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.
Feathers: Absolute Noon
Bear In Heaven: Beast Rest Forth Mouth
Bear in Heaven have trapped echos, tremors, winds, and fading light. They've redefined time, and folded it. They've unbuttoned sound, and realigned it. Within four walls in Brooklyn, Jon Philpot, Adam Wills, Sadek Bazaara, and Joe Stickney mined the democracy of their collaboration, plus the endless hours of stream-of-consciousness recorded documentation of rehearsals over the past years, to conceive the crystalline form of Beast Rest Forth Mouth, their second album, their exaltation.
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.
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.
Scott Solter: Canonic: Scott Solter plays Pattern is Movement
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
The Caribbean: Discontinued Perfume
Who are The Caribbean? Search Pitchfork and find reviews (good ones) of every one of their records. Time travel back three years and read about their day jobs on Stereogum; a civil litigationattorney, an English teacher, and a US Dept. of Transportation librarian have been writing, recording, and performing music together for over a decade in Washington, DC.The Caribbean have always hidden behind something. Lyrics, unorthodox chord progressions, iconic-but-abstract visual art, humor and satire, and even their own normal-guy appearance. But ifindie rock is a high school, The Caribbean - Michael Kentoff, Matt Byars, and Dave Jones - sit at the lunch table with Daniel Higgs, Wayne Coyne, and John Darnielle."Discontinued Perfume seems to be about living a strong, practical, grown up life and being comfortable with leaving that world and accepting the unknowable," said frontman Michael Kentoff.And their first album in three years is nearly an autobiography, set to the best music they've ever made: "The houses are real / and the garden is real / and everything looks nice enough tosteal / So meanwhile in the basement, secret tapes roll seven IPS / Artists in exile on your street / Yeah, they're living alright."The Caribbean are a secret hiding in plain sight.
Megafaun: Gather, Form and Fly
Collections of Colonies of Bees: GIVING
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).