No automatic alt text available.

Japanese Breakfast’s Soft Sounds From Another Planet is less of a concept album about space exploration so much as it is a mood board come to life. Over the course of 12 tracks, Michelle Zauner explores a sonic landscape of her own design, one that’s big enough to contain her influences. There are songs on this album that recall the pathos of Roy Orbison’s ballads, while others could soundtrack a cinematic drive down one of Blade Runner’s endless skyways. Zauner’s voice is capacious; one moment she’s serenading the past, the next she’s robotically narrating a love story over sleek monochrome, her lyrics more pointed and personal than ever before. While Psychopomp was a genre-spanning introduction to Japanese Breakfast, this visionary sophomore album launches the project to new heights.

Boyish from Soft Sounds From Another Planet. Out now on Dead Oceans

Michelle Zauner goes for sci-fi New Wave, expanding the introspective tunes she wrote on last year’s Psychopomp into trips like the six-minute “Diving Woman,” where she vanishes under the sea to be alone with her scary self, or the shoegaze doo-wop of “Boyish.” “I can’t get you off my mind/I can’t get you off in general”  could that be 2017’s answer to Lit’s “You make me come/You make me complete/You make me completely miserable”? (Probably not.)

Japanese Breakfast performing live in the KEXP studio. Recorded February 15th, 2018.

Songs: Diving Woman, Road Head, The Body Is A Blade, Boyish,

Advertisements

The Juliana Hatfield Three "Whatever, My Love"

The Juliana Hatfield Three has reformed with the original lineup of Todd Philips (drums), Dean Fisher (bass),and Juliana Hatfield (guitar, vocals, keyboards, percussion) to release their sophomore album Whatever, My Love.

Recorded at Nuthouse Recording in Hoboken, NJ and co-produced by Hatfield and Tom Beaujour (Nada Surf, Guided By Voices, Minor Alps), the twelve songs on Whatever, My Love are gorgeous and punk, sleazy and sweet, unsentimental and funny. Hatfield, humble as always, acknowledges that, “We haven’t totally reinvented the wheel or anything” with this new album and that the recordings exhibit “stuff I am sort of known for, I guess”: a guitar-centric melodicism and lyrical examinations of emotional confusion. “But I am a lot more confident now than I was then with the first album. And I had more fun recording this one.”

Whatever, My Love comes 21 years after the trio’s Become What You Are debuted on Atlantic Records. The 1993 album was an influential force of uncompromising, original guitar pop/rock and secured a permanent place in alternative rock history with the radio hits “My Sister” and “Spin The Bottle.”

With their new album, The Juliana Hatfield Three has in a sense responded to its former directive to “become what you are” by making an album that is exactly what it wants to be, identifiable in its acceptance–and celebration–of the eternally unknowable and unsolvable.

http://

Angaleena Presley, 'Wrangled'

The Pistol Annies cowgirl brings all her sardonic country realness, teaming up with guiding spirits as her fellow Annies, Ashley Monroe and Miranda Lambert, yet belting wise-ass outlaw tunes that sound like nobody but her. “I thought I’d change the world with three chords and the truth I’d be like Elvis but with lipstick and boobs” – instead, she ends up with low-rent road tales like “Groundswell” and “Motel Bible.” 

From a certain angle, it might seem that Angaleena Presley has reigned in her ambition on her second album, Wrangled. Where her 2014 debut, American Middle Class, tackled precisely what its title promised, Wrangled seems like nothing more than a collection of songs. A closer listen reveals how Presley ties together stories and character portraits of women battling the currents of contemporary society. Presley doesn’t push the point, but as the tales of dashed dreams, teen pregnancy, outlaws, and good girls pile up, it’s clear she’s charting the many ways society throws up roadblocks at females of all ages. She’ll fight back — “Country,” with a head-spinning verse from rapper Yelawolf, pushes against the conservatism of country radio — but she can also twist the knife with a smile (“Bless My Heart”) and achieves an aching sincerity with her slower songs. Presley deliberately evokes older country rebels — she co-writes with both Guy Clark and Wanda Jackson and offers a salute to the late Merle Haggard with “Mama I Tried” — but she’s not a retro act, no matter what the record’s clever throwback cover may suggest. She may emphasize her ties to the past but she’s intent on expanding the tradition, turning country music into a bolder, more inclusive place, and that desire is what makes Wrangled such a compelling listen.

Image may contain: 4 people, people standing, tree and outdoor

“Imaginary Dog Walker” is a sprawling and dynamic coda, ending Two Parts Together with unsettling doubt. The song finds Joe Galarraga staring into a lake (a recurring thematic element of the album), wondering what lies beneath. “We all want the same thing/ And that is to thrive,” he declares, “So why hold our breaths/ Kill the life inside?” Propelled by vivid, destructive imagery, tense repetition, and agitated guitars, “Imaginary Dog Walker” is an aggressive-yet-meaningful meditation on the human experience.

http://

Image result for The ROLLING STONES - " Ruby Tuesday " images

On September. 30th, 2016, ABKCO Records released a massive box set including all of the studio albums released in mono by The Rolling Stones in the 1960s. The Rolling Stones in Mono, available in both 15-CD and 16-LP vinyl configurations, as well as Standard Digital, Mastered for iTunes and True HD (96k/24 bit, 192k/24 bit and DSD), contains a total of 186 tracks, 56 of which had never before been heard in mono since the advent of the digital age, according to the original announcement from ABKCO, which retains the rights to the Stones’ early recordings.

The Rolling Stones in Mono covers the formative years of 1963-69 featuring hits like “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Get Off Of My Cloud,” “19th Nervous Breakdown” and “Paint it Black,” to name a few. The idea behind releasing the collection, the 2016 press release explained, is that, “Most rock and pop recordings were originally recorded in mono, with stereo often an afterthought, dealt with only following the completion of the original (mono) version of a given track.”

Recording engineer Dave Hassinger, who worked with the Stones from 1964-66, explained how he mixed the Stones in mono: “They always played together at the same time,” he is quoted as saying. “They would run the parts down, work out the changes here and there, nail it down, then start recording.”

Fast forward to May 22nd, 2018, and ABKCO has released an official lyric video for the group’s 1967 smash hit, “Ruby Tuesday,” to coincide with The Rolling Stones’ 2018 #NoFilter tour of the U.K. and Europe.

From the announcement: “For this hauntingly beautiful ballad the goal was to create a romantic and evocative visual inspired by 60s design and an independent, free-spirited woman. To enhance the wistful, baroque feel of the verses, densely decorative floral and paisley patterns which form throughout each scene create a rich tapestry of detail. The choruses cut to kaleidoscopic patterns set against a bright ruby red backdrop, ensuring a big hit of colour in contrast to the verses.”

More on “Ruby Tuesday” from the announcement: “The song was written, for the most part, by Stones guitarist Keith Richards in 1966, inspired by Linda Keith, his girlfriend at the time, who had recently left him for a poet named Bill Chenail; soon thereafter she began dating rising star Jimi Hendrix.” “That’s the first time I felt the deep cut,” Richards recollected in his 2010 autobiography Life. “The thing about being a songwriter is, even if you’ve been fucked over, you can find consolation in writing about it, and pour it out . . . It becomes an experience, a feeling, or a conglomeration of experiences. Basically Linda is ‘Ruby Tuesday.’”

The recording features Brian Jones on recorder, Bill Wyman fretting a double bass (with Keith Richards bowing it) and outside help from arranger/composer Jack Nitzsche who played piano on the track. Initially released in January 1967 as a B-side to “Let’s Spend the Night Together,”

“Ruby Tuesday” was featured on the American release of the 1967 album, Between The Buttons. This version features Mick Jagger on vocals, Keith Richards on guitar, Charlie Watts on drums, Ronnie Wood on guitar, Bill Wyman on bass, Matt Clifford on keyboards and French horn, Bobby Keys on saxophone, Chuck Leavell on keyboards, Bernard Fowler on backing vocals, Lisa Fischer on backing vocals, Cindy Mizelle on backing vocals, and the Uptown Horns.

There’s a bittersweet beauty to the passing of time, the changes it brings are just as often heartbreaking as they are heartwarming. The inevitable tension that arises from that sway is Gretchen Peters’ most trusted muse. With melody supporting that melancholy, the songs on Peters’ new album, Dancing With The Beast, combine to lift the effort over the high artistic bar set by her last outing, 2015’s award-winning Blackbirds. Strung together and populated with strong and broken female heroines, those vignettes make up Dancing With The Beast and, indeed, Peters’ entire discography.

Dancing With The Beast puts female characters at the fore, from teenage girls to old women. And intentionally so. With the 2017 Women’s March and #MeToo Movement as bookends to her writing time, Peters knew that a feminist perspective would be the critical core of the record. She admits, “You can trace the feminist DNA in my songwriting back to ‘Independence Day’ and probably before. The thing that 2017 did is just put it front and center.”

Beauty tempered by dread, sorrow buoyed by hope, these are the ever-present tugs of war that make life worth living and songs worth writing. And they are the over-riding themes that make Gretchen Peters one of her generation’s most compelling singer/songwriters.

http://

Strung together and populated with strong and broken female heroines, Dancing With The Beast has a bittersweet beauty that lifts it over the high artistic bar set by her last outing, 2015’s award-winning Blackbirds

“Beautifully defined and utterly compelling album.. Peters’ ability to give voice to believable characters is unbeatable.” –

“Right now, you would be hard-pressed to find a better songwriter than Gretchen Peters. Her willingness to sing about tough, somber subjects is a rarity in the industry, and on her new album, Dancing With The Beast (due out May 18th), she continues to prove her mastery.” – The Shotgun Seat

“50 minutes of exquisite-sounding emotional devastation, depression, murder and heartbreak” – The Tennessean

 

The follow-up to Jenny Hval’s acclaimed 2016 album Blood Bitch is The Long Sleep, an adventurous new EP that sees the Norwegian multidisciplinary artist embracing an instinctive, even subconscious, approach to creating meaning. In contrast to Hval’s more explicitly conceptual work, The Long Sleep foregrounds the act of composition itself, letting the melodies and structures reveal the other elements of the songs. All of the songs on the EP recycle the same compositional motives, but manipulate them into very different shapes that take them further and further out of their original, “life-like” context.

Hval recorded The Long Sleep with longtime collaborator Håvard Volden and producer Lasse Marhaug, along with an ace new supporting cast of talented players from the jazz world — Kyrre Laastad on percussion, Anja Lauvdal on piano, Espen Reinertsen on saxophone, and Eivind Lønning on trumpet. Hval calls them some of her favorite contemporary musicians, and their musical background helps to give the songs on The Long Sleep their intuitive, improvised feel.

Releases May 25th, 2018

If Beach Slang is James Alex fawning over The Replacements, Quiet Slang is him head-over-heels for The Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt.” Their first two and a half years as a band (2014-2016) saw them release two great EPs and two great full-length albums, and that’s not counting their cool covers EPs where they pay tribute to the artists they very openly love. If they were to put out a “greatest hits,” it’d be one of the most rock-solid punk albums of our time, and frontman (and only remaining original member) James Alex has sort of done just that with his new solo album as Quiet Slang. Titled Everything Matters But No One Is Listening, it’s stripped down versions of ten of Beach Slang’s best songs, from their first EP to their latest album, re-arranged for piano, cello, and voice.

This is an utterly gorgeous record that moves, inspires, and invites mixtape inclusion at every turn, Alex’s punk rock transformed into ethereal hymns to love and comradeship. A true delight.”

“Musically, these new versions feel totally natural, with Slang’s melodies holding up to scrutiny and the simple chord patterns leaving room for piano and cello to decorate the songs.

Beach Slang can be a raging punk band, but they’ve always had a sweet side to their songs, and that comes through loud and clear (well, quiet and clear) on Everything Matters. The songs sound beautiful with these arrangements, and in their own way, they’re just as effective as the originals. Who knew that the headbanging punk of “Filthy Luck” could work as a minimal piano ballad, or that the fist-raising “The night is alive, it’s loud and I’m drunk!” shouts of “Noisy Heaven” could flow so gorgeously into a sea of cello? It’s a really special record, one that could easily appeal to longtime Beach Slang fans and newcomers alike, and we’re excited to be premiering a stream of the whole thing. Listen, along with the just-released video for “Future Mixtape For The Art Kids,” .

Considering that, there’s something almost cheeky about the title of his new project: Quiet Slang. As the name implies, Alex is embracing minimalism, smothering the fuzz in favor of a cello, a piano, and his voice. In October, Quiet Slang released We Were Babies & We Were Dirtbags, an EP comprised of two Beach Slang songs and two covers from The Replacements and Big Star. Consider it an introduction to what Alex calls “chamber pop for outsiders,” because it simply serves as prelude to Everything Matters But No One Is Listening, a collection of 10 Beach Slang covers that’s set to drop on May 18th.

http://

That’s when he turned to the project’s key influence: The Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt. Merritt’s influence lent itself not only in his heartrending use of cello and piano via his work with the Fields, but also in one of his most famous lyrics. “Why do we keep shrieking/ When we mean soft things?” goes the final lines of “100,000 Fireflies.” “We should be whispering all the time.”

“That just always stuck with me,” Alex says, “how quiet can sometimes be more powerful.” He continues, “If Beach Slang is me fawning over The Replacements, Quiet Slang is me head-over-heels for Stephin Merritt.”

Quiet Slang

Japanese Breakfast, 'Soft Sounds From Another Planet'

As Japanese Breakfast, Michelle Zauner writes sparkling, opulent dream pop about grief and love (and, occasionally, robots). After releasing its debut album, Psychopomp last year, the band returned with this year’s stunning Soft Sounds From Another Planet. Where Psychopomp, was written in the immediate aftermath of the death of Zauner’s mother, zeroed in on the experience of Zauner’s grief, Soft Sounds widens her aperture, featuring paeans to her coping mechanisms, ruminations on crooked relationship dynamics and said sci-fi robot fantasy. At its Tiny Desk concert, the band swapped out Soft Sound’s gauzy, astral synths for acoustic guitar and piano, and was joined by members of Washington, D.C. string quartet Rogue Collective.

Zauner had wanted to do something special for the performance, and was tipped off by Landlady’s Adam Schatz that the Rogue Collective make pretty great Tiny Desk partners. The Collective practiced with Japanese Breakfast the day before the Tiny Desk, and was a featured guest later that night at the band’s D.C. show. The adaptation highlighted Zauner’s strength as a songwriter, providing an even more direct line into the raw emotion at the heart of her songs. The string swells during “Boyish” lent gravity to the song’s bittersweet desperation. During “Till Death,” her ode to marriage, Zauner sang — as she often does — in a way that strains her voice to the crackling, taut edge of heartbreak. It’s arresting on any stage, but particularly powerful in the stark midday light of NPR Music’s office. For its final song at the Tiny Desk, Japanese Breakfast performed “This House.” Gone was the Rogue Collective, and indeed much of the band — just Zauner and pianist Craig Hendrix remained. The song describes moments in love that are more fearful labor than bliss, the hazy space where commitment, confusion and longing intersect. Like much of Japanese Breakfast’s music, the performance shows Zauner looking unblinkingly at fear and pain, daring us to do the same.

Set List “Boyish” “Till Death” “This House”

Musicians Michelle Zauner; Deven Craige, Craig Hendrix; Peter Bradley; Alexa Cantalupo; Kaitlin Moreno; Natalie Spehar

Introducing...Lilly Hiatt & The Dropped Ponies.

It took Lilly Hiatt quite sometime to come to terms with her Nashville status. After her initial flee, she came to embrace the fact that home truly is where the heart is, and eventually returned to Tennesssee. Hiatt enjoyed some successes as a solo artist, including a shared stage with Emmylous Harris and Jim Lauderdale, as well as a guest appearance on the Craig Ferguson show. Upon her introduction to North Carolina guitarist, Beth Finney, a new beast began to form. Hiatt’s aching melodies combined with Finney’s tender yet turbulent guitar licks yielded a sound that the two were unable to find prior: women shedding their childhood skin and coming into the unraveled and emotional world of adulthood. Soon after, the girls hooked up with drummer John Radford (Charles Walker and the Dynamites, Drew Holcombe Band) and bass player Jake Bradley (Over the Rhine). The Pony Stampede had began. Since then, The Dropped Ponies have graced the stage of the Ryman, opened for Lyle Lovett, and enjoyed success over seas. They currently reside in Nashville, TN and are working on their debut album, “Let Down”. Produced by Doug Lancio (Patty Griffin, Gretchen Peters), the album is to be released in September.

http://