Like a stunning spring morning, Saltwater is buoyant, expansive pop, with an astonishingly sure hand of craftsmanship. With a light and lilting poise and the unique perspective of Crane, Saltwater is a quixotic melange that is both understated and startlingly honest. This is our Martin Crane ? the restless, yearning, young musical adventurer - balancing raging power, with a lovely articulation of deep feelings.
Akron/Family: Sub Verses
The album started with visions of large monumental sounds inspired by Heizer and Turrell; American works on a grand scale, monuments, dirty hands and an epic American masculinity. Dust, Stone, Sky, Earth.
These broad, bold strokes would come to pass but not quite as expected.
A Sci Fi aesthetic narrative emerged. Tackling distant pasts and future humanism, the pain and idiocy of our contemporary culture. How to deal with it open heartedly? The boredom, the sadness and speed. The plots within plots of Dune mirrored in many layers of sound. Creating 3D sonic atmospheres that our songs and singers inhabit.
Our story, a story, all stories. Told in verses, in underground language, in sub frequencies. Not audible, only felt, intuited, imagined in some deepest psychic space that you are yet to know. A strange story. Of the future, of yourself. Of everyone. We are all we are, only this and yet we move forward. Along some line to somewhere. And who knows?
Bleached: Ride Your Heart
On the heels of three well-received singles comes Ride Your Heart, the bombastic debut album by LA band Bleached. Sisters Jennifer and Jessie Clavin match their ability to blend a mix of freewheeling '77 punk with vintage sunny Southern California melodic rock and roll; creating blindingly bright hooks and dark heartfelt lyrics about love, loss, and the crazy fun moments in between.
Matthew Houck has a highly distinctive artistic voice and a refreshing, rolled-sleeves approach to his work. 2007?s Pride ? a spare and haunting work of country, southern gospel and forlorn folk-ish drone ?first caused ears to swivel in Phosphorescent?s direction. He followed it with To Willie, then 2010?s Here?s To Taking It Easy, an enthusiastic plunge into country rock and rolling Americana. Now, his sixth album Muchacho flashes yet another color in the subtly shifting Phosphorescent spectrum.
Night Beds: Country Sleep
Welcome to the sound of Winston Yellen and Night Beds, who in one stunning ten-track debut album Country Sleep, have shown that there is plenty of life left in the world of American music if you have the voice, the songs and the gift to touch hearts and souls. Think of a space between Mark Kozelek (Red House Painters/Sun Kil Moon), Gram Parsons and the dreamier side of My Morning Jacket; a heavenly place of pure country soul, touched by an endearing innocence and honesty that can only come from someone still in their early twenties. From Colorado Springs, and now a resident of Nashville where he first moved to study, Yellen?s road to Country Sleep has been anything but the straightest and easiest. In 2006, he formed Night Beds and self-released three rudimentary EPs between 2008 and 2011. Taking out a loan, Yellen rented an out-of-town, pre-civil war home in the woods that was previously owned by the late Johnny Cash and June Carter (and still maintained by the couple?s friends). Inspired by the serendipity of the discovery, he started working on Country Sleep, both in his country retreat and back in civilisation at Nashville?s Brown Owl studio.
Country Sleep begins with just a voice, a high and tender lament, for 71 precious seconds; a spirit to be reckoned with. Next up, a full band kicks up some dust behind a deliciously bittersweet melody. After that, more beautiful crooning unfolds over a violin/guitar backdrop that keeps building until the pace momentarily quickens to the sound of handclaps before a sudden, heart-aching fade. The album concludes with ?TENN?, as in Tennessee, written the next day after the night before, hungover and lost. Yellen admits the songs were often born out of, ?destructive circumstances, and many varied attempts to sedate myself.?
Indeed, anyone listening to Country Sleep ? whose title harks back to the ?night bed? in the back of his car ? will also find the record a cathartic experience.
Night Beds: Country Sleep (Deluxe Bundle)
Deluxe Bundle - $22.99 -CD copy of Country Sleep-LP copy of Country Sleep-7" single of "Even If We Try" b/w "You Were Afraid"-17x22 poster of the Country Sleep artwork (photographed by Dusdin Condren)-Download coupon for Country Sleep, redeemable immediately upon purchase
CD version - 12.99-CD copy of Country Sleep-Download coupon for Country Sleep, redeemable immediately upon purchase
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A Place To Bury Strangers: And I'm Up
A Place To Bury Strangers interweave threads of krautrock, dream-pop, and 80s goth without ever losing the edge that is quintessentially Strangers. Unhinged dissonance is artfully framed within a fiercely dynamic and assured melodic sensibility. Here "And I'm Up," a highlight from the band's 2012 intense Worship, is paired with unreleased "Don't Stop."
The Luyas: Animator
Recorded and produced at the Treatment Room by band member and experimental brass player Pietro Amato and mixed by Jace Lasek of the Besnard Lakes at his Breakglass Studios in the band?s hometown of Montreal, Animator is a cathartic sophisticated collection of songs. As melodically compelling as it is artistically rich, Animator is intuitive, seductive, moody and textural. It slowly unfolds its beauty and trusts the listener to stay with it.
Sun Airway: Soft Fall
In a landscape of collapsed beats, humming of the life that springs up from underneath, Soft Fall takes you on frosty morning walks through the woods where twinges of psychedelic light escape through the spaces between the leaves. It?s Versailles in audio form: grand and beautiful, ornate and complex, surreal and classic all at once.
Night Beds: Even If We Try b/w You Were Afraid
The creative voice of Night Beds, Winston Yellen, hails from Nashville by way of Colorado Springs. The 23 year-old songwriter boasts a new, great American voice with a specific brand of intimate thirst that few musicians possess.
On "Even If We Try," Yellen makes a stunning first step and displays his strength of sparseness. The a-side slowly builds in force from a wistful lullaby to an unexpectedly buoyant climax. The song centers around the singer's desire to sever his past life and start anew. It's that awkward and often terrifying feeling of distancing oneself from demons while realizing that they're fundamental elements in gaining the confidence to move forward. "Even If We Try" was recorded in a self-built studio in the former home of Johnny Cash located in Hendersonville, TN. The song was formed on his drives to and from Nashville and Hendersonville.
The b-side "You Were Afraid" was the first song a then 18 year-old Winston Yellen wrote with Night Beds in mind. The song recounts the gut wrenching realization of an imminent end to a relationship and the bittersweetness that can come with it. "Even If We Try" b/w "You Were Afraid" is Night Beds debut 7" for Dead Oceans and will be released on September 18th, 2012.
Bill Fay: Life Is People
Bill Fay is one of English music?s best kept secrets. At the dawn of the 1970s, he was a one-man song factory, with a piano that spilled liquid gold and a voice every bit the equal of Ray Davies, John Lennon, early Bowie, or Procol Harum?s Gary Brooker. He made two solo albums but his contract wasn?t renewed, which left his LPs and his reputation to become cult items. But he never stopped writing, the music kept on coming. Now, in his late sixties, he has produced Life Is People, a brand new studio album that shows his profoundly humanist vision is as strong as it ever was.
A Place To Bury Strangers: Worship
Guitars as jet engines; guitars as haunted electronics; guitars as filling-melting white heat: A Place To Bury Strangers' new album Worship is explosive, visceral, and dark. APTBS' DIY-braintrust of Death By Audio wizard Oliver Ackerman and bassist Dion Lunadon continue the evolution of songwriting that began with Onwards to the Wall, the band's 2011 EP. Now on Worship, they interweave threads of krautrock, dream-pop, and 80s goth without ever losing the edge that is quintessentially Strangers. Unhinged dissonance is artfully framed within a fiercely dynamic and assured melodic sensibility. Standout "You Are The One" is a coldwave white squall, with Ackerman coming through like an austere and menacing Damo Suzuki. Later on "Dissolved," the band methodically builds an atmospheric battle charge only to take a hard left mid-song into pure, shimmering Cure territory. There are ambitious, trend-bucking choices at every turn.
"This album was written, recorded, mixed and mastered by A Place To Bury Strangers. It is our vision of what our music should sound like in 2012, not someone else's interpretation," says Lunadon. "Every sound on the album is made by us and our tools; tools created by us, used on no other recordings, and purposefully built for this project. This is real. Some of it is the band being in complete control -- bending, shaping and building the songs and the sounds. Other parts are the band relinquishing control and letting the songs and sounds take over and produce themselves. We are not trying to reinvent ourselves, but simply push ourselves further in all aspects of our music."
"We made this, we recorded this, we did everything," adds Ackerman. "Yes, we chose to do this and no, we didn't have to but we think it is pretty cool. No producer made us. We didn't go to school for any of this and we don't have time for tutorials. We invented this and now we are sharing it with you."
Tallest Man On Earth, The: There's No Leaving Now
There's No Leaving Now, the newest record from Kristian Matsson's aptly titled moniker, The Tallest Man On Earth, finds the Swedish troubadour trading in the sense of urgency that fueled his first two records for a confidently relaxed approach. Drums, piano, baritone guitar, woodwinds and pedal steel layer this collection of songs that never compromise virtuosity for immediacy.
Bear In Heaven: I Love You, It's Cool
I Love You, It's Cool is the first time Bear in Heaven has sounded so unapologetic and so evolved, so risky and so redeeming, so focused and so finessed. After years of restless exploration, this feels like a definitive arrival. I Love You, It's Cool is music written in the present tense but ready to speak to the future. The work is its own rarified reward.
Bowerbirds: The Clearing
The Clearing is the third album by the Bowerbirds, and as is often the case for bands that have found steady success, they had more time and better resources to make it. This is a bigger record, then, with bolder sounds and a broader scope. Thing is, these songs don't cede to the increased production demands. The guitars and strings, codas and bridges simply make these thoughts more urgent, more vital and more necessary, but not one bit less permanent.