kimber – billy bragg & joe henry
lindsay – true widow
dario – devendra banhart, kronos quartet reissue
jeff – lvl up
THIS WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
Devendra Banhart – Ape In Pink Marble CD/LP (Nonesuch)
“In the three years since he released Mala, more and more artists have found space for themselves in the surrealist, freak-folk world Devendra Banhart has inhabited for over a decade. Smartly, instead of trying to shout over the din of a packed room, he dials things back, and Ape In Pink Marble feels inviting and intimate, if a bit somber. The album is one of his sparsest; most tracks subsist on little more than Banhart’s vocals and a few lines of intertwining guitar. Single ‘Middle Names’ is truly bewitching, a tribute to the lingering feeling of missed connections written about his friend Asa Ferry, the singer of Kind Hearts and Coronets, who passed away last year. The guitars sweep along the mix dutifully, but Banhart’s voice is mesmerizing, and his delicate intonation says as much as his atmospheric lyrics. It’s a stunning track that beautifully captures a sentiment often difficult to evoke.” – The Line Of Best Fit
Beach Slang – A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Polyvinyl)
Beach Slang’s sophomore album is a raucous collection of shout-along punk rock anthems anchored by frontman James Alex’s trademark heart-on-sleeve lyricism. “Alex opens Beach Slang’s fantastic new LP, A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings, by demanding that you play him something loud and fast and also ‘something that will always last.’ Typical rock & roll fare, in other words. And the band’s still playing music for those same outsiders. Alex’s worldview, however, isn’t an ‘Us v. Them’ mentality. Instead, he’s simply writing songs that say, ‘If you have unwavering faith that rock music can save your life, and your preferred hymn of choice is ‘Born To Run’– welcome to our congregation’” – The Line Of Best Fit. [Limited blue color vinyl pressing also available.]
Boxed In – Melt CD/LP+MP3 (Nettwerk)
With comparisons to LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip, Boxed In is intellectual without being pretentious, wide-ranging yet accessible. [Limited red color vinyl pressing also available.]
Billy Bragg & Joe Henry – Shine A Light: Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad CD/LP (Cooking Vinyl)
Recorded at various train stations during a four-day trip travelling by train, Shine A Light features songs originally made famous by Hank Williams, Lead Belly, The Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Glenn Campbell, Gordon Lightfoot and more. In March 2016 Billy Bragg and Joe Henry, guitars in hand, boarded a Los Angeles-bound train at Chicago’s Union Station looking to reconnect with the culture of American railroad travel and the music it inspired. Winding along 2,728 miles of track over four days, the pair recorded classic railroad songs in waiting rooms and at trackside while the train paused to pick up passengers. “With this project, we wanted to explore the transformative power that the coming of the railroad had on the lives of ordinary people by taking these songs back to the places that inspired their creation,” Bragg says. “Travelling on the train and recording the songs as we went allowed us to both visit places that were important 125 years ago when the lines were laid, but to also explore the viability of the railroad as a means of transport in the 21st century.”
Crobot – Welcome To Fat City CD/LP+MP3 (Wind-Up)
Sophomore album from the Pennsylvania hard rock/blues rock/funk rock quartet. “The second album. Quite often talked about in hushed tones as being difficult and when Crobot released one of the best ever debut albums, Something Supernatural originally back in 2014, there is a fleeting thought of are they going to be able to top that? But as the opening riffs of Welcome To Fat City flow through the speaker, and the soaring vocals of Brandon Yeagley make a welcome return, all that rock goodness you come to expect from this band is very much apparent. Taking you on a musical extravaganza of deep-set bass lines and a pulverizing beat, ‘Play It Cool’ not only has cowbell, which is excellent just by itself, but the powerful vocals compliment the heavy set guitar that Chris Bishop manages to make sing with the range of riffs and notes in each song. This is classic Crobot, but a brighter, better Crobot that has just taken their sound to yet another level” –RockAndRollCreations.com. [Limited clear yellow vinyl pressing with “interactive anamorphic art packaging” also available.]
Every Time I Die – Low Teens CD/LP+MP3 (Epitaph)
“Low Teens’ razor-sharp sound and auditory barbarism was abetted by engineer and producer Will Putney (Acacia Strain, Body Count, Exhumed). Low Teens’ guest vocalists further demonstrate these polarized extremes, with formidable bellower Tim Singer (Deadguy, Kiss It Goodbye, No Escape) roaring alongside Buckley on opening track ‘Fear And Trembling’ and longtime friend Brendan Urie (Panic! At The Disco) providing a melodic counterpoint on ‘It Remembers.’ Yes, Every Time I Die has always juggled hardcore urgency, metal brutalism, and rock melodies, but never has it felt this instinctive or this vicious.” – Punk Rock Theory
Ex-Cult – Negative Growth CD/LP (In The Red)
“This collection of songs was conceived in Memphis and finalized in Los Angeles, with the help of our family doctor Ty Segall. It was created in February 2016, when we traded Memphis misery for a week of California sunshine. Negative Growth is a nine-track nightmare, a death trip in the crystal ship. The Hollywood Heat Seeker takes ten years off your life.”—Chris Shaw of Ex-Cult
Flock Of Dimes – If You See Me, Say Yes CD/LP+MP3 (PTKF)
Flock Of Dimes is the solo project of Wye Oak frontwoman Jenn Wasner. “Flock Of Dimes is finally releasing its full-length debut, a slyly infectious and characteristically reflective set of synth-pop songs. The album’s first single, ‘Semaphore,’ is a snaky jam fueled by roiling bass and a throbbing earworm of a chorus. But much of If You See Me, Say Yes treads moodier ground, as Wasner sets a dreamy pace across an assortment of stirring ballads that incorporate everything from vocal effects (‘Minor Justice’) to subtle doses of slide guitar (‘The Joke’) and fingerpicking (‘Apparition,’ ‘Given/Electric Life’). Throughout the album, Wasner demonstrates her gift for atmospheric, patiently building slow burns, but she also has a way with softly swaying pop songs like ‘Birthplace.’In that track, Wasner quickly re-creates a gift she showcases so frequently in Wye Oak: a way of mixing self-doubt and self-knowledge to form real insight.” – NPR
Game Theory – The Big Shot Chronicles [Reissue/1986] CD/LP+MP3 (Omnivore)
30th anniversary expanded reissue of Game Theory’s third album, which was originally released in 1986. Once again helmed by Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Let’s Active), The Big Shot Chronicles features an expansion of the band’s sound, and contains the MTV 120 Minutes staple, “Erica’s Word.” The Chicago Reader said the album was “ambitious and elaborate . . . packed with sunny, ultra-catchy melodies, sweet vocal harmonies, and soft-focus psychedelia.” For this reissue, 13 tracks have been added—nine of which are previously unissued. From demos, outtakes, rough mixes, and live tracks, one can see the sonic trajectory the band was on—leading up to their arguable magnum opus, Lolita Nation. In addition to alternate versions of originals, this set includes a wealth of covers of songs by Todd Rundgren, Roxy Music, Big Star, The Velvet Underground, and more. [Limited lime green color vinyl edition includes a download of the entire 25 track CD program.]
How To Dress Well – Care CD/2xLP+MP3 (Weird World)
On How to Dress Well’s fourth LP, Care, Tom Krell sings about what it really means to care—for others, for the world, and for himself. The album is a beaming pop record—the product of a fruitful collaborative relationship with a group of trusted producers including Dre Skull, ambient sound sculptor Kara-Lis Coverdale, experimental electronic producer and regular How To Dress Well collaborator CFCF, as well as Jack Antonoff and the refined work of mix engineer Andrew Dawson. Care is an intimate album that goes big, filled with stadium-sized choruses, rollicking guitar solos, vocal tenderness, and Celine Dion-inspired melodies. “Each of the eleven tracks is an outrageous pop hybrid. Balearic beats clash with classical piano, crashing synth, bouncy indie guitar lines, theatrical vocals and those huge, trademark choruses that make you want to punch the air, Breakfast Club style. Cathartic and clever, Care is Krell’s most accessible, most adventurous record to date.” –The Skinny
Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam– I Had A Dream That You Were Mine CD/LP (Glassnote)
Released last week on vinyl – now available on CD. New collaboration between Hamilton Leithauser (formerly of The Walkmen) and Rostam Batmanglij (formerly of Vampire Weekend). In the spirit of collaborative albums, not unlike those of David Byrne and Brian Eno, each musician’s individuality remains intact while both Hamilton’s identity as a singer and Rostam’s as a producer reach new heights.
LVL UP – Return To Love CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Sub Pop)
“Hidden Driver,” the opening track of LVL UP’s third album Return To Love, never stops moving. What starts with unassuming guitars and vocals adds new lines, depths, and intensity, until its unrestrained, triumphant finish. “God is peeking, softly speaking,” repeats the chorus, working through the relationship between spirituality and creative inspiration, and introducing a band that is always pushing further. The music itself grows from a shared melodic and experimental sensibility, as well as a nod to iconic influences like Neutral Milk Hotel and Mount Eerie.. Pitchfork says of LVL UP: “Homespun, 1990s-indebted indie pop… A uniquely vulnerable songwriting voice makes LVL UP distinct.”
Merchandise – A Corpse Wired For Sound CD/LP (4AD)
Formed nearly a decade ago, galvanized by Tampa hardcore and inspired by its miscreant noise, A Corpse Wired For Sound signals a new chapter for Merchandise. Following 2014’s After The End — a full-band effort recorded in a closet — the band stripped back to its core of Carson Cox (vocals, electronics), Dave Vassalotti (guitar, electronics) and Pat Brady (bass). The trio travelled to Rosà, Italy for their first ever sessions in a recording studio, with a local, ICIO. The nine-song, nocturnal A Corpse Wired For Sound was recorded half in the studio and half at home, in Tampa as well as Cox’s newly adopted bases of New York and Berlin – the culmination of a long-distance collaboration between Cox and Vassalotti.
Neurosis – Fires Within Fires CD/2×12” (Neurot)
Three decades in the making, striking their signature balance between light and dark, beauty and repulsion, Neurosis’ eleventh album, Fires Within Fires, gives due to its predecessors while progressing forward into the unfamiliar and formidable.
Sonic Youth– Confusion Is Sex [Reissue/1983] CD/LP (Goofin’)
Originally slated to be a 7” single to follow up their self-titled debut, Sonic Youth ’s Confusion Is Sex blossomed into the band’s first album: a brain-bludgeoning, completely fried endeavor of dissonance and disarray. This was the sound of 1983 New York City: nothing like London where punks were starting to scrub their faces and sounds to get on Top Of The Pops , and nothing like the jangly roots of college radio rock starting to formulate in Athens, Georgia
Bruce Springsteen – Chapter And Verse CD/2xLP+MP3 (Columbia)
Chapter And Verse is the audio companion to Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, Born To Run. Five of the album’s eighteen tracks are previously unreleased. As such, Springsteen selected the songs to reflect the themes and sections of the book. The compilation begins with two tracks from The Castiles (Springsteen’s Freehold, NJ high school band), featuring a teenage Springsteen on guitar and vocals, and ends with the title track from 2012’sWrecking Ball. Recordings from Steel Mill and The Bruce Springsteen Band feature musicians who would go on to play in The E Street Band. Solo demos of “Henry Boy” and “Growin’ Up” were cut in 1972 shortly before Springsteen began recording his debut album, Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.The package includes lyrics and rare photos
The Sword – Low Country CD (Razor & Tie)
After nine months on the road, The Sword returned to the studio to experiment with the songs from High Country, seeing if they could deliver more stripped back, acoustic renditions of the tracks from the disc. Bassist Bryan Richie produced and J. Robbins mixed the effort. “The album eases in with the short, sweet breezy shuffle of ‘Unicorn Farm’ followed by the quirky guitar interplaying from John D. Crone and Kyle Shutt in ‘Empty Temples.’ The stirring verses with lead vocals from John feature a chorus of ‘Let go of all that bind you, your God will always find you.’ Other songs of note are the title track with its bleak grooves that follow the uptempo bluesy intro. ‘Mist And Shadow’ is so laid back, you can hear fingers sliding across guitar strings. ‘Early Snow’ is the heaviest track here with a distorted bass guitar groove, punctuated by a piercing guitar solo and a brass section. – Planet Mosh
True Widow – Avvolgere CD/2xLP (Relapse)
Avvolgere rocks and rolls with serene, rounded climaxes and steep, jangling choruses that engulf the listener with waves of downbeat, saccharine melodies and mesmerizing distortion. True Widow’s signature alternation between male and female vocals helps further blur the boundaries between the heft of stoner rock, the droning atmosphere of shoegaze, and the twangy catchiness of blues and indie rock.
Warpaint – Heads Up CD/2xLP (Rough Trade)
Warpaint return with their third album. “The absolute pleasure of listening to the voices possessed within this band remains as staggering as ever. But it’s the canvas over which they are being pulled which has a new texture. Tracks are carried with a more frantic and frenzied energy, even those which may remind you of Warpaint-past. Instantly familiar and yet set apart from expectation ‘New Song’ is full of the exact sort of determination obvious from the start. It’s as pop as this band will probably come so it’s sweet, simple and includes sounds that feel bad for you, but there is a hard edge or resignation in there somewhere” – The Line Of Best Fit. [Limited pink & black color vinyl edition also available.]
Rachel Yamagata – Tightrope Walker CD/LP (Frankenfish)
Rachael Yamagata’s latest album Tightrope Walker showcases her calling card ability to articulate humanity’s struggles within relationships and the freedom that comes from celebrating that which we face alone and head on. The production is riskier and cinematic — think Tom Waits meets Roberta Flack, Nick Cave hanging with Rufus Wainwright. Rachael confounds a labeled genre and instead embraces the production that serves the story. The paradox of her art mirrors that of her career and proves that we are never simplistic, but always full of surprises.
Crystal Castles – Amnesty (I) LP (Last Gang/Casablanca)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. 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
Kronos Quartet – Pieces Of Africa  2xLP (Nonesuch)
This “potent new brew of folk influences, minimalism, and European forms by eight black, brown, and white African composers,” as Time described it, became a cross-cultural and commercial landmark: the first album to top both the Classical and World Music Billboard charts. Now on vinyl for the first time.
Archy Marshall – A New Place 2 Drown LP+MP3 (True Panther Sounds)
Archy Marshall, the London singer/songwriter and producer better known as King Krule releases a new mixed-media project, A New Place 2 Drown, originally released digitally in compliment to a 208-page coffee-table book of artwork, poems and photographs assembled in collaboration with Marshall’s brother.
Parquet Courts – Performing Human 12” (Rough Trade)
New Parquet Courts 12″ featuring an alternate studio version of “Human Performance” and remixes by Eaters, and Chris P of Future Punks.
Jack Rose – Red Horse, White Mule [Reissue/2002] LP (VHF/Eclipse)
Jack Rose – Opium Musick [Reissue/2003] LP (VHF/Eclipse)
Jack Rose – Raag Manifestos [Reissue/2004] LP (VHF/Eclipse)
Part of a collaboration with Jack Rose’s estate and Three Lobed Records to restore all of his LPs to print, VHF presents new vinyl editions of the celebrated guitarist’s first three solo albums, newly cut by John Golden Mastering from the original source material.
Hope Sandoval And The Warm Inventions – Help Me Get There 10” (Tendril Tales)
A two track black vinyl piece with the lead single “Let Me Get There featuring Kurt Vile.” The lead track will be off the upcoming studio album, Until The Hunter, while the B-side is exclusive to this 10”.
Selector Dub Narcotic – This Party Is Just Getting Started LP (K Records)
The debut album by Selector Dub Narcotic is an exercise in ecstatic genre-smashing, blending and up-ending. Calvin Johnson of the K label and such Olympia combos as Dub Narcotic Sound System, Beat Happening, Halo Benders and most recently The Hive Dwellers has been working under the nom de plume Selector Dub Narcotic since founding the Dub Narcotic Studio in 1993. This Party Is just Getting Started is a collaboration with NW hip-hop producer Smoke M2D6, who first began working with K producing the All Your Friend’s Friends compilation. As a member of the Oldominion crew Smoke M2D6 has produced almost every major hip-hop artist in Washington and Oregon. This Party Is Just Getting Started began with the song “All for the Sake of Rhymin'” (which samples K artist Mahjongg) and snowballed into an entire album of dance pop garage soul with Calvin’s trademark melodica wafting overall.[CD version due October 28.]
Slim Cessna’s Auto Club – The Commandments According To SCAC LP (SCACUNINCORPORATED/Virtual Label Group)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. “It has been twenty-four years since Slim Cessna parted ways with The Denver Gentlemen, that grand progenitor of the peculiar strain of Gothic Americana unique to the Mile High City, to form Slim Cessna’s Auto Club with a group of talented peers. Many bands with a long and successful run like that would stick close to its roots. But rather than rest on well-earned laurels, the Auto Club challenged itself to break with well-worn modes of operating for the new record.”
NEXT WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
BON IVER – 22 A Million CD/LP
DRIVE BY TRUCKERS – American Band CD/LP
REGINA SPEKTOR – Remember Us To Life CD/CD deluxe/LP
BANKS – Altar CD/LP
PIXIES – Head Carrier CD/LP
BLONDE REDHEAD – Masculin Feminin CD/LP
EZTV – High In Place CD/LP
JENNY HVAL – Blood Bitch CD/LP
ITASCA – Open To Change CD/LP
JOHN PRINE – For Better Or Worse CD/LP
DANNY BROWN – Atrocity Exhibition CD/LP
NICK WATERHOUSE – Never Twice CD/LP
MACHINEDRUM – Human Energy CD
GROWLERS – City Club CD/LP
EXPLODED VIEW – Self-Titled LP
JUSTIN PETER KINKEL SCHUSTER (Water Liars) – Constant Stranger CD/LP
LOW – Exit Papers LP