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.
Why not call it GASOLINE or DEATH? Because MONEY is the root, and this is Root Music. Because MONEY will still be there after you've thinned out. Because MONEY is TIME and TIME is SPACE. MONEY is YOURS!
MONEY was made differently this time. MONEY was written in your sleep. MONEY was performed by hired extras. MONEY was produced by wanted celebrities. MONEY was engineered by a secret government. MONEY was arranged to be discovered by indigenous tribes. You're in a forest of insects wearing night vision goggles and everything is the color of MONEY. MONEY was invented by the Skeletons BAND: Jon Leland, Tony Lowe, Jason McMahon and Matt Mehlan.
Already up so early in the morning of 2008, Skeletons were hibernating in the safest, quietest, warmest place in the world: Times Square, New York. In a haunted WWII-era ballroom they recorded through the wintry nights when the studio was on fire. Taking breaks at 5am, standing under heat lamps listening to Hot Jass outside the Time Warp Hotel, soaking up the the empty streets with the leftover creeps while the tourists sleep. It's just the same struggle any old human has to go through to make anything: make it to work on time, make an excuse, make babies, make war, make breakfast without getting into a fight. The child of this struggle is MONEY, pre-made, for you, entering the world October 7th in the USA, and October 28th in the UK and Europe via TOMLAB.
Casiotone For The Painfully Alone: Town Topic
The "Town Topic" EP is the soundtrack to video artist and photographer Laurel Nakadate's debut feature film, "Stay The Same Never Change." Laurel commissioned CASIOTONE FOR THE PAINFULLY ALONE'S Owen Ashworth to proved all of the music for "Stay The Same Never Change", right down to the character's ring tones. The "Town Topic" EP consists of thirteen short instrumental pieces, book-ended by tow vocal tracks that were recorded specifically for the film. This EP also collects tracks from two limited, vinyl-only EPs (the "Town Topic" 7", released by OIB Records in Brighton, England, and STSNC Instrumentals 7", released by People In A Position To Know Recordings, Inc. in Olympia, WA), plus one bonus track, the previously unreleased "Lesley Gore on the Tami Show (instrumental)."
Thee Oh Sees: Sucks Blood
Prior to entering The Master's Bedroom earlier this year, San Francisco's Thee Oh Sees originally self-released the more subdued Sucks Blood in early 2007 to fund the latter's recording. Steeped in the natural hues of analog and reverb, Sucks Blood is a subtle gem of irresistible pop and basement psychedelia. Immediate classics include the ghostly saw-tinged title track and the charming lumber of the harmonious "Ship". Sucks Blood is quite simply yet another testament to the total genius of John Dwyer for those who have yet to heed.
No Kids: Come Into My House
Come Into My House is the first release by Vancouver, Canada trio NO KIDS, which is comprised of three-quarters of the critically revered pop band P:ANO. Come Into My House achieves an unexpected cohesiveness despite the wide range of musical styles over its 12 tracks. Golden era Hollywood musicals, Jam & Lewis-inspired production techniques, the icy displacement of contemporary R’n’B, and the breadth of Arthur Russell’s, disco, pop, and avant garde compositional work are referenced and married together by novelistic narrative strains, a lush instrumental palette, and a cinematic atmosphere.
Thee Oh Sees: The Master's Bedroom Is Worth Spending A Night In
Somewhere beyond nostalgia, beyond the garage, somewhere beyond the fireside song and supposed goo-rock, you will find the latest incarnation of Thee Oh Sees, now a quartet composed of John Dwyer (OCS, Coachwhips, Pink & Brown), Brigid Dawson, Petey Dammit!, and Mike Shoun. The prolific John Dwyer contends again for best album of his career with The Master's Bedroom Is Worth Spending A Night In, out April 8, 2008 on Tomlab/Castle-Face. Following 2007's understated and unjustly ignored Sucks Blood, The Master's Bedroom weaves Dwyer's signature AM radio howl with the catchiest of driving tunes, Dawson's gorgeous harmonies, heightened fidelity, thick spring-reverbed bombast, mighty drums (at times in pairs), and an undeniable pull.
Numbers: Tomlab Alphabet Series - W -
Numbers emerges from the dusk of last year’s full-length, Now You Are This, with a pair of rollicking jams that refuse to let the summer set from our hearts and minds. “Is That Really True?” takes on the heavy question of real knowledge with a fuzz bass and drone organ before turning to anirresistible hum-along chorus. And prevailing question remains: “What can we know?” On the ï?? ip, the Tommy James and the Shondells classic “Crimson and Clover” experiences a fuzz rock reawakening shot through by pointedly triumphant guitars and dirty synth. All builds to an end with a brilliant reenactment of the tremolo chant “Crimson and Clover - over and over...” Summer may go, but it won’t be gone forever.
“Now Now You Are This’ fuzzy guitar riffs and distorted synth melodies aren’t just burning and propulsive, they’re also strangely emotive. We like strangely emotive.” - XLR8R
Dead Science: Tomlab Alphabet Series - V -
The "V" single, and the two songs contained therein, will be a sort of satellite of The Dead Science's next album, Villainaire, a record dealing with a very specific period of time in singer Sam Mickens' life and, more generally, in the embrace of personal nihilism and the potential psychic luxury of amorality. The A-Side, "Make Mine Marvel (Remix)" will be, in the style of R. Kelly's remix work, a completely new song, with completely new melodic and lyrical content, built on components of the original "make Mine Marvel" which will appear on Villainaire. The B-Side, "White Mane," was a song initially intended and recorded for the album, but which will be exclusively here instead. "White Mane" is, in fragmentary and impressionistic fashion, about the American film actor Robert Blake, both in his own recent life and in terms of his relationship to certain past roles.