STAFF PICKS

kimber – editors
lindsay – helvetia
dario – helvetia
jeff – helvetia, kamasi washington

 

THIS WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
Bixiga 70 – III CD/LP (Glitterbeat)
There is no doubt that Bixiga 70 is one of the guiding voices of Brazil’s contemporary instrumental music scene and their new album III clearly demonstrates why.


Blitzen Trapper – All Across This Land CD/LP+MP3 (Vagrant)
“Touted as a return to the “classic” sound of the band, which man will associate with the 2008 breakthrough Furr, Portland folk-rockers Blitzen Trapper release their eighth album All Across This Land. If ever there was an indication that the record promises to be a return to the sunny, riff-oriented classic rock sounds the band has excelled at for so long, it’s the title track. Tapping into the sun-dappled sounds of early-‘70s blues rock, classic Laurel Canyon rock, and of course the perpetual influence of Neil Young and Crazy Horse, ‘All Across This Land’ is a perfect balm for the dog days of summer, its breezy optimism reflected in the accompanying ‘visualette.’ It’s the kind of track you want to blast in the car with the windows rolled down.” – Pop Matters


Born Ruffians – Ruff CD (Yep Roc)
Born Ruffians’ new album Ruff is a collection of scrubbed raw anthems that are defiantly optimistic, imaginatively arranged and performed with a sense of bloodlust. Over four albums, the group has developed a signature aesthetic that encompasses tightly wound, trapezoidal songs frothing over with hooks and wryly cathartic lyrics, garnering favorable comparisons to such quirky pop infiltrators as the Talking Heads, The Pixies and The Strokes. Vinyl version dueOctober 30.


The Bottle Rockets – South Broadway Athletic Club CD/LP (Bloodshot)
The Bottle Rockets brand of populist, Midwestern, brawny rock ‘n’ roll is a sound so effortless, it’s easy to take their craft for granted; a sound so universal, yet unmistakably The Bottle Rockets. They’ve crushed rowdy Friday night crowds, convinced sitting audiences to get on their feet, and pulled weary festival onlookers across muddy fields to the front of the stage. With their 12th album, South Broadway Athletic Club, the quartet gives a master class in capturing the beauty of everyday life, and painting a portrait of ongoing hope.


Childbirth – Women’s Rights CD (Suicide Squeeze)
Childbirth is a “supergroup” in the sense its members are all in other hit bands (Julia Shapiro of Chastity Belt, Bree McKenna of Tacocat, Stacy Peck of Pony Time) and also that they do good for the world while in costume. Their new album, Women’s Rights, is piss-your-pants funny — subject matter includes a trashy friend bringing coke to a baby shower (“Baby Bump”) characteristics that warrant an instant “swipe left” on Tinder (“Siri, Open Tinder”) and dating vapid IT douches (“Tech Bro.”). Vinyl due October 16.


Clutch – Psychic Warfare CD/LP (Weathermaker)
Clutch frontman Neil Fallon told the Metal Hammer Magazine Show that album title “Psychic Warfare is a lyric from the first track, ‘X-Ray Visions’. It’s about a guy holed up in a motel for unexplained reasons, and he’s under great duress, being attacked by psychically-empowered agents of unknown origin. At least, that’s the back story I have in my head.” According to Fallon, the “X-Ray Visions” lyrical concept was influenced by Philip K. Dick, the science fiction author whose 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (which was the basis for Blade Runner). Neil said: “[Dick’s] general philosophy and questions have always crept into my lyrics, because I share an interest in it. On Earth Rocker, ‘Crucial Velocity’ was definitely a Philip K. Dick song for me. On this record, ‘X-Ray Visions’ certainly is.” (Limited copies pressed on white vinyl.)


Darkstar – Foam Island CD/2xLP+MP3 (Warp)
Foam Island, the third studio LP from Darkstar, is a beautiful contemporary electronic pop album, dealing with powerful themes of ambition and hope against the odds in the 21st century. Following collaborations with the likes of Actress, Wild Beasts and Zomby, and taking cues from peers such as Jon Hopkins and Four Tet, it is an ambitious record, buzzing with the energy and excitement of all the possibilities inherent in electronic music in 2015. Yet it is also one which has been shaped by the prevailing social and political climate at this point in time. As such the record is in parts severe and beautiful; combining hard digital rhythms and live percussion with colorful synths treated vocals and enveloping compositions.


Deafheaven – New Bermuda CD/2xLP+MP3 (ANTI)
San Francisco’s Deafheaven found massive critical success when their 2013 album Sunbather was an unexpected crossover hit, earning the band a 92/100 Metacritic score and ending the year as the best reviewed album of 2013. No one could have anticipated a band that drew from equal parts Weakling and My Bloody Valentine ascending to such heights, and that incomprehensibility added to the band’s singularity and allure. Two years later, founding members George Clarke and Kerry McCoy began working on their ANTI debut, New Bermuda, with a new perspective. Says Clarke: “Sunbather yearned for something better. New Bermuda focuses on the idea of false promise, achieving something and wondering if it’s what you really wanted in the first place.” McCoy shares that sentiment: “Sunbather sounds like people who have nothing but are satisfied with life. There’s an uplifting quality to it. But New Bermuda is a very tense record.” McCoy cites death metal demigods Dissection and Morbid Angel, the blackened death pioneers Behemoth, and Cliff Burton-era Metallica as influences on the new album. (Limited copies on clear vinyl.)


Eagles Of Death Metal – Zipper Down CD/LP (T-Boy)
EODM aka Jesse Hughes (‘Boots Electric’) and Queens Of The Stone Age’s Joshua Homme (‘Baby Duck’), are back with their first new album in seven years. 11 tracks, including the hot lead single, “Complexity.” Recorded at Pink Duck Studios in Burbank, California, Hughes and Homme co-wrote all of the album’s songs (with the exception of their cover of Duran Duran’s “Save A Prayer”), and performed all of the instruments and vocals themselves. The album is produced by Homme.



Editors
– In Dream CD/LP+MP3 (PIAS)
Editors’ fifth album In Dream was recorded in Scotland’s Western Highlands and self-produced by the band, and was mixed in London by Alan Moulder (Arctic Monkeys, My Bloody Valentine). It represents yet another shift in Editors creative world, and features guest vocals by Rachel Goswell (Slowdive). Permeated by atmospheric synths, dance club beats, stately keyboard runs and all manner of glitches and whirrs, along with the traditional guitar, bass, drums, and is an album driven, in frontman Tom Smith’s words, by a desire “to be both pop and experimental.” (Limited copies pressed on gold vinyl.)


Craig Finn – Faith In The Future CD/LP+MP3 (PTKF/Partisan)
At times stark and spare, at other times vibrant and dynamic, Faith In The Future is Finn’s most compelling collection thus far, each song a powerfully alluring and subtly nuanced composition wedded to his distinctive short story narratives, which owe as much to authors such as John Cheever and Raymond Carver as they do any rock influences. Most of the material on Faith In The Future was written several years ago, around the time Finn s mother died, and while none of them directly address that loss, he insists the idea of transcending grief and finding redemption running through the album can be directly traced to that event.


John Grant – Grey Tickles, Black Pressure CD (Partisan)
Lyrically and musically, Grey Tickles, Black Pressure represents Grant’s most ambitious work, fusing lush strings and electronic influences with his singular wit and brutal candor. The album opens in an unsettling swirl of overlapping male voices repeating 1 Corinthians 13:4 in English and Icelandic before dissolving into fuzz, and closes with the same passage read clearly, this time by a young girl. In between, Grant’s depth and range are vividly present. “Voodoo Doll” is an ode to a depressed lover, drenched in bright synths and pulsing bass lines, while “Guess How I Know” is a bonafide hell-raiser, its snarling guitar licks layered with distortion as Grant sings about a toxic yet irresistible relationship. Title track “Grey Tickles, Black Pressure” blends swelling strings and choral harmonies with Grant’s darkly biting humor, as he tackles his HIV diagnosis with equal parts confusion and clarity (“I’m supposed to believe that there’s some guy who’ll take the pain away / There are children who have cancer, and so all bets are off / ‘Cause I can’t compete with that”). Vinyl due October 23.


Helvetia – Dromomania CD (Joyful Noise)
Members of Duster, Built To Spill, Love As Laughter evoke the simplicity of ’70s Kinks, combined with a good dose of Captain Beefheart and the randomness of The Residents. Third-wave hardcore influences meld with elements of Neu-like trance rock. Vinyl due November 13.


Indian Handcrafts – Creeps CD/LP+MP3 (Sargent)
“The last one was our ‘70s album, this is our ‘80s album,” jokes Indian Handcrafts drummer/vocalists Brandyn James Aikins. Although it’s an offhand generalization, there’s a good deal of accuracy to the jest. Throughout, Creeps pits elements of early Metallica’s dingy denim thrash, Judas Priest’s shiny leather turbo metal, Queens Of The Stone Age’s flannel-flying rock and even Creatures Of The Night-era Kiss’s glossy hard pop alongside the band’s signature amalgam of Death From Above 1979 style futuristic alt-rock and a cross section of blistering punk-sludge hallucinations.


Kylesa – Exhausting Fire CD/LP (Season Of Mist)
Seventh album from the Savannah, Georgia groove metal outfit. Exhausting Fire provides a crowning example of the positive output that comes at the hands of Kylesa’s incendiary and powerful yet nuanced and colorful framework. Following on the heels of the challenging Ultraviolet(2013) and keeping this band’s tradition of artistic broad jumps that they have exhibited since forming in 2001, Exhausting Fire hurls even more rulebook pages out the tour van window. Kylesa further explore and incorporate psychedelic rock, new wave, space-age twangy Americana, ’80s goth and death rock into their pitch-thick DIY punk/metal roots. (Also available on limited color vinyl.)


Paul McCartney – Tug Of War [Reissue/1982] 2xCD/3xCD+DVD/2xLP (MPL/UMG)
Paul McCartney – Pipes Of Peace [Reissue/1983] 2xCD/2xCD+DVD/2xLP (MPL/UMG)
Tug Of War, originally released in 1982, is the third solo album by Paul McCartney. The album was produced by George Martin and includes numerous guest musicians, including Stevie Wonder, Carl Perkins, and Ringo Starr. McCartney’s fourth album, Pipes Of Peace, was also was
produced by George Martin and includes the hit single “Say Say Say,” a duet with Michael Jackson that stayed at #1 on the US Chart for 6 weeks. Both albums have been remastered at Abbey Road Studios as part of the ongoing Paul McCartney Archive Collection. Each features a bonus disc of previously unreleased and rare tracks. Deluxe editions of each are also available. Deluxe edition of Tug Of War adds the 2015 remix of the entire album as a third disc. Both feature a DVD of music videos, behind the scenes footage, and previously unreleased home videos as well as a 112-page essay book. Lastly, a limited Super Deluxe edition of Tug Of War is presented in expanded, acrylic slipcase packaging. Vinyl versions are HQ-180gm double


Mercury Rev – The Light In You CD/LP (Bella Union/PIAS)
The Light In You is Mercury Rev’s first new album since 2008’s Snowflake Midnight. Frontman Jonathan Donahue addressed the gap between albums in a press release: “It was one of those otherworldly life sequences, when everything you think is solid turns molten, but also, when something is worth saying, it can take a long time to say it, rather than just blurt it out.”
On the title, Donahue said, “You can go as deep as you want with the title, on a metaphorical, spiritual level, or just poetic license. It’s the beacon that shines and allows us to see ourselves – and then there’s the music between Grasshopper and I, which is how we reflect each other. The arc of the album, lyrically, is someone who’s gone through an incredible period of turbulence, sadness and uncertainty, and as the album progresses, a light appears on the water.”


The Sheepdogs – Future Nostalgia CD/2xLP (Dine Alone)
“The Sheepdogs have always leaned pretty heavily on nostalgia. As if they were born four decades too late, the bearded Saskatoon rockers channel a throwback sound that makes their music slide effortlessly into any classic playlist already featuring acts like The Band, The Guess Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival or Lynyrd Skynyrd. It makes sense then that their fifth album (and the third since winning Rolling Stone’s contest to appear on the cover), is titled Future Nostalgia, as bringing the past into the present and beyond is clearly a key part of their existence. The new album features 18 tracks and incorporates everything from Southern rock to soul.” – CBC Music


Shopping – Why Choose CD (FatCat)
Shopping’s debut album Consumer Complaints drew a flurry of press for their spot on divining of post-punk’s driving force, dubbing them as a “band you need to hear” by NME and “Artist To Watch” by SPIN. The band evokes revered touchstones The Slits, Delta 5, Gang Of Four and ESG, though as Pitchfork reminds, “they never sound particularly dated or like a carbon-copy, a testament to the group’s songwriting abilities.” Rather, they embody the spirit of experimentation, social upheaval, (without becoming didactic) clashing gender politics and ethical change that defined their ‘70s counterparts and still ring true today. Vinyl version due October 16.


The Selecter – Subculture CD (DMF/Vocaphone)
The Legendary 2-Tone band releases a new studio album, recorded and produced by Neil Pyzer and mixed by Prince Fatty (Hollie Cook, Lily Allen, Graham Coxon and Gregory Isaacs). Since re-forming a half-decade ago, The Selecter has become increasingly aware that their championing of 2-Tone, ska, reggae and soul is firmly rooted outside of today’s mainstream genres.


Summer Twins – Limbo CD/LP+MP3 (Burger)
Sisters Chelsea and Justine Brown weave together modern pop, ‘50s sock hop melodies and wild ‘60s garage rock, topped with dreamy harmonies and a tinge of sunny psychedelia. “Everyone knows a good indie rock song can be made even better with twee organ sound running through the whole thing,” said Austin Town Hall of single, ‘Demons.’”


Turkuaz – Digitonium CD (Techne)
Turkuaz is a Brooklyn-based pop-rock nonet that is redefining with their power-funk sound. Their intricately arranged songs are built on thick grooves, driven by a powerhouse rhythm section and interlaced with swirling guitar and synth lines. On top of this rock solid foundation, lyrical jabs and swells that serve as both subject matter and rhythmic reinforcement are delivered by four distinct vocalists, all framed by tight horn lines and punctuated with left hooks and right angles.Digitonium has more of a Peter Gabriel and Talking Heads feel and evokes the best of the ’80’s dance music. Upon close examination, the Dada-esque slurry of words and lyrical imagery revealsDigitonium to be a concept album at its core. Repeated phrases are intertwined throughout, and themes of empowerment and self-actualization, glimpsed in metaphors borrowed from Plato’s cave, a dystopian technological future and the archetypal characters of the myths of Avalon are developed through various tracks.


Various Artists – Trevor Jackson Presents: Science Fiction Dancehall Classics 2xCD/3xLP (On-U Sound)
A curated selection of classics, rarities and unreleased tracks from the On-U Sound vaults by DJ and audio/visual artist Trevor Jackson (aka Playgroup/Underdog), renowned for his Metal Dancecompilations of industrial-dance on Strut Records, having worked with the like of LCD Soundsystem and Four Tet via his Output Recordings Label.


Wavves – V CD/LP+MP3 (WB)
“It’s fitting that Wavves release their new album, V, in the early days of fall, when lazy day-drunk weekends of summer already feel like a far-off memory. Nathan Williams’ brand of songwriting has followed a familiar pattern over the course of his career. His songs feel giddy, anxious, then elated, and he makes falling hard and fast into relationships and mischief sound worth it, even when it fills you with self-doubt and makes your head hurt. Like all of Wavves’ catalogue, V has a sunny exterior that blinds you from some Williams’ unease, which makes this a ridiculously fun album to listen to. It’s a pick-me-up that soothes the changing seasons and reminds you why life is worth living.” – Stereogum


The Wood Brothers – Paradise CD/LP (Honey Jar)
Paradise is an album about longing and desire and the ways in which the pursuit of fulfillment can keep it perpetually out of our reach a concept showcased on the album cover in the image of a mule and carrot. The album is the Wood Brothers most sophisticated work to date and also their most rocking, with bassist Chris Wood playing electric on tracks for the first time. Recorded at Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye studio in Nashville, Paradise captures the latest chapter in the ongoing evolution of a band and a family navigating the joy and challenges of a life in music.


Kamasi Washington – The Epic 3xLP+MP3 (Brainfeeder)
“It is probably impossible to discuss Kamasi Washington’s new record—all three impressive hours of it—without copping to at least some awareness of two extra-musical truths. The first of these holds that, as a member of the studio wrecking crew that brought Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly into being, this saxophonist-composer is unusually well poised to secure the attention of listeners who have previously been uninterested in jazz. (This past spring’s celebration of all-things-TPAB was sufficiently strong that Billboard even published a well-reported piece that detailed exactly how Lamar’s album came to feature so many jazz figures, including Washington.)” [8.6/BNM] — Pitchfork


Widespread Panic – Street Dogs LP (Vanguard)
Released last week on CD – now available on vinyl. Street Dogs is the twelfth studio album from Widespread Panic, and was the first to be entirely recorded live in the studio. The result is the most fun the veteran sextet has had making an album, which is apparent upon first listen. For almost 30 years, Widespread Panic has been known for their masterful improvisational style, but their core has always been built around songwriting. Incorporating a vast range of styles, Panic’s songs run the gamut from compelling narratives to poignant ballads to southern blues to progressive jazz and rock. Street Dogs is a testament to how a veteran band can remain vibrant, relevant and continue to progress.


Wilco – Random Name Generator b/w Bull Black Nova 7” (ANTI)
Limited green and white marble color vinyl single of Wilco’s “Random Name Generator” from Star Wars backed by a live acoustic version of Bull Black Nova. (Vinyl version of Star Wars is dueOctober 13.)



NEXT WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
City & Colour – If I Should Go Before You CD/LP
Decemberists – Flora Songs CD/LP
El Ten Eleven – Fast Forward CD/LP
St Germain – S/T CD/LP
Elvis Costello – Unfaithful Music & Soundtrack Album CD
Alex G – Beach Music CD/LP
Boy & Bear – Limit of Love CD/LP
Garden – haha CD/LP
John Grant – Grey Tickles Black Pressure CD/LP
Jesse Malin – Outsiders CD
Of Montreal – Snare Lustrous Doomings CD/LP
Protomartyr – Agent Intellect CD/LP
Saint Seneca – Such Things CD
Summer Twins – Limbo CD
Yip Deceiver – EP CD/LP
Thee Headcoats – Good Times Are Killing Me
Glen Hansard – Didn’t He Ramble LP
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes – Live In No Particular Order 2009-2014 LP
Wood Brothers – Paradise LP
Alchemist & Oh No (Gangrene) – You Disgust Me LP
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly LP

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