Kimber – Damien Jurado
Lindsay – Yonatan Gat, Middle Kids, Liz Phair, Holly Golightly
Dario – Cut Worms, Daniel Blumberg and Yonatan Gat
Paula – Cut Worms, Leon Bridges
THIS WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
Belly – Dove CD/LP (Belly Touring)
Dream-rock band Belly blazed a bright trail in the ‘90s, releasing two albums full of taut, yet wondrous music that was memorable for its rumbling bass lines and insistent drumming as it was for its glittering riffs and airy vocals. Long-awaited new album Dove, their first full-length studio effort since 1995’s King, places Belly back on that trail, bridging the gaps between reverbed-out bliss and spaghetti-western drone and muscular, hook-forward pop. Dove’s dozen songs nod to past glories while also showcasing the four members’ growth as songwriters and musicians, adding dramatic flourishes like strings and vibed-out guitars to the group’s already widescreen sound. [Limited edition colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Black Moth Super Rainbow – Panic Blooms CD/2xLP (Rad Cult)
Panic Blooms, the long-overdue sixth album by Black Moth Super Rainbow, is a fucked up and bleeding account of depression and the shadow side of human frailty, full of gorgeous warped melodies that exist as their own genre, somewhere between late ‘90s Warp Records, dub, and chopped and screwed codeine drip. It’s not drug music, it’s dragged music, oozing through the muck of the present moment, past mutating the present, demon melodies filtered through the vain search for light. This is why Pitchfork claimed BMSR mastered “the balance between the grotesque and beautiful,” SPIN hailed their “consistently great records of mind-altering, sugar-coated, vocoder-heavy psychedelic pop” and Stereogum saluted their “excellent haze.” Encoded in a syrupy fog, Tobacco’s lines stab with more ferocity than ever before. From the first track, the knives are out and slashing with chimerical violent imagery: mouths bleeding from razor blades stashed in tangerines and the ominous sensation of feeling haunted.
Daniel Blumberg – Minus CD/LP (Mute)
Minus, the debut solo album from Daniel Blumberg, is an astonishing work; one that weds an improvisational, free-music ethos to the rawest emotional songwriting, rooted deep in the personal turmoil the artist experienced whilst making the record. Minus is an album about breakdowns: relationship breakdowns, mental and physical breakdowns, breakdowns in communication, and the breaking down of received methods and practices. And situated at the broken-down heart of the record lies a pathological preoccupation with a breakdown of trust.
Leon Bridges – Good Thing CD/LP+MP3 (Columbia)
Good Thing is the follow-up to Grammy nominated R&B singer/composer Leon Bridges’ breakout 2015 debut Coming Home. The goal for the new album was for Leon to take his music in a more modern R&B direction while retaining his renowned style. Good Thing is born from the song “Bad Bad News,” and its lyrics “They tell me I was born to lose, but I made a good good thing out of bad bad news.” Leon’s story is well known; he went from working as a dishwasher and battling on the open mic scene in his hometown, Fort Worth, TX to being a Grammy-nominated artist, performing at the White House, attending the Met Gala and appearing on SNL in a period of two years. Now, an artist with more experience, shows us an album that illustrates the path of a man of small opportunity who embraces the world stage. If Coming Home was Leon Bridges in black and white, then Good Thing is Leon Bridges in technicolor.
Gaz Coombes – World’s Strongest Man CD/LP (Caroline)
Third solo album from the British singer/songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist and guitarist of the English alternative rock band Supergrass. Inspired variously by Grayson Perry’s The Descent Of Man, Frank Ocean’s Blonde, California weed, British woodlands, unchecked masculinity, Neu! and hip-hop, World’s Strongest Man is a collection of 11 deeply personal songs each set to expansive, addictive melody.
Eleanor Friedberger – Rebound CD/LP (Frenchkiss)
In contrast to her lauded 2016 album New View, which Eleanor Friedberger arranged and recorded with her touring band, Rebound was recorded mostly by the artist alone with assistance from producer Clemens Knieper. The resulting collection is an entirely new sound for Eleanor, exchanging live instrumentation for programmed drums, a Juno synthesizer, and muted guitars, creating a sonic landscape where influences range from Stereolab and Suicide to Lena Platonos and Yellow Magic Orchestra. Rebound is the incredible next step in a lauded, brilliant recording career by one of the most prolific, daring independent artists of our time. From her days spent in The Fiery Furnaces, creating melodically off-kilter, idiosyncratic mini-epics, to her three acclaimed previous solo albums, she continues to create exactly what we need to hear when we need to hear it. Always anchored by her plaintive, velvety alto, and Dylan-esque lyrical treatises, Rebound is Eleanor Friedberger at her very best and a welcome addition to her rich, celebrated catalog.
Yonatan Gat – Universalists CD/LP (Joyful Noise)
Yonatan Gat is a guitarist, producer and experimental composer based in NYC, known as one of the world’s top performers as founder/guitarist of Monotonix. In 2014 he released the Iberian Passage EP, his solo debut that maintained his signature raw energy while switching the focus away from the shock-performance style of Monotonix to a more ritualistic, improvised, shamanic musical exploration. Gat returns with Universalists, an album that marks an ambitious and expansive next step. Charged with a confrontational urgency and hurtling through space on a helter-skelter global time warp, this is a record that bursts with transcendent energy – ripping punk, brutal noise, composed moments of pristine beauty, live-to-tape improvisation, cutting-edge vocal sampling, all brought together by Gat’s sui generis guitar playing.
The Glitch Mob – See Without Eyes CD/2xLP (Glass Air)
The Glitch Mob, consisting of three multi-talented individuals born out of the Los Angeles bass driven beat-scene, made a name for themselves with their unique performance style that showcases a grasp on advanced music tech and an emphasis on creativity. Over a decade later the trio is still setting the standard for live electronic production.
The Goddamn Gallows – The Trial CD (Sailors Grave)
In 2004, The Goddamn Gallows began their rough and tumble voyage and haven’t looked in the review mirror since. Leaving six studio albums in their path, they have been reinventing their music with every record. Building upon their twanged-out, punk rock gutterbilly (Life Of Sin, 2004 and Gutterbillyblues, 2007), they began picking up stray musicians along the way and adding to their sound; washboard, accordion, mandolin and banjo (Ghost Of The Rails, 2009 and 7 Devils, 2011) creating a style referred to as hobocore, gypsy-punk and Americana-punk. Enter 2018 and The Goddamn Gallows have reinvented themselves once again with The Trial. From rockabilly, psychobilly and punk rock, to bluegrass and metal, The Trial infuses disparate sounds into a new strange recipe of seamless genre bending profundities.
Holly Golightly And The Brokeoffs – Clippety Clop CD/LP (Transdreamer)
Clippety Clop is the tenth long-player credited to Holly Golightly And The Brokeoffs. It opens with “Mule Skinner,” an irreverent and plucky country blues that effectively sets the album’s mood. Holly and longtime partner Lawyer Dave sound like a bigger band, extracting the most mileage out of the least number of instruments. Dave’s lean, distorted guitar lines juxtapose wonderfully with the down-home vibe. The duo’s ragged-but-right harmony (and/or unison) vocals convey the album’s spirit: equal parts punk-era England and timeless classic American country. And occasional slower numbers like “Carpet of Horses” evoke a Southern Gothic atmosphere.
Shakey Graves – Can’t Wake Up CD/2xLP (Dualtone)
Can’t Wake Up, Shakey Graves’ second official studio album is, to quote the artist himself, “…a dense album…hectic and a little uncomfortable…the most I’ve ever intentionally worked on a project, musically speaking, in terms of the scope of it and how much thought went into it.” After a listen, you’ll find no exaggeration in that statement. Can’t Wake Up is the result of a broad metamorphosis from his previous work, setting aside the Americana singer/songwriter persona he’d cultivated thus far and opting for a more experimental, dream-like direction. The record is full of interlacing musical and lyrical themes, and always has a slight sense of disorientation, almost as if the listener is immersed in a new dimension and hearing the voices of its inhabitants. Alejandro Rose-Garcia, the man behind the Shakey Graves moniker, also reflected that it’s a record for those who need to hear it; it’s for those who are walking in or have seen someone walk in darkness.
Jon Hopkins – Singularity CD/2xLP (Domino)
Jon Hopkins makes his long-awaited return with Singularity, his first since the Mercury Prize-nominated 2013 breakthrough, Immunity. Singularity begins and ends on the same note: a universe beginning, expanding, and contracting towards the same infinitesimal point. Where Immunity charted the dark alternative reality of an epic night out, Singularity explores the dissonance between dystopian urbanity and the green forest. It’s a journey that returns to where it began – from the opening note of foreboding to the final sound of acceptance.
Horse Feathers – Appreciation CD/LP+MP3 (Kill Rock Stars)
Horse Feathers feels like a secret you dont really want to share. Over twelve years and five albums, a passionate fan base has experienced this band as a precious commodity that they want to keep close to their hearts. On Appreciation, the signifiers of the band are there: Justin Ringles warm tenor and taut lyrics that speak of work, love, and other struggles. But on this album less of the song dynamics are achieved with strings and more with an exciting new rhythm section steeped in Northern Soul, creating a sound that leaps into the spotlight. [Limited white colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Iceage – Beyondless CD/LP+MP3 (Matador)
Beyondless is the fourth LP from Iceage, produced by the band and Nis Bysted, recorded all-analog by Mattias Glavå at Kungsten Studios Göteberg, and mixed by Randall Dunn at Avast Studios Seattle. Pay attention to the journey, from “New Brigade”, a juvenile delinquent take on post-punk, full of cold, distant condemnation, and onto the ecstasy of “You’re Nothing”, shedding the more aggressive hardcore influence and dragging in more light, a tendency followed on “Plowing Into The Field Of Love”. The intoxication is consistent, this has always been drunk music, but it’s less a stumbling confusion and more a sturdy heartfelt confession with each record.
Damien Jurado – The Horizon Just Laughed CD/LP+MP3 (Secretly Canadian)
Like previous albums, Damien Jurado’s The Horizon Just Laughed started with a dream – though that’s where things change, as they often do. It is Jurado’s first self-produced album in a 20 plus year career, more personal and more rooted than even his Maraqopa trilogy, as though after so much time on the road he’s stumbled upon his home. The Horizon Just Laughed feels like a beautiful collage – its narrative pieced together through letters and postcards, with each part contributing to its greater whole, and providing snapshots of one’s journey to find a sense of place and connection to a changing world.
Lake Street Dive – Free Yourself Up CD/LP (Nonesuch)
In many ways, Free Yourself Up is Lake Street Dive’s most intimate and collaborative record, with the quartet working as a tightly knit unit to craft its 10 songs. They also drafted touring keyboardist Akie Bermiss to join them in the studio which freed up the band to explore a wider range of instrumental textures, construct more full-bodied arrangements, and build on their well-known background harmonies.
Leftover Salmon – Something Higher CD/2xLP (Soundly Music, LLC)
With their new album, Something Higher, longtime Americana purveyors Leftover Salmon taps into everything from horn-blasting R&B to reverb-drenched desert noir, from the cosmic roots music sound they helped create to neo-New Orleans-meets-Appalachia liquefaction. There’s an unmistakable evolution to Leftover Salmon’s sound here, and Something Higher has an edge to it that feels entirely new.
Matt and Kim – Almost Everyday CD/LP (The Fader Label)
Matt and Kim began writing the music for Almost Everyday following a challenging time for the band after Kim suffered an onstage injury in early 2017. Forced to take a year off from touring – the longest they have ever stayed off the road – the band used the time during Kim’s extensive recovery to create one of their most intimate albums to date. On single “Like I Used To Be” the duo reminisces about being young and carefree, mirroring the personal sentiment that runs throughout the album about darker times and the need for change and perseverance. Guest vocalists on the album include Mark Hoppus, Clairo, King Tuff, Flosstradamus, Santigold, Kevin Morby, Cole and Max Becker from SWMRS, Kevin Ray from Walk The Moon, Travis Hayley from Night Riots, HXLT, Dave Monks from Tokyo Police Club, Van William from Waters, and Fletcher C. Johnson. [Limited red colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Middle Kids – Lost Friends CD/LP (Domino)
On their eagerly-awaited debut album, Lost Friends, Australian trio Middle Kids bring back their knack for haunting hooks, lyrical poignancy and irresistible indie rock appeal that critics praised in their self-titled first EP from 2016. This radiant collection of new songs conjures melodic nostalgia for some of songwriting’s very best, rich in heartfelt build and beautiful simplicity. It’s the kind of album that sucker-punches you in the gut, revealing its nuances only after repeated listens. The songs’ edges are jagged, the production clean, stray imperfections imbue warmth and a human touch. Middle Kids craft classic hooks and riffs here that tangle up in your brain like taffy and choruses that linger long after the song has faded.
Parker Millsap – Other Arrangements CD/LP (Okrahoma)
Oklahoma-born singer-songwriter Parker Millsap’s three prior full-length releases – 2012’s Palisade, 2014’s self-titled LP, and 2016’s The Very Last Day – showcased a primal mastery of acoustic folk rock, with their flourish for revelation and fiery dynamics, all recorded with extreme precision, purpose, and efficiency. But as he began work on his new album, Other Arrangements, Millsap opted for a change, allowing himself the time and space to let the work evolve in a new and distinct light. The result is his most accessible collection of songs to date, filled with tunes whose inspiration trades divinity for ubiquity – and some you can even dance to. Tracks like “Fine Line,” “Let A Little Light In,” and “Gotta Get To You” crackle with urgency and an upbeat energy, while the album-ending “Come Back When You Can’t Stay” shines with some of the more stirring and familiar gospel qualities fans of Millsap will recognize. But songs like “She” and the title track boast a slow-burning self-assuredness that showcase the singer’s control of perhaps his most impressive instrument: his powerful, earthy, wise-beyond-its-years voice.
Liz Phair – Exile In Guyville [Reissue/1993] CD/2xLP (Matador)
Liz Phair – Girly Sound To Guyville 3xCD/7xLP (Matador)
2018 marks the 25th anniversary of Liz Phair’s landmark Exile In Guyville album, now reissued on CD and vinyl. The expanded package, Girly Sound To Guyville, is an extensive limited edition box set containing the first-ever official release of the legendary Girly Sound songs which have been restored from their original three cassettes. The Girly Sound set also contains a 44-page book containing an extensive oral history, essays by Liz Phair and journalist Ann Powers, never-before seen photographs, artwork and ephemera.
Trampled By Turtles – Life Is Good On The Open Road CD/LP (Banjodad)
Tracking for Trampled By Turtles’ new album, Life Is Good On The Open Road, was completed in just six days at Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, MN and mixed the following week. The band produced the album themselves with the help of Pachyderm’s house engineer, Nick Tveitbakk, recording everything live to tape. When discussing the album, band members Dave Simonett (guitar, lead vocals, harmonica) and Erik Berry (mandolin, backing vocals) toyed with the phrase “return to form,” suggesting that it captures something pure and essential about the Trampled By Turtles sound. Throughout Life Is Good On The Open Road, Trampled By Turtles weaves their instruments together like a seamless tapestry, laying down a bed that seems to float underneath Simonett’s expressive voice. Each song seems to tell its own story, from tales of nights gone wrong to love that’s been lost and dreams that need chasing, and the group shifts in unison from tender ballads to barn burning hair-raisers, sometimes in the same song. Simonett’s lyrics, which have grown ever sharper over the years, occasionally rise up to shoot an arrow directly through the heart. Although no songs directly address the band’s time apart, there are metaphors that speak to the experience of putting Trampled By Turtles to bed and waking it back up again.
Frank Turner – Be More Kind CD/LP (Interscope)
Be More Kind represents a thematic and sonic line in the sand for Frank Turner. The new album combines raw political and personal universal anthems with the intricate folk and punk roar trademarks of Turner’s sound imbued with new, bold experimental shades. “I wanted to try and get out of my comfort zone and do something different,” says Turner.
Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois – Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois CD/LP (Planet Mu)
Recorded live in a former Buddhist temple-turned-studio in Toronto, Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois travels to new zones in what Lanois describes as “a body of work driven by exploration.” Like all the best collaborations, it’s brought something new out of both musicians. Equipped with their production acuity, they let their natural workflow guide them through uncharted waters. Aaron Funk aka Venetian Snares laid the groundwork with drums while Daniel Lanois rode the pedal steel, weaving their sounds together in a new sonic tapestry. The two ultimately landed at their destination, their work ready to be shared with those willing to explore.
NEXT WEEK’S NEW RELEASES