Posts Tagged ‘Suuns’

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Album of the week has to go to Simply Saucer, one of my all time favourite records, a legendary proto-punk classic and a must for any fans of The Velvet Underground/The Stooges/Modern Lovers or weirdo Psych-punk. So chuffed that In The Red have reissued this with a bonus Live LP too. Gwenno returns for her second album in an unfathomable language (to me anyway), with ‘Le Kov’ sung entirely in Cornish, but retaining every bit of the interest that had her last LP playing constantly in the shop. All-round top producer and session musician Jonathan Wilson has a new full-length out, the latest since his 2103 stormer, Fanfare. It’s no surprise that he’s really not missed a trick on the production front, but the songs themselves are stunning, heartfelt and unmissable.

Soccer Mommy’s new one covering the jangly lo-fi end of the spectrum with aplomb, sounding like a grungy distillation of the 90’s with today’s saturated tape aesthetic, brilliantly varied but hugely satisfying. If this isn’t quite heavy enough for you, then you could do worse than the storming Moaning LP on Sub Pop, at points sounding like a bastard child of NY hardcore and melodic post-punk, but brought together with a wonderously heavy, but undeniably glossy aesthetic.

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The impassioned, self-titled debut from Los Angeles-band Moaning produced by Alex Newport.
Moaning is a band defined by its duality. The abrasive, post punk trio comprised of Sean Solomon, Pascal Stevenson, and Andrew MacKelvie, began nearly a decade after they met in L.A.’s DIY music scene. Their debut album comes born out of the member’s experiences with love and distress, creating a sound uniquely dark and sincere. Although the band is just breaking out of their infancy, Moaning’s sleek and cavernous tone emphasizes the turmoil of the era they were born into. One where the endless possibility for art and creation is met with the fear and doubt of an uncertain future. The trio began regularly frequenting DIY institutions like The Smell and Pehrspace, eventually selling out dozens of their own shows at both venues with their first few bands. Solomon recalls, after a brief hiatus from playing together, Moaning’s conception came when he sent Stevenson and MacKelvie the first demo for Don’t Go, setting the tone for the impulsive songwriting that would follow. The three fleshed out Solomon’s primitive recordings, adding in MacKelvie’s heavy syncopated drumming, and Stevenson’s melodic driving bass and synth parts, capturing each member’s personality in their sparse and fuzzed out tracks. Like many of their previous collaborative projects, Moaning forces pain up against pleasure, using the complexity of personal heartbreak to inform the band’s conflicted sound. The band eventually landed on the apt moniker Moaning, admiring the ambiguity the name held and hoping to reference both an intimate wail and an anguished scream.

Suuns felt

Suuns are pleased to announced their new album, Felt, coming out March 2nd on Secretly Canadian. Singer/guitarist Ben Shemie says, “This record is definitely looser than our last one [2016’s Hold/Still]. It’s not as clinical. There’s more swagger.” You can hear this freedom flowing through the 11 tracks on Felt. It’s both a continuation and rebirth, the Montreal quartet returning to beloved local facility Breakglass Studios (where they cut their first two albums [Zeroes QC and Images Du Futur] with Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes) but this time recording themselves at their own pace, over five fertile sessions spanning several months. A simultaneous stretching out and honing in, mixed to audiophile perfection by St Vincent producer John Congleton (helmer of Hold/Still), who flew up especially from Dallas to deploy his award-winning skills in situ.

Complementing O’Neill are the ecstatic, Harmonia-meets-Game Boy patterns unleashed by electronics mastermind Max Henry. Eschewing presets, Henry devised fresh sounds for each song on Felt while also becoming a default musical director, orchestrating patches and oscillations. Quietly enthusing about “freaky post-techno” and Frank Ocean’s use of space, he’s among your more modest studio desk jockeys: “Yeah, I sat in the control room while the others played – hitting ‘record’ and ‘stop’. It also gave me the flexibility to move parts around and play with effects. I do have a sweet tooth for pop music.”

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Titus Andronicus A Productive Cough

Since debuting in 2008, Titus Andronicus [hereafter +@] has been conditioning faithful listeners to expect only the unexpected. With A Productive Cough, +@ has executed the most shocking departure yet—but only if, as ever mercurial singer-songwriter Patrick Stickles insists, “you haven’t been paying attention.” In a move that may infuriate the black-denim-and-PBR set, A Productive Cough sets aside leadfooted punk anthems in favor of a subtler, more spacious approach that pushes Stickles’ soul-baring songwriting to the fore, creating an intimacy between artist and audience with which previous +@ efforts had only flirted. “[+@] records have always had their fair share of ballads,” Stickles explains, “but they were always buried amidst a lot of screaming. Now, they are the cornerstones. Punk rock is nice, but it is but one tool in the toolbox from which I pull to achieve my artistic purpose, and that purpose has always been communication and validation. This time, perhaps I can more effectively talk to the people if I am not so busy yelling at them.” The mission of A Productive Cough is apparent from the first bars of opening track “Number One (In New York).” As a tableau of piano and dulcet horns unfolds, Stickles unleashes a breathless and unceasing 64-bar verse with subject matter as sprawling as the kitchen-sink arrangement, which grows to include sparkling guitars, twinkling bells, and uplifting choral vocals as Stickles searches desperately for the strength to carry on through an increasingly violent and frightening world.

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Darlingside – Extra Life 

Extralife is the follow up to the band’s 2015 breakthrough, the highly praised Birds Say. Where Birds Say was steeped in childhood nostalgia and the loss of innocence, Extralife finds Darlingside looking to the future, mourning the loss of our world with an almost post-apocalyptic view. While the subject matter may seem bleak, Extralife is not without an underlying sense of hope and optimism. Extralife looks at hard truths ranging from societal issues, politics, environmental concerns and religious tensions as catalysts for where we may be headed. While the issues of today dominate every form of media and communication, Darlingside views it all from a different lens. The group looks past the now and predicts the life to which we could potentially be headed as a fictional narrative, but is it? How the group could address such a dark subject with such artistic beauty and grace is a testament to the distinctive nature of Darlingside.

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Tracey Thorn –  Record

Tracey Thorn’s first solo album of entirely original material for seven years.

Describing Queen, Tracey says: “It’s a great opener for the album – driven along by Ewan Pearson’s unashamedly glittering electro-pop production, drums and bass from Warpaint’s Stella and Jenny, it features me playing electric guitar for the first time in a while, and singing my heart out.”

As ever the personal has often been political in Tracey Thorn’s work. “Nine feminist bangers,” Tracey Thorn jokes when asked to describe ‘Record.’ If this album is in part about freedom and disenthrallment, new single ‘Queen’ is the opening broadside, all personal fire and desire. Her voice, self-assured and richly-textured, yet confessional and affecting, spits out the lyrics on ‘Record’ with a fresh compelling drive and remains one of the finest female pop voices of the last four decades.

”I think I’ve always written songs which chronicle the milestones of a woman’s life.” she says. “Different ages and stages, different realities, not often discussed in pop lyrics. If 2010’s Love and Its Opposite was my mid-life album – full of divorce and hormones – then ‘Record’ represents that sense of liberation that comes in the aftermath, from embarking on a whole new ‘no fucks given’ phase of life.”

On Record, the synth-driven tracks arrive and leave with a punchy sub-three-minute directness. “I wanted it to be a record you’d listen to in the daytime,” Tracey says. “On your headphones or on the move. Not necessarily in the evening, or in your bedroom.” For all its no-fuss pop brevity, the album rotates around Sister, a dubby nine-minute Compass Point-style disco jam where Tracey is joined again by Warpaint’s rhythm section and glorious backing vocals from Corinne Bailey Rae.

Across four decades Tracey’s songs and writing have offered up a clear-eyed woman’s view of the immediate world around her; from the acerbic teen love songs of her first early-eighties band Marine Girls, through sixteen years as one half of articulate multi-million-selling duo Everything But The Girl to her recent acclaimed memoirs and journalism.”

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Lucy Dacus –  Historian

Lucy Dacus is done thinking small. Two years after her 2016 debut, No Burden, won her unanimous acclaim as one of rock’s most promising new voices, Dacus returns on March 2 with Historian, a remarkably assured 10-track statement of intent. “This is the album I needed to make,” says Dacus, who views Historian as her definitive statement as a songwriter and musician. “Everything after this is a bonus.”

Dacus and her band recorded the album in Nashville last March, re-teaming with No Burden producer Collin Pastore, and mixed it a few months later with A-list studio wizard John Congleton. The sound they created, with substantial input from multi-instrumentalist and live guitarist Jacob Blizard, is far richer and fuller than the debut — an outward flowering of dynamic, living, breathing rock and roll. Dacus’ remarkable sense of melody and composition are the driving force throughout, giving Historian the immersive feel of an album made by an artist in full command of her powers.

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The Men  Drift

Drift is the seventh full-length by NYC rock polymaths The Men. The band’s last album, the self-released Devil Music, was the sound of a band who had been through hell hitting reset and looking to their roots to rediscover themselves. On Drift, The Men return to their longtime label Sacred Bones Records and explore the openness that Devil Music helped them find.

The immediately evident result of that exploration is the experimental quality of much of the material on Drift. Songwriters Mark Perro and Nick Chiericozzi chase their muses down a few dozen thrilling rabbit-holes over the course of the album’s nine tracks. The songs on Drift veer in a number of directions, but notably, almost none of them feature a prominent electric guitar. The lone exception, “Killed Someone,” is a rowdy riff-rocker, worthy of the finest moments of the band’s now-classic Leave Home and Open Your Heart albums. The rest of the album drives down stranger highways. “Secret Light” is an improvisation based on an old piano riff of Perro’s. “Maybe I’m Crazy” is a synth-driven dancefloor stomper for long after last call. “Rose on Top of the World” and “When I Held You in My Arms” are paisley-hued, psyched-out jams with big, beating hearts.

The album was recorded to 2″ tape with Travis Harrison (Guided by Voices) at Serious Business Studios in Brooklyn. A whole pile of instruments was involved — synths, strings, sax, steel, harmonica, tape loops, on top of the usual guitar, bass, and drums. Unlike recent releases from The Men, there aren’t many overdubs on Drift — a reflection of the personalities of its makers becoming less frantic, Chiericozzi suggests. In fact, the band removed a lot of the additional parts they tried adding early on, giving the final product a bit of a ghostly feel. The songs on Drift took giant leaps and trips from their beginnings only to find the band returning to the first spark of creation.

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Soccer Mommy – Clean

Following on from last years compilation “Collection”, Nashville based Sophie Allison aka Soccer Mommy now brings us her debut album proper. Produced by Gabe Wax (Deerhunter, War On Drugs, Beirut), the new album is a huge step up from her earlier bedroom recordings. The fuller sound works perfectly with Sophie’s finely crafted, bitter-sweet pop songs that have a world weary quality beyond her 20 years.

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Jonathan Wilson  Rare Birds

Jonathan Wilson had a busy 2017, producing Father John Misty’s grammy nominated Pure Comedy and touring arenas around the globe as a guitarist and vocalist for Pink Floyd legend Roger Waters (for whom he also contributed to the lauded Is This The Life We Really Want? album.) Wilson also saw widespread acclaim heaped on Karen Elson’s sophomore LP Double Roses, which he recorded with her in Los Angeles in 2016.

But it’s not looking like Wilson is going to get much of a rest in 2018 either, as he’ll be continuing on with the worldwide Waters tour and is set to release his own new solo album Rare Birds in the spring. The highly anticipated long player – which features backing vocals from Lana Del Rey, Josh Tillman, fellow Roger Waters bandmates Lucius and an extraordinary musical gift from otherworldly Brian Eno collaborator Laraaji – will be released through Bella Union worldwide.

Although much of the album is comprised lyrically of meditations on a failed relationship and its aftermath, Wilson insists that Rare Birds is not really a concept album. “It’s meant more as a healing affair, a rejuvenation, a reconciliation, for others, and for me. I wanted to balance personal narrative with the need I feel for calming healing music. I think we need journeys in sound, psychedelic gossamer-winged music that includes elements consciously and purposefully to incite hope, positivity, longing, reckless abandon and regret. It’s all in there.”

And, for this one, music critics will need to retire the comparisons to heritage rockers and Laurel Canyon troubadours as they’re hardly useful anymore. Wilson’s new sound takes a synthetic/acoustic, best-of-both-worlds analog/digital hybrid approach to achieve the complexity, sonic density and glossy hi-fi coating of Rare Birds. Heard for the first time on a Jonathan Wilson album are the sounds of synthesizers and drum machines.

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The Breeders  All Nerve

All Nerve – the first new album from The Breeders in a decade – reunites band members Kim and Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs and Jim Macpherson, the line-up behind the iconic and platinum-selling record, Last Splash.

The quartet returned to the stage in 2013 to celebrate the album’s 20th anniversary and have been quietly working on new material since then.

Featuring singles ‘Wait in the Car’ and title track ‘All Nerve’, recording took place at Candyland, Dayton, Kentucky, with Mike Montgomery; Electrical Audio, Chicago, with Steve Albini and Greg Norman; and with Tom Rastikis at Fernwood Studios, Dayton, Ohio. Artwork was conceived by Chris Bigg, who has worked with The Breeders since their first album, Pod

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Simply Saucer  –  Cyborgs Revisited

Simply Saucer’s Cyborgs Revisited is an explosive time capsule from one of the great Canadian cult rock ‘n’ roll groups. Formed in Hamilton, Ontario, these sci-fried proto-punks created a sound fusing Hawkwind, The Kinks, Pink Fairies, Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, and the omnipresent Velvet Underground. Originally recorded from 1974-1975, the album became a critically revered classic when it was finally unearthed in 1989 by Mole Records. Now, In The Red is proud to release the definitive, remastered double album edition featuring new liner notes by band biographer Jesse Locke, unseen images, and the complete live recordings available as a second album for the first time ever. As a means to escape his oppressive experiences while living in a practice space surrounded by biker gangs, singer and fretboard-shredding guitarist Edgar Breau wrote a set of songs filled with dystopian visions of the future, conjuring metalloid thugs, Eva Braun’s cyanide love affair, and “dancing the mutation.” With nimble-fingered bassist Kevin Christoff, clatterwauling drummer Neil DeMerchant, and electronic cosmonaut John Ping Romany LaPlante (Breau’s foster brother and answer to Pere Ubu’s Allen Ravenstine), his lyrics were launched into a sonic supernova. Their first recording session took place in the basement of brothers Bob and future superstar producer Daniel Lanois and was initially intended as a demo. Naturally, interest was non-existent for the sneering six-song set. It’s shocking how anyone could have overlooked Bullet Proof Nothing, an undeniably catchy VU-swiping anthem for the used, abused, and confused. Shelving these sessions, the band ascended into the future with 15-year-old drummer Tony Cutaia. This set off a series of gigs before the band touched down on the roof of a local shopping center!

Last but Most Importantly, Patrick, Stu and Katy (or not Patrick, Stu and Katy, depending on how secretive they want to be) are now hither forth to be known as TALKING DRUMS, their record is out now and available in-stores! I’ll eat my hat if this one doesn’t fly off the shelf because it’s Amazing, and you need to hear it.

This weeks —–
Simply Saucer – Cyborgs Revisited – In The Red
Pye Corner Audio – Where Things Are Hollow – Lapsus
Street Sects – Rat Jacket – Flenser
Turbonegro – Rocknroll Machine – Burger Records
Dwarves – Take Back The Night – Burger Records
Hans Zimmer – True Romance OST – Enjoy The Ride
Max Eastley/ Steve Bereford/ Paul Burwell & David Toop – Whirled Music – Black Truffle
Dead Moon – Cracks In The System – Mississippi Records

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Montreal band Suuns are pleased to announce their new album, “Felt”, coming out on March 2nd through Secretly Canadian. Singer/guitarist Ben Shemie says, “This record is definitely looser than our last one [2016’s Hold/Still]. It’s not as clinical. There’s more swagger.” You can hear this freedom flowing through the 11 tracks on Felt. It’s both a continuation and rebirth, the Montreal quartet returning to beloved local facility Breakglass Studios (where they cut their first two albums [Zeroes QC and Images Du Futur] with Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes) but this time recording themselves at their own pace, over five fertile sessions spanning several months. A simultaneous stretching out and honing in, mixed to audiophile perfection by St. Vincent producer John Congleton (helmer of Hold/Still), who flew up especially from Dallas to deploy his award-winning skills in situ.

The album’s lead single “Watch You, Watch Me” debuts today  in the form of a Ruff Murphy-directed video. The song showcases an organic/synthetic rush that builds and builds atop drummer Liam O’Neill‘s elevatory rhythm. O’Neill exclaims, “It was different and exciting. In the past, there was a more concerted effort on my part to drum in a controlled and genre-specific way. Self-consciously approaching things stylistically. Us doing it ourselves, that process was like a very receptive, limitless workshop to just try out ideas.”

Suuns are hugely proud of their roots in Canada’s most socialist province, whilst not sounding quite like anything else the city has produced. Quebecois natives Shemie and Joseph Yarmush founded the group just over a decade ago, the latter having moved to Montreal from a nearby village. The only member not to be formally schooled in jazz, guitarist Yarmush studied photography and utilized his visual training to help realize Shemie’s novel concept for the eye-catching album artwork.

“I was at a barbecue last summer and there were balloons everywhere,” recalls the singer. “I like this idea of pressure, resistance, and pushing against something just before it brakes. And there is something strangely subversive about a finger pushing into a balloon. It seemed to fit the vibe of the record we were making. We made plaster casts of our hands, going for a non-denominational statue vibe. Joe came up with the colour scheme, the sickly green background, and shot the whole cover in an hour.”

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It’s a suitably outre image for Felt, which breaks with Suuns’ earlier darkness for a more optimistic ambience. The record’s playful atmosphere is echoed by its double meaning title. “Some people might think of the material,” muses Shemie. “I like that that could be misconstrued. Also it’s to have felt and not to feel a little introspective, but that feeling’s in the past.”

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It’s not hard to understand why the latest album from Montreal rockers Suuns didn’t seem to catch quickly upon release; it’s not an easy album. This is a four listen album at least in a one listen world. It takes a tremendous amount of trust in a band, from the fans, from the label, from the producer (John Congleton) to allow them to push so far ahead musically into a place almost completely untethered from the present, but ultimately it was the right move. A band consumed by the future, they experiment tremendously with space on this album, as in periods of silence between notes that serve as their own instrument. Gradually as one listens, the realization sinks in that your mind and ears weren’t ready for this type of album yet.

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Montreal’s Suuns create some of the most sinister music of the moment. The quartet, whose name is pronounced “soons,” make their synths and guitars needle and throb, while the beats behind them land with a deadly depth. There’s a bit of vintage Suicide in the sound, only slower, as well as some Velvet Underground, but with even more drone. Suuns formed in 2007 with singer/guitarist Ben Shemie (who sounds like Radiohead’s Thom Yorke on thorazine) and guitarist/bassist Joe Yarmus. Their debut, , “Zeroes QC” had songs you could dance to. Only Frankenstein’s monster could shake it to the new one. Luckily, its shrouded mood draws you in, clicking, flickering and twisting in a world of dark wonder.

Saturday, April 22nd marks the tenth annual Record Store Day 2017. If you’ll be getting up early and hitting up your local record shop, keep your eyes peeled for SuunsHold/Still Remixes. Almost a year to the day from the release of the Montreal band’s third album, Hold/Still, the LPs of remixes twist and turn the original tracks into something else entirely. The source material lends itself perfectly to a remix project given its layers of experimental complexity, and the remixes on the forthcoming LP vary from dance floor fillers to ambient.

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Suuns’s deliver an Record Store Day 2017 exclusive album of remixes of thier most-far reaching and creative record to date, features 9 tracks across 2LP’s and comes with an MP3 download card.

Hold/Still Remixes is a limited-edition pressing exclusively for Record Store Day 2017 and pressed on red vinyl.

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Image of PJ Harvey - The Hope Six Demolition Project

This spring sees the release of PJ Harvey’s ninth studio album, The Hope Six Demolition Project.

The Hope Six Demolition Project draws from several journeys undertaken by Harvey, who spent time in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington, D.C. over a four-year period. “When I’m writing a song I visualise the entire scene. I can see the colours, I can tell the time of day, I can sense the mood, I can see the light changing, the shadows moving, everything in that picture. Gathering information from secondary sources felt too far removed for what I was trying to write about. I wanted to smell the air, feel the soil and meet the people of the countries I was fascinated with”, says Harvey.

The album was recorded last year in residency at London’s Somerset House. The exhibition, entitled ‘Recording in Progress’ saw Harvey, her band, producers Flood and John Parish, and engineers working within a purpose-built recording studio behind one-way glass, observed throughout by public audiences.

The second album from Minneapolis-based band Night Moves, ‘Pennied Days’ on Domino. Written and recorded by principle band members John Pelant and Micky Alfano, and produced by John Angello (Kurt Vile, Sonic Youth, The Walkmen), the album feels warm with feeling, tinged with a deep appreciation for rock and roll’s most storied songwriters. Ranging from traditionalist heroes like Leon Russell and The Band to r’n’b originators Curtis Mayfield and Sly Stone to pre-punk experimentalists Suicide. It’s distinctly modern and a great leap forward from 2012’s Colored Emotions. ‘Pennied Days’ was recorded following tours with Father John Misty, Lord Huron, Django Django, and Polica, in support of the previous album.
LP – Heavyweight LP with Download.
LP+ – Deluxe Heavyweight LP with a limited edition 10 inch with three bonus tracks and Download.

When The Coathangers started up in 2006, their aspirations were humble. “I think all bands in their early twenties start for fun,” says guitarist / vocalist Julia Kugel when talking about their early years of cheeky no-wave and irreverent garage rock. But Julia and her bandmates Meredith Franco (bass / vocals) and Stephanie Luke (drums / vocals) were serious about their craft, and that combination of modest outside expectations and absolute dedication to their music made for exhilarating live shows and contagious records. Ten years later, The Coathangers are still going strong, and while their palette has expanded over the years to touch upon hip-shakin’ classic rock, soulful country ballads, and golden oldies pop, their primary attack strategy still relies heavily on the jagged hooks and boisterous choruses of their formative years. Their fifth album ‘Nosebleed Weekend’ retains all the devil-may-care magnetism and serrated instrumentation of their debut, but it flourishes with a decade’s worth of songwriting discipline and chemistry. ‘Nosebleed Weekend’ kicks off with ‘Perfume’, a song that marries sultry pop vocals with toothy guitar riffs in a manner that would make Ann and Nancy Wilson proud. It’s hard to imagine The Coathangers writing a song this accessible in their early years, but in 2016 it fits perfectly into their canon. From there the band launches into ‘Dumb Baby’, which harkens back to the gritty neo-garage rock of Murder City Devils. Longtime fans who still clamor for their brash post-punk angle will be immediately satiated by ‘Squeeki Tiki’. And after hearing the noisy loud-quiet-loud bombast of ‘Excuse Me?’ it’s no wonder that Kim Gordon has become an outspoken fan of the band. It’s an eclectic album inspired by life on the road, lost loved ones, and Kugel’s recent move to Southern California. “We always say that each record is a snapshot of our life at the time,” Kugel says. “As far as style… it’s just what came out of us at that point.” So whether it’s the foreboding garage rock of the title track, the post-punk groove of ‘Burn Me’, the stripped-down pop of ‘I Don’t Think So’, or the dynamic grunge of ‘Down Down’, The Coathangers command their songs with passion and authority.
LP – Housed in Gatefold Sleeve with Download. Initial copies are pressed on coloured vinyl.

Image of Suuns - Hold/Still

Hold/Still, the third studio album from Suuns, is an enigmatic thing: an eerily beautiful, meticulously played suite of music that embraces opposites and makes a virtue of cognitive dissonance. It is a record that does not give up its secrets easily. The 11 songs within are simultaneously psychedelic, but austere; sensual, but cold; organic, but electronic; tense sometimes to the brink of mania, but always retaining perfect poise and control. “There’s an element of this album that resists you as a listener, and I think that’s because of these constantly opposing forces,” says drummer Liam O’Neill. “Listen to the song ‘Brainwash’, for instance, “It’s a very soft, lyrical guitar song, existing alongside extremely aggressive and sparse drum textures. It inhabits these two worlds at the same time.”

From the beginning, Suuns (you pronounce it “soons”, and it translates as “zeroes” in Thai) have sought to do things differently. They formed in Montreal 2007, when singer/guitarist Ben Shemie and guitarist Joe Yarmush got together to work on some demos, soon to be joined by Liam, Ben’s old schoolfriend, on drums and Max Henry on synth. Their group’s first two records, 2010’s Zeroes QC and 2012’s Polaris Prize-nominated Images Du Futur – both released on Secretly Canadian – were immediate critical hits, and Suuns soon found themselves part of a late ’00s musical renaissance in the city, alongside fellow groups like The Besnard Lakes, Islands and Land Of Talk. Still, at the same time, Suuns feel remote from the big, baroque ensembles and apocalyptic orchestras that typify the Montreal scene. “We write quite minimal music,” thinks Ben. “They’re not traditional song forms, sometimes they don’t really go anywhere – but they have their own kind of logic.” Or as Joe puts it: “It’s pop music, but sitting in this evil space.”

After two records produced by their friend Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes at his Montreal studio Breakglass, Suuns decided Hold/Still demanded a different approach. In May 2015, they decamped to Dallas, Texas to work with Grammy- winning producer John Congleton (St Vincent, The War On Drugs, Sleater- Kinney). For three intense weeks, the four recorded in Congleton’s studio by day, the producer driving them to capture perfect live takes with virtually no overdubbing. At night, they returned to their cramped apartment and stewed. “Recording in Montreal, it’s more of a party atmosphere,” says Joe. “Here it felt like we were on a mission. We were looking for something to take us out of our element, or that might seep into our music.” Luckily, the effect was galvanizing. Under Congleton’s instruction, ‘Translate’ and ‘Infinity’, songs the group had been reworking for years, suddenly found their form.

The result is undoubtedly Suuns’ most focused album to date, the sound of a band working in mental lockstep, crafting a guitar music that feels unbeholden to clear traditions or genre brackets. From the haunted electronic blues of ‘Nobody Can Save Me Now’ to throbbing seven-minute centrepiece ‘Careful’, Hold/Still foregrounds the work of Max, a synthesizer obsessive who builds hisown patches and confesses to using cranky or budget equipment as well as top-of-the-range kit because “[good gear] does all the work for you, and that’s not always fun”. Certainly, this is a band as inspired by the dark groove textures of Andy Stott, the flourishing arpeggios of James Holden or the serrated productions of Death Grips as anything familiarly rock. “Things don’t feel right until they’ve been touched or cast over in an electronic light,” elaborates Liam. “It’s rare that acoustic drum kit, guitar, and bass comprise a finished product for us. For a song to be Suuns, it has to be coloured by electronics”.

Certainly this remains a band in love with the aesthetic of obscurity. The album cover is an image of Ben’s former workmate Nahka, who was captured by photographer Caroline Desilets using a pinhole camera with a four-minute exposure time – Hold/Still, indeed.

In another contradiction, this record finds Ben’s vocals far more enunciated and upfront than before. If there are themes that tie Hold/Still together, says Ben, they might be investigations “about sex… perhaps not the act specifically, just [themes] of a sexual nature. But there’s also a spiritual undertone that points to another kind of searching.” The sexual is illustrated in the dark romance of ‘Careful’, while longing becomes both sexual and spiritual in the thirsty pleas of ‘Instrument’: “I wanna believe/I wanna receive…” The spiritual takes over on the back half of the record. ‘Nobody Can Save Me Now’ evokes artist Tracey Emin’s ghostly invocation For You at the Liverpool Cathedral: “I felt you / and I knew that you loved me”, while side B opener ‘Brainwash’ wonders: “Do you see, all seeing? / Do you know, all knowing?”

In a cultural centre like Montreal, bands can get too comfortable playing to their peers. Suuns, though, feel like a band always looking to the nearest border. They found early audiences in France and in Belgium, where they curated the Sonic City Festival in 2012, booking acts as diverse as Swans, Tim Hecker and Demdike Stare. Meanwhile, the last couple of years have seen them tour as far afield as Mexico, Morocco, Beirut, Taiwan and Istanbul – sometimes with friend Radwan Moumneh of the multimedia project Jerusalem In My Heart, with whom they released a brilliant collaborative record, Suuns And Jerusalem In My Heart last year.

“We tour a lot as a band and we’ve been all over the map at this point,” says Ben. “There is a concerted effort on our part, when the opportunity arises, to do that. It’s like, this time, let’s try to go further east, let’s try to go further south. You find yourself playing in front of people who don’t get bands playing in front of them often, and that can be really fun.” In short, good things happen when you venture outside of your comfort zone – a truth that you could equally apply to Hold/Still itself: an album which derives its eerie power from simmering tensions and strange, stark juxtapositions, and in doing so, directs rock music down a new, unventured path.

This is a single disc version on 180grm Green vinyl. The ORIGINAL VERSION of this vinyl of this brand new EP was work of art collaboration between Anton Newcombe & Icelandic artist Jon Semundur Auoarson the double 12″ EP consists of 5 new tracks by the Brian Jonestown Massacre & double sided etched disc by Jon Semundur Auoarson & was strictly limited to 1,000 Units worldwide This VERSION is a single 5 track EP but with the same superb cover art as the original release . This was recorded after the extensive tour of Europe ,Australia , New Zealand & a few select dates in New York State (especially ATP supporting My Bloody Valentine et al ) in 2008 , Anton went to Berlin to focus on his next album ., 4 weeks before hitting the US tour in April 2009 ,Anton was bursting with ideas & went to Iceland where this 5 track EP was recorded . This album brings the traditional Brian Jonestown Massacre sound mixed with eastern influences & bringing it up to date with the benefit of all the additional weirdness that’s been discovered in the past 40 years.

Image of Kevin Morby - Singing Saw

Singing Saw is a record written simply and realized orchestrally. In it, Kevin Morby faces the reality that true beauty – deep and earned – demands a whole-world balance that includes our darker sides. It is a record of duality, one that marks another stage of growth for this young, gifted songwriter with a kind face and a complicated mind.

In the Autumn of 2014, Kevin Morby moved to the small Los Angeles neighborhood of Mount Washington. The move would shape Singing Saw, Morby’s first album for new label Dead Oceans. Previous tenants at Morby’s new home happened to leave an upright piano behind, with a few mysterious pieces of sheet music and an introductory book of common chords stacked on top. Thankful to finally be in one place for an extended spell, Morby, a beginner at the piano, immediately sat at the new instrument and began composing the songs that would form Singing Saw.

Alongside, he began taking long walks through the winding hills and side streets of the neighborhood each night, glimpsing views of both the skyline’s sweeping lights and the dark, dried out underbrush of the LA flora. The duality of the city itself began to shape a set of lyrical ideas that he would refine with the sparse accompaniment of piano and acoustic guitar.

What is a singing saw? It is an instrument that creates ethereal sounds, but it is also a tool: basic and practical while also being fearsome, even destructive. Morby watches the singing saw in its eponymous song; that instrument of eerie soft beauty cuts down the flowers in its path and chases after him, while his surroundings mock and dwarf him, Alice in Wonderland style. And in a singing saw, we can understand music as something more powerful than its inviting, delicate sound. No wonder Morby talks about a “songbook” in his head as something he needs to take up the hills so he can “get rid of it.” Heavy themes are nothing new for Morby, whose previous records (2013’s Harlem River and 2014’s Still Life, both released on the Woodsist label) dealt with their own eerie visions and damning prophecies.

Morby opens Singing Saw with “Cut Me Down”, a song of tears, debts and a prescient vision of being reduced to nothing. “I Have Been to the Mountain”, “Destroyer” and “Black Flowers” continue to explore beauty and freedom, seizing upon the rot that seeps into even the supposedly safest of realms; peace, family and romantic love. By the end of the record on “Water”, Morby is literally begging to be put out once and for all, like a fire that might burn all the visions away.

Travels beyond his mountain walks inform songs like “Dorothy”, which recounts a trip to Portugal, witnessing a fishing ritual and luxuriating in the aura of a bar light-tinged reunion with old friends The touching innocence of “Ferris Wheel” stands alone in stark simplicity amidst the lush sonic textures of the album. Here, the album is balanced by Morby’s signature sweetness and joie de vivre.

The arrangements of Singing Saw trace back to Morby’s experience playing in The Complete Last Waltz, a live recreation of The Band’s legendary last performance. There, Morby developed a fast friendship with producer/bandleader Sam Cohen (Apollo Sunshine, Yellow Birds), which led Morby to forgo recording in Los Angeles and take the nascent songs of Singing Saw to Isokon Studios in Woodstock, New York. There, in a converted A-frame house, they set about creating a record that would bring a sonic balance, intricacy and depth to match these songs and all that inspired them.

Sam Cohen added a multitude of instrumentation to the record (guitar, bass, drums and keyboard), and were joined by fellow Complete Last Waltz alum Marco Benevento on piano and keyboard, fleshing out Morby’s original compositions and upholding the vision for a cohesive piano sound that serves as a touchstone for the entire album. Backup vocalists Hannah Cohen, Lauren Balthrop and Alecia Chakor contribute soaring harmonies; Nick Kinsey (Elvis Perkins) adds drums and percussion; Justin Sullivan, a longtime Morby collaborator and staple of his live band, contributes drums; Oliver Hill and Eliza Bag lift numerous songs with string accompaniments, and Alec Spiegelman on saxophone and flute and Cole Kamen-Green on trumpet bring dramatic swells. Finally, John Andrews (Quilt) adds the eerie lilt of the album’s promise, providing saw on the “Cut Me Down” and “Singing Saw”.

In the end, Morby fulfills the promise many heard on his first two albums, bringing his most realized effort of songwriting and lyricism to fruition. The songs of Singing Saw reflect the clarity that comes from welcoming change and embracing duality, and the distillation of those elements into an entirely new vision.

After the critically acclaimed release ‘Deep Fantasy’ (2014), White Lung return with their fourth album ‘Paradise’. Vocalist Mish Barber-Way, guitarist Kenneth William and drummer Anne-Marie Vassiliou, reconnected in Los Angeles to work with engineer and producer Lars Stalfors (Health, Cold War Kids, Alice Glass). Mixed by Stalfors and later mastered by Joe LaPorta, ‘Paradise’ is their smartest, brightest songwriting yet. Coming in at 28 minutes, the album simmers with desire and pain, love and beauty, and a seething urgency, hurtling towards the album closer and title track Paradise at signature breakneck speed.
LP+ – Pressed on pale blue vinyl limited quantity worldwide includes printed inner sleeve and MP3 download card.
Tape – Limited edition cassette version of the album in a silver / blue / red tri-glitter shell, limited to 300 worldwide, includes MP3 download card.
CD – Digipack.
LP – Black Vinyl with printed inner sleeve and MP3 download card.

Image of Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop - Love Letter For Fire

Love Letter for Fire is a collaboration between Sam Beam (aka Iron and Wine) and singer-songwriter Jesca Hoop. The thirteen-track album features the singles “Every Songbird Says” and “Valley Clouds,” and was written throughout 2014. Love Letter for Fire features Beam and Hoop on vocals and guitar along with Robert Burger (keys), Eyvind Kang (violin, viola), Glenn Kotche (drums, percussion), Sebastian Steinberg (bass) and Edward Rankin-Parker (cello). The album also features a cover photo by Sam Beam.

As Iron and Wine, Sam Beam recorded for Sub Pop from 2002-2007, releasing a number of highly-acclaimed albums, singles, and EP’s, including The Creek Drank The Cradle (2002), Our Endless Numbered Days (2004), Woman King (2005) and The Shepherd’s Dog (2007). He went on to record for Warner Brothers, Nonesuch, and 4AD. Recent releases include a covers album with Ben Bridwell from Band of Horses, and the two-volume Archive Series, which features material that preceded Sam’s Sub Pop-era recordings.

Jesca Hoop is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. She is an incredible live performer, known for her wonderfully-eclectic take on folk, rock, and electronic music. Hoop has released five albums and two EPs, including the critic favorites Hunting My Dress and The House That Jack Built. Jesca has toured and collaborated with the likes of Shearwater, Willy Mason, Blake Mills, Andrew Bird, The Ditty Bops, Guy Garvey, and Elbow, and has recorded for Bella Union and Vanguard. Love Letter for Fire was produced, recorded and mixed by Tucker Martine (Modest Mouse, Decemberists, Neko Case) at Flora Recording & Playback in Portland, OR and mastered by Richard Dodd in Nashville, TN.

Late last year, Destroyer released ‘Poison Season’ – a treasure trove of mid-’70s Bowie-esque thumpers, string-laden laments and E Street horns – to universal acclaim. Recorded in the same sessions as ‘Poison Season’, the song ‘My Mystery’ was a huge favourite yet somehow felt like it didn’t quite fit on the album. Now it gets released as a stand alone 12″ backed by ‘My Mystery (DJ johnedwardcollins@gmail.com remix)’.

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

Image of Lush - Blind Spot EP

The first new music from Lush for 20 years, and the first the band have released since their single 500 (Shake Baby Shake), taken from their last album Lovelife, in July 1996.

The four tracks were recorded in the summer of 2015 with Daniel Hunt (Ladytron) and Jim Abbiss (Adele, Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys)

Talking about the recording of the EP, Miki Berenyi commented:
“It certainly took sometime to come together, but once we were in the studio, everything came together incredibly quickly. It was great fun!
It’s been a long time since I’ve written Lush lyrics, and I realised early on with this EP that what I wrote about then is not what I feel comfortable writing about now. My perspective, and what is close to my heart, has changed, and I think that’s conveyed in the songs.”

Bassist Phil King added:”I know I’m biased, but I work for a music magazine and so much of the music I hear played in the office sounds non-descript or derivative. Emma has this way of writing unusual chord changes and manages to weave lovely melodies over the top, and it immediately sounds distinctive, like Lush.”

Signed to 4AD in 1989, over the course of 3 full-length albums, an early mini-album and a number of EPs and singles, they went on to sharpen their pop sound, outliving and outgrowing the ‘scene’ with which they were initially associated.

4AD recently released, to much acclaim, both a vinyl reissue of Lush’s ‘best of’ compilation Ciao! and a limited edition five-disc box set titled Chorus.

Serving up a combination of Southern musicality and garage rock ferocity, Shreveport, Louisiana natives Seratones announce their debut album ‘Get Gone,’ released via Fat Possum Records. Led by powerhouse frontwoman A.J. Haynes whose thunderous vocals recall the grit of Janis Joplin and gospel of Mavis Staples, Seratones make a strong case with ‘Get Gone’ to be your new favourite alt-rock band of 2016. Recorded at Dial Back Sound studios in Mississippi, ‘Get Gone’ is all live takes, a portrait of Seratones in their element. Add the soul and swagger of a juke joint with the electricity coursing through a basement DIY show, and you’d begin to approach the experience of seeing this foursome live. Haynes’ powerful singing voice, first honed at Brownsville Baptist Church in Columbia, Louisiana at age 6, rings across every track. ‘Don’t Need It,’ which opens with a muscular swing and tight guitar lines, builds into a monster finish with a nasty corkscrew of a guitar line. ‘Sun,’ a brawny thrasher, courses with huge, raw voltage riffs. ‘Chandelier,’ a mid-tempo burner and vocal workout by Haynes, goes from croon to a crescendo that would shake any crystals hanging from the rafters. Shared history in Shreveport’s music scene brought the Seratones together a few years ago. All four had played together with one or another in various local punk bands, bonding through all-ages basement shows, gigs at skate parks and BBQ joints, and late nights listening to jazz and blues records. In a city of multiple genres, no fixed musical identity and a flood of cover bands, these adventurous musicians carved out their own path, personifying the do-it-yourself ethos. The band’s unwavering dedication to staying true to themselves is echoed throughout their debut; however you try to describe it, ‘Get Gone’ is unexpected and unbowed, a head-snapping showcase of the twin pillars of Southern music, restlessness and resourcefulness.
LP – Black Vinyl With Download.
LP+ – Limited Yellow Coloured Vinyl with Download.

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

 

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Hold/Still, the third studio album from Suuns, is an enigmatic thing: an eerily beautiful, meticulously played suite of music that embraces opposites and makes a virtue of cognitive dissonance. It is a record that does not give up its secrets easily. A natural step on from theirtwo previous albums, 2011s Zeroes QC & 2013s Images du Futur, and yet a marked departure,Hold/Stillis a cerebral exploration ofhow to take live and analogue instruments and create a deeply textured electronic record. In May 2015, they decamped to Dallas,Texas to work with Grammy-winning producer John Congleton and for three intense weeks they recorded by day and stewed in their cramped apartment by night. It felt like we were on a mission – looking for something to take us out of our element, or that might seepinto our music, say the band. Hold/Still will be released 15 April, 2016.

Thefirst single, “Translate”, is one of the defining songs of the album – the sound of a band working in mental lockstep, crafting guitar music that feels unbeholden to clear traditions or genre brackets. It is a song that the band have been reworking for years, and wasone of the last songs to be finished for the album, and yet, perhaps, defines the record perfectly. The synthesizers are the work of Max Henry, an obsessive who builds his own patches and confesses to using cranky or budget equipment – [good gear] does all the work foryou, and thats not always fun.

Accompanying the song is the first of a trilogy of videos for the album (the second and third installments will be launched ahead of therecord release). Shot by Charles-Andr Coderre, a long term collaborator of the band, he says‘Translate’, the first music video of atriptych series, is an incandescent vision. It was shot with thermal imagery. The concept was simple: film the band in their rehearsalspace and transfigure the footage into something unusual and gorgeous. We experimented the different meanings of the word”translate” and explored a new film language by shooting what the human eye can’t see.”

Also released today is the Dark Sky Psych remix of Translate”– the first of a number of remixes that will be launched alongside tracksfrom the album. This one takes”Translates” repetitive, krautrock-like rhythms and squeezes them into a tighter, mesmeric arrangement..Says Dark Sky “We really liked the psyched out sounds and sonics from the original track which sounded vintage but also forwardthinking. We were inspired to build on this vibe.”