kimber – miniature tigers
lindsay – jay som
dario – the luyas
brittany – thundercat
THIS WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
Cameron Avery – Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams CD (ANTI-)
Cameron Avery has arrived as a new breed of nocturnal crooner, a train-wreck romantic creating timeless, ambitious music for the modern age. Utilizing his soulful wit, shrewd arrangements, and a deep, husky baritone, Avery harnesses the dark power and humor of artists like Nick Cave, Scott Walker, and Tindersticks to expertly walk the fine line between vulnerable and venerable. Melancholic machismo is written into the very DNA of Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams. From the classical, finger-picked guitar on the opener “A Time and Place” and the orchestral vamping of “Do You Know Me By Heart?” to the bombastic, self-assured swagger of “Dance with Me.” He takes an emotive page from the Leonard Cohen songbook-of-longing on “Big Town Girl” just as naturally as he thumbs an aggressive note of Bad Seed strut and Cramps rut on “Watch Me Take It Away.” And by the time he purrs that earnest refrain of “Baby, it’s you” on the album’s closer “C’est Toi,” Avery has surely mastered that drunken tightrope dance. Now a resident of New York City, Avery looks to continue his search for the ultimate sensations from a fresh vantage point. [Vinyl edition due March 24.]
Pieta Brown – Postcards CD (Lustre)
It was in hotel rooms across the country that Pieta Brown wrote most of the songs on her gorgeous new album, Postcards. Like any touring musician, she was on the road to survive, balancing the rewards of performing music for a living with the challenges of trying to stay connected to loved ones and other artists while in motion. So, when she was finally stationed at home, she decided to send out some postcards. These weren’t just any postcards, though, these were musical postcards, the stripped-down, acoustic shells of new songs she’d written while traveling, and she sent them to folks like Mark Knopfler, Calexico, Mason Jennings, David Lindley, Carrie Rodriguez, Caitlin Canty, and The Pines among others. Her instructions to each were simple: write back. “Collaborating with other musicians and elevating a song beyond its outlines has become one of my favorite things about making music,” says Pieta. “I’m interested in what other people can bring to a song, especially musicians I admire. Music is very magnetic. And I have been so drawn to and inspired by all the collaborators inside these Postcards.”
Buzzcocks – Time’s Up! [Reissue/1976] CD/LP+MP3 (Domino)
Time’s Up is Buzzcocks’ 1976 album of demos originally released as a bootleg. Featuring the founding line-up of Howard Devoto (vocals & songwriter), Pete Shelley (guitar & songwriter), Steve Diggle (bass guitar) and John Maher (drums), Time’s Up was recorded at Revolution Studios in Stockport, England on the October 18th, 1976. The session preceded the recording of Buzzcocks’ groundbreaking debut Spiral Scratch, and features demos of the EP’s four tracks — an EP now recognized as one of, if not the, most important records of the punk explosion.
Neko Case – Live From Austin TX [Reissue/2006] CD+DVD/LP (New West)
This debut Austin City Limits performance on August 9, 2003 captures songs from Neko Case’s three seminal solo releases at the time, combining elements of country, gospel and punk for a very unique sound. [Also available for the first time on 180gm vinyl.]
Alex Cline’s Flower Garland Orchestra – Ocean Of Vows 2xCD (Cryptogramophone)
Percussionist-composer Alex Cline’s new double CD drew inspiration from four poems by Buddhist teacher Thic Nhat Hanh, together with excerpts from the Avatamsaka Sutra, performed with his all-star 14-piece Flower Garland Orchestra featuring Nels Cline, Yuka C. Honda, Areni Agbabian, G.E. Stinson, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Jeff Gauthier and many other top names of the L.A. creative music community.
Steve Earle – Live From Austin TX [Reissue/2008] CD+DVD/2xLP (New West)
Earle’s first appearance on Austin City Limits captures the excitement and free spirit of his seminal debut album, Guitar Town, which was nothing less than a collection of personal odysseys. [Available for the first time on 180gm vinyl.]
Greg Graffin – Millport CD/LP+MP3 (ANTI-)
Millport is the new solo album from the Bad Religion frontman. “Millport delivers a stirring though perhaps unexpected reinterpretation of the classic Laurel Canyon country-rock sound alongside Graffin’s insightful lyricism, all propelled by some esteemed colleagues from the L.A. punk scene, including Social Distortion members Jonny ‘Two Bags’ Wickersham, Brent Harding and David Hidalgo Jr., with Bad Religion co-founder Brett Gurewitz producing. The resulting record is less a reinvention then a creative liberation — a group of Los Angeles musicians at the peak of their game, playing a brand of music they genuinely love. As Graffin explains: ‘This feels as exciting to me as when we made the BAD RELIGION record ‘Suffer’. Like everything had been leading up to the songs and they just happened totally organically in this short intense burst. I’m really just doing what I did back then, which is write songs that mean something to me and deliver them in a way that is completely honest’” – Blabbermouth. [Limited color vinyl pressing also available.]
Hurray For The Riff Raff – The Navigator CD/LP (ATO)
“‘The first words still had roots, like a James Brown syllable,’ the late New York poet Sekou Sundiata once wrote. He was talking about how language is undergirded with sound, how the beats underneath every sentence intertwine, connecting every tongue from Africa to the South Bronx. In the many albums she’s recorded as Hurray For The Riff Raff, Alynda Segarra has told her own stories through the various idioms of American roots music, mastering folk declarations, country’s laments, and the secret histories embedded in the blues. But Segarra heard something else beneath all the choruses she learned: a rhythmic reality, the history of her own people in shifting time signatures. These word roots are what she uncovers in her rich, courageous new album, The Navigator. For this project, she’s enlisted new collaborators, notably the versatile guitarist Jordan Hyde and several percussionists, including Juan-Carlos Chaurand and Norka Hernández-Nadal. Relating the saga of a particular wandering woman – Segarra’s alter ego, Navita Milagros Negron – and of a people displaced through exile, segregation and gentrification, The Navigator repositions roots music as an anti-nostalgic tool: a truth-telling device. And it does so through the undercurrents of Cuban son, Puerto Rican bomba, and Nuyorican salsa, interwoven with doo-wop, rock and gospel soul” – WHRO. [Limited white color vinyl pressing also available.]
Jay Som – Everybody Works CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Polyvinyl)
On her first proper album as Jay Som, Melina Duterte solidifies her rep as a self-made force of sonic splendor and emotional might. If last year’s aptly named Turn Into compilation showcased a fuzz-loving artist in flux—chronicling her mission to master bedroom recording—then the rising Oakland star’s latest, Everybody Works, is the LP equivalent of mission accomplished.
Valerie June – The Order Of Time CD/LP (Concord)
Unfolding like a novella, June sketches detailed, three-dimensional portraits of real people struggling with dreams, defeat, hope and life, in this 12-track song cycle. Musically, the genre-defying singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has redefined herself again, infusing inspirations like Tom Waits, Nina Simone, Leonard Cohen and Fela Kuti into her unique blend of folk, blues, gospel and soul. As in life, a harrowing bite of bitterness can surely be felt in many of these songs and on others; June’s ethereal soundscapes prove the perfect setting for her honeyed, childlike voice as she pleas for simplicity and a better world.
The Luyas – Human Voicing CD/LP (Paper Bag)
The Luyas’ retro-futurist songs are drenched in echo, and built from guitars, French horn, piles of keyboards, drums and percussion. Singer/guitarist Jessie Stein expands the band’s already wide musical vocabulary when she plays the Moodswinger — a 12-string electric zither designed by the Dutch experimental luthier Yuri Landman.
Magnetic Fields – 50 Song Memoir 5xCD/5xLP (Nonesuch)
50 Song Memoir chronicles the 50 years of songwriter Stephin Merritt’s life with one song per year. Merritt began recording on his 50th birthday: February 9, 2015. Unlike his previous work, the lyrics on 50 Song Memoir are nonfiction—in Merritt’s words, “a mix of autobiography (bedbugs, Buddhism, buggery) and documentary (hippies, Hollywood, hyperacusis).” As he says in the album’s liner note interview with his friend, the author Daniel Handler, “I am the least autobiographical person you are likely to meet. I will probably not write any more true songs after this than I did before, but it’s been interesting working on it.” In addition to his vocals on all 50 songs, Merritt plays more than 100 instruments on the set, ranging from ukulele to piano to drum machine to abacus.
Laura Marling – Semper Femina CD/2xLP (More Alarming Records)
“English singer-songwriter Laura Marling’s latest offering to British folk is Semper Femina (translates from Latin to Always A Woman), her sixth album since 2008 and a quietly bold ode to womanhood. ‘I started out writing Semper Femina as if a man was writing about a woman…And then I thought it’s not a man, it’s me’ was the heavily re-quoted tagline from Marling preceding the album’s release, explaining the near-exclusive female subjects and perspectives in every song. Semper Femina makes both delightful and thought-provoking listening. These are conscientious songs that contain a whole host of sensibilities, and paint a multitude of emotional colours upon a canvas of homely, English acoustic folk instrumentation.” – The Sphinx
Porter Ray – Watercolor CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Sub Pop)
Watercolor is the long-awaited label debut from Seattle’s Porter Ray. Porter is a Seattle based MC who caught the attention of Shabazz Palaces’ Ishmael Butler, who signed him to the label in 2014. Watercolor is a snapshot of Porter’s life and the lives of his friends growing up in Seattle. The album captures a specific time period, before things began rapidly changing around their neighborhoods, and it delves into the experiences that shaped Porter, the situations he and his friends survived, and how they overcame the adversity they faced. Porter’s influences – including hip-hop classics like Nas’s Illmatic, Common’s Be, and Mos Def & Talib Kweli’s …Are Black Star – shine through in both the beats and production, and his deeply personal lyrics. Watercolor is led by the singles “Sacred Geometry” (feat. Cashtro, Palaceer Lazarro of Shabazz Palaces), “Lightro [Looking For The Light]” (feat. Stas Thee Boss), “Arithmetic” (feat. Infinite & Stas Thee Boss), and “Bulletproof Windows” (feat. Nate Jack & Thad). The album also includes performances from Jus Moni, Debra Sullivan, and Chimurenga Renaissance.
Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Front Porch Sessions CD/LP (Family Owned)
Southern Indiana-bred singer-guitarist Reverend Peyton is the bigger-than-life frontman of Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. He has earned a reputation as both a singularly compelling performer and a persuasive evangelist for the rootsy country blues styles that captured his imagination early in life and inspired him and his band to make pilgrimages to Clarksdale, Mississippi to study under such blues masters as T-Model Ford, Robert Belfour and David “Honeyboy” Edwards. Front Porch Sessions maintains a potent level of intensity throughout, from the upbeat optimism of the album-opener “We Deserve A Happy Ending” to the blunt slice-of-life rural reality of “One More Thing” to the rollicking, playful swagger of “Shakey Shirley,” “One Bad Shoe” and “Cornbread And Butterbeans.” Meanwhile, the instrumentals “It’s All Night Long” and “Flying Squirrels” demonstrate the Rev’s nimble, imaginative guitar work.
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – The French Press CD/LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
In early 2016, the release of Talk Tight put Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever on the map with glowing reviews from SPIN, Stereogum, and Pitchfork, praising them as stand-outs even among the fertile landscape of Melbourne music. Chock full of snappy riffs, spritely drumming and quick-witted wordplay, Talk Tight was praised by Pitchfork “for the precision of their melodies, the streamlined sophistication of their arrangements, and the undercurrent of melancholy that motivates every note.” The band was born from late night jam sessions in singer/guitarist Fran Keaney’s bedroom and honed in the thrumming confines of Melbourne’s live music venues. The French Press levels up on everything that made Talk Tight such an immediate draw. Multi-tracked melodies which curl around one another, charging drums and addictive bass lines converge to give each track its driving momentum. Honed through their live shows, this relentless energy carries the record through new chapters in the band’s Australian storybook.
The Shins – Heartworms CD/LP+MP3 (Columbia)
“Get ready to have your life changed all over again. Heartworms, The Shins’ first full-length release since 2012’s Port Of Morrow, has been done for some time, but was delayed to give the music-industry fat cats at Columbia Records more time to promote the album (and lead singer James Mercer to tinker with it, as he told Portland radio station KBOO last summer). The result of all this tinkering, according to the press release announcing the album, is a ‘return to the handmade,’ lest you were concerned that The Shins were losing their twee edge. Overall, this album sounds like an earnest, personal effort for Mercer, who produced all the album tracks except for penultimate song ‘So Now What.’ The first single from the album, ‘Name For You,’ is a ‘resounding call for female empowerment’ inspired by Mercer’s three daughters.” – A.V. Club
Shobaleader One – Elektrac CD/2xLP+MP3 (Warp)
A suite of live versions of Squarepusher classics, drawn from his unparalleled 20 year catalog. “You get the sense that for Tom Jenkisnon — flanked by his fantasy electro-jazz-pop unit comprising Arg Nution, Company Laser, Sten t’Mech, Strobe Nazard — has been biding his time for this one, and probably got the nudge when AFX knocked out his Computer Controlled Instruments session. It’s basically how Squarepusher’s music might have sounded if he came of age in the ‘70s jazz fusion era that he deeply fetishizes.”
Elliott Smith – Either/Or: Expanded Edition CD/2xLP (Kill Rock Stars)
Either/Or is widely regarded as Elliott’s best album, and remains his best-selling. To commemorate the 20th Anniversary of this masterpiece, Kill Rock Stars proudly presents Either/Or: Expanded Edition. This album features the original tracks carefully remastered from original tapes under the supervision of Larry Crane, owner of Jackpot! Studios and archivist of the Estate of Elliott Smith. The additional content features five live multi-track recordings from the Yo Yo A Go Go Festival in Olympia WA in 1997, as well as three previously unreleased studio recordings and one B-side gem. [The double LP vinyl edition is packaged in a gatefold jacket that includes an insert of the original liner notes, a postcard of the original master tapes, and several never-before seen photos. A limited yellow color vinyl pressing is also available.]
Soundgarden – Ultramega OK [Reissue/1988] CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Sub Pop)
Hailed as grunge innovators, Soundgarden redefined rock music for a generation. In the ‘80s, the band — singer/guitarist Chris Cornell, guitarist Kim Thayil, bassist Hiro Yamamoto, and drummer Matt Cameron — combined a punk ethos, brutal metal soundscapes, and Cornell’s ravenous roar to capture the attention of the masses. Jagged and ferocious, their music was deeply at odds with the synth-pop and hair metal which dominated the ‘80s airwaves. This remixed and expanded reissue of Ultramega OK is a long-planned “correction” of the legendary band’s Grammy-nominated debut full-length. After worldwide success, a breakup, a reunion, and many albums and tours, Soundgarden acquired the original multi-track tapes to the album and handed them over to longtime friend and engineer Jack Endino (Nirvana, Mudhoney, Screaming Trees, Skin Yard) to create this fresh mix. The band also dug out six early versions of songs recorded in 1987, raw bonus tracks the band now refers to as Ultramega EP.
Tennis – Yours Conditionally CD/LP (Mutually Detrimental)
“One of the first and most important rules of being in a band is: Never sleep with your bandmates. Things are good for a while, sure … until they’re not. And once they’re not, the ship can wreck real fast. Tennis is one of those rare examples where the combination of relationship dynamics and creative collaboration actually works, and it’s largely because music for them serves as a source of mutual growth and not as a source of competitive imposition. Nonetheless, Alaina Moore, the better half of the husband and wife duo, told me over the phone a couple of weeks ago, ‘If I hadn’t met Patrick [Riley], I wouldn’t be doing this at all.’ For Tennis, infectious indie pop is an extension and public manifestation of their relationship and not a confused byproduct of artistic passion. Some couples go on bike rides, some take Eurotrips and some take cooking classes. It just so happens that one of Moore and Riley’s favorite couple outings is an endeavor with an audience. On Tennis’ new album, Yours Conditionally, Moore acknowledges the balance that she’s had to strike. ‘The [album’s] title reflected the conclusion that I belong to the world, that I have a boundary where I’m trying to find how much I allow myself to be devoted to my husband and my fans,’ she said.’” – Rutger Rosenborg/NBC San Diego
Miniature Tigers – I Dreamt I Was A Cowboy LP (Yebo Music)
“Two things are striking about this album from the get-go. There’s a warmth and intimacy to opener ‘My Girl Forever’ that sticks around for the length of the album. Miniature Tigers’ mastermind Charlie Brand, it turns out, is pretty good at producing indie-pop that sounds honestly romantic. That warmth makes a cheesy sentiment like, ‘You will be my friend forever / You will be my girlfriend’ sound lovely. The other thing is the song’s opening electric guitar riff, which sounds slightly out of tune. That riff runs through the entire song and eventually normalizes even though it never ends up being quite in tune. It’s a weird element and a portent that Brand is going to re-embrace the off-kilter sounds that dominated Miniature Tigers’ early records. This kind of unabashed romanticism shouldn’t really work. And in the past, Miniature Tigers’ attempts at straight-up love songs haven’t always been successful. But Brand’s honesty goes a long way here, and his willingness to use unusual sounds cuts through the cheese to make the album just a bit weird.” – Pop Matters
Thundercat – Drunk 4×10” (Brainfeeder)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. Stephen Bruner aka Thundercat returns with his follow up to 2015s The Beyond / Where he Giants Roam. Produced by Flying Lotus, Drunk features vocal performances by Michael McDonald & Kenny Loggins, Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa and Pharrell.
NEXT WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
GARY CLARK JR. – Live North American CD/LP
DEPECHE MODE – Spirit CD/LP
CHILLY GONZALES / JARVIS COCKER – Room 29 CD
MILKYCHANCE – Blossom CD
CONNOR OBERST – Salutations CD/LP
TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND – Live From The Fox Oakland CD/LP
ANOHI – Paradise CD/LP
PINBACK – Some Offcell Voices CD reissue
REAL ESTATE – In Mind CD/LP
REGINA SPEKTOR – Live On Soundstage CD
SPOON – Hot Thought CD/LP
ADULT – Detroit House Guests CD/LP
JACASZEK – Kwiaty CD/LP
BEN FOLDS FIVE – Songs For Silverman LP
BEN FOLDS FIVE – Unauthorized Biography LP
CALIFONE – Quicksand / Cradlesnakes CD/LP
CHERRY GLAZERR – Haxel Princess CD/LP
DEAD CAN DANCE – Aion LP reissue
DEAD CAN DANCE – Serpent’s Egg LP reissue
DEAD CAN DANCE – Spiritchaser LP
GRAILS – Black Tar Prophecies Vol 1,2,+3 LP reissues
LAMB OF GOD – New American Gospel LP