Celestial Shore's second album, Enter Ghost, is a directive, a confession, and a confrontation. It's the reflection of its makers - Sam Owens, Greg Albert, and Max Almario - and the followup to 10x, their 2013 debut. It's a rock record, and one with the power to time travel with its instruments intact: the electric guitar, the electric bass, and the drum kit.
This musical skeleton is sentient. It rattled and rolled us here only sixty years ago. We've danced with it. We've dissected it. Celestial Shore's rock, sometimes appended with words like "art" and "angular" (words that could describe all music), has actually wiggled every which way since birth. It starts and stops with both intention and abandon. Sometimes it's saying three things at once. Sometimes it's saying one. It sounds a lot like love.
Recorded in the band's Brooklyn hometown last winter and road-tested on tour with Deerhoof in the spring, Enter Ghost is out on Hometapes this Fall. It begs to scratch its name into every tree... in a forest planted by the Zombies, Hendrix, and the Pixies.
Oh, and "Gloria" isn't about a girl. It's about New York City.
"This is the part of the song when we come together." Adam Schatz's voice rings out in the flickering candlelight of Manhattan Inn. "There's no before. There's no after. There's only this." Schatz leads Landlady, the Brooklyn five-piece whose beautifully-packaged Hometapes debut boldly disrupts the notion of genre and reveals the soulful work of one of NYC's most prolific group of musicians and producers. "I've never heard music that hit my heart and my brain quite like this," said Hometapes co-founder Sara Padgett Heathcott, who discovered a kindred spirit in Schatz and a gateway to timelessness in Landlady's music. "Paul McCartney, Jeff Lynne, Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, Sly Stone, Frank Black - these are the names that echo around the canyon that Schatz walked me into last year." The release of Upright Behavior - with a colored vinyl LP and a CD that includes a 14"x14" poster insert - is accompanied by national touring, including MusicFest NW, Hopscotch, and dates with Man Man and Rubblebucket.
"the band has an intimate urgency that uncrosses arms and impels involvement, and their sound invokes the Band if they had Dirty Projectors' skewed sense of song structure." - Pitchfork
"There are so many moving parts…but they come together to make one big, beautiful whole." -Stereogum
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, they 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. Years in the making, the release of Pattern Is Movement's new self-titled album is accompanied by a 12" single and is available on a limited edition deluxe colored LP vinyl package, as well as on CD and Digital formats.
CYNE are more than one emcee, more than two producers, more than their decade-spanning discography, and, with the announcement of their new album, All My Angles Are Right, more than just hip-hop. Cise Star is a conscience for your headphones. Speck and Enoch dig deep so you don't have to. CYNE rise above their sphere, merging the personal and the political with genre-busting production and silver-tongued rhymes that capture cross-millennia truths. Their beats have been used by Joey Bada$$, they've been remixed by Four Tet, they've collaborated with To Rococo Rot, Daedelus, and Nujabes, and, since 2008, they've been on Hometapes alongside Bear In Heaven, Megafaun, Matthew E. White, and Medicine-founder Brad Laner. CYNE lights up their full spectrum with All My Angles Are Right, their fifth album out March 2014 - and with this winter's tell-tale release of the first single "Tears For Uriah."
Part of the Hometapes family since 2003, The Caribbean has built an invisible neighborhood of words, images, and pop-dismantling sounds: William of Orange, Plastic Explosives, Populations, and Discontinued Perfume soundtrack an entire decade for the Washington, DC-based trio. Enter new album Moon Sickness: a set of songs with many of the recognizable characteristics of previous Caribbean albums — Kentoff’s literary and darkly dreamlike lyrics, the band’s advanced and eccentric compositional sensibility, and the curious, electronically treated surreal found-sounds draped around the songs. There's a newfound and bright light shining on Moon Sickness, but as biographer Chad Clark writes, "The Caribbean are still arcane, introspective weirdo geniuses with a taste for the surreal and a basically melancholic disposition. I mean, come on, they titled it 'Moon Sickness.’ It’s not a party record. You’d be wise not to expect straightforward, jubilant singalong choruses or ordinary chord progressions. But within the band’s canon — a body of work I love profoundly — this is certainly the most congenial entry yet."
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
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
"What's the band's name?""Megafaun.""What's the album called?""Megafaun."The trail discovered by 2008's Bury The Square, blazed by 2009's Gather, Form & Fly, and tended by 2010's Heretofore has run into a wide and rushing river. The band we know as Megafaun, born alongside Bon Iver in the ashes that rose from DeYarmond Edison (Brad Cook, Joe Westerlund, and Phil Cook's former band with Justin Vernon), has woven years of writing, touring, and living into a new sonic language. Critically-praised and publicly-loved for their ability to speak in the many tongues of American musical history -- all while blending it with their own energetic and personal form of Rock -- Megafaun has staked a claim. But the lay of that land they call theirs -- the hills, valleys, and caves beneath -- is just revealing itself in the sunrise. This is the band we know, but in a new light. This is Megafaun.
The pulse is set less than a minute into GIVING, Collections of Colonies of Bees first album in three years. There's no foreplay, no smalltalk -- just endless altitude. Their sixth full-length, the bona fide descendent of Customer and Birds (and even Volcano Choir's Unmap), is a 4-song, 28-minute eruption: Lawn, Vorm, Lawns, Vorms. It's the crashing waves of Rosenau's guitar, the pelting rain of Mueller's percussion, the vaporous breaths of Thomas Wincek's piano, and the rhythmic fabric woven by Jim Schoenecker (electronics), Daniel Spack (guitar), and Matthew Skemp (bass).
A collaborative 12” between noise pop legend Brad Laner and Finnish experimental trio Joensuu 1685, this limited edition vinyl-only project is relased by Oslo-based label Splendour and distributed in North America exclusively by Hometapes.
Brad Laner, who broke ground as founder/leader of Medicine, contributes three tracks -- all comparable to the type of lucid, eccentric noise pop that made his last two solo LPs so striking and masterful. Bradʼs take on Chicagoʼs “Feelinʼ Stronger Every Day” is a must hare for anyone with "Chicago VI" and "Loveless" in their record collection.
During a break from touring their first album and supporting Wolf Parade, Joensuu 1685 recorded hours of new material in a cabin in Northern Finland. The eerie and nearly 17-minute-long noise rock piece "Lost Highway" is the first track to surface from those sessions.“
Multi-instrumentalist Thomas Wincek has released music with several groups in the past 10 years, including the experimental electronic collaborative mainframe Emotional Joystick, the meticulous instrumental quintet Collections of Colonies of Bees, and the ethereal, playful supergroup Volcano Choir, a collaboration between the Bees and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver.
All Tiny Creatures is Wincek's newest endeavor. The building blocks of the Wisconsin quartet's debut full-length, Harbors, were whittled from looped and freestanding sounds democratically created by synthesis, guitars, and percussion. But as the needle glides into "Holography", the swift and playful start of side A, there's a new kind of compositional poise. Harbors is an album of transformative repetition, of music that travels freely between the left and right brain. It pulls from the same well (with a new bucket) as their Krautrock and Minimalist forebears (guys like Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and Manuel Göttsching) and even the greater history of rhythmic percussion found the world over. And then there's one entirely new instrument for All Tiny Creatures: the human voice. Joining All Tiny Creatures vocalists Thomas Wincek and Andrew Fitzpatrick are Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Roberto Carlos Lange (Helado Negro & Epstein), Phil Cook, Brad Cook, and Joe Westerlund (Megafaun) and more.
All Tiny Creatures Harbors features visual art by world-renown designer Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Co. in Portland. The LP and CD are both packaged in old-style tip on gatefold jackets. The 2xLP comes in two color sets, randomly selected and jawdroppingly beautiful.