STAFF PICKS

kimber – beirut
lindsay – dungen, protomartyr
dario – dungen
jeff – alex g, el ten eleven


THIS WEEK’S NEW RELEASES


Alex G. – Beach Music CD/LP+MP3 (Domino)
“Alex Giannascoli, more commonly known as Alex G, is a lo-fi bedroom pop artist from Pennsylvania.  Although he has tons of albums currently on Bandcamp, Beach Music is his first released under the record label Domino Recording Company. Beach Musicfeatures the same good old Alex G with smooth and fuzzy vocals, but this time introducing a variety of rhythms to the mix.  With melodies ranging from ‘80s crime drama theme songs’ to ‘blues-influenced western steel guitar,’ Beach Music gives a dreamy and effervescent performance. Beach Music is a mashup of everything: genres, melodies, vocals, rhythms, you name it. Every song contains at least two different types of each, which normally should not go together so well. Alex G manages to bring together harmonies with styles of music in a way that flows from song to song in a continuous motion, with each element building on the other throughout the album.” – VinylMag


City And Colour – If I Should Go Before You CD/2xLP (Dine Alone)
Singer/songwriter/performer City And Colour (aka Dallas Green), returns with his fifth album, If I Should Go Before You. Unique to this project, the studio players on the album are made up of Green’s trusted touring band: Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs, Dead Weather) on bass, Dante Schwebel (Spanish Gold, Dan Auerbach) on guitar, Doug MacGregor (Constantines) on drums and Matt Kelly on pedal steel guitar and keys. “This is sort of what I’ve been looking for the last five, six years, since I really kind of started to focus on City And Colour,” the former Alexisonfire member told Billboard. “My goal is to always have, for lack of a better term, a sh*t-hot band, and it was hard to find that at first because I was juggling with the other band, Alexisonfire, a lot. This time I found guys who are not only great players but became great friends, and now it feels like a band to me, and I honestly believe that I wrote all of these songs because of the band.”


The Decemberists – Florasongs CD/LP (Capitol)
Florasongs is a five-song collection of rare and unreleased tracks from the sessions that produced their recent seventh studio album, What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World.


Dirty Ghosts – Let It Pretend CD (Last Gang)
“Any time a punk band starts experimenting, that’s the era of the band that I love,” remarks Dirty Ghosts guitarist and songwriter Allyson Baker while discussing the genesis of Let It Pretend, the band’s sophomore effort for Last Gang. Lead-off track “Some Kids” leaps from the speakers with tribal drums, a loping bassline and the clatter of a kicked over beer bottle. The tune spotlights Baker’s plaintive vocal melody and an earworm chorus over layers of echo-soaked, interlocking guitar. Nodding to the downstroke-heavy rhythms and ethereal textures of The Stranglers and The Police on “Battery” and the pulsing, synth heavy title track, Baker shows off a spare six-string approach that places each slashing chord and ringing note with deadly economy and accuracy. Though tracks like “Light Like Speed,” “So Shallow” and the ferocious “Cataract” bear the unmistakable imprint of pioneering synth-punk acts like Devo and Baker’s avowed cornerstone influence Chrome, the latest Dirty Ghosts effort places an elevated focus on nuanced songcraft and pop melodies carried by her growing confidence as a lead vocalist. Vinyl due October 30.


El Ten Eleven – Fast Forward CD/LP (Fake Record Label)
El Ten Eleven is a Los Angeles-based instrumental post-rock duo Bassist Kristian Dunn is known for playing double-necked guitar/basses, accompanied by drummer Tim Fogarty playing a combination of acoustic and electronic drums and drum pads.


The Garden – Haha CD (Epitaph)
The Garden is a constantly evolving, conceptual punk band based in Orange County, CA. Established in in 2011 by twin brothers Wyatt and Fletcher Shears, The Garden consistently defies categorization and continues to break ground: auditory invaders of the new world, borderless, released from all constraint and old ideologies. The twins draw inspiration from a background in punk classicism but remain unfettered and unselfconscious enough to infuse elements of ‘90s hip-hop and big beat electronica. Their two-piece bass and drums essence is dirty, raw and very immediate, but equally nuanced with echoes of the hive mind, the ephemeral architecture that exists both inside and outside of the duo that the listener enters and never quite escapes. Together the twins are an acidic concoction; unstable, sexy and probably toxic. Vinyl due October 30.


John Grant – Grey Tickles, Black Pressure CD (Partisan)
Grant’s (Sinead O’Connor, Goldfrapp, Elton John) third solo album features 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. Vinyl version due October 23.


Jesse Malin – Outsiders CD (One Little Indian)
Born out of late night recording sessions in the Pennsylvania woods with producer Don DiLego, far from any expectations, Outsiders presents Jesse Malin in raw form. Malin himself describes it as “a record built out of optimism and disgust — one for the leavers, the believers, the hustlers and the chicken hawks who could never catch us.” The collection includes “Here’s The Situation,” featuring J Masics on guitar, and a cover of The The Clash’s “Stay Free” – especially poignant because Jesse first played it at Ryan Adam’s guitarist, Johnny McNabb’s memorial last year. Vinyl version due November 6.


Of Montreal – Snare Celestial Doomings CD/2xLP/Cassette (Polyvinyl)
Snare Lustrous Doomings captures of Montreal’s incredible live energy with 19 high-quality recordings taken from performances at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall and Portland’s Wonder Ballroom. Features over 90 minutes of music spanning the band’s entire career — from Bedside Drama to Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? toLousy With Sylvianbriar and everything in between. (Vinyl pressed on purple wax.)


Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect CD/LP+MP3 (Hardly Art)
“’I’m going out in style,’ Joe Casey chants at the end of ‘Cowards Starve,’ one of the most riveting songs on Protomartyr’s new third album, The Agent Intellect. Casey isn’t being literal. An unassuming Detroit resident in his mid-30s who speaks more than he sings, he’s helped Protomartyr become one of the most intriguing post-punk groups in a climate that rewards the younger, sexier and coastal. Not surprisingly, ‘Cowards Starve’ isn’t your typical danceable, punk-couture anthem. Like the rest of The Agent Intellect, it simmers, ponders and haunts.” – NPR


Saintseneca – Such Things CD (ANTI)
“The Ohio band Saintseneca made a national name for itself with its moodily stellar 2014 album Dark Arc, on which it showcases an arsenal of unlikely instruments, from the bulbul to the bouzouki to the bowed banjo. Throughout Dark Arc, all those worldly (and alliterative!) sounds got channeled into rich, dark, lustrous songs — hooky, accessible things that felt exotic and familiar, diverse and consistent. The new Such Things follows suit, but with even brighter and more intoxicating results. Take the glorious single ‘Sleeper Hold,’ in which a deep rumble gives way to a sunnily sung verse by Maryn Jones, followed by a stadium-sized chorus in which everyone in the band seems hell-bent on unleashing as much sound as possible. Jones and singer Zac Little swap the spotlight throughout the song, but the whole thing is a tidy three-minute tour de force for all involved. Little himself describes ‘Sleeper Hold’ as ‘a pop song about the physics of consciousness,’ and damned if Saintseneca doesn’t spend Such Things shoehorning deep, dark ideas into pocket-sized pop-rock anthems” – NPR. Vinyl due October 30.


St Germain – St Germain CD/2xLP (Nonesuch)
St Germain (aka Ludovic Navarre), whose albums Boulevard (1995) and Tourist (2000) originated a genre of French electronic music that later included artists like Air, has returned to the studio to create his first album in 15 years, and it’s “well worth the wait,” says the Independent. The self-titled record marries percussive grooves, which have always been central to St Germain’s sound, with a new element: traditional Malian music. It “deftly balances tradition and modernity and begs repeated listening,” says Jazzwise in a four-star review. “Navarre continues to revolutionize electronic music.”


Yip Deceiver – YPD CDEP/12” (New West)
A follow up and teaser, the YPD EP follows the spirit of Yip Deceiver’s debut Medalliuswhile hinting at new sounds to come. The band the NME called “…as smooth and ‘80s-tastic as Hall & Oates” finally respond with a punchy six-song work to support massive US/European tour with Electric Six this September through December 2015.


Beirut – No No No LP (4AD)
Standard black vinyl version. “Finding a new love sparked the creativity and songwriting that went into the making of No No No. Condon and his bandmates, bassist Paul Collins and drummer Nick Petree, worked on the new album in the fall of 2014, finally recording it in two weeks live in the studio. Last June, videos of Beirut playing several new songs at Brooklyn’s Northside Festival appeared online. One of them is ‘No No No,’ the title track to the nine-song collection. It’s a jaunty, syncopated, playful tune with a simple yet anthemic melody. The horn arrangements bring depth to the song’s spirited repetition. It’s undeniably Beirut — and a joyfully welcome return.” – NPR


Dungen – Allas Sak LP (Mexican Summer)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. Dungen frontman/mastermind Gustav Ejstes has been making music for nearly twenty years—at first for himself, then eventually and inevitably for all of us. As a teenager in rural Sweden, he became obsessed with hip-hop and sampling, and eventually, ‘60s pop and psychedelia. He took up guitar and bass, drums and keyboard and even flute, then took to his grandmother’s basement to put it all on tape. It’s been five years since the last Dungen album, 2010’sSkit I Allt, which is by far the longest interval between releases for a band that proved especially prolific and inspired during the 2000s. Allas Sak picks up where Dungen’s previous album left off, but somehow it sounds bolder and livelier, feistier yet more focused. Allas Sak is about everyday matters: family, friends, the fine texture of life. Common but never mundane, these subjects anchor the music in the here and now, while the music lends a certain grandeur to ordinary moments.


Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Live In No Particular Order: 2009 – 2014 3xLP+MP3 (Community Music)
First physical release of the sprawling live album celebrating seven years of live shows, initially released exclusively as a digital download on BitTorrent. Features more than two hours of music from performances around the world, including favorites such as “Home” and “40 Day Dream.”


Glen Hansard – Didn’t He Ramble LP+MP3 (ANTI)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. Didn’t He Ramble is Hansard’s most intimate and elegant record since his work in Once and features guest appearances by John Sheahan (Dubliners), Sam Beam (Iron And Wine) and Sam Amidon. Glen Hansard is the celebrated principal songwriter and vocalist/guitarist for the influential Irish group The Frames. Whether busking the streets of Dublin, where he got his start, or headlining a gig, Hansard has garnered a reputation as an unparalleled frontman. He is also one half of the acclaimed duo The Swell Season. In 2007, he and Czech songstress Markéta Irglová took home the Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Falling Slowly” off theOnce soundtrack. In 2013, the Broadway adaptation, Once The Musical, won eight Tony Awards including the top musical prize. Most recently, Hansard has won critical acclaim for his moving interpretations of the songs of Jason Molina of Songs:Ohia.


Little Boots – Working Girl LP+CD (Dim Mak)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. Dance-pop sensation Little Boots delights with her third LP, Working Girl, produced by Jas Shaw of Simian Mobile Disco, super producer Ariel Rechtshaid, SZA collaborator Patrick Lukens, MNDR’s Pete Wade, and Com Truise. Filled with her signature airy vocals, uplifting melodies and clean interplay between synths and beats, the 13-song album pulls at the parameters of pop but remains true to its indie dance core. HQ-180gm color vinyl includes copy on CD.


Mount Moriah – Calvander & Baby Blue (Garage Demo) b/w Plane (Live) 7”+MP3 (Merge)
Mount Moriah return with a three-song 7” in advance of the follow-up to Miracle Temple. “Calvander” adds sprightly horns to the beauty of Heather McEntire’s powerful voice as she narrates a fierce journey toward redemption. A demo “garage rock” version of new live favorite “Baby Blue” and the band’s intimate performance of “Plane” at Raleigh’s Fletcher Opera House during the 2013 Hopscotch Festival round out this release.


 

NEXT WEEK’S NEW RELEASES


DEERHUNTER – Fading Frontier CD/LP
HERE WE GO MAGIC – Be Small CD/LP
!!! – As If CD/LP
COHEED AND CAMBRIA – Color Before The Sun CD
INNOCENCE MISSION – Hello I Feel The Same CD
CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS – Self-Titled CD
PETER BUCK – Warzone Earth LP
WILCO – Star Wars LP
DISCLOSURE – Carcal LP
JOHN CARPENTER – Lost Themes Remixed LP
IRON AND WINE – Archive Series 2 7″
FELA KUTI – LP reissues
BIRTHMARK – How You Look When You’re Falling Down CD/LP
NEON INDIAN – Vega Intl Night School CD/LP
JOSH RITTER – Sermon On The Rocks CD/LP
SMALL BLACK – Best Blues CD/LP
SON LITTLE – Self-Title CD/LP
TWILIGHT SAD – Oran Mor Session CD/LP
CHRIS WALLA – Tape Loops CD/LP
WHITE OUT W/NELS CLINE – Accidental Sky CD
YACHT – Thought The Future Would Be Cooler CD/LP
COIL – Backwards CD/LP
SUPERSUCKERS – Holdin’ The Bag CD
GOD MODULE – Prophecy CD
GUN OUTFIT – Dream All Over CD
HOLLY GOLIGHTLY – Coulda Shoulda Woulda CD/LP
LYMBYC SYSTYM – Split Stones CD/LP
MAJICAL CLOUDZ – Are You Alone CD/LP
MARITME – Magnetic Bodies/Maps Of Bones CD
A SILENT FILM – S/T CD
ALELA DIANE/RYAN FRANCESCONI – Cold Moon CD/LP

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