This Week’s New Releases & Staff Picks – 9/14/18
Kimber – Low
Lindsay – Blitzen Trapper
Dario – Sanro Perri
Paula – The Lemon Twigs
JUST ANNOUNCED PRE-ORDERS
Charles Bradley – Black Velvet (pre-order)
Bikini Kill – The Singles (pre-order)
Phosphorescent – C’est La Vie (pre-order)
Molly Burch – First Flower (pre-order)
THIS WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
Aphex Twin – Collapse CDEP/12”+MP3 (Warp)
Mythical electronic producer Richard D James aka Aphex Twin returns with the new 4-track EP Collapse which follows-up his 2016 Cheetah EP and 2014 full-length Syro. The cryptic release is introduced by the pummeling lead cut, “T69 Collapse” whose mind-bending video premiere was pulled from Adult Swim at the last minute for failing the Harding epilepsy test.
Blitzen Trapper – Furr [Reissue/2008] CD/2xLP+MP3/Cassette (Sub Pop)
Portland, OR-based experimental country/folk rock band Blitzen Trapper offers up a deluxe edition of their breakthrough 2008 album Furr. For this expanded release, the band has compiled over two LPs worth of material: the original album and 12 rare and previously unreleased tunes. The added songs are from the same recordings that become Furr, with the exception of the “Live At KCRW” tracks, which were recorded during the Furr tour. The songs “War Is Placebo”, “Booksmart Baby”, and “Maybe Baby” appeared as limited-edition singles in 2009 and 2011. Around three albums’ worth of material was recorded during the sessions for Furr, and it’s a selection of those that comprise the remaining bonus material for this anniversary edition of the record.
Cedric Burnside – Benton County Relic CD/LP (Single Lock)
Cedric Burnside (grandson of R.L. Burnside) was literally born to the blues, more specifically, the “rhythmically unorthodox” hill country variant which emerged from Mississippi where he grew up surrounded (and influenced) by Junior Kimbrough, Jessie May Hemphill and Otha Turner, as well as delta musicians T-Model Ford and Paul “Wine” Jones. Grammy-nominated in 2015 for Best Blues Album for the Cedric Burnside Project’s Descendants Of Hill Country, as well as the recipient of the Blues Music Awards honor as Drummer of the Year for four consecutive years, Cedric’s latest album offers a showcase for his electric and acoustic guitar, recording 26 tracks in just two days with drummer/slide guitarist Brian Jay in the latter’s Brooklyn home studio in a rush of creativity.
Dilly Dally – Heaven CD/LP+MP3 (Partisan)
Heaven highlights Dilly Dally’s rough edges in all their ragged glory, drawing every potent ounce of energy from the foursome’s swampy tones, raspy vocals, and volatile rhythm section. While the music is undeniably ferocious, there’s uplift woven into the fabric of every track.
Alejandro Escovedo with Don Antonio – The Crossing CD/2xLP+MP3 (Yep Roc)
Alejandro Escovedo’s scorching and cinematic The Crossing follows the story of two young immigrants, one from Mexico and one from Italy, as they come to the US to pursue the American dream and search out their punk rock idols. He co-wrote and performed it with Italian band Don Antonio from Mogdilana led by guitarist and composer Antonio Gramentieri who has a rich musical history of his own in Italy with his cult band Sacri Cuori. The Crossing also features a host of guest musicians, including The Stooges’ James Williamson on “Teenage Luggage” and Wayne Kramer from the MC5 on “Sonica USA” (both bands are also name checked in the album’s lyrics). “Waiting For Me” features Peter Perrett and John Perry from The Only Ones, recording together for the first time since 1980. Joe Ely appears on his own track, “Silver City”. “Rio Navidad”, a spoken word song about a Texas ranger, was written by novelist and Richmond Fontaine/The Delines’ bandleader Willy Vlautin and read by his bandmate Freddy Trujillo.
The Goon Sax – We’re Not Talking CD/LP+MP3 (Wichita Recordings)
Delivering brilliantly human and brutally honest vignettes of adolescent angst, The Goon Sax brim with personality, charm and heart-wrenching honesty. We’re Not Talking is a record made by restless young artists, defying expectations as if hardly noticing, and its complexity makes it even more of a marvel. Strings, horns, even castanets sneak their way onto the album – this isn’t glossy throwaway pop. Sounds stick out at surprising angles (on the frenetic “She Knows”), cowbells become lead instruments (in stunning album opener “Make Time For Love”), brief home-recorded fragments appear unexpectedly, and “Losing Myself” is like the Young Marble Giants go hip-hop.
Knife Knights – 1 Time Mirage CD/LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
Knife Knights was born of the love of mystery. From the start of Shabazz Palaces – the groundbreaking project launched in 2009 by former-Digable Planets leader Ishmael Butler – confidentiality seemed essential: Butler wanted Shabazz Palaces to stand on its own strength, not his outsized reputation, so he adopted a nom de plume for himself. As the project’s network expanded, though, he needed new monikers for his partnerships. Knife Knights is the name he gave to his work with Seattle engineer, producer, songwriter, and film composer Erik Blood, a vital force in the Shabazz Palaces universe. Now, after more than a decade of collaboration and the development of a rich friendship, Butler and Blood have made a proper full-length record together. 1 Time Mirage is an eleven-track odyssey that finds the pair and a cast of their friends weaving together a singular world of soul and shoegaze, hip-hop and lush noise, bass and bedlam.
Low – Double Negative CD/LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
This year Low turns 25. Since 1993, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker – the married couple whose heaven-and-earth harmonies have always held the band’s center – have pioneered a subgenre, shrugged off its strictures, recorded a Christmas classic, become a magnetic onstage force, and emerged as one of music’s most steadfast and vital vehicles for pulling light from our darkest emotional recesses. But Low will not commemorate its first quarter-century with mawkish nostalgia or safe runs through songbook favorites. Instead, in faithfully defiant fashion, Low release their most brazen, abrasive (and, paradoxically, most empowering) album ever: Double Negative, an unflinching 11-song quest through snarling static and shattering beats that somehow culminates in the brightest pop song of Low’s career.
Sandro Perri – In Another Life CD/LP+MP3 (Constellation)
Sandro Perri returns with his first new solo effort since 2011’s acclaimed Impossible Spaces. It’s what Perri describes as “an experiment in ‘infinite’ songwriting.” The title cut is a 24-minute pop mantra for sequenced synth, piano, guitar and voice, progressing sideways rather than forward. A relaxed three-chord vamp runs the length of Side One, peppered with Sandro’s languid, lilting vocal and adorned with continually developing musical details – massaging the listener with the joys of repetition while defying stasis and monotony. Like the longer-form work of fellow-travelers Bill Callahan, Destroyer or Arthur Russell, Perri extends the notion of the meditative minimalist pop song to its literal maximum, flouting ‘commercial’ concerns in our streamingly short-attention-span era – and perhaps implicitly calling for a politics of slow consumption?
Slothrust – The Pact CD/LP (Dangerbird)
Slothrust is principal songwriter, guitar player and unrepentant aesthete Leah Wellbaum, with drummer Will Gorin and bassist Kyle Bann. On their fourth full-length album The Pact, Slothrust constructs a luscious, ethereal cosmos perforated with wormy portals and magic wardrobes, demonstrating more clearly than ever the band’s deft shaping of contrasting sonic elements to forge a muscular sound that’s uniquely their own. Bizarre and mundane, tender and confident. The awkward duality of the forever outsider, rightly reclaimed as power. Produced and engineered by Billy Bush in Los Angeles, The Pact is a confident journey across 12 songs that oscillate between a quietly reflective tenderness and a slick, sleek confidence; balancing playful innocence with ballsy swagger. Bush brought a rugged-lush sensibility to the proceedings, assuredly guiding the band into new territory.
Richard Thompson – 13 Rivers CD/2xLP+MP3 (New West)
Richard Thompson’s new album is his first self-produced record in over a decade. It’s a minimal and spacious recording which, according to Thompson, is a projection of current events in his life.
“This has been an intense year for myself and my family, getting older doesn’t mean that life gets easier! There are surprises around every bend. I think this reflects in the immediacy of the stories, and the passion in the songs. Sometimes I am speaking directly about events, at other times songs are an imaginative spin on what life throws at you. The music is just a mirror to life, but we try to polish that mirror as brightly as possible.” 13 Rivers spans thirteen tracks. It is an album as much about growth as it is about reflection. Says Thompson, “I don’t know how the creative process works – I suppose it is some kind of bizarre parallel existence to my own life. I often look at a finished song and wonder what the hell is going on inside me. We sequenced the weird stuff at the front of the record, and the tracks to grind your soul into submission at the back.” [Limited black and cream colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Active Bird Community – Amends CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Barsuk)
New York indie rock quartet Active Bird Community rose from their scrappy suburban teenage garage band roots to become a successful national touring act and Brooklyn scene fixture with a ’90s-influenced slacker-garage-grunge-pop sound and a handful of well-crafted records to their credit.
Bob Moses – Battle Lines CD/2xLP+MP3 (Domino)
Battle Lines follows Grammy-winning duo Bob Moses’ acclaimed debut album, Days Gone By, featuring their worldwide hit “Tearing Me Up”. The Canadian duo, who met in Vancouver, BC but now live in NYC, have seen their profile steadily rise, finding acclaim for their smoky, R&B-infused, deep house sounds. The band recorded the new album in Los Angeles, after writing and testing out new material on the road. Inspired by their time playing raves and rock clubs all over the globe since the release of Days Gone By, Battle Lines takes a harder look at the world in which they find themselves.
Brandon Coleman – Resistance CD/2xLP+MP3 (Brainfeeder)
Resistance is a 2018 funk odyssey by keyboard maestro, vocalist, composer, producer, arranger and astral traveler Brandon Coleman. A regular fixture in the Kamasi Washington band, wylin’ out on the keys or wielding his keytar, he is introduced onstage at gigs as “Professor Boogie” by his longtime friend and collaborator. Resistance represents a new chapter in the funk dynasty that spans George Clinton / Parliament Funkadelic and Zapp through to Dr. Dre, DJ Quik and Dam Funk as the Los Angeles resident salutes his musical heroes – Herbie Hancock, Peter Frampton, Roger Troutman – and honors their ethos of freedom and experimentation in his search for funk’s future.
Cold War Kids – Cold War Kids CD (Downtown)
Beloved blues drenched Long Beach, California indie rockers Cold War Kids offer up an eponymous 14-track compilation of the ‘Best Of’ their Downtown Records years which saw them release the five stellar albums Robbers & Cowards (2006), Loyalty To Loyalty (2008), Mine Is Yours (2011), Dear Miss Lonelyhearts (2013) and Hold My Home (2014). Cold War Kids collects the prime catalog cuts “Louder Than Ever”, “First”, “Miracle Mile,”, “All This Could Be Yours”, “I’ve Seen Enough”, “Hospital Beds” and “Royal Blue”.
Crippled Black Phoenix – Great Escape CD/2xLP (Season Of Mist)
The follow-up to 2016’s towering full-length Bronze, Great Escape sees the international collective blend passion and purpose with their dark and dreamy post-rock in an altogether different way. Their beauty is deceptive; the vast, sweeping songs weave sophistication and grandeur with dire warnings about a world spinning out of control.
The Doors – Waiting For The Sun [Reissue/1968] 2xCD/LP (Elektra)
50th Anniversary reissue. This double-CD and single-LP collection features a new version of the album’s original stereo mix on both CD and 180-gram vinyl LP, which has been newly remastered from the original master tapes by Bruce Botnick, the Doors’ longtime engineer/mixer. The CD set also includes a second disc of 14 completely unreleased tracks: nine recently discovered “rough mixes” from the album recording sessions and five live songs from a 1968 Copenhagen show.
Giant Sand – Returns To The Valley Of Rain CD/LP (Fire)
A new re-recording of the Tucson band’s 1985 debut. Valley Of Rain was Tucson’s Giant Sand’s debut album recorded in 1983, and eventually released by 1985. It included Howe Gelb on vocals, guitar and Winston Watson on drums for most of it, Tommy Larkins on drums for some of it and Scott Garber on fretless bass for all of it. 30 some years later, now that the band had been put to sleep indefinitely, those very first songs had begun creeping into the last Giant Sand tours. It somehow seemed appropriate to give them another shot with the proper amp just to see what they could’ve been.
Jungle – For Ever CD/LP (XL)
The core duo of Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland describe their long awaited second album For Ever as “a post-apocalyptic radio station playing break up songs.” If Jungle’s first effort was their imaginary soundtrack to the places they had never been, their new record captures the landscapes they had so often dreamed of.
The Lemon Twigs – Go To School CD/2xLP+MP3 (4AD)
A conceptual musical conceived by brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario, the 15-track opus was written, recorded, produced and mixed by the pair at their home in Long Island. Go To School tells the heartbreaking coming of age story of Shane, a pure of heart chimpanzee raised as a human boy as he comes to terms with the obstacles of life. Todd Rundgren and their real life mother Susan Hall play Shane’s parents. The album features contributions from Jody Stephens (Big Star), Natalie Mering (Weyes Blood) and their father Ronnie D’Addario.
Less Bells – Solifuge CD/LP (Kranky)
The full-length debut by Julie Carpenter’s Joshua Tree, California, ambient orchestral project Less Bells emerged from the drama and desolation of its high desert origins. She cites certain compositions as being “specifically inspired by August monsoons rolling in over the mountains, others by clear, starry nights.” Utilizing an array of electronic and acoustic instruments, including cello, Optigan, violin, voice, and modular synth, Solifuge conflates not only the solitude and refuge of it’s title but also intimacy and grandeur, fragility and force, “building from austerity to wild overgrowth.” She speaks of a creative process involving cut-ups and rearranging, mapping a melody for strings only to transpose it to synth, or refashioning a rigid classical piece as stream of consciousness soundscape.
Lyrics Born – Quite A Life CD/2xLP (Real People)
A new record of funk and soul woven into classic, boom-bap hip-hop featuring a legendary line-up of guest musicians, including the heavily buzzing artist Aloe Blacc (‘Brooklyn In the Summer’, ‘I Need a Dollar’, Avicii’s “Wake Me Up”), Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Gift of Gab (of Blackalicious), Galactic, and Chali 2na (of Jurassic 5).
Mogwai – Rock Action [Reissue/2001] CD/LP (PIAS America)
Mogwai – Happy Songs For Happy People [Reissue/2003] CD/LP (PIAS America)
Mogwai – Mr. Beast [Reissue/2006] CD/2xLP (PIAS America
Mogwai – Zidane – A 21st Century Portrait – An Original Soundtrack By Mogwai [Reissue/2006] CD/2xLP (PIAS America)
Mogwai – The Hawk Is Howling [Reissue/2008] CD/2xLP (PIAS America)
Remastered CD and vinyl reissues of five of the Glaswegian post-rockers’ albums are now available.
Orbital – Monsters Exist CD/2xCD (ACP Recordings Ltd.)
First new album in five years from the British electronic outfit. Monsters Exist is a more classically structured Orbital album than their previous release Wonky, drawing inspiration from the international political landscape all the way back from brothers Paul and Phil’s pre-rave squat-punk roots right up to the volatile tensions and erratic rhetoric of today. [Deluxe double-CD edition also available. Vinyl edition due September 28.]
Mark Ribot – Songs of Resistance 1942 – 2018 CD (Epitaph)
With his new album Songs of Resistance 1948 – 2018, Ribot—one of the world’s most accomplished and acclaimed guitar players—set out to assemble a set of songs that spoke to this political moment with appropriate ambition, passion, and fury. The eleven songs on the record are drawn from the World War II anti-Fascist Italian partisans, the U.S. civil rights movement, and Mexican protest ballads, as well as original compositions, and feature a wide range of guest vocalists, including Tom Waits, Steve Earle, Meshell Ndegeocello, Justin Vivian Bond, Fay Victor, Sam Amidon, and Ohene Cornelius. [Vinyl edition due September 21.]
Emma Ruth Rundle – On Dark Horses CD/LP+MP3 (Sargent House)
With On Dark Horses, Rundle doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable realities or retreat into a private world, but it does capture an artist who has survived their personal nadir and come out stronger on the other side. The album’s eight tracks capture the evolution of Rundle as an artist, with vestigial traces of the savvy guitar work of her 2011 debut, Electric Guitar, the siren song beauty of 2014’s Some Heavy Ocean, and the amplified urgency of 2016’s Marked For Death all factoring into the album’s rich tapestry. [Limited colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Sleaford Mods – Sleaford Mods CDEP/12” (Rough Trade)
British hip-hop/punk act Sleaford Mods’ eponymous EP follows-up 2017’s critically acclaimed English Tapas and features five brand new tracks including lead single, “Stick In A Five & Go”. Jason Williamson on the new material: “The lead tracks are mostly full of violent tendencies that only transpire through imagination. People are powerless under the political monster and the intense anger and frustration morphs into illusions of attacking each other through the bravado of social media, depression and paranoia.”
Thrice – Palms CD/LP+MP3 (Epitaph)
Thrice created Palms with a free-form and fluid approach to the album’s sonic element. The result is their most expansive work to date, encompassing everything from viscerally charged post-hardcore to piano-driven balladry. [Limited red colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Throbbing Gristle – Heathen Earth: The Live Sound of Throbbing Gristle [Reissue/1980] CD/LP (Mute)
Throbbing Gristle – Mission Of Dead Souls [Reissue/1981] CD/LP (Mute)
Throbbing Gristle – Journey Through A Body [Reissue/1982] CD/2xLP (Mute)
Heathen Earth is a crucial 1980 live document of industrial pioneers Throbbing Gristle. Mission Of Dead Souls documents TG’s last live performance in San Francisco in 1981. It’s a given that the band’s studio work was noisy and abstract, but more was left to chance during gigs like this, with primitive synthesizers and other electronics pitted against a group trying to keep some semblance of control. Widely referred to as their most haunting work, Journey Through A Body was recorded as a piece of radio art for Italian National Radio RAI, Rome in March 1981. [Limited colored vinyl pressings also available.]
Loudon Wainwright III – Years In The Making 2xCD (Storysound)
Loudon Wainwright III’s Years In The Making compiles 45 years of off-beaten tracks into over two hours of rare and unissued Loudoniana along with a few brand new songs (“Birthday Boy” and “Rosin the Bow”) for good measure. It’s a double-CD audio-biography, full of orphaned album cuts, live recordings, radio appearances, home demos, and more.
Paul Weller – True Meanings CD/2xLP (WB/Parlophone)
To put it simply, True Meanings, the fourteenth Paul Weller solo album and the 26th studio album of his entire career, is a record unlike any he has ever made before. It’s characterized by grandiose-yet-delicate, lush orchestration: an aesthetic to which Weller’s better-than-ever voice, singing some of his most nakedly honest words, is perfectly suited. A dreamy, peaceful, pastoral set of songs to get lost in, it’s both an album that his faithful audience has been wanting him to make for a long time, and an album that many new people outside of that audience will relate to.
First Aid Kit – Tender Offerings 10” (Sony)
“Technically, Tender Offerings are the four songs that did not make it onto Ruins. For these ladies, these precious songs did not fit the bombastic folk-nature of the album. Instead, they truly felt like tender offerings; too sweet and soft in scope to be fluidly aligned with their other tracks. Once, you hear such gorgeous tracks like, “I’ve Wanted You” and “All That We Get” you will understand their point. Instrumentally, you feel every hook, melody, and chorus was precisely and clearly made as a cloud creates a raindrop. This duo turn their guitar melodies into field of amber strings dancing in the suns of their voices like grains move with daylight.” – Diandra Reviews It All
The Flaming Lips – In A Priest Driven Ambulance [Reissue/1990] LP (Rhino)
The Flaming Lips – Death Trippin’ At Sunrise: Rarities, B-Sides & Flexi-Discs 1986-1990 2xLP (Rhino)
Vinyl reissue of The Flaming Lips’ fourth studio album and a new rarities/B-sides collection.
Medeski, Martin, & Wood and Alarm Will Sound – Omnisphere LP (Indirecto)
Medeski, Martin, Wood’s new album, Omnisphere was recorded with the inimitable Alarm Will Sound orchestra live at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts in Denver, CO in February 2015. The results are both expected, in the peerless level of the musicianship, and stunning, in the sweeping stylistic range of the program.
Robert Pollard – Waved Out [Reissue/1995] LP (GBV Inc.)
Robert Pollard’s Waved Out gets the 20th anniversary reissue treatment with newly remastered audio and a beautiful colored vinyl pressing. The Guided By Voices captain’s second solo album from 1998 captures the more eclectic side of his songwriting and finds him brilliantly compressing prog, psych, and post-punk ideas into magnificent two-minute pop songs. Wire, early Genesis, Nilsson Schmilsson, Lennon’s White Album songs, Blue Öyster Cult, XTC, and Captain Beefheart.
Siouxsie & The Banshees – The Scream [Reissue/1978] LP (Geffen)
Siouxsie & The Banshees – A Kiss In The Dreamhouse [Reissue/1982] LP (Geffen)
Siouxsie & The Banshees – Superstition [Reissue/1991] 2xLP (Geffen)
180gm vinyl reissues of the British post-punk band’s first, fifth and tenth albums.
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – Blood Lust [Reissue/2011] LP (Rise Above)
Uncle Acid – Mind Control [Reissue/2013] 2xLP (Rise Above)
Limited import-only splatter colored vinyl reissues of the English psych/acid band’s second and third albums.
Tom Waits – Heartattack And Vine [Reissue/1980] LP+MP3 (ANTI-)
Released in 1980, Heartattack And Vine was Waits’ final album on Elektra Asylum and it built on the raw blues approach of Blue Valentine with the incendiary title track, the funky, organ driven “Downtown” and the stomping NOLA blues of “Mr. Siegal”. This album also contains some of Waits’ most popular ballads, including “Jersey Girl” which was famously a hit for Bruce Springsteen. “On The Nickle” is a moving song about the homeless people who lived on 5th street in downtown LA, and “Ruby’s Arms” is a beautiful song with a lovely Bach-like melody. [180gm pressing also available.]
NEXT WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
AJJ – Ugly Spiral CD/LP
CHICANO BATMAN – Cycles of Existential Rhyme / Joven Navigante CD/LP
CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS – Chris CD/LP
PRINCE – Piano and a Microphone CD/LP
MOUNTAIN MAN – Magic Ship CD/LP
BEAK> – >>> CD/LP
CARL BROEMEL – Wished Out CD/LP
METRIC – Art of Doubt CD/LP
SUMAC – Love In Shadow CD/LP
THALIA ZEDEK – Fighting Season CD/LP
SHA LA DAS – Love In The Wind CD/LP
BOMB THE MUSIC INDUSTRY – Vacation LP
DEATH GRIPS – Year Of The Snitch LP
MC5 – Total Assault – 50TH Anniv Collec 3LP
MUTUAL BENEFIT – Thunder Follows The Light CD/LP
RICHARD REED PARRY – Quiet River Of Dust 1 CD
BILLY GIBBONS – Big Bad Blues CD/LP