Posts Tagged ‘Sun Kil Moon’

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This week we have a superb collection of early material from The Fleet Foxes, including their seminal debut album, a couple EP’s and some well-worth-it B-Sides and outtakes. It’s a hefty swathe of music, and all in a lovely clamshell box affair inc liner notes and booklet.

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J Mascis – Elastic Days

Everyone’s favourite tiny dinosaur is back too, with Mr. Mascis‘ first solo release since 2014’s ‘Tied To A Star’ encompassing aspects of Dinosaur Jr’s rockier moments but imbued with tender folkish acousticry, swooning Americana and soaring rock solos, delivered with the unmistakable gravelly vox we’ve come to know and love from Mr. M. 

Since then, through the reformation of the original Dinosaur Jr lineup in 2005, J has recorded solo albums now and then. And those album, Sings and Chant for AMMA (2005), Several Shades of Why (2011) and Tied to a Star (2014) had all delivered incredible sets of songs presented with a minimum of bombast and a surfeit of cool. Like its predecessors, Elastic Days was recorded at J’s own Bisquiteen studio. Mascis does almost all his own stunts, although Ken Miauri (who also appeared on Tied to a Star) plays keyboards and there are a few guest vocal spots. These include old mates Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession), and Mark Mulcahy (Miracle Legion, etc.), as well as the newly added voice of Zoë Randell (Luluc) among others. But the show is mostly J’s and J’s alone. For those expecting the hallucinatory overload of Dinosaur Jr’s live attack, the gentleness of the approach here will draw easy comparisons to Neil Young’s binary approach to working solo versus working with Crazy Horse. This is a lazy man’s shorthand, but it still rings true. Elastic Days brims with great moments. Epic hooks that snare you in surprisingly subtle ways, guitar textures that slide against each other like old lovers, and structures that range from a neo-power-ballad (Web So Dense) to jazzily-canted West Coasty post-psych (Give It Off) to a track that subliminally recalls the keyboard approach of Scott Thurston-era Stooges (Drop Me). The album plays out with a combination of holism and variety that is certain to set many brains ablaze.

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In November 1968, millions of double LPs were shipped to record stores worldwide ahead of that tumultuous year’s most anticipated music event: the November 22nd release of The BEATLES (soon to be better known as ‘The White Album’). With their ninth studio album, The Beatles took the world on a whole new trip, side one blasting off with the exhilarating rush of a screaming jet escorting Paul McCartney’s punchy, exuberant vocals on “Back In The U.S.S.R.” “Dear Prudence” came next, John Lennon warmly beckoning his friend and all of us to “look around.” George Harrison imparted timeless wisdom in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” singing, “With every mistake we must surely be learning.” Ringo Starr’s “Don’t Pass Me By” marked his first solo songwriting credit on a Beatles album. For 50 years, ‘The White Album’ has invited its listeners to venture forth and explore the breadth and ambition of its music, delighting and inspiring each new generation in turn.

For it’s 50th anniversary, The Beatles release a suite of lavishly presented ‘White Album’ packages. The album’s 30 tracks are newly mixed by producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell in stereo and 5.1 surround audio, joined by 27 early acoustic demos and 50 session takes, most of which are previously unreleased in any form.

“We had left Sgt. Pepper’s band to play in his sunny Elysian Fields and were now striding out in new directions without a map,” says Paul McCartney in his written introduction for the new ‘White Album’ releases.

This is the first time The BEATLES (‘White Album’) has been remixed and presented with additional demos and session recordings. The album’s sweeping new edition follows 2017’s universally acclaimed Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition releases. To create the new stereo and 5.1 surround audio mixes for ‘The White Album,’ Martin and Okell worked with an expert team of engineers and audio restoration specialists at Abbey Road Studios in London. All the new ‘White Album’ releases include Martin’s new stereo album mix, sourced directly from the original four-track and eight-track session tapes. Martin’s new mix is guided by the album’s original stereo mix produced by his father, George Martin.

“In remixing ‘The White Album,’ we’ve tried to bring you as close as possible to The Beatles in the studio,” explains Giles Martin in his written introduction for the new edition. “We’ve peeled back the layers of the ‘Glass Onion’ with the hope of immersing old and new listeners into one of the most diverse and inspiring albums ever made.”

The minimalist artwork for ‘The White Album’ was created by artist Richard Hamilton, one of Britain’s leading figures in the creation and rise of pop art. The top-loading gatefold sleeve’s stark white exterior had ‘The BEATLES’ embossed on the front and printed on the spine with the album’s catalogue number. Early copies of ‘The White Album’ were also individually numbered on the front, which has also been done for the new edition’s Super Deluxe package. The set’s six CDs and Blu-ray disc are housed in a slipsleeved 164-page hardbound book, with pull-out reproductions of the original album’s four glossy color portrait photographs of John, Paul, George, and Ringo, as well as the album’s large fold-out poster with a photo collage on one side and lyrics on the other. The beautiful book is illustrated with rare photographs, reproductions of handwritten and notated lyrics, previously unpublished photos of recording sheets and tape boxes, and reproduced original ‘White Album’ print ads. The book’s comprehensive written pieces include new introductions by Paul McCartney and Giles Martin, and in-depth chapters covering track-by-track details and session notes reflecting The Beatles’ year between the release of ‘Sgt. Pepper’ and recording sessions for ‘The White Album,’ the band’s July 28 1968 “Mad Day Out” photo shoot in locations around London, the album artwork, the lead-up and execution of the album’s blockbuster release, and its far-ranging influence, written by Beatles historian, author and radio producer Kevin Howlett; journalist and author John Harris; and Tate Britain’s Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Andrew Wilson.

The Deluxe 3CD is presented in an embossed digipak with the fold-out poster and portrait photos, plus a 24-page booklet abridged from the Super Deluxe book. Presented in a lift-top box with a four-page booklet, the limited edition Deluxe 4LP vinyl set presents the 2LP album in a faithful, embossed reproduction of its original gatefold sleeve with the fold-out poster and portrait photos, paired with the 2LP Esher Demos in an embossed gatefold sleeve.

Much of the initial songwriting for ‘The White Album’ was done in Rishikesh, India between February and April 1968, when John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr joined a course at the Maharishi’s Academy of Transcendental Meditation. In a postcard to Ringo, who had returned to England before the others, John wrote, “we’ve got about two L.P.s worth of songs now so get your drums out.”

During the last week of May, The Beatles gathered at George’s house in Esher, Surrey, where they recorded acoustic demos for 27 songs. Known as the Esher Demos, all 27 recordings are included in the new edition’s Deluxe and Super Deluxe packages, sourced from the original four-track tapes. Twenty-one of the demoed songs were recorded during the subsequent studio sessions, and 19 were ultimately finished and included on ‘The White Album.’

The Beatles’ studio sessions for The BEATLES (‘White Album’) began on May 30, 1968 at Abbey Road Studios. In the 20 weeks that followed, The Beatles devoted most of their time to sessions there for the new album, with some recording also done at Trident Studios. The final session for the album took place at Abbey Road on October 16, a 24-hour marathon with producer George Martin to sequence the double album’s four sides and to complete edits and cross-fades between its songs. The Beatles’ approach to recording for ‘The White Album’ was quite different from what they had done for ‘Sgt. Pepper.’ Rather than layering individually overdubbed parts on a multi-track tape, many of the ‘White Album’ session takes were recorded to four-track and eight-track tape as group performances with a live lead vocal. The Beatles often recorded take after take for a song, as evidenced by the Super Deluxe set’s Take 102 for “Not Guilty,” a song that was not included on the album. This live-take recording style resulted in a less intricately structured, more unbridled album that would shift the course of rock music and cut a path for punk and indie rock.

The Beatles’ newly adopted method of recording all through the night was time consuming and exhausting for their producer, George Martin. Martin had other duties, including his management of AIR (Associated Independent Recording), and he had also composed the orchestral score for The Beatles’ animated feature film, Yellow Submarine, released in July 1968. After the first three months of ‘White Album’ sessions, Martin took a three-week holiday from the studio, entrusting the control room to his young assistant Chris Thomas and balance engineer Ken Scott. Scott had taken the place of engineer Geoff Emerick, who left the sessions in mid-July. On August 22, Ringo Starr also left the sessions, returning 11 days later to find his drum kit adorned with flowers from his bandmates. While the sessions’ four and a half months of long hours and many takes did spark occasional friction in the studio, the session recordings reveal the closeness, camaraderie, and collaborative strengths within the band, as well as with George Martin.

The BEATLES (‘White Album’) was the first Beatles album to be released on the group’s own Apple Records label. Issued in both stereo and mono for the U.K. and in stereo for the U.S., the double album was an immediate bestseller, entering the British chart at number one and remaining there for eight of the 22 weeks it was listed. ‘The White Album’ also debuted at number one on the U.S. chart, holding the top spot for nine weeks of its initial 65-week chart run. In his glowing ‘White Album’ review for Rolling Stone, the magazine’s co-founder Jann Wenner declared: “It is the best album they have ever released, and only The Beatles are capable of making a better one.” In the U.S., ‘The White Album’ is 19-times platinum-certified by the RIAA and in 2000, it was inducted into the Recording Academy’s GRAMMY® Hall of Fame, recognizing “recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance.”

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Boygenius  –

Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus formed boygenius after booking a tour together, but the trio had subconsciously been in the works for longer than that. Through a series of tours and performances together, and chance encounters that led to friendships – including Bridgers’ and Dacus’ first in-person meeting backstage at a Philadelphia festival, greenroom hangouts that felt instantly comfortable and compatible, a couple of long email chains and even a secret handshake between Baker and Dacus – the lyrically and musically arresting singer-songwriters and kindred spirits got to know each other on their own terms.

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Fleet Foxes  –  First Collection

First Collection 2006-2009 is a special limited edition collection to mark the 10th year anniversary of Fleet Foxes’ debut album.
The collection comprises content spanning the early days of the group’s career, including the eponymous debut album, as well as the Sun Giant EP, The Fleet Foxes EP, and a compilation of B-sides & Rarities.

Available on limited edition 4-disc vinyl, as well as CD, the release also includes an extensive booklet featuring show flyers, lyrics, and artwork from the period.

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Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers – Bought to Rot

14 tracks spanning Laura Jane Grace’s fractured relationship with her adopted hometown of Chicago, true friendship, complicated romance, and reconciling everything in the end, Bought to Rot stands as the most musically diverse collection of songs Grace has written to date.
Inspired in large part by Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever, the first album Grace ever owned, Bought to Rot finds her at the same age Petty was when he created his solo debut masterpiece. In light of his recent passing, Grace was motivated to pay homage to one of her lifelong heroes.

Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers are Laura Jane Grace, Atom Willard, and Marc Jacob Hudson. Grace is a musician, author, and activist best known as the founder, lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist of the punk rock band Against Me!. Willard, also of Against Me!, is a drummer who has played in iconic punk bands such as Rocket from the Crypt, Social Distortion, and The Offspring. Devouring Mothers bassist Hudson is a recordist and mixer at Rancho Recordo, a recording studio and creative space in the woods of Michigan, and the sound engineer for Against Me

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The Beths  –  Future Me Hates Me

The Beths from New Zealand occupy a warm, energetic sonic space between joyful hooks, sun-soaked harmonies, and acerbic lyrics. Their debut album Future Me Hates Me on Carpark Records, delivers an astonishment of roadtrip-ready pleasures, each song hitting your ears with an exhilarating endorphin rush like the first time you heard The Breeders / Jale / Veruca Salt..

Front and center on these ten infectious tracks is lead singer and primary songwriter Elizabeth Stokes. Stokes has previously worked in other genres within Auckland’s rich and varied music scene, recently playing in a folk outfit, but it was in exploring the angst-ridden sounds of her youth that she found her place. From the irresistible title track to future singles Happy Unhappy and You Wouldn’t Like Me, Stokes commands a vocal range that spans from the brash confidence of Joan Jett to the disarming vulnerability of Jenny Lewis.

Beths guitarist and studio guru Jonathan Pearce (whose other acts as producer include recent Captured Tracks signing, Wax Chattels brings it all home with an approach that’s equal parts seasoned perfectionist and D.I.Y. Channeling their stew of personal-canon heroes while drawing inspiration from contemporaries like Alvvays and Courtney Barnett, The Beths serve up deeply emotional lyrics packaged within heavenly sounds that delight in probing the limits of the pop form. “That’s another New Zealand thing,” Stokes concludes with a laugh. “We’re putting our hearts on our sleeves—and then apologizing for it.” The result is nothing less than one of the standout records of 2018.

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The Wave Pictures -Look Inside Your Heart

The Wave Pictures return with the promised second album of the year, Look Inside Your Heart – a warm, joyous record celebrating friendship, happiness and drunken party times. Like the first album they released this year, the more contemplative Brushes With Happiness, this one was recorded late at night whilst inebriated back at the tiny Booze Cube Studio in Stoke Newington, live to reel-to-reel tape with no computers of any kind. The album is peppered with giggles and chatter, which adds a sense of spontaneity and place.

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Sun Kil Moon – This Is My Dinner

Prolific singer / songwriter Mark Kozelek presents yet another Sun Kil Moon album, focusing less on actual singing and more on storytelling and observation. The 10-track effort follows the chronological journey of Sun Kil Moon’s November 2017 European tour. After the trek, the band set up shop at TAPF Studio in Copenhagen, Denmark before finishing the record at San Francisco, California’s Hyde Street Studios. In addition to eight original numbers, This Is My Dinner includes a cover of AC/DC’s Rock ‘N Roll Singer (featuring Jordan Cook of Reignwolf) and the iconic theme song to The Partridge Family, Come On Get Happy.

Mary Lattimore and Meg Baird  –  Ghost Forests

Musical conversations between Meg Baird (Espers) and Mary Lattimore are intimate, fluid, effortless and spontaneous. They’re filled with the euphoria of creation and, at times, they articulate hard truths and tangled emotions with an ease only trusted friends can manage. The songs alternate between extended ethereal instrumental excursions, gauzy and dreamy pop, blown-out Bull of the Woods heavy haze, and modern re-imaginations of epic traditional balladry all while touching on the strange and otherworldly places between these stations.

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Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland 50th Anniversary Edition

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s 1968 album Electric Ladyland. Electric Ladyland was remastered by Bernie Grundman, who did an analog direct to disc vinyl transfer of the original LP, as well as a new 5.1 surround sound mix of the original album by Hendrix’s original engineer Eddie Kramer. The box set includes Electric Ladyland: The Early Takes with demos, studio outtakes, and more. It also includes the 1997 documentary At Last… The Beginning: The Making of Electric Ladyland on Blu-ray and the unreleased live recording Jimi Hendrix Experience: Live at the Hollywood Bowl 9/14/68. The 50th anniversary reissue arrives with a 48-page book featuring Jimi’s handwritten lyrics, poem, and instructions to his record label Reprise, previously unpublished photos from studio sessions by Kramer, and more. The Deluxe Edition comes with new cover art that features a photo of the band at New York City’s Alice in Wonderland statue by Linda McCartneyHendrix’s personal choice for the album art. Electric Ladyland was Hendrix’s last studio album. It included the iconic tracks Voodoo Child, their cover of Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower, Crosstown Traffic, and others. It was the only Hendrix LP to reach No. 1 on the Billboard chart.

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Dave Kusworth  –  World of Dave Kusworth Vol 1 and 2

Career spanning anthology from 1983-2018, includes newly remastered classic tracks from The Jacobites, The Bounty Hunters, The Tenderhooks and The Dave Kusworth Group as well as solo material including a track from the as yet, unreleased new album 22b.The very first time a ‘Best Of ‘has been committed to vinyl. Compiled by Dave himself and designed by long standing designer Dave Twist.

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Alela Diane – The Pirate’s Gospel (Deluxe Edition)

An Album Of The Year when it was first released and it is still an Essential listen. Now with a swanky remastered edition of Alela Diane’s first mythical album including 10 bonus tracks. 2006’s The Pirate’s Gospel was the debut release from singer and songwriter Alela Diane. Hailing from the deep woods and winding rivers of Northern California Gold Rush town Nevada City, Alela grew up singing songs with her parents (both musicians). During a stay in San Francisco in 2003, she began teaching herself guitar and writing her first songs, blending tense, trance-like arpeggios, with warm, thick vocals and meditative lyrics about family and nature. Written in response to a loss of home and familiarity, The Pirate’s Gospel is a powerful document of personal re-evaluation and renewal set against the backdrop of generations past and future, mothers and fathers, life, death, and birth.

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Jethro Tull – This Was – The 50th Anniversary Edition

After several name changes, Jethro Tull played its first show as Jethro Tull in February 1968. Months later, Ian Anderson, Mick Abrahams, Glenn Cornick and Clive Bunker released the band’s debut – This Was. The album debuted at number 10 on the U.K. album chart, but more important, it was the first step in a 50-year (and counting) journey that made Jethro Tull one of the world’s most successful progressive rock bands. To celebrate the album’s 50th anniversary, a special deluxe edition

Recorded during the summer of 1968, This Was is the only Jethro Tull album to feature guitarist Mick Abrahams, who left the group shortly after the album came out to form Blodwyn Pig. The title of the album refers to the band moving away from its early blues-based sound, which was referenced in the original liner notes: “This was how we were playing then – but things change – don’t they?” The album includes songs that have been in and out of Jethro Tull’s live show for 50 years, like My Sunday Feeling and Beggar’s Farm. Also featured are several bonus tracks: Love Story, A Christmas Song. Sunshine Day and Aeroplane. In 1968, BBC Radio featured the band twice on its award-winning program, “BBC Top Gear Session.” Both of those performances – nine songs in total – are featured on the second disc, including live versions of Serenade To A Cuckoo, Love Story and My Sunday Feeling. Rounding out the disc are b-sides, outtakes, radio advertisements, and an unreleased mono mix of Someday The Sun Won’t Shine For You(Faster Version). The final CD features the album’s original U.K. stereo mix and its original mono mix.

The DVD features the original album and bonus tracks remixed by Steven Wilson in 4.1 DTS and AC3 Dolby Digital surround and 96/24 LPCM stereo. There are also 5.1 surround versions of Love Story and A Christmas Song. Also included in 96/24 LPCM stereo is the 1969 stereo mix that was released in the U.S.

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Ride  – Weather Diaries

Ride release their first album in over twenty years, ‘Weather Diaries’ on June 16th via Wichita Recordings.

Produced by legendary DJ, producer and remixer Erol Alkan, ‘Weather Diaries’ is packed with all the classic elements that made Ride one of the defining bands of the early ‘90s. Trembling distortion, beautiful harmonies, pounding rhythms, shimmering soundscapes and great songwriting all combine to make an album that’s ambitious in scope, timeless and thoroughly addictive. The album will be released through Wichita Recordings and sees the band reunited with label co-founders Mark Bowen and Dick Green, who worked with Ride during the band’s early years on Creation Records. It also brings the band back together with mixer Alan Moulder (Arctic Monkeys, Smashing Pumpkins, The Killers) who mixed their seminal 1990 album ‘Nowhere’ and produced it’s follow up ‘Going Blank Again’.

The revitalised four piece – comprising of Andy Bell, Mark Gardener, Laurence Colbert, and Steve Queralt – reformed and returned to the live scene in 2014, selling out headline tours around the world to a plethora of critical acclaim, as well as show stopping turns at festivals including Coachella, Primavera and Field Day. More than that though, the British music sphere especially has been littered with bands heavily indebted to Ride and their peers. The likes of The Horrors, School Of Seven Bells and labels such as Sonic Cathedral have ensured that shoegaze is a sound that’s eternally relevant.

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Royal Blood  -How Did We Get So Dark?

After becoming the biggest breaking British rock band with their self-titled 2014 debut album, Royal Blood’s release their eagerly anticipated second album How Did We Get So Dark? released on Warner Bros. Records. The ten tracks that feature on How Did We Get So Dark? were written in instrumental form during sessions in Brighton, Hollywood, Los Angeles and Nashville. Always trying to explore ways of stripping their enormous sound back to give it more space and impact, inspiration for the lyrics came from events in vocalist / bassist Mike Kerr’s life since the band first found huge success. In November 2016. Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher, along with producer Jolyon Thomas, spent six weeks in a studio in Brussels that was decked out like a New York diner and featured a warehouse of antique gear. How Did We Get So Dark? was subsequently completed after a final session in London with their debut album’s co-producer Tom Dalgety. There are times where Royal Blood are more visceral than ever – notably the gargantuan introduction to Hook, Line and Sinker and also the intense denouement that brings Looks Like You Know to a close. While the album finds Royal Blood refining their melodic might, there are other moments that fulfil their aim to create songs that will add new dimensions to their live sets. Adorned with Kerr’s falsetto, Don’t Tell drops the intensity to mesmerising effect, while Where Are You Now? pulsates with a bounding energy that’s quite a step apart from anything else in their catalogue. The Royal Blood palette is also expanded with the complementary addition of piano or keyboards on four tracks, including the foreboding album closer Sleep.

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Fleet Foxes  –  Crack Up 

Crack-Up is Fleet Foxes’ long awaited and highly anticipated third album. It comes six years after the 2011 release of Helplessness Blues and nearly a decade since the band’s 2008 self-titled debut.

All eleven of the songs on Crack-Up were written by Robin Pecknold. The album was co-produced by Pecknold and Skyler Skjelset, his longtime bandmate, collaborator, and childhood friend. Crack-Up was recorded at various locations across the United States between July 2016 and January 2017: at Electric Lady Studios, Sear Sound, The Void, Rare Book Room, Avast, and The Unknown. Phil Ek mixed the album, at Sear Sound, and it was mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound. Fleet Foxes is Robin Pecknold (vocals, multi-instrumentalist), Skyler Skjelset (multi-instrumentalist, vocals), Casey Wescott (multi-instrumentalist, vocals), Christian Wargo (multi-instrumentalist, vocals), and Morgan Henderson (multi-instrumentalist).

Fleet Foxes’ self-titled debut made a profound impact on the international musical landscape, earning them Uncut’s first ever Music Award Prize, and topping numerous ‘Best of’ lists, including Rolling Stone’s 100 Best Albums of the 2000’s and Pitchfork’s 50 Best Albums of 2008. Fleet Foxes is certified Gold in North America and Platinum in both the UK and Australia. The follow-up album Helplessness Blues was met with the same critical praise as its predecessor;s .

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Big Star  –  Best Of Big Star 

Best of Big Star is part of a wide-ranging, year-long initiative celebrating Stax Records’ 60th anniversary. Formed in 1971 by singer/songwriters Alex Chilton (1950-2010) and Chris Bell (1951-1978), drummer Jody Stephens (b. 1952) and bassist Andy Hummel (1951-2010), the Memphis-based group is now considered to be one of the most influential bands in modern music, having inspired some of the biggest alt-rock artists of the ’80s, ’90s and beyond. An underground core of fanatical enthusiasts kept the fire burning. The Replacements famously released “Alex Chilton,” a song that paid tribute to Big Star’s songwriting genius. R.E.M.’s Peter Buck said, “Big Star served as a Rosetta Stone for a whole generation of musicians.”

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Kevin Morby  –  City Music 

City Music is the new album by Kevin Morby. Full of listless wanderlust, it’s a collection inspired by and devoted to the metropolitan experience across America and beyond by a songwriter cast from his own mold. As he puts it: “It is a mix-tape, a fever dream, a love letter dedicated to those cities that I cannot get rid of, to those cities that are all inside of me.”

His fourth album, City Music works as a counterpart to Morby’s acclaimed 2016 release Singing Saw, an autobiographical set that reflected the solitude and landscape in which it was recorded. Saw was imagined as “an old bookshelf with a young Bob and Joni staring back at me, blank and timeless. They live here, in this left side of my brain, smoking cigarettes and playing acoustic guitars while lying on an unmade bed.”

And now follows City Music, the yang to its yin, the heads to its tails. It is a collection crafted using the other side of its creator’s brain, the jumping off point perhaps best once again encapsulated by an image. “Here, Lou Reed and Patti Smith stare out at the listener,” explains Morby. “Stretched out on a living room floor they are somewhere in mid-70s Manhattan, also smoking cigarettes.” It finds Morby exploring similar themes of solitude, but this time framed by a window of an uptown apartment that looks down upon an international urban landscape “exposed like a giant bleeding wound.”

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Jason Isbell and The 400 UnitThe Nashville Sound 

The Nashville Sound was recorded at Nashville’s legendary RCA Studio A and produced by Grammy Award-winner Dave Cobb, who produced ‘Something More Than Free’ and Isbell’s celebrated 2013 breakthrough album ‘Southeastern’.

‘The Nashville Sound’ features 10 new songs that address a range of subjects that include, politics and cultural privilege (“White Man’s World”) longing nostalgia (“The Last Of My Kind”), love and mortality (“If We Were Vampires”), the toxic effect of today’s pressures (“Anxiety”), the remnants of a break up (“Chaos and Clothes”) and finding hope (“Something To Love”). Songs such as “Cumberland Gap” and “Hope The Highroad” find Jason and his bandmates going back to their rock roots full force.

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It’s difficult for any band or artist to sound enthused after decades of making music. Automatic pilot and rock ‘n’ roll root rot can easily set in. There are some exceptions: Paul McCartney has had some late-career gems; same goes for David Bowie . You can add Cheap Trick to that list. They sound positively vibrant and genuinely excited on We’re All Alright! . 

Unlike many of their contemporaries, Cheap Trick have never broken up, stopped touring or quit making new music. They have also never stopped putting everything they have into what they do either. Coming hot on the heels of last year’s excellent Bang Zoom Crazy Hello , We’re All Alright!  follows in the footsteps of its predecessor while adding a couple of new twists to the mix.

Guitarist Rick Nielsen welds together riffs borrowed from the Kinks and the Who for the album’s first single, “Long Time Coming,” while “Nowhere” takes on a Ramones -like charge in its speed attack. Other songs follow a similar path, with no track clocking in at more than four minutes. This pace gives the album a whiplash flow that recalls some of their earliest records.

A few of the songs actually date back several years. “Radio Lover” was put on the shelf in the ’90s, and it’s rescued from oblivion here as an amphetamine-fueled hard rocker. “Lolita” slaps keyboard sequencers on top of glam-rock boogie. And “She’s Alright” features some Dylan styled phrasing from singer Robin Zander.

Cheap Trick also dip into the past by covering Roy Wood again. As they’ve done in the past with “California Man,” “Brontosaurus” and “Rock and Roll Tonight,” they take the Move’s 1968 song “Blackberry Way” and spin it in their direction..

The band pushes itself on We’re All Alright!, turning in enthusiastic and engaging performances throughout. They still sound like a bunch of guys half their age. “Who knows what forever is about?” Zander asks on “The Rest of My Life.” He doesn’t pretend to know the answer.

Cheap Trick sound like they still have something to prove, and perhaps they do. After a couple of trying and triumphant years — there was a legal hassle involving former drummer Bun E. Carlos, and they were finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2016 — they sound ready for their next chapter.

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Sun Kil Moon – Common As Light And Love Are Red Valleys Of Blood

“‘Common As Light And Love Are Red Valleys Of Blood’, for the most part, captures events from January to August of this year and how I processed it all while traveling. “[…] I’m blessed to have met the very talented Justin Broadrick and to have made these beautiful albums with him. “These two new albums capture more than my reactions to mass murders or the passing of beloved heroes like David Bowie or Muhammad Ali. The Sun Kil Moon and Jesu / Sun Kil Moon albums are also full of love, humour, and my gratitude for the gift of life.” – Mark Kozelek, Sun Kil Moon.

4LP – Limited Four LP Set. Limited to 2000 Copies.

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Trevor Sensor  –  Andy Warhol’s Dream

It’s Trevor Sensor’s voice you notice first. A deep bubbling black tar pit of a sound, it’s a voice whose unique timbre resonates far beyond the constraints of the songwriting format. It demands the listener reaches for a new vocabulary. The 23 year old’s debut album Andy Warhol’s Dream is part of a literate folk lineage that runs from Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan through Tom Waits and onto the likes of Bon Iver, Bright Eyes and Sufjan Stevens today. It’s an unflinching honest album, transcendent in its exploration of self and sonically a collision between the classic and the forward-thinking. Sensor’s debut EP for the label, Texas Girls and Jesus Christ, was written on a borrowed acoustic guitar and took him out into the world. 2016 saw him tour Europe before hitting the road in the US for tours with Foy Vance and The Staves. Andy Warhol’s Dream was recorded to tape at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio and produced by both Jonathan Rado of Foxygen (The Lemon Twigs, Whitney) and songwriter/producer Richard Swift (Damien Jurado, Foxygen). His backing band featured members of Whitney. On these 11 songs Sensor doesn’t so much wear his heart on his sleeve as flings it out in the darkness of the front rows that sit beyond the glare of the single blinding spotlight. This is the sound of one man’s soul laid bare, facing life head on.

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The Drums –  Abysmal Thoughts

With The Drums’ new Abysmal Thoughts, band founder Jonny Pierce is making the exact album he’s always held in his heart. Of course, this is The Drums, so that heart is broken—but there’s beauty and even bliss in this kind of heartbreak, as well as that special kind of glorious delirium that comes from taking everything life can throw at you and still walking away triumphant. Here Pierce is back in full control of The Drums, not just writing all the songs himself but playing every instrument and bringing his exact personal vision to life. Not coincidentally, it’s some of the most revelatory work he’s ever done. If Abysmal Thoughts doesn’t sound at all abysmal—really, Pierce has rarely been this irresistibly pop—that’s because this is a story about how to figure out what happiness means once the worst has already happened: “If there’s one thing I can rely on it’s the healing power of being an artist,” he says. “I’m falling back in love with music.”

“There’s no question that The Drums have mastered the synthpop game” – Consequence of Sound.
For fans of The Smiths, Morrissey, New Order and The Cramps.

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Echo and The Bunnymen – It’s All Live Now

Each LP is individually numbered and strictly limited. 180 Gram, black vinyl pressed at Record Industry comes in a single sleeve aqueous-gloss, old school tip-on Stoughton sleeve with brand new artwork and hard stock insert. Never before seen photos of the band. Liner notes by guitarist Will Sergeant. One of the most acclaimed British rockers from the 1980’s, this legendary band formed in Liverpool in 1978 and were forefathers of the neo-psychedelic movement. This brand new collection of their legendary live material recorded in Sweden in 1985 includes classic Rock- N-Roll covers of legendary tunes by the Doors, Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground, Television and more available on vinyl for the first time. Many of the tracks from Sweden were recorded live for Swedish National Radio at the Karen Club. Also included here is a legendary extended version of Do It Clean recorded live in concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 1983.

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Game Theory -2 Steps From The Middle Ages

Their final studio album ” remastered and expanded. Following up 1987s Lolita Nation (whose reissue appeared on numerous year-end best of lists for 2016) would be no easy task for Game Theory. But, Scott Miller and company were certainly up for the task. Re-teaming with producer Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Marshall Crenshaw, Velvet Crush), 2 Steps From The Middle Ages was released in 1988, and showed the band had no shortage of energy, experimentation, and excellent material. This reissue contains the original 13 songs supplemented with a whopping 11 bonus tracks ” demos, live performances and covers ” all previously unissued. The translucent orange, first pressing of the LP (on vinyl for the first time since its initial release), contains a download card for the entire CD/Digital program. Packaging includes rare and previously unseen photos from the bands photographer, Robert Toren, as well as essays from Easter, Ken Stringfellow (The Posies, Big Star), and Franklin Bruno (The Village Voice, Salon.com). The bands drummer, Gil Ray, who was involved in all aspects with the Game Theory reissue series including this title, sadly passed away earlier this year. This reissue is lovingly dedicated to him.

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Nikki Sudden and his Jacobites – Chelsea

Limited edition 350 copies only on Transparent Green vinyl 7” single. Both tracks feature vocals by Max ‘Lizard’ Edie ( Waterboys ) and also Mike Scott ( Waterboys) features on Chelsea Embankment. Chelsea springtime single edit has remained unreleased since 1992.

Mark Kozelek

Mark Kozelek often has a, shall we say, contentious relationship with music festivals. But he seems to be a fan of Denmark’s Heartland Festival, where Sun Kil Moon performed last Friday. Although he doesn’t usually allow cameras at shows, Kozelek let the fest professionally film his set, which means that high-quality footage of the entire thing is now available. The setlist included his first live performance of his cover of Frank and Nancy Sinatra’sSomethin’ Stupid” from Mark Kozelek Sings Favorites, along with a few tracks from Sun Kil Moon’s collaborative album with Jesu

SETLIST
“Somethin’ Stupid”
“Baby In Death Can I Rest Next To Your Grave”
“Richard Ramirez Died Today Of Natural Causes”
“Carondelet”
“Glenn Tipton”
“Dogs”
“Fragile”
“Exodus”

THE JAYHAWKS – PAGING MR PROUST

Produced by REM guitarist Peter Buck, Tucker Martine, and Gary Louris, this is the first Jayhawks album since 2011’s ‘Mockingbird Time’ and is a return to the lineup of the band that made ‘Rainy Day Music’ in 2003 – the core band of Gary Louris, Marc Perlman, Tim O’Reagan, and Karen Grotberg. “It’s the start of a brand new adventure.” sings Gary Louris on ‘Quiet Corners and Empty Spaces’, the opening track on The Jayhawks‘ new album ‘Paging Mr. Proust’. The band formed in Minneapolis in 1985 and the album shows their commitment to adventure and forward motion which makes this collection of songs exciting and instantly memorable.
LP – Housed in Gatefold Sleeve with Download.
 john doe - the westerner

John Doe – The Westerner CD/LP (Cool Rock)

John Doe calls his new album The Westerner his “psychedelic soul record from the Arizona desert.” The album features 10 new tracks from Doe with guest appearances from Chan Marshall of Cat Power, Debbie Harry of Blondie, Cindy Wasserman of Dead Rock West and Tom Brosseau. The Westerner was produced by Howe Gelb (Neko Case, M. Ward), Dave Way (Fiona Apple) and Doe. The album’s artwork was designed by Shepard Fairey and Aaron Huey to support Native American rights via a campaign called Protect The Sacred, with additional photography by Jim Herrington. Of the album Doe says, “The Westerner is dedicated to Michael Blake, author of many books, including Dances With Wolves, who was a scholar and advocate for Native American rights. He was also one of my best friends for over 30 years. Michael taught me how to ride horses (we knocked each other off them several times) and we taught each other about writing, music and art. Many of these songs are about him or use him as the main character. His presence has been with me throughout the making of the record. It’s a wild, spread-out, desert-like life that we’ve lived.”

SUN KIL MOON / JESU – SUN KIL MOON / JESU

‘Sun Kil Moon / Jesu’ is a collaborative studio album by American indie folk act Sun Kil Moon and British experimental act Jesu. The album also features guests Will Oldham aka Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, members of Low, Rachel Goswell of Slowdive and Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse.
2LP – Double LP with wide spine sleeve and a copy of the album on CD.

KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD – NONAGON INFINITY

Recording, releasing and touring a couple of albums in 18 months is beyond the realms of comprehensibility for most bands, but then King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard aren’t ‘most bands’. Forget a couple of albums, Friday April 29th 2016 marks the release of ‘Nonagon Infinity’, their fourth long-player for Heavenly Recordings in a little under a year and a half. Workshy they ain’t! After the acid-flecked cosmic jazz of ‘Quarters’ and the hazy, pastoral, acoustic bliss of ‘Paper Mache Dream Balloon’, with ‘Nonagon Infinity’ the Gizzard once again dive head-long into the gonzo freak-beat frenzy that mark both their Heavenly debut ‘I’m In Your Mind Fuzz’, and their perpetually in motion, double-drummer propelled live show. Recorded by Wayne Gordon, Paul Maybury, Michael Badger and Stu Mackenzie at Daptone Studios in Brooklyn, in keeping with their indefatigable spirit the 9 track album may be the world’s first infinitely looping LP. Each of the nine, complex, blistering tracks on ‘Nonagon Infinity’ seamlessly flows into the next, with the final song linking straight back into the top of the opener like a sonic mobius strip.
LP – Black Vinyl in Gatefold Sleeve with Download.

Black Honey - Headspin EP 10"

BLACK HONEY  –  Headspin 10″ Vinyl

Tracklisting:

Side A
1. All My Pride
2. Headspin

Side B
1. On Your Time
2. Mocking Swing

THE BARR BROTHERS – ALTA FALLS

Limited Red Vinyl 10″. The Barr Brothers release a new EP called ‘Alta Falls’. The 5 songs on this record are some of their favourite misfits from the ‘Sleeping Operator’ sessions. The cover art is by their elusive friend Madame Gilles, whose posters have been anonymously gracing the telephone poles of Montreal for years.

THE LIMINANAS – MALAMORE

Working in the sweetly swinging tradition of Serge Gainsbourg and the ye-ye sound of the ’60s, the Liminanas have a sound that blends sunny psychedelia with vintage pop. Based out of Perpignan, France, the group is composed of drummer and sometime vocalist Marie Liminana and bassist, organist, and jack-of-all-trades Lionel Liminana, as well as a host of guest vocalists including MU. With its combination of fuzzy organ, half-spoken / half-sung vocals, and vintage production, the band captures the sexy, ultra-hip sound of classic French pop. After releasing a series of singles, the duo released its self-titled debut in 2010 through the Chicago label Trouble in Mind. The band continued to crank out singles, and a second album, ‘Crystal Anis’, followed in the summer of 2012. After taking some time to revamp the Liminanas‘ sound to introduce more elements of French and Italian soundtrack music, the duo returned quickly with its third album for Trouble in Mind. ‘Costa Blanca’ was issued in late 2013. The band are now back with a new release ‘Malamore’
.LP – Housed in gatefold sleeve with CD Version.

LUH  – SPIRITUAL SONGS FOR LOVERS TO SING

Rough Trade Exclusive with a Bonus Six Track CD ‘Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing – Prologue’. LUH (which stands for Lost Under Heaven) is Ellery Roberts and Ebony Hoorn. Over the past two years, they have been releasing music, art, photography, film and manifestos into the world, including 2014’s ‘Unites’ video and the expansive ‘Lost Under Heaven’ music and artwork package at the end of last year. Ellery’s name might be familiar as the frontman of WU LYF, whose raw and primal voice helped create a sound that shaped a new model for the untamed fury of youth. Ebony is an audio-visual artist based in Amsterdam, where the pair now live, and co-directed the new video with Florian Joahn. ‘Spiritual Songs For Lovers To Sing’ is the pair’s debut album and was produced by The Haxan Cloak (known for his own genre-bending experimental compositions and work on Bjork’s Vulnicura album) in 2015 on the remote island of Osea.
LP+ – Rough Trade Exclusive Vinyl – Limited to 350 Copies with a Lyric Booklet. Double vinyl (AB white vinyl / CD black vinyl), packaged in separate sleeves with an A2 newsprint style poster and encased in a printed PVC outer sleeve. Comes with Bonus CD and Download. Also comes with 3 limited edition prints.
2LP – Double vinyl (AB white vinyl / CD black vinyl), packaged in separate sleeves with an A2 newsprint style poster and encased in a printed PVC outer sleeve. Comes with Bonus CD and Download.
LP – Double vinyl (AB white vinyl / CD black vinyl), packaged in separate sleeves with an A2 newsprint style poster and encased in a printed PVC outer sleeve. The Indie Retail Vinyl includes 3 limited edition prints. Comes with Bonus CD and Download.
CD – Comes with Bonus CD.

Mark Kozelek, who used to front an epically moody band called Red House Painters, is known as something of a jerk. Onstage, when not singing in a voice like crumbling granite, he says things that usually end up offending somebody: hipsters, women, journalists, the band on the next stage. But on the records he now releases as Sun Kil Moon, he examines his life with plain-spoken brutality, saving the most cutting remarks for himself.

“I Watched the Film the Song Remains the Same” occupies more than 10 minutes of “Benji,” the album he released in 2014. It begins as the story of the first time Kozelek saw the Led Zeppelin concert film “The Song Remains the Same” as a child; it ends as a song about nostalgia, chronic sadness and the way people drop in and out of your life. One moment Kozelek’s admiring the electric piano on “No Quarter”; the next, he’s sharing memories of being a “very melancholic kid,” or apologizing for the time he punched a classmate in school. The way he writes isn’t so different from Karl Ove Knausgaard, also in his late 40s; both men spent long careers skirting the spotlight, then found new renown when they started excavating their own biographies for details.

So on “Benji,” Kozelek sings about his relationship with his parents, about buying lampshades, about death. A second cousin’s death sets him thinking about family; James Gandolfini’s sets him thinking about his prostate troubles. He approaches each topic as if flipping through a disorganized photo album, and the more insular and lived-in the details, the more enthralling they seem. At the end of “I Watched the Film … ,” he says he’s headed to Santa Fe to visit a friend he hasn’t seen in 15 years. Close Googlers can deduce that friend must be Ivo Watts-Russell, who signed Red House Painters to his 4AD label back in 1992; Kozelek, grave and grateful, says he’s going to New Mexico just to say thank you.

Red House Painters boxset

Mark Kozelek is virtually alone among music mid-lifers. Over 25 years into his career, his current records are considered as vital as the Red House Painters albums with which he made his name. Rarer still is that this new material engages deeply with his past without attempting to relive it, or lapsing into its defining self-pity. The relationship between now and then remains complex: Sun Kil Moon’s 2012 Among The Leaves saw Kozelek griping about his audiences – middle-aged blokes who turn up to hear ancient Painters songs. If there’s any reconciliation between the two, it’s in the form of gratitude: 2014’s opus Benji referenced getting his 4AD deal from Ivo Watts-Russell in the early ‘90s. “He signed Red House Painters when we couldn’t draw 20 people,” said Kozelek.

Decades before the Mark Kozelek we know today, the waspish essayist, he was a depressed Ohio kid who had been through rehab at 14. After moving to San Francisco in the late ‘80s, he met his Red House Painters bandmates and forged his forlorn Midwestern gothic built on smoky coils of guitar. A 20-track cassette demo eventually made its way to Watts-Russell via American Music Club’s Mark Eitzel. Kozelek’s music came from a deeply lonely place, but he wasn’t plumbing this furrow alone. There was Low in Duluth, Idaho in California, Codeine in New York and Bedhead in Texas – the “slowcore” movement was fittingly isolated. But no-one else had a frontman like Kozelek, a Morrissey fan of equal melodrama and self-loathing that he refuted any comparison. “Morrissey is funny, charming and intelligent,” he said in ‘93. “I am none of those things.”

He is openly misanthropic on the Painters’ debut, 1992’s Down Colorful Hill (six cleaned-up songs from the demo tape), rendering a break-up in obsessive excess on “Medicine Bottle”, and declaring, “This dictionary never has a word for the way I’m feeling” on the bleak “Japanese To English”. Bass lines prowl gently, while Kozelek plays down-tuned, disquieting guitar. But there’s humour on the Lemonheads-jaunty “Lord Kill The Pain”, and a single compassionate note: the warm “Michael”, a study of a lost soul that prefigures his current approach.

The prospect of wider attention begat paranoia and cruelty on the Painters’ next record, a mass of music divided across two self-titled albums. The first pushes the debut’s sound in two opposing directions: sentimental (“Grace Cathedral Park”) and dirt-kicking (“Funhouse”). But it’s still the sad centre where Red House Painters thrive: understandably, “Katy Song” – a tribute to an unsuccessful relationship with a woman who offers escape from his “cold solitary kingdom” – remains his calling card. As if to underline Katy’s importance, it’s sandwiched by “Down Through”, where he admits domestic violence, and the equally spiteful and beautiful “Mistress”. But RHP II sounds like the wound bled dry. It’s grandiose and Kozelek’s lovelorn lyrics become obsessive: “Helicopter” imagines him dying with a woman he hasn’t met yet. By the penultimate “Blindfold”, he’s screaming with rage; closing with a Crazy Horse-styled “Star Spangled Banner” feels perverse.

1995’s Ocean Beach is more polished and expensive-sounding than its predecessors. The reverb is gone from Kozelek’s vocals, and he even attempts balladeering on “Shadows”. There are just two standout songs – acoustic devotional “Summer Dress” and “Drop”, about his inability to reciprocate love. It would become Red House Painters’ final album for 4AD, the relationship between Kozelek and Watts-Russell severed because the songwriter wanted to record covers and unwieldy solos.

In 1993, Kozelek declared that he didn’t want to sell tons of records and be on MTV: “respectability and recognition don’t interest me.” But Red House Painters soon signed to John Hughes’ Island imprint, Supreme, for $100,000 and sold their cover of The Cars’ “All Mixed Up” to a Gap ad. Although their comparative mainstream success was a brief cautionary tale, it’s hard to begrudge the notion of this hypnotic, quiet music being heard, however brief their moment in the sun.

Mark Kozelek has announced that the next Sun Kil Moon album will be called “Universal Themes”, and will be out June 2nd on Caldo Verde Records. The follow up to the hugely succesfull album Benji” was recorded over this year and last in San Francisco and Hoboken, and features percussion from Steve Shelley of the band Sonic Youth. The album will contain last year’s one-off  track The Possum,” and its B-side Cry Me A River Williamsburg Sleeve Tattoo Blues.” And the tracklist also contains some more Mark Kozelek gems like “With A Sort Of Grace I Walked To The Bathroom To Cry” and “This Is My First Day And I’m Indian And I Work At A Gas Station.” Thankfully, no War On Drugs diss tracks made the cut.  The Possum is a nine-minute track featuring Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley about dead possums and hanging out with Godflesh. In April 2015, the track will be released on a limited edition 10″,

 

“Benji” is the sixth studio album by American indie folk act Sun Kil Moon, released in February 2014 on Caldo Verde Records. Self-produced by primary recording artist Mark Kozelek, the album shares its name with the 1974 film Benji, and was recorded between March and August 2013 at Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco.

Kozelek’s songs match a mordant sensibility with a wry wit that remains unblunted by the passage of time. The sprawling ‘Among The Leaves’ from 2012 saw him playfully subverting the album format with a 17-track opus that included one song with an 18-word title. This time round, the humour is more subtle but the observations on life, and increasingly death, are no less keen. Kozelek has a novelist’s eye for detail, and right from languid opener ‘Carissa’ – a song about his second cousin – he paints a vivid world and invites you to see it through his eyes.

The ideas come so thick and fast that Kozelek has to speed up his delivery for songs like ‘Richard Ramirez Died Today Of Natural Causes’, a claustrophobic meditation on the death of the serial killer known as the Night Stalker that recalls Modest Mouse at their darkest.
The album features contributions from Owen Ashworth, Jen Wood, Will Oldham, and Sonic Youth‘s Steve ShelleyThe album was recognized as one of The 100 Best Albums of the year by Rolling Stone,

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Mark Kozelek’s songwriting sure has evolved a lot over the years since the early days of Red House Painters. In recent years the slowcore founding father’s transformation has been especially evident, and nowhere is that truer than “Ben’s My Friend,” the closing track from the forthcoming Sun Kil Moon album “Benji” . Kozelek has always leaned toward the plainspoken as a lyricist he writes what appear to be basically a series of detail-laden short stories all seem to be autobiographical, with songs such as “Sunshine In Chicago” functioning as play-by-play travelogues. That’s truer than ever on “Ben’s My Friend.” As with the other songs we’ve heard from “Benji” especially “Richard Ramirez Died Today Of Natural Causes,” adopted the syllable-cramming cadence of his trusted muse Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock, but this time out Kozelek’s traded Brock’s quirky, effects-laden guitar squeals for saxophone-infused mid tempo lounge styled sounds. It exists in an entirely different sonic universe from the stone-faced melodrama of Red House Painters’ “Have You Forgotten” or even the spare acoustic plucking of Sun Kil Moon’s Modest Mouse covers album. There are a lot of ways to sing a sad song with an acoustic guitar!

Kozelek’s latest sonic realm is the background for a story about Kozelek going to see the Postal Service. He feels old amongst a crowd of 8,000 twentysomethings, and tinges of jealousy spring up when he thinks back to when he first met Ben Gibbard at a festival in Spain in 2000, when his band was outdrawing Gibbard’s. Hearing a line like “The other night, I saw the Postal Service/ Ben’s my friend, but getting there was the worst” in a song .

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Sun Kil Moon album titled  “Benji” on  Caldo Verde Records

There are 5,287 words of lyrics on this album, the delivery of which sounds at first stream-of-conscious, but clearly isn’t: Themes double back on themselves after long digressions, while details about family and friends crop up in multiple places, the whole thing coming off like an epic poem some enterprising comp-lit major might compare to Ulysses. But then the music is disarmingly straightforward: On most of the songs, it’s as swollen and sluggish as rain clouds. Harmonies and double-tracked vocals, pianos and light drums.

Mark Kozelek in the twenty-first century has insights as compelling as those he gave us in the late twentieth century, and an indication of an enduring creative figure is surely that ability to translate perception into a new – but no less vital – language.  but few would deny its winter-sharp clarity. On “Benji, Kozelek is at least as piercing and persuasive as in his best output over the last two decades.

Benji was truly out on its own in 2014. At the heart of the album was a stunning breed of open-book lyricism, mundanities like Postal Service reunion shows or ordering crab cakes appear in the same libretto as death by accident fire and first sexual experiences. All these chronicles exist against Mark Kozelek’s backdrop of keeping guitars and sprawling instrumentation. Simultaneously one of the year’s most gut-wrenching and and most liberating LPs,