kimber – bloc party
lindsay – crooked fingers reissues
dario – night beats
jeff – basement
THIS WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
Basement – Promise Everything CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Run For Cover)
“Ipswich band Basement went on indefinite hiatus in 2013, just after releasing their second recordColourmeinkindness. Accruing a dedicated posthumous following, the band came back with a three song EP in 2014, showing that a break hadn’t stopped their progression in style. If Colourmeinkindness epitomized the grunge worship that defined 2012, then Promise Everything sees Basement finding the perfect balance between aggressive and melodic. It sounds like Jimmy Eat World via Soundgarden, so, basically it has everything you’ve been waiting for in a rock record since forever.” – Noisey [Music By Vice]
Bloc Party – Hymns CD/2xLP (Vagrant)
Hymns is the fifth studio album by British indie rock band Bloc Party and the first to feature new members Justin Harris (formerly of Menomena) and 21-year-old YouTube-discovery drummer Louise Bartle. In a press release, co-founder Russell Lissak stated “It’s still a very live record. Everything has been played, though it doesn’t necessarily sound like that. We take a lot of influence from electronic music, for example, and then try to bring that into a completely different environment.”Meanwhile, Kele Okereke said, “What Russell is doing now is completely blowing my mind. He’s using the guitar as an instrument of white noise, as well as a melodic tool. I’m super-excited about getting this music in front of people.”
Deerhoof – Fever 121614 CD (Polyvinyl)
Released last November on vinyl – now available on CD. In December 2014, Japanese fans were treated to a borderline unheard of 13-date tour spanning the length of their small country. On one special night, the band took to the bandstand in a tiny Tokyo club while the tape was rolling. The result is Fever 121614. With gems from throughout the band’s ridiculously deep back catalog, this 12-song setrepresents Deerhoof at their rawest.
Bill Frisell – When You Wish Upon A Star CD (Okeh/Sony Masterworks)
When You Wish Upon A Star features jazz guitarist Bill Frisell’s arrangements and interpretations of music for film and television. The album is more than an homage to a set of iconic scores and the choice of music is both inspired and carefully balanced. For the first time in many years, Frisell used vocals on many of the tracks. Petra Haden, daughter of the late bass player Charlie Haden, is the featured vocalist and her vocal style is a perfect fit for Frisell’s arrangements. Included on the album are the classic music themes from To Kill A Mockingbird,Psycho, Once Upon A Time In The West and The Godfather all with Bill’s refined interpretations.
Benji Hughes – Songs In The Key Of Animals 2xCD/LP+MP3 (Merge)
Charlotte, North Carolina’s Benji Hughes fronted a rock band in the ‘90s. He’s written commercial jingles (“Got A Little Captain In You?” for Captain Morgan rum). He’s made music for film and television (Walk Hard, Eastbound & Down). He released 2008’s A Love Extreme, his excellent double-LP debut record. But these ventures aren’t different hats Hughes wears. They’re not different paths traveled. This is Hughes playing in different keys. Now, for his first record on Merge, Benji Hughes is playing Songs In The Key Of Animals. Recorded over two years mostly at Frisbie studios in New York, the album is 41 minutes of pop-music exploration.
Sierra Hull – Weighted Mind CD/LP (Rounder)
With instrumentation comprised largely of mandolin, bass, and vocals, this is genre-transcending music at its best, with production by Béla Fleck and special harmony vocal guests Alison Krauss, Abigail Washburn, and Rhiannon Giddens adding to the luster. Béla Fleck special guests on banjo on two tracks and duo partner, Ethan Jodziewicz provides the bass.
Buddy Miller & Friends – Cayamo Sesssions At Sea CD/LP+MP3 (New West)
In 2012, Cayamo veteran Buddy Miller brought along some recording gear and set up a studio in the ship’s library where he and his Sirius XM co-host Jim Lauderdale recorded episodes for their Buddy & Jim Radio Show. Buddy thought the radio show recordings sounded really good so, in 2014, he brought more gear, an engineer and some great musicians. They took over the Bliss Lounge where Buddy set up a temporary recording studio between the lanes of the bowling alley. For two days and nights, guest artists came to record and fans came to watch. It was so much fun, they did it all again in 2015. The audio presented on Cayamo Sesssions At Seacomes from those sessions.
Night Beats – Who Sold My Generation CD/LP (Heavenly/PIAS)
“Seattle-based garage-psych berserkers take it to the 99th floor on an album that positions them following in the footsteps of Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees as cutting edge garage rock innovators. Opener ‘Celebration #1’ kicks off with an antique found-sound snippet before pitching straight into an intense trance groove that brings to mind Alan Vega jamming with The Red Krayola. ‘60s garage rock enthusiasts might hear echoes of Higher Elevation’s tripped-out nugget ‘The Diamond Mine,’ but then we’re quickly speeding into ‘Power Child’, and it becomes crystal clear that Night Beats are on a purposeful trip on their Heavenly Recordings debut. The second track encapsulates the satisfying rawness and louche, bohemian spirit that suffuses this album, as Danny Lee Blackwell’s guitar cascades shards of ‘60s soul, early Stones/Pretty Things and untrammelled psych freakout.” – Louder Than War
POP ETC– Souvenir CD/LP (POP ETC/Rough Trade)
Second full length album from the NYC-based indie band (formerly The Morning Benders).
Sia – This Is Acting CD (RCA)
“On her seventh LP, Sia reclaims songs that Adele, Rihanna and others turned down. This Is Acting opens with two songs that Sia hoped to land on Adele’s 25. Her approximation of the phrasing and tone of the world’s most beloved singer over the roiling piano on ‘Bird Set Free’ is uncanny, while ‘Alive’ is a throwback soul crusher that would’ve been the hardest-hitting thing on that blockbuster LP. ‘Footprints’ is an orphan from a Beyoncé writing session with refrigerator-magnet-level lyrics (comparing a relationship’s progress to ‘two footprints in the sand’) that Bey [passed] on.The high point is ‘One Million Bullets,’ the only song she wrote with herself in mind. Against a dusky minor-key piano, Sia offers herself as her lover’s protector, muse and martyr – her voice cracking perfectly in the chorus as she asks if they’d take a shot for her too. If this is acting, it’s the kind of performance that hits as hard as life itself.” – Rolling Stone
St. Lucia – Matter CD/2xLP (Columbia)
Matterproduced by Chris Zane (Passion Pit, The Walkmen), and is a departure for principal songwriter and bandleader Jean-Philip Grobler, who takes a more direct, essential approach. In his words, “If the last album sounded like the tropics, this album is the desert.” St. Lucia’s version of the desert is still an inviting place, though, one inspired by blending Grobler’s fearless embrace of ‘80s pop, R&B, and alternative rock influences into an instantly captivating concoction.
Tedeschi Trucks Band – Let Me Get By CD/2xCD/2xLP (Fantasy)
Let Me Get By is the third studio album from Tedeschi Trucks Band, featuring ten new, original songs that stand together as a testament to the spirit and commitment of the tightly-knit 12-member ensemble. Driven by Susan’s soaring, spiritually charged vocals and Derek’s masterfully lyrical slide-guitar, the band’s musical talents are on display in full force. Available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe includes an 8-track bonus disc that features live recordings from the legendary Beacon Theatre in New York as well as alternate mixes, early song takes and additional studio material, an expanded booklet with exclusive studio and live photos, and a custom-designed vintage amp box.
Emily Wells – Promise CD (Thesis + Instinct/Lefse)
Eighth album from the composer/multi-instrumentalist – “a soul record in baroque clothing… a pauper’s opera.”Wells’ songwriting combines electronics, orchestral strings, jazz structures, pop sensibilities, and vibrato-laden vocals into one eclectic package. Vinyl edition due February 19.
Saul Williams – MartyrLoserKing CD/LP (The Fader Label)
MartyrLoserKing is the fifth studio album from musician, actor, poet, and activist Saul Williams. A thinly veiled concept album carved from the tales of its main character a computer hacker living in Burundi with the screen name mrtyr_lsr_kng the album confronts a bevy of timely issues head on and unapologetically, from economic disparity and police brutality to issues of privacy in the digital age. “Hacking is the main theme and undercurrent of Saul Williams’ new album Martyr Loser King in which he wraps every line and sample in cyberpunk clothing, especially with the warping of ‘glitch art’. Glitch is a movement which involves breaking down and subverting reality, intentionally distorting and manipulating photography, artwork or (in this case) sound to be something else entirely. The album is layered in loops and awash with these glitch effects. For a man so enamoured with words, it’s an interesting challenge to make them sound so off kilter with this manipulation.” – God Is In The TV
Alessia Cara – Know It All LP (Def Jam)
Recently released on CD – now available on (pink) vinyl. “Alessia Cara –19-year-old singer/songwriter from Brampton, outside Toronto – is lightly famous. She’s a wearable degree of known due to her anthem for introverts, this year’s ‘Here.’ With it she hoisted a flag for the anti-social butterflies and issued a challenge of sorts to those who dream about embracing their true outside-the-lines selves. Her level gaze out, from a life just grazed by the commercial music machine, turns our own thoughts inward. She’s caught the ear of the cool kids and the uncertain, and she doesn’t let go of either affinity group throughout her full-length debut album, Know It All.” – NPR
Crooked Fingers – Crooked Fingers  LP+MP3 (Merge)
Crooked Fingers – Bring On The Snakes  LP+MP3 (Merge)
Crooked Fingers is the solo project of singer/guitarist Eric Bachmann. In the wake of the 1998 dissolution of his much-beloved previous band Archers Of Loaf, Bachmann founded Crooked Fingers in early 2000. Since then, Crooked Fingers has morphed and evolved to include many band members and tours extensively. Bachmann is also an in-demand record producer and guest player in other touring bands. This is the first time either title has been available on vinyl.
NEXT WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
DIIV – Is The Is Are CD/LP
DR DOG – Psychedelic Swamp CD/LP
PORCHES – Pool CD/LP
LUCINDA WILLIAMS – Ghost of Highway 20 CD/LP
JASON COLLETT – Song and Dance Man CD
CULT – Hidden City CD/LP
LUTHER DICKINSON – Blues and Ballads CD
DRESSY BESSY – Kingsized CD/LP
FIELD MUSIC – Commontime CD/LP
GAME THEORY – Lolita Nation CD/LP
NAP EYES – Thought Rock Fish Scale CD/LP
JAMES HUNTER SIX – Hold On CD
JUNIOR BOYS – Big Black Coat CD/LP
STEVE ROACH – Emotions Revealed CD
FREAKWATER – Scheherazade CD/LP
VARIOUS – Why The Mountains Are Black CD
JOSEPHINE FOSTER – No More Lamps In The Morning CD
BERT JANSCH – Avocet CD/LP
MASS GOTHIC – Self-Titled CD/LP