kimber – jimmy eat world
lindsay – leonard cohen, john prine
dario – nico muhly/teitur lassen
jeff – american football
THIS WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
American Football – American Football (LP2) CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Polyvinyl)
Not long after Polyvinyl Records released American Football’s self-titled debut album in 1999, the band called it quits, having only played a smattering of Champaign-Urbana college house parties and sets at small clubs like Chicago’s legendary Fireside Bowl. Such an inauspicious turn of events made what followed all the more incredible. Over time, the record went on to become one of Polyvinyl’s bestselling releases to date, and ended up serving as “one of the single most influential rock records of its time” according to Noisey and many others. To most everyone that found them after the fact, the band was no more than an apparition. At a time when reunions have become rote, American Football is decidedly an anomaly. There is no past glory to relive or reignite, nor the burden to branch out and break from a well-worn formula. Seventeen years later everything still feels brand new, because for them it is. “You can’t just forget all the other lives you’ve lived,” Mike Kinsella sings, and every single one of the nearly two decades worth of experiences since they last put pen to paper as American Football seem to bleed through on this record. [Limited 180gm color vinyl pressings also available: one orange, the other red and orange starburst.]
The Blind Shake – Celebrate Your Worth CD/LP (Goner)
The Blind Shake, three intense men from Minneapolis creating dense, mystical music. Celebrate Your Worth is an intense web of strange sounds — from Chrome through Bailter Space through Michael Yonkers and John Reis — with tendrils extending throughout an incredible universe of fantastic unknown bands and sounds.
Kadhja Bonet – The Visitor CD/LP (Fat Possum)
L.A.’s Kadhja – pronounced “kod-ya” – creates cosmic neo-R&B ‘n’ psychedelic jazz perfect for fans of Flying Lotus and Deradoorian. Her new albumThe Visitor opens with an awe you’d expect from the golden age of cinema. In its half-mythical atmosphere, “Earth Birth” offers keys and choirs science-fictionally echoing down from deep space. This overture fades and Kadhja’s voice velvetly emerges on “Honeycomb” with a timelessness sending listeners scrambling to find her nearest genre. After running through classical, jazz, soul, folk, and even psychedelia, you find it ultimately impossible to comfortably place her. This is all by Kadhja’s design. For if she were “folk” it would only be the folk of some future aeon, a thousand hears hence. If her rich instrumentation of strings and wind strikes us as a “classic,” it’s not because it harkens to any past era, but because Kadhja paints perennial imagery that could as much be now as then as any other time. The Visitor is an opus unpolluted by the mixed advice or overproductions that plague other albums. It plays through like one individual’s lucid dream in what is sometimes an all-too-dreamless musical landscape. [Limited color vinyl pressing also available.]
Bright Eyes – The Studio Albums 2000-2011 6xCD/10xLP+MP3 (Saddle Creek)
Six Bright Eyes records — Fevers And Mirrors (2000), Lifted Or The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear To The Ground (2002), I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning (2005), Digital Ash In A Digital Urn (2005), Cassadaga (2007), and The People’s Key (2007) — remastered by Bob Ludwig. [CD edition is housed in a foil stamped linen coated board slipcase. Vinyl edition features ten color LPs in tip-on jackets and twelve 8”x10” photo prints.]
Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker CD/LP (Columbia)
“For the past 25 years I’ve had this notion that on every successive Leonard Cohen record his voice would get deeper and deeper until one day he’d put out an album so subsonic that you’d just feel it, not hear it. Well, we’re close. ‘You Want It Darker,’ the title track to his 14th studio album in a 49-year recording career, speaks of a world without hope. ‘A million candles burning / for the love that never came. / You want it darker / we kill the flame.’ Despite the depth of his voice and the strength and wisdom of his writing, I discern a frailness. What I hear are multiple takes on just this one track and a few edits within a verse. Listen at 2:06 — you can hear an edit right in mid-breath just after the line ‘middle-class and tame.’ And shortly after, Cohen says, ‘I’m ready my Lord,’ and the choir sullenly and eerily keeps the tone dark. It’s sad and difficult, but as good as this is, I can imagine this forthcoming album as Cohen’s last statement.” — NPR
Crocodiles – Dreamless CD/LP (Zoo Music)
Crocodiles’ first two albums made their home within a stew of fuzzed-out psychedelia, and the following three albums explored pop sensibilities placed against whirring guitars and barbed production, but on this album the duo’s artistic departure places their guitars in the backseat in favor of a more spacious, synthesizer and piano-driven sound.
David Crosby – Lighthouse CD/LP (Ground Up)
Lighthouse is an intimate, stripped-down set that highlights David Crosby’s instantly recognizable voice, incisive songwriting, and incomparable guitar work. The palpable joy in the 9-song collection captures the iconic artist in an unexpected burst of inspiration. For Lighthouse, Crosby received an able assist from Michael League, the bandleader/bassist for Snarky Puppy who executive produced and co-wrote much of the album with Crosby. It features a rare economy of sound, filled primarily by David Crosby’s voice and guitars, and Michael League’s bass. On album opener, “Things We Do For Love,” written for his wife Jan, David’s vocals reflect a poetic tenderness. On “Paint You A Picture,” a cinematic tale of romantic regret co-written with Marc Cohn (Walking In Memphis), they are filled with remorseful resignation. The longtime social activist lands his political punches as he bitingly condemns the craven politicians who send other people’s children to war on “Somebody Other Than You,” and compassionately reminds us that we are all the same on “Look In Their Eyes,” a poignant tale about the Syrian refugee crisis.
Holy Sons – In The Garden CD/LP+MP3 (PTKF/Partisan)
Avant-garde Portland-based songwriter Emil Amos, or as he is most commonly known Holy Sons, has been releasing albums for over two decades now.In The Garden is Amos’ thirteenth studio album, and his sound is far more refined than prior. This album is a deep exploration of melody because Amos doesn’t have a traditional structure like verse, chorus and bridge. Still, Amos digs a lot into ‘60s-‘70s singer/songwriter music for inspiration, but he still makes it unique and contemporary. RIYL: Sun Kil Moon, Kurt Vile.
Jimmy Eat World – Integrity Blues CD/LP+MP3 (RCA)
With warm production and a powerful upbeat groove, the first single on Jimmy Eat World’s new album Integrity Blues, “Sure And Certain,” pairs a buzzing guitar hum with an unshakable chant. “It’s about the idea of having blinders on for what you want to do and achieve,” the frontman explains. “Since you’re so laser focused on what you think you want, you’re missing out on everything around you. It can be a very limiting way to go about life.” Meanwhile, the gorgeously minimal title track “Integrity Blues” tempers orchestral, cinematic overtones with a stark and striking vocal performance.Elsewhere on the record, “Get Right” snaps into an energetic refrain, while “Through” serves up one of the band’s hookiest moments to date. “You Are Free” flaunts one of the group’s most hummable and heartfelt refrains, serving as another high watermark. “It Matters” illuminates the band’s diverse sonic palette and covers what Adkins describes as “a central theme about the idea that a sense of comfort comes from within and not just external validation.” “Pass The Baby” builds from a delicate heartbeat-style click into a deliberate and distorted explosion. Near seven-minute closer “Pol Roger” carves out an emotional and entrancing climax encased in a rapture of guitars and vocals, which according to Adkins, “Felt like the right way to sum everything up.”
Nico Muhly/Teitur Lassen – Confessions CD (Nonesuch)
New collaboration between acclaimed American composer Nico Muhly and the Faroese singer/songwriter Teitur. The two musicians began work on the project when Muhly was composer-in-residence at Muziekgebouw Eindhoven in the Netherlands. The songs’ lyrics were inspired by or culled from video and commentary the pair found on YouTube. “We came up with this premise of boring videos, home videos,” Teitur explains. “It was a time when everyone was posting these meaningless videos. It was just fascinating when we started watching them… The more you watched them the more you started to wonder, ‘What is behind this? Why are people doing this?’ They are really saying, ‘This is really beautiful, this is really sick, this is me,’ people confessing things. And that gave us the title for the record.”
Nekromantix – Symphony Of Wolf Tones & Ghost Notes CD/LP+MP3 (Hellcat)
New album from the veteran psychobilly trio. Symphony Of Wolf Tones & Ghost Notes shows a darkly romantic sensibility shaped by the band’s love of monster, zombie, vampire, werewolf, and B-horror fiction.
NxWorries – Yes Lawd! CD/2xLP (Stones Throw)
On Yes Lawd!, Anderson.Paak plays a theatrically brash version of himself who raps and sings like a ’70s superstar and talks shit like a stone cold player. The performance is seeded with details from his life, which has seen a fair share of struggle and hard-won triumph. Meanwhile Knxwledge weaves a tapestry of sampled bits and live fragments bass, brass and violin that smooths everything over, reminding us that despite whatever struggle it took to get here… well, you already know the name: NxWorries. Anderson .Paak and loop beast Knxwledge — make an exceedingly clean pair, even as they deal almost entirely in the gritty: vocals that sound lived in for a couple of lifetimes; beats that kick up dust as they bump; and an 18-track set that plays like a mixtape merging skits, songs, and snippets into a package of fluid groove and rough-cut rap ‘n’ soul gems. You may have heard these two out in the world, on their own or sprinkling some of their musical gold dust on someone else’s songs, but this is what happens when .Paak and Knx get home, lay back, light up, and let it go.
Planes Mistaken For Stars – Prey CD/LP/Cassette (Deathwish Inc.)
After a ten-year absence, the post-hardcore outfit returns with a new album. [Limited edition beer color vinyl pressing also available.]
Pretenders – Alone CD/LP (BMG Rights Management)
The first new album in eight years from Chrissie Hynde and Co. Originally intended as a follow-up to Hynde’s 2014 solo album Stockholm, Alone evolved into a bonafide Pretenders album (although she is the only original band member to appear on it). Alone was recorded with the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach at his Easy Eye Studio in Nashville and sees Hynde joined by bassist Dave Roe (Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Sturgill Simpson), pedal steel guitarist Russ Pahl (Blake Shelton), guitarist Kenny Vaughan (Lana Del Rey), keyboardist Leon Michels, and drummer Richard Swift.
The Radio Dept. – Running Out Of Love CD/LP (Labrador)
One of Sweden’s most influential indie/electronic pop acts The Radio Dept.’s new album Running Out Of Love is their first album since the critical and commercial success of 2010’s Clinging To A Scheme which earned a Best New Music rating from Pitchfork. Running Out Of Love has been described by the band as an album about life in Sweden in 2016 moving in the wrong direction: politically, intellectually, morally. It’s about the impatience that turns into anger, hate and ultimately withdrawal and apathy when love for the world and our existence begins to falter. Lead single “Swedish Guns” is a scathing indictment of the Swedish arms industry. The track features an infectious grooving riff underlying dark but moving lyrics, a powerful combination to be sure. “Their discontentedness is paired with delicate vocals and appealing, almost hypnotic beat that betrays the somber overtones. Sometimes the delivery is more powerful when it’s paradoxical and subliminal” – Prefix. [Limited color vinyl pressing also available.]
Saint Motel – saintmotelevision CD (New Elektra)
Saint Motel is an American indie pop band from Los Angeles, whose music has been described as everything from “dream pop” to “indie prog”.
John K Samson – Winter Wheat CD/2xLP+MP3 (Epitaph)
Singer/songwriter John K. Samson enlists the rhythm section from his renowned band The Weakerthans for much of his second solo album, Winter Wheat. The album was inspired by the search for connection and community, his hometown of Winnipeg, and our individual and collective struggles with addictions to drugs, screens, and fossil fuels. The spare and thoughtful arrangements also feature Greg Smith of The Weakerthans on electric bass, Ashley Au on double and electric bass, Leanne Zacharias on cello, and Shotgun Jimmie on electric guitar.
Sia – This Is Acting [Deluxe Edition] CD (Monkey Puzzle/RCA)
This deluxe edition of Sia’s recent album features seven additional tracks including “The Greatest” (featuring Kendrick Lamar), her #1 single “Cheap Thrills” (featuring Sean Paul) and five more songs including never-before-heard tracks “Confetti,” “Midnight Decisions,” “Jesus Wept,” a remix of “Move Your Body” by Alan Walker, and a solo version of “The Greatest.”
The Dean Ween Group – The Deaner Album CD/LP (ATO)
The Deaner Album is the debut album from The Dean Ween Group. On it, guitarist Mickey “Dean Ween” Melchiondo brings his love of classic guitar rock to 14 original compositions (including four instrumentals) that echo everything from classic rock to cracked country to the quirky mix of soul, funk, metal and punk that defined Ween. “My tastes are very mainstream; I love Jimi Hendrix and Santana and Zeppelin, but my ears are always open,” The Deaner says. “P-Funk, they’re right up there with the Beatles. That’s what my influences were – that and punk rock – and I wanted all that in this album.” After Ween stopped, I put my guitar down for almost a year,” he continues. “I’ll never do that again. I’m so into practicing and writing and being good at my craft right now. I’m back in playoff shape. I write and play and record all day, every day, and I’m going to keep it there for the rest of my life.”
Weyes Blood – Front Row Seat To Earth CD/LP (Mexican Summer)
“At times on the new album from indie outfit Weyes Blood, you can’t quite tell where you are. The aesthetic (artist presence, voice, song arrangements) feels rather folk, but the way Natalie Mering, who is the band, vocalizes with such thick, haunting tones makes you question what it is you’re actually listening to. I still don’t really know, but I like it. Front Fow Seat To Earth seems defined by just how transitional and evasive it is. It’s tender and brimming with emotion on songs like ‘Do You Need My Love’ and ‘Seven Words,’ but never lets the audience too close to the artist, or even the subject, for that matter. Her vocal talent is unique, something of a cross between Joan Baez and Judee Sill, but even that’s not quite right. There’s no good category to put her or this album in, except maybe ‘original.’” – Cecil Whig
White Lies – Friends CD/LP+MP3 (BMG Rights Management)
With their fourth album Friends, White Lies haven’t so much abandoned their trademark synth-rock style as given it a spring clean by exploring new sounds. For many reasons, it felt like a fresh start. The trio was temporarily without a label after a bout of record company reorganization. Rather than re-sign straight away, they decided to record Friends under their own steam without the pressure of a deadline or a budget, or even the guidance of a producer. The album was recorded in Bryan Ferry’s private studio in London’s Olympia and was self-produced by the band. [Limited edition vinyl picture disc also available.]
John Prine – For Better, Or Worse LP (Oh Boy)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. “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
NEXT WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
EMPIRE OF THE SUN – Two Vines CD?LP
ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO – Burn Something Beautiful CD
BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE – Third World Pyramid CD/LP
CRX (strokes’ guitarist) – New Skin CD/LP
NINA DIAZ – Beat Is Dead CD
SHE + HIM – Christmas Party CD/LP
LOU BARLOW – Apocalypse Fetish CD
WAYNE HANCOCK – Slingin’ Rhythm CD?LP
HELMET – Dead To The World CD/LP
HONEYBLOOD – Babes Never Die CD/LP
MARCHING CHURCH – Telling It Like It Is CD/LP
NADA SURF – Peaceful Ghosts CD/LP
NOCTURNAL HABITS – New Skin For Old Children CD
DANNY BROWN – Atrocity Exhibition LP
FUJIYA + MIYAGI – EP 2