Nightlands: Oak Island
The son of a genetic engineer, Dave Hartley has eschewed his father's profession but decidedly inherited his analytical proclivities and love of "the lab." As Nightlands, Hartley is a scientist trying to create and understand art through analytical process. Here, with sophomore album Oak Island, his follow up to 2010's superb Forget the Mantra, new questions are explored: what happens when the human voice is layered exponentially? Nightlands takes us on a spirit quest through lush forests down into The Uncanny Valley. Each distorted, silver-voiced melody is wrapped in the sounds of 70s AM gold ? plucked acoustic guitars, trumpets, dulcimers and hand percussion. Hartley is a prolific sideman in many notable Philadelphia bands and the extraordinary bassist of The War on Drugs. Listeners expecting a simple side project, however, will be surprised by the boldness and scope of his vision--Nightlands is the Chuck Close painting to the The War on Drugs' De Kooning.
Dungeonesse: Drive You Crazy b/w Private Party
Dungeonesse is a collaboration between writer/producer Jon Ehrens (White Life, Art Department) and singer Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak, Flock of Dimes). Born of a mutual admiration for Top 40 and R&B and the mechanics of what makes a hit song, the duo and longtime friends began putting jams together remotely. The songs of Dungeonesse retain an experimental and playful inner beauty while leading the charge to a dance floor of abundantly inclusive and carefree spirits.
Nite Jewel: Good Evening (Expanded Reissue)
Occupying the twilit space between Ariel Pink?s lo-fi avant pop and the codeine beats of Chromatics, Nite Jewel's debut album, Good Evening, brought a glorious new slant to the golden age of disco and became an after-hours go to from the record shelf. Recorded when Ramona Gonzalez was still a college student, Good Evening was originally released on Gloriette Records in 2008. The album is dance music on an intimate scale, drawing inspiration from Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam and Arthur Russell, filtered through a lo-fi recording process. Out of print on vinyl for several years, the reissue will include two bonus tracks, a cover of Can forebear Inner Space's "The Kamera Song" and a D?M-FunK remix of original track "What Did He Say." The updated reissue packaging also includes Gonzalez's art, poetry and lyrics from the time period.
Tig Notaro: Live
To be clear, Tig Notaro's second album is titled LIVE [liv, verb].
LIVE [liv, verb] was recorded, uh, live [l?v, adj. or adv.] at Largo on August 3rd, 2012 at her monthly show, "Tig Has Friends." The day before this set, Tig was diagnosed with cancer in both breasts. This news was the bookend to an agonizing year in which Tig spent weeks in the hospital battling an intestinal bacteria infection. A week after being released from the hospital, her mother unexpectedly died. Then, in the middle of it all, her relationship fell apart. Which leads us here. Tig's 30 minute set is not much more than an open-mic set in that it's half scripted, raw and real. It's an insightful detailing of her assessing a horrible set of circumstances in a calm, clever and clear manner.
"In 27 years doing this, I've seen a handful of truly great, masterful standup sets. One was Tig Notaro last night at Largo." -Louis C.K.
Cayucas: Cayucos b/w Swimsuit
No one knows summer like Santa Monica?s Zach Yudin.
?Can you hear it comin'?? he asks, at the start of ?Cayucos?, the opening salvo by his band Cayucas. With a nod to 60?s beach blanket pop gems and bonfire folk songs, Cayucas hits the waves runnin?, causing involuntary head bobs, finger snaps, toe-taps and the ability to shake your booty like it?s strapped to a brand new set of maracas. Producer/multi-instrumentalist Richard Swift deftly captures Yudin?s inimitable voice as it echoes through the barrel of the perfect wave. It's a song for the ages for sure.
The B-side ?Swimsuit? continues to carry the torch, with its cocktail-lounge organ flourishes painting a picture of young, carefree days spent pining for your summer love. Enjoy just a hint of the party that?s still to come, and let Cayucas take you to your inner sanctum where there's always sunshine, and a Pina Colada is always a good idea.
Full length to be released early 2013.
Taken By Trees: Other Worlds
Taken By Trees' Other Worlds is a impressionist poem for the Hawaiian Islands, where on a recent visit, chanteuse Victoria Bergsman found a swell of creative inspiration.
Working closely with photographer Amanda Marsalis, Victoria intimately documented her time in Hawaii. "I gathered ideas for songs, recorded nature sounds and Amanda filmed and took photos of me constantly. Her work is very dear to me and both of us believed this [project] to be something special and very precious."
Producer Henning Fürst collaborated with Bergsman on the sound and overall feel of the album. The album's dub ventures are gently layered with synths and Victoria's voice, floating along with the bass line. The music reflects the natural beauty of the Hawaiian islands ? floating in a perfectly blue pond, a kind breeze coasting off the waves, abundant deep green foliage, sweet slices of pineapple and milky coconut, the delicate pink of a seashell curled like a baby's ear. Sandy toes, hidden waterfalls, the dreams you have after a long day at the beach.
Jens Lekman: I Know What Love Isn't
Jens Lekman will release a new album, I Know What Love Isn't , on September 4 on Secretly Canadian. The album is his first full length in 5 years, following the critically acclaimed Night Falls Over Kortedala .
The album came out of a break up which isn't a new story. He fell in love and it didn't work out. It borrows sparingly from the vast and colorful palette of sounds he created on Kortedala. I Know What Love Isn't has strings but not a string section, an upright piano not grand, a single saxophone, gracenotes from a flute, a lot of tambourine. Combined in exact proportions with Lekman's melancholy abstract lyrics, the songs evoke the classic sound of the Brill Building in it's heyday.
Lekman is a storyteller of the highest caliber, letting his delicate vignettes unfold to show the wonder that lies in the mundane. That's what I Know What Love Isn't ? is. A collection of songs that grew to a story that had to be told. A story that is not new, but essentially human. The story of the grey areas of love t25hat you have to excavate and explore, using the method of exclusion, to find out what love is.
Yeasayer: Fragrant World
Yeasayer's third album, Fragrant World, is a hulking beast of a record. Keyboards clank and wheeze, tiny claps stumble against busted drum machines, and there's very little obvious guitar. It's an album that grapples with the schizophrenia of the modern world by gathering piles of electronics and molding them into something huge and often gorgeous.