Unknown Mortal Orchestra: II
II builds on the break-beat, junk-shop charm the 32-year-old multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Ruban Nielson came to be renowned for following Unknown Mortal Orchestra's self-titled 2011 debut, and signals the solidification of the band's position as an endlessly intriguing, brave psychedelic band. UMO is unafraid to dig deeper than the rest to lock into their intoxicating, opiate groove and bring rock?n?roll?s exaggerated myths to life. Written during a punishing, debauched touring schedule during which Nielson feared for both his sanity and health, II illustrates the emotional turmoil of life on the road, painting surrealist, cartoonish portraits of loneliness, love and despair.
Foxygen: We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic is a precocious and cocksure joyride across California psychedelia with a burning, bursting punk rock engine. In the same year as Scott McKenzie the singer of "San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)" leaves this mortal coil, Foxygen delivers unto us the dandy Glockenspiel-packing "San Francisco," which both circumvents and dissects McKenzie's tune and its many cousins of the era. "I left my love in San Francisco/(That's okay, I was bored anyway)/I left my love in a field/(That's okay, I was born in LA)" goes the lovely call-and-response chorus, slamming together the archetypal flower children of the 60s and the archetypal ADHD vapidity of our recent generations. Another highlight, "Shuggie," manages to fit all the light bounce of the song's namesake and the climbing choruses of ELO into it's 3 minutes while still filling the tune with imagery of "rhinoceros-shaped earrings" and haunted parlors. Every nook and cranny of the record is loaded with their unflappable, brazen personalities. Foxygen takes "swagger," that as-of-late misused adjective, back once and for all. It's flipping pyramids old and new upside down ? from the miracle demo hand-off to their Richard Pryor-as-Jagger live shows to their singular idiosynchratic vision of rock n' roll.
Oneida: A List of the Burning Mountains
A List of the Burning Mountains is the latest studio album by Brooklyn psych/noise/kraut godfathers Oneida. It was recorded at the Ocropolis, the band?s longtime studio, and is a powerful, sweeping gesture that evokes the storied history of that space and Oneida?s dedication to a diehard independent music and art community.
Burning Mountains is less a traditional album than a tiny sip from an endlessly roiling sea. Oneida is known for long-form improvisatory performances and collaborations; this release serves as a concentrated blast from a wholly unique band known for 12-hour live, improvised performances and multi-day recording sessions.
Sharon Van Etten: Tramp Demos (Bonus Disc)
Sharon Van Etten: Tramp (Deluxe Edition) Digital Album
Sharon Van Etten: Tramp (Deluxe Edition)
To celebrate Sharon Van Etten’s big year in support of her critically acclaimed album Tramp, Jagjaguwar is pleased to present the Tramp Deluxe Edition. It includes the album, demos for each album track, plus a bonus track demo. The physical component is a repackaging including a self-portrait and liner notes about each song taken from Van Etten's journals. Set to memorialize the comprehensive vision for one of the year’s best albums, from earliest home recording to fully realized album version, the Tramp Deluxe Edition is available digitally as well as on compact disc this fall.
V/A: Music from The Comedy, A Film by Rick Alverson
Jagjaguwar is proud to present the soundtrack from director Rick Alverson's provocative film "The Comedy." The film focuses on Swanson (Tim Heidecker), who whiles away his days with a group of aging Brooklyn hipsters, engaging in acts of recreational cruelty and pacified boredom. Desensitized and disenchanted, he strays into a series of reckless situations that may offer the promise of redemption or the threat of retribution. A scathing look at the white male on the verge of collapse, Rick Alverson's carefully observed portrait provokes and disorients; a cautionary fable for the autumn of the American Era. With his similarly-minded friends, ("Tim and Eric" co-star Eric Wareheim, LCD Soundsytem frontman James Murphy and comedian Gregg Turkington a.k.a.“Neil Hamburger") in games of comic irreverence and mock sincerity. As Swanson awaits a large inheritance from his father’s estate, he grows restless of the safety a sheltered life offers, and he begins to test the limits of acceptable behavior, pushing the envelope in every way he can.
Alverson worked with Jagjaguwar to create a soundtrack of eerie, bittersweet and mystic pop songs from the "autumn of the American Era," featuring artists from the present (GAYNGS, Gardens & Villa, Here We Go Magic) and the past (Donnie & Joe Emerson, Bill Fay, Amanaz). Markedly, the soundtrack features excerpts from William Basinski's groundbreaking The Disintegration Loops, one of the most powerful manifestations of the inevitable cycle of life ever committed to tape, even as it documents the inevitable decay of all that is committed to tape.
Bon Iver: Beth / Rest
?Beth/Rest" is the fourth single from the Grammy Award winning Bon Iver, Bon Iver. The b-side is an alternate performance of Beth/Rest recorded at Rare Book Room.
Bon Iver, Bon Iver was recorded and mixed at April Base Studios, a remodeled veterinarian?s clinic located in rural Fall Creek, Wisconsin. The main recording space is constructed over a defunct indoor pool attached to the clinic. ?It?s an unique space and destination; it?s our home out here,? says Vernon, who purchased the structure with his brother in late 2008 with the sole intention of converting it into his ideal recording studio. ?It?s been a wonderful freedom, working in a place we built. It?s also only three miles from the house I grew up in, and just ten minutes from the bar where my parents met.? The creation of Bon Iver, Bon Iver was a three-year process, and Vernon says the completion of the studio paralleled the completion of the album. ?I was writing and recording in the windows of time snatched between tours in support of For Emma,? he says. ?When I finally came home to hunker down for a solid stretch there was a feeling of solid ground and an opportunity for liberation waiting in the space for me.?
Bon Iver, Bon Iver is Justin Vernon returning to former haunts with a new spirit. The reprises are there ? solitude, quietude, hope and desperation compressed ? but always a rhythm arises, a pulse vivified by gratitude and grace notes. The winter, the legend, has faded to just that, and this is the new momentary present. The icicles have dropped, rising up again as grass.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark) b/w Waves of Confidence
As Unknown Mortal Orchestra, New Zealand by-way-of Portland songwriter and guitarist Ruban Nielson marries spry, nervy psychedelia with sharp R&B touchstones. Timeless pop hooks are produced with a soft buzzsaw edge so that the effect is akin to Stevie Wonder producing Plastic Ono Band into Nuggets-like gems. It's a one-two punch that has caught the ear of hip-hop community heavyweights (like ?uestlove, El-P) and indie-world heroes (Liars, Toro Y Moi). With bassist Jacob Portrait and drummer Greg Rogrove, Unknown Mortal Orchestra is preparing a full-length for early 2013. Single "Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)," a bittersweet power-pop romp with melodies more delicate than most approaching the genre would dare, is our first taste from the recordings. It's b-side, "Waves of Confidence," is slow-grind sizzurp psych that, by its end, has built and layered to transcendent heights.
Dinosaur Jr.: I Bet On Sky
I Bet on Sky is the third Dinosaur Jr. album since the original trio ? J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph ? reformed in 2005. And, crazily, it marks the band?s 10th studio album since their debut on Homestead Records in 1985. Back in the ?80s, if anyone has suggested that these guys would be performing and recording at such a high level 27 years later, they would have been laughed out of the tree fort.
The trio has taken everything they?ve learned from the various projects they tackled over the years, and poured it directly into their current mix. J?s guitar approaches some of its most unhinged playing here, but there?s a sense of instrumental control that matches the sweet murk of his vocals (not that he always remembers to exercise control on stage, but that?s another milieu). This is head-bobbing riff-romance at the apex. Lou?s basswork shows a lot more melodicism now as well, although his two songs on I Bet on Sky retain the jagged rhythmic edge that has so often marked his work. And Murph?well, he still pounds the drums as hard and as strong as a pro wrestler, with deceptively simple structures that manage to interweave themselves perfectly with his bandmates? melodic explosions.
After submerging myself in I Bet on Sky, it?s clear that the album is a true and worthy addition to the Dinosaur Jr. discography. It hews close enough to rock formalism to please the squares. Yet it is brilliantly imprinted with the trio?s magical equation, which is a gift to the rest of us. For a combo that began as anomalous fusion of hardcore punk and pop influences, Dinosaur Jr. have proven themselves to be unlikely masters of the long game.
Dinosaur Jr.: I Bet On Sky (Splatter Vinyl)
I Bet on Sky is the third Dinosaur Jr. album since the original trio ? J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph ? reformed in 2005. And, crazily, it marks the band’s 10th studio album since their debut on Homestead Records in 1985. Back in the ?80s, if anyone has suggested that these guys would be performing and recording at such a high level 27 years later, they would have been laughed out of the tree fort.
The trio has taken everything they’ve learned from the various projects they tackled over the years, and poured it directly into their current mix. J’s guitar approaches some of its most unhinged playing here, but there’s a sense of instrumental control that matches the sweet murk of his vocals (not that he always remembers to exercise control on stage, but that’s another milieu). This is head-bobbing riff-romance at the apex. Lou’s basswork shows a lot more melodicism now as well, although his two songs on I Bet on Sky retain the jagged rhythmic edge that has so often marked his work. And Murph?well, he still pounds the drums as hard and as strong as a pro wrestler, with deceptively simple structures that manage to interweave themselves perfectly with his bandmates’ melodic explosions.
After submerging myself in I Bet on Sky, it’s clear that the album is a true and worthy addition to the Dinosaur Jr. discography. It hews close enough to rock formalism to please the squares. Yet it is brilliantly imprinted with the trio’s magical equation, which is a gift to the rest of us. For a combo that began as anomalous fusion of hardcore punk and pop influences, Dinosaur Jr. have proven themselves to be unlikely masters of the long game.
Foxygen: Take The Kids Off Broadway
Foxygen is the bi-coastal songwriting duo of Sam France (vocals, Olympia, Wash., 22 years old) and Jonathan Rado (guitar/keyboards, NYC, 22). They are the raw, de-Wes Andersonization of The Rolling Stones, Kinks, Velvets, Bowie, etc. that a whole mess of young people desperately need. At the same time, they pull a very Anderson-type move wherein they paint an impressionistic and hyper-real (and instantly recognizable) portrait of specific places and times ? and blurring the lines between time and place. Yet, it never comes across as anything but absolutely modern music. They bring the freewheeling qualities of someone like Ariel Pink to those aforementioned influences to make for one of the most refreshing listens of the year. They are the real deal and total savants. Jagjaguwar is proud to introduce you to Foxygen and their bedroom masterpiece Take the Kids Off Broadway.