Archive for the ‘ALBUMS’ Category

Kills Birds derive their name from the first verse on their album: “This flower / kills birds / When she dies / she rots like flesh.” It’s the whole album in a couplet — beauty, peril, mystery, anxiety — conveyed over throbbing, then exploding, post-punk/noise-rock primitivism.

The narrator is Nina Ljeti, a self-professed outsider, a filmmaker and a Bosnia-born Canadian whose parents fled Sarajevo as the city was on the precipice of war. She eventually matriculated to NYU to study drama and then to L.A. to further her film career. A few years ago, she befriended musician Jacob Loeb (of the band Golden Daze), and they intermittently began collaborating on music, at first with no serious intentions.

When the project did get more serious the band added bassist Fielder Thomas and drummer Bosh Rothman came on board — things did not immediately go smoothly. There was an ill-fated recording session, which fostered doubts. Then producer Justin Raisen, founder of KRO Records found them. “Kills Birds,” which comes out September. 20th, was recorded in virtually one eight-hour session.

The album is 26 minutes of exposed nerves. Ljeti’s speak-singing builds to primal caterwauls, then recedes again. The music’s paroxysms open a vein to her inner frustrations, even if they are only opaquely described in the lyrics. It’s visceral and physical music — as led by somebody who didn’t know punk rock until one fateful night after she watched “American Idol” (stay tuned for that story).

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Charles Rumback and Ryley Walker are both known for their creativity and curious spirits. Rumback is a drummer in high demand in Chicago’s free-jazz circles, and a pillar of the second wave of improvisers in a scene first shaped by the legendary players like Sun Ra and the AACM. Walker draws deeply on other distinctly American styles, bringing a strong sense of folk tradition to his playing that is as arresting as his freewheeling performance style. Walker’s musical explorations are not limited to his own songwriting: the guitarist regularly collaborates in Chicago and now New York with innovators of every genre. Together, Rumback and Walker find common ground in their kinetic, intuitive playing and yearning creative outlook. “Little Common Twist”, their sophomore release as a duo, finds both players at their most adventurous. It compiles instrumental pieces that convey a striking range of emotions, at once introspective and expansive, with a delicate interplay that delights as they move with ease across a spectrum of styles. The recording has a pastoral quality that recalls Van Morrison’s classic album Veedon Fleece, and captures a remarkably dexterous performance by both Charles and Ryley that make this album so expansive and fresh.

Little Common Twist was recorded over several sessions throughout 2017 and 2018 with producer John Hughes, capturing the duo playing in the moment with minimal overdubs. The guitar and drums duo eschewed each instrument’s traditional roles of rhythm and melody, experimenting with texture and rhythm. Rumback and Walker remarkably paint in both broad, gestural strokes and intricate melodic details. “Half Joking” and “Self Blind Sun” are warm, deep songs that draw on structures from the American primitive guitar songbook. “Idiot Parade” leaps into more explorative territory, Rumback setting an urgent, rolling cymbal groove while Walker paints melodic sonic vapor trails across the sky. “Menehbi” experiments further with abstract forms, atomizing guitar and drums into an ambient haze where loose flourishes from Rumback hint at rhythm and structure, while a steady electronic pulse provides an anchor amidst the fog.

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Little Common Twist is the culmination of a creative partnership that has seen Rumback and Walker constantly challenging each other. In stretching the bounds of their interplay even further than before, the duo created their most evocative and expansive work to date, conjuring the afterglow of sun-scorched landscapes and ethereal after-hours ambiance.

Releases November 8th, 2019

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Close It Quietly takes the trademark Frankie Cosmos micro-universe and upends it, spilling outwards into a swirl of referentiality that’s a marked departure from earlier releases, imagining and reimagining motifs and sounds throughout the album. The band’s fourth studio release is a manifestation of their collaborative spirit: Greta Kline and longtime bandmates Lauren Martin (synth), Luke Pyenson (drums), and Alex Bailey (bass) luxuriated in studio time with Gabe Wax, who engineered and co-produced the record with the band. Recording close to home— at Brooklyn’s Figure 8 Studios— grounded the band, and their process was enriched by working closely with Wax, whose intuition and attention to detail made the familiar unfamiliar and allowed the band to reshape their own contexts.

“41st” from Frankie Cosmos’ Close it Quietly (Release day: September 6th, 2019)

On opener Moonsea, an unaccompanied Greta begins, “The world is crumbling and I don’t have much to say.” Take that as a wink and a metonym for the whole album, as her signature vocals are joined by Alex’s ascending bassline and Lauren’s eddying synths, invoking a loungey take on Broadcast or Stereolab’s space-disco experimental pop. There’s much more than “not much” to say here, and it’s augmented and expanded by experimentation with synth patches, textures, and other recording nuances courtesy of Wax. As the lineup has solidified into the most permanent expression of full-band Frankie Cosmos, the bandmates have felt more comfortable deviating from their default instruments and contributing bigger-picture ideas to continue pushing the sound forward.

The band’s closeness and aesthetic consistency freed its members to take more risks, notes Luke: “Everything will sound like Frankie Cosmos because Greta has such a distinct voice (literally and figuratively). We have so much latitude to experiment with the instrumental music, and this time around we really took advantage of that.” Without losing any intimacy of prior albums, Close it Quietly is different, is outer. The album functions as a benign doppelganger, a shadow self of past releases; where other Frankie Cosmos records shine brightest looking inward, Close it Quietly refracts the self into the world, and vice versa, miraculously echoing Thoreau’s assertion that “when I reflect, I find that there is other than me.

Close it Quietly (Release day: September 6th, 2019)

This limited edition and EXCLUSIVE bundle comes with a 14-track cassette featuring highlights from the box along with two additional unreleased tracks: the outtake “Asking Me Lies” and an instrumental of “I Won’t” (Bearsville Version). The cassette also features the original, unused cover art for Don’t Tell A Soul.

Back in 1987, Minneapolis rock and roll renegades The Replacements famously stole their Twin/Tone master tapes and threw them in the Mississippi River. A year later—while wrapping up work on their Warner Bros. album, Don’t Tell A Soul—the group absconded with a collection of their reels from Paisley Park studios. Thankfully, those tapes were spared a watery fate, and instead stashed away for decades by the band. Now they’ve been recovered to form the basis of The Replacements first-ever boxed set, Dead Man’s Pop.

Although Don’t Tell A Soul ultimately became the group’s best-selling effort, The Replacements were unsatisfied with the sound of the record. The band has radically reimagined Don’t Tell A Soul to create a 4CD/1LP set that features the album mixed as it was originally intended (Don’t Tell A Soul Redux), along with a collection of previously unheard tracks (We Know The Night: Rare & Unreleased), and a classic concert from 1989 (The Complete Inconcerated Live).

The box features a newly completed mix of the album by Don’t Tell A Soul producer Matt Wallace (based on his 1988 Paisley Park mix); a disc of unreleased recordings (including a session with Tom Waits); plus the band’s entire June 2nd, 1989 show at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In total, the box includes 60 tracks–58 of which have never been heard before.

Presented in a 12 x 12 hardcover book – loaded with dozens of rarely seen photos – the set features a detailed history of the Don’t Tell A Soul era written by Bob Mehr, who produced the box with Rhino’s Jason Jones, and also authored The New York Times bestseller Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements.

Mehr writes: “While it’s impossible to unhear a record that’s been around for three decades, this version, Don’t Tell A Soul Redux, is the album the band made and intended to release. In addition to Matt Wallace’s mix, Redux also restores several crucial elements from the sessions, including original drums tracks, vocal takes and tempos that were altered in post-production…[and] the band’s original sequence of the album.”

Wallace says: “The true spirit of The Replacements was always there on the recordings we did back in 1988, and now you can hear and feel it clearly…This was the project of a lifetime for me when we recorded it 30-plus years ago, and it’s even truer today as we’ve finally fulfilled our original vision.”

Paul Westerberg, Slim Dunlap, Tommy Stinson and Chris Mars started recording Don’t Tell A Soul in June 1988 with Tony Berg at Bearsville Studios, but the chaotic sessions were cut short and mothballed. Nine unreleased tracks from Bearsville appear on Dead Man’s Pop, including early versions of “I’ll Be You,” “Darlin’ One” and “Achin’ To Be” and the previously unheard “Last Thing in the World.” The collection also features tracks the band recorded with Tom Waits, five of which have never been officially released: among them, “Lowdown Monkey Blues,” “We Know The Night” and a cover of Billy Swan’s “I Can Help.”

The final two CDs of Dead Man’s Pop capture the band performing live in Milwaukee during the “Don’t Tell A Soul Tour.” A few songs from the concert originally appeared on the promo-only EP Inconcerated Live (1989), but the bulk of the 29 tracks included have never been released. The entire show has been newly mixed by Brian Kehew (Ramones, The Faces).

Additionally, Dead Man’s Pop will include Wallace’s Don’t Tell A Soul Redux mix on 180-gram vinyl.

As part of the ongoing celebration of their 50th anniversary, on September. 6th, the Allman Brothers Band Recording Company, caretakers of the original band’s unreleased catalog, in conjunction with distributor The Orchard will release a four-CD set titled Fillmore West ’71, culled from a weekend of live music recorded at the San Francisco venue. The band were the middle act playing between headliners Hot Tuna and the 24-piece opener Trinidad Tripoli Street Band.

This will be the debut release of these recordings. The packaging contains a front cover photo of Duane Allman from Jim Marshall Photography (taken at these shows) that has rarely been seen before.

From the press release announcing the collection: “Compiled from reel-to-reel soundboard masters, the January. 29th show that kicks off this collection reads like an Allman Brothers Band greatest hits, from opener ‘Statesboro Blues’ through the set-wrapping ‘Whipping Post.’ On the next night, the standard sequence of ‘Statesboro Blues,‘Trouble No More,’ ‘Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’’ and ‘Elizabeth Reed’ was typically riveting, and then the blues-soaked ‘Stormy Monday’ was worked in, replacing ‘Midnight Rider.’ Gregg’s vocals were visceral and honest, while Duane and Dickey added down and dirty licks. ‘You Don’t Love Me’ showcased some run-and-gun guitar work, and a frenzied ‘Whipping Post’ closed out another solid night. The band—Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Jaimoe, Berry Oakley and Butch Trucks—were loose and talkative and you can hear them really dialing their sound in at what would be a final tune-up for the seminal At Fillmore East album, recorded less than two months later. At Fillmore East would cement the band’s place in rock history.”

The announcement continues: “Always acclaimed for their explosive live shows, the ABB really ratcheted up the intensity and focus on January 31st. After hammering tightly through the reliable first four, the ABB placed ‘Midnight Rider’ back into the rotation, and then Berry Oakley stepped up to the mic for a wicked and nasty take on ‘Hoochie Coochie Man,’ with Jaimoe and Butch churning full-bore behind him. After an extensive workout on “You Don’t Love Me,” the group worked a relatively new song into the set, ‘Hot ‘Lanta.’ Conceived out of a loose jam at the Big House in Macon, GA, the band’s home base currently an ABB museum, this group composition was cutting-edge fusion, displaying the delightful musical diversity of the Allman Brothers Band. A superior ‘Whipping Post’ concludes the Fillmore West material, but Disc Four goes on to include a wonderful bonus track: a March, 1970 version of ‘Mountain Jam’ from the Warehouse in New Orleans which—at 45 minutes long!—showcases a band that loved to improvise and let the music take on a life of its own.”

Kirk West, who served as the “Tour Mystic” and official archivist for the Allman Brothers Band for over 20 years, played a pivotal role in re-acquiring the original live performance two-track, reel-to-reel tapes used for this release from legendary band crew members Twiggs Lyndon, Joe Dan Petty and Mike Callahan, who were the original caretakers of these recordings. The tapes had been stored in closets and attics for many years, necessitating careful transfers and several successive attempts at restoration, as technology continued to improve. Interestingly in 1971, however, Kirk was a 20-year-old counterculture entrepreneur who found himself at the Fillmore West during the last four days of January. “I was living in Palo Alto with a bunch of hippie kids who, by and large, were Dead Heads. I had moved to California from Chicago, and I already was a big Allman Brothers fan,” recalls West. “I was insisting that everyone in the house go up to the Fillmore that weekend—‘Let’s go, let’s go—the Brothers are in town, playing with Hot effin’ Tuna.”

The concerts took place roughly six weeks before the band performed the March 1971 concerts which became their famed At Fillmore East, considered one of the all time great live rock albums.

The debut album from Melbourne, Australia quintet Possible Humans has been a long-time coming. Since forming in 2012, the band (comprised of Samuel Tapper, Leon Cranswick, and the three Hewitt brothers; Steven, Adam, and Mark) have self-released a “live improv” cassette & a two-song 7-inch on Sydney’s Strange Pursuits label while periodically teasing a forthcoming full-length and burning up live venues across Australia. Resulting album“Everybody Split” was announced to arrive on April Fool’s Day of 2019 on ex-Twerps drummer Alex MacFarlane’s (very excellent) Hobbies Galore label. Thankfully, it wasn’t a prank & the edition of 200 LPs sold out in a flash. Trouble In Mind is proud to re-release Everybody Split worldwide in a more substantial pressing in hopes of getting this amazing album into everyone’s ears. The album reminds me of why I fell in love with that 80s/90s alt rock sound. Melodies are on point, hooks are plentiful and the guitars are warm and nicely distorted. All is as should be. Early GBV and REM fans, this is your jam

All five members have shared songwriting duties on “Everybody Split”, & the album’s nine tracks jangle and clang with that urgent, nervous energy felt in some of the best DIY/underground rock from the past three decades, R.E.M., Guided By Voices, Feelies et al, but also absolutely of the NOW, swooning with a smoothed, amber patina of melancholy and longing (see opener “Lung of the City”, or “Nomenclature Airspace”).

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There’s a palpable crackle emanating from the tunes on Everybody Split, throwing sparks thru a myriad of interesting melodic/lyrical twists & turns, like the earworm riffage on “The Thumps”, that hotwire solo on “Aspiring To Be A Bloke” or the stutter stops / breakdown in the raging “Stinger”. Stick around for “Born Stoned”, the album’s undeniable highlight, packing its near-12 minutes with nods not only to the aforementioned R.E.M. & Feelies dark jangle, but also the smoke & velvet solos of Heyday-era Church or Blue Oyster Cult. Yes, it’s really that good. Everybody Split was recorded by MacFarlane himself & mastered by Oz-legend Mikey Young for maximum oomph.

released August 2nd, 2019

Possible Humans is: Leon Cranswick, Samuel Tapper, Steve Hewitt, Adam Hewitt and Mark Hewitt.

Taken from the Melbourne band’s debut album “Everybody Split”. released by Trouble In Mind Records on August 2nd, 2019

With Sam Kassirer (Josh Ritter, Lake Street Dive, Langhorne Slim) at the production helm, Alio stretches well beyond Fort Frances’ Americana roots to unlock the potential that’s been building for the past two years with louder guitars, jubilant horns and dueling rhythm sections. 

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The Brooklyn rising star, Pearla, has released the second offering from her forthcoming debut EP,“Quilting & Other Activities”. A whimsical five-and-a-half minutes of pure folk-pop, “Quilting” is a beautiful tune, well worth your time.

This is another spectacular showcase of Pearla’s poignant songwriting, with the 22-year-old having this to say about the compelling track:

‘Quilting’ is about attachment and the addictive nature of comfort. It’s about coming out of a fog and facing yourself for the first time after spending too long wrapped up in others. For me, those first moments alone after the end of a relationship were unbearable, and I found myself reaching out arbitrarily just for the sake of having something to hold or something to do. The song is about me having this belief that I should be enough for myself, but not being able to fully realise it.

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Quilting & Other Activities is set for release on September 6th.

Craft Recordings has announced a Monster of a celebration for the 25th anniversary of R.E.M.’s ninth album. November 1st will see the arrival of “Monster” in various physical and digital formats, all newly remastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound.

Monster found the band branching out to explore new sonic avenues, with bolder, louder guitars, minimal overdubs, and spare arrangements supporting lyrics frequently sung from the POV of different characters. Bolstered by the success of the lead single “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?,” Monster entered the U.S. chart at No. 1, and the band promoted it with their first tour since 1989. “Bang and Blame” also became a U.S. top 20 chart entry, the band’s final such single to date.

After R.E.M.‘s departure from indie-adored IRS Records for the larger filed of Warner Brothers Records, the fear was that the band would be manipulated into producing more radio friendly hits. And while R.E.M. managed to do that, it was not at the cost of their fine lyrical and musical frontier. By the arrival of MonsterR.E.M. had further established themselves as a powerhouse of a band with multi-Platinum successes like Green (1988), Out of Time (1991), and the legendary Automatic for The People (1992).

Monster, released in 1994, delivered the hit single “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?”, as well as other more minor hits. Monster would also become the album that started an alienation from the more casual fans. All R.E.M. albums after Monster (there would be six more) were much less popular (although I never understood why).

In his liner notes, Perpetua offers that Monster “had no precedent in the band’s catalogue,” adding that R.E.M had “never been this distorted and dirty, or this glam or this flirty.” Peter Buck adds, “We were trying to feel like a different band…We wanted to get away from who we were.” Perpetua observes that “there’s no question that the characters on Monster are all dealing with obsession in some form or another, whether it’s the infatuated narrator of ‘Crush with Eyeliner,’ the lovelorn protagonist of ‘Strange Currencies,’ or the cackling supervillain in ‘I Took Your Name.’” As dark as some of the subject matter is, though, R.E.M. still infuses the songs with a dash of absurdity, irony and a humorous wink.”

Despite the enormous success of the 4x platinum album, producer Scott Litt was never fully happy with his finished mix. He states in the press release, “I had told the band through the years that if there was ever a chance to take another shot at mixing the album, I wanted to do it.” This anniversary edition has given him that opportunity, and he’s incorporated entirely different vocal takes and instrumental parts either buried in the original mix or completely absent from it.

On November 1st 2019, Craft Recordings will celebrate the album’s 25th Anniversary with a definitive 5CD/1BD Box that provides not only a newly remastered version of Monster but also a new Scott Litt-remixed version that sonically brings Stipe’s vocals to the front. The box will also include a collection of 15 previously unreleased demos, and the full 25-song performance from their June 3rd, 1995 show at the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago that was opened by Luscious Jackson, spread over 2CDs. The Scott Litt-remixed album will be on a CD of its own. The Blu-ray will supply a high resolution Stereo version mix as well as a 5.1 Surround mix. The Road Movie film is included as are six music videos (“What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?”, “Crush With Eyeliner”, “Star 69”, “Strange Currencies”, “Tongue”, “Bang and Blame”). A stuffed book of notes, photos, interviews, and more is included.

For those interested in a less expansive option, an expanded edition of Monster offering the original album and the 2019 remix will also be available on two 180-gram vinyl LPs or two CDs, both featuring reimagined cover art by longtime R.E.M. designer Chris Bilheimer. The remastered album will also be available as a standalone 180-gram vinyl LP, with Bilheimer’s original Monster art.

Ashworth’s songwriting often presents itself as a lens through which the listener can see themselves, dissolving barriers between the artist and audience.

Sasami Ashworth’s debut solo offering is a sidestep away from her previous output with Cherry Glazerr and into the fog. It’s fuzzy and melancholic, with train-of-thought musings that feel both self-prescriptive and healing – a sonic processing of emotions with broader relevance and appeal. It poses singular questions of love and loss, finding solace in their universality: “Thought I was the only one/Turned out I was everyone.” Sasami – “Free (feat. Devendra Banhart)”, from the debut self-titled album, out now on Domino Records

SASAMI (Sasami Ashworth) has been making music in the Los Angeles area, in almost every way you can, for the last decade. From playing French horn in orchestras and studios and playing keys, bass, and guitar in local rock bands (Dirt Dress, Cherry Glazerr), to contributing vocals/string/horn arrangements to studio albums (Vagabon, Curtis Harding, Wild Nothing, Hand Habits, etc.) and producing on tracks for other respected artists (Soko), she has gained a reputation as an all-around musical badass.

She spent the previous two and a half years touring the world non-stop playing synths in the band Cherry Glazerr and is now taking a turn to focus on her own music.

The video for “Take Care” starts out pleasantly enough—Sasami wakes up in a rowboat floating across calm blue waters. As grainy shots of the artist lying in the boat flash by, the scene gives the impression of a vintage film memento. She sings the lines, “You don’t need my help anymore / I tried to show up at your door.” But soon enough, Sasami starts to let out some hostility, tagging a wall with black spray paint and then, well, beating the living hell out a car with a baseball bat. Finally, we see her lighting a shrine of personal effects on fire in the desert and screaming at the burning pyre.

“Take Care” features on a brand new digital 7” from SASAMI. SASAMI’s debut self-titled album is out now on Domino Recording Co.