Posts Tagged ‘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.

Today we’re happy to announce Four Desires, a 4 track EP of our individual versions of “Desire”. 3 remixes and a cover. We had some time apart before touring started up this year, so each of us worked on a track at home.

You can get them today on special cassette thru Merge Records

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Released August 21st, 2018

Untitled (LA) is the second taste from Swearin’s upcoming full length Fall into the Sun, is their first for five years.

It is another cracking track. Opening on the back of a great riff, the song sets off in a hurry and doesn’t look back – melodic, garage punk at its best.

From the album Fall into the Sun, out October 5th, 2018 on Merge Records.

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It’s been 12 years, but Elephant 6 legends The Essex Green are back this 2018 with “Don’t Leave It in Our Hands.” Written about our generation’s increasing reliance on phones and technology, it’s a song that’s charged with equal amounts anxiety and pep, with the New York City trio’s power pop prowess shining through in the track’s brilliantly melodic chorus.

From the album Hardly Electronic, out June 29th, 2018 on Merge Records.

Funeral

After the release of this album, Arcade Fire’s popularity escalated at the same unwavering pace as lead-off track “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels).” What began with a twinkle and a passionate voice turned into a dance party before you knew it. The band’s rapid rise was a testament to word of mouth and a thrilling live show, but also the unmistakably winning material found on ‘Funeral.’ Like its title suggests, the album is both a mournful elegy and a celebration of life. Time signatures shift, guitars chug then blare, sweet noises drift in and out of earshot, and the folks in Arcade Fire never stop singing and shouting. It’s a beautiful slice of humanity.

I recall when I first bought it in 2005, I loved a couple of songs straight away, but wasn’t too sure about the rest of the album. Around two or three plays later and I was left in no doubt as to the greatness of the Canadian band’s first long player . When it was first released, I repeat-played Funeral like I was addicted to it; it made me feel euphoric, it brought me to tears… it made me feel so wonderfully alive. From the tinkling pianos that introduce the album like bubbling spring water on Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels), the music, from tiny buds, bloom into an utterly relentless, gorgeous monster of a song with a beautiful streak of romanticism running through its core; the imagery of building a tunnel through the snow from “my window to yours” is truly endearing. Neighborhood #2 starts off with a thumping drum beat and disjointed shouted lyric in the verse, but soon explodes into a string-backed, thrilling chorus which provides a sublime juxtaposition. “My eyes are shooting sparks” croons Win Butler in the soft, yet shimmering Une Annee Sans Lumière and, even this gentle, more conventional sounding song ends with a thrashed guitar and high-tempo outro.

Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) begins with a cacophony of percussive instruments and growling guitar, providing an adrenaline rush of drama and melody whereas #4 (7 Kettles) is a more subtle animal, a slow burning acoustic track augmented by persuasive strings which are simply beautiful. One song that made an immediate impact on me the very first time I heard this record is Crown Of Love, an unbelievably heart-breaking and gorgeous melody combined with the magnificent lyrics, which are a desperately sorrowful plea to win back a broken love; “In my heart there’s flowers growin’/on the grave of our old love/since you gave me a straight answer” The tempo shift and pounding strings at the end of the song is the superb finishing touch on that masterful piece.

It seems impossible to think that anything could come close to”Crown Of Love” at that moment and then the opening bars of “Wake Up” begin to rhythmically chug, a sparse drum beat joins in and then it explodes into one of the most glorious, euphoric, stunning tracks I’ve ever heard . “Wake Up” is a masterpiece, perhaps the defining moment on”Funeral” all the album is truly great, but this particular composition takes it to another level and the lyrics are excellent (any song that begins with “Somethin’ filled my heart with nothin’” wins my adoration instantly). After such a magnificent track, it’s fine that “Haiti” sounds a little ordinary, as it only suffers by comparison. In fact, it has a pretty, persistent riff which happens to masks the dark meaning of the lyrics. “Rebellion (Lies)” is a powerful, relentless song which draws you into the mesmerising groove until it throws the curveball of a minor key change and takes the listener in another direction completely. The final song, In The Backseat, which Regine performs with a perfect mix of fragility and feeling, is a melodic beauty and the metaphoric meaning in the lyrics weigh heavy when revealed in the last few lines of the song; it’s the final knockout blow on an album that packs many emotional punches.

For me, Arcade Fire’s debut album is not only one of the greatest albums of the 21st century so far, but one of the greatest albums of all time. It’s one of an exclusive group of records that I will still listen to at least a few times every year and, each time, the power and beauty of the work never cease to amaze and astonish me. The musical composition, the inspired choice of instruments, the lyrics, Win Butler’s vocals, the frequent changes in tempo and emotions; it’s as close to perfection as it could possibly be. Funeral is a breathtaking piece of work (often literally) that sounded nothing pretty much nothing like anything that ever came before it and, in my opinion, that they have never quite managed to top or even equal since. Funeral is an all time great and, quite seriously, up there with the greatest releases of any artist.

Arcade Fire

  • Win Butler – vocals, 12 string electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, synthesizer, bass
  • Régine Chassagne – vocals, drums, synthesizer, piano, accordion, xylophone, recorders, percussion, double bass
  • Richard Reed Parry – electric guitar, synthesizer, organ, piano, accordion, xylophone, percussion, double bass, engineering, recording
  • Tim Kingsbury – bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar
  • Howard Bilerman – drums, guitar, engineer, recording
  • William Butler – bass, xylophone, synthesizer, percussion

What it did: Introduced the band as a family-and-friends gang-cum-cult. So titled because several of the band’s family members died while it was being made, ‘Funeral’ is a towering and life-affirming work about dancing through the darkness.  ‘Wake Up’ was played at the start of Manchester City home games in 2006.

thanks Andysweeney

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Wye Oak’s fifth album pursues a litany of modern malaises, each track diligently addressing a new conflict and pinning it against walls of sound, with the song’s subject and shape inextricably and ingeniously linked. A gripping and powerful set of songs built with melodies, movement, and emotions that transcend even the best of their back catalogue.

Indie sophisticates Wye Oak return with the album “The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs”, the duo’s most vibrant and aurally dazzling record to date. The tonal change that began on 2014’s Shriek carries through to their fifth effort, whose dramatic polyrhythms and ever-shifting synth and guitar grooves resemble the interlocking gears of some fantastic timepiece. Since their 2006 debut, Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack have taken an increasingly less-straightforward path to achieve their musical means, working well beyond the minimalism of their guitar-and-drums personnel to create intricate but accessible modern pop music. Wasner’s excellent 2016 solo project, Flock of Dimes, is certainly a major influence on the current direction of  Wye Oak, placing a greater emphasis on bright, electronic-threaded production and arrangements that are somehow both sweeping and finely detailed. a more prominent multi-instrumentalism which is as heavy on guitar as on synths, loops, and other electronic elements from both players. Songs like “The Instrument,” “Symmetry,” and the dynamic title cut hurl along with an intrinsic energy, exploring the relationships of self, others, and sounds themselves. While honoring their guitar and drums roots, Wye Oak fill out their canvas with a variety of colors from the pensive underlying loops of the dreamy “You of All People” to the deeply atmospheric centerpiece, “My Signal,” which places Wasner’s gorgeous vocals over an elegant arrangement of strings and experimental pinging tones. When working together, their push and pull remains an attractive part of their appeal and never more so than on this exciting outing.

From the album The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs, out April 6, 2018 on Merge Records

We did our best mechanic impression and starred in a vid for “Desire” made by the great Heather Rappard. Check it out below! .

Ought the great Montreal post-punk outfit returned with their third album, “Room Inside The World”. It’s a dense, exciting new collection of songs, one that rewards spending some time with it and parsing all the different avenues the band ventures down across its nine songs. Of course, there were also tracks that didn’t require too much patience, compositions that immediately revealed themselves to be something special. One of those was “Desire,” a song that also acts as a highlight and centerpiece once heard in the context of Room Inside The World as a whole.

The video for “Desire.” The clip begins simply, a nicely filmed performance from the band interspersed with a narrative that follows a guy who affably but somewhat shyly goes about his daily routine. We see him go to work, meet a friend at a bar, and hit it off with a waitress at a coffee shop. But he really comes into his own when he dresses up in drag and winds up fronting Ought during the climactic build of “Desire.”

It’s a video that plays with the song’s central themes as well as gender. Here’s what director Heather Rappard had to say about the concept:

“Desire” as a song has a real triumphant quality and masculine energy; I wanted to take this and subvert it and create a video that focused more on internal desire. Something that was important to me was that the video feel cathartic and positive; I’ve seen a lot of videos that take on ideas around gender that have characters being assaulted, or just exoticized. I wanted this character to have a full life but be most empowered, happiest, and at peace with himself when he’s on stage at the end.

Room Inside the World is Ought’s third album and their first for Merge Records growing up doesn’t mean mellowing out so much as it means learning to pay attention, listening carefully and openly, staying somewhere long enough to really understand where you are. Recorded at Rare Book Room in Brooklyn with producer Nicolas Vernhes (Deerhunter, Animal Collective, Silver Jews), Room Inside the World explores themes that have always concerned the band—identity, connection, survival in a precarious world—but with a bolder, more nuanced sound palette. Vibraphone, justly intonated synthesizers, drum machines, and a 70-piece choir suffuse the precise post-punk breakdowns that spangled Ought’s first two albums, giving rise to an emotional complexity that pushes their characteristically taut sound to greater depths.

The band are in Austin this week for SXSW, performing on some great showcases before heading back out on our headline tour.