Benjamin John Power's newest solo offering as Blanck Mass, Dumb Flesh, was written, produced and recorded in a number of different locations over the space of a year. It began life in Fuck Buttons' 'Space Mountain' studio, moved into a windowless attic space in Hatch End, North London, then was finished up at Ben's new home in Edinburgh. The geographical spread of the sessions is reflected in the shifting landscapes of the tracks and the ever-changing sound-palette used to realize Dumb Flesh as an expansive body of work.
As a work of art, Dumb Flesh is a comment on the flaws of the human form in its current evolutionary state. The frailty of the human body naturally became a resonant and inescapable part of the album's gestation. "We are at the mercy of our genetic heritage everyday. No matter how intelligent we are compared to other life forms, we're still made up of the same building blocks and things can go very wrong". In particular, the first single 'Dead Format' reflects upon this reality, whilst 'Atrophies' and 'Detritus' acknowledge the organic decay we will all inevitably succumb to.
With Darling… It’s Too Late, Guantanamo Baywatch sought to harness and manipulate the sparkling sounds from yesteryear, all while staying true to the tape hiss and rough takes of analog recording. “We really wanted a mixtape compilation sound to the record,” says Powell, and that approach can be heard in both the songwriting and the production. According to Powell, each individual song was approached with all the amps and the EQs on the recording console zeroed out. That meant that every song was recorded with a new template. The title track and lead single, “Too Late”, perfectly captures this new aesthetic. With Burger Records soul singer Curtis Harding contributing backing vocals and rounding out the classic Motown ballad vibe of the track, “Too Late” is an enormous departure from the trashy Mummies-esque ruckus of their earlier recordings. Of course, the band hasn’t completely abandoned the rowdy surf rock of their previous releases—Powell put the finishing touches on the album back at his Jungle Muscles Studio in Portland to keep that rough-hewn feel intact. But even when he and his bandmates Chevelle Wiseman (bass) and Chris Scott (drums) tread on their familiar territory with songs like “Raunch Stomp” or their cover of Eddie & The Showmen’s “Mr. Rebel”, there’s a newfound clarity, punch, and swagger to their sound. Throughout the course of Darling… It’s Too Late the trio continues to fuck with various subgenres, from the dusty Western twang of “Corey Baum’s Theme” to the straight-outta-Sun Studios rocker “Do What You Want.”
The LP is available in a limited pressing of 1,000 copies on Peaches-and-Cream color vinyl. A digital download card for MP3 is included.
Who Me? is the next chapter in the ongoing story of Juan Wauters. Whereas his debut solo record was recorded casually over the course of one year, his new album was crafted in under two weeks at Future Apple Tree in Rock Island, Illinois. Inspired by both the arrangements of Uruguayan songwriter Jaime Roos and the production of American master Dr. Dre, this collection of songs presents his continued approach to existential questioning through pop music. Tracks like "She Might Get Shot" and "I Was Well," which may seem like wisdom addressed to the listener, are in fact part of Juan's reciprocal process of self-actualization through songwriting and performing. Bringing new sounds to his repertoire, "This Is I" and "Through That Red" add a spiritual tone with ethereal string arrangements. Juan's voice - which has risen to the forefront of his music since his first recordings with The Beets - intensifies with added nuance. This year Juan Wauters will continue to tour the world in support of his second solo record.
The first-ever reissue of the private-press country-rock rarity by Colorado auto body painter, Marine, and garage band lifer Kenny Knight—he played in the original `60s Black Flag—Crossroads recalls a homebrew American Beauty-era Grateful Dead in its world-weary, low-key mood and indelible songwriting. Faded, anxious, melancholy, and beautifully woozy, this out-of-time document belies its 1980 release date. Produced in collaboration with Numero Group, it features liner notes by writer and collector Michael Klausman and Kenny himself.
Pfarmers is the new project from Danny Seim (Menomena, Lackthereof), Bryan Devendorf (The National), and Dave Nelson (David Byrne & St. Vincent, Sufjan Stevens).
According to Seim, "The record is about a dream I had where I'm reluctantly accepting a fear of drowning by focusing on being reincarnated as a giant Gunnera plant, which thrive on the banks of rivers (specifically the Jordan River i.e. the Biblical promised land) after I paint myself gold and sink to the bottom like the El Dorado of South American folklore."
Despite the notariety of it's members, Pfarmers sounds unlike anything they've produced before. Devendorf's trademark drum style anchors everything, but now it's been filtered so heavily as to almost sound mechanical. Seim contributes his layered vocals and the deep, almost funky bass grooves, while Nelson provides complex spatial arrrangements. The result sounds like Lackthereof (Danny's solo project) as played by the Tom Tom Club through a THX soundsystem.
It's a diverse record, switching swiftly from catchy pop hooks to ambient instrumental movements. For those willing to dive in, this album is incredibly rewarding.
Rivington Não Rio revels in the kind of compassionate complexity that marks Prefuse 73's greatest works, with a profound new element added to the mix: Patience. Herren's ability to marry the manic to the melodic has always been uncanny, but here it feels downright magical as the songs inhale with his trademark sense of urgency... then exhale in longer, more revealing breaths. The prismatic textures that have long been a staple of Prefuse 73 are bound to beats and melodies with the spirit of hip-hop and the subtlety of modern minimalism. The album's guests treat the material with a hushed respect: Roc Nation songwriter and Jessie Ware collaborator Sam Dew turns "Infrared" into a sublimely soulful, dimly-lit portrait of inverted R&B;Milo & Busdriver's vicious, rapid-fire verses contrast a pastoral downbeat to brilliant effect; and elsewhere, Pinback's Rob Crow and Latin electronic-folk crooner Helado Negro navigate splintered tropics with passive grace. As a stand-alone album, Rivington Não Rio ranks extraordinarily high in the Prefuse 73 canon. As a centerpiece to an epic triptych that includes the Forsyth Gardens and Every Color of Darkness EPs, it's a new peak from a pioneer who appears to only just now be hitting his prime. For an artist who has played an undeniably integral role in the careers of so many influential artists, it's not just refreshing to hear him return to top form... it's revelatory.
Culled from the vaults of WFMU - the world's most acclaimed free-form radio station - comes over 20 hours of mind-bending, hilarious phone calls between the renowned comedy duo of Tom Scharpling & Jon Wurster. From 2000 to 2013, their tremendous imaginations took over the WFMU airwaves every Tuesday night with bizarre tales from a fictional town called Newbridge, NJ and the desperate denizens that inhabit it. Included inside this definitive collection are 75 calls over 16 compact discs, edited by Scharpling & Wurster (over 50 of them previously unreleased or unaired), a 108-page hardcover book with cover art by Joe Matt that features essays by Patton Oswalt, Julie Klausner, Damian Abraham (lead singer of F*cked Up) and Best Show associate producer Michael Lisk (aka A.P. Mike), a definitive interview with Scharpling & Wurster by Jake Fogelnest, notes on the evolution and inspiration behind each bit written by Scharpling & Wurster, a USB drive with all of the calls plus 4 hours of bonus material, a fold-out map of Newbridge, Philly Boy Roy & Timmy von Trimble Paper Dolls, postcards, and temporary tattoos with The Best Show catch-phrases.
1000 Palms marks a return to Surfer Blood's DIY ethos. Abandoning the big time studio, the band decided to head back home to self-record and self-produce their third full-length album. Free of major-label-influence, Surfer Blood has delivered a uniquely compelling album, unlike anything in their catalog.
The story of 1000 Palms began on January 1st 2014, after playing a New Year's show in Portland, OR. The band decided to stick around for the rest of the month, renting a practice space and sorting through a backlog of ideas. By February, as their lease ran out, Surfer Blood had recorded demos for most of the tracks that are now featured on their third LP.
After a frustrating time at their previous home, Warner Brothers, the quartet was beyond ready to return to a more DIY recording process, completely void of the middlemen scrutinizing every bar of previous LP, Pythons. With the band self-recording, it was in the glamorous setting of an attic studio above a doctor's office where drums were committed to tape. Of the work, frontman John Paul Pitts states "fortunately none of us are strangers to DIY recording, so this seemed like the kind of challenge well-suited to our band".
The making of 1000 Palms also owes a lot to the kindness of friends and family, with the remaining instrument sessions taking place at the home of drummer Tyler Schwartz's parents, while they were on vacation. Following a few days of very little sleep and after the band pooled resources and called in favors, the band had managed to craft everything you now hear on the upcoming record.
The Holydrug Couple began in Santiago, Chile in 2008, a little over a half-decade after Ives and Manu met for the first time. The two young friends hadn't seen each other in a few years when Manu texted Ives to tell him that he bought a drum kit. They started jamming, and a week later, the band was formed. A flurry of songwriting activity followed, culminating in 2011's Ancient Land EP and 2013's Noctuary, both released on Sacred Bones. Moonlust boldly treads territory that those earlier psych-indebted recordings only hinted at, especially the dreamy French movie soundtracks of the '70s and '80s and the discography of Serge Gainsbourg.
Dark Bird Is Home doesn't feel like it came from one time or one place. The songs were captured in various countries, studios and barns, carrying a weather-worn quality, some dirt and grit. This is Kristian Matsson at his most personal and direct, deeper and darker than ever at times, but it's also an album with strokes of whimsy and the scent of new beginnings.
In excess virtue lies danger, or at least limits to pragmatic action—it’s a lesson hard learned by anyone disillusioned by the erosion of youthful mythologies. Strict fealty to a fixed ideal of identity doesn’t do us any favors as adults. Loyalty, the third and finest album yet by The Weather Station (and the first for Paradise of Bachelors) wrestles with these knotty notions of faithfulness/faithlessness—to our idealism, our constructs of character, our memories, and to our family, friends, and lovers—representing a bold step forward into new sonic and psychological inscapes. It’s a natural progression for Toronto artist Tamara Lindeman’s acclaimed songwriting practice. Recorded at La Frette Studios just outside Paris in the winter of 2014, in close collaboration with Afie Jurvanen (Bahamas) and Robbie Lackritz (Feist), the record crystallizes her lapidary songcraft into eleven emotionally charged vignettes and intimate portraits, redolent of fellow Canadians Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, and David Wiffen, but utterly her own.
Hailing from the Show-Me State, White Eyes lugged their heavy psych and harmony-clad ballads across the Midwest, honing their live set wherever audiences were abundant. Whether it be the famed Cowtown Ballroom in Kansas City or the nearest American Legion, the quintet of long-haired bohemians loaded a double bass drum set, a wall of Marshall amplifiers, and a array of acoustic guitars into their 1953 Cadillac hearse to deliver their impeccable stage show across the plains.
Despite years of relentless gigging, White Eyes never caught their break. This previously issued LP, recorded between the fall of 1969 and 1970, was originally intended as a demo for talent buyers and industry prospectors. Well-crafted arrangements and pro-sounding production make this an exceptional piece of lost psychedelic pop.