THIS WEEKS ESSENTIAL NEW RELEASES Friday 8th September 2017

Posted: September 8, 2017 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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The National return with their much anticipated seventh album, produced by Aaron Dessner, with additional production by Matt Berninger and Bryce Dessner. The album was mixed by Peter Katis and recorded at Aaron’s Long Pond studio in Hudson Valley, NY.

While in some ways it’s typically National-sounding, they’ve definitely added some new elements to their sound. Opening track “Nobody Else Will Be There” is a stripped back ballad with melancholic piano, and Matt’s distinct vocals, but the electronics pulsing away in the background are a sign of what’s to come with the album.

All the usual elements are there, intricate guitars, delicate piano keys, scatter-shot drums and of course Matt’s mumbling/crooning baritone, but a new layer of electronics bubbling away in the mix adds a new dimension to their sound. As with the last couple of albums, it features mostly fairly downtempo ballads but they do ramp things up from time to time: “Day I Die”, “They System Only Dreams In Total” and the big rock-out track of the album, “Turtleneck”. It’s taken a few listens to get into it, but it’s definately their best album yet.

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Although L.A. Witch hail from Los Angeles, they do not partake in any sort of witchcraft. Yet their ability to conjure a specific time and place through their sound does suggest a kind of magic. On their eponymous debut album, L.A. Witch’s reverb-drenched guitar jangle and sultry vocals conjure the analogue sound of a collector’s prized 45 from some short-lived footnote cult band. The melodies forgo the bubblegum pop for a druggy haze that straddles the line between seedy glory and ominous balladry; the production can’t afford Phil Spector’s wall of sound but the instruments’ simple beauty provides an economic grace that renders studio trickery unnecessary; the lyrics seem more descendent of Johnny Cash’s first person morality tales than the vacuous empty gestures of pre-fab pop bands. This isn’t music for the masses; it’s music for miscreants, burnouts, down-and-out dreamers and obsessive historians.

Album opener ‘Kill My Baby Tonight’ is the perfect introduction to the band’s marriage of 60s girls-in-the-garage charm and David Lynch’s surreal exposés of Southern California’s underbelly. Sade Sanchez’s black velvet vocals disguise the malicious intent of this murder ballad, with the thumping pulse of bassist Irita Pai, the slow burn build of drummer Ellie English and Sanchez’s desert guitar twang helping beguile the listener into becoming a willing accomplice to the narrator’s crimes.

‘Brian’ follows the opening track with a similarly graceful, if not somewhat ominous, slow-mo take on a well-worn jukebox 7”. It’s a vibe that permeates the entire album, from the early psychedelic hue of 13th Floor Elevators on tracks like ‘You Love Nothing’, through the motorik beat and fuzzed-out licks of ‘Drive Your Car’, to the grittier permutation of Mazzy Star’s sleepy beauty on ‘Baby In Blue Jeans’.

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The Waterboys release their brand-new studio double album Out Of All This Blue; their first for BMG Records, with whom they recently signed. Out Of All This Blue is The Waterboys most exploratory recording yet, comprising 23 songs with Mike Scott’s trademark sharp lyrics set to pop music with echoes of classic R&B, country, soul and funk and underpinned by modern hiphop production values and rhythms. String and brass sections were arranged and conducted by Trey Pollard of The Spacebomb Collective. Mike Scott says of the record: “Out Of All This Blue is 2/3 love and romance, 1/3 stories and observations. I knew from the beginning I wanted to make a double album, and lucky for me – and I hope the listener – the songs just kept coming, and in pop colours.”

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Following the release of the critically celebrated Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, Margo Price returns with four fresh, gutsy originals that further explore themes of duality, loss and redemption that expand her musical pallet. The four new tracks are being released as a two-piece 7’’ bundle “EP” – a Third Man Records first.

“Paper Cowboy” (written by Matt Gardner) is a whip-smart anthem tailor-made for the blistering summer festival circuit that touches cosmic country territory with a four minute jam that hits a listener like heaven. Meanwhile, “Good Luck” (For Ben Eyestone) is a bittersweet farewell that stands as a perfect fit for when the credits start to roll, the sun takes seat and the world signs off…

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The song Old Heads is a sci-fi space anthem to technology that constantly replaces itself, proving both necessary and unnecessary at the same time. It’s also a jangly pop gem, a trip through the fantastical that is ultimately warm and relatable. This remarkable coexistence is one of many achievements of Chad VanGaalen’s Light Information, his sixth record on Sub Pop. For an album that’s about “not feeling comfortable with really anything,” as VanGaalen says, Light Information is nonetheless a vivid, welcoming journey through future worlds and relentless memories. The rich soundscapes and sometimes jarring imagery could only come from the mind of a creative polymath – an accomplished visual artist, animator, director, and producer, VanGaalen has scored television shows, designed puppet characters for Adult Swim, directed videos for Shabazz Palaces, Strand of Oaks, METZ, Dan Deacon, and The Head and the Heart, and produced records for Women, Alvvays, and others. While alienation has always been a theme of VanGaalen’s music, Light Information draws on a new kind of wisdom – and anxiety – gained as he watches his kids growing up. “Being a parent has given me a sort of alternate perspective, worrying about exposure to a new type of consciousness that’s happening through the internet,” he says. Throughout the dark-wave reverb of Light Information are stories of paranoia, disembodiment, and isolation – but there’s also playfulness, empathy, and intimacy. The product of six years’ work, going back even before 2014’s Shrink Dust, Light Information emerged from the experimental instruments that fill VanGaalen’s Calgary garage studio. As always, VanGaalen wrote, played, and produced all of the music on Light Information (save Ryan Bourne’s bass part on Mystery Elementals and vocals on Static Shape from his young daughters Ezzy and Pip), and designed the cover art.

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The second album from Alvvays, Antisocialites, is set for release on Transgressive Records. Across ten tracks and thirty-three minutes, the Toronto-based group dive back into the deep end of reckless romance and altered dates. To write Antisocialites, Rankin traveled to Toronto Island, working in an abandoned schoolroom by day and sleeping a few feet from shore at night. “I carried a small PA on the ferry in a wheelbarrow,” she recalls. “Every morning I would listen to my favourite records on the beach, then I’d write melodies and record demos in the classroom.”

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The Dream Syndicate are at the foundation of contemporary alternative music because back in 1981 at a time when most bands were experimenting with new technology, they choose to bring back the guitar. Their seminal album The Days of Wine and Roses (1984) has been cited as influential by artists from Nirvana to The Black Crowes. The Dream Syndicate are at the foundation of contemporary alternative music because back in 1981 at a time when most bands were experimenting with new technology, they choose to bring back the guitar. Their seminal album The Days of Wine and Roses (1984) has been cited as influential by artists from Nirvana to The Black Crowes. Known for their incredible live performances, the band toured with everyone from R.E.M. to U2, before splitting up in 1988. In 2012 after years apart in solo projects, front man Steve Wynn reunited The Dream Syndicate to perform at a charity festival in Spain. The reunited band took everything in baby steps. A few shows here and there—including a still talked-about set at Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival. The shows were exciting—for both the band and the eagerly awaiting fans, many of whom weren’t even alive when the band were around the first time.

The next step was to see if the excitement and newfound chemistry would extend to the studio. From the first day of recording it was apparent that the band was making an album that would live up its history and take their story into the present. Wynn says, “In a way it feels like if The Days of Wine and Roses would have been made in 2017. Which is to say that it’s true to what we did before but it’s also a whole new thing.”

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“Up until 2014 I was an investigator’s assistant in a public law office. I can’t tell you exactly what my job was on account of I signed a shut your mouth agreement around the time I quit for stress related reasons. But what I can say is that I dealt with corruption and badness perpetrated at the highest levels of authority, daily. I clocked all these leads and I made a file. Because these aren’t things you keep in the dark. You shine a light on the badness and you strive to understand it.

“From a dossier on all things delicate and beautiful and sadly human. Crimes of passion and victims of love. All contained in 10 hot songs. Who’s the culprit? I’ve got my inklings and you can get your own. But first you need to listen to the thing, take it all in, stick photos to your walls and connect them with string, measure footprints in the yard, wear a suit made of reeds, track the migration patterns of birds, intercept whispered transmissions, learn to eat spiders with a hunting knife, sleep in air ducts, make the case.

“Here it is, my album: ‘Forced Witness’.” – Alex Cameron

Album features guest appearances by Brandon Flowers (The Killers), Angel Olsen and Weyes Blood.

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Neil Young will open his archive and release Hitchhiker, an unreleased new studio album. The 10-track acoustic solo album was recorded in Malibu, CA at Indigo Studio in 1976. The original session was produced by Young’s long-time studio collaborator David Briggs.

Recorded between Zuma and American Stars and Bars as a solo album in a single session, the resultant performances are truly breathtaking and passionate. The simplicity of a single voice and guitar captured here is as pure and powerful as it gets, with only Young, Briggs and actor Dean Stockwell in the room at the time of recording. A few of the songs would not appear on vinyl until years later. Some have never been heard, included in the original sessions for Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s “Dume” another unreleased record of original sessions that yielded the classic album, Zuma. When the Hitchhiker album was recorded, none of the included songs had ever been released and many of the performances of the songs were the first ever. This is truly an album of original performances

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Experiencing one emotion at a time is a luxury of the past. Think back to that moment at the women’s march or the pro-science rally, when you spied a small child holding a handmade sign that read “I love naps but I stay woke” or “Boys will be boys good humans” or “May the facts be with you.” How adorable! How upsetting! How the hell are they going to make it to adulthood in this toxic environment? Deerhoof is right there with you.

They recognize that we are simultaneously living in two worlds, one a maniacal, mainstream monoculture hell-bent on driving humankind into extinction, the other a churning underground teeming with ideas and dogged optimism and the will to thrive and survive. Mountain Moves refutes the former by ecstatically celebrating the latter. Though Deerhoof have often made albums from start to finish with virtually no input from the outside world, now is not the time for artists to operate in isolation. Mountain Moves throws the doors wide op en. Working quickly, the band invited myriad guests to participate, some of them dear friends, others practically strangers. They are of different ages, different nationalities, different disciplines.

The only common thread was that each and every artist on Mountain Moves doesn’t fit into a single, neatly-defined category – and doesn’t wish to. If Mountain Moves were a movie, it would be a double feature, Journey to the Center of the Deerhoof and Escape from Planet Deerhoof, shown side-by-side simultaneously. The record epitomizes the band at its very best, exploring new realms between the poles of independence and invention. It also serves as a welcoming point of entry for new listeners outside Deerhoof’s traditional orbit, an opportunity to bring even more voices into the communal conversation. We’re all in this together.

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Acclaimed Norwegian singer songwriter and producer Susanne Sundfør releases her highly anticipated new album ‘Music For People In Trouble’ through Bella Union Records.

Sundfør’s most poignant and personal album to date, ‘Music For People In Trouble’ marks her out as one of the most compelling artists in the world.

The album was inspired by a journey Susanne made in a bid to re-connect, travelling across continents to contrary environments and politically contrasting worlds from North Korea to the Amazon jungle.

“We are living in a time of great changes. Everything is moving so rapidly, sometimes violently, sometimes dauntingly. I think a lot of people experience anxiety these days. I wanted to address these emotions on the album.” – Susanne Sundfør

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Third album for all female Melbourne psych-rock icons. Love from Pitchfork, Spin, Stereogum, GvsB. Iconic Australian psych rock quintet Beaches return with epic double LP Second Of Spring – Chapter Music’s first double album by a single artist. Beaches’ much-loved second album She Beats brought the band international acclaim in 2013. Featuring guitar by German motorik hero Michael Rother (Neu, Harmonia), the album earned raves from Pitchfork, Stereogum, Gorilla Vs Bear, Spin and elsewhere.

Second Of Spring takes Beaches even further out, to where the pyramid meets the eye – an enveloping sonic landscape filled with extended instrumentals, overdriven psych-outs and propulsive pop nuggets. The album was recorded in Melbourne with engineer/producer John Lee (Totally Mild, Lost Animal). Artwork is by the band‘s Ali McCann, with design by renowned artist Darren Sylvester. Beaches’ self-titled 2008 debut was shortlisted for the Australian Music Prize, and included in glossy coffee table book 100 Best Australian Albums.

The band released a standalone 12″ on New York lab el Mexican Summer in 2010. They have toured the US twice, playing SXSW and Austin Psych Fest, and shared stages with Roky Erickson, Deerhunter, The Cult, Thee Oh Sees, Lightning Bolt, Mogwai, Best Coast and more. Already revered as sprawling, swirling psych overlords, Second Of Spring is Beaches‘ undeniable magnum opus.

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