Kimber – Do Make Say Think
Lindsay – Land of Talk, Pokey LaFarge, Helium
Dario – Do Make Say Think, Jane Weaver
Brittany- Nick Hakim, Land of Talk
THIS WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
Shake The Shudder is a product of !!!’s DIY punk roots presenting a harder edge lyrically and sonically, while incorporating trans-Atlantic electronic music influences. Regularly enlisting the aid of talented female vocalists to elevate to their sound, this new album is no exception with the inclusion of up and coming talents Lea Lea and Meah Pace showcasing “energetic breakout performances that only hints at what they do live.”
Rocket is Philadelphia-based artist Alex G’s eighth full-length release – an assured statement that follows a slate of humble masterpieces, many of them self-recorded and self-released, stretching from 2010’s Race to his 2015’s Beach Music. Amid the Rocket recording process, Alex made headlines for catching the attention of Frank Ocean, who asked him to play guitar on his two 2016 albums, Endless and Blonde. More than any stylistic cues, what Alex took from the experience was a newfound confidence in collaboration. Rocket wears this collaborative spirit proudly, and in its numerous contributors presents a restless sense of musical experimentation – effortlessly jumping from distorted sound collage to dreamy folk music to bouncing Americana. Rocket illustrates a cohesive vision of contemporary American experience; the cast of characters that Alex G inhabits have fun, fall in love, develop obsessions, get in trouble, and – much like rockets themselves – ultimately they burn out.
Mulatu Astatke – Mulatu Of Ethiopia [Reissue/1972] CD/LP (Strut)
Recorded in New York, Mulatu Of Ethiopia arrived at a time when Astatke had begun to master the delicate fusion of styles needed to create Ethio jazz. “I left the UK for America and studied at Berklee College in Boston. I learned the technical aspects of jazz and gained a beautiful understanding of many different types of music. That’s where I got my tools. Berklee really shook me up.”
The glittering technological future we were all promised has turned into a dystopian nightmare. If music must reflect the times, the hour has plainly come to reject the mainstream status quo and get down to the roots and rhythms of life’s elemental heaviness. And that’s where Beastmaker come in. Purveyors of some of the most ecstatically thunderous and raw doom metal to emerge in decades, this three-man riffing machine from Fresno, CA, are manifestly the real deal. From the old school evangelism of opener “Evil One” and the warped psychedelia of “Now Howls The Beast” through to the twisted fury and fire of “Psychic Visions” and creepy closer “Sick Sick Demon,” Inside The Skull is not just a muscular hymn to the glory days of heavy metal’s genesis and early prosperity: this is a vital, virile and venomous slab of wildly creative but spiritually pure doom devastation, designed to rescue us from the drab harshness of present day reality and transport us somewhere cooler, somewhere better and, in the best way possible, somewhere much heavier.
Recalling the early spirit and danger of rabble-rousing rock heroes, Biters have faithfully built upon their punk heritage and their love of ‘70s rock to deliver music that ignites, incites and excites in equal measure. Possessing a heart full of rock ‘n’ roll, the band play foot stomping, fist pumping, spit-on-the-floor anthems possessed of a fighting spirit that refuses to give in. The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be is an instant rock ‘n’ roll classic that makes the genre exciting and relevant again. “Corporate pop culture and fair-weather fads are just something I’m not interested in. I still choose to play rock ‘n’ roll, because I still believe in rock ‘n’ Roll.” — Tuk Smith, Biters
Buffalo Tom – Let Me Come Over [Reissue/1992] CD/2xLP (Beggars Banquet)
25th Anniversary Edition featuring the original album plus a previously unreleased live show from 1992. Previously loosely linked with fellow travelers Dinosaur Jr. and Uncle Tupelo via a similar three-piece format, stunning depth of songwriting and association with Boston’s Fort Apache Studios – it’s not hard to imagine Buffalo Tom wanted to stake a claim stylistically with their third album, Let Me Come Over.
The Portland-based folk rock band return with their fifth full-length effort.
The Como Mamas – Move Upstairs CD/LP+MP3 (Daptone)
With their first two Daptone albums (Get An Understanding, and as featured singers on Como Now), The Como Mamas established themselves as three of the strongest voices in gospel music today. If you don’t like raw, soulful gospel music, you’re really gonna hate this one.
Demen – Nektyr CD/LP (Kranky)
Hermetic gothic swan songs conjured from funereal piano, twilit ambience, minimalist percussion, and spellbinding vocals. The mood is lulling and lush but lost in sorrow, stark grey structures looming in the night. Majestic open spaces between notes heighten the melancholic grandeur of Orm’s arrangements, blurring the line between lament and lullaby. The songs don’t end so much as ebb away, succumbing to their own downcast beauty.
Do Make Say Think is widely celebrated as one of the preeminent instrumental rock bands of the ‘90s-‘00s. Stubborn Persistent Illusions is the group’s first album in eight years – and a brilliant addition to one of the most consistently inventive and critically praised discographies in the ‘post-rock’ canon. The band has been acclaimed as “the supernova in Constellation’s stellar network…arguably the finest back catalogue of any currently operating instrumental rock band” (Drowned In Sound), creating “some of the most honest, unpretentious, group-oriented rock of their time” (Popmatters). Among the band’s strengths is an ineffable naturalism that avoids anything too woolly, proggy, purist or clichéd, while remaining a fundamentally guitar-driven group whose ornate four-and six-string interplay uniquely balances rockism, pastoralism, and electronic-influenced post-production. Stubborn Persistent Illusions is at once familiar and as fresh as anything DMST has committed to tape; produced and mixed as always by the band itself – a continuing affirmation of the group’s DIY ethos and their singular self-production acumen and aesthetic. [180gm double-vinyl edition features an etching on the D-side.]
Endless Boogie – Vibe Killer CD/LP (No Quarter)
New York’s ’60s influenced garage rock act Endless Boogie (no better described than their own name) return on No Quarter Records with their fourth studio effort.
Erasure – World Be Gone CD/LP/Cassette (Mute)
17th album from the electronic pop pioneers, their first album since 2014’s acclaimed The Violet Flame. From the pounding beats of the album opener (and first single), “Love You To The Sky,” the listener is immediately enveloped in Erasure at their optimistic best with a soaring chorus that fills the room with love and promise. On “World Be Gone,” recent political upheavals are given a thoughtful examination and, as highlighted on the painted artwork showing a ship’s masthead rising up from being submerged in the stormy waters, Erasure are looking ahead, towards an expectant future which points towards love as evidenced on the buoyant closer “Just A Little Love.” [Limited orange color vinyl pressing also available.]
Faith Evans And The Notorious B.I.G. – The King & I CD (Rhino)
The King & I is a duets album featuring unreleased Biggie vocals with productions by DJ Premier, Just Blaze, Stevie J, Salaam Remi, Chucky Thompson, Puff Daddy and more. The album also features guest artist Lil Cease, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Jadakiss, Styles P, Sheek Louch (founders of The L.O.X. hip hop group), 112, and a first-time collaboration with Lil Kim. [Vinyl edition due May 26th.]
The story of Nick Hakim’s debut album Green Twins truly began when, armed with the masters for his critically acclaimed Where Will We Go Pt. I & II EPs, Hakim moved from Boston to Brooklyn, spending his time fleshing out unfinished ideas in his bedroom. He came up with lyrics on the spot while playing the live circuit, recording sketches and lyrics on voice memos and a four-track cassette recorder, and embracing the local community of musicians by performing with bands like Jesse And Forever and Onyx Collective. From there, Green Twins came about as a sum of its parts: Hakim took the demo recordings to studios in New York, Philadelphia and London and built on them, keeping the original essence of the songs intact.Hakim says of Green Twins, “I felt the need to push my creativity in a different way than I had on the EPs.” The record draws from influences spanning Robert Wyatt, Marvin Gaye and Shuggie Otis to My Bloody Valentine. “We wanted to imagine what it would have sounded like if RZA had produced a Portishead album. We experimented with engineering techniques from Phil Spector and Al Green’s Back Up Train, drum programming from RZA and Outkast, and were listening to a lot of The Impressions, John Lennon, Wu-Tang, Madlib, and Screaming Jay Hawkins.”
Harvestman – Music For Megaliths CD/LP (Neurot)
Over the course of three albums, Steve Von Till has, under the guise of Harvestman, provided the sonic analogue, casting his net for what might have been and yet still be. Both a personal meditation and a tuning fork for the most ancient and enduring of resonances, his latest album, Music For Megaliths, further expands his journeys along the sonic ley lines that run between folk, drone, psychedelia, the ‘kosmische’ outposts of krautrock and noise: not as an act of eclecticism, but of divination, giving voice to an underlying continuity that binds them all.
Jade Jackson – Gilded CD/LP+MP3 (ANTI-)
Jade Jackson creates a sound that is simultaneously new and old, merging a youthful spiritedness with a weary storyteller’s perspective usually reserved for veteran artists. Stylistically the sound is unapologetically country rock. It merges the heartbreak and resilience of Lucinda Williams with the melodic confidence of Emmylou Harris.
Jambinai – Difference CD/LP (Bella Union)
South Korean trio Jambinai sound less like a band than a force of nature, fusing the full dramatic range of post-rock dynamics to Korean folk roots to create an exhilarating, vivid and unique fusion.
A percussion-led tour de force, Jlin’s long awaited second album Black Origami is a creation that seals her reputation as a unique producer with an exceptional ability to make riveting rhythmic music. The album is driven by a deep creative thirst which she describes as “this driving feeling that I wanted to do something different, something that challenged me to my core.” Spirituality and movement are both at the core of Black Origami, inspired largely by her ongoing collaborations with Indian dancer/movement artist Avril Stormy Unger whom she met and collaborated with at her debut performance for the Unsound festival – “There is a fine line between me entertaining a person and my spirituality. Avril, who collaborates with me by means of dance, feels the exact same way. Movement played a great role in Black Origami. The track ‘Carbon 7’ is very inspired by the way Avril moves and dances. Our rhythms are so in sync at times it kind of scares us. When there is something I can’t quite figure out when it comes to my production, it’s like she senses it. Her response to me is always ‘You’ll figure it out.’ Once I figure it out it’s like time and space no longer exist.”
Pokey LaFarge tries to make sense of trouble he’s seen and trouble he’s been in. This is the Great Why of his unending passion for songwriting. Each chord, each riff shades the stories he sets up in his lyrics, always in search of the purest truth within the 10 forlorn, haunting melodies on Manic Revelations. A musician, a storyteller, a narrator of the messy, unkempt American experience…Pokey LaFarge sits, he watches, he writes. Everything that’s worth happening happens in his songs. From the broad social narrative of “Riot In The Streets” to the internal tension of “Must Be A Reason” and “Bad Dreams” to the profound alienation of “Silent Movie,” these Manic Revelations are questions, they are answers, they are an epoch for Pokey LaFarge. Album single ‘Silent Movie’ “is just the sort of refreshing breeze we could all use in these harsh days, blowing in on shambling guitars and sighing horns. As the instrumentation calms your worried mind, LaFarge reminds you to keep in touch with the things that actually make life worth living because, when all is said is done, we only get one shot at this. ‘Growing up is a scam/ The truth is a lie,’ he sings. ‘Better of staying a child/ Till the day you die’” – Consequence Of Sound. [Limited edition 180gm transparent blue vinyl pressing also available.]
Life After Youth is the first Land Of Talk album since 2010’s Cloak And Cipher. After taking a few months off after Cloak And Cipher’s touring cycle, frontwoman Elizabeth Powell got back to work on a follow-up. Instead, a series of mishaps – post-tour fatigue, a crashed hard drive with new demos, and her father’s stroke in 2013 – turned “a few months” into “a few years.” While caring for her father, Elizabeth fell under the spell of classical, ambient, and Japanese tonkori music, whose meditative quality aided his recovery. Immersing herself in those sounds would change her entire approach to music making; she started writing songs without her trusty guitar, instead building tracks up from synth beds and programmed loops. Life After Youth’s centerpiece track, “Inner Lover,” presents the most radical results of those experiments. It’s an audio Rorschach test of a song: key in on the incessant synth pulse underpinning Elizabeth’s pleading vocal (“take care of me!”) and the track assumes an ominous intensity. But when you surrender to the relaxed drum counter-rhythm and subliminal harmonies, “Inner Lover” projects a graceful serenity. Even the songs built atop more traditional rock foundations exist in that liminal space between dreaming and waking life, confidence and doubt, raw feelings and soothing sounds.
Los Straitjackets – What’s So Funny About Peace Love And Los Straitjackets CD/LP+MP3 (Yep Roc)
Known for their audacious album concepts and star-crossed collaborations, when it comes to delivering high-energy rock and roll instrumental music, no one equals the finesse, power and perseverance of Los Straitjackets. Now they pay tribute to Nick Lowe.
Singer-songwriter Matisyahu has been on a journey inward for more than a decade. The journey has been private and public. The journey has at times been explicitly external, even while being driven by internal change. Now, nearly thirteen years after the release of his first studio record, Matisyahu and his band have done something unmatched in his past repertoire; they have crafted that journey into a musically thematic eight-song-movement. The band features longtime guitarist Aaron Dugan, Dub Trio’s bassist and drummer Stu Brooks and Joe Tomino, and keyboard virtuoso BigYuki – and the journey starts with them. The band improvised for hours in the studio with Matisyahu watching on as an admirer without singing a single lyric. Out of the improvisations grew melodic themes, rhythmic peaks and valleys, blissful and proto-song guitar passages, deep dub meditations and ultimately an inspired instrumental record unto itself. Only once the band had crafted this musical narrative, did Matisyahu begin to work on a lyrical narrative of his own – one that is simultaneously informed and integrated with the music yet driven by his own personal journey. [Limited blue color vinyl pressing also available.]
MISSIO – Loner CD (RCA)
Debut full-length from the Austin, TX electronic duo.
Morning Teleportation – Salivating For Symbiosis CD/LP (Glacial Pace)
“For their 2011 debut album, Expanding Anyway, rising indie rockers Morning Teleportation enlisted the production help of the one and only Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse. With their new follow-up, titled Salivating For Symbiosis, the Kentucky natives expanded their sound as well as their inner circle, bringing in even more star power into the studio. Recorded in Portland with producer Jeremy Sherrer (Jesu, Sun Kil Moon), the sophomore project features a variety of guest contributors, such as Cage The Elephant’s Daniel Tichenor, David Depper of Death Cab For Cutie, and Mimicking Birds’ Aaron Hanson. Morning Teleportation members Tiger Merritt and Travis Goodwin also made use of a wide range of instruments, juxtaposing trumpets with modular synths and banjo, resulting in an LP that’s both rich and richly adventurous.” – Consequence Of Sound
From Peter Hughes of the Mountain Goats: “The theme this time around is goth, a subject closer to my heart perhaps than that of any Mountain Goats album previous. And while John writes the songs, as he always has, it feels more than ever like he’s speaking for all of us in the band, erstwhile goths (raises hand) or otherwise, for these are songs that approach an identity most often associated with youth from a perspective that is inescapably adult. Anyone old enough to have had the experience of finding oneself at sea in a cultural landscape that’s suddenly indecipherable will empathize with Pat Travers showing up to a Bauhaus show looking to jam, for example. But underneath the outward humor, there is evident throughout a real tenderness toward, and solidarity with, our former fellow travelers – the friends whose bands never made it out of Fender’s Ballroom, the Gene Loves Jezebels of the world – the ones whose gothic paths were overtaken by the realities of life, or of its opposite. It’s something we talk about a lot, how fortunate and grateful we are to share this work, a career that’s become something more rewarding and fulfilling than I think any of us could have imagined. We all know how easily it could’ve gone the other way, and indeed for a long time did.” [Deluxe color vinyl edition cut at 45rpm and including a bonus 12” also available.]
Daniel Romano is an Ontario-based artist, poet, musician and performer of international acclaim. A genre-defying student of musical experimentation and a brilliant multi-instrumentalist, Romano is acutely well versed in the languages of melody, shape, lyric construction and song arrangement. Apt in its title, Modern Pressure picks up where Mosey left off, boldly asking, “What age is this? What blooming weight do we carry through these stolen streets?” Written in observational scrutiny beneath the overcast atmosphere of 2016, the record vigorously tackles the present-day heaviness we contain in the jotting bones of our guilty expressions. It pleads for the restoration of empathy and resonance, to fill the empty chamber once again.
The newly expanded, 25th Anniversary Edition of the Singles soundtrack features the album’s original 13 tracks, newly mastered, with a bonus CD of rarities and unreleased tracks. The new bonus CD (also included on the double-vinyl edition) features previously unreleased recordings by Mudhoney, Paul Westerberg, Mike McCready and Chris Cornell in addition to rarities such as Cornell’s 1992 EP Poncier (debuting an early rendition of “Spoonman”) and tracks from the film not included on the original soundtrack album. This expanded edition includes, for the first time on CD, “Touch Me I’m Dick,” the signature track from Singles performed by Citizen Dick (a fictional band created for the film featuring frontman Matt Dillon backed by Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament).
The word “brat” has followed Nathan Williams around for almost a decade, but at the age of 30, with a fully-fledged business to his name, as well as the ongoing success of band Wavves, his rebellious streak has proven not just purposeful but pretty damn inspiring. You’re Welcome is the soundtrack to this new lease of freedom. It’s Williams’ tongue-in-cheek rebirth as a self-released, self-actualized, self-promoting punk kingpin, and despite putting his money where his uncensored mouth is, he’s emerged not just unscathed but with the upper hand. You’re Welcome is mostly comprised of Williams’ oddball, sample-led brainstorms: he came up with 40 tracks, now whittled down to twelve, fat-free punk zingers. A sample nerd, Williams delved into his obsession with 1950s doo-wop and – surprisingly – international folk, including Cambodian pop and ’70s psychedelia from South America. The results make for one of the most diverse and intricate Wavves records yet. “Come To The Valley” contains a Phil Spector meets Beach Boys ’60s high school dance vibe, whereas title track “You’re Welcome” riffs on sound effects that could almost originate from Bizarro World, never mind Cambodia. [Limited color vinyl pressing also available.]
Jane Weaver – Modern Kosmology CD/LP (Fire)
Modern Kosmology sees Jane Weaver’s melodic-protagonist channeling new depths of creative cosmic energy within. After the huge critical acclaim of 2012’s Fallen By Watchbird, followed by 2015’s exploratory Silver Globe LP winning her unanimous “record of the year” accolades and hefty measures of radio play, Jane Weaver’s conceptual trajectory has sent her neo-kosmische penchants to the point of no-return. Her yearning for psychoactive pop energy has reached a new level of magnetism.
White Hills – Stop Mute Defeat CD/LP+MP3 (Thrill Jockey)
The dismal realities, political or otherwise, that are part of our modern world naturally influence our creative voices. It is in this context that White Hills re-evaluated their approach to creating a new album. Having continually refined their sound, pushing the boundaries of psychedelic music, White Hills flipped the script on Stop Mute Defeat. Dave W. and Ego Sensation have brazenly produced an industrially-charged record that pulsates unlike anything they’ve released before.
Crimpshrine – Duct Tape Soup [Reissue/1992] LP (Numero)
Crimpshrine – The Sound Of A New World Being Born [Reissue/1998] LP (Numero)
Before Green Day, Operation Ivy, and Lookout Records put the East Bay’s burgeoning punk scene on the map, a trio of Berkeley kids were reinventing the genre with music that was melodic but full of feedback, and a singer who sounded like he gargled glass. Crimpshrine’s debut EP was Lookout’s fourth release, followed by an album, a second EP, and a slew of split singles and compilation tracks before the band imploded in 1989 after a ridiculous two-and-a-half-month tour in a Ford Pinto hatchback.
Helium – The Dirt Of Luck [Reissue/1995] LP+MP3 (Matador)
Helium – The Magic City/No Guitars [Reissue/1997] 2xLP+MP3 (Matador)
Helium – Ends With And 2xLP+MP3 (Matador)
Led by Mary Timony (Ex Hex, Wild Flag, Autoclave), Helium was one of the most important rock bands of the ‘90s, and finally their influential output is being released on vinyl after a decade of being out of print courtesy of Matador Records. In addition to the reissues of breakthrough 1995 debut The Dirt Of Luck and revered 1997 swan song The Magic City (bundled on a double-LP with the No Guitars EP), Helium release a brand new collection of rarities, B-sides, and unreleased demos on a 19-track double LP entitled Ends With And.
Kurt Vile – Square Shells [Reissue/2010] 12”+MP3 (Matador)
Kurt Vile – So Outta Reach [Reissue/2011] 12”+MP3 (Matador)
Limited edition color vinyl reissues of a pair of Kurt Vile 12”s.
NEXT WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
THE CHARLATANS – Different Days CD/LP
JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE – Kinds In The Streets CD/LP
SAM AMIDON – Following Mountain CD/LP
CRESCENT – Resin Pockets CD/LP
BILL FRISELL / MORGAN THOMAS – Small Town CD
BOB MOSES – Days Gone By CD
PET SYMMETRY – Vision CD/LP
BIG STAR – Complete Third Vol 2 LP
CHAINSMOKERS – Memories LP
MOONCHILD -Voyager CD/LP
THE BEATLES – Sgt Pepper’s 50th Anniversary 2CD/3LP
LIL YACHTY – Teenage Emotions CD
DANZIG – Black Laden Crown CD
JOHN MAYER – Search For Everything LP
UNDERWORLD – Beaucoup Fish LP reissue