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2016-04-15
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.

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, near his Mount Washington home in Los Angeles, 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.

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.

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2016-04-15
Kevin Morby: Singing Saw Deluxe Bundle

1. Singing Saw on vinyl (limited edition dark green vinyl, while supplies last) 2. Singing Saw on CD 3. 11" x 17" poster featuring album art 4. Set of 5 postcards featuring photographs by Kevin Morby 5. Digital download code for the album (containing 320kbps MP3s) redeemable two (2) weeks before release date on April 1, 2016.

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2016-04-15
Suuns: Hold/Still

Precision, minimalism, repetition, and unsettling deviations of said repetition - these are the building blocks of the surly universe created by Montreal's Suuns. It's a universe of high tension. A universe of resistance and surrender to all the hopelessness, anxiety and privilege of being self aware out here at the edge of history. Now, with Grammy-winning producer John Congleton at the helm, Suuns' sonic cornerstones have become heavier, more penetrating, nearly tactile. Hold/Still, their 3rd proper album, exists at the intersection of 20 Jazz Funk Greats and Kid A - a serpent's hiss that is also yearning and hot-blooded. Its contents are the proof as to why Suuns absolutely deserve to be listed next to the names of dark groove adventurers like Stott, Forest Swords, Arca and Haxan Cloak. You've been proper warned.

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2016-04-01
Black Mountain: IV

The rock canon has many anti-heroes, Black Mountain being the latest. In the past, Can's Tago Mago established that the only rule in rock and roll is that there are no rules. Pink Floyd's prodigious output in the 70s showed us that architecture can be cool, while delinquent proto-metallers Black Sabbath demonstrated that you can make a lot from not that much. Now Black Mountain teach us that you don't have to be afraid of the past to move bravely into the future, defining what it is to be a classic rock band in the new millennium. Today, they announce IV, an unapologetically ambitious record made by a group of musicians who are at the peak of their powers.

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2016-04-01
Black Mountain: IV Deluxe Bundle

IV Deluxe Bundle: 1. IV on limited edition translucent orange vinyl 2xLP. (This color is exclusive to the Jagjaguwar mailorder bundle.) 3. IV on CD in 6-panel cardboard wallet. 3. Limited edition custom pewter model plane, emblazoned with the Black Mountain IV logos. 4. Digital download code for the album (containing 320kbps MP3s) redeemable 2 weeks before release date on March 18, 2016

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2016-04-01
Bleached: Welcome The Worms

Los Angeles-based sister duo Jennifer and Jessie Clavin knew things were going to be different for their band Bleached sophomore LP Welcome The Worms. Not only had they managed to charm world renowned producer Joe Chiccarelli (Morrissey, The Strokes, Elton John) to join the sisters and their bassist Micayla Grace in the studio, but Jen and Jessie had been crawling out of their own personal dramas. While emotionally spinning, they dove head first into music.

The three girls spent time writing the 10 song LP at a remote house in Joshua Tree, away from the distractions of the city. Other times Jen and Jessie worked alone, just like when they were teenaged punk brats playing in their parents' garage, imitating their heroes The Slits, Black Flag and Minor Threat.

In the studio, Chiccarelli and co-producer Carlos de la Garza (Paramore, YACHT) helped the band perfect their fervent songs into fearlessly big pop melodies. They drew inspiration from the iconic hits of everyone from Fleetwood Mac to Heart to Roy Ayers. The result is an ambitious rock record with a new found pop refinement that somehow still feels like the Shangri-Las on speed, driven forward in a wind of pot and petals, a wall of guitars in the back seat.

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2016-04-01
Bleached: Welcome The Worms (Deluxe Bundle)

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2016-04-01
Little Howlin' Wolf: The Guardian (Reissue)

Little Howlin' Wolf is a street musician, bluesman, actor, storyteller and truth seeker. He is also a true outsider, whose wrenching soulfulness and fire-brained intensity have been captured in a breadcrumb trail of confounding and intentionally obscure self-released records.

In the late 1960s Wolf -- born James Pobiega in 1950 -- was already a saxophone wailing fixture at the legendary Chicago hangout, Maxwell Street Market. By the mid-1980s he released nearly three dozen 45s. Those singles are sprawling journeys into Wolf's world vision, as told through his gravelly voice and an array of instruments in styles and influences not limited to: American Indian, Polish and gypsy folk musics, Voodoo, vocal chants, blues, calypso and avant jazz. Often, it's all filtered through overdubbed abstraction.

Wolf issued two LPs collecting some of those singles -- "The Guardian" (1982) and "Cool Truth" (1985) -- both now reissued by Family Vineyard. "The Guardian" is a baffling, hyper-creative statement recorded between 1976 and 1982. It's also vastly sincere and some of Wolf's most accessible and deeply emotional songs, yet it orbits a universe known only by the likes of Captain Beefheart or Albert Ayler.

This reissue features replicated LP jackets, with Wolf's original transcendent liner notes, and labels bearing the Solidarity Solidarnosc Records name; never before seen photos; new essay by ethnomusicologist Ian Nagoski; and download coupon.

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2016-03-18
Damien Jurado: Visions of Us on the Land

Providing the ideal entry point for neophytes and an intoxicating aural high for the faithful, Damien Jurado's new opus extends the hot streak ignited by 2012's Maraqopa and its 2014 follow-up Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son. Cut once again with label mate and super producer Richard Swift at the latter's National Freedom recording facility in rural Oregon, Visions of Us On The Land completes the tale of an individual who has had to disappear from society in order to discover some universal truths.

Damien Jurado: Visions of Us on the Land (Deluxe Edition)

Providing the ideal entry point for neophytes and an intoxicating aural high for the faithful, Damien Jurado's new opus extends the hot streak ignited by 2012's Maraqopa and its 2014 follow-up Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son. Cut once again with label mate and super producer Richard Swift at the latter's National Freedom recording facility in rural Oregon, Visions of Us On The Land completes the tale of an individual who has had to disappear from society in order to discover some universal truths.

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2016-03-04
Ben Abraham: Sirens

In contrast to its ethereal title, Ben Abraham's Sirens is deeply human. Its songs were written over the artist's developing years as a writer and the album has become a kind of musical documentary of the loss, longing and growth that carried Abraham from his very first lyric to this, his first long-player.

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2016-02-19
Marlon Williams: Marlon Williams

"Each song is a character," says Marlon Williams of his self-titled solo debut: a remarkably assured and diverse nine-track tapestry, united by one of the most versatile and evocative voices you'll hear this or any other year. "I don't really ever sing out of character. Even if it's a very personal song, once it's written it doesn't belong to me." Recording the record at home, utilizing The Sitting Room in Lyttelton Harbour (New Zealand), Williams' deep-rooted bonds birth an eclectic, yet cohesive set that ranges from acrobatic opener "Hello Miss Lonesome" to the wry coffee house wisdom of "Everyone's Got Something To Say", via Rubber Soul-ful zinger "After All" and "Lonely Side Of Her"'s beauteous barroom empathy. Its author’s easygoing gender fluidity is expressed through his revelatory, androgynous reading of the traditional lament "When I Was A Young Girl", previously hymned by Nina Simone and Feist, among others. This ability to truly inhabit his material illuminates Williams' majestic rendering of such diverse touchstones as classic orch-pop ballad "Lost Without You" and conceptual, 1974-vintage nugget "Silent Passage" (originally by Bob Carpenter, a Canadian of First Nations heritage). These covers blend seamlessly with novelistic noir standouts "Strange Things" and "Dark Child" (co-credited to childhood choral pal Tim Moore, now a palliative care nurse), which deliver gallows humor with a widescreen groove.

Having been nominated for 5 New Zealand Music Awards, an Australian ARIA Award and completed sold out album release tours, this Southern Hemisphere star's eagerly awaited international release should see Marlon Williams soar.

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2016-02-05
Anna Homler and Steve Moshier: Breadwoman & Other Tales

Breadwoman & Other Tales are the collected recordings of a language arising. It is the sound and document of Anna Homler divining speech, lyrical fragments, and melody for music composed, mixed, and engineered by Steve Moshier. It's 1982 and Anna is driving an ocean blue classic Cadillac to meet renowned poet and playwright Deena Metzger in Topanga Canyon, Los Angeles. Passing a non-descript desert patch where tall wheat and mustard flowers grow, Anna opens her mouth and sings in a salient stream of rhythmic, melodic sound.

Breadwoman is born, but not by immaculate conception. For Homler, performance art had recently become "a form big enough to contain everything happening" during her studies with Rachel Rosenthal at Otis College of Art and Design. As this performative freedom fed into the enchanted vocalese, the character of Breadwoman emerged. Homler tread the same multi-disciplinary waters where Steve Moshier and the Cartesian Reunion Memorial Orchestra (CRMO), a communal avant-garde urban chamber music ensemble formed in LA in 1979, floated. When their currents connected, it was clear Homler and Moshier were kin, crossing genres through intensely physical de-significations of music: quasi-theatrical, fully mythic, ritualistic performances.

Instead of confining Anna as "a vocalist," Moshier recognized Anna's voice as a sonic element. To accomplish the recordings of this collection, Moshier chose the least song-like material from Homler's handheld cassette transcriptions and composed music considerately. Anna would then record chants and song variations which Steve would tweak for final touches through his arsenal of analog equipment.

Although Breadwoman stands outside of time, she is is rich in the ingredients of 1980s Los Angeles performance art, renegade DIY punk, gallery culture, galvanized jazz, underground cassette-trading culture, drag extravaganzas, and esoteric meaning-making mysticism. Breadwoman is a storyteller - she's so very old she's turned into bread. Breadwoman says: If you don't try to understand, you will. She is the voice, and the voice is cosmic reality's musicality. Through Breadwoman & Other Tales, we hear material meet mythos.

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2016-02-05
Beacon: Escapements

Thomas Mullarney III and Jacob Gossett are unstoppable. The New York artists, collectively known as Beacon, have been on a productive hot streak since 2012, and their efforts continue to pay off. "When we weren't writing," Mullarney starts, "we hit the road and didn't really look back. We toured the US five times since The Ways We Separate came out, building this project the old-fashioned way." And Beacon's natural, time-tested process has brought us Escapements, their sophomore album for Ghostly. Whereas the duo's debut was more streamlined and defined, Escapements thrives on an amorphous, free-flowing nature. "We went into this feeling liberated," continues the singer/producer, and Gossett seems to echo his thought: "This record is in part our attempt to formulate what Beacon is going to look and sound like going forward."

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2016-02-05
Benji Hughes: Songs in the Key of Animals

North Carolina's Benji Hughes fronted a rock band in the nineties. He's written commercial jingle. He's made music for film and television (Walk Hard, Eastbound & Down). He released 2008's A Love Extreme, his excellent double-LP debut record. But these ventures aren't different hats Hughes wears. They're not different paths traveled. This is Hughes playing in different keys.

Now, for his first full-length on Merge, Benji Hughes is playing Songs in the Key of Animals. Recorded over two years mostly at Frisbie studios in New York, the record is 41 minutes of pop-music exploration. The album has a summertime immediacy but an evergreen resonance (see "Longshot"). It's clever but too deep for punchlines (check the excellent back and forth of "Picnic"). It is sincere ("Girls Love Shoes") yet heartbreaking ("Song for Nancy"). It's eccentric but never forced in its strangeness. It's the kind of record that reminds us music can be fun without being empty. It's an album full of peacocks and sharks and zebras and tigers, but ultimately, it's about us. "People are animals," Hughes says, "even if some people don't want to admit it." Songs in the Key of Animals taps into something beyond just intellect or trend or taste. It's all about the feel, the connection between the player, the music, and the listener.

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2016-02-05
C Duncan: Architect

The son of two classical musicians, Christopher was drawn so persuasively to indie and alternative music and playing in school bands as a teen that he added guitar, bass guitar and drums to his existing repertoire of viola and piano, studying all five instruments at the same time. His debut LP for FatCat is full of achingly personal songcraft that's been recognized by NME, BBC Music, The Gurardian, Stereogum and most recently nominated for the UK's Mercury Prize.

Architect showcases a huge breadth in Christopher Duncan's songwriting abilities. Lead singles 'Say' and 'For' are characterized by their gentleness and warmth, while 'Garden' is bright, sunny and irrepressible, while 'By' and 'Novices' draw more overtly from Christopher's interest in electronic music and modern composition. He references The Knife and Arvo Part as willingly as Burt Bacharach and The Carpenters. Add to that shades of Talk Talk, Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, The Ink Spots and the classical and choral compositions of Maurice Ravel and Gabriel Faure, and a picture of the record collection that informs Christopher's music starts to become clear.

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2016-02-05
Crooked Fingers: Crooked Fingers (Reissue)

On February 5, 2016, Merge will reissue the self-titled debut album by Crooked Fingers, the solo project of Archers of Loaf frontman Eric Bachmann. Originally released in 2000, Crooked Fingers - a.k.a. "the one with the swan on it" - will be pressed on vinyl for the first time and include a download of the entire record plus nine bonus tracks of demos and rarities.

To mark the occasion of the reissue, we asked Josh Modell of The A.V. Club to write new liner notes for the album. Here is an excerpt:

Not long after he recorded this debut, Eric told me that he wanted Crooked Fingers to constantly evolve - that every record would sound different, and every tour would feature different players and new arrangements. He's kept to that, releasing albums that constantly tug and question, restless but preternaturally consistent. What you're holding represents the first step, a big, quiet leap into the unknown - which ended up being a beautiful place.

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2016-02-05
Crooked Fingers: Bring On The Snakes (Reissue)

On February 5, 2016, Merge will reissue Crooked Fingers' 2001 sophomore album Bring On the Snakes. On vinyl for the first time, the LP features an essay by The National's Matt Berninger. Also included is a download of the full album plus bonus demos of each track.

In his liner notes, Berninger writes:

I had been a fan of Eric Bachmann's songs since the first Archers of Loaf record, Icky Mettle, but here I felt he was after something different, something intimate and important. His writing was inspired. It sounded to me like Byron, drunk at a party, talking to some girl about a different girl that he was in love with. I remember thinking, This guy reads a lot more than I do. The vocal and guitar melodies were unbelievably lovely, and his lyrics careened from crushingly sad to self-lacerating to hilarious. The record achieves that strange, special magic: it's catchy, visceral, and emotionally devastating.

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2016-02-05
DIIV: Is The Is Are

Is the Is Are, the highly-anticipated sophomore release from Brooklyn-based DIIV, is an album years and many personal struggles in the making for it's architect, Zachary Cole Smith. Recorded and mixed in various locations in Brooklyn, it showcases everything you know and love about DIIV, and many things you did not, all with an added nuance and depth. It is a 17-song, double-album statement intended to resonate with its audience in much the same way that Bad Moon Rising or Tago Mago has for Smith himself.

An extension and deepening of the musical ideas first expressed on 2012's critically-lauded Oshin, Is the Is Are yields a multiplicity of textures, lyrical themes, and moods. It is a more diverse world than Oshin, with different parameters and ideals. Dark and honest to a fault, the new songs are dynamic, loud, quiet, sad; they are songs that hiss and snarl; songs that, as Smith wrote recently, represent "the real me." Smith's vocals, too, are much closer to the foreground, layered legibly on top of tidal waves of shimmering guitar and melodic bass weaving in and out, leaving a distinct and indelible imprint.

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2016-02-05
Grimes: Geidi Primes

Geidi Primes is Grimes' debut LP. Originally available as a free download, and a limited release of cassettes, it's now available worldwide on CD/LP/Digital.

It has a strange air of being created unconsciously while the artist herself was asleep. It is a vastly intriguing set of pop tunes highlighted by its amazing fifth and sixth songs: "Avi" and "Feyd Rautha Dark Heart", which are each frighteningly reminiscent of an unaccountable psychic experience you may have never had.

It seems like an album made for very tall people about what it's like to be very small. It calls to mind the glowering of a child king amidst the many vestments and decorations of his coronation. Listening to Geidi Primes is what its like to suddenly realize you are being watched while taking a cold shower... on the moon.

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2016-02-05
Hanz: Reducer

Tri Angle is excited to announce the release of Reducer, the debut album from Hanz, a.k.a 25-year old producer and multi instrumentalist Brandon Juhans, on vinyl for the first time.

With a penchant for the cinematic, the Georgia-born, Durham, North Carolina-based producer cuts blasted, abstract beats on post-punk textures, resulting in a sound that somehow manages to echo RZA, Rammellzee, This Heat and PIL, whilst carving out a unique identity all of his own. At a time when most hip hop production sounds as if it's stuck in preset mode, Reducer feels like a vital injection of creativity, harking back to a time in the past when no sample and no sound was off limits.

Opening track, 'The History of...', a dizzying collage of broken drum machine beats, white noise shards and glitchy dub, is a good place to start in trying to epitomize the energy of the record. From there on Hanz continues to take the listener on a trip into a dark, complex headspace where haunted patois vocals, industrial drums,harps, elastic bass-lines and dystopian hip hop beats collide. It's his capability of collapsing one sound world into another almost seamlessly, whilst retaining a distinctly raw punk energy throughout that sets Hanz aside. It makes for an unpredictable and thrilling listen.

In Reducer Hanz has created something wildly ambitious which, doesn't sound like much else out there in 2015. The 'Reducer' LP will be produced in limited quantities.

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2016-02-05
King Cyst: King of New York

King of New York by King Cyst is a 42-minute odyssey about the limits of carnal adventure in New York City. Songs weave together circuitous paths, dead-ends and social impasses; the humanism of its heroes and heroines is strained by their undying libidos. Seductive in the same way a disproportionate painting might be, King of New York is candid series of portraits.

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2016-02-05
Milk 'N' Cookies: Milk 'N' Cookies

Milk 'n' Cookies are the stuff of legends - or would be legends. Forming in the early 70s in Long Island, New York, this power pop group was originally signed to Island Records and seemed destined for greatness. Yet, through many cases of "wrong place, wrong time," the band never managed to break. The core line-up of the band was made up of Ian North, Justin Strauss, Sal Maida and Mike Ruiz and, in their time, they played classic NYC venues like CBGB's and Max's Kansas City. They shared bills with everyone from Talking Heads to The Ramones and have amassed a cult following, influencing the likes of Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) and Debbie Harry (Blondie).

After working extensively with the band members, Milk 'n' Cookies is a lavish reissue of the group's entire recorded output. Housed in a deluxe slipcase is the band's original legendary LP, a 2xLP featuring rare and unreleased tracks, as well as a book that chronicles the full history of the band's wild ride through the music biz - as told by the band themselves, through accounts from their many (in)famous admirers and through never-before-seen photographs.

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2016-02-05
Nap Eyes: Thought Rock Fish Scale

Recorded live to tape, with no overdubs, on the North Shore of Nova Scotia, Nap Eyes' quietly contemplative sophomore record refines and elaborates their debut, offering an airier, more spacious second chapter, a bracing blast of bright oceanic sunshine after the moonlit alleys of Whine of the Mystic (PoB-20). But the briny, cold Atlantic roils beneath these exquisite, literate guitar pop songs, posing riddles about friendship, faith, mortality, and self-doubt.

For fans of The Only Ones/England's Glory, The Modern Lovers, The Clean, The Verlaines, The Go-Betweens, Bedhead, and all things Lou Reed. With lyrics, color inner sleeve, and download code.

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2016-01-22
Best Friends: Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane (Color Vinyl)

Emerging from a damp, airless basement, rife with decay and broken equipment, Best Friends set about inflicting their warped idea of garage pop onto the public back in 2011, hell-bent on taking music back to a time when three minute pop songs transported you from your miserable maggot existence to a blissful state of nirvana, guitar tones fried your brain and hygiene was a dirty word.

'Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane' was birthed from early Best Friends recordings that produced tangible swathes of fuzz pierced with melody as the band sought to aurally emulate the workings of the Navajo rug makers, known for purposely weaving mistakes into their unique and complex patterns to remind us all that only the divine can achieve perfection. Armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of WWF, a full set of achievements on Mario Kart and several crates of beer, the band have been delving deep to reach your most primal instincts ever since. The album was recorded at Unwound Recordings (London) and mixed and produced by Adam Jaffrey. Early singles, "Fake Spit" and "Shred Til You're Dead" have been garnering shouts in NME Magazine and DIY Magazine, amongst a host of others.

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2016-01-22
Charlie Hilton: Palana

As we age, a growing and ever changing identity is something we never shake. The distance between the magic and awe of a child's mind to the mentality of a teenager is palpable. When you hit your 20s, it's safe to say a few things are different from that time you were 16. Though she maintains some reservations about the implications of something as abstract as identity, Charlie Hilton, known up until now for her work in the band Blouse, has now forged a new one with her debut solo album, Palana.

Enlisting Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Jacob Portrait as producer, Hilton freely experimented with diverse sounds and moods - some minimal and some cacophonous - out of the confines of a band structure. "Funny Anyway" is truly stark, featuring only string accompaniments, with Hilton assuming a role akin to a confessional French chanteuse, while "Let's Go to a Party" is Hilton's cheeky take on an icy dance track with thick, bouncing synths and a chorus that echoes "I'm only happy when I'm dancing." Alternatively, tracks like "Pony" harken back to the psychedelic strengths of Blouse, saluting bands like Broadcast and United States of America, and then there's "100 Million," the sole track produced by Woods' Jarvis Taveniere that rounds out the album in a soft, acoustic and light-hearted way with labelmate Mac DeMarco lending his talents on percussion and back-up vocals.