For the past eight years the duo of Rob Lowe and Michael Muller have nurtured and refined their creative partnership as the core members of the band Balmorhea. Though their first album on Western Vinyl Rivers Arms (2008) garnered some remarkable press, their self-titled debut, recorded in 2006 and released in 2007 best captures the duo's unique magic as it first blossomed. With no label, distributor, manager, publicist, or booking agent the duo quietly self-released their first recordings and started playing live shows. Now, seven years later Western Vinyl is honored to have the opportunity reissue the band's self-titled album, and make it available on vinyl for the first time ever.
In preparation for this special reissue, the audio was lovingly remastered, drawing out even more of the nuances... magnifying the sounds of Muller and Lowe's fingers on the instruments, and teasing out the textures that set these recordings apart from the rest of their catalog. Throughout the album the distant sounds of Texas grackles, the warm summer rain, the steady rhythm of crickets chirping, and creaking wooden stools, all seeping in to cradle the notes in a restrained din of primordial wonder.
Bing & Ruth: Tomorrow Was The Golden Age
Tomorrow Was the Golden Age is an album length composition by minimalist ensemble Bing & Ruth. Written and conducted by pianist David Moore, Tomorrow Was the Golden Age is a halcyonic journey to a neverending place, where music waxes, wanes and drifts imperceptibly from silence to grand, glowing sound.
The players on Tomorrow Was the Golden Age are David Moore on piano, Jeremy Viner on clarinet, Patrick Breiner on clarinet, Mike Effenberger operating tape delay, Leigh Stuart on cello, and Jeff Ratner and Greg Chudzik on bass, respectively. The album was recorded in Yonkers, New York and mixed in Brooklyn, with Brian Bender and Moore at the controls. Intended to be experienced at both high and low volumes, Tomorrow Was the Golden Age is perfectly calibrated for meditative backdrops, burrowed headphone listening and utter captivation when performed live. Its sonorous palette inspires emotional response across a dynamic field, welcoming a journey to and beyond tomorrow's promise.
Foxygen: ...And Star Power
Foxygen have joined Star Power.It is a punk band, and you can be in it, too.Star Power is the radio station that you can hear only if you believe.We're all stars of the scene.
FOXYGEN... AND STAR POWER is the new DOUBLE ALBUM from Foxygen, a CINEMATIC AUDITORY ADVENTURE for the speedy freaks, skull krunchers, abductees, and misfits... Made by Foxygen at Dream Star Studios in their Secret Haunted House with the UFOs flying around in the sky.
A gaggle of guest stars. Roman-numeraled musical suites. Vocals recorded on a shoddy tape machine at The Beverly Hills Hotel and Chateau Marmont. A svelte 82-minute run time of psych-ward folk, cartoon fantasia, songs that morph into each other, weaving in and out of the head like UFO radio transmission skullkrush music. ADHD star power underground revolution. Soft-rock indulgences, D&D doomrock and paranoid bathroom rompers. Process is the point. A kaleidoscoping view. Blasphemy even the gods smile one. Rock and roll for the skull...*
*From Patty Smith's 1973 CREEM review of Todd Rundgren's A Wizard, A True Star. The section concludes "Todd Rundgren is preparing us for a generation of frenzied children who will dream in animation."
Like the wild goose that the Portland-based trio are named after, the members of Greylag have all undertaken amazing journeys, migrating as if by homing instinct from different parts of the US, to create a self-titled debut album that's the latest must-have slice of verdant, far-reaching Americana. Greylag is rich in melody, mood and detail with a range that mirrors the distance between their individual birthplaces, creating a personal twist on some timeless musical traditions, embracing electric and acoustic with a sound that's both subtle and forceful.
Meet Andrew Stonestreet (lead vocal, acoustic guitar, originally from West Virginia), Daniel Dixon (lead guitar and other stringed things, keyboards, from Northern California) and Brady Swan (drums, from Texas). The venerated Phil Ek (Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes, Modest Mouse, The Shins) produced the album at Seattle’s Avast! Studio, who clearly knows a sublime enterprising combination of roots and rock music when he hears it.
The name Greylag looks and sounds strong but has developed more meaning for the band - It's a wild goose, from which all domestic geese originate, so it's the first survivor, and it's still wild, and doing things its own way - the 'lag' part refers to it being the last bird to migrate. It sits back and watches. We love the connotation.
Hailu Mergia & The Walias: Tche Belew
The acclaimed and highly sought-after LP by Hailu Mergia and the Walias, Tche Belew, an album of instrumentals released in 1977, is perhaps the most seminal recording released in the aftermath of the 1974 revolution. The story of the Walias band is a critical chapter in Ethiopian popular music, taking place during a period of music industry flux and political complexity in the country.
Hailu Mergia, a keyboardist and arranger diligently working the nightclub scene in Addis Ababa, formed the Walias in the early 1970's with a core group of musicians assembled from prior working bands. They played Mergia's funk- and soul-informed tunes, while cutting 45rpm singles with various vocalists.
While the Walias performed at top hotels and played the presidential palace twice, their relationship with the Derg regime was complex, evidenced by the removal of one song from the record by government censors.
Decades later, Hailu Mergia was surprised to see the album fetching more than $4,000 at online auctions (it helped that the most popular of all Ethiopian tunes "Musicawi Silt" appeared on the record). Now everyone has the chance to listen again - or for the first time - to this timeless pillar of Ethiopian popular music.
Last Ex: Last Ex
Last Ex is a new instrumental rock ensemble led by Simon Trottier and Olivier Fairfield, long active in Quebec's experimental/punk scene, though perhaps best known as core members of Timber Timbre, which spawned the Last Ex project. When Timber Timbre's ambient music for a horror film went unused back in 2012, Trottier and Fairfield began revisiting the sound palette for the soundtrack, expanding on their techniques and textures, adding drums, bass and various other instruments, writing additional songs throughout 2013 and bringing their obsessions with sound collage, tape-based music concrete and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop to bear on the cinematic lyricism of the initial widescreen guitar and string-based material. With its combination of assured lyricism, cinematic guitars, dusky analog atmospherics and taut percussion, this is an instrumental rock album of superb compositional and melodic sensibility, balancing expressiveness and restraint, atmosphere and detail, bound by a highly original approach to production. Last Ex sits snugly between fellow label acts Do Make Say Think and Exhaust on the one hand, Hrsta, Tindersticks and Evangelista on the other. Fans of early Trans Am, early/mid Tortoise, Calexico and (obviously) Timbre Timber should also find this a very satisfying grower of an album.
LCD Soundsystem: This Is Happening
Back in print, the classic third LCD Soundsystem LP.
Of the many arresting moments that fill LCD Soundsystem's This Is Happening, perhaps the most unexpected comes less than halfway through album opener "Dance Yrself Clean." The seemingly unassuming, low-key rumble of a song morphs from its mumbled beginnings into an outsized flash of synth ballast and wailing vocals. The sudden shift is like the flicking on of a light, the perfect example of frontman-songwriter-mastermind James Murphy's effortless balance of restraint and release, organic rock and electro pop, and muted cool and vibrant emotion. This study in contrasts pervades LCD Soundsystem's third, and possibly final, release - an album where Murphy refracts images of heartbreak and longing through the scattered light of a disco ball.
With This Is Happening, Murphy has created a work of both nuanced introspection and distanced observation. DFA is proud to offer the vinyl version of this much lauded release, which also includes contributions from drummer Pat Mahoney and sound collagist Gavin Russom.
Lydia Ainsworth: Right From Real
Composer / producer / singer Lydia Ainsworth has been secretly writing and recording songs over the past three years from bedrooms and basements between Toronto and Brooklyn. What began as pass-time sketches between composing music for film and multimedia projects has over time revealed an enchanting collection of experimental pop songs with a life of their own.
Blurring the boundaries between indie music, filmic orchestration, and electronic music, Lydia's debut "Right From Real" thrives on haunting melodies and draws inspiration from a wide range of musical sources - Verdi's Requiem, Ace of Base, Bulgarian Choirs, Bernard Herrmann, Tones on Tail, Art of Noise... to name a few. This sense of unexpected marriages of influence flows throughout much of Lydia's work which features use of voice sampling and string arrangements woven into a unique minimalist fabric.
Lydia Ainsworth's debut "Right From Real" will be released 09.30.14 on Arbutus Records.
Museum Of Love: Museum Of Love
Museum of Love is the musical project of Pat Mahoney (Founding member of LCD Soundsystem) and Dennis McNany (Jee Day).
Longtime friends in New York, McNany and Mahoney found a similar sensibility and a shared vocabulary for interpreting surroundings, something that began with their remix of Battles' "My Machines feat. Gary Numan" and extended into their creation of a full length record together.
Naming their duo in ode to Daniel Johnston's song of the same name, Mahoney divulges, "I had always loved the song, and had been thinking of what such an edifice would contain when we were trying to name the project." McNany continues, "Pat's a sculptor, I'm a painter, we make music and museums are sacred spaces and love is an elusive thing."
McNany did most of the songwriting as well as production and instrumentation, while Mahoney is on vocals and of course, drums, but Museum of Love was an entirely collaborative process as the two edited and arranged tracks in the studio. Mahoney says the process of collaboration was energizing, while McNany simply explains, "making the record was pure pleasure. Waiting for it to come out has been the hardest thing."
The Aislers Set: How I Learned To Write Backwards (Remastered/Reissue)
The Aislers Set occupy an enviable place in the pop pantheon. Brimming with drunken romanticism, sharp pop sensibilities, and timeless melodies, The Aislers Set reveled in the history of great pop, spiking their classicist 60s-tinged tunes with pure post-punk energy and originality of bands like the Fire Engines and The June Brides. Every song is a meticulously constructed sound world, where the arrangement and instrumentation sublimely and uncannily bring each tune to completeness. Although they stopped playing and recording together by 2004 due to life commitments, their reputation has only grown; sporadic reunion shows and mini-tours have been met with rapturous response. Alas, Suicide Squeeze is proud to present the 2014 reissue of the seminal album "How I Learned To Write Backwards" remastered and resequenced by John Greenham at Infrasonic Sound in Los Angeles, and on vinyl LP again for the first time in over a decade. The band will play a select set of shows this fall, and Suicide Squeeze and Slumberland Records will be teaming up to co-release a new album of singles and rarities to be released in early 2015
United Nations: The Next Four Years
FINALLY AVAILABLE ON STANDARD VINYL LP AFTER MONTHS OF INTENSE DEMAND!!! Originally conceived as a frenetic side-project founded by members of Thursday, Glassjaw and Converge, United Nations' membership and ideology have evolved into a full-time flagship for incendiary chaos. Their line-up overhauled to include members of acclaimed screamo group Pianos Become The Teeth, United Nations have become a perpetual lightning rod for controversy, confusion, and contempt - in other words, they have become one of the most promising punk bands in North America Now, the enigmatic supergroup have returned with the long-awaited follow-up to their self-titled 2008 debut - and their first new recordings since 2010's highly sought-after "Never Mind The Bombings, Here's Your Six Figures" 7" on Deathwish Inc. Featuring material recorded between the spring of 1981 and the fall of 2016, The Next Four Years picks up where "Never Mind The Bombings" left off, expanding on their already caustic sound with an even greater sense of urgency and aggression. It's a furious homage to the pioneers of punk, and a scorching critique on the current state of "punk." It is the most cathartic music of their mysterious career, and unquestionably some of the most vital heavy music released this year.
We Were Promised Jetpacks: Unravelling
We Were Promised Jetpacks release their highly anticipated third album Unravelling, recorded in Glasgow at the infamous Chem19 Studios with Paul Savage (The Twilight Sad, Franz Ferdinand and Mogwai). The impending album release also sees the addition of a new member to the band in the form of multi-instrumentalist Stuart McGachan. The results of the sessions with Savage have made for the band's most accomplished and powerful album yet, taking their already legendary prowess with dynamic rock and injecting a bit of pop sheen to the mix. Songs like the yearning "Safety in Numbers," and the dark, growling "I Keep It Composed" will no doubt appeal to their ravenous fanbase while opening arms to those who take their guitar rock with a healthy dose of moody melodicism. Live favorites from the past tour and SXSW, "Peace Sign" and "Night Terrors" also surface here in refined studio form, but with no less heart-racing, voice shredding power than their stage counterparts.