Archive for the ‘ALBUMS’ Category

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This summer, Torres (aka Mackenzie Scott) announced that she was readying an album with her new label, Merge Records, after being dropped by 4AD in 2018 for “not being commercially successful enough.

The return of Torres, the project of New York-based musician Mackenzie Scott, might just be one of the most exciting events of the musical year. While never quite hitting that break through moment, Torres is a songwriter we’ve always loved, and with each new single she shares, her upcoming album, “Silver Tongue”, just seems to get all the more exciting. Possibly the best to date came this week in the shape of the sublime, Dressing America.

“Dressing America” is a track that seems to gently unfurl itself, as the initial strum of muted guitar gradually blossoms, into a Bowie-like slice of hypnotic New Wave glamour, resplendent with motorik rhythms and Mackenzie’s strikingly commanding vocal delivery. Lyrically, it seems to set Mackenzie as a wannabe romantic-hero, a macho cowboy, who might not understand the subtleties of the human heart, yet is ready and waiting to go rescue a damsel in distress, “you’re always telling’ me I don’t know who you are, come on, woman, I tend to sleep with my boots on should I need to gallop over dark waters to you on short notice”.

From the singles delivered, Silver Tongue already feels like Torres’ most immediate release to date, a study of infatuation, lust and human connections, that might just end up being her break-out moment.

Along with the Silver Tongue album announcement, Scott released the lead single, LP opener “Good Scare.” Like the material on Three Futures, “Good Scare” melds oceanic guitar, percussion and synth, offering a lush and layered complement to Scott’s gravelly lows and tender falsetto. The new track takes up the stops and starts of a budding romance, when the prospect of love feels both terrifying and predestined.

Silver Tongue is out January 31st via Merge Records.

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If there’s some justice in this world, Strange Breed could be the next big thing in rock music. Comprised of four talented musicians from Vancouver, British Columbia, this all-female, all-queer band channel Veruca Salt, Hole, and Sleater-Kinney on their excellent debut album “Permanence”. They are confrontational, political, and raucous, but also capable of a wicked hook, as anthem-in-the-making “Closer” suggests. Led by the powerful voice of Nicolle Dupas, Strange Breed bring a refreshing sense of inclusivity and positivity to the overt – and tiresome – heteronormativity of modern rock music.

Strange Breed are a four piece garage rock band based out of Vancouver, BC. The official video for “Closer” was filmed at the legendary Hipposonic Studios in Vancouver, BC. It was produced, filmed and edited by Section 4 Films. This video was partially crowdfunded through a successful Indiegogo campaign, and we can’t thank our amazing supporters enough. “Closer” is a story about desire, but mostly it’s a jumble of emotions. The desire to find love and to love yourself. The desire to reach your dreams. The desire to embrace your queerness, or otherness. The desire to love yourself. This video was a collaboration and an artistic community project of some beautiful and talented individuals that we feel completely embody the future of our community, and of our core values as a band. We love you!

Band Members
Nicolle Dupas – Vocals/Guitar
Terra Chaplin – Guitar
Megan Bell – Drums
Jess Dubois – Bass

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The kings of country-rock and outspoken wisdom, Drive-By Truckers, are returning this year with their 12th studio album, following 2016’s American Band and the 2018 release of the long-lost Adam’s House Cat album Town Burned Down, which featured Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley before their Truckers days. “The Unraveling” arrives after a prolonged period of writer’s block for Hood and Cooley, easily one of the most impressive songwriting pairs in music’s recent history ). On The Unraveling, they pick up right where American Band left off, with searing political commentary and a sharp look at the harsh realities of modern American life.

“The past three-and-a-half years were among the most tumultuous our country has ever seen,” Hood said in a press statement, “and the duality between the generally positive state of affairs within our band while watching so many things we care about being decimated and destroyed all around us informed the writing of this album to the core.” And there you have it. It’s a new decade, but the Truckers remain dedicated to the same cause: relaying the truth—no matter how difficult it is to speak—by way of deep-rooted, multifaceted and, perhaps most importantly, southern rock ‘n’ roll.

From “The Unraveling” out January 31st, 2020

Band Members
Patterson Hood,
Mike Cooley,
Brad Morgan,
Jay Gonzalez,
Matt Patton,

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Canadian indie-folk musician Andy Shauf has already released a few charming singles from his forthcoming concept album “The Neon Skyline”, including “Things I Do.” Shauf’s captivating storytelling lays out a crumbling relationship on the single, one piece of the bigger tale told across the record. “Things I Do” opens with a laid-back groove highlighted by a soft chorus of saxophones that give way to Shauf’s anecdote. “Seems like I should have known better / Than to turn my head like it didn’t matter,” he sings at the beginning. In a similar fashion to Shauf’s 2016 record, The Party .

The Neon Skyline’s structure follows a storyline that takes place over the course of a night, according to a press release: “The interconnected songs on The Neon Skyline, all written, performed, arranged and produced by Shauf, follow a simple plot: The narrator goes to his neighborhood dive, finds out his ex is back in town, and she eventually shows up.

“Things I Do” by Andy Shauf from the album ‘The Neon Skyline,’ available January 24th, 2020

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Athens, Ga., has been a hotbed for great rock music (and music of all types) for the better part of the last 50 years, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change in the next 10. Raspy roots-rockers Futurebirds are four albums deep a decade into their career, but the arrival of their fifth is still a cause worth commemorating. Their earnest brand of country-tinged, sultry singsong fits right in alongside all your favorite indie-folk and Americana records. But Futurebirds are doing something different from many of those bands: Their three-part harmonies range from heartbreaking to chill-inducing, yet most of their songs possess a laid-back summery feel.

The songs on album number 5, “Teamwork”, find Futurebirds leaning into the psychedelic side of things, yet they’re as twangy as ever. “Trippin” takes delight in human error, “All Damn Night” is an escapist mountain holler tune and “Dream, Fam!” is a suspicious jam.

This record could take Futurebirds to the next level—bigger venues, heftier touring schedules—but for those of us who’ve been around with this band since the beginning, Teamwork is just another chapter in this century’s great southern rock story.

Futurebirds’ new song, “My Broken Arm”, from the new album Teamwork, out January 15th

Following the release of her critically acclaimed sophomore album, ‘First Flower’, last October, Texan chanteuse Molly Burch returns with two heart-stopping tracks. Entitled ‘Ballads’ in homage to the strong and powerful female vocalists that she admires, this 7” EP embodies what Burch loves to do and what she does best: crafting music with emotion, drama and romance, giving her voice all the room it needs to burn bright.
 Molly’s sweet and smooth voice makes the heartbreak on “Only One” sound more devastating.
released August 2nd, 2019

Pinegrove lp yellow

Pinegrove’s new album begins with a breath and ends with a shimmering exhalation. In between is “Marigold”, an urgent, multivalent meditation—and an expanded take on the blend of alt-country, indie rock and cerebral humanism that’s inspired the band’s ardent fan community. Marigold marks their Rough Trade Records debut, offering what songwriter Evan Stephens Hall calls a “heart-first” perspective.

Those familiar with Pinegrove will recognize signature elements of the band’s sound: literary yet conversational lyrics, geometrically interlocking guitars, the dynamic shifting shadows of rhythm and structure. But this effort marks the most spacious, bold, and well defined iteration of the project yet

Formed in 2010 by childhood friends Evan and drummer Zack Levine, Pinegrove have released three previous albums — Everything So Far(2015), Cardinal (2016), and Skylight(2018) — to massive critical acclaim, garnering them a widespread and devoted listenership.

They’ve described their sound as variously as introspective party music, or energetic music in the folk tradition; in any case they have combined catharsis and inventive structures with irrepressible melodies, resonant lyrics and emotive twang. Marigold finds the band expanding into the latter, spreading out over varying tempos and swelling pedal steel. But in surprising moments, the album can suddenly unfold into the band’s heaviest, most unbound offerings yet—a cavalier disregard of genre in favour of something honest and unique.

Pinegrove’s new album ‘Marigold’, coming January 17th, 2020 on Rough Trade Records.

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Babehoven is the full-band vehicle for the songwriting of Philadelphia-based songwriter Maya Bon. The band are currently gearing up for the release of their upcoming EP, “Demonstrating Visible Differences of Height”, and have this week shared the latest offering from it, “Only So”.

On Only So, Maya seems to grapple with struggles both personal and global, finding similarities in the battles and attempting to find a way to carry on when things get too much. As Maya sings, “there is only so much I can take of this destruction”, attempting as she explains to, “draw a line in the sand, to set intentions for my healing and boundaries for my struggle”. Even if the tales here are deeply personal they can easily resonate with anyone wanting to find a path towards moving on and starting to heal the universal wounds. The whole thing is set to a subtly crunching musical backing, full of rattling cymbals and crunchy, flourishes of guitar, none of which gets in the way of Maya’s impressive cracked vocal delivery.

One of those songwriters who seems to instantly command your attention, Babehoven might be one of the year’s most important new musical voices. Demonstrating Visible Differences Of Height is out February 7th

The Toronto punk quartet takes a giant leap forward on their second album, crafting noise rock that’s not just aggressive, but keenly self-aware. With an album in constant conflict with itself, Outer Heaven pairs the manic energy of punk with a probing intellect that reaches beyond the genre. Vocalist-guitarist Shehzaad Jiwani described the band’s sophomore effort as an attempt “to make the noise more melodic and the melodies more dissonant.” Over the course of just 10 songs, Greys oscillate between hard and soft, anxious and acerbic, but they never sound anything less than fully engaged.

Four years ago, I probably wouldn’t have included Toronto punk band Greys as a band I like. There were experimental inklings in their two 2016 releases, Warm Shadow and Outer Heaven, but they finally threw out the rulebook on their 2019 album Age Hasn’t Spoiled You. You’ll find noise-punk, post-rock, electronic and psychedelic drone wrapped up in a beautiful and shadowy package, but it’s not without moments of accessible anthemics either (“These Things Happen,” “Arc Light”).

It’s a dense listen that draws on everything from punk, noise and psych-pop to jazz, trip-hop and industrial. They sneak in unconventional influences in a way that doesn’t seem disjointed or immediately jarring. There’s a magnetic sprawl to this album, and each musical tangent is a new, charming landscape along a picturesque, spontaneous drive to nowhere in particular. Though that’s not to say this album is directionless. The driving seven-minute centerpiece, “Aphantasia,” holds the album together and seamlessly swings like a pendulum from one idea to the next.

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Maybe it’s obtuse to include a genre-defying album like this in a genre-specific list, but if the point of punk is to push boundaries and question conventional wisdom, then Age Hasn’t Spoiled You seems like a noble inclusion. Greys traverse new frontiers, musical guile that make this album an immensely stimulating one.

Long unavailable solo albums to be reissued by Needle Mythology • Vinyl available with SIGNED lyric sheets • Remastered CDs with bonus tracks from Robert Forster, the ex-Go-Betweens singer-songwriter, is to reissue his first two solo albums this March.

The albums – Danger In The Past and Calling From A Country Phone – are the fourth and fifth releases from Pete Paphides’ Needle Mythology label. These were first issued in 1990 and 1993 respectively, and have been long out of print and indeed, this campaign also heralds the debut of Calling From A Country Phone on vinyl.

It’s been a busy old time for Forster of late, following a 2019 which saw a new album Inferno, and the release of the well-received box set G is for Go-Betweens Vol. 2.

1990’s Danger In The Past was originally recorded in Berlin with a cast of Bad Seeds alumni such as Mick Harvey (producer, multi-instrumentalist), Hugo Race (guitar) and Thomas Wydler (drums) while Calling From A Country Phone saw Robert return to Brisbane and the same studio where most of the early Go-Betweens gear had been recorded.

These vinyl reissues are issued on heavyweight vinyl (pressed at The Vinyl Factory), are housed in a gatefold sleeve and each comes with a bonus seven-inch single; Danger In The Past has ‘The Land That Time Forgot’ / ‘Falling Star’, and Calling From A Country Phone features ‘Lonely Boy’ / ‘Brookfield 1975’. The CDs append these songs to the albums as ‘hidden’ bonus tracks, and come with a 16 page booklet.

Forster himself has been fully involved on these reissues contributing new sleeve notes and unearthing old photographs.

Curator Paphides has been particularly effusive about the remastering undertaken by Sean Magee at Abbey Road, saying his work “dramatically revealed a depth and physicality to these recordings that casts new light on Robert’s intentions for these records. Calling From A Country Phone, in particular, is a revelation. It’s as though an invisible membrane between listener and songs has been removed.”

Both albums are now available to pre-order on either format via Needle Mythology’s official store. CDs come with a Needle Mythology badge pack while vinyl purchasers get the badges and a Signed lyric sheet. Bundles also available!

Danger In The PastandCalling From A Country Phoneare released by Needle Mythology on 27th March 2020

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