Akron/Family: Soul I Know b/w World Is Tired
"Soul I Know" b/w "World Is Tired" is a limited edition 10" from Akron/Family recorded during the sessions that lead to their 2013 scorcher, Sub Verses.
Strand of Oaks: Darker Shores
Darker Shores is a collection of songs that continues to reveal itself. Its path leads back to the vintage synthesizers used to create a unique journey into the human experience. Beyond the bleak and uncertain lies a solace and comfort that comes when songs achieve their highest possible potential. These songs represent both a definite ending and an undeniable new beginning. Hope you enjoy the journey.
The Darker Shores EP comes as a welcomed follow-up to last year's LP, Dark Shores. After long spells supporting both The Tallest Man On Earth and Phosphorescent, Strand of Oaks takes his newly informed sound to Europe for a headlining tour, plus London and Nijmegen dates with Damien Jurado and a stop at End of the Road Festival on September 1. Plan to see this powerful two-piece live.
Phosphorescent: Muchacho De Lujo (Deluxe Edition)
Muchacho de Lujo is the deluxe edition of one of 2013's most renowned albums, Muchacho, which garnered the coveted Best New Music (Pitchfork) tag as well as the adoration of The New York Times and Time Magazine. The bonus material is from an intimate pre-release live show, recorded at St. Pancras Church in London. The set, performed as a two-piece of guitar and piano, features standout tracks from across the Phosphorescent catalog including "Song For Zula," "Mrs. Juliette Low," "Wolves," and a cover of Waylon Jennings' "Storms Never Last."
Stitches, the new album from Califone, touches on all permutable definitions of the word- its episodes of discomfort and healing rendered with exquisite beauty and craftsmanship. The listener moves through a landscape of Old Testament blood and guts, spaghetti Western deserts and Southwestern horizons, zeroing in on emotions and images that cannot be glanced over.
In some regards, Stitches harks back to those earliest days of Califone, yet the ultimate outcome sounds like the work of an artist reborn. Rutili says. "Instead of writing from my balls and brain, this time I wrote from the nerves, skin, and heart."
Julianna Barwick: Nepenthe
Julianna Barwick's art is equal parts force and beauty. Her music finds its motor in significant events in her own life, but they are abstracted into a sense of sonic wonderment, a radiance that you could say is her signature sound. That radiance has been taken to new zeniths with Nepenthe, her third full-length album, which was recorded in Reykjavík, Iceland, in the dark cold days of February.
"Everything I was making was visceral ? the record represents some serious emotional stuff," she confirms, while at the same time she raves with enormous positivity about the unique recording environment. Alex Somers (musician/producer of Sigur Rós, Jónsi, Jónsi & Alex) invited her to Iceland in the first place. For Julianna, who was blown away at a Sigur Rós show in 2002, it was a dream come true. "That was the fastest email I ever wrote: ?Yes!? Who would say no to that?" Somers produced and engineered the record and brought in local Icelandic musicians who turned out to make crucial contributions: string ensemble Amiina, guitarist Róbert Sturla Reynisson from Múm, and a choir of teenage girls.
Gauntlet Hair: Stills
For all the dark tones pulsing through Gauntlet Hair's new album Stills, there is also a guileless affection for the goth/industrialists and post-punks who blazed a shadowy path through the 80s and 90s. Recorded during Portland, Oregon's grey winter days in producer Jacob Portrait's (Unknown Mortal Orchestra) appropriately named studio "The Cave," Stills is a modern salute to Trent Reznor and his cohort's arena-ready post-apocalyptica.
The album follows the once-Denver-based band's 2011 self-titled debut for Dead Oceans and singles spread across labels like Forest Family and Mexican Summer. After moving back to their hometown of Chicago last year, drummer Craig Nice and singer/guitarist Andy R. looked to their teenage selves for inspiration. "I started listening again to the stuff I would have in my discman in the back of my mom's car," says Nice. "White Zombie, Marilyn Manson ? the production on those records is so amazing. Nothing sounds like that anymore."
John Vanderslice: Dagger Beach
While it's true I did endure a terrible break-up at the beginning of writing this record, this is not a break up record. Dagger Beach is a put-me-the-fuck-back-together record. The break up came in late 2011, after endless months of White Wilderness touring. I returned home to an empty house, and, as that's pretty unbearable when you're not quite right in the head, I decided to set out walking. I hiked the Lost Coast (36 miles of off-the-grid splendor in Southern Humboldt County), I hiked the entire 150-mile trail system of Pt. Reyes, I hiked for days, deep, deep in the woods, usually alone.As I walked and walked, listening to records on repeat, I started obsessing about music again. As the experience changed me, it changed the record. Dagger Beach is looser, weirder, and more free because of it.
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.
Phosphorescent: Muchacho (CD Catalog Bundle)
1. 6-panel wallet CD edition with gold foil stamp2. Digital download code for the album (as .zip file containing 320kbps mp3s), redeemable immediately upon purchase
Phosphorescent: Muchacho (LP Catalog Bundle)
1. gatefold-jacketed LP2. Digital download code for the album (as .zip file containing 320kbps mp3s), redeemable immediately upon purchase
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.
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.
Night Beds: Every Fire; Every Joy
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."
The Tallest Man On Earth: 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.