Niobe: The Cclose Calll
With highly regarded drummer Christian Thomé and Feinmotorik's Marc Matter, who both have contributed to the present album recording, Yvonne Cornelius (Niobe) has once more performed magic, enveloping little stories in multi-facetted songs. As always the exotic atmosphere that is lost in reverie is maintained.
A near escape from the "other" life. Twelve pieces about the question, how one's life might possibly have turned out. Yvonne Cornelius, composer of colourful and complex arrangements, and extraordinary vocal virtuoso, narrates in rich, imaginative ways from different characters who picture - within a song ? how their actually life would turn out if it was not beautiful but HORROR.
No Kids: Judy At The Grove
Judy At The Grove is a pop record of a different order, transcending any expectations of what "indie" music should sound like. Pristine production values, bonkers arrangements, and a star-studded list of talented guest musicians all prove that No Kids are onto some next level shit. Every track on Judy At The Grove points to a ingenuity, maturity, and clarity of vision that lifts No Kids heads and shoulders above their contemporaries.
Six years after the release of his previous album "Landau", Toronto's Chris A. Cummings, a.k.a. Mantler, is set to release his highly anticipated fourth album Monody in March 2010. The album will be made available via Tomlab in continental Europe, Japan and the USA, and through exciting new partners Tin Angel in the UK and Ireland, and Blocks Recording Club in Canada.
Combining soul, rock, r&b, jazz and various other influences, the sound of Monody, which means "a sad melody" or "a single melody", is hard to pin down. Mantler further elaborates: "I like it when a 'normal' artist tries to make a 'weird' album, like Fleetwood Mac's Tusk, or when a 'weird' artist tries to make a 'normal' album, like Archie Shepp's Attica Blues. Somewhere between Tusk and Attica Blues, that's the area I'm aiming for, conceptually. Even if the end result sounds nothing like either of those two albums!"
Diamond Rings: Wait & See
Diamond Rings is a creative outlet for Toronto based artist and musician John O. His first single "All Yr Songs" was released on limited edition vinyl via his own boutique label and design house Hype Lighter in August 2009.
Diamond Rings' follow up single Wait & See marks his first release with German record label Tomlab and features gated snares, distorted guitar, and a catchy chorus featuring backing vocals from Toronto based indie-pop star Gentleman Reg. The B Side is an unlikely cover of Sebadoh's "On Fire" that trades the mid-nineties acoustic aesthetic of the original for nightclub-ready MIDI beats and shimmering analog synth flourishes.
Capturing the spirit of the pop music that flooded the hit parade in the early 60's is a tall order, and the songs on Maintenant decidedly develop a world and language of its own. With a reverent eye on the past and a deep respect for the airtight songsmithery of artists like Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry and Shadow Morton (among countless others), the songs aren't content to be throwback-y pastiches or polka-dotted retro workouts but rather stand as attempts at working within a specific and incredibly rich tradition of pop music production.
Parenthetical Girls: The Scottish Play: Wherein the Group Parenthetical Girls Pay Well-intentioned (if Occasionally Misguided) Tribute To the Works of Ivor Cutler
Parenthetical Girls are a marginal pop group from Portland, Oregon. They have released a handful of records, most notably last year's celebrated and sprawling orchestral pop opus Entanglements--a concept record so lush and beautiful that most people neglected to notice that it was about pedophilia. Their songs have been described as lascivious, unseemly, and grotesque. But their songs are also called lovely.
Over the past several years, Parenthetical Girls have developed a collective obsession with the life and works of Mr. Cutler--so much so that they decided to devote two full sides (an astonishing eleven-and-a-half minutes!) of a ten-inch LP to pay tribute to his gentle genius. Packaged in a silk-screened sleeve designed by renowned illustrator (and fellow Glaswegian) David Shrigley, this extremely limited release (500 total copies!) features Parenthetical adaptations of four songs and four prose poems from across the dense Cutler discography. These sparse, meditative recordings are a far cry from the chamber pop bombast of Parenthetical Girls' recent output, as the group continues to skirt sonic expectations with yet another creative 180. Which means we're back to where we started. As good a place as any for this to end, I suppose.
Niobe: Blackbird's Echo
Blackbird's Echo is the title of the fifth full length album by Cologne, Germany based Niobe, recorded and produced at Studio G by Tony Maimone (Pere Ubu, Home & Garden) in Brooklyn, New York with Aki Onda, Brooklyn, New York acting as guest producer and collaborations with David Grubbs, DJ Olive...
Casiotone For The Painfully Alone: Vs. Children
Hot on the heels of the recently released singles and rarities compilation ?Advance Base Battery life" comes Vs. Children, the fifth album proper by Casiotone For The Painfully Alone. Vs. Children continues the trajectory of 2006's "Etiquette", which showed singer/songwriter Owen Ashworth straying from the strictly electronic instrumentation of his earlier recordings.
Parenthetical Girls: A Song For Ellie Greenwich
A Song For Ellie Greenwich is the first single from Entanglements--the third album by Parenthetical Girls--that is already available on CD & LP via Tomlab and Slender Means Society.
Casiotone For The Painfully Alone: Advance Base Battery Life - Singles Collection
From Kraftwerk to Leonard Cohen, The Smiths to Suicide, and Pet Shop Boys to Smog, Chicago's one-man musical army Owen Ashworth ? a.k.a Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - has been bracketed with all manner of illustrious names in the course of his eleven year career. But in collecting the 7-inch split-singles and compilation tracks he released from 2004-7 (all but two of them on CD for the first time), Advance Base Battery Life provides compelling evidence of the singular nature of this industrious film-school dropout's talent.
Parenthetical Girls: (((GRRRLS)))
Now it's four years on. In that time, Parenthetical Girls have released two more critically-acclaimed full lengths (2006's Safe As Houses [Slender Means Society] and this year's Entanglements [Tomlab]), toured the US and Europe with the likes of Deerhoof, Xiu Xiu, Los Campesinos!, Evangelicals, and Casiotone For the Painfully Alone (whose album Etiquette, incidentally, features a rather lovely cover of (((GRRRLS)))' closing track "Love Connection"). We are pleased to finally present (((GRRRLS))) with the wide distribution that it deserves for the first time.
Parenthetical Girls: Safe As Houses
Recorded with the band's previous three-piece configuration (an ensemble made up of Pennington and Dead Science members Sam Mickens and Jherek Bischoff--a regular contributor to Xiu Xiu and Casiotone For the Painfully Alone, who also served as producer for the record), Safe As Houses embraces the group's shrewd attention to the awkward confluence of experimental and pop musics--creating a record that is at once more difficult and more intrinsically palatable (not to mention significantly darker) than anything so far bearing the Parenthetical Girls name. Which is to say, it's much better.
Bookish, Simon: Everything/Everything
An unpredictable and dramatic "big band song cycle about science and information", Everything/Everything is a new departure for Simon Bookish, being his first album for TOMLAB. Additionally, whilst previous Simon Bookish releases have been informed by the sounds of digital synthesizers, Everything/Everything does away with them entirely to focus on live instruments. Scored for an ensemble dominated by saxophones, brass, piano, harp and Farfisa organ, it features luminaries from both the jazz and experimental classical music scenes.
Whilst this is almost certainly his most pop-oriented release to date, Everything/Everything, as it's name suggests, finds room for moments of racing Philip Glass minimalism, lop-sided disco, expressionist cabaret, and even an eery ambient interlude. Lyrically, the album's concept is "the flood of information" in our modern age, taking in chemistry and ecology, language and art, sometimes surreal, sometimes humourous, sometimes provocative, a weird blur of fact and fiction, delivered in Bookish's distinctive English-eccentric vocal.
It's only natural that Simon Bookish would want to tackle this chaos of stuff, since 'Simon Bookish' is the pseudonym of London-based composer Leo Chadburn, whose diverse recent work has included everything from sound-art installations in Bregenz, Austria, improvisation and guest spots with Leafcutter John and Polar Bear's Seb Rochford, and computer music for contemporary dance at the Royal Opera House to an acclaimed appearance with the National Theatre as "The Singer" in Brecht's "Caucasian Chalk Circle".
Parenthetical Girls: Entanglements
Portand, Oregon's Parenthetical Girls have traded in their small-screen sincerity for a bold and blustering Technicolour ? a lush, longing and lusty celluloid schmaltz they call Entanglements. An orchestral song-cycle of grand sonic ambition, Entanglements is an eleven-song, linear narrative of ascendancy, adolescent sexuality, quantum mechanics, consent and other moral ambiguities! Borrowing string-swept sentimentality from the likes of Van Dyke Parks, Scott Walker, Jack Nitzsche, and Burt Bacharach, Entanglements draws colourful lines across the expanse between these orchestral pop antiquities and the more formidable strains of modern classical composers ? its hues distantly reminiscent of names like Krzystof Penderecki, Philip Glass, and Gavin Bryars.