Pattern Is Movement: Suckling / Untitled (How Does It Feel?)
Founded in Philadelphia by Andrew Thiboldeaux and Christopher Ward, Pattern Is Movement map a vast territory of internal exploration and external output. As the band recorded a series of albums over the past decade — The (Im)possibility of Longing, Stowaway, and All Together — they also shifted in membership and in stylistic focus, eventually solidifying into a powerful duo: Thiboldeaux on Rhodes, synth, bass, and vocals, and Ward on drums. Deeply soulful and natively genre-defying, Pattern Is Movement toured extensively, joining bands like St. Vincent, The Roots, and Shudder to Think, before delving into their fourth album and, along with it, the brightest and darkest corners of composition, orchestration, and collaboration. Their first reveal is a limited edition 12” featuring the new song "Suckling" backed with the long-awaited studio recording of fan favorite "Untitled (How Does It Feel?)," Pattern Is Movement's sweltering cover of D'Angelo. The 12” is limited to 500 hand-numbered copies on transparent green vinyl, packaged in full-color jackets that include a download coupon
Leverage Models: Leverage Models
Shannon Fields (Stars Like Fleas founder/producer) has spent the better part of the past three years recording new, unhinged, narratively-oblique, club-centric, dark kitchen-sink pop music under the name Leverage Models. Following the release of three EPs (digitally, as well as on limited edition cassettes), Leverage Models will release its self-titled debut album on Hometapes this fall. The album features contributions from members of Yeasayer, Sinkane, and LCD Soundsystem, as well as Sharon Van Etten. The Brooklyn-based live band inhabits the warped echoes of ABC, Scritti Politti, The Associates, Happy Mondays, Japan, A Certain Ratio, Lisa Lisa & The Cult Jam, Throbbing Gristle, etc. Leverage Models has performed recently with Sinkane and Escort, and has upcoming shows with Medicine and Indians, plus soon to be announced performances at CMJ and Hopscotch Festival.
Brad Laner: Nearest Suns
You can't get away from the sun. Brad Laner returns with his third solo album, created in the winds swirling around the reuniting of his cult noise-pop band and American shoegaze pioneers, Medicine. Like Neighbor Singing and Natural Selections before it, Nearest Suns was composed, played, and recorded entirely in Laner's Granada Hills, California home by Laner himself. It's an old new universe in twelve songs, shattering what it means to be called a singer-songwriter, messing around with the noticion of getting older, and soundtracking the infinite distortion and infinite harmony of falling in and out of love.
Celestial Shore: 10x
The whispers about Celestial Shore's debut full-length, 10x, began with the release of the balmy I'm-so-done-with-you song "Valerie" on Stereogum earlier this year. Sound travels: the Brooklyn trio has joined Portland, OR-based label Hometapes (whose sonic family tree includes Bear In Heaven, Megafaun, Matthew E. White, All Tiny Creatures, and Pattern Is Movement) and 10x will be released September 3rd in partnership with Local Singles (the new label begun by Brad Oberhofer). In nine songs, Celestial Shore deconstructs city life, the history of pop music, and their own jazz educations into something both heartbreakingly raw and mystically timeless. In between the lines, the band exalts the vibrant scene they call home: the album was mixed by Deerhoof's Greg Saunier, includes Empress Of's Lorely Rodriguez on vocals, and features cover art by Prince Rama.
All Tiny Creatures: Dark Clock
"Dude, look what I just got." It started with a text. All Tiny Creatures' founder Thomas Wincek was at work on the new album. He'd just found a Rockman, the headphone amp designed by Boston founder Tom Scholz. A guitar DI Box with multiple effects built in, it?s what Def Leppard used all over Hysteria. I had no idea. For those vast radio jams of my youth, my brain had been the effects processor.
A couple months later, I was listening to Drexciya, watching King Crimson live videos, and hearing Beach Boys songs I never knew existed. Wincek was leaving a note for me before I time traveled. I was learning the secrets of Dark Clock. All Tiny Creatures' second album is an ode to the intertwined bodies of music and technology. A familiar, primordial ease is wrapped up in pulsing electricity. In ten songs, the Wisconsin-based four-piece reminds us that our blood-filled frames are responsible for making the tangle of wires around us. We're still inventing fire.
All Tiny Creatures is Wincek, along with Andrew Fitzpatrick, Matt Skemp, and Ben Derickson. Wincek, Skemp, and Fitzpatrick are also part of Volcano Choir, the sonic collision between Justin Vernon and the venerable Collections of Colonies of Bees.
Jon Mueller: Death Blues
Matthew E. White: Big Inner
Like all of us, Matthew E. White was born into a constructed world. His unfolded out of the mingled sands of Virginia Beach and Manila, the youngest son in a family that raised him barefoot between the blurred racket of the Far Eastern jungle city and the backyard lightning-bug-hum of a trimmed Southern lawn.
On that day in August, when the earth shifted into the shape of Matthew E. White, there was so much to feel, already. The dusts of the Delta had swirled into Rock and Roll. King Tubby was dubbing. Terry Riley was overdubbing. Caetano Veloso had just turned 40. Muddy Waters was just about gone. Jimmy Cliff had had sung "Many Rivers to Cross". So had Harry Nilsson. White shared this common inheritance. He stitched his own flag out of it.
And so Big Inner begins, looking in, up, and over in its declarations of love. It's waking up next to someone. It's feeling the wood of the church pew on your back. You give me joy like a fountain deep down in my soul. You can hear him breathe in. The first time around, White only hums the chorus. Hums it. Plants it in your head as it blooms in his. You can call it soul music if you want. It's his soul and it's his music.
Ape School: Junior Violence
Junior Violence begins with a death rattle of the most optimistic sort. Half-synthesized and half-howled, the first song on Ape School's new album sums up birth, death, and the guilt you face as you drop the needle on side A:
Did you know you fucked yourself?
Everything is on the other side of that question. Answer it and you'll wonder why you're just now fessing up. Tell your truth and the Oberheim OB-8 will cascade like a waterfall. The bass line will try to feel you up. It's all foreplay for the anthemic "Marijuana's on the Phone" and the nine tracks that follow, adding up to the second album from Ape School, the flaming sigil for a man named Michael Johnson (see Holopaw, Lilys, Kurt Vile, and War on Drugs). Junior Violence is part confession, part blitz, part hangover, and part ascension.
Anna-Lynne Williams and Robert Gomez, nearly strangers, left Seattle and Denton and went to Marfa to make a record. As old loves bled out pink, the color of that month of February, the color of a long-setting sun, they platonically arranged their instruments in a tiny adobe house in the most dreamlike town in Texas. They made ten songs. They called it Machine.
The machine only works if all our parts give in. So goes the title track, nestled into side A, one of a dozen page-turning clues to what it was like for a man and a woman to live side-by-side, to finish each other's lines, to speak in chords, to read the paper in the morning, to write a song about it in the evening, and to build a world out of an experiment. "I'd never written lyrics with someone before," writes Williams, "we were writing the words to "Hold the Water" together and were actually passing slips of paper back and forth to each other. We were too shy to say them out loud."
Machine is as intimate as waking up to someone singing alone and as grand in composition, performance, and capture as the unfading records you might find yourself comparing it to: Emmit Rhodes' Emmitt Rhodes, Blonde Redhead's Misery is a Butterfly, and The Cardigans' Long Gone Before Daylight.
Matthew E. White: One of These Days
A languid, snaking beat. A glowing trail of strings. Rising horns. Mournful get-it-on vocals. "One of These Days" is your calling card for Matthew E. White and your first taste of Big Inner, White's debut album out this August. Backed with "Ain't That What Love Is" (an exclusive gem featuring Phil Cook of Megafaun on keys), this 7" single is also your introduction to Spacebomb, a brand-new-big-little record label in Richmond, VA and a new branch on the Hometapes family tree.
A gentle, musical polymath, Matthew E. White radiates a passion for the history of harmony. He's a vibrant, prodigious arranger. A hypnotizing performer. A guitar wizard. As a singer, White travels in the same pathways as Allen Toussaint and Randy Newman: modest, soulful, personal, and utterly confident. In these two magic tracks, you'll begin to hear his wide orbit through sonic history and the clues to Big Inner: New Orleans R&B, Curtis Mayfield, Terry Riley, Reggae, Sly Stone, Tropicalia, The Band, Harry Nilsson...Matthew E. White is his own timeline. Summer is coming.
Matthew E. White also walks the earth as the leader of lauded avant-garde jazz band Fight the Big Bull and has released albums on Clean Feed & Fat Cat, performed around the country and collaborated with artists like Ken Vandermark, Steven Bernstein, Karl Blau, Megafaun, Sharon Van Etten and Justin Vernon.
Ape School: Marijuana’s on the Phone
?Marijuana called me on the phone a long time ago. I hung up. It left a message.”
Began as a drunken strum into a tape recorder, ?Marijuana’s on the Phone’ is your forged hall pass for Ape School, the moniker for Michael Johnson and his prodigious musical output. Spawned five years ago in the wake of former bands Lilys and Holopaw (and while Johnson was playing alongside fellow Philadelphians Kurt Vile and War on Drugs), Ape School is on the cusp of sonic apocalypse with Junior Violence, the new album coming this August from Hometapes. ?Marijuana’s on the Phone’ is your first drag.
“I went to the studio with Eric Slick [Dr. Dog] and just ripped through a loose concept. Ended up using his first take drums. Went and found a couple of kids in the building to play sax and vibes. Ended up layering tons of Eventide guitars over it and jotted down a quick bit of lyrics. First take vocals all the way across. Beefheart/Barrett bastardization gone mudslide.” - Michael Johnson on ?Marijuana’s on the Phone’
Backed with “Blame Mark Griffey,” the 7” features a full-color cover in a heavy PVC sleeve, plus two transparency masks by Freegums. The record was created in partnership with Needless Records, the Florida-based label home to Jacuzzi Boys and Woven Bones.
AU: Both Lights
Luke Wyland and Dana Valatka, the Portland, Oregon-based duo known as AU, embody remarkable, frantic energy. It permeates everything they touch. AU brings into question the moment and where you are in it.
Both Lights is their third album and the long-anticipated followup to 2008's acclaimed LP Verbs and still-memorable tours with Why? and Deerhoof. Wyland's soaring vocals and multi-tentacled performance on keys and guitar are fortified by Valatka's adrenalized percussion. Contributions by saxophonist Colin Stetson (most recently seen on stage with Bon Iver) and vocalist Holland Andrews take Both Lights into the stratosphere, where it shines as AU’s finest work yet.
Wyland and Valatka reflect that light. The first single -- "Solid Gold" -- is a sweeping aural experience that captures not only the journey through the past three years of love, loss, and levity, but the voyage music can take us all on if we click play and just listen. "The back and forth, the tug of war for love," writes Wyland, getting at the root of "Solid Gold", in essence a love song, "exhausting, exhilarating, and so totally not sustainable." Like the best songs, in some way or another, we can all sing along to that.