There must be something in the water of Edmonton, Canada that's gifting it's songwriters with the ability to write sweet and snug pop melodies. After putting in time with fellow Edmontonian Mac DeMarco in Makeout Videotape, Alex packed away his drums to perfect his song writing. Moving back to his mother's house, he was able to write and record his first solo effort in 2013 with the "Time" EP.
Alex Calder's sophmore release with Captured Tracks is as familiar as it is foreign - brining together both infectious melodies and texture to create tidy, acid-induced pop sequences. "Strange Dreams" takes a confident step forward from Calder's previous release and brings the focus and ambition of Alex's songwriting to all aspects of his music. The record delivers, while still maintaining the youthful humor that has become his trademark.
Tight rhythms tie down whirling guitars, sparkling textures bounce off of timeless melodies, and ambition beyond humble means are realized in Alex Calder's latest album. Ghostly vibes find their way into his songs that possess a certain sense of urgency, as is unmistakably evident on his lead single, title track "Strange Dreams".
Amen Dunes' Love took close to a year and a half, 16 musicians, and five different studios to complete. It was a song cycle that required broad experimentation before it was clear what was essential underneath the surface. In that process, much of the sound that might have made it onto the album was lost. There was just too much to say for one record. Cowboy Worship is an attempt to give life to some of the music that didn't make it past the scalpel.
For the past 14 years, Elephant Micah's Joseph O'Connell has quietly self-released his music, sometimes collaborating with the psych-folk imprint Time-Lag Records or other very small labels. Despite the project's almost secretive status, Elephant Micah has repeatedly caught the attention of NPR, and has been championed by an impressive cohort of like-minded artists including Jason Molina, Hiss Golden Messenger, Dark Dark Dark, and Hurray for the Riff Raff. His new album, Where in Our Woods is defined by its limited palette. The arrangements foreground nylon-string guitar and an antique portable pump organ. A stripped down-drum set, a baritone ukulele, a toy recorder, and harmony vocals (sung by Will Oldham, a friend of and key influence on O'Connell) round out the sound. This sparse ensemble leaves O'Connell's voice room to breathe, while elevating and magnifying the poetry of his songs. Throughout the album, O'Connell deftly transforms the stuff of everyday American life into a series of entrancing meditations on culture, nature, religion, and modernity.
Kaitlyn's solo debut Euclid (primarily written on a Buchla Music Easel synthesizer) was inspired by her love of mbira music, early electronic music pioneers like Laurie Spiegel, Oskar Sala, and Terry Riley, and euclidian geometry. Each of the first six songs on Euclid were initially structured using euclidian geometry, an idea which Smith explored while attending a class at the San Francisco Conservatory. As Smith explains, "We each chose a 3D shape and assigned our own guidelines to the different components that make up the shape. For example each point of the shape represents a different time signature, each line between the points represents a pitch, each shape within the closed lines represents a scale, etc. And then you play the shape." Despite their heady geometric origins, the songs have a playfulness and warmth that makes them inviting and memorable. In addition to the buoyant grooves of Smith's synthesizers, some of the songs feature wordless vocals, which energize the otherworldly songs, while grounding them with Smith's earthly presence.
Available for wide release for the first time ever on one CD, Captured Tracks brings listeners the demos of Mac DeMarco's latest record Salad Days, as well as the demos for Mac's critically acclaimed '2'. Over the past few years we have watched Mac develop from a cult artist, to a standout figure amongst the realm of the indie mainstream. From bedroom sessions to a string of critical accolades, high sales, and sold out tours all over the world, Mac stands as a true role-model for the young musician tinkering with their 4-track tape recorder in a suburban bedroom - a sincere example of humble beginnings, and honest hard-earned acclaim.
These demos include several unreleased tracks, on top of demos of songs we know and love from Salad Days, and '2'. These recordings give an intimate view into the world of Mac DeMarco like never before, taking listeners back to the roots of Mac's writing and recording straight from his own bedroom 'Jizz-Jazz' studios. Filled with lofi fuzz built upon foundations of infectious pop melodies, this collection of songs showcases Mac DeMarco in his truest form. Two albums on one CD make this release a truly unique and valuable piece of Mac's discography and is sure to have both dedicated and casual Mac collectors alike lining up outside of their local record stores to pick up this truly special release.
DFA is pleased to announce the long-awaited followup to Marcus Marr's acclaimed 2013 single "The Music".
A music obsessive all his life, Londoner Marcus Marr's first encounters with dance music were acid house records which augmented his vinyl collection of rock and soul, and attending all night parties under Brixton's St Matthews church. Traveling to the south of England to watch DJ Harvey play a lengthy set, he saw the kind of power a DJ can wield over a willing crowd.
"The Music", was featured prominently in the 2012 film "Pusher", starring Richard Coyle and Agyness Dean. The single's B-Side "Pleasure Moon" was used to open the 2014 Versace show in Milan. Additionally, it was placed at #3 in Spin Magazine's "The 40 Best Dance Tracks of 2013", bested only by Daft Punk and Todd Terje.
These two tracks are a taste of what we can expect in the future from Marcus Marr, who will be releasing his debut album on DFA in 2015.
Ninos Du Brasil are Nicolo Fortuni and Nico Vascellari, an Italian percussion duo with a background in visual art. Through their aptitude with drumming, they are masters at fusing the seemingly disparate influences of punk, tribal techno, and batacuda, emerging with a sound that is truly singular. The project takes its rhythmic backbone from Brazilian carnival music, and the duo injects each track with the frothy attitude of punk and the shuffling dancefloor domination of techno.
Nico Vascellari had the following to say of these two tracks: "These two songs are meant to be poisonous and malignant, As if somebody had the idea of inviting us to a party between the bushes of Queimada Grande (Snake Island, Brazil.)"
Just over a year after playing their first show as a band, Perfect Pussy have quickly made a name for themselves as one of the most intense bands in the indie rock and hardcore punk communities, both live and on record. Their fast rise to success all stemmed from this 4 track demo EP, originally released as a cassette only. Simply title tracks such as "I" and "IV" garnered praise from everyone to Rolling Stone and Pitchfork, to NPR and the New York Times, landing the on countless year end lists.
Gayna Florence Perry and Robin Surtees are perhaps best known for their work with cult Eighties band Shiny Two Shiny. Signed to Red Flame Records, they released one mini LP entitled 'Halfway Across The Rainbow' and one single 'Waiting For us' b/w 'Ritual Hate', in 7" and 12" formats.
A mixture of bright and breezy synth pop with some darker undercurrents both records made a dent in the indie charts gaining positive reviews in the music press for releases and live appearances and acclaim from John Peel as well as daytime airplay on Radio 1. They also toured Europe and appeared on TV. At the start of 1984 the band played at the 'Big Brother' music festival at the ICA in London, supporting Pink Industry. But by this time the writing was on the wall for Shiny Two Shiny.
Siskiyou returns with Nervous, a majestic album of carefully constructed art rock built around songwriter and lead singer Colin Huebert's stacked acoustic guitars and intimate, whispery vocals. Siskiyou's sound has been previously dubbed a sort of 'Northern Gothic', conjuring cold winds and the life-saving warmth of temporary shelters and tiny hearth fires. With Nervous, the band continues to push beyond the crisp lo-fi intimacy of its early work, and has forged its most confident and finely-crafted recording to date, moving fully into auteur and chamber-pop territory with a song cycle that brings to mind the meticulousness of mood and sonics found in recent work by PJ Harvey, Nick Cave and Tindersticks. Inflected by an anxious, sussurant restraint, Huebert's voice is supported by the falsetto backing vocal counterpoint and economical instrumentation of bandmates Erik Arnesen, Peter Carruthers and Shaunn Watt. Nervous includes contributions from guest musicians Colin Stetson, Owen Pallett, JP Carter, Ryan Driver and the St. James Music Academy Senior Choir, among others. The album features original artwork by Michael Drebert; the Deluxe LP edition includes a series of 12"x12" prints of Drebert's india ink drawings inspired by the album.
Between 1979 and 1982, The Universal Togetherness Band tracked unearthly portions of their sprawling songbook for bewildered students in Columbia College's audio engineering program. Storming the gates of Chicago's premier recording studios, the erudite party band explored permutations of soul, jazz-fusion, new wave, and disco with little regard for studio rates or the availability of magnetic tape. Universal Togetherness Band captures the brightest, never-before-heard moments from this visionary group's 5-semester recording bender.
Universal Togetherness Band (CD/LP): The attractive gatefold LP edition boasts magnificent reproductions of never-before-seen images from the archives of Chicago photographer Steven E. Gross. The CD version features several candid snapshots from the group's personal collections. Meticulously mixed from the original multi-track sessions by Sean Marquand (Phenomenal Handclap Band), Universal Togetherness Band is presented in peak fidelity.
Recorded in a barn-turned-studio in rural Ontario, the seven songs that make up Viet Cong were born largely on the road, when Flegel and bandmates Mike Wallace, Scott Munro and Daniel Christiansen embarked on a 50-date tour that stretched virtually every limit imaginable. Close quarters hastened their exhaustion but also honed them as a group. You can designate records as seasonal, and you can feel Viet Cong's bleakness and declare it wintry. But the only way you get a frost is when there's something warmer to freeze up. So yes, Viet Cong is a winter album, but only until it is a spring record, then a summer scorcher, then an autumn burner, then it ices over again.