaimed Crystal Castles (III) from 2012. Recent single ‘CHAR’ is led by frantic synths and ghastly vocals, dropping the band’s previously abrasive sound and adds a more creepy and lighter sound” – Immortal Reviews. [Vinyl edition due September 23.]
Dumb Numbers – Dumb Numbers II CD/LP (Joyful Noise)
Dumb Numbers is Adam Harding with a revolving cast of musical collaborators including Lou Barlow (Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr), Dale Crover (Melvins), David Yow (the Jesus Lizard/Scratch Acid), Murph (Dinosaur Jr), Kevin Rutmanis (Cows/Melvins) Alexander Hacke (Einstürzende Neubauten), Bobb Bruno (Best Coast), Bonnie Mercer (Grey Daturas) and Steve Patrick (Useless Children).
Exploded View – Exploded View CD (Sacred Bones)
Exploded View is a new collaborative project helmed by the UK-born, Berlin-based political-journalist-turned-musician Anika. After playing a string of 2014 solo shows in Mexico with a backing lineup composed of local producers Martin Thulin, Hugo Quezada and Amon Melgarejo, Anika and her new bandmates discovered a chemistry that they simply had to capture on tape. [Vinyl edition due September 2.]
Gonjasufi – Callus CD/LP (Warp)
Gonjasufi has grown vastly in his skills as a musician. The Cure guitarist Pearl Thompson plays on three of Callus’ tracks and, through close collaboration, showed Gonjasufi new ways to approach songs. In the past, Gonjasufi’s records have summoned worlds of sound, with ideas and instruments imported from across the globe. Here, he sculpts it all—synthesizer drone and sitar riffs, static walls and industrial beats—into a unified journey. In his own words, “It has to be authentic. Fuck a filter. Just throw the mic to the tape,” he says. “This is love. All the pain and misunderstanding still burns, but I’m here to pull all that into me and give something that will help everybody get through that. No one can stop it”.
Lisa Hannigan – At Swim CD/LP (ATO)
Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan’s new album, At Swim, follows her second full-length album, Passenger, which NPR Music praised as “lush and beautiful,” while Rolling Stone furthered, “Her voice is light and agile, her phrasing like exquisite plumage, and her folksy songs move with deceptive power, sailing on guitars, strings and Irish drama.” At Swim was recorded in New York with producer Aaron Dessner (The National), initiated by an unexpected email. “He wrote: ‘If you want to do some writing together or you need someone to produce your record, just let me know’,” Hannigan says. “It was such a lovely email, so generous and open and enthusiastic. It was so brilliant — and slightly ridiculous. He just kept sending me all these beautiful pieces of music and we corresponded over email for ages. He’d send me something and then I’d sing or mumble along to it into my phone and send it back to him. We’d do this back and forth until we finally met up in Denmark and Hudson (in New York). It was fun — my musical pen pal. I’m so indebted to him. If it wasn’t for his email, I’d probably still be trying to write a record, completely losing my mind.”
Sharon Jones &The Dap Kings – Miss Sharon Jones! [OST] CD (Daptone)
Directed by two-time Academy Award winner, Barbara Kopple, Miss Sharon Jones! follows the dynamic frontwoman through her 2013 battle with cancer and her triumphant return to the stage around the release of Give The People What They Want. Much like the film, the soundtrack gives you an intimate, candid look into the life of a woman who refuses to be defined by the challenges she faces.
Amos Lee – Spirit CD (John Varvatos/Republic)
Spirit’s 13 songs reflect both the critically acclaimed Philadelphia singer/songwriter’s musical journey over the past few years and his expansive sonic palette. Most notably, this is the first time, Amos acted as his own producer. Informed by everything from his performances alongside some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras to a personal taste that spans Robert Glasper, ScHoolboy Q, and Drake, this body of work boasts an aural anatomy all its own.
Lydia Loveless – Real CD/LP (Bloodshot)
Genre-agnostic, Lydia and her road-tightened band stretch from soaring, sing-along pop gems, roots around the edges, to proto-punk. There are many sources, but Real creates a sonic center all its own. “Her defiant tone is matched by songs that put country and punk on equal ground, unvarnished and direct.”– The Chicago Tribune
Chris Staples – Golden Age CD/LP (Barsuk)
“Chris Staples has been at it in some form or another for about two decades. He led the late ’90s/early ’00s emo band Twothirtyeight, who collaborated with Chris Carrabba on their second album and also put out a split with the post-Carrabba Further Seems Forever in 2002. After the demise of that band, Chris led the indie rock band Discover America, and he’s currently focusing on his solo career. His new solo album, Golden Age, is proof that he still has plenty more to say. He’s currently based in his label’s hometown of Seattle, and the kind of music he’s making now is right up the alley of prime-era Barsuk. Album single “Park Bench” should be instantly satisfying to anyone who wishes Death Cab still sounded like their pre-Plans period.” – Brooklyn Vegan
Tobacco – Sweatbox Dynasty CD/LP+MP3 (Ghostly Int’l)
“This may be Tobacco’s most unintentionally psychedelic and left-field creation yet, full of rhythms that start and stop like a tractor on its last piston, resonating melodies made to fuel transcendental meltdowns, and vocals that hiss, gurgle, and growl.” [Limited beige and blue color vinyl LP pressing also available.]
Riley Walker – Golden Sings That Have Been Sung (Deep Cuts Edition) CD/2xLP (Dead Oceans)
The preceding years have been extraordinary for Ryley Walker. In March, his second album, Primrose Green, emerged to critical hosannas from the likes of NPR, Village Voice, Uncut, and Mojo — in the process, earning admiration of musicians who had chalked up no shortage of turntable miles in Walker’s life. Robert Plant declared himself a fan — as did double-bass legend Danny Thompson, with whom Ryley would later embark on a British tour. A sprawling tour around Primrose Green presented a perfect chance to workshop ideas for what would eventually become his third studio album,Golden Sings That Have Been Sung. [Limited ‘pink frost and sea foam’ color vinyl pressing available.]
John Paul White – Beulah CD/LP (Single Lock)
“Eight years may be a long interval between solo albums, but in the case of John Paul White’s Beulah, it was frankly worth waiting for. White, of course, hasn’t been idle in the intervening period. His recent recording collaborations include work with Jason Isbell, Candi Staton, Rosanne Cash, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, among others. It also goes without saying he was one-half of the four-time Grammy-winning duo The Civil Wars, partnering with Joy Williams to create two outstanding albums before their much-publicized parting in 2014. Beulah is a diverse collection of swampy southern rock, folk balladry and dark acoustic pop, songs that came unbidden to White, who wasn’t entirely welcoming of them at the time. ‘Honestly, I tried to avoid them, but then I realized the only way I was going to get rid of them was if I wrote them down. I got my phone out, and I’d sing these little bits of melody, then put it away and move on. Eventually, I got to a place where it was a roar in my head, and that pissed me off. Then one day I told my wife, ‘I think I’m going to go write a song.’ She was as surprised as I was. I went and wrote probably eight songs in three days. It was like turning on a faucet.’” – FRUK: Folk & Roots Music Webzine
XiuXiu – Plays The Music Of Twin Peaks CD/LP+MP3 (Polyvinyl)
After selling out the Record Store Day exclusive pressing and landing on the Billboard Top 200, XiuXiu return with a wider release of Plays The Music Of Twin Peaks. The album has been heralded as XiuXiu’s best in years, with the band’s interpretation of Angelo Badalamenti’s classic television score earning praise from the likes of Pitchfork to The New Yorker and Noisey to the Village Voice. [Vinyl edition is pressed on 180gm white and clear vinyl and packaged in gatefold jackets.]
ThaliaZedek Band – Eve CD/LP+MP3 (Thrill Jockey)
Zedek’s latest features her bluesy, gritty guitar work and distinctive vocals that, when juxtaposed with graceful viola and piano, give the songs a compelling tension.