kimber – low, blonde redhead
lindsay – justin peter kinkel-schuster, jenny hval, blonde redhead, itasca, low
dario – yann tierson, eztv
jeff – sam evian, eztv
THIS WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
Banks – The Altar CD/LP (Harvest)
Goth R&B artist Banks follows up 2013’s brooding Goddess with her sophomore effort.
Big Jesus – Oneiric CD/LP (Mascot)
Big Jesus contrasts loud and heavy fuzz-laden tones with soft, pop-melodic vocals to create their own unique brand of music. The result is ethereal rock ‘n’ roll that’s multi-faceted and powerful: Loud and soft; bludgeoning and dreamy; progressive and classic…all at the same time. On Oneiric, the band showcases six brand new songs and four previously self-released tunes, which have been remixed and re-recorded. The result is a trippy group of lush, accessible songs with the surreal feel of a Fellini film. “The most striking feature about Big Jesus’ new album Oneiric is the contradiction of thick distorted melodies which should belong in the grunge scene, against the light vocals which would blend seamlessly with a pop song, the fusion becomes very odd. ‘SP’ is the opening track on the album which contains very heavily fuzzed laden guitar riffs but the vocal melodies are popular hooks which draw you into the sickly sweet melodies the band have forged.” – Hit The Floor
Blonde Redhead – Masculin Féminin 2xCD/4xLP (Numero)
Teeming with the energy and grit of pre-Giuliani Manhattan, Blonde Redhead’s long out-of-print early recordings have finally crawled their way out of the ’90s basement. Weighing in at 37 tracks, Masculin Féminin compiles the band’s first two albums for Steve Shelley’s Smells Like Records, their period singles, extant demos, and radio performances. Dozens of previously unpublished photographs illustrate two lengthy essays on this essential New York band’s formative years. This is the latest installment in Numero Group’s 200 Line series which has also included releases from Unwound, Bedhead, Codeine, White Zombie and The Scientists.
Bon Iver – 22, A Million CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Jagjaguwar)
22 stands for Justin Vernon. The number’s recurrence in his life has become a meaningful pattern through encounter and recognition. A mile marker, a jersey number, a bill total. The reflection of ‘2’ is his identity bound up in duality: the relationship he has with himself and the relationship he has with the rest of the world. A Million is the rest of that world: the millions of people who we will never know, the infinite and the endless, everything outside one’s self that makes you who you are. The other side of Justin’s duality is the thing that completes him and what he searches for. 22, A Million is thus part love letter, part final resting place of two decades of searching for self-understanding like a religion. And the inner-resolution of maybe never finding that understanding. When Justin sings, “I’m still standing in the need of prayer” he begs the question of what’s worth worshiping, or rather, what is possible to worship. If music is a sacred form of discovering, knowing and being, then Bon Iver’s albums are totems to that faith. The ten songs of 22, A Million are a collection of sacred moments, love’s torment and salvation, contexts of intense memories, signs that you can pin meaning onto or disregard coincidence.
Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition CD (Warp)
Atrocity Exhibition is a fresh, bold rap album — a sonic swirl inspired by the work of Talking Heads and Joy Division that sounds like nothing else from the past or present. Featuring contributions from producers like Evian Christ, Petite Noir (who also lends vocals to the world-weary clang of ‘Rolling Stone’), Black Milk, The Alchemist and frequent collaborator Paul White, the album is full of laser-beam guitars, gym-teacher whistles, creaking vocal samples, and air-raid drones. It is the most intriguing take on hallucinatory rap since the heady heights of Cold Vein or Madvillainy. Known for his wide range of collaborations, including everyone from Purity Ring, The Avalanches and Rustie to Schoolboy Q, E-40, and Ghostface Killah, Atrocity Exhibition sees a continuation of this carefully curated mix. Kelela lends her snaking vocals to the intriguingly murky “From The Ground,” Cypress Hills B-Real delivers a languid hook on “Get Hi,” and Earl Sweatshirt, Kendrick Lamar, and Ab-Soul all convene for the twinkling ominousness of album standout “Really Doe.” [Vinyl edition due October 28.]
Tim Burgess & Peter Gordon – Same Language, Different Worlds CD/2xLP (O Genesis)
The Charlatans frontman originally met New Yorker Peter Gordon in 2012 and they decided then on a music collaboration. Burgess had been a longtime fan of Gordon’ s work with Arthur Russell and The Love Of Life Orchestra. Same Language, Different Worlds was produced by Gordon in New York and features many of his and Tim’ s previous collaborators: Ernie Brooks who played with Arthur Russell on the first Modern Lovers album, trombone player Peter Zummo, conga player Mustafa Ahmed, and Nik Void from Factory Floor.
Drive-By Truckers – American Band CD/LP+7” (ATO)
“Drive-By Truckers are pretty damn pissed. Not ‘drunk pissed,’ but ‘pissed pissed’ – thoroughly miffed at the odious political climate that hangs heavy over the United States in the run up to the presidential election; utterly disgruntled at the startling rise of ill-informed prejudices held by an unthinking public, brainwashed by the embarrassing media circus of the far right. American Band the first Truckers album since the band began 20 years ago not to feature the vibrant, colorful illustrations of the unmistakable Wes Creed on its sleeve. The mood is bleaker – much bleaker – and instead we have merely a subdued grey image of the national flag at half-mast.The deep-rooted distrust and resentment of the music here may not be immediately apparent to the most casual of listeners. Mike Cooley is no stranger to the Jagger aping blues rock jam of ‘Kinky Hypocrite,’ having adopted such a persona before on the likes of ‘Three Dimes Down’ and ‘Gravity’s Gone,’ and you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s party time when this one plays, while sparring partner Patterson Hood’s ‘Sun Don’t Shine’ seems on the surface to be a kind of soulful ballad feasibly inspired by his late friend and R&B musician Eddie Hinton. But it doesn’t take much of a genius, once you’ve sat and paid proper attention to the lyrics, to recognize the sorrow, the anger, and above all, the exasperation of these most poetic of world weary observers.” — God Is In The TV. [Limited red color vinyl edition also available.]
Sam Evian – Premium CD/LP+MP3 (Saddle Creek)
Premium is the glistening debut album from New York-based Sam Evian. The sound recalls a sunbaked cassette of Pet Sounds or George Harrison’s “Apple Scruffs,” composed with glowing guitar chords, aching pedal steel, Wurlitzers and iconic 20th-century synths. Inspired by the soulful sounds of Jackson Browne, Shuggie Otis, Sly and the Family Stone, and The Band, as well as contemporary influences such as Cass McCombs, Mac DeMarco and Chris Cohen, this is music meant for the close-up experience: spacious, dreamy, fun, and disarmingly open and honest. Premium was recorded with Austin Vaughn (Here We Go Magic, Luke Temple), Brian Betancourt (Hospitality, Here We Go Magic, Luke Temple), Michael Coleman (Chris Cohen’s band). Other guest performers include vocalists Cassandra Jenkins and Hannah Cohen, ShahzadIsmaily, Eddie Barbash (saxophonist on the Colbert show), Dan lead (Cass McCombs) and Steve Marion (aka Delicate Steve).
EZTV – High In Place CD/LP+MP3 (Captured Tracks)
Many of EZTV’s foundational inspirations — the Feelies’ jangle, the upside-down pop architecture of Arthur Russell’s The Necessaries, Shoes’ aching harmonies — are back in play on their sophomore album, High In Place.
Hammock – Raising Your Voice… Trying To Stop An Echo [Reissue/2006] CD/LP (Hammock Music)
Reissue of the Nashville post rock band’s second album. In his review for AllMusic, James Mason stated that, with this album, Hammock “leave behind the dream pop scene from whence they came, and become a band creating truly unique music — transcendent shoegaze,” further stating that this album left Hammock “at the top of their game.” Joe Tangari, writing for Pitchfork, suggested that Raising Your Voice… was “an unassuming record that speaks to all those things in our lives that aren’t tangible,” and that the music was “meant to be a contrail in a solid blue sky, a smear of sound that goes oddly well with any number of emotional states.”
Betty Harris – The Lost Queen Of New Orleans Soul CD/2xLP+MP3 (Soul Jazz)
Betty Harris’ The Lost Queen Of New Orleans Soul collects together the steady stream of amazing soul and funk singles issued by Betty Harris from 1964 to 1969, under the musical guidance of legendary composer, musician and producer extraordinaire Allen Toussaint, a collection which truly captures the heart and soul of the city of New Orleans during this era. Betty Harris’s powerful, fiery soulful vocals found a perfect accompaniment with the New Orleans’ players that Toussaint put together to back her, which by the time of her funk classic “There’s A Break In The Road” were the legendary supertight, superfunk New Orleans group The Meters.
Jenny Hval – Blood Bitch CD/LP (Sacred Bones)
“Contemporary pop culture teems with unfiltered first-person narratives and cathartic self-exposure, from search-engine-optimized ‘it happened to me’ essays to the highbrow family memoirs of authors like Maggie Nelson. At its worst, the form is trashy; at its best, it can convey ideas that extend far beyond the confessor, tapping into something both intensely intimate and universally political. The avant-garde Norwegian singer Jenny Hval pulls off this feat with a rare grace, layering prose poems, both spoken and sung, over synths, pulsing house rhythms, and noise-rock fuzz. Where Hval’s last studio album, Apocalypse, Girl, served as a withering feminist commentary on the sexual politics of American consumer culture” – The Village Voice.[Limited red color vinyl pressing also available.]
Itasca – Open To Chance CD/LP (Paradise Of Bachelors)
The music of L.A.-based guitarist/singer/ songwriter Kayla Cohen is mutable and multivalent, richly allusive of the hermetic worlds of private-press canyon-cult mystics and East Coast noiseniks alike. Her adept fingerstyle guitar work — nimble but unshowy, always at the service of framing her plaintively unspooling modal progressions and gorgeous, moonlit voice — centers these melancholy pastorales in a hazy, heat-mirage space equally suggestive of familiarity and distance, community and anomie. Itasca’s enchanting, acid folk-inflected Open To Chance is also the first to feature a full band.
Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster – Constant Stranger CD/LP (Big Legal Mess)
Solo LP from the lead singer of Water Liars. “The 11 songs on Constant Stranger feel like snapshots documented, processed, and archived, filled with stories and images of how the small and often overlooked everyday moments affect the larger ones. There’s a weary yet warm, resigned yet hopeful, realist yet romantic nature to Kinkel-Schuster’s writing, which here strikes as an attempt at reconciling – or reckoning – the complicated and changeable nature of memory and all human relationships. With evocative imagery of the natural world, Constant Stranger seamlessly blends these deeply personal ruminations on family, lovers, a musician’s transient life, and the frequently confounding nature of existence – and creates a universally felt home for memory, gratitude, acceptance, and regret.” –HearYa
Machinedrum – Human Energy CD/2xLP+MP3 (Ninja Tune)
With Human Energy, Travis Stewart (aka Machinedrum) has made a career-defining album. From opener “Lapis,” Machinedrum sets out his stall — an arpeggio ascending to heaven which, apparently building towards the mother of all drops, instead fades up and off into the ether. The music throughout is scintillating: from the mind-candy riffs of “White Crown” (featuring some crazy guitar work from TosinAbasi of progresive metal band Animals As Leaders), the ecstatic d&b finale of “Do It 4 U” (an absolute stand-out with showstopper vox from singer-of-the-moment DAWN), the smile-inducing, melodic brilliance of “Color Communicator,” or the precision and build of first single “Dos Puertas,” featuring Rihanna collaborator Kevin Hussein.[Limited color vinyl edition also available.]
Mandolin Orange – Blindfaller CD/LP+MP3 (Yep Roc)
For their third album, Chapel Hill, N.C.-based folk duo Mandolin Orange delves into themes of love, loss and morality. Formed in 2009 after meeting at a bluegrass jam at a local Tex-Mex restaurant, Mandolin Orange has garnered acclaim over the last seven years for their dedication to the craft of roots music.
Pixies – Head Carrier CD/LP (PIAS America)
With their new album and second since reforming in 2004, David Lovering, rhythm guitarist/vocalist Black Francis and guitarist Joey Santiago officially welcome bassist Paz Lenchantin to the Pixies’ permanent line-up. Lenchantin has been the band’s touring bassist since January 2014, and played an integral part in the recording of Head Carrier. “When talking about the modern incarnation of the Pixies, it’s hard to avoid discussing the absence of bassist Kim Deal, who was a huge part of what made the band so memorable to begin with. Luckily, new bassist Paz Lenchantin proves more than capable of filling her shoes, and actually contributes vocals to ‘All I Think About Now,’ which is one of the album’s most poignant moments. Head Carrierthrives for one simple reason: it sounds like a Pixies album.”“There are bits of enthralling guitar throughout, and the album as a whole feels like a combination of the catchiness of ‘Here Comes Your Man’ and the futurism of Bossanova. If the letdown of Indie Cindy caused you to lose faith in the Pixies, let Head Carrier bring you back to the flock. It’s one of the best albums of 2016, and an incredible return to form for an all-time great band” –Uproxx. [Limited Pink vinyl edition also available — Part of the Ten Bands One Cause benefit for Gilda’s Club NYC, an organization that provides community support for both those diagnosed with cancer and their caretakers.]
John Prine – For Better, Or Worse CD (Oh Boy)
“John Prine was once touted, along with every other gravelly young huckster with a guitar, as the new Dylan. If this latest release is any indication, he’s more like the new George Jones. For Better, Or Worse is an anthology of classic country duets by the likes of Jones and other deities of the Grand Ole Opry. Prine has revisited them accompanied by a sorority of Nashville’s rootsiest songbirds to parry and spar in break-up songs and make-up songs. Prine did something similar with In Spite Of Ourselves in 1999. This follow-up is another almanac of historical pleasures. They include George Jones’s mournful ‘Color Of The Blues,’ sung with Susan Tedeschi, and Buck Owens’s courtroom barney ‘Mental Cruelty’ (with Kacey Musgraves, who once wrote a song called ‘John Prine,’ giving as good as she gets). With Miranda Lambert Prine even sounds cheerful on Hank Williams’s ‘Cold, Cold Heart.’And why shouldn’t he? He sings the enchanting ‘40s love duet ‘My Happiness’ with Fiona Prine, the third Mrs P. This marriage of Prine and the great country songbook is made in heaven” – The Art Desk. [Vinyl edition due October 14.]
Regina Spektor – Remembering Us To Life CD/2xLP (Sire)
Remember Us To Life is composed entirely of all new songs recently written by Spektor, a change from past albums when she would record songs written throughout her career. Spektor gave birth to her first child in 2014 and she spent considerable time writing during and after her pregnancy. Says Spektor “I made more art and felt more inspired than I had in a long time.”“In many ways it’s classic Spektor, lilting and lovely with percussive twists and glossy pop polish, but [album track] ‘Bleeding Heart’ also embraces nimble strings and surprising synths that skip throughout. An artist who blossomed from NYC’s fertile music scene in the early 2000s to become arguably the most commercially successful of her peers, and yet she’s still retained that punkish chutzpah (noted at the two and half minute mark) that we fell for when she was playing plinking keys and clattering with her drumsticks back in 2003” – Vice/Noisey. [CD is available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds three bonus tracks. Double-LP vinyl edition contains the three bonus tracks.]
SURVIVE – RR7349 CD/LP (Relapse)
Formed in 2009, the prolific Austin, TX experimental synth quartet S U R V I V E has released two full-lengths and numerous EPs/singles since their inception, including recent contributions to the soundtrack for the acclaimed indie horror film The Guest. Additionally, two of the group’s members recently scored the soundtrack for the much buzzed about sci-fi/horror show Stranger Things. The synth quartet’s sophomore full-length and Relapse debut, RR7349, is a dark, sweeping exercise in analog synth mastery. The pulsating, nine-song instrumental release showcases immense diversity between tracks RR7349’s compositions range from grim tom-tom thunder to space-age epics, pairing tense plodding grooves with meditative ambience and driving, rhythmic beats. Inspired by IDM and horror scores alike, RR7349 is simultaneously ominous and hopeful; tense and relaxed; percussive and melodic.
Yann Tiersen – Eusa CD/LP (Mute)
Tiersen’s latest is his first ever album of solo piano music.
Ultimate Painting – Dusk CD/LP (Trouble In Mind)
Most groups would kill to have one talented songwriter in their ranks, but Ultimate Painting is comprised of two singular voices in Jack Cooper and James Hoare. The pair’s distinctive song writing styles began to blur a bit with previous album Green Lanes, but on Dusk it’s hard to tell where Cooper ends and Hoare begins. Their tunes weave in and out of each other like the duo’s respective six-strings, spiraling around each other in a laconic dance. Album opener ‘Bills’ dives head-first into a crystalline pool of jangle, furthering the duo’s rep as purveyors of the Verlaine/Lloyd legacy, but despite the evident influence of American guitar pop both past and present, the group’s recorded an album that feels decidedly English. Cooper’s abstract poeticism balanced perfectly alongside Hoare’s alluring and universal pop leanings. The group’s discovered a simple lushness in Dusk’s arrangements, sometimes only with subtle additions like Hoare’s recently acquired Wurlitzer piano that drives tunes like ‘Lead The Way ’ or washes underneath others like ‘MondayMorning, Somewhere Central’. They’ve tapped into the subtle grace that infects the mood and emotions experienced at times like sunrise and dusk.
Warehouse – Super Low CD/LP (Bayonet)
Warehouse is a five-piece band from Atlanta, GA. The band formed while many of its members were attending school for various useless degrees. Taking inspiration from the 1980’s Athens, GA scene (Pylon, R.E.M., The B-52’s) and having a mutual taste for bands like Stereolab and Abstract Expressionist visual art, they quickly took on a post-punk style characterized by the spidery and interlocking guitar riffs of Alex Bailey and Ben Jackson, filled by the effortless drums of Doug Bleichner and the agile racing bass riffs of Josh Hughes.
Nick Waterhouse – Never Twice CD/LP+MP3 (Innovative Leisure)
A cool and elegant post-post-modern cocktail of 1950s R&B and club jazz, mixed with 1960s soul and boogaloo, and shaken with a minimal contemporary sensibility, Never Twice finds the artist taking his time, refining his vision, and speaking with new authority. “There’s been a prominent R&B revival over the last few years, with new artists coming in to modernize the sounds of the likes of old school Usher and Toni Braxton. But true, soulful rhythm and blues has also produced a number of noteworthy musicians recently, those who harken back to the roots of Ray Charles and Bo Diddely. That’s where San Francisco’s Nick Waterhouse comes from, the kind of bluesy swing that feels lovingly throwback without sounding aged.” – Consequence Of Sound
Luke Winslow-King – I’m Glad Trouble Don’t Last Always CD/LP (Bloodshot)
Electric and sentimentally raw, I’m Glad Trouble Don’t Last Always is part sonic travelogue, part handbook on navigating the stages of grief. It pulses through Luke Winslow-King’s geographical stomping grounds, starting with the pre-war jive of New Orleans, traveling the bloodlines that flow along the Mississippi River toward the Delta bottleneck-slide, and the funky meter of Memphis R&B. Further north, it takes a right for an infusion of greasy Chicago blues, and arrives at the headwaters of his birthplace in rural Michigan for some tell-‘em-like-it-is confessionals. “While he’s still informed by blues and gospel, his sound is now fully electric, and he’s never been more confident as a lead singer…Lovers of modern, soulful roots-rock will key right into the opening ‘On My Way’ (which evokes Warren Haynes solo projects), and anyone who wishes Clapton would get a little grittier should go for ‘Watch Me Go.’” –Offbeat Magazine
Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit  LP (Mom + Pop Music)
Limited Pink vinyl edition — Part of the Ten Bands One Cause benefit for Gilda’s Club NYC, an organization that provides community support for both those diagnosed with cancer and their caretakers.
Black Keys – Chulahoma  LP (Fat Possum)
Limited Pink vinyl edition — Part of the Ten Bands One Cause benefit for Gilda’s Club NYC, an organization that provides community support for both those diagnosed with cancer and their caretakers.
Low – The Exit Papers LP+MP3 (Temporary Residence)
At the turn of the 21st Century, sandwiched between Secret Name and Things We Lost In The Fire, Low released The Exit Papers as part of Temporary Residence Ltd.’s long-running CD subscription series, Travels In Constants. A sparse suite of six mostly instrumental pieces composed for a film that never existed, The Exit Papers still stands as Low’s most haunting and experimental work. Originally released exclusively on CD in a scarce edition of only 1,000 copies, Low helps celebrate the 20th anniversary of Temporary Residence by finally releasing The Exit Papers on vinyl.
Slaughter Beach, Dog – Welcome LP (Lame-O)
Slaughter Beach, Dog is the side-project from Modern Baseball’s Jake Ewald. The project works as a counter to his ultra- personal work with MoBo, every song written from the perspective of his fictional characters living in Slaughter Beach.