Kimber – Mirah
Lindsay – Weather Station
Dario – Jamila Woods
THIS WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
Blue Hawaii – Tenderness CD/LP (Arbutus)
Blue Hawaii is a duo comprising Raphaelle “Ra” Standell of Braids and Alex “Agor” Kerby. “Björk meets the xx and DJ Koze.”
Citizen – As You Please CD/LP+MP3 (Run For Cover)
For their third album Citizen looked inward. Pairing up again with longtime producer Will Yip, the band presents twelve songs that fuse aspects of their entire catalog into one neoteric whole. While the cathartic melancholy of their debut Youth and the jarring intensity of 2015’s Everybody Is Going To Heaven are both present, the most welcome addition to Citizen’s arsenal on As You Please is the range of auxiliary instrumentation and sonic experimentation on the album. This is most notable on “In The Middle of it All,” where vocalist Mat Kerekes is sampled singing the song title in a modulated, haunting chorus that echoes throughout the song. The addition of organs and unconventional drum effects on songs like “You Are A Star” and “Medicine” create shifting emphases on tension and frailty, while the huge choruses of songs like opener “Jet” and “I Forgive No One” are reminders that while Citizen dove headfirst into uncharted territory with their new album, the band is still as good as ever at writing emotionally-charged anthems. [Two limited edition colored vinyl pressings are available: clear with black swirl and bone with purple and gold splattered.]
Cults – Offering CD/LP+MP3 (Omnian Music Group)
Four years after Static, Cults return an exciting collection of songs bursting with heart, confidence, shimmering melody and buzzing life.
The Darkness – Pinewood Smile CD/LP (Cooking Vinyl)
Pinewood Smile finds The Darkness in electrifying form, delivering some of the most sharp-witted, infectious, humorous and downright brilliant songs of their career.
D33J – Death Valley Oasis CD/LP (Anticon)
Death Valley Oasis is the three years in the making debut LP from WEDIDIT Collective co-founder Djavan Santos aka D33J featuring guest appearances by Baths, Deradoorian, Corbin (FKA Spooky Black) and Shlohmo. D33J explains the album’s lead single: “‘Black Ice’ is a lullaby for those moments of hypnagogia. A blip of self-awareness in a moment of disconnect. The moment of coming to in an altered state and echo chamber of paralysis in a place of paradise.”
Liam Gallagher – As You Were CD/LP (WB)
“Always operating in the shadow of his brother Noel, Liam Gallagher had difficulty separating himself from Oasis. Maybe that’s his fault, since he retained nearly the entire lineup of Oasis for Beady Eye, the group he formed after splitting with his sibling in 2009, but that band never gained traction — which had the unfortunate side effect of slowing Liam’s momentum. He pulled the plug on Beady Eye in 2014 and spent a couple of years regrouping, re-emerging in 2017 with As You Were. The very title suggests Gallagher is picking up where Oasis left off, a sentiment that also applied to Beady Eye’s 2011 debut, Different Gear, Still Speeding, but As You Were is clean and focused in a way Liam has never been on his own. Ranging from the icy onslaught of “Wall Of Glass” to the stark swirl of “Chinatown,” this is his best record in nearly a decade, and they add up to an album that illustrates exactly who Liam Gallagher is as an artist.” — Stephen Thomas Erlewine [Available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds three bonus tracks. Limited edition 180gm white colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Andrew Hung – Realisationship CD/LP (Lex)
Debut solo album from the Fuck Buttons co-founder. “Realisationship is album full of dualities. There’s conflict everywhere whether that between two people, one person versus the world or between the two aspects of one person’s character. Rage and bitterness rule on some songs (‘No I Won’t’, ‘Animal’) whilst sorrow and acceptance reign on others (‘Whispers’, ‘Open Your Eyes’). Sonically the album maybe lo-fi in feel but on further inspection it is a dense and rich work with hidden layers appearing over time.” – Louder Than War [Limited red colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Simon Joyner – Step Into The Earthquake CD/2xLP (Shrimper)
Things are leaning shitty right now, and the characters in Joyner’s songs experience the dissolution of comfort amid anxious concerns regarding our turbulent times.
Kelela – Take Me Apart CD/LP+MP3 (Warp)
Kelela’s debut album emerges as an epic portrait of an artist spanning the past and future of R&B. In her hands, however, the genre knows no boundaries and so Take Me Apart exists as a singular and fearless addition to a canon of recent classics. From her very earliest work, honesty and vulnerability have been cornerstones of Kelela’s art – even when clad in the armor of the avant-garde electronics she so deftly inhabits – and Take Me Apart sees her double down on both the emotional intensity and resonance of her message as well as the sonic seeking she is renowned for. The timeless, zero-gravity ballad “Better” sees Kelela at her most unadorned – baring her soul to a nameless other over subtly transforming piano and synth textures while first single “LMK” is all staggering club swagger that manages to span the past 20 years of innovative R&B while still exploring another dimension of possibilities. These songs typify the melding of classic song-craft and inventive production approach at the album’s core, but it’s here where things take yet another exhilarating turn. “Truth or Dare” has the brittle snap and vocal twists of a Neptunes track while “Blue Light” sees Kelela weld her sweeping pleas to the warped sonic palette of grime, pointing the way forward to the future of cybernetic soul. [Deluxe vinyl edition also available.]
Mark Kozelek With Ben Boye and Jim White – Mark Kozelek With Ben Boye and Jim White 2xCD (Caldo Verde)
“For such a legendary curmudgeon, Mark Kozelek sure seems to play well with others. Following his collaborative LPs with Jesu’s Justin Broadrick and Parquet Courts’ Sean Yeaton, Mark Kozelek has teamed up with Ben Boye and Xylouris White/Dirty Three’s Jim White for a new album.”
Alex Lahey – I Love You Like A Brother CD/LP (Dead Oceans)
“Emanating originally from Melbourne, Alex Lahey originally went to university to study jazz saxophone. Luckily she realized that this was a terrible waste of time and so embarked on an arts degree and set about making relatable fuzz pop that sounds like Courtney Barnett sandpapered in order to fit onto college radio playlists. Catchy with punch-a-long choruses galore.” – Norman UK [Limited yellow colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down CD/LP (Loma Vista)
On 10th album Heaven Upside Down, you can’t help but feel that Manson’s glancing back to the past. Throwbacks to numerous stepping stones in Manson’s career are given a punk feel – like the band have holed up in the Tate house again, or been rehearsing live for weeks to recapture the rawness of the Antichrist Superstar days.
JD McPherson – Undivided Heart & Soul CD/LP+MP3 (New West)
JD McPherson presents what he calls “A truly romantic garage rock record” with Undivided Heart & Soul. Co-produced with Dan Molad (Lucius) and developed largely in the studio (that studio being the historic RCA Studio B in Nashville), the album carries a sense of immediacy and irreverence. “In writing this record, I threw several handfuls of caution to the wind,” JD explains. “Lyrically, I was allowing myself to be exposed in a way I never have before. Concurrently, maybe as some sort of a self-defense mechanism, the guitars got fuzzier and louder. The first day at RCA was like being in church…by the second day, it was a high school band’s rehearsal space.” Putting the hands of Molad on the wheel of the record, however, ensured that the music didn’t take too many expected turns. “Most folks know us for our take on vintage R&B and early rock ‘n’ roll,” he adds. “The past year, I’ve been digging so much into the heavier, brasher sounds of early rock ‘n’ roll…from bands like The Sonics, Link Wray, and into some early British rock such as The Creation…these influences feature heavily in these songs. The tunes that showed up weren’t exactly always in familiar territory, and… we greeted them as welcome strangers. They have a lot of heart…and that’s what rock ‘n’ roll should always have.”
Mister Heavenly – Boxing The Moonlight CD/LP+MP3 (Polyvinyl)
“Supergroup” is a title that gets thrown around a lot, but in the case of Mister Heavenly, it’s well-deserved. The trio consists of Ryan Kattner (aka Honus Honus of Man Man), Nicholas Thorburn (The Unicorns, Islands) and Joe Plummer (The Shins, Cold War Kids, Modest Mouse). The band dabbled in love and affection on their first record, 2011’s Out of Love. This time, however, Mister Heavenly are in a scrappy mood, embracing a tougher sound than their previous effort. “We’re always trying to write the perfect little nugget,” Kattner says, that will endure even into the dystopian future that looks more and more likely every day. Or, as he puts it, “When you find that melted jukebox, and that Mister Heavenly record is spinning, you’re going to try your damndest to find a coin to put in it.” [Limited 180gm dark purple colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Kele Okereke – Fatherland CD/LP (The End)
Fatherland is the first album to be released by Kele Okereke under his full name, following two acclaimed solo records as Kele, The Boxer and Trick, and five albums as the frontman of unparalleled British band Bloc Party. Kele recorded the album in Portland and it sees him embracing a much more organic – even classic – sonic palette, and ranges from delicate folk, sumptuous soul and insidious, dub reggae-meets-Weimar cabaret. “I was listening a lot to Elliott Smith’s Either/Or, Pink Moon by Nick Drake, Blue by Joni Mitchell, and the Al Green album, Still In Love With You,” says Kele. “Writing these songs and expressing these words and feelings, it’s something that’s vital for me. I’m recognizing I’m entering into a different part of my life.” Fatherland features collaborations with Years & Years’ Olly Alexander and Corinne Bailey Rae.
The Replacements – For Sale: Live At Maxwell’s 1986 2xCD/2xLP (Rhino)
The first official dive into the vaults for The Replacements since the 2008 expanded CD reissues. This live recording from Maxwell’s in 1986 is a relic from the much beloved era of the band with Bob Stinson as the guitarist. The 29-song performance captures the Replacements just a couple weeks removed from their performance on Saturday Night Live, with a set list touches on all five of the band’s albums to that point, plus a few rarities and covers.
Reptaliens – Reptaliens CD/LP+MP3 (Captured Tracks)
Portland, Oregon’s Reptaliens is the husband and wife team of Cole and Bambi Browning. Named in reverence for their interests in cult mentality, transhumanism, and conspiracy theories, Reptaliens quickly evolved from a bedroom-recording project to a full-fledged band that explores fringe pop culture through analog synthesizers, electric guitars, melodic bass lines, and Bambi’s lulling vocals.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – The Kid CD/LP (Western Vinyl)
In 2015 Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith released her first widely distributed full-length album, Euclid. Little more than a year later Smith returned with her wonderstruck psychedelic breakthrough EARS to universal praise in the spring of 2016. Pitchfork called EARS “rich and rewarding,” and included it in their list of the top twenty experimental albums of the year, while other outlets including NPR, SPIN, and Rolling Stone sung similar best-of-the-year praises. Also in 2016, Smith toured with fellow sonic-adventurists Animal Collective, and soundtracked Google’s incredible virtual tour series The Hidden Worlds Of The National Parks. Her new album, The Kid, climbs to the peaks of its forerunner and astonishingly continues upward. The Kid aurally maps the emotional realities and spiritual epiphanies of a lifeform through its infancy, societal assimilation, and eventual self-remembrance, conjuring each phase with psychoacoustic eloquence. Here Smith challenges her listeners to entertain new paradigms of listenership by drawing our attention to multiple elements simultaneously, as if—in her words—“listening to two conversations at once.”
Richard Thompson – Acoustic Rarities CD (Beeswing)
A collection of some of the most obscure material in Thompson’s catalogue, including tracks that have never previously been released along with some that have only been heard as cover versions.
The Weather Station – The Weather Station CD/LP+MP3 (Paradise Of Bachelors)
“Another fervent chapter in The Weather Station’s story, conjuring up the kind of subtle magic that can lend the heaviest of blows. Her exquisite compositions are able to light up whichever room they find themselves despite – or perhaps in spite of – the heavy-heart that seems to drive the whole project forward.” – Gold Flake Paint
Weaves – Wide Open CD/LP+MP3 (Kanine)
Toronto “Band To Watch” (Stereogum) alumni Weaves follow up last year’s self-titled debut with a second album. “The band has described Wide Open as its Americana record, though the songs only bear a passing resemblance to the genre. There’s pedal steel on the title track and a touch of twang on ‘Grass,’ but the songs, in general, flirt across genre lines: bombastic rock, jangly art-pop, freaked-out fuzz. Whereas the songs on the band’s self-titled debut retrofitted pop structures over janky, vertiginous melodies and syncopated rhythms, Wide Open works the other way around: It feels hell-bent on injecting art-rock weirdness into a pop-music mold. Wide Open finds Weaves tightly coiled and finely tuned, anthemic in its own freakishly fun way.” – NPR [Limited colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Wolf Parade – Cry Cry Cry CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Sub Pop)
The soaring choruses, rousing anthems, sprawling guitars and chaotic keys that make up Wolf Parade are on proud display over the course of Cry Cry Cry, the band’s thunderous first album in seven years. That unique combination of sounds and influences, spearheaded by electric co-frontmen Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner—a complex yet relatable, energetic brew of glam, prog, synth-rock, and satisfying discomfort—helped define 2000s indie rock with three critically celebrated albums, and propelled a growing Wolf Parade fandom even after the band went on a indefinite hiatus. Compared to their last album, 2010’s relatively sparse rocker Expo 86, Cry Cry Cry is more deliberate in its arrangements and embrace of the studio process, as evidenced by songs like “Valley Boy,” a Bowie-inflected anthem for which Spencer wrote lyrics after Leonard Cohen died the day before the 2016 election. “You’re Dreaming,” also influenced by the election and the spinning shock that followed, is driving, urgent power pop that draws from artists like Tom Petty and what Dan calls one of his “default languages” for writing music. The swirly, synth-heavy crescendo of “Artificial Life” takes on the struggle of artists and at-risk communities. The album carries a sense of uprising that is not unrelated to Wolf Parade’s renewed determination to drive the band forward in uncertain times.
Jamila Woods – HEAVN CD/LP (Jagjaguwar)
Jamila Woods’s cultural lineage – from her love of Lucille Clifton’s poetry to letters from her grandmother and the late ’80s post-punk of The Cure – helped structure the progressive, delicate and minimalist soul of HEAVN. [Limited white colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Aesop Rock – Bushwick [Score] LP (Lakeshore)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. Underground hip-hop pioneer Aesop Rock’s original score to the film Bushwick, his first ever film score, is a mind-bending collection of instrumental tracks which provide an exhilarating beat-heavy backdrop to the Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott directed thriller.
Half Japanese – Half Gentlemen Not Beasts [Reissue/1980] 2xLP (Fire)
Half Japanese’s first album Half Gentlemen/Not Beasts is a collection of brothers Jad and David Fair’s earliest home recordings, originally released in 1980 as a homemade three LP box set, and now available for the very first time as a double LP. These songs stretch their DIY, lo-fi ethos to the limits featuring sound experiments cobbled together from guitar noise, electronics and odd effects, whilst throwing in some barely recognizable covers (such as tracks by The Temptations, Buddy Holly and Bob Dylan).
Mirah – Sundial LP (Absolute Magnitude/K. Records)
New EP collaboration with musician and composer Jherek Bischoff, who helped Mirah write string quartet arrangements for several songs in her catalog last year.
Monarch – Never Forever 2xLP (Profound Lore)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. France’s premiere extreme doom metal band take their singular style of punishing ritualistic amplifier worship toward melancholic territory.
Mos Def – The Ecstatic [Reissue/2009] 2xLP (Downtown)
Vinyl reissue of Mos Def’s fourth album. A widespread critical success, The Ecstatic was viewed as a return to form for Mos Def and one of the year’s best albums.
Of Montreal – Rune Husk 12”+MP3 (Polyvinyl)
Four new songs from prolific songwriter Kevin Barnes. 180gm clear colored vinyl LP pressing.
Angus & Julia Stone – Snow 2xLP (Nettwerk)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. The Sydney-born siblings produced and largely engineered Snow themselves, in Angus’s cottage studio, Belafonte, in the Byron Bay hinterland. “It was quite magical because Angus and I have never spent that much time together, just the two of us,” says Julia. “The last phase of writing and recording was just eight weeks of him and me and the quiet of the land. It was a beautiful time.” Since they began in 2006, Angus & Julia Stone have amassed multi-platinum sales and numerous ARIA awards at home, and won a fan base of millions over tours of the UK, Europe & North America. Limited white colored vinyl pressed to play at 45rpm.
NEXT WEEK’S NEW RELEASES