Kimber – Brokeback
Lindsay – Marika Hackman
Dario – Brokeback
Brittany- Beach Fossils, Marika Hackman, & Chastity Belt
THIS WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
Alt-J – Relaxer CD/LP+MP3 (Canvasback/Atlantic)
Alt-J is a group that can’t be pigeonholed. They’ve got a knack for creating unpredictable music, pleasantly surprising fans with a new sound on each track. Their past two albums have met critical success both in the UK and North America, with their debut record An Awesome Wave winning the 2012 Mercury Prize and their sophomore effort This Is All Yours earning a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album in 2015. Their new album, Relaxer, was recorded all over London – from Shoreditch to St John’s Wood, Crouch Hill to Brixton – with producer Charlie Andrew at the helm for the third time. A first taste of the album comes in the form of the broody lead single “3WW.” The stereo-heavy tune is a production gem, sending out shakers into your eardrums and guitar chords into your heart one line at a time.
Dan Auerbach – Waiting On A Song CD/LP (Easy Eye Sound/Nonesuch)
Dan Auerbach’s second solo album, Waiting On A Song, is a love letter to Nashville. As such, he recruited some of Nashville’s most respected players to write and record his latest, including John Prine, Duane Eddy, Jerry Douglas, Pat McLaughlin and Bobby Wood and Gene Chrisman of the Memphis Boys. Auerbach said about working with his musical heroes: “Living in Nashville has definitely changed the way I think about music and the way that I record it. I didn’t have all of these resources before. I am working with some of the greatest musicians that ever lived.” Auerbach moved to Nashville from his native Akron, Ohio in 2010. With this release, his first solo album in eight years, it is clear that he has made Music City his home. During the summer of 2016, taking a break from the non-stop touring he’d done with The Black Keys and the Arcs, he finally got acquainted with the city he loves so much, as well as the world-class musicians who live there, and subsequently collaborated with some of Nashville’s heavyweights. [Limited edition blue/yellow color vinyl pressing also available.]
Beach Fossils – Somersault CD/LP (Bayonet)
The long-awaited return of Brooklyn’s Beach Fossils, Somersault showcases a band in bloom. Orchestral pop gem “Saint Ivy” shines with plucked strings, buoyant basslines and a propulsive, wayward, guitar. “Tangerine,” a driving, tightly wound melody, rushes forward and briefly leaves the ground due to the gossamer guest vocals of Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell. The cloudy, wistful “Social Jetlag,” bustling with samples of crowded streets, features the type of candid, off-the-cuff lyrics that make the entire effort immediately illuminating. Somersault evokes the laid-back mood of a warm, breezy city night, the air crackling with humidity and excitement. These songs pulse and pull, capturing a blend of promise and heartache. It’s beautiful and layered, a refined, sweeping creation that threads together numerous styles, textures, and themes into a refreshing, singular vision. [Limited edition red color vinyl pressing also available.]
Bleachers – Gone Now CD/LP (RCA)
After building a devoted fan-base through a year and a half of non-stop touring behind his band Bleachers’ well-received debut album Strange Desire, Jack Antonoff realized his second album needed to “sound like New York and New Jersey and the actual space I grew up in, in the most specific way.” So he built his own studio in his New York apartment and it was there in that room – surrounded by posters and flyers from punk shows he saw as a kid and his old baseball trophies and Star Wars figurines – that Antonoff created the epic, synth-driven anthems that appear on Bleachers’ new album Gone Now. “The crux of the new album is my desperately trying to find a way to become some version of an adult, and not just be a giant child,” Antonoff explains. “I thought a lot about things like, ‘Where do I want to go from here? Do I want to be a person who has this extremely vibrant relationship with their art, but their life suffers in a million other places? Where do I want to go with my life?’” [Limited red color vinyl pressing also available.]
Benjamin Booker – Witness CD/LP (ATO)
Witness is the follow-up to Benjamin Booker’s critically acclaimed self-titled 2014 debut album. Here, Booker delves deep into his passion for eccentric soul, R&B and blues. It draws on William Onyeabor’s ’70s African psych-rock, Freddie Gibbs and Pusha T while never straying too far from the garage-punk intensity that made Booker’s debut a creative breakthrough. The title track, Booker’s most profound and incisive song to date, features a guest vocal by Mavis Staples. The song’s origins date to a writing trip he took to Mexico City, during which James Baldwin’s observation that “Once you find yourself in another civilization you are forced to examine your own,” took on the weight of experience. “Am I going to be a witness?” Booker asks in the statement (and the song). “And in today’s world, is that enough?” [Limited Edition blue color vinyl pressing also available.]
Buffalo Tom – Let Me Come Over [Reissue/1992] 2xLP (Beggars Banquet)
25th Anniversary Edition featuring the original album plus a previously unreleased live show from 1992. 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.
Vic Chesnutt – Silver Lake [Reissue/2003] 2xLP+MP3 (New West)
At the time Silver Lake was recorded, you could count on two things with Vic Chesnutt: he would approach any topic, from the delicate to the mundane and he would take an unexpected angle. With an incisive eye and razor wit, he would always cut straight to the heart of the matter.
Chastity Belt – I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone CD/LP/Cassette (Hardly Art)
I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone is Chastity Belt’s third full-length album to date. Recorded live in July of 2016, at Jackpot! in Portland, OR with producer/mixer Matthew Simms of Wire, it’s a dark and uncommonly beautiful set of mood-driven rock that’s also unabashedly introspective. More personal and more direct than 2015’s marvelous Time To Go Home, I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone is a brave and often exhilarating tangle of mixed feelings and haunting melodies that connects dizzying anguish (“This Time Of Night”) to shimmering insight (“Different Now”) to gauzy ambiguity (“Stuck”). It’s a serious record but not a serious departure, defined best, perhaps, by a line that Julia Shapiro shares early on its staggering title track: “I Wanna Be Sincere.”
Flogging Molly – Life Is Good CD/LP (Vanguard)
The social and political awareness that drives Flogging Molly’s music is never more prominent than on their new release Life Is Good – a strikingly powerful album that arrives at a strikingly key time. The sixth studio album by the renowned Celtic-punk rockers now in their 20th year is mature, well crafted, equally polished and almost aggressively topical. It is filled with rousing songs that are timeless in their sentiment, but directly related to today’s most pressing concerns: Politics, the economy, unemployment, planned boomtowns gone bust, immigration policies gone awry, and much more. Imagery abounds on Life Is Good, and one of the most memorable images might be found in “Adamstown,” the saga of a planned community west of Dublin that came to a halt in mid-construction a decade ago when the Irish economy crashed – and left little more than a ghost town in its place. Thematically, hope and inspiration are a major part of “The Hand Of John L. Sullivan,” a rollicking track about the legendary “Boston Strong Boy” who was the first ever heavyweight champion of gloved boxing from 1882-1892. And what’s uniquely distinctive about Life Is Good is that the gravity and weight of these themes never overshadow the sheer fun and exuberance felt in each song.
Marika Hackman – I’m Not Your Man CD/LP (Sub Pop)
It’s amazing how the floodgates open when you shut out all the internal and external noise, stop pandering to stereotype, cease listening to your anxieties, and disregard the compartment society has built for you. I’m Not Your Man, begins with an impromptu hearty laugh. It’s not the sound of silliness; it’s the sound of liberation, spontaneity, and joy. 24-year-old Hackman is feeling more herself than ever. Life isn’t necessarily funnier or happier, but when there’s cause for a joke or a big ballsy statement, she’s not holding back any more. “The record’s all about female relationships, romance and breakdowns, but there’s also a dim worldview going on. ‘I’m Not Your Man’ can either mean ‘I’m not your man, I’m your woman,’ or it can mean ‘I’m not a part of this.’” Hackman cranked up the knobs in the studio, turning away from the quieter sounds of her past to realize her teenage fantasy of fronting a raucous band. “I wanted to let rip and lose control. When I was younger I wasn’t looking at Joni Mitchell. I was looking at Nirvana thinking, ‘I wanna be like that!’” To channel this feral female energy, Hackman recruited London quartet The Big Moon as her backing band. The results are a dynamic, multi-genre album tied together by razor-sharp wit.
Halsey – Hopeless Fountain Kingdom CD/LP (Astralwerks)
Grammy-nominated multi-platinum alternative pop maverick Halsey returns with her second full-length album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. The 13-track affair honestly exorcises moments of sorrow, pain, joy, and love through a whirlwind of poetic lyricism, cinematic production, and searing hooks. Lead single, “Now Or Never,” offers the first taste of what fans can expect from the new album, a track with a soulful refrain over dystopic, shuddering synths. The vocals segue from a delicate croon into an R&B-style bridge, highlighting her impressive range. [Limited edition red with yellow splatter color vinyl pressing also available.]
Institute – Subordination CD/LP (Sacred Bones)
Since their first demo in 2013, the Austin expats in Institute have edged their raw anarcho punk blitz into something much more expansive and nuanced.
King Tubby’s And The Agrovators – Dubbing In The Back Yard [Reissue/1982] 2xCD (Pressure Sounds)
Originally issued on the UK based Black Music records label in 1982, Dubbing In The Back Yard was produced by Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee with expert backing from his house band The Agrovators and mixed at King Tubby’s Studio by Prince Jammy. Smooth roots tracks mixed with bass-heavy early ‘80s dancehall. [Vinyl edition due June 23.]
Mutoid Man – Warm Moans CD/LP+MP3 (Sargent House)
Mutoid Man – the brainchild of Steve Brodsky (guitar, Cave In), Ben Koller (drums, Converge, All Pigs Must Die), and Nick Cageao (bass) – pushes metal’s villainous pageantry to vaudevillian levels. On the band’s sophomore LP, Mutoid Man bask in their love of frantic, ferocious, no-frills metal; no riff deemed too extreme, no drum pattern considered too absurd.
North Mississippi Allstars – Prayer For Peace CD/LP (Sony)
Prayer for Peace is North Mississippi Allstars eighth studio album and self-produced by the Dickinson Brothers. It was recorded across the country at six different studios: including the famous Royal Studios in Memphis with Boo Mitchell and their legendary father Jim Dickinson’s Zebra Ranch in Hernando, MS. Special guests on the album include bassist Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers Band, Dead & Company), Graeme Lesh (Midnight North, The Terrapin Family Band), vocalist Sharisse Norman, bassist Dominic Davis (Jack White), and singer/fife player Shardé Thomas, daughter of Mississippi blues giant Otha Turner.
Saint Etienne – Home Counties CD/LP (Heavenly/PIAS America)
Saint Etienne grew up in the Home Counties. Here are sixteen new songs they have written about a day in the life of this doughnut of shires that ring the capital, punctuated by bursts of BBC radio to remind you what time it is, and all connected by train journeys – main lines, branch lines, commutes, escapes. It begins with “Something New,” and a teenage girl creeping through the front door after staying out all night. It stops at “Whyteleafe,” and imagines what might have happened if David Bowie had remained David Jones of Bromley, stuck with a desk job. It summons up the Enfield Poltergeist on “Heather,” and the anarchy of Essex’s Plotland settlers on “Sweet Arcadia.” “Train Drivers In Eyeliner” wonders what the railway network might be like if it was organized according to ASLEF’s (the label for releases by the UK train drivers trade union, Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen) taste in music.
Skatalites – Skatalites: Independence Ska & The Far East Sound CD/2xLP (Soul Jazz)
A selection of some of the legendary ska band’s finest and hardest-to-find cuts made at Studio One between 1963-65. The album was originally released as a collectors’ 7” box set and is now available for the first time as a CD and double-LP edition complete with ten extra bonus tracks and new extensive sleeve notes.
TOPS – Sugar At The Gate CD/LP (Arbutus)
For Sugar At The Gate, Montreal’s TOPS peaced out to L.A. They lived and recorded at “Glamdale,” a mini-mansion and former brothel located in the Jewel City, Glendale, California. The unassuming record unfolds slowly, taking time to reveal itself. Like nearly everything TOPS does, multiple meanings overlap with the album’s title referring to orgasm, but also to carrot chasing, gatekeeping, and the social contract. “Living in L.A. was living out a teenage fantasy,” says vocalist-songwriter Jane Penny, “living with your band and practicing in the garage. It was also the first time we’ve ever had that much space to make music. I took the experience of living L.A. as a challenge to make music that I know is real to me, in the sense of it feeling true and containing true feelings, but also recordings of great songs, the real thing.” Layers of sarcasm and sincerity seem to enfold the group like flower petals, yet TOPS’ flawless musicianship and profound grasp of pop fundamentals are the surest sign that at the core, it’s all as real as it sounds. [Limited edition yellow color vinyl pressing also available.]
U2 – The Joshua Tree [Reissue/1987] CD/2xCD/4xCD/2xLP/7xLP (Island)
To mark 30 years since the release of U2’s fifth studio album The Joshua Tree, a variety of anniversary editions of this seminal record are now available. The Deluxe edition includes a live recording of The Joshua Tree Tour 1987 Madison Square Garden concert; The Super Deluxe edition adds additional rarities and B-sides from the album’s original recording sessions as well as 2017 remixes from Daniel Lanois, St Francis Hotel, Jacknife Lee, Steve Lillywhite and Flood, plus an 84-page hardback book of unseen personal photography shot by The Edge during the original Mojave Desert photo session in 1986.
Roger Waters – Is This The Life We Really Want? CD/2xLP(Columbia)
Roger Waters, the creative power and song writing force behind Pink Floyd, returns with his first rock album in 25 years, Is This The Life We Really Want? The long-awaited follow-up is an unflinching commentary on the modern world and uncertain times and serves as a natural successor to classic Pink Floyd albums such as Animals and The Wall. Produced and mixed by Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Paul McCartney, Beck, U2), Is This The Life We Really Want? includes 12 new Waters musical compositions and studio performances.
The Garden – The Life And Times Of A Paperclip LP (Burger)
The Garden is a constantly evolving, conceptual punk band based in Orange County, California. Established in in 2011 by twin brothers Wyatt and Fletcher Shears, the band consistently defies categorization and continues to break ground in their self-inflicted Vada Vada genre. They are the auditory invaders of the new world; borderless, informed and decentralized, slick sound released from constraint and old ideologies. [CD version due June 16.]
Brokeback – Field Recordings From The Cook County Water Table [Reissue/1999] LP (Thrill Jockey)
Brokeback – Looks At The Bird [Reissue/2002] LP (Thrill Jockey)
Brokeback is the solo project of Douglas McCombs of Tortoise, The Sea And Cake and various other outlets. The group’s first two albums are gorgeous listens, combining natural noises with subtle instrumentation from musicians including John McEntire and Rob Mazurek. Reissued on vinyl for the first time.
Moon Duo – Killing Time [Reissue/2009] 12” (Sacred Bones)
Limited edition red color vinyl reissue. For the uninitiated: Moon Duo is the solo alter-ego of Wooden Shjips guitarist and singer Ripley Johnson. Under the Moon Duo moniker Johnson creates expansive Krautrock influenced tapestries of warm cascading fuzz and controlled feedback, organ, and accenting keyboard. This four-song 12” is the second release and incorporates a much more concise, composed and driving sound than before. Highly recommended.
Iggy Pop – The Idiot [Reissue/1977] LP (Virgin)
Iggy Pop – Lust For Life [Reissue/1977] LP (Virgin)
Iggy Pop – TV Eye 1977 Live [Reissue/1978] LP (Virgin)
Sorta nice 120gm vinyl reissues now available.
Roya – Roya (Burger)
Roya, the poetic Persian name of a little girl means an ominous dream, a mind trip, a fantasy. Such was the vision lead singer Rahill Jamalifard first had when hatching the idea for the band. A moody and seductive tone set against a primitive and surreal soundscape, lending its voice to somber echoes and jangles of post punk and psychedelia. [CD and vinyl editions due June 16.]
Whitney – You’ve Got A Woman b/w Gonna Hurry (As Slow As I Can) 7” (Polyvinyl)
Ever since they wrote Light Upon The Lake as Chicago froze around them during winter 2014, Whitney have tried to make the kind of songs they’d be jealous of if someone else got there first. “You’ve Got A Woman,” released on the B-side of Dutch duo Lion’s 1975 psych-pop 7″ But I Do, is precisely one of those songs.
NEXT WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM & CHRISTIE MCVIE- Lindsey Buckingham & Christie McVie CD/LP
GOV’T MULE- Revolution Come… Revolution Go CD/DLX CD/LP
MAGPIE SALUTE- Live CD/LP
PHOENIX- Ti Amo CD/LP
RISE AGAINST- Wolves CD
BIG THIEF- Capacity CD/LP/CASS
CIGARETTES AFTER SEX- Cigarettes After Sex CD/LP
ANI DIFRANCO- Binary CD/LP
PIXX- Age of Anxiety CD/LP
DAVE DEPPER- Emotional Freedom Technique CD/LP
RANCID- Trouble Maker CD/LP
SECRET SISTERS- You Don’t Own Me Anymore CD/LP
SOUL WAX- From Deewee CD/LP
SUFJAN STEVENS- Planetarium CD/LP
HELIOCENTRICS- A World of Masks CD/LP
SHANNON MCNALLY- Black Irish CD
LONDON GRAMMER- Truth is a Beautiful Thing LP
WHITE STRIPES- LP Reissue
PANTHA DUPRINCE- The Tria Ambient Versions LP