THIS WEEKS ESSENTIAL NEW RELEASES 14th April 2017

Posted: June 16, 2017 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , ,

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Sheer Mag’s Compilation LP features the Philadelphia rock band’s three 7-inch records, released between 2014 and 2016. All 12 songs were recorded onto the same vintage 8-track tape machine, as it was carted to various locations around Philadelphia. The first two were produced in a makeshift studio wedged between two bedrooms in the band’s former South Philly house. The third came out of a practice space in the Port Richmond neighborhood. Sequenced chronologically, the newly remastered songs reveal a young DIY band finding its sound. Sheer Mag are the only band of recent times that manages to sound like a mix of a classic Seventies rock record, power pop and an obscure English DIY 7″ from the late 70’s. Everything sounds scrappy, fuzzy and scuzzy and it’s all the better for it. The riff packed guitar work and fuzzed female vocals sit perfectly together whilst the crude rhythms just adds bounce and basic beats. The compilation was mastered by Josh Bonati and all three EPs were mixed by Hunter Davidson. The LP is packaged inside an embossed Gatefold sleeve with a heavyweight printed innersleeve.

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Reissue of 2013 album. Stories Don’t End the third outing from breezy Los Angeles-based retro-rockers Dawes, takes its name from a line in author Joan Didion’s 1984 wartime novel Democracy. It’s an enigmatic phrase to be sure, but it certainly applies to the group’s penchant for crafting highly literate slabs of smooth, West Coast Americana out of the highway wreckage left behind by artists like the Eagles, the Little River Band, Poco, Jackson Browne, and Gram Parsons. Less overtly Laurel Canyon-centric than 2011’s Nothing Is Wrong, due in some part to the East Coast Blue Ridge Mountain locale in which it was birthed, the album keeps the band’s classic rock underpinnings intact, yielding a fresh catch of smooth and soulful, largely midtempo offerings that focus on substance over style, relying primarily on the strength of the tasteful, measured arrangements and bandleader Taylor Goldsmith’s easy voice and crafty wordplay. Stories Don’t End barely registers upon the first spin (it’s easy pop for the millennial generation), but if given the time to percolate, it produces a damn fine cup of coffee. This adherence to familiar singer / songwriter tropes is best exemplified on tracks like the rolling From a Window Seat (Rivers and Freeways), which echoes Midlake’s Roscoe, the Ben Folds-esque Just My Luck, and the lovely, mid-record ballad Something in Common, the latter of which frames Goldsmith’s tale of hope and heartache in the reassuring glow of vibrato guitar, simple kick and snare,

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Whiteout Conditions, the new full-length record from critically acclaimed supergroup The New Pornographers, is released via Caroline and the band’s own imprint, Collected Works. Of writing the new record, founder and frontman A.C. Newman notes that, “At the beginning of this record, there was some thinking that we wanted it to be like a Krautrock Fifth Dimension. Of course, our mutated idea of what Krautrock is probably doesn’t sound like Krautrock at all. But we were thinking: Let’s try and rock in a different way.” Since their debut in 2000, The New Pornographers have released six studio albums including their most recent, Brill Bruisers.

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Something’s changing in Lucy Rose. After two albums of feeling her way through the densely-populated landscape of contemporary singer-songwriter music she has picked a point in her career when most people are recycling their hits to bin the satnav, head off the map and commit to a graphically authentic version of her musical self. Sometimes you have to lose yourself to re-invent yourself.

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