Archive for the ‘ALBUMS’ Category

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It’s not that Spanish Love Songs are sad,  Sure, the California-based band’s jangling, heartfelt punk rock exudes the feeling of returning home to your shitty town for a family gathering, and guitarist/vocalist Dylan Slocum’s lyrics are full of crushing phrases that sum up the overbearing weight of the world. But neither feel self-indulgent or emotionally manipulative — instead, they just point out the honest-to-God truths of what it is to struggle in the modern day. And maybe that’s overwhelmingly depressing, but maybe that says more about the world than Spanish Love Songs.

Losers 2, the new single from Spanish Love Songs off of their upcoming album “Brave Faces Everyone”, tells it like it is, and rips your heart out accordingly. From the opening vignette of staring at the house you grew up in that you can no longer afford to own post-financial crisis, to the classic Spanish Love Songs bridge in which Dylan solemnly sings, ‘You know, if we weren’t bailed out every time by our parents, we’d be dead,’ the track is a throttling series of truths that cut deep into the millennial psyche.

This is another case of taking what we do well and trying to focus it outwards,” says Dylan. “I’ve had plenty of people ask why the songs continue to get bleaker and bleaker, but I feel like the answer is pretty obvious. This is the world we know. It’s the world I see my friends stuck in, and that I’ve seen my family stuck in. Everyone works themselves to the bones to just survive. Not to say that we’re not incredibly privileged — I’m aware — but I wanted to look outward and just acknowledge that for the roughly 99 per cent of us, life is an endless grind,

Band Members
Dylan Slocum – Guitar and Vocals
Kyle McAulay – Guitar
Trevor Dietrich – Bass
Ruben Duarte – Drums
Meredith Van Woert – Keys
Brave Faces Everyone is out February 7th via Pure Noise Records

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2009 was a really special year for indie rock. It felt like this year where it really felt like indie rock was gonna overtake whatever mainstream rock was in 2009, which was still like Linkin Park and Creed, or whatever. It felt like this brief year where the biggest rock records of the year were by these weird bands from Brooklyn: Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion, Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest, Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix —  this Dirty Projectors record for the 10th anniversary;  actually to be released in 2020.

2009 was this really great Golden Period for indie rock, and there are so many records to celebrate from that year. “Bitte Orca” is sort of the moment where the Dirty Projectors became more than an art rock band. This guy from Yale, Dave Longstreth, had been making pretty weird records leading up to this; this album was the one where this band could suddenly play big theaters, they’re no longer playing lofts in Brooklyn. You actually said you were lookin’ for a song with some bop in it, earlier… “Stillness is the Move” is the boppiest Dirty Projectors record ever.

Longstreth had started gathering ideas for the Dirty Projectors album, Bitte Orca, he took imaginary artists squatting in the sprawl and put them in a song, “Temecula Sunrise.” In the opening movement, he sings over intricate acoustic fingerpicking:

“I live in a new construction home / I live on the strip behind the dealership, yeah / I live in a greenhouse and I am getting wasted”

As the song progresses, it gets louder and more raucous: bright electric guitar; hard-driving drums; tight, jaunty bass; and — perhaps most importantly — near-constant interaction between Longstreth’s singing and backup vocals from Amber Coffman, Angel Deradoorian, and Haley Dekle. It sounds like something that might have been made in the house the lyrics describe, with people dropping in unannounced, layering new ideas into the song on the fly, playing loud in the basement. In part because it appears early in the album, I’ve always experienced it as a conceptual support beam for much of what follows. It has the effect of a question: Do you maybe want to come and join the party? Is it time?

Definitely you can come and live with us / I know there’s a space for you in the basement, yeah / All you gotta do is help out with the chores and dishes / And I know you will”

Bitte Orca, 10 years after its original release, still retains its awe-inspiring power; its knotty, complex, stunning compositions have not been dulled by the passing of time, and in context, seem even more radical. The two albums leading up to Bitte Orca were a from-memory recreation of a Black Flag album (2007’s Rise Above) and a “glitch opera” about Eagles frontman Don Henley (2005’s The Getty Address). So when Bitte Orca came out, with its complex choral arrangements, and its deconstructed avant-pop and R&B, it felt like a shock to the system, a left-field masterpiece from out of nowhere. Bitte Orca would start a fertile creative period for the band, and cement frontman David Longstreth as one of the most adventurous indie rock auteurs.

In addition to the sheer infectiousness of the music itself, which cannot be overlooked — the album has endured so successfully: measure by measure, line by line, song by song, it reminds us of everything we wanted, all the ways those wants were and weren’t realized, and, most of all, the joyful news that the journey isn’t yet over.

Bitte Orca has always been one of those albums that sends critics scrambling for elaborate strings of influences and reference points: rock meets R&B with a helping of African guitar, plus lyrics referencing Nietzsche, the Biblical Song of Solomon, and X and Y and Z.

Nap Eyes will release their new album, “Snapshot of a Beginner”, their most concentrated and hi-fi effort to date, on March 27th via Jagjaguwar / Royal Mountain, in partnership with Paradise of Bachelors. Throughout the album, there’s an immediately noticeable leap in arrangement and muscle, one that still holds the raw, nervous energy and the earnest, self-deprecating poetry that make Nap Eyes an enduring cult favorite. The music still brings to mind the bucolic ennui of the Silver Jews and Daniel Johnston’s jittery naïveté, but the new sheen and maturity also now brings to mind the wide-angle appeal of The Jayhawks and the addictive brightness of Green Day’s Kerplunk!.

Lead single “Mark Zuckerberg” is a hi-fi jangle-pop earworm that, at its outset, sounds like it could be the theme song from Party of Five. Less a takedown of any one specific, capitalist tech fascist than it is a poem about the confounding and beautiful swirl of modern life, it is their thoughtful, incisive Hit for The People. “Transcendence is all around us,” Chapman repeats, a freeing incantation and a gift to us all as the coda slows and expands.

On the video, the band notes: “People are scared of Mark Zuckerberg. You look at him before Congress and think, ‘Is this the bogeyman? Is he a CIA plant? Can he read my mind with some sort of God-mode search feature in all my chat transcripts?’ This video leads us to believe that Mark wants to enjoy and surveil whatever world he inhabits, whether it’s starting a band with ghastly apparitions in the spirit realm or changing size according to his whim while observing natural and urban landscapes with equal awe. He wants you to accept his friend request and let him watch over you. ‘When there was only one set of footprints in the sand…’”

Almost all the songs of Nap Eyes are whittled into their final form from frontman Nigel Chapman’s unspooling, 20-minute voice-and-guitar free-writing sessions. Each member — drummer Seamus Dalton, bassist Josh Salter and guitarist Brad Loughead — then plays a crucial role in song development, composing around the idiosyncratic structures and directing the overall sound and feel of the songs.

‘Mark Zuckerberg’ from ’Snapshot of a Beginner’ by Nap Eyes, available March 27th, 2020 on Jagjaguwar

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The Districts have announced their new album, “You Know I’m Not Going Anywhere”, will be released on March 13th, 2020 via Fat Possum. The Philadelphia band has also shared the evocative, slow burn anthem “Hey Jo” as a first single.

“This song is about relationships unfurling amidst the dysphoria of the modern world,” says The Districts bandleader Rob Grote. “We are all imperfect products of the natural world, and more specifically products of our own minds. This song was inspired by navigating how to be your best self and detach from what is destructive in you, to be something more perfect, gentle, and beautiful.”

You Know I’m Not Going Anywhere—produced by The Districts and frequent collaborator Keith Abrams, and mixed by Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, Spoon, MGMT, Tame Impala) The Districts will embark on a North American headline tour in support of the album early next year.

Written after playing nearly 200 shows over two years in support of their 2017 album, Popular Manipulations, The Districts’ fourth full-length You Know I’m Not Going Anywhere almost never arrived. As they began to contemplate a new album, Grote and his longtime bandmates Pat Cassidy (guitar), Connor Jacobus (bass), and Braden Lawrence (drums) faced a transitional period that was painful for both personal and professional reasons, and found themselves fatigued and disoriented as a group. The Districts were forced to rethink everything. “This album was written as an escape and as reassurance. I was falling in love with someone new and trying to juggle this desperate desire to escape with the need to show up in my life. It’s pretty damn hard to be present and completely checked out all at once,” Grote explains. “It felt like much of my world had reached such a pitch that all I could do was try to tune it out. I felt really uncertain about the future of the band and super detached from much of what I used to identify with, on a personal level and with our music. I was thinking, ‘Do I want to keep doing music?’ ‘Do I want to keep doing it in this context?’”

Grote retreated to his bedroom and started writing with no objective other than to create. Free from expectations, and with an acoustic guitar, synthesizer, and drum machine at hand, he discovered a newfound creative freedom. “Originally, I had no intention of them even being a record. It was strictly a process of trying to connect to something outside of and larger than myself—kind of this rocky imbalance of isolating myself while trying to maintain connections as time rushed on. There was a lot of back and forth between working as a group and not feeling capable of doing that,” reflects Grote. “I ended up taking these recordings super far along, whereas normally I would almost compulsively share them with my bandmates as soon as I had an idea. This time I was sitting on them and putting work into them in a way that I hadn’t known I enjoyed doing.” He ended up with a batch of 32 songs; but, these songs didn’t sound like ‘The Districts.’ Yet to his surprise, when Grote later played early demos for his bandmates, they loved them. Turns out these were Districts songs.

While You Know I’m Not Going Anywhere builds on preceding albums, it takes an ambitious leap to a new level, exhibiting a widened sense of experimentation and expansiveness at its heart. There’s Rhodes, Mellotron, strings, samples, drum machines, tape loops, Wurlitzer, “ambient swells,” piano, synthesizers; Grote lists 12 instruments next to his name alone. Pulling from the propulsive Popular Manipulations, the jagged indie rock of 2015’s A Flourish and a Spoil, and the rootsy vibe of their 2012 debut, Telephone, the band here followed their creative instincts every step of the way, resulting in their most sophisticated and adventurous record to date.

You Know I’m Now Going Anywhere 

Bon Iver’s “Blood Bank” is “arguably the most consequential EP of the 2000s” and now, the group announces its 10th Anniversary  reissue. Released 11 years ago yesterday (we know), and coming March 27th on Jagjaguwar, the package pairs each of the original four songs with brand new live renditions recorded during shows in Stockholm, Dallas, London, and Paris.

Similar to how the first Blood Bank followed For Emma, Forever Ago, the reissue forecasts the evolution of Bon Iver as the project expands to new breadths of sound and community. In its new liner notes, Wisconsinite Ryan Matteson reflects on the mantras of Blood Bank and the growth of Bon Iver, writing how songs like “Woods” heralded “not just a new direction but a new beginning entirely. A place where boundaries don’t exist. It was a signal change of things to come, laying the groundwork for new collaborations.”

Bon Iver performed music from Blood Bank throughout their 2019 arena tour supporting new album i,i. That tour will extend through November 2020 with a series of just-added European dates

The reissue will feature new artwork by Eric Timothy Carlson, both original and brand new live renditions of each track, and an in-depth essay written by longtime Bon Iver friend Ryan Matteson.

Side A:
01 – Blood Bank
02 – Beach Baby
03 – Babys
04 – Woods

Side B:
05 – Blood Bank (Live from Ericsson Globe, Stockholm SE, Oct 31 2018)
06 – Beach Baby (Live from The Bomb Factory, Dallas TX, Jan 23 2018)
07 – Babys (Live from Eventim Apollo Hammersmith, London UK, Mar 4 2018)
08 – Woods (Live from Pitchfork Paris Presented by La Blogothèque, Nov 3 2018)

Blood Bank (10th Anniversary Edition) – out March 27, 2020 via Jagjaguwar Recordings.

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A faint voice and a fervent guitar make their match in a cluttered bedroom, each song finding itself in a growing folder of recordings stamped by initials “L.S”. Ellis is the music project of Linnea Siggelkow.

Linnea Siggelkow named her debut EP “The Fuzz” after the static on a TV screen between channels, and that hazy liminal space is exactly where her music resides. She makes dream-pop songs born of sadness and ambivalence that envelop you like a cool gray fog, unfolding patiently but with all the force of a gathering squall. And now that she’s signed to Fat Possum Records and reissued her EP on her new label, all we have to wait for is more lightning on the horizon.

Having already made her mark as a solo performer in the Toronto DIY scene, the project has evolved into a 4-piece band, inspiring a grittier take on the same solemn refrain.

She released her anticipated debut EP, The Fuzz.  The EP arrived following several months of excitement building behind Ellis, who, after generating buzz in her local scene

Judee Sill performing on a British TV show in April 1972 while on tour to promote her first album.

Intervention Records have announced that Judee Sill’s classic 1971 debut, Judee Sill (Cat# IR-016), and her stellar followup Heart Food (Cat# IR-017) have both been re-issued. Each album is cut as a double-45RPM LP set and pressed on dead-quiet 180-gram vinyl. Both LPs are anticipated to street in June 2017 and are available for pre-order now. Sill’s rising stardom was one of misfortune and adversity that culminated in her death at the age of 35.

Judee Sill’s career had all the makings of a great singer-songwriter story. She was at the center of the 1970s folk-rock scene in California, alongside contemporaries like Jackson Browne and J.D. Souther. she toured with major musicians like Graham Nash and David Crosby, who both contributed to her debut album.

In a sea of male singers and songwriters, Sill emerged, along with Joni Mitchell and a handful of others, as one of the few women who wrote and sang their own songs.

The astonishing Judee Sill was the first artist signed to David Geffen’s Asylum Records, and Judee Sill the first album released on the label. Sill’s music is intensely spiritual, redolent of mystical and divine imagery, yet grounded by great songwriting and a pure but powerful singing talent. Her songs impart incredible intimacy that is enhanced by her sometimes complex string arrangements (remarkably Sill arranged and conducted the strings/orchestra on these albums!).  

Sill’s life was tragic personally and professionally. Her father and brother were killed when Sill was young, and her tempestuous relationship with her alcoholic (and remarried) mother resulted in her leaving home at 15. She committed robberies and began a battle she was destined to lose against drug addiction. When stardom didn’t follow the critical acclaim of these two albums her career never recovered. Sill was dead from a drug overdose in 1979 at just 35. Judee Sill was working on songs for her third album when she died.

To escape her fractured family, Sill made decisions that would land her in reform school and later, in jail.

After her first marriage, right out of high school, was quickly annulled, Sill sought a way to deflect from her unhappiness. An acquaintance introduced her to a man who was experienced in armed robbery, who brought her along on his excursions to liquor stores and gas stations. By the time she was 20, she had been caught and sent to reform school. Her second marriage, in her early 20s, was to a man she met while attending Los Angeles Valley Junior College. He introduced her to heroin. “I knew I was gonna become a junkie, and I did,” Sill told Rolling Stone. At one point she turned to prostitution to fund their habit.

Through it all, she dabbled in music. In each of the chapters that form her life — from spending time in her father’s bar, where, as a young girl, she “started playin’ piano and found out I could harmonize with myself,” to reform school, where she worked as the church organist, finding early inspiration from gospel music

It was during a stint in jail, having been caught for forgery and narcotics possession, that she started fantasizing about writing her own songs. After she was released, she immersed herself in the practice. Music became the central force in her life, and she found inspiration for her songs in books about religion and the occult. “I could see that I was gonna have to write songs that were about those things,” she told Rolling Stone. “I came to some important inner realizations, tryin’ to make the laws of nature work for me instead of against me. I felt instinctively that it was my duty to throw myself into it all the way, so I did.”

She sold one of her songs, “Lady-O,” to the rock band the Turtles, which released it as a single that made it onto the Billboard pop chart in 1969. She would record the song for her first album, two years later. Her debut album, called simply “Judee Sill.” From the first song, “Crayon Angels,” to the last, “Abracadabra,” her lyrics addressed the metaphysical.

“Jesus Was a Cross Maker,” the only song on the album produced by Graham Nash, was released as a single. (The rest of the album was produced by Henry Lewy.) After a devastating breakup with a fellow songwriter, Sill read Nikos Kazantzakis’s 1952 novel, “The Last Temptation of Christ,” as a salve, which led her to the seeds of the song.

“I was so excited when I was writing’ that song because it was not only the best thing I’d ever written, and I knew it, but it took the weight off my heart and turned it into somethin’ else, and I was able to forgive the guy for the horrible romantic bummer he’d put me on,” she said. “And I gained a new kind of strength from it, from that combination of forgiveness and creation.”

The brevity of Judee’s musical legacy is outweighed by the emotional power and weight of these two extraordinary albums. “Judee Sill” and “Heart Food” were AAA mastered directly from the original analog master tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio. The master tapes are in beautiful shape, and listeners will be blown away by the revelatory inner detail and three-dimensionality retrieved from these achingly gorgeous recordings. These new Intervention reissues represent THE definitive listening experience for these classic LPs! The original LP art has been beautifully restored by IR’s Tom Vadakan and the old-style, “tip-on, brown-in” gatefold jackets are printed by Stoughton.

Warren Zevon, Shawn Colvin and others have covered her songs; the multi-hyphenate Greta Gerwig sang one, “Rugged Road,” in a scene in the 2010 film “Greenberg.” Every decade or so her music is reissued. Intervention Records obtained the rights to her albums in 2017.

In 1974 Judee Sill recorded material for a third album at the studio of Michael Nesmith, best known as a member of the Monkees. Those songs were released in 2005 as “Dreams Come True,” a double CD, by Water Records.

Ask Jack Tatum what ‘Wild Nothing’ means and he’ll answer: ‘a contradiction’. In 2010, 21 year old Tatum released one of the finest cult pop records of the summer whilst ensconced in his senior year of college in Blacksburg, VA, a small mid-atlantic town better known for producing football fans and engineers than musicians. Tatum lives in contradictions.

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On Laughing Gas, the third EP from Wild Nothing, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jack Tatum delves deeper into the territory where he thrives: namely, the synth and sophisti-pop of the 1980s. Working within a more mechanical and synthetic framework than his previous releases, Wild Nothing continues to delicately toe the line between the organic and the unnatural. These are still pop songs, but there’s an underlying sense of uneasiness that threads the music together.

Recorded in Los Angeles, CA and Richmond, VA with the help of Jorge Elbrecht, these five songs were originally imagined alongside last year’s Indigo and were written and tracked simultaneously with the album. When work on the full-length was nearing completion, Tatum set these ideas aside; they seemed to fit better on their own. In spare moments between tours, Tatum began to look back and piece the songs together at his home studio in Richmond, reconnecting with Elbrecht to mix the EP. With Elbrecht in Denver and Tatum in Richmond, the two went back and forth on the final touches, molding a common thread from the Lô Borges inspired new wave of “Sleight Of Hand” to the propulsive, icy synth funk of “Foyer”.

Often considered a secondary or transitional format, Wild Nothing has always used the EP to further explore new ideas and influences. Laughing Gas is no exception.

Releases January 31st, 2020

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Porches–the music-making moniker of Aaron Maine—has announced his next album, “Ricky Music”. The follow-up to 2018’s The House arrives March 13th via Domino Recordings Porches has shared a new song called “Do U Wanna,” along with an accompanying music video directed by frequent collaborator Nick Harwood. Find the visual, along with a statement from Aaron Maine,

In another statement, Maine said, “‘Do U Wanna’ is a song about looking at yourself and realizing the disparity between how you’d like to act and how you actually act.” He added, “The fun you vs. the isolated you. I feel like with the refrain I’m almost taunting myself to get up and do something.”

Porches – “Do U Wanna”, from ‘Ricky Music’, out 13th March 2020 on Domino Record Co.

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Irwin Sparkes (The Hoosiers) has recently emerged as White Tail Falls, using the moniker to create a truly novel and unique ethereal take on folk. They now release their exquisite new single ‘Disintegrate’.

Produced by Erland Cooper, ‘Disintegrate’ joins luscious string work, sparse percussion, gentle guitar and piano layered into an ambient fusion whilst

I was thinking about bloodlines and procreation and how we think we’ve got power over it when the decision is ultimately out of our hands. Over-thinking about the family I’m from and the family I hadn’t started and the implications of having kids or not and remembering the love I do have in my life, to go skipping into the apocalypse with. It became a bit of an existential love song.”

‘Disintegrate’ will appear on their inaugural LP ‘Age Of Entitlement’, which is out March 6th via Physical Education Records.