Posts Tagged ‘Braids’

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Braids have been taking the time and space necessary for little miracles to occur. Burrowed in their Montreal studio, the band has spent the better part of three years crafting “Shadow Offering”, their 4th album, due out in June 2020 via their new label home, Secret City. On Braids’ fourth album, Shadow Offering, the Montreal art-pop trio is at its cleanest and most refined. They teamed up with producer Chris Walla, who teases out the rockier side of their tunes, turning the group’s taut synth reveries into glistening and forceful songs that tackle topics like abuse and desire and self-hatred. Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s voice is dizzying; she presents her fears not as a persistent dull ache but as something that is going to rip her apart from the inside out.

Unlike previous albums, Braids decided to stay close to home for the recording of Shadow Offering. Taking over a spacious sound recording studio tucked in an old warehouse, the band were able to slow down and creatively rediscover themselves. “With this album, we wanted to give ourselves time to achieve a higher caliber of artistry and collaboration,” Tufts says. No longer riding the novelty of youth, the band deliberately took time to recommit to themselves and their craft, and channel new energy into their music. They wrote 40 songs. They went through their Saturn Returns. They learnt how to support one another better. They drank a lot of La Croix.

The band sketched and re-sketched new material for eighteen months before lucky circumstance found Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie) renting out space in their studio. The four began wandering into each others’ rooms, curious about each others’ projects. Typically opting for a private and insular creation process, the friendship between the four saw the band sharing their songs with Walla, and naturally resulted in Walla co-producing and engineering Shadow Offering. Pushing the band out of their comfort zone, he at once broke and unified the band’s dynamic, unearthing individual creative energy long buried over the years. With a new sense of confidence, listeners will find Braids at their most personal, unabashedly flexing through their new music.

Braids are a Montreal-based, three-piece band. Formed in 2007, they have solidified a decade-long reputation for their musical ingenuity and established themselves as one of Canada’s most acclaimed art rock bands. With Standell-Preston’s vocals as the pillar of their sound, Braids weave organic and electronic elements together amidst a lyrical landscape that is intimate and emotionally-immersive

Braids

Prior to recording “Shadow Offering”, Braids’ continued intentions were to manipulate guitars to the point of being unrecognisable. Indeed, they have since admitted they felt they had succeeded once the guitar was hidden between layers of textures, loops and effects.

On their fourth full-length LP, the Canadian group have made a conscious choice to bring guitars to the forefront of their sound again. They rediscovered the instrument as a “vehicle for cathartic release, drawn to its visceral and authoritative qualities,” and were keen to embellish and utilise its imperfections and the spontaneity it can bring to a performance or recording. Montreal-based indie trio Braids will release their new album “Shadow Offering” on June 19th via. Co-produced with Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie, the album finds the band at their most personal, unabashedly flexing a new sense of confidence through songs that reach a higher level of artistry and collaboration.

New single ‘Just Let Me‘ explores the push and pull of a relationship, the narratives created between partners, and inevitable hardships of love. The accompanying video features singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s directorial debut with collaborator Derek Branscombe.

“The song was born of a desire to get through to one’s partner, to work through those feelings of complacency, stagnation, of pointless arguments; when you feel your partner, though sitting across the table from you, is further away than if they were not there at all,” stated the band. “It’s a yearning to understand how a love that was once there and so clear, could slip away. It asks the universal question that so many relationships encounter along their journey – where did our love go?”

With former Death Cab For Cutie guitarist Chris Walla in the producer’s chair, they entered into a new world of experimentation, utilising a plethora of equipment from Audio Kitchen amps, a 1967 Rickenbacker 340 and a 1963 Gibson LG-1 to masses of outboard gear and a reamping chain that included multiple rack units including an Elysia Mpressor for live sidechaining and even tremolo and phased vibrato effects.

A multi award-winning band, Shadow Offering follows their acclaimed 2015 album Deep in the Iris – which won the 2016 Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year – and could be considered their most honest and intuitive yet. Here, the band detail their five favourite guitar parts on the album, from discovering chorus pedals to using their drummer as a rotary speaker…

Eclipse marked our first taste of the front-and-centre roll the guitar would come to play on this record. While tracking, we were uneasy over what elements would lead the mixes, and how a myriad of instruments and sonic explorations would all glue and fit into songs. We never recorded a record this way – producer at the console, amps and live tracking sessions, capture over construct. It required a leap of faith on our part, something a group of three highly strung control freaks admittedly struggled with.

With Eclipse, Chris and Raphaelle experimented ad nauseum with wonky open tunings for deep and resonant chords. We also discovered chorus – something we foolishly avoided for years. With Chris’s guidance, we coloured outside our comfort zone. Listening to the first mix draft was a decisive turning point in our process. After months spent chasing an ephemeral ‘idea’ of what guitars might bring to our songs, we finally developed the film so-to-speak, and the image staring back at us was bold, expansive and all-encompassing. Needless to say, we were pleasantly reassured that what we were striving for was possible.”

Snow Angel

“At once jarring and visceral, tracking for Snow Angel was also a moment of joy, of exalted discovery. After laying down the song’s basic structure, Raphaelle had asked to be set up in the live room on a whim, amps pinned, for a few takes of unscripted overdubs. It was a moment of flexing and experimenting with the musicality of an extremely loud amp. And for Raphaelle, the birth of an emotional conduit just as immediate as the human voice, to provide emotional armour, and a violent counterpart to the album’s most confessional and raw poetry.”

Fear Of Men

“This song is Austin’s shining guitar moment. Austin doesn’t play guitar, he plays drums and as such had a spare hand to lend during our guitar tracking sessions. With the amps cranked, we set him up in the live room – heavily earplugged – and got him to be a real live rotary speaker. Microphone-in-hand, he spun around the room in his best ‘flanger’ impression, and the resulting audio is about as bespoke a ‘swirl’ effect as one could hope for.”

Young Buck

“We mixed Shadow Offering in our Montreal studio. The studio has two rooms – control and live. We spent a month mixing, and a typical day saw Chris [Walla] and Mike our mix engineer in the control room working on a mix, while we spent the day in the live room, chasing all sorts of extra parts for second verses and second choruses, intros and outros.”

“We’d reconvene once in a while to share progress, listen to mixes, and trade song progress back and forth. We’d been battling with the groove in Young Buck, struggling to get the mix to lock. Upon listening to the n’th rough mix, it suddenly came into focus. Through sheer relief, we didn’t ask too many questions at the time, and it was only while digging through stems, long after the mixes were wrapped, that we discovered Chris had clandestinely been tucking layer upon layer of palm muted guitar parts into the mix, gluing the song together.”

Just Let Me

“Stories and process and memories aside, Just Let Me is our favourite guitar ‘moment’ on the record. At every step of the way, the song is structured around creating this luscious and blooming key change, centred on two interlocking guitars. If at the outset of this record we wanted to take a swing at guitars-as-centrepiece, this is the moment in which we unapologetically enjoy the fruits of this journey.”

Shadow Offering is out June 19th on Braids Musique Inc. and Secret City Records. Braids’ new album “Shadow Offering”

Montreal trio Braids are releasing a new album, “Shadow Offering”, on April 24th via Secret City, but this week they pushed it back to June 19 due to COVID-19. On Thursday they also shared another new song from it, the nine-minute “Snow Angel,” via a Kevan Funk-directed video for the intense track. It’s an epic song that takes on social and political issues that are all the more relevant in this current crisis. “Should I even have a child at all?/This world is full up,” questions singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston in the lyrics. “I want to be a mother/But I shouldn’t bring in another.” It takes on global warming and the role all of us play in destroying the planet. If you want to get lost in the madness of the current moment, this is the song to turn to.

Standell-Preston had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Snow Angel’ was written in the immediate wake of the 2016 US election, as our collective conscience took a sharp inhale. It’s a diary entry of sorts—a snapshot of the mind grappling with our era’s endless barrage of content and destruction, continents away and close to home. *This* moment, with our world in the midst of a pandemic, is admittedly a new context. But I can’t help but sense the song speaks to feelings many of us are experiencing—uncertainty, angst, and a desperate desire to make sense of it all.

“For me, it was deeply therapeutic to write and sing this song; saying things out loud can help us to not feel so alone, can help validate our natural fears about the future of our world, and can bring to light some of the hard questions that many of us are asking ourselves. I believe that art can change our relationship to fear. We hope this song can offer you a moment of catharsis and relief, in the same way writing and performing it has for us.”

Shadow Offering includes “Eclipse (Ashley),” a new song Braids shared last December. When the album was announced the band shared another song from it, “Young Buck,” via a video for the track. Shadow Offering was produced by former Death Cab for Cutie guitarist/producer Chris Walla.

Summing up the album, Standell-Preston had this to say in a previous press release: “There’s more hopefulness in this record than anything else I’ve written. I think the songs are more human, more tangible, more honest.”

This is among my favourite song of 2020 here. “Snow Angel” by Braids is an outstanding masterpiece, not just due to the fact that it’s over nine minutes long (which marks a new record in my personal ‘song of the year’ history). The Canadian indie art rock band has been on my radar for a few years now but never fully clicked with me. But this song – wow. It already got this great driving notion at the beginning and leading lady Raphaelle Standell-Preston really carries the song. But about four minutes into the track she ignites a spoken-word-reflection on her life on this planet and it when I first heard that part I think I heavily teared up because that moment sums up all the feelings many people in my generation have these days on our planet, the corrupt political system, environmental apocalypse, depression, capitalism, media consumption, ultimately resulting in Standell-Preston asking whether she should actually bring a child into this world. You really feel the desperation in those moments before the track is off to a furious finale, only to break down again. This is triumphant musical story telling, a song that needs a moment but one that perfectly captures the overall feeling of 2020.

Braids’ new album “Shadow Offering”

There’s something new about Canadian band Braids. Since bandleader Raphaelle Standell-Preston shared her experiences with sexual abuse informed a song called “Miniskirt,” you can’t help but approach the Montreal group’s compositions with ears freshly sensitive to that courage.  More than ever, musicians like Braids and statements like their new EP Companion are what the country needs to keep hope.

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Listening to the project though, the futility of binding Braids to one event, niche, trauma, or sound becomes clear. The four songs were started during sessions for the band’s 2015 album Deep In The Iris. “At the time they felt separate to the songs that made up “Deep In The Iris,” the band wrote in an email, “strong in their own right, but left as unknowns to a larger compositional work.” Companion is not a collection of orphan tracks: all four songs lean into the same progressions in songcraft and unbridled energy the band discovered on Deep In The Iris.

Braids “Companion” EP
Out 05/20 on Arbutus Records / Flemish Eye

Here’s one case in which it is: the beautiful minimalist synth backdrop of Companion, over which Raphaelle Standell’s remarkable voice flutters between Elizabeth Fraser on Massive Attack’s Teardrop and Björk when she’s feeling an emotion really hard. Which is about the highest praise it’s possible to give a vocalist. If you don’t get chills, you must have killed before, and you probably will again.

Recorded at the same time as last year’s phenomenal Deep in the Iris, Braids’ Companion is its perfect, erm, companion piece. Here we have four songs that showcase the band’s perfect interplay between twitchy drums, deeply layered arrangements and Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s soaring whispy vocals.

Braid’s cover of “Next of Kin” by Alvvays appears on the Polyvinyl Plays Polyvinyl compilation – a 20-track covers album featuring Polyvinyl artists covering songs from other Polyvinyl artists, out November 25th, 2016.

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Image of Terry Reid - The Other Side Of The River

TERRY REID  –  The Other Side Of The River

– Remastered from the original analog tapes
– Track notes by Terry Reid
– 6 never before heard Reid compositions, plus 5 very different alternate takes – all previously unreleased.

British musician Terry Reid is a relatively unsung legend. With his incredible voice (that earned him the nickname “Superlungs”), spot- on songwriting, and underrated guitar skills, Reid invented new sounds and others followed suit. His 1973 LP, River, is an under-the- radar but deeply loved album. Our special new release, The Other Side Of The River, features all previously unreleased material from the River sessions, including six never-before-heard Reid compositions and five very different alternate takes of tracks from River.

Over the decades, as River went in and out of print, there were rumors of a mythological double album’s worth of unreleased material. The rumors turned out to be true, as the entire album was recorded twice: once with British producer Eddy Offord and again with the legendary Tom Dowd. The sessions captured Reid’s free-associative mix of folk, blues, rock, jazz, bossa-nova, soul, and samba, recalling at times Tim Buckley and Van Morrison, while featuring some remarkable guests including Gilberto Gil on percussion, Ike & Tina Turner’s Ikettes on vocals, and David Lindley, of psych band Kaleidoscope, on violin.

The Other Side Of The River includes songs that even Terry had forgotten – rockers in the style of the River track “Dean,” Latin grooves with percussionist Willie Bobo, and beautifully sparse vocal material not unlike David Crosby’s If Only I Could Remember My Name and John Martyn’s Solid Air.

Reid’s vocal prowess earned him offers to front both Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, but he turned down both opportunities to carve out a distinctive solo career. Instead, he rocked on the sidelines, ultimately touring with Cream and Fleetwood Mac, writing songs for CSNY, and opening for The Rolling Stones on their 1969 tour.

More recently, Terry’s songs have been covered by a number of younger artists including the Raconteurs, and his voice can be heard on DJ Shadow’s track “Listen”. This spring he will be touring the East Coast and U.K. Though his “superlungs” would have no doubt served Zepp well, perhaps his solo status allowed him to be more experimental and nuanced than he would’ve been able to be as a mainstream frontman, and for that we are grateful.

The Other Side Of The River stands alone as a fresh and utterly groundbreaking Terry Reid gem.

JOSEFIN OHRN AND THE LIBERATION / GNOOMES REPETITIONS EP

Sweden’s Josefin Ohrn and The Liberation and Russia’s Gnoomes released two outstanding albums at the tail end of 2015, and Rocket Recordings are pleased to be bringing you this special split EP entitled ‘Repetitions’. Josefin Ohrn and The Liberation’s side starts with a radio edit of their live favorite ‘Green Blue Fields’ – a great slice of psychedelic disco pop that calls to mind a psyched out Blondie’s ‘Heart of glass’. Then for the first time on vinyl ‘Lucid Sapphire’ – a punked up, motorik driven, rock stomper that first appeared as the b-side of their digital only single ‘Sunday Afternoon’. The side is finished with a stunning cosmic-dance remix of their ‘hit’ single Take me Beyond by label mates Gnoomes. That leads us nicely into Gnoomes’s side which starts with ‘Myriads Of Bees’ – a new version of the track ‘Myriads’ which featured on their debut album ‘Ngan!’ This new version sees the band strip the song back to a minimal kosmiche pulse with repetitive mind altering effects. Then for the first time on vinyl the radio edit of their ‘hit’ single ‘Roadhouse’, this is the version of the track that got them noticed by countless BBC 6 Music DJs. Then the final track of the EP sees Josefin Ohrn and The Liberation return the ‘remix’ favour pushing the original motorik groove of ‘Roadhouse’ into an addictive heavy kraut groove beat, overlaying it with head spinning synths and fuzz guitar.

CAR SEAT HEADREST – TEENS OF DENIAL

‘Teens of Denial’ is the thirteenth album in Car Seat Headrest’s (aka 23-year-old Will Toledo) oeuvre, second on Matador, and first to be recorded in a proper studio with a full band and producer (Steve Fisk). On Denial, Toledo moves from bedroom pop to something approaching classic-rock grandeur and huge (if detailed and personal) narrative ambitions, with nods to the Cars, Pavement, Jonathan Richman, Wire, and William Onyeabor. By turns tender and caustic, empathetic and solipsistic, literary and vernacular, profound and profane, self-loathing and self-aggrandizing, he conjures a specifically 21st century mindset, a product of information overload, the loneliness it can foster, and the escape music can provide. At the heart of the album sits the 11:32 ‘Ballad of the Costa Concordia,’ which has more musical ideas than most whole albums (and at that length, it uses them all). Horns, keyboards, and elegant instrumental interludes set off art-garage moments; vivid vocal harmonies follow punk frenzy. The selfish captain of the capsized cruise liner in the Mediterranean in 2013 becomes a metaphor for struggles of the individual in society, as experienced by one hungover young man on the verge of adulthood.
2LP – Double Vinyl with Download.

TANYA DONELLY – SWAN SONG SERIES

Tanya Donelly is a singer-songwriter and founding member of three of the most successful bands of the post-punk era. At the age of 16, she and stepsister Kristin Hersh formed Throwing Muses, which became the first American band ever signed to the influential British label 4AD. Not only did the Muses‘ dreamy, swirling guitar sound prove highly influential on many of the alternative acts to emerge in their wake, but they also made any number of unprecedented advances into the male-dominated world of underground rock. Donelly later sidelined with Pixies bassist Kim Deal to form the Breeders, appearing on the debut LP, Pod. She later exited both the Breeders and Throwing Muses to form her own band, Belly. After issuing a pair of well-received EPs, Belly released their full-length debut, Star — a superb collection of luminous, fairy tale-like guitar pop songs — and for the first time in her career, Tanya Donelly earned commercial success commensurate to her usual critical accolades. Not only did the record go gold on the strength of the hit single ‘Feed the Tree’ but the band even garnered a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. Donelly would eventually disband Belly to raise her two daughters. She still found time to write and record music as a solo artist – Beautysleep, Whiskey Tango Ghosts and This Hungry Life were all exceptional albums and enjoyed critical success. The Swan Song Series is a collection of songs in which Donelly collaborated with friends, musicians and authors such as Rick Moody, Robyn Hitchcock, John Wesley Harding, Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang (Damon + Naomi/Galaxie 500), Bill Janovitz (Buffalo Tom), Tom Gorman (Belly), and Claudia Gonson (Magnetic Fields), and explored an impressive range that wasn’t always captured on previous albums. This exclusive collection includes the first 5 self-released digital EP’s and 7 brand new, previously unreleased, tracks on a 31 song set.

 

Image of Mutual Benefit - Skip A Sinking Stone

MUTUAL BENEFIT  –  Skip A Sinking Stone  

‘Skip A Sinking Stone’, Mutual Benefit (aka Jordan Lee), is released via Transgressive Records.

This new album is a two-part meditation on impermanence that also acts as a portrait of growing up. Mutual Benefit’s work has been praised as being vulnerable and warmhearted. This release has a similar sensibility, patiently built from carefully chosen lines illustrated by lush astral folk and intricately composed arrangements that manage to appear effortless.

“I kept coming back to how nice that was, throwing these stones against the water,” says Lee. “I thought it was a fitting metaphor for the endeavours I have in my life – sometimes they work out and sometimes they don’t. I think it’s a good exercise in accepting impermanence and failure and these things that are constant, and yet the activity of skipping stones is really relaxing and beautiful.” Each stone ultimately sinks but, as Lee sings on the album’s zenith, as the cycle ends and repeats again, all we can do is maintain the hope that it’s ‘Not For Nothing’.

Image of Mountains And Rainbows - Particles

MOUNTAINS and RAINBOWS

Last summer, John Dwyer came back from an Oh Sees tour talking about a fantastic band he’d played with in Detroit called Mountains and Rainbows. What followed him home was a double-LP’s worth of shopworn weirdness and a delightfully loose attitude that must have something to do with the ecstasy of a Midwestern summer. These backyard freaks jam into the twilight, led by a vocal quaver belted to the cheap seats, a groove and a grin and a heaping spoonful of “damn, aren’t you glad we came out tonight?” Vibrant and confusing like the insane-o cover artwork that appears to be constructed of many layers of fluorescent duct tape.

Careening from the mellow chugger vibe on “How You Spend Your Time” to the tightly wound twitch of “Dying To Meet You,” Mountains and Rainbows stretch their legs deep into the strange, with a dark oddness lurking in the corners of tunes like weirdo highlight “With Beefheart.” Particles is a great addition to a little journey of one’s own, perhaps, and just in time for the sunlit afternoons to come.

FIR  –  SUMMER WASN’T THERE / WINTER DOESN’T CARE

Limited 7″ (200 copies) with CD (CD contains Stereo, Mono & Instrumental mixes), and digital download. We have 50 copies only !!! Alt pop super-group FIR combines the songwriting genius of Brent Rademaker from Beachwood Sparks and Matt Piucci from Rain Parade, with the extraordinary talents of Rob Campanella from The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Nelson Bragg from the Brian Wilson Band. On this record, the bittersweet combo is made complete by the smooth harmony vocals of the Allah-Las. Sounding something like a sugary, drugged out Beatles, FIR’s first 7″

Image of Methyl Ethel - Oh Inhuman Spectacle

METHYL ETHEL  –  OH INHUMAN SPECTACLE

New to 4AD, Australian trio Methyl Ethel’s celebrated debut album is being given a worldwide release. Hailing from the remote fringes of Perth in Western Australia, band linchpin Jake Webb – like 4AD peers Grimes and Bradford Cox before him – wrote, played and recorded everything on ‘Oh Inhuman Spectacle’.

Crafted in isolation, the album’s understated psychedelic pop quickly drew plaudits, leading Webb to recruit Chris Wright (drums) and Thom Stewart (bass) – friends from the tight-knit and thriving music scene in Perth – to help realise the songs live as a full-fledged band.

Having gained notable success in Australia including being nominated for the prestigious Australian Music Prize and taking Laneway Festival by storm, Methyl Ethel are now poised to take their music overseas with the worldwide release of ‘Oh Inhuman Spectacle’ and a huge run of touring in both Europe and North America to coincide.

Like a modern, indiefied iteration of Syd Barrett with the melodic intonations of the ghosts of post-punk. Woozy rhythms and fuzzed-out basses, twirling arpeggios meet chugging guitars and soaring strained vocal melodies. Definitely one to keep an eye on.

BRAIDS – COMPANION

Limited Copies come with a Arbutus Records Sampler CD. Braids are a three-piece experimental pop band from Montreal. In the spring of 2015 they released ‘Deep In The Iris’, their standout third record. ‘Companion’ is the band’s latest 4 track EP, written during the ‘Deep In The Iris’ sessions, and completed during a burst of creative energy in August 2015. Here Braids use the palette of ‘Deep In The Iris’ to paint decidedly different vistas – joy, disaffection, thunderous explosion to delicate introspection, the minimalistic power of ‘Companion’ to the patient blossoming of ‘Sweet World’. Distinct in their own right, these 4 songs are not to be dismissed as B-sides, outtakes, or the lesser of a group of songs. Though it uses ‘Deep In The Iris’ as a compositional guidepost, Companion is a breath-taking journey all of its own.

MANIC STREET PREACHERS  – EVERYTHING MUST GO 20 Box Set

20 Year remastered anniversary of the classic Manics’ album ‘Everything Must Go’. In coming back after the disappearance of guitarist Richey Edwards, ‘Everything Must Go’ had to be special. Thankfully, the album shows extreme dignity in the face of adversity, with its big, Phil Spector-ish production and the pure lyrical perfection of ‘A Design For Life’ (the least patronising, most spot on discussion of the working class ever to reach number two in the charts). Richey Edward’s influence is still evident, as ‘Small Black Flowers That Grow In The Sky’ is a pit of despair, but it is much more subtle than anything on ‘The Holy Bible’, delicately comprised of James’ vocals and a harp. Their love of art and literature continues, referencing Sylvia Plath (‘The Girl Who Wanted To Be God’), war photographer Kevin Carter, and artist Willem De Kooning (on “Interiors”, surely one of Nicky Wire’s best bass parts since ‘La Tristesse Durera’). It’s little surprise that this was the album to finally shove the Manics into the mainstream.
2CD – Double CD remastered version comprising the remastered album and the Nynex Arena audio.
4LP / Box – Deluxe 12″ x 12″ box set containing the original album remastered by James Dean Bradfield and Tim Young on CD and 180 Gram vinyl. Plus Live At Nynex, the band’s legendary 1997 show available in its entirety for the very first time, and an exclusive new film about the album, ‘Freed From Memories’, directed by Kieran Evans. The single B sides and a 40 page book complete this stunning set. It includes
CD1 Everything Must Go remastered and B sides
CD2 B sides
DVD1 Live at Nynex
DVD2 Freed From Memories and A Design For Life / Everything Must Go/ Kevin Carter / Australia videos
180 Gram heavyweight vinyl ‘Everything Must Go’ remastered
40 page book

Image of Various Artists - Day Of The Dead

VARIOUS ARTISTS  –  DAY of the DEAD

A celebration of the Grateful Dead’s music, Day of the Dead was created and curated by brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National.

For both Aaron and Bryce, the Grateful Dead were a gateway to playing music together; the first music the brothers investigated deeply. The two recall their first-ever jam session at 14 years old with The National’s future drummer Bryan Devendorf playing the Dead’s ‘Eyes of the World’ for several hours in Bryan’s attic in suburban Ohio. The brothers were drawn not just to the Dead’s songwriting, but also to the detail, spontaneity, and depth in the instrumentation. A life-long love affair with the Dead, shared with the Devendorfs, was born in those teenage years and crested when The National were invited to play a HeadCount.org fundraiser with Bob Weir in March 2012. The band assembled for this event learned over 25 Grateful Dead songs, and most of those players went on to form the “house band” heard on many of Day of the Dead’s tracks.

The compilation is a wide-ranging tribute to the songwriting and experimentalism of the Dead which took four years to record, and features over 60 artists from varied musical backgrounds, 59 tracks and is almost 6 hours long. Produced by Aaron Dessner, and co-produced by Bryce Dessner and Josh Kaufman, many of the tracks feature an all-star house band made up of Aaron, Bryce, fellow National bandmates and brothers Scott and Bryan Devendorf, Josh Kaufman, and Conrad Doucette along with Sam Cohen and Walter Martin. The record shows the broad reaching impact and legacy of the Grateful Dead, both culturally and musically.

Day of the Dead will be released digitally and on 5xCDs on May 20th. A limited edition vinyl boxed set will follow later in the year. All profits will help fight for AIDS / HIV and related health issues around the world through the Red Hot Organization. This is the 20th album of original music produced by Red Hot to further its mission and the follow up to 2009’s Dark Was The Night (4AD), a 32-track, multi-artist compilation also produced by Aaron and Bryce for Red Hot. Dark Was The Night has raised over $1.5 million to date for the organizations fighting AIDS to date.

Image of Marissa Nadler - Strangers

MARISSA NADLER  –  STRANGERS

For more than 12 years Marissa Nadler has perfected her own take on the exquisitely sculpted gothic American songform. On her seventh full-length, Strangers, released 20th May on Bella Union , she has shed any self-imposed restrictions her earlier albums adhered to, stepped through a looking glass, and created a truly monumental work.

Today Nadler has shared “Janie in Love”, one of her most texturally rich songs to date and one that updates her signature sound with some of the most prominently featured drumming of her career. Her talent for powerfully juxtaposing the ominous and the beautiful is on full display.

In the two years since 2014’s elegiac, autobiographical “July”, Nadler has reconciled the heartbreak so often a catalyst for her songwriting. Turning her writing to more universal themes, Nadler dives deep into a surreal, apocalyptic dreamscape. Her lyrics touch upon the loneliness and despair of the characters that inhabit them. These muses are primal, fractured, disillusioned, delicate, and alone. They are the unified voice of this record, the titular “strangers.”

Once again partnered with July producer Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Earth, Black Mountain) Nadler has created an album equal in sonic quality to the apocalyptic lyrical tone that covers its 44 minutes. In places her voice and guitar play off subsonic synths, while elsewhere, a pulsing drumbeat launches the songs off into an intense, confrontational place.

Image of Fews - Means

FEWS  –

Swedish / American four-piece FEWS have been making some serious waves ahead of their debut album. Specialising in propulsive, motoric noise-pop, producer Dan Carey (Bat For Lashes, Sexwitch, TOY, Kate Tempest et all) discovered the band via a mysterious Soundcloud link and promptly invited the band to his South London studio where debut single ‘Ill’ quickly followed on Carey’s Speedy Wunderground label.

Having joined the ranks of the Play It Again Sam label their own brand of malevolent post-punk continues to evolve and thrill with follow up singles ‘The Zoo’ and ‘100 Goosebumps’ that has seen the band bear resemblance to DIIV and Faust.

“Sonically charged post-punk that’s equal parts Interpol, DIIV, The Walkmen and A Place To Bury Strangers. Anthems for the disaffected in waiting”

BRAIDS – ” Companion “

Posted: May 6, 2016 in MUSIC
Tags: ,


Braids “Companion”  a new EP, due out May 20th via Arbutus/Flemish Eye. The four-track effort consists of songs written during the sessions for one of last years best albums Deep in the Iris.
Vulnerability. In lyric, in tone, in performance. You three find a means of connecting even through your music videos. Really beautiful work. As a first listen, the Montreal outfit has shared the video for the title tracks. “Companion” is a moving, haunting track built on the heavy breaths of synths. The video is equally stirring, featuring frontwoman Raphaelle Standell-Preston singing to her own doppelgänger while roaming a sophisticated yet stark desert abode. Whatever love or loss she’s touching on in the track is clearly something personally powerful, as more than once it brings a tear to her eye.

So fortunate to have had the opportunity to collaborate with animator Stephen McNally. Through his genius animation, he’s captured the lyrical theme – the desire to be loved yet a longing to be whole on one’s own.

We’re playing shows in Europe over the next month, put on your warm jacket and make the trek to come experience us

Braids “Deep In The Iris” LP, Braids is an art rock band from Calgary, Alberta, currently based in Montreal, Quebec. Braids currently consists of Raphaelle Standell-Preston, Austin Tufts and Taylor Smith. The band met at a young age and began collaborating in high school

Braids.

Breakup records are nothing new. They’re one of the most practiced concoctions in pop music today but every now and then, one comes along that pushes the art form in new directions. “Deep in the Iris”, the third album from Montreal trio Braids, is one such album. Rather than continuing the evolution of their former sound—as displayed on 2013’s stark, searing “Flourish//Perish” the band instead takes a softer, sunnier approach. While the lyrics are as cutting and introspective as anything you’ll come across, the music is anything but. Departing from jarring arrangements, the band employs warm Björk-esque beats and inviting rhythmic soundscapes as a backdrop to Raphaelle Standell’s stunning vocal work. Deep in the Iris doesn’t so much explore new depths as it does new heights. It isn’t the sound of fracturing, but the healing process.

Braids “Deep In The Iris” LP
Out 28th April on Arbutus Records / Flemish Eye.

There’s placid grace to Deep In The Iris, the third and latest full-length by Braids, but don’t let that fool you. Something’s churning beneath the album’s calm, cool surface. Unlike Flourish // Perish, the Montreal trio’s icy, challenging record from 2013, Deep In The Iris represents a thaw: Throughout its nine songs, singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston and her cohorts Taylor Smith and Austin Tufts art-rock with melodic allure, confessional directness and quivering warmth. Where Flourish // Perish used prickly electronics and cavernous arrangements to hold humanity at arm’s length,Deep In The Iris turns those same elements into lulling hymns to cleansing and redemption. Braids is not only more approachable than ever; it’s downright magnetic.

Her breathy vocals, as liquid and acrobatic as ever, elevate a line that in lesser hands would have seemed clichéd. Meanwhile, the band underscores the bittersweet melancholy with hypnotic patterns of percussion and synths. The hooks are subtle, but they’re huge.

That boldness, both instrumentally and lyrically, is even more striking in “Miniskirt.” In the past, Standell-Preston has couched her lyrics in a haze of poetic abstraction; here, she goes for the throat, calling out misogyny, the male gaze and the language of slut-shaming with piercing, confessional force. The song could almost pass as an epic R&B ballad, at least at first: After a sumptuous, stadium-worthy intro, it corkscrews through a tangle of jittery beats and atmospheric eeriness that never wanders into self-indulgence. Even within the album’s most complex and confrontational track, there’s an immaculate pop edge that mesmerizes.

By the time “Warm Like Summer” bursts into a dazzle of soulful croons, glimmering loops and shuffling drums, it appears that the album’s springtime release is no accident: This is the sound of renewal and regrowth, as joyful and as painful as that can be. In “Letting Go,” Standell-Preston sings with dreamy contentment, “We laid on the bank and had our fill.” On the lush, stuffed-to-bursting Deep In The Iris, Braids has done exactly that.

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Art-tronica band Braids have dropped another track ahead of their third album Deep In The Iris”the gorgeous and emotive “Taste”. Braids have always had a certain grandeur about them: an appreciation for detail and majesty. A lot of their tracks sound like they’ve studied all the angels, nooks and musical hooks yet the trio’s writing never sounds forced. Most of Braids’ creative sounds are doused in such splendid dreamyness ,

Photo: Press

On “Taste” we hear a perfect balance of this organic writing paired with intricate song construction. “You’re exactly what I like/I will give you what you like”, singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston breathes on an ascending scale of classic piano chords and frenetic beats. Elsewhere, flowery guitar lines fill the void left between the stoic chords and scuttering rhythms, adding some needed body and colour.
It might be less electronic-focused than some of their previous offerings but “Taste” is no less compelling listen with its delicate, interlocking features. “Deep In The Iris” is out 27th April via Arbutus  Records. Braids – Deep In The Iris
When’s it out? April 27th  Braids’ third album “explores a number of heavy subjects, including pornography, abuse and slut-shaming” wrote the Montreal group, announcing ‘Deep In The Iris’, which if single ‘Miniskirt’ is anything to go by, should captivate and move as much as its predecessor, 2013’s ‘Flourish / Perish’.