Archive for the ‘ALBUMS’ Category

Dirty Projectors

“Overlord” is Dirty Projectors’ first new song in two years and it features new-ish member Maia Friedman on lead vocals. The band Dirty Projectors have released their first new song since 2018’s Lamp Lit Prose.

Tongue-in-cheek ode to surveillance capitalism? Critique of our primal confusion of charisma for actual leadership? Cautionary tale about blind faith in technology? Anti-fascist manifesto? Who knows, but “Overlord” feels like a “Both Sides Now” for our brave new Amazon Prime world. The lyrics are belied by a rootsy, organic arrangement — capo’ed acoustics, upright bass, congas, drum kit & three-part harmony  that must be Dirty Projectors’ loosest and warmest production since Swing Lo Magellan.

“Overlord” is the first Dirty Projectors song to feature the new lineup that lead Projector Dave Longstreth put together around the Lamp Lit Prose touring in 2018/19. Guitarist Maia Friedman handles lead vocals and co-wrote the lyrics with Dave, who wrote and produced the music. Felicia Douglass and Kristin Slipp contribute additional vocals. Nat Baldwin plays upright bass; Mike Johnson is behind the kit. Mauro Refosco plays congas.

The video, directed by Dave and starring Maia, features some recent, notable public architecture in New York City, and traces an elliptical story about the stories we tell ourselves about progress.

Dirty Projectors – Overlord (Official Music Video) Out now on Domino Record Co.

There’s more than a little Orange Juice in this jangly song from Brooklyn’s Pale Lights (which features members of Comet Gain, Crystal Stilts, The Ladybug Transistor and others). It’s a new 7″ that’s part of Slumberland Records’ 30th Anniversary singles series. Pale Lights formed 2011, in Brooklyn. Lead singer and songwriter Sutton was a founding member of Comet Gain, and has played with a number of groups over the years, mostly drumming for the likes of Velocette, The Soft City, The Projects, Kicker, and Cinema Red and Blue. Adler played bass for Crystal Stilts, and Cinema Red and Blue, Nienaber has been a member of Great Lakes, and Goldstein drummed for Kevin Alvir’s Knight School. Across two albums and a clutch of in-demand singles the band has established themselves as exemplary exponents of a classic style of pop that aligns with them groups like Felt, The Go-Betweens, Lloyd Cole & The Commotions, and just about all of the best bands from the Flying Nun and Creation catalogs.

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In other words, just the sort of band that we love here at Slumberland. “You And I” is Pale Lights‘ contribution to our SLR30 Singles Series and it’s a lovely way to spend three minutes and twelve seconds. Sporting an indelible melody and some very fine guitar strum ‘n’ jangle, it is the sort of tune that 7″ singles were invented. By the time Gary Olson’s trumpet comes in at the mid-way point you know that you’re in the presence of greatness. On the flip “Say You’ll Be The One” is a winner as well, slowing things down for a stately bit of late-night rumination. One of the finest indie-pop singles this month and a very worthy addition to the SLR catalog.
releases April 24th, 2020

Pale Lights are from New York. They are:

Philip Sutton: rhythm guitar and vocals
Suzanne Nienaber: vocals and keyboards
Andy Adler: lead guitar
Maria Pace: bass
Lisa Goldstein: drums

We’ve already shared the excellent “Mark Zuckerberg” single from Nap Eyes, and now we have the latest track from their upcoming album “Snapshot of a Beginner”, which is out on the 27th March via Jagjaguwar Records.

“So Tired” is a change of pace from the irrepressible catchiness of the last single, a more mournful, resigned slice of slacker rock that just begs for a hot water bottle and a blanket.

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Nap Eyes are releasing a new album, Snapshot of a Beginner, on Jagjaguwar/Royal Mountain in partnership with Paradise of Bachelors. On Tuesday they shared another song from the album, “So Tired,” via a lyric video. It features a sublime guitar solo towards the end.

In a press release frontman Nigel Chapman had this to say about “So Tired”: “The ‘So Tired’ refrain marks a slight shift in perspective and its meaning is twofold. For one, I get frustrated sometimes by what the world seems to require for success at a given task (for example, polished songwriting, coherent and understandable communication), so part of this is just me venting on this subject. Sometimes I would rather flow with free writing than try to box songs into rehearsed, many-times-repeated containers.

“Second, at times I find myself wishing people would not hold so many preconceptions about the things in this world a given person might try to communicate. Most of us, myself included, usually assume we already know a lot – even about things we’ve spent very little time thinking about – and because of this attitude, people are often predisposed to misunderstand new ideas, even when they’re communicated in straightforward and coherent ways. But there’s no doubt, an idea won’t ever get through until there’s someone around to listen to it.”

Previously Nap Eyes shared Snapshot of a Beginner’s first single, “Mark Zuckerberg,” via a video for the song (which of course tackles the founder of Facebook).

Nap Eyes features frontman Nigel Chapman, drummer Seamus Dalton, bassist Josh Salter, and guitarist Brad Loughead. Jonathan Low (Big Red Machine, The National) and James Elkington (Steve Gunn, Joan Shelley) produced Snapshot of a Beginner, which was recorded at The National’s Upstate New York Long Pond Studio.

Releases March 27th, 2020

Melina Duterte aka Jay Som, photo by <a href="http://www.lissyelle.com/">Lissy Laricchia</a> for <a href="https://www.interviewmagazine.com/music/jay-som-joy-ride-anak-ko-music">INTERVIEW MAGAZINE</a>

Jay Som has announced the new 7″ single, “A Thousand Words” b/w “Can’t Sleep.” Both songs are from the sessions for her 2019 LP “Anak Ko”. The physical 7″ is out May 1st via Polyvinyl Records.

(aka Melina Duterte) released a new album, Anak Ko, last year via Polyvinyl Records. On Thursday she shared two new songs, “A Thousand Words” and “Can’t Sleep,” that were recorded during the sessions for Anak Ko but didn’t make the final tracklist. They will be released as two sides of a 7-inch single on May 1st via Polyvinyl. the quirky “Can’t Sleep” is definite B-side.

Duterte had this to say about “A Thousand Words” in a press release: “This song was made after a year of extensive touring plus a cancelled tour. I forced myself to make a sort of big and jovial song to bring me out of the funk I was in. I also wanted to remind myself that music can be fun! It was heavily inspired by Bruce Springsteen, Elliott Smith, Pavement and that song ‘Alright’ by Supergrass.”

Of “Can’t Sleep” she had this to say: “‘Can’t Sleep’ was made in August or September 2017 while I was living with my parents in between U.S. tours, before I moved to LA. I think I had all my gear packed away somewhere that I couldn’t access, so I used instruments left over in my childhood room: a broken acoustic guitar, chopsticks on a snare drum, a bad hi hat, and my trumpet. Everything was recorded through the laptop mic. I was pretty frustrated with the California heat and the fact that I couldn’t record properly, so this sort of fever dream song was born.”

Anak Ko will be Jay Som’s second full-length; she released her debut Everybody Works in 2017. In October 2019, she postponed her European Anak Ko tour, citing mental health concerns. Those dates have since been rescheduled for Spring 2020.

On their debut album “Close Encounters”, Pocari Sweater pays homage to slacker rock giants such as The Replacements or Pavement through hook-heavy, jangly rock with more than a hint of Gram Parsons-esque Americana. The four piece band uses big, strutting riffs that shuffle and swirl, with lyrics that often reflect the halcyon days of the late-‘90s. But, singer Jake Tapley smartly subverts that wistfulness on the song “DeLorean,” on which he laments and ultimately lets go of the trappings of the past, crooning “Why would I want to go back in time?” On the title track, Tapley sings, “In the morning you can erase my mind,” another reminder to live in the now.

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released January 1st, 2020

Pocari Sweater is Jake Tapley (guitar/vocals), Nigel Meyer (bass), Matt Filip (drums), and Jake Philley (lead guitar). Additional percussion by Matt Filip. Mellotron on “Adjacent” by Jake Philley. All songs written and performed by Pocari Sweater. Recorded and mixed by Jim Marlowe at End of an Ear. Mastered by Andy Myers.

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Melbourne’s RVG return with their highly anticipated second album, “Feral”.

Following their beloved 2017 debut ‘A Quality of Mercy’RVG perform the tricky alchemy of combining rock’s urgency, punk’s anarchy, and pop’s empathy to create a record that feels vital: Feral is a catharsis, a call to arms, and a forthright indictment of contemporary complacency. ‘Feral’ was recorded at Head Gap studios with producer Victor Van Vugt (PJ Harvey, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Beth Orton).

Internationally renowned, Van Vugt currently resides in Berlin, Germany and travelled to Melbourne to work with RVG. One of the producer’s key tenets is a sense of spontaneity, of capturing the essence of a song’s live performance, a concern that RVG prize above all else when recording, RVG return with new single “I Used To Love You” from their highly anticipated second album. RVG perform the tricky alchemy of combining rock’s urgency, punk’s anarchy, and pop’s empathy. A goodbye that’s devasting in its simplicity, ‘I Used to Love You’ is shattering, potent and powerful. Simple and sincere, the track breathes through the pain. “There’s a lot of power in reclaiming yourself but also a lot of sadness. I adore Tom’s video and feel like it captures the energy of the song perfectly.” Romy explains.

The band recorded the album’s instrumentals live to track, allowing their playing to be infused with the kind of electricity that has seen the band’s live show lauded across Australia and internationally.

‘Feral’ is RVG’s first full-length release in three years and marks the beginning of an exhilarating new era for the band. Both a cry for help and a call to action, this is an album that demands your attention.

RVG is Romy Vager, Reuben Bloxham and Marc Nolte.

From RVG’s new album ‘Feral’ (out 24 April 2020),

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Brooke Bentham’s “Everyday Nothing” chronicles the inertia of life as an artist post-graduation. Guitars veer from spectral one minute to menacing the next. Her lyrics are both personal and elliptical, flashing relatable truths. Confronted with the mundanities of life and caught between two jobs in London, Brooke finds intense lyricism in the struggle for purpose and direction.

“There is so much frustration in being young and unsure of what you want, especially when your path is creative,” says Brooke. “You can only hope that it leads you to something fulfilling, so you cling on to the everyday details – burning candles in your bedroom at three AM aged sixteen, or having a bath in the evening at twenty three, or watching your breath when you step outside in winter. I was reflecting a lot when I wrote these songs, romanticising those moments.”

Written entirely by Brooke, with a few contributions from producer Bill Ryder-Jones (who’s own album Yawny Yawn was showered with 4 and 5 star reviews last year), “Everyday Nothing” documents a fast-rising 23-year-old looking to make sense of her existence.

Widely acclaimed for a debut single released during her first year at Goldsmiths University and signed (to AllPoints) in her second, Brooke began Everyday Nothing as soon as her studies were over.

“I was supposed to start, but mostly I lay in bed,” she says of those first few months after graduation. “I read a lot of books and I wrote a lot of notes, but I didn’t come up with a single song. I didn’t have a job. Nothing was going on. I had fuck all to write about.”

In need of more income, she hauled herself out into the world of work and started again. With routine re-established by getting a job in a shoe shop, her notebooks were soon filled with everyday images: dead flowers on a window sill, the feel of keys in her hand as she approached home, snippets of conversations, scenes from the rom-coms, novels and poetry she’d been reading. These shards captured the essence of her internal life at the time.

“Sometimes I wish I could keep music as a hobby,” she says and refuses to give up either of her two jobs despite all the time she has to take off to tour. “If I didn’t have a real job I wouldn’t write,” says Brooke. “I need structure and deadlines or I get nothing done.”

Everyday Nothing soundtracks the reality for many young people today. One in which hopes and dreams play out in a haze of confusion and frustration. Brooke captures this existential vulnerability, the baffling day to day-ness of a young life in the most relatable, poetic and compelling of works.

“A lot of life is boring and predictable, but I hope this album is a way of saying that with some charm.”

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I’m a big fan of the TV show Sex Education for a lot of reasons. Otis is a great character with lots of interesting but relatable issues. His high school seems completely insane, his friends, enemies, acquaintances are all good characters. But the first thing that got me hooked on the show was the fact that it featured so much music from singer songwriter Ezra Furman.

Ezra Furman has long been one of my favorites his live shows are a great experience. Who better to set the musical tone than someone who writes so eloquently about the obstacles facing down those in the LGBTQI community. So much of the conversation around sex has changed in the last couple of decades, and it’s nice to see a show that covers all of it with respect and reverence.

In the last couple of weeks an album of music from the show was released by Ezra Furman, featuring some older songs and some written specifically for the show. The single, “Every Feeling,” got a new video released .

The song is a great introduction to his work. If you’re not a fan already, check this one out and then move on to his other amazing albums that have come out over the last six or seven years. The Sex Education soundtrack gathers the original songs that Furman composed for the first series and the brand new second series, whilst adding tracks featured on the show that can be found on prior Furman albums such as Perpetual Motion People and Transangelic Exodus. Lining up alongside older cover versions of LCD Soundsystem’s I Can Change and Melanie’s The Good Book is a new rendition of Devil Or Angel, The Clovers’ doo-wop jewel from 1956. It all adds up to a bumper 19-track set of Furman’s trademark enthusiastic emotional catharsis.

Ezra Furman returns with the soundtrack of special songs written from season 1 and 2 of the hit Netflix TV show. The 19-track LP is released via Bella Union Records. When the makers of the hit Netflix series Sex Education told Ezra Furman, “We want you to be the Simon & Garfunkel to our The Graduate”, they clearly recognised a kindred spirit. Who better to articulate all that awkwardness and alienation than Furman? 

Thanks to Music Defined

What happens when an abrasive rock trio trades guitars for synths, cranks up the beats and leans into the everyday anxieties of simply being a functioning human in the 21st century? The answer is Uneasy Laughter, the sensational second Sub Pop Records release from Los Angeles-based Moaning.

Vocalist/guitarist Sean Solomon, bassist/keyboardist Pascal Stevenson and drummer Andrew MacKelvie have been friends and co-conspirators amid the fertile L.A. DIY scene for more than a decade. They are also immersed in other creative pursuits — Solomon is a noted illustrator, art director and animator, while Stevenson and MacKelvie have played or worked behind the boards with acts such as Cherry Glazerr, Sasami and Surf Curse. On Uneasy Laughter, they’ve tackled challenges both personal and universal the only way they know how: by talking about how they’re feeling and channeling those emotions directly into their music.

Release Date March 20th, 2020

TWIN PEAKS band photo

Twin Peaks has one defining ethos and it’s to keep pushing. They’ve embraced change ever since their 2010 formation as high school friends making scrappy basement rock ‘n’ roll to now cementing their status as one of Chicago’s most essential bands.

Where their last LP, 2016’s Down In Heaven, and 2017’s Sweet ‘17 Singles compilation were adventurous and compelling updates on their youthfully raucous formula, their fourth album “Lookout Low” feels like a total revolution.

Already a well-oiled live unit, the band set on capturing the thrilling vibe of their shows. The five of them, guitarists Cadien Lake James and Clay Frankel, bassist Jack Dolan, multi-instrumentalist Colin Croom, and drummer Connor Brodner committed to work countless hours in their studio and practice space. The band had never attempted anything that daunting before, demoing 27 songs and relentlessly rehearsing them until they were satisfied. “We wanted to hold ourselves to practice almost every day and be tight to hone in on these songs,” says Dolan. Having the entire band in the same room so frequently allowed for new experiments. “This was the most collaborative it’s ever been for us. We wanted to try all the weird ideas and be as open as possible,” says Brodner.

Take lead single “Dance Through It.” What originally started as a demo the band jokingly claims evoked Sheryl Crow, it revealed itself when Croom suggested a drastic change in the rhythm section, infusing the arrangement with a gospel and soul-inflected swing. Because the band was willing to re-imagine the song from its original vision, the result is one of the most obvious highlights on Lookout Low. When James sings the track’s chorus, backed by gang vocal harmonies, it might be the catchiest hook Twin Peaks have ever written. “There’s no ringleader in how we write songs. Things would be a lot easier if there was one guy calling the shots but we really put an effort to make it work and make everyone happy,” says Frankel.

After whittling 27 songs down to just a handful, the band knew that the tracks deserved a more ambitious strategy that called for outside help. When legendary producer Ethan Johns showed interest, they took a leap and decamped to Monnow Valley Studio in Wales for three weeks.

Twin Peaks are the best Rock and Roll band I’ve heard for a very long time,” said Johns. “Not only do they have something to say, they do it honestly, and with dedication and passion.”

The feeling was mutual. Twin Peaks knew and admired him for his work with Paul McCartney, Kings of Leon, and U2, “When we knew he cut everything live, it was intimidating but so exciting. We needed a challenge,” says James. At Monnow Valley, they thrived on the thrill of live recording, often just going with the magic of the original first take like on “Oh Mama” and the title track.

The life-affirming burst of adrenaline that Twin Peaks give their live show is their strongest asset, one that seeps into every facet of the LP. The songs are bursting with energy, like the spidery jam-minded opener “Casey’s Groove,” a mind-melder that is reassuring thanks to James’ inviting croon. Following the tracking, Twin Peaks recruited their Chicago comrades OHMME to sing backup vocals on seven of the 10 tracks. Cuts like “Under A Smile” transform with Macie Stewart and Sima Cunningham’s spectral harmonies.

Throughout the LP, Croom wrote horn arrangements that at times evokes the soulfulness of Allen Toussaint and the burly Americana of the E Street Band. The auxiliary percussion from drummer Kyle Davis expands the already breezy and spread out compositions. Though it’s obvious how locked in they were from just a casual listen, the band was so focused during the entire process that they rarely left the property’s countryside grounds.

What makes Lookout Low a triumph is how each individual member of the band upped their songwriting for the LP. The James-led opener stands as his most impressive offering yet in sheer confidence and experimentation while Dolan’s plaintive “Unfamiliar Sun” is possibly the album’s most affecting track, burrowing into self-reflection and hard truths. But for Croom, who joined the band following their 2014 sophomore LP Wild Onion, his contributions in “Laid In Gold” and “Ferry Song” showcase perhaps the biggest leap forward. For the latter, Croom left Chicago in Spring 2018 to spend a week writing in New Orleans. He stayed at Algiers Point, taking the ferry to the city each day. As the track hits its boiling point, Croom accesses a part of his vocal range he’s only hinted at in previous record. The LP closes with “Sunken II” a song Dolan had written for the band years ago. It’s a moment of resonance capping Lookout Low, a document of how much they’ve grown as friends and artists from their teenage beginnings. No band could come up with a full length so deliberate and seamless if not for having that singular bond that’s only grown tighter as their lives have changed. It’s a brotherhood, one that’s endured for almost a decade.

“Everyone’s having so much fun playing together as we’ve all grown and gotten better,” says James. Adds Dolan, “There’s something intangible about how our chemistry and friendship has evolved. We rely on each other so much.”