The LUMINEERS  –  Cleopatra

The Colorado folk rockers follow-up their surprise hit debut—no pressure at all—in an attempt to either become the American Mumford & Sons or keep it at arm’s length. Four years have passed since The Lumineers released their debut self-titled album. They hit the alternative landscape with such a strong force, it’s a surprise how long it took for them to return. Now after that long wait, the second album, called ‘Cleopatra’ is released. Frontman Wesley Schultz and co-founder Jeremiah Fraites got back to basics when it came time to write for the 11-track collection. And while the raw, jangly guitars, parlor-room piano chords, and marching band snare rolls from the first record remain intact, ‘Cleopatra’ has a welcome, added heft.
LP – Housed in Gatefold Sleeve.

ELIZA and the BEAR  –  Eliza and the Bear

Just in time to soundtrack your summer and beyond, five-piece Eliza and the Bear unveil their debut album ‘Eliza and the Bear’ and the new single ‘It Gets Cold’. With its fist-in-the-air sensibility and hopeful urgency, the song is both epic and intimate in equal measure. For fans of Of Monsters and Men, Mumford and Sons and Phoenix.

Frightened Rabbit - Painting of a Panic Attack - Artwork

FRIGHTENED RABBIT  –  The Painting of a Panic Attack

The fifth release from this Scottish indie rock band has occasioned some less-than-glowing notices, which I don’t understand at all. Certainly Scott Hutchison’s songs of alienation and confusion sound cleaner than they ever have, but he’s still the same fucked up witness to life’s messy emotions and whiplash curveballs. If the pristine production—which they’ve been working towards since the get-go—is what brings them to the masses, I can live with that. And so can you

M83 - Junk - Artwork

M83   –   Junk

Along with Daft Punk and Air, Anthony Gonzalez has done more to make French pop palatable to the international market than anyone. There was a time, not so long ago dear readers, when the idea of French rock and pop stars was a joke. Who’s laughing now, silly Americans?

Parquet Courts - Human Performance - Artwork

PARQUET COURTS  –   Human Performance

Like everyone else, I was turned onto this Brooklyn-by-way-of-Texas quartet upon exposure to their sophomore release, Light Up Gold, and it’s smart neo-indie, especially—again like everyone else—when I heard “Stoned and Starving” for the first time and immediately made it 20, 30, etc. Subsequent releases—either as Parquet Courts or Parkay Quarts—have made progress in tiny increments. Human Performanceis a giant step—not necessarily in composition, they’ve always been good at their Velvet Underground-meets-The Strokes vibe, but in production (which means they spent some time in the studio instead of just bashing the tunes out). Don’t worry. They haven’t turned into Muse or whatnot; but they’ve given some love and attention to the process, kind of like when Hüsker Dü signed to Warner Bros.

TELEMAN    –   Brilliant Sanity

Yet another in a long line of eccentric, fey voiced English pop bands and, bless ‘em all, they continue to tickle and entertain me. These guys are up there with Dutch Uncles and Field Music, so if you know or like those you have no excuse not to get on this. Teleman return with their second album on Moshi Moshi which was recorded by Dan Carey at his South London studio. The art of songwriting has been the driving force behind Teleman’s second album ‘Brilliant Sanity’: the process of crafting of the immaculate pop song, the dogged pursuit of the perfect hook. The result is an album that appears fastidiously and impeccably made, but also charged with joy. ‘Brilliant Sanity’ shows Sanders as an accomplished and distinctive lyricist, with a passion for the music of words themselves and an eye for the singular image. You can see this preoccupation with strong imagery throughout ‘Brilliant Sanity’ – in the deftness of its song titles – ‘Tangerine’, for instance, or ‘Canvas Shoe’, in its recurrent references to devilry and fire, and in its most lingering lines – a reference to a ‘Chinese burn’ in ‘Glory Hallelujah’, for instance, or in the declaration “Every time I’m alone with you / The air gets heavy and drips like glue” of first single, ‘Fall in Time’.
LP – With Download.

Image of The Dandy Warhols - Distortland

The DANDY WARHOLS  –   Distortland

The Dandy Warhols spent 2015 writing new music and the band closed out the year with a packed-to-capacity tour of the U.S. West Coast and South including a three-night stint at Los Angeles’ Teregram Ballroom. Signing to Dine Alone was another highlight of the year, not only for the band, but for label owner/founder,

Album 10 reminds us that when they are on their game they were a great link from glam to grunge.

The GOON SAX  –  Up To Anything

Chapter Music release ‘Up To Anything’, the debut album by Brisbane trio The Goon Sax. Louis Forster, James Harrison and Riley Jones are all 17-18 years old. They make pop music. They have refined tastes – they love the Pastels, Talking Heads, Galaxie 500, Bob Dylan and Arthur Russell. On ‘Up To Anything’ they pull off the almost impossible, capturing the awkwardness, self-doubt and visceral excitement of teenage life, while still in the thick of actually living it. Goon Sax songs are both immediately charming and deceptively deep – Sweaty Hands examines a point in a relationship where you’re seen at your worst, while Telephone addresses the heartbreaking realisation that nothing you offer your crush is enough.

CARLTON MELTON  – Aground

Record Store Day 2016 Release. A follow up / companion piece to 2015’s well received ‘Out To Sea’ opus released on Agitated Records. 5 tracks of magick-karpet wreck’d psychedelic morass. The raft ran aground, you have to get your ears on and wander the deserted shores of this desolate isle (metaphorically speaking, but you get the ‘drift’ right?) Aim for the high ground, build a fire, look to the horizons and let it all flow. These tracks were from the same sessions that spawned ‘Out To Sea’, there’s a natural flow, a cohesion that makes the whole trip worth taking. Recorded / Engineered by Phil Manly / Lucky Cat studios.  5 tacks, cut at 45 rpm, lush transparent green vinyl in an edition of 600 Copies Only.

 

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