Posts Tagged ‘Merge Records’

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Washington DC power rock group Ex Hex came onto the scene in 2014 with their excellent, loud debut Rips. Filled with big, raucous waves of guitar, the album embodied the type of rock ‘n’ roll that genre devotees were hungry for, which made sense; Mary Timony, founder of the influential ‘90s riot grrrl group Helium, helms the group alongside Betsy Wright on guitar and Laura Harris on drums. Their second studio album, It’s Real, which arrives March 22nd via Merge Records, along with the premiere of “Cosmic Cave” a guitar-shimmering single that Timony calls “Old style Ex Hex.” It’s lively garage rock with a bittersweet swirl of a chorus and cavernous-sounding embellishments, best experienced beyond the boundaries of headphones.

Timony and Wright explained that It’s Real found its form through the deliberate collaboration between the pair  their knack for continuous refinement feeding into their tightness in sound, execution, and their will to experiment. Whether it’s recording with ten amps at once or indulging in the weird effects of an old ‘80s headphone amp, Ex Hex are fully devoted to crafting the best sounds for blaring at maximum volume.

From the album It’s Real, out March 22nd, 2019 on Merge Records.

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Bob Mould recently released the song “What Do You Want Me To Do” from his new full-length album Sunshine Rock (out February 8th) and shared a first-ever behind-the-scenes look at his time in the studio. Never before has Mould allowed a camera crew to affect the creative process; now he shares these moments with the public as the Sunshine Rock Studio Session, which debuted with the new single. Read more about the track and the session at Rolling Stone.

Mould has also revealed that Screaming Females, Criminal Hygiene, and Will Johnson of Centro-matic have been added as support, along with the previously announced Titus Andronicus, for select dates on his upcoming tour spanning North America and Europe, which starts on Valentine’s Day.

From the album Sunshine Rock, out February 8th, 2019 on Merge Records.

Katie Crutchfield’s Waxahatchee project has varied in style since her first album under the handle, 2012’s American Weekend. On that record and her sophomore effort, Cerulean Salt, she leaned wholly into a soft, acoustic bent, focusing on lyrics rather than guitar hoopla and production. Then, she changed direction again on last year’s Out in the Storm, a punk-fueled indie-rock machine. But she toured Out in the Storm as if it were her older, softer material, and her live show proved to be a haunting and intimate affair because of that. For her most recent North American leg, Crutchfield toured with two artists who also released excellent debut full-lengths this year, Anna St. Louis and Night Shop. They each performed an opening set, then St. Louis and Night Shop’s Justin Sullivan stepped in to play bass and drums, respectively, serving as Crutchfield’s backing band.

It was a very cool display of musical collaboration and something that doesn’t happen too often on an indie stalwart’s headlining tour. The three artists played some of the louder tunes from Out in the Storm, like “8 Ball” and rocking album opener “Never Been Wrong.” But Crutchfield finished out the show alone, seated at the piano with sheet music laid out before her, or at the mic with a guitar, playing acoustic versions of Out in the Storm tracks or true-to-recording renditions of songs from her excellent 2018 EP Great Thunder, which features songs she wrote while fronting an experimental-folk project of the same name.

From the album Out in the Storm, out now on Merge Records.

Waxahatchee “Out In The Storm” is a rock record wrought in, wrapped up and cathartically released by a relationship that fell apart. In an album that leans on the heavily riffed indie-rock of the ’90s, “Never Been Wrong” is the headbanger, with fists clenched tight and hearts wide. But it’s just like Katie Crutchfield, in the throes of crushing pain, to drop the song out and take a moment — to underscore the moment.

“And everyone,” she harmonizes a cappella, “will hear me complain / And everyone will pity my pain” — as we yell and whisper along.

Out In The Storm comes out July 14th on Merge Records .

Swearin' to Release New Album This Year, Share North American Tour Dates

Philadelphia-based indie-rock band Swearin’, featuring Allison Crutchfield, Kyle Gilbride, Jeff Bolt and Amanda Bartley, will release their first new music since 2013’s Surfing Strange this year.

The band recently played their first live shows in three years, opening for Superchunk on tour in the northeast U.S. Swearin’ have now signed a record deal with Merge Records and are set to release a new album later this year.

Gilbride said of the band’s reunion, forthcoming album and recent record deal:

If time were real, it would have healed our wounds, but it’s not, so we decided to make a rock record. And to make one the way we always have! Quickly, at home, and for no one in particular. Fortunately for us, Merge hadn’t dismissed us as an oddity from earlier in the decade and said, “sup with that record?”And with their help, we’ve been reintroduced to polite society. Sometimes a band takes on a life of its own, and it seems this one came back to us when it was ready, and in its new form, to stay for the foreseeable future.

The band also announced a new joint tour with Mike Krol in August on the West Coast, Swearin’ will play a pair of U.S. shows with Ought in as well.

Their record label, Merge, hinted that fans should stay tuned for upcoming Swearin’ news by following the band on Facebook and by following Allison Crutchfield on Instagram, too. after releasing two beloved full-lengths, 2012’s Swearin’ and 2013’s Surfing Strange, the Philadelphian band quietly put things on hold.

It was due, at least in part, to the band’s main songwriters, Allison Crutchfield and Kyle Gilbride, ending their romantic relationship. but when the band found themselves in a room again years later, the conversation turned back to Swearin’. “without any hesitation or inhibitions,” said Crutchfield, “we asked, ‘what would it take from each of us? what would we want to accomplish if we decided to be a band again?’” they realized that what they all wanted was to not just play shows, but to make a new record. they wanted to do something that reflected the people they’d become during those intervening years. before long, Crutchfield and Gilbride had a new batch of Swearin’ songs, ones that meshed with the sound they’d originally developed together but boldly pushed things forward. Fall Into the Sun is a Swearin’ record that doesn’t try to obscure the passage of time but instead embraces it. “getting older, your tastes change, and what you want to do changes,” said Bolt. that can be seen in songs like “big change,” where Crutchfield says goodbye to Philly and the scene that she came up in, or in “dogpile,” where Gilbride offers the line any aging punk can relate to: “by pure dumb luck i’ve gotten where i’m going.” “there was a lot on our minds, and it was a super fertile time to put a bunch of songs together,” said Gilbride. it’s true of the material found on Fall Into the Sun, but it’s noticeable in the album’s production, too. much like the band’s previous albums, Gilbride anchored the recording and producing of the record, but this time around, the band worked to make the process feel more collaborative than ever before. “i feel like this was the first time i could look at a Swearin’ record and say that i co-produced it, and that felt really good,” said Crutchfield. Listening to Fall Into the Sun, Swearin’ is a more confident, collaborative version than the one people first came to know.

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Released October 5th, 2018
Swearin’ is
Jeff Bolt 
Kyle Gilbride 
Allison Crutchfield 

All songs written by Allison Crutchfield and Kyle Gilbride

Clocking in at a mere 40 minutes, Ought’s third studio album Room Inside the World earnestly delivers with strategic, unexpected song development and passionate, yearning lyrics. This is not a one-note album.This record champions the Canadian outfit’s ability to embrace a multitude of sounds, bridging the gaps between several similar, yet very different genres. While some songs are naturally rock ’n’ roll, others are pure post-punk, digging into Joy Division-like vocals and progressive bass-driven blocks. Room Inside the World takes you for a winding, unpredictable ride, one that ends much earlier than you’d like, leaving you wanting more.

“Disgraced in America,” from this Montreal post-punk band Ought’s album Room Inside the World, is a song led by Tim Darcy’s melodramatic, at times Bowie-esque and other times Ian Curtis-esque, lead vocals, which are so painstaking, impactful and heart-wrenching, they would make an enthralling a cappella track. The track also includes robotic keyboards, jangly, melodic guitars, crying horns and chaotic, dense percussion worth getting lost in.

From the album Room Inside the World, out now on Merge Records / Royal Mountain.

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Indie-folk guitarist William Tyler has released the first single from his forthcoming LP “Fail Safe.” from “Goes West” is Tyler’s first new album since 2016’s Modern Country and is scheduled for release on January. 2th5, 2019. The intricately woven, guitar-based instrumental feels like a journey, with his acoustic as star of the show. The strings layer, growing through the track’s end, giving it a sense of restlessness and excitement—of choosing not to stay stagnant but also embracing the change. Whatever downsides moving cross-country to sunny California may have, the impact on Tyler’s music certainly isn’t one. In a statement about the album, M.C. Taylor (of Hiss Golden Messenger) described the “emotional clarity” of Tyler’s forthcoming album. “It offered up a model for what I wanted my head to feel like,” said Taylor. “Goes West marks a sort of narrowing of focus for William’s music; it sounds as though he found a way to point himself directly towards the rich and bittersweet emotional center of his music without being distracted by side trips.

From the album Goes West, out January 25th, 2019 on Merge Records

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William Tyler will follow his sweeping 2016 album Modern Country with a new record entitled Goes West, the great Nashville-bred guitarist he’s released a new track called “Fail Safe,” a brief but luminous instrumental built on Tyler’s own graceful playing and a thwacking polyrhythmic backbeat.

A prodigiously skilled player with roots in folk, country, and rock’n’roll, Tyler got his start with stints in Lambchop and Silver Jews in the late ’90s before releasing a string of increasingly acclaimed solo albums beginning with 2010’s Behold the Spirit.That record found him toying with the borders of the so-called “American primitive” tradition, the style named and popularized by John Fahey in the 1960s, featuring elaborate compositions based on folk forms for solo fingerpicked steel-string acoustic guitar. (Tyler’s twists on the genre’s conventions included occasional trombone accompaniment and snippets of nocturnal field recordings.) He’s expanded his sound gradually since then, often playing electric guitar and with a full backing ensemble, culminating so far with Modern Country, an album that sounded as much like the widescreen productions of Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno as it did like down-home folk.

This trajectory continues with “Fail Safe,” a breezy melodic tune whose arrangement reveals new layers of resonance with each listen. According to a press release, Tyler is back to playing acoustic guitar only for this album, though he is accompanied by two great electric players in Meg Duffy and jazz legend Bill Frisell. Goes West will be released via Merge January 25th.

From the album Goes West, out January 25, 2019 on Merge Records.

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Indie rockers Swearin’ are due to release their first album in five years, “Fall Into the Sun”. In 2015, the band split and singer/guitarist Allison Crutchfield released her debut solo album, Tourist in This Town, last year. Following the release of their 2012 self-titled debut and 2013’s Surfing Strange, Swearin’ are back with perhaps their most riveting and urgent work so far. “After breaking up the band for several years, Crutchfield and co-singer-guitarist Kyle Gilbride, alongside drummer Jeff Bolt, have reunited for their third, and most fully realized, record to date,”  “On eleven songs that blend the newly energized band’s Nineties punk foundation with classic rock riffs and newfound singer-songwriter sincerity, the band interweaves a multi-layered, moving narrative of hurt, aging, and reconciliation that draws its energy from the narrative tension between Crutchfield and Gilbride’s starkly different songwriting styles.

“Untitled (LA),” is a spunky and rousing slice of guitar-pop, “Grow Into a Ghost” is a punchy, fuzzy jab of punk. “Anyway” is an introspective, inquisitive acoustic ballad. And “Future Hell” is one of the most animated mid-tempo jams you’ll hear this year. The lyrics that make up Fall Into The Sun approach touching, intimate and nostalgic storytelling with such care and the peppy, dynamic riffs, earnest vocals and pounding rhythm section will keep you dancing all night long

Here’s Fogelnest on how the collaboration came to be:

Allison wanted to do two videos that were somehow connected to each other. I’ve always been a huge William Castle fan, and I thought it would be fun to shoot the “Grow into a Ghost” video using his Illusion-O gimmick. The “ghost viewers” people were given to watch his film 13 Ghosts in 1960 were nothing more than modified anaglyph 3D glasses. So, that opened the door to shoot the “Future Hell” video 3D, too. The red and blue glasses would connect the two videos.

It’s awesome Merge sent out 3D glasses to people who pre-ordered the album, but even cooler that you can pick them up at record stores. It’s like when they used to show 3D movies on TV in the ‘80s and you’d get your glasses at Wawa or 7-Eleven. The videos also look cool if you don’t have glasses, but hopefully people will be inspired to hunt down a pair for the full experience.

On Avery Island is the debut and penultimate studio album by American indie rock band Neutral Milk Hotel. It was released on March 26th, 1996 by Merge Records. “On Avery Island”, is an inscrutable concept album, a chronicle of an insular world told in a remarkably universal language. A fuzzy masterpiece of experimental lo-fi recording, the album wraps its ragged pop songs in ribbons of loops, marching-band squawks, and Casio noodling; the opener, “Song Against Sex,” is as much a manifesto as a kickoff, a self-propelled marvel hopped up on rapid-fire wordplay and a stunningly ramshackle melody punctuated by bloated trombone moans. Throughout the record, Jeff Mangum’s wheels threaten to fly off at any time — his songs are cryptic and crazed, his ideas fast and furious, and together they force the home-recording concept out of the basement and into a brave new world.

Neutral Milk Hotel has its origins in the small town of Ruston, LA. Jeff Mangum has always been Neutral Milk Hotel’s central figure, and he’s used that moniker for everything from his own solo excursions to marching band-like musical happenings.

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This limited-edition deluxe Hiss Golden Messenger 4-LP box set includes remastered reissues of Bad Debt, Poor Moon, and Haw plus Virgo Fool, a bonus album of Hiss rarities available physically only with this collection.

Individually numbered in a one-time pressing of 2,200, the four-album set is housed in a beautiful cloth-wrapped slipcase with three-color foil detailing and includes an exclusive foldout poster. Each LP is pressed on black vinyl (with full download) and includes a two-sided insert with liner notes and full lyrics, all housed in a heavyweight jacket with a debossed cover.

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Released on November 2nd, Hiss Golden Messenger will release Devotion: Songs About Rivers and Spirits and Children, a limited-edition deluxe box set which includes remastered reissues of the classic Hiss albums Bad Debt, Poor Moon, and Haw as well as Virgo Fool, a rarities compilation that will only be available physically as part of this collection. Both the 4-CD and 4-LP sets are housed in a cloth-wrapped, foil-stamped slipcase and feature original iconographic artwork by Sam Smith, an exclusive foldout poster, full lyrics, and new liner notes by New Yorker writer Amanda Petrusich and MOJO editor John Mulvey. The vinyl set also includes a digital download of all tracks.

The 4-LP / 4-CD box set Devotion, Songs About Rivers and Spirits and Children is out November 2nd, 2018 on Merge Records.