Kimber – Big Thief
Lindsay – Versing, Big Thief
Dario – Big Thief, Protomartyr
Paula – Pile, Vampire Weekend


Flying Lotus – Flamagra (pre-order)
Ride This Is Not A Safe Place (pre-order)


Bad ReligionAge Of Unreason CD (Epitaph)
Since Bad Religion’s formative years, the acclaimed Los Angeles, CA punk rock band has steadfastly advocated for humanism, reason, and individualism. Now, when these values are in decline and nationalism and bigotry are on the rise, the group’s message has never been more essential. The songs on Age Of Unreason are both furious and meticulously crafted. There are references to contemporary events; racist rallies, Trump’s election, the erosion of the middle class, Colin Kaepernick’s protest, alternative facts, conspiracy theories, as well as homages to the literary and philosophical works that have long inspired the band. This record is both a dire warning and testament to resilience. The overall message being – seek truth about the world and oneself.

The Dream SyndicateThese Times CD/LP+MP3 (ANTI-)
There are two phases of The Dream Syndicate. There was the band with revolving lineups that existed from 1982 to 1988 and made four albums, including The Days Of Wine And Roses. And then there’s the band that reunited in 2012 and is closing in on its seventh year with nary a lineup change. Their new album These Times feels like a late-night radio show that you might have heard as a kid, drifting off into dreams and wondering the next morning if any of it was real. If 2017’s How Did I Find Myself Here was a 10:00 pm record, all swagger and cathartic explosion, then These Times is the 2:00 am sibling, moodier and more mercurial, the band acting as DJs of their own overnight radio station, riffing on an idea of what a Dream Syndicate album could be at this moment in time. Founder and singer/guitarist/songwriter Steve Wynn says, “These Times. That’s it. It’s all we’re talking about; all we’re thinking about. There’s no avoiding the existential panic of a world that’s hurtling somewhere quickly and evolving and shifting course by the hour. It seems like a lie to not address or reflect the things that we can’t stop thinking about – the whole world’s watching indeed.”

Big Thief U.F.O.F. CD/LP (4AD)
The New York-based Big Thief’s songs represent an emotional bravery and realness that weaves intimate relationships with the listener, a phenomenon that has made them one of the most widely-respected bands of the current era. Their first two back-to-back releases, Masterpiece (2016) and Capacity (2017), have been analyzed, wept to, danced to, critically applauded, imitated, hummed idly, and shouted out loud. They have soundtracked crowded restaurants, difficult conversations, cowboy bars, yoga classes, night drives, and lonely bedrooms. “Big Thief get weird on U.F.O.F., to great effect. On Masterpiece and Capacity, they were making folksy rock songs that would absolutely play in a Pilates studio or at a cafe or on one of Spotify’s many “chillax” playlists. U.F.O.F. isn’t an outlier, not exactly, but it isn’t as conventional, and it’s exciting to consider the directions Big Thief might go in from here.” – Stereogum

The Felice BrothersUndress CD/LP+MP3 (Yep Roc)
Cut live to tape with very little overdubbing, The Felice Brothers’ first album in three years is their most personal and reflective album to date. “Many of the songs on the new album are motivated by a shift from private to public concerns,” says Ian. “It isn’t hard to find worthwhile things to write about these days; there are a lot of storms blooming on the horizon and a lot of chaos that permeates our lives. The hard part is finding simple and direct ways to address them.” Undress follows the band’s 2016 album Life In The Dark, and finds the group in a very different place. Between personnel changes, families growing and the political landscape, the result is a tighter, more-paired down release. “Every song is a story,” adds James. “On this album everything was a bit more thoughtful, including the arrangements, the sonic quality and the harmonies.”

Filthy FriendsEmerald Valley CD/LP (Kill Rock Stars)
The first releases from Filthy Friends, the scorchingly melodic rock group whose membership consists of some of the most original musical voices of the past three decades, came as a small, delightful shock to the system. Not only because of the names associated with the project, including Sleater-Kinney co-founder Corin Tucker, R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck and indie stalwarts Scott McCaughey and Kurt Bloch, but also because of how ably they were able to mesh their individual sounds into a crackling melodic whole on their 2017 debut album, Invitation. Now, with their follow-up Emerald Valley, the Friends have proven their collective mettle, crafting a thematic suite of songs that finds the quintet digging deeper into their bag of musical tricks and giving Tucker room to rage about and mourn the fate of our planet and the people who inhabit it. As proven here, when a group of like-minded people gather their individual strengths together and point them toward a singular goal, there’s no telling how powerful they can become and what an impact they can make on the world at large.

TacocaTThis Mess Is A Place CD/LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
TacocaT’s fourth full-length finds the Seattle punk band waking up the morning after the 2016 election and figuring out how to respond to a new reality where evil isn’t hiding under the surface – it’s front and center, with new tragedies and civil rights assaults filling up the scroll of the newsfeed every day. Despite current realities being depressing enough to make anyone want to crawl under the covers and sleep for a thousand years, TacocaT are doing what they’ve always done so well: mingling brightness, energy, and hope with political critique. This Mess Is A Place is charged with a hopefulness that stands in stark contrast to music that celebrates apathy, despair, and numbness. TacocaT feels it all and cares, a lot, whether they’re singing odes to the magical connections we feel with our pets (“Little Friend”), imagining what a better Earth might look like (“New World”), or trying to find humor in a wholly unfunny world (“The Joke Of Life”). It’s a delightfully cathartic moment and the cornerstone of the record when they exclaim, in “Grains of Salt”: “Don’t forget to remember who the f**k you are!”

Tank and The BangasGreen Balloon CD/2xLP (Verve)
Breakout New Orleans-based five-piece Tank and The Bangas return with their highly anticipated new album, Green Balloon. Following-up the band’s 2013 debut, Think Tank, Green Balloon represents a musical evolution for the group who called upon producers Jack Splash, Mark Batson, Zaytoven, Louie Lastic and Robert Glasper to help capture their vision. “There’s no record quite like Green Balloon, and no band quite like Tank and The Bangas. Green Balloon is 17 songs, featuring 75 minutes of roughly 30 creative souls, recorded in nearly 10 studios. They make music without boundary on instruments ranging from sax, flute, cello, vocal scratches, keyboards, synths, real drums, fake drums, a djembe and, of course, the poetry, philosophy, comedy and voice that is Tarriona ‘Tank’ Ball. This stuff is serious fun!” – NPR

Vampire WeekendFather Of The Bride CD/2xLP (Columbia)
Vampire Weekend’s highly anticipated fourth album, Father Of The Bride closes a six-year gap since 2013’s Modern Vampires Of The City. Produced by Koenig and Ariel Rechtshaid (Adele, Madonna, Charli XCX, Usher, HAIM, Solange), the 18-track double album Father Of The Bride features the fresh yet familiar sounding numbers “Sunflower”, “Big Blue”, “Harmony Hall” and “2021”, and includes collaborations with Jenny Lewis, David Longstreth (Dirty Projectors), Steve Lacy (The Internet), Rostam Batmanglij (Vampire Weekend co-founder who left the band in 2016) and Haruomi Hosono, among others. Father Of The Bride’s title is something Koenig chose years back, well before recent significant developments in his life. In typical Vampire Weekend fashion, the title has multiple layers of meaning, expressing the band’s signature paradox: creating songs that easily find a home on any playlist – or car radio, TV show, film soundtrack, airport PA, etc. – but reveal their complexities upon closer listening.

Versing10000 CD/LP (Hardly Art)
Seattle quartet Versing got their start in college radio – Tacoma’s KUPS. The group’s main songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Daniel Salas served as alternative music director there when he met guitarist Graham Baker, drummer Max Keyes, and bassist Kirby Lochner. Brandishing a coolly combustible brand of rock, the group has risen through Seattle’s competitive rock ecosphere with nonchalant élan. They cheekily titled a previous album Nirvana, but Versing isn’t emulating Sub Pop’s most famous artist. Rather, they’re forging an exciting sound that finds a golden mean between lustrous noise and ebullient melody. The band’s songwriting is obviously crucial, but much of the pleasure in 10000 comes from their guitar textures – swarming yet spiky and agile. It’s an engrossing album that’s impossible to feel ambivalent about.

Joy WilliamsFront Porch CD/LP (Sensibility Recordings)
Formerly of four-time Grammy Award-winning folk, country and Americana duo The Civil Wars (from 2009 until 2014), Joy Williams presents her fifth solo full-length album, Front Porch. It represents a new chapter in her career, recorded in Nashville during the pregnancy of her second child. Rolling Stone states Williams’ new music “…is both familiar and new, and explicitly clear that there’s nothing missing when she goes it alone.” Two songs from the record – “Canary” and “The Trouble With Wanting” – have already been released to critical acclaim. Of “Canary”, Rolling Stone proclaims, “As usual, her voice steals the spotlight, with everything building toward Williams’ ringing, crystal-clear glory note in each chorus,” and the Houston Chronicle furthers, “Williams’ vocal on the song reflects the assertiveness of its subject. A moment in its refrain finds her reaching high for a note and finding it.”

BarrieHappy To Be Here CD/LP/Cassette (Winspear)
Inclusivity is at the heart of Barrie, the Brooklyn five-piece made of Barrie Lindsay, Dominic Apa, Spurge Carter, Sabine Holler and Noah Prebish. And on their debut album, Happy To Be Here, their multidimensional take on classic pop sounds awake and present, like a group that’s daydreaming but firmly there with one another.

EditorsThe Blanck Mass Sessions CD/LP (PIAS America)
Seven songs from the Editor’s Violence album, originally produced and more recently mixed and finished by Blanck Mass. It includes the unreleased track “Barricades” from the Violence sessions, which is a full Blanck Mass production mixed by Alan Moulder as per the rest of the original album.

Gang Of FourHappy Now CD/LP+MP3 (Gill Music Ltd)
Gang Of Four’s new album Happy Now is “largely dark and electronic, flowing with a kind of dystopian tension that reflects the paranoia and distrust of the modern age we’re living in. It’s an album that sounds like society collapsing-its songs riddled with a disconcerting, unnerving uncertainty and a kind of apocalyptic anxiety, despite the vigor and confidence of the music itself. So while the Gang of Four of 2019 is very different to the Gang Of Four that started in the late ’70s, it seems the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Rhiannon GiddensThere Is No Other CD (Nonesuch)
Rhiannon Giddens’ new album was recorded with Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi. Produced by Joe Henry and tracked over an intensely productive five-day period in Dublin, Ireland, There Is No Other is at once a condemnation of othering and a celebration of the spread of ideas, connectivity, and shared experience.

Bobby OrozaThis Love CD/LP (Big Crown)
Bobby was born in Helsinki, Finland into a family of musicians and artists where he would be exposed to a wide range of music. Frequent family parties at Bobby’s were thrown to the sounds of his grandfather playing Latin and Cuban classics on his guitar or to his parent’s record collection which was full of early jazz and blues, Motown, gospel hits, and doo-wop. The soul records were balanced out by Brazilian, African, North and South American folk songs, and Nuyorican Salsa albums. All of these influences make appearances in Bobby’s music. On This Love, he pushes the borders of soul and rock balladry and creates a sound distinctly his own.

PileGreen And Gray CD/2xLP (Exploding In Sound)
Since Pile’s original formation eight years ago, the Boston rock band has released over five critically acclaimed albums, a compilation of rarities and live record. New album Green And Gray reveals just how heavy and soft they can get within the span of an album.

ProtomartyrNo Passion All Technique [Reissue/2012] CD/LP (Domino)
Sold out and out of print shortly after its original release on Urinal Cake Records in 2012, No Passion All Technique is a sometimes messy look at one of rock’s most magnetic bands-and lyricists-just as they were coming to life. Primal, cerebral, heartbreaking, funny-it’s an accidental tour de force that’s also become an unlikely collector’s item.

StereolabTransient Random Noise-Bursts With Announcements [Reissue/1993] 2xCD/3xLP (Duophonic/Warp)
StereolabMars Audiac Quintet [Reissue/1994] 2xCD/3xLP (Duophonic/Warp)
The first two in Stereolab’s seven album reissue campaign, expanded and re-mastered. Bonus material includes alternate takes, 4-track demos and unreleased mixes.

Syl Johnson ‎– Is It Because I’m Black [Reissue/1970] LP (Numero)
Coming hot on the heels of his first full length, the self-proclaimed most sampled artist of all time released the groundbreaking black concept LP Is It Because I’m Black a full 13 months before Marvin Gaye asked “What’s Going On?” Rumbling hard past any notion of a sophomore jinx, Syl delivered a bracing, inspiring, and politically charged R&B document.

LCD Soundsystem/Paperclip PeopleThrow [Reissue/2010] 12” (DFA)
“Throw” by Paperclip People has been reissued on 12” vinyl, and features LCD Soundsystem’s sublime and inventive cover on the flipside.

People Under The StairsSincerely, The P 2xLP (Piecelock 70)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. With a career spanning two decades and 11 releases, L.A. hip-hop duo People Under The Stairs bid farewell with their final LP. Their unique style is on full display; lyrically dense spliced with vintage boom bap. Self-produced, self-recorded and no features but with multiple instrumentalists to supplement their trademark dusty breaks.

Here Comes The Cowboy CD/LP (Smoke colored LP and green and black LP)
CLINICWheeltappers + Shunters CD/LP
THEE SPEAKING CANARIESWho Are The Shitbirds Playing LP (Damon Che of Don Caballero)
HUMYou’d Prefer An Astronaut LP reissue