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Richard Hell has a new/old single out in New York. Around November of last year, Hell had disbanded his group, but not until he had recorded two new songs. This pair of tracks “Time” and “Don’t Die” have just been released on an EP paired up with some of Hell’s earliest-ever recordings. On the lip side is a primitive version of “Love Comes In Spurts” and “That’s All I Know(Right Now)”. Both songs are Neon Boys Recordings, from back in 1973 when Richard Hell was playing with future Television leader Tom Verlaine. The EP comes with a photo pic sleeve and was released on Shake Records.

The Neon Boys was an early 1970s New York City punk band, composed of Tom Verlaine, Richard Hell and Billy Ficca. The trio later went on to form the influential rock band Television in 1973; Richard Hell also went on to form the influential punk band Richard Hell and the Voidoids.

Two Neon Boys’ recordings, “That’s All I Know (Right Now)” and “Love Comes Spurts,” were released by Shake Records on a 1980 EP, backed with two songs by Richard Hell and the Voidoids

These days, Hell has been writing a column for the East Village Eye under the title “Slum Journal” and is also completing a short novelette called “The Voidoid”.

Thanks SONGS SMITHS.

Glen Frey (1948-2016)  Hailing from the Motor City, Frey kicked around the Detroit Rock scene from the mid-1960s playing in bands such as the Subterraneans, The Four of Us, the Mushrooms, and the Heavy Metal Kids. He nearly joined Bob Seger’s band, but Frey’s mother objected because she considered Seger a bad influence owing to his marijuana use. However, he did contribute acoustic guitar and backup vocals to Seger’s first hit in 1968 “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man.” His association with the Detroit rocker continued with Frey singing harmonies on “Fire Lake,’ and “Against the Wind.” in 1980. Through a girlfriend whose band moved to California, Frey relocated there meeting J. D. Souther and forming a duo named Longbranch Pennywhistle. During this period Frey also met Jackson Browne, a convergence if there ever was one.

Then in 1970, Frey met Don Henley and there was a tour with Linda Ronstadt, which included, for a spell, Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon. it was during this time that Frey and Henley decided to form a band, and soon the Eagles were hatched with Frey (guitar, keyboards) Meisner (bass), Leadon (guitar, banjo, mandolin, and dobro) and Henley on drums. No one knew at the time that the Eagles would evolve into one of the biggest supergroups of all time. Frey was the front man and lead singer writing or co-writing the lion’s share of the band’s hits including “Take It Easy,” (co-written with Browne), “New Kid in Town,” “Tequila Sunrise,” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” among others. When the Eagles disbanded in 1980, Frey launched a successful solo career and was a consistent hit maker throughout the 1980s, scoring two Top 10 hits “The Heat is On,” (1984), and “You Belong to the City,” (1985) as well as “Smuggler’s Blues,’ (1985) and several lesser hits.

The Eagles had vowed that they wouldn’t reunite until “Hell Freezes Over,” which it miraculously did in 1994. The “Hell Freezes Over,” album followed with the hit single “Get over It.” Frey played on the Eagles’ “Long Road out of Eden in 2007 and joined the band on the tour that accompanied the album. Frey recorded five solo albums and one live long player in all, including “After Hours,’ in 2012. With the Eagles, he collected Six Grammy awards, five American Music Awards, and his band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Frey’s final appearance with the band was at the completion of the two-year History of the Eagles World Tour, which ended in Louisiana on July 29, 2015. Sadly, Glen Frey passed away on January 18th, 2016 from complications surrounding rheumatoid arthritis. The music world had lost another icon, but Frey will be remembered for his song writing and as the lead singer of the Eagles, with many classic hit records under his belt.

Universal Music will issue Above The Clouds: The Collection, a new four-disc deluxe box set that focuses on the solo career of Glenn Frey.

The 3CD+DVD set starts with a 15-track ‘best of’ disc which includes singles like The Heat Is On (from Beverly Hills Cop), Smuggler’s Blues and You Belong To The City. The second CD digs deeper into Frey’s back catalogue and includes tracks from his last studio album, 2012’s After Hours, 1985’s Allnighter, new tracks from 1995’s Solo Collection and more.

The one and only album (self-titled) by Frey’s and JD Souther’s Longbranch / Pennywhistle is officially released on CD for the first time on disc three. This was recorded in 1969 in California (after the pair had moved from Detroit to California) and issued on the Amos label. While the country rock/folk outfit were short-lived, JD Souther would go on to co-write loads of great Eagles songs, such as Best of My Love, New Kid in Town and Heartache Tonight.

The fourth and final disc is a DVD of a live show from Dublin in 1992 from the Strange Weather tour.

I would like to congratulate everyone involved in the creation of Above The Clouds, a beautiful and exceptional collection of Glenn Frey’s unique voice in music, here expressed in his solo career. It is an imposing body of work and just as rich and genuine as you would expect. It is also a fitting tribute to the man who flew front seat in that exceptional songwriting and harmony phenomenon called Eagles, the biggest band in American history. Glenn was my first songwriting partner in Los Angeles when we were pups and I’m a far better song writer for knowing him. He brought a spark to every thing he touched, lit up every room he entered, and brought a rock solid integrity to every song he worked on. Check out “Run Boy, Run” from Longbranch/Pennywhistle, our virgin album as singer/songwriters. It’s a good song, rock solid and a first look of what was to follow. I could go on and on about Glenn but there are simply too many good things to say and besides, you could be listening to him sing instead of reading about him. As Linda Ronstadt put it the day after Glenn left us; “What to say? It’s a little bit different world now”. Perfectly said, so here is a big box of his beautiful music to give life after Glenn some more groove, a few more tears, and a whole lot more light. Cheers Glenn, and thank you. JD Souther

 

Run, Boy, Run…You Gotta Move. The iconic track from Longbranch Pennywhistle is now available to download from Above The Clouds: The Collection. https://glennfrey.lnk.to/ATCTheCollection

Above The Clouds: The Collection was released on 11th May 2018.

the invisible comes to us - out now

Anna & Elizabeth’s “The Invisible Comes to Us” taps into their imagination-fuelled arsenal to present an extraordinary work of unique, genre-bending storytelling and sonic exploration. Lauded by many well-known musicians and widely loved for their moving minimalist arrangements, Anna & Elizabeth’s partnership pioneers new ways of presenting old songs and stories to modern audiences. Co-producer Benjamin Lazar Davis (Cuddle Magic) and legendary avant-rock drummer Jim White (The Dirty Three, Xylouris White) assist in the duo’s vision of breathing life and new perspective into the crackling and disintegrating recordings and artifacts of the past. Rarely does an album based on traditional folk music resonate so strongly in modern times.

Official music video for “Mother in the Graveyard” from ‘The Invisible Comes to Us

“Mother In The Graveyard” was collected by Margaret MacArthur, recording Hildreth Brown in 1961 in Brattleboro Vermont. MacArthur recorded her own version for her Folkways Record ‘Folksongs of Vermont.’

Anna & Elizabeth is Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle

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We’ve just released a collection of 26 demos/etc. from the making of Transangelic Exodus (2018) – we ask you to PAY WHAT YOU CAN/WANT for it to support us in a time of cancelled shows and lost income (we’ll divide the proceeds amongst the band and our teeny touring crew). It’s a kind of audio “making of” document for you if you are a fan of that record… thanks all…

Get it from https://ezrafurman.bandcamp.com/

Demos, Rehearsals and Shots in the Dark for Transangelic Exodus

Welcome to a collection of malformed reject recordings, the unpolished refuse of the process of making our 2018 LP, Transangelic Exodus. I’m proud of the final version of the record, but I always yearned to let people glimpse some of the strange process of making it.

We all knew that we wanted to approach making this record differently than we had our other albums. In the past we’d usually listen to my solo acoustic recording of a song, talk about what we might do with it, get the band all together in a room and go with our best instincts of how to bring it to life. This time, we wanted to abandon our first instincts. Tim’s idea was that I should get together one on one with each band member and see what we came up with together when the others weren’t watching. Try out different combinations of band members and think of ourselves as a different band, playing for a different audience, or no audience. We wanted to get weird. Then we’d pool our findings and try to make a record of maximal impact, maximal originality and excitement.

So what we have here are some of the more listenable or potentially interesting artifacts of that process, which began in 2016 and really got going in early 2017. The last recordings featured here are from around March 2017—after that point we were working on the actual tracks for the record, where (as you can hear on the album) we made all kind of other steps forward, toward what I consider the best thing I’ve ever made.

This is for fans of Transangelic Exodus who want to hear a little bit of the process of mutation along the way. There’s a lot more that I won’t ever show you. Also, I’ve only included versions of the songs that made it onto the final album; there were many more songs we left behind as we realized they wouldn’t be part of the best record we could make. I also left off most of the solo acoustic demos; I kept one or two that showed how much the songs progressed from my initial idea for them. But I wanted to keep the whole experience close to the average length of a feature film. One shouldn’t spend too much longer than that being this up close and personal with my psyche.

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I have catalogued the tracks with the personnel that appears on that track, plus my best guess at a date of the recording. The band members (The Visions) are: Ben Joseph, Jorgen Jorgensen, Sam Durkes and Tim Sandusky.

I’m very grateful that the weird passionate fictional-conceptual record we made has some fans that appreciate it. This is a little X-Ray of the process if you’re curious. The fact that you’ve let my dark hopeful dreams into your heart means so, so much to me. I hope those dreams are as useful to you as they have been to me.

Love, Ezra Furman

PLEASE BUY AND SUPPORT THIS SUPERB ARTIST

Everything changed for The Beths when they released their debut album, Future Me Hates Me, in 2018. The indie rock band had long been nurtured within Auckland, New Zealand’s tight-knit music scene, working full-time during the day and playing music with friends after hours. Full of uptempo pop rock songs with bright, indelible hooks, the LP garnered them critical acclaim from outlets like Pitchfork and Rolling Stone, and they set out for their first string of shows overseas. They quit their jobs, said goodbye to their hometown, and devoted themselves entirely to performing across North America and Europe. They found themselves playing to crowds of devoted fans and opening for acts like Pixies and Death Cab for Cutie. Almost instantly, The Beths turned from a passion project into a full-time career in music.

Songwriter and lead vocalist Elizabeth Stokes worked on what would become The Beths’ second LP, “Jump Rope Gazers”, in between these intense periods of touring. Like the group’s earlier music, the album tackles themes of anxiety and self-doubt with effervescent power pop choruses and rousing backup vocals, zeroing in on the communality and catharsis that can come from sharing stressful situations with some of your best friends. Stokes’s writing on Jump Rope Gazers grapples with the uneasy proposition of leaving everything and everyone you know behind on another continent, chasing your dreams while struggling to stay close with loved ones back home.

“If you’re at a certain age, all your friends scatter to the four winds,” Stokes says. “We did the same thing. When you’re home, you miss everybody, and when you’re away, you miss everybody. We were just missing people all the time.”

With songs like the rambunctious “Dying To Believe” and the tender, shoegazey “Out of Sight,” The Beths reckon with the distance that life necessarily drives between people over time. People who love each other inevitably fail each other. “I’m sorry for the way that I can’t hold conversations/They’re such a fragile thing to try to support the weight of,” Stokes sings on “Dying to Believe.” The best way to repair that failure, in The Beths’ view, is with abundant and unconditional love, no matter how far it has to travel. On “Out of Sight,” she pledges devotion to a dearly missed friend: “If your world collapses/I’ll be down in the rubble/I’d build you another,” she sings.

“It was a rough year in general, and I found myself saying the words, ‘wish you were here, wish I was there,’ over and over again,” she says of the time period in which the album was written. Touring far from home, The Beths committed themselves to taking care of each other as they were trying at the same time to take care of friends living thousands of miles away. They encouraged each other to communicate whenever things got hard, and to pay forward acts of kindness whenever they could. That care and attention shines through on Jump Rope Gazers, where the quartet sounds more locked in than ever. Their most emotive and heartfelt work to date, Jump Rope Gazers stares down all the hard parts of living in communion with other people, even at a distance, while celebrating the ferocious joy that makes it all worth it–a sentiment we need now more than ever.

releases July 10th, 2020

The Beths
Guitar: Elizabeth Stokes, Jonathan Pearce
Bass Guitar: Benjamin Sinclair
Drums: Tristan Deck
Vocals, Percussion: All

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“Sometimes I feel like we’re just sleepwalking through our lives. We’re not really present.” Hazel English wants us to open our eyes. Through her shimmering, daydream-pop, the California based singer-songwriter is on a mission to rattle the cages of our very existence, asking us to dig deep and ask challenging questions of ourselves. “Wake UP!”, her debut album, is a call to arms: an attempt to “make people become more aware and mindful,” she says.

Since debuting with bittersweet single ‘Never Going Home’ in 2016, the Sydney-born artist has felt the urge to connect with her listeners in a meaningful way. Blending wistful, candid lyricism with jangling psych and beach-pop sounds, English’s compelling song-writing has earned her over 25 million streams, airplay on BBC Radio 1, 6Music and Beats, praise from Lauren Laverne and Annie Mac, and press acclaim with double EP Just Give In/Never Going Home labelled by The 405 as “one of the strongest records of the year”. 2019 saw her gain an even wider audience after touring with Lord Huron and Death Cab For Cutie.

Where the double EP was very much a lo-fi, bedroom-produced record, English left her home setup behind in favour of roomy recording studios and tapped up session players for her debut album. Bigger, lusher, and more live-sounding, the LP shows a new side to English: one that conveys the joy and excitement of collaboration. Drawing from a more grandiose sonic palette while pulling on the same sun-kissed thread of her previous work, half of the record was made in LA with super-producer Justin Raisen (Sky Ferreira, Charli XCX, Angel Olsen), while English flew to Atlanta to work with Ben H. Allen (Deerhunter, M.I.A, Animal Collective) on the other half.

Listening to the record, it should come as no surprise that ‘Revolver’-era Beatles, The Mamas & The Papas, The Zombies and Jefferson Airplane were all at the forefront of her mind while recording. “Radical messages need a raw and vibrant backdrop to pop,” she says, and she’s kept her trademark sunshine-filled sound that fits her Los Angeles dwelling, but with bigger, stirring choruses. It’s a testament to English’s writing style and ear for a hook that she won’t make anything that she couldn’t play stripped back to its bones, refusing to rely on production to carry a song. Standouts like the infectious ‘Off My Mind’ and ‘Like A Drug’, with its swirling hypnosis, find English’s songcraft at its most accomplished.

Lead single ‘Shaking’ wears its ‘60s psych influences on its paisley patterned sleeve. Written by Hazel and frequent collaborator Blake Stranathan (Lana Del Rey), it was a painstaking effort: “I just couldn’t rest until I had gotten it to a place where it felt like I could sleep at night. And I’m really glad I did,” she says. Tackling themes of power, lust, manipulation, pleasure, and control, its Erin S. Murray-directed video strikes right at the heart of this idea, finding English as the charismatic ringleader of her own Manson-esque cult, manipulating her subjects in a baby doll dress and beehive hairstyle. “It presents the promise of a spiritual awakening as a kind of seduction,” she says.

An open sufferer of anxiety, English wrote the record following something of an existential crisis. Stuck and isolated, she felt like life was becoming a series of mundane objectives. She began asking herself: “am I happy? Do I like the direction I’m going in life? Am I engaged with my community? Do I feel connected to others?” English realised that the answers to all these questions were, for her, resounding nos. The album’s title became a kind of personal mantra to her – “a reminder to wake up and be present in a time where we are used to switching off and looking for constant entertainment,” she says. “[‘Wake UP!] will mean something different to everyone. Like, oh yeah, I’ve been sleeping on this goal of mine, or I need to spend more time with my kids. It’s for whatever people need to confront.”

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Obsessing over old movies and vintage clothing since the age of 15, English took cues from surrealism, dadaism and the writings of sci-fi novelist Philip K. Dick for the record. She wrote words before she became a musician – before a student exchange programme prompted her San Francisco move, English was studying creative writing in Melbourne and writing poetry prolifically. After reading Guy Debord’s 1967 book The Society of the Spectacle, English began pondering our obsession with self-image. In it, Debord considers how we get caught up in the ‘spectacle’: How am I perceived by others? How can I make it seem like I’m successful? English draws parallels from the ‘60s text with our social media-crazed present as “essentially creating a fabricated version of yourself and making sure it seems like you’re living this amazing life. It’s not a true experience. That just makes us unhappy, I think.”

Confronting issues with the rampant, consumerist nature of capitalism and “our human propensity for dissatisfaction,” Wake UP! also explores power struggles, with English looking at how shifting dynamics affect relationships, be it in the music industry or in romantic life. The record dives into unbalanced power dynamics, be it “feeling stuck in a one-sided relationship where the other person cares less,” “needing space in order to seek power within myself, or feeling like I’m the one holding all the cards in a relationship.”

Wake UP! is a rallying call to our 2020 selves; a reminder of what our core values are, packaged up in a glorious, sparkling record. “I hope I can inspire others to also search for their inner truths and find their own inner strength in the process,” English says. “I wanted to create something really dynamic, and kinda wild.”

releases April 24th 2020

Esoteric Recordings is proud to announce the release of a new re-mastered four-disc deluxe expanded boxed set limited edition (comprising 3 CDs and a DVD) of Axe Victim the legendary 1974 debut album by Be Bop Deluxe.

Recorded in the Spring of 1974 at several studios in London, AXE VICTIM was released by EMI’s Harvest label in June 1974 to much critical praise and introduced Be Bop Deluxe to the record buying public. The album featured the band’s first line-up of Bill Nelson (vocals, lead guitar, acoustic guitar, piano), Ian Parkin (rhythm & acoustic guitars, organ), Rob Bryan (bass guitar, vocals) and Nicholas Chatterton-Dew (drums).

Axe Victim was a fine debut and was championed by DJ John Peel (who had been an advocate of Bill Nelson’s work since the release of the rudimentary self-released album “Northern Dream” in 1971) as one of his favourite releases of 1974. Although Bill Nelson was still finding his creative feet, Axe Victim featured some fine material including the classic ‘Adventures in a Yorkshire Landscape’, along with other fine material such as ‘Night Creatures’, ‘Third Floor Heaven’ (which featured Babe Ruth vocalist Jenny Haan guesting), ‘Jets at Dawn’ and the superb ‘Darkness (L’Immoraliste)’.

This expanded reissue has been newly re-mastered from the original master tapes and features an additional 41 bonus tracks drawn from stunning new 5.1 surround sound & stereo mixes of the album from the original multi-track tapes by award winning engineer Stephen W. Tayler, along with two complete BBC Radio One sessions from November 1973 and May 1974 (including the previously unreleased “lost” John Peel session from November 1973), both sides of the rare Smile Records single ‘Teenage Archangel’ b/w ‘Jets at Dawn’ released by the band in 1973 prior to being signed to EMI. Also included is the complete previously unreleased Be Bop Deluxe audition session for Decca Records from December 1973 (mixed from the original 16 track tapes by Stephen W Tayler) & previously unreleased out-takes from the original album sessions.

Another highlight of this limited-edition boxed set is the lavishly illustrated 68-page book with many previously unseen photographs and an essay of recollections by Bill Nelson. Additionally, the set includes a facsimile Record Store poster and postcards. This special deluxe limited edition boxed set of Axe Victim is a fitting celebration of a wonderful debut album and a tribute to the creative vision of Bill Nelson.

 A DELUXE 4 DISC LIMITED EDITION BOXED SET OF THE CLASSIC 1974 DEBUT ALBUM BY BE BOP DELUXE COMPRISING
3 CDs and A DVD (NTSC / REGION FREE)
• NEWLY REMASTERED FROM THE ORIGINAL MASTER TAPES
• FEATURING AN ADDITIONAL 41 BONUS TRACKS DRAWN FROM NEW 5.1 SURROUND SOUND & STEREO MIXES FROM THE ORIGINAL MULTI-TRACK MASTER TAPES, BBC RADIO SESSIONS FROM 1973 / 1974, INCLUDING THE PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED “LOST” BBC JOHN PEEL SESSION FROM NOVEMBER 1973, BOTH SIDES OF THE RARE SMILE RECORDS ‘TEENAGE ARCHANGEL’ SINGLE FROM 1973, COMPLETE (& NEWLY RE-MIXED) PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED BE BOP DELUXE DECCA SESSION FROM DECEMBER 1973 & PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED OUT-TAKES FROM THE ALBUM SESSIONS
• INCLUDES A LAVISHLY ILLUSTRATED 68 PAGE BOOK WITH MANY PREVIOUSLY UNSEEN PHOTOGRAPHS &
NEW ESSAY BY BILL NELSON / ALSO INCLUDES A REPLICA RECORD STORE POSTER & POSTCARDS

Fathers of psychedelic rock reuniting in Virginia City

If ever there was a San Francisco Sound, The Charlatans likely are the author’s of it. Cutting their teeth at the Red Dog Saloon in Virginia City in the mid-1960s, the band can rightfully claim to be the first San Francisco group. Only the pop-rock group the Beau Brummels might challenge that title.

But the Charlatans were on the cutting edge of the dramatic rise in bands spawned in San Francisco and the Bay Area around mid-decade. If nothing else the band – Dan Hicks, Mike Ferguson, Mike Wilhelm Richard Olsen, and George Hunter – had a major impact on the nascent hippie culture, with their unconventional attire, a throwback to the Wild West, The Charlatans were known for clothing themselves in late 19th-century attire, as if they were Victorian dandies or Wild West gunslingers. This unconventional choice of clothing was influential on the emerging hippie counter-culture, with many young San Franciscans dressing in similarly late Victorian and early Edwardian era clothing.

Two members of the group, Hunter and Ferguson designed what many consider to be the first Psychedelic Rock poster promoting the bands residency at the Red Dog Saloon.  This poster—known as “The Seed”. Difficulties in getting a debut single “Codine,” In fact, the tune—penned by folk artist Buffy Sainte-Marie spoke of the dangers of drugs, rather than promoting their use, but Kama Sutra was adamant and refused to release the song.

Instead, two other songs from the Kama Sutra sessions, “The Shadow Knows” and “32-20”, were released by Kapp Records in 1966 as the band’s first single, with some copies being housed in a rare promotional-only picture sleeve. Kapp Records failed to adequately promote the release and, as a result, the single was commercially unsuccessful. When the song failed because of poor promotion it caused turmoil in the band. Personnel changes also sabotaged the band at a critical moment of their career. The remaining songs recorded during the Kama Sutra sessions for the Charlatans‘ debut album remained unreleased until they were officially issued for the first time by Big Beat Records in 1996, on The Amazing Charlatans album.

By the end of the year, the Charlatans had broken up, and any hope of stardom comparable to the big four San Francisco bands: the Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Grateful Dead, were dashed.

Original drummer Dan Hicks went on to form Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks, a more commercially successful ensemble that amalgamated elements of country, folk and jazz in a predominantly acoustic setting. Wilhelm went on to front the band Loose Gravel from 1969 until 1976, before becoming a member of the Flamin’ Groovies during the late 1970s and early 1980s

There were reunions over the years, and the band remained beloved by the Bay Area, but they never attained the degree of success that always seemed to elude them.

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The record is called “Solid Love”. Half of that title, at least, should be immediately apprehensible when you listen. The songs Dan Knishkowy writes and sings for Adeline Hotel are tender and frank, disarming in their commitment to treating the sweetness of love and friendship with the gravity and wonder such a subject deserves. The “solid” part might take a little longer to sink in. The band—guitarists Knishkowy and Ben Seretan, bassist Andrew Stocker, pianist Winston Cook-Wilson, drummer Sean Mullins, with a host of others joining in here and there—plays softly and spaciously, with as much emphasis on listening as on making themselves heard. The sound they conjure together is less concrete than the album title lets on: a memory of chance encounter; a few dust motes glowing in a shaft of sunlight, then drifting away from the bedroom window.

After years of releasing quasi-solo records with rotating casts of accompanists, Knishkowy assembled a settled band for the first time on Solid Love, each member of which has their own song-writing practice: “Five people with loud playing personalities, playing as quietly as possible,” as he puts it. In the un-showy intricacy of its arrangements, and in Knishkowy’s plainspoken delivery, Solid Love sometimes recalls Jim O’Rourke’s songwriter albums; in its languid gait and jazzy rhythmic elisions, it may bring to mind John Martyn. Verses blooming into choruses, chords changing with few hard distinctions between them—the songs revel in a kind of musical ambiguity that only comes when the players are intimately attuned to their companions, a looseness that seems to arrive paradoxically from deep togetherness. “‘Solid’ is less definitive, more a changing of state,” Knishkowy says. “On the verge of crystallizing, or beginning to melt away.”

Solid Love out May 8th, 2020

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“The New Abnormal” is the long awaited new album from The Strokes, and the band’s first album in seven years. “The New Abnormal” is The Strokes’ sixth studio album and was recorded at Shangri-La Studios in Malibu, California, with legendary producer Rick Rubin . The New Abnormal is a long awaited new album release from The Strokes,. The album’s cover artwork is a painting called ‘Bird on Money,’ by famed artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. The album sees the Strokes roll back the years with an album of lo-fi intimate nuggets full of melodies that mark the Strokes at their best.

It’s been 19 years since their seminal debut ‘Is This It’, and with album number six, ‘The New Abnormal’, they’re still five of the slickest white men in guitar music – but now they’re older and wiser, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “I am having a selfishly good time,” Casablancas admitted at that gig, before double-checking: “But are you also having a good time?”

The answer, applied to ‘The New Abnormal’, is an easy yes, as while the album explores a few new directions, it’s still often fairly recognisable. The best stuff sounds familiar – few people ever have, or ever will, write a better riff than that of ‘Last Nite’ – and the worst, only peppered in small amounts, feels beyond experimental, as if pointedly ignoring what everyone else in indie rock is doing to stay fresh nowadays. Instead Julian and co. often settle into an afterlife of cantankerous synths only belonging to The Strokes.

The Strokes have now officially announced their new album. It’s called The New Abnormal, it was produced by Rick Rubin, and following the 2016 release of their Future Present Past EP on Julian Casablancas’ own Cult Records — it comes out April 10th via their longtime major label RCA. The album artwork (above) is a Basquiat, and the first single is “At the Door,” which is on the atmospheric side but singing-and-songwriting-wise sounds like classic Julian Casablancas. Not a bad first taste.

The Strokes also played a Bernie Sanders rally in New Hampshire last night and they debuted new songs during their set and covered the Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House.”

he Strokes have shared a second single off their upcoming first album in seven years, The New Abnormal (due 4/10 via RCA). It’s called “Bad Decisions,” and it kinda sounds like the middle ground between “I Melt With You,” “Dancing With Myself,” and Is This It-era Strokes. The metronomic, guitar-led ‘Bad Decisions’ and ‘Why Are Sundays So Depressing’ – are sandwiched between more jarring offerings.

Take ‘Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus’ and ‘At The Door’. The former is a disco-synth bop with lively vocals and decidedly self-determining lyrics (“I want another day/I want another break/I want another start”). It’s not about what fans crave any more; these words may move you, but were ultimately written for the person who first sang them. The latter, drum-less celestial number, was the record’s first single, announcing a stark change of pace for the band. It now stands as one of the strongest tracks due to its commitment to the new mood, and some of the most contemplative lyrics. “Use me like an oar / And get yourself to shore’, Casablancas sings to someone we will never know.

The Strokes have always kept their feelings at arm’s length, but there are traces of deeper introspection on The New Abnormal’. There’s striking cinematic beauty to ‘Selfless’ and ‘Not The Same Anymore’.

‘Selfless’ plays like a daydream, opening with a waltzing guitar, and there’s plain but piercing romance in Casablancas’ lyrics. “Please don’t be long/I want you now” he sings over a wailing refrain that confirms The Strokes remain some of the best riff-makers around. Casablancas’ vocals are diamond-sharp on ‘Not The Same Anymore’, as he captures the inevitably of ageing, proving he’s still underestimated as a lyricist. “Now the door slams shut/The child prisoner grows up” comes the haunting confessional.

But Casablancas can’t be kept away from his beloved ‘80s synths for too long. This is more convincing electronica than most of 2013’s ‘Comedown Machine’ offered, but still weaker than the three-for-three hit-making albums ‘Is This It’, ‘Room on Fire’ and ‘First Impressions of Earth’. ‘Eternal Summer’ is as close as this album comes to a misfire. It’s a poppy, seasonal ode with a brain-melting falsetto, a tinny chorus and workmanlike lyrics such as “summer is coming / it’s here to stay”, which would be fine they weren’t delivered quite so earnestly. It bears the messy energy of the guy nobody knows in the crowd at a festival, who caught sunstroke and let his one canned cider go to his head.

The Strokes‘ first album in seven years, the third single is here. It’s called “Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus,” and it’s a dose of glittery, disco-y new wave, but done in an unmistakably Strokes way.

The one Strokes album that feels decidedly absent is 2011’s ‘Angles’, which surprisingly triumphed with its psychedelic influences and existential lyrics – one of the few times the Strokes successfully committed to something entirely new. The tracks that bookend ‘The New Abnormal’ were first teased at live shows over the past year. The opening seconds of ‘The Adults Are Talking’ might scare people off with abrasive electronic drum samples, until Casablancas comes in with a mellow vocal. As it develops, it’s unmistakably top-tier stuff. The analogue beats of ‘Ode to the Mets’ promise to close the album in similar fashion, before the song blooms into a slow-burn ballad, the central riff sounding as if put through a wind machine.

There’s plenty to praise on the record, even though the listener has been certified as a second thought. Like its cover, the Jean-Michel Basquiat artwork ‘Bird On Money’, it’s spiky but quite stunning. This is a cool album. The Strokes ‘The New Abnormal’ Available 10th April 2020.