While on a writing retreat in the sleepy southern town of Benton, Mississippi, the members of New York's Ava Luna came across an abandoned house while on a walk through the woods. Overgrown, rotting, and littered with evidence of its past inhabitants, the maze-like dwelling would haunt their psyches throughout the writing and recording of their third full-length Infinite House. Like Borges' "Library of Babel", the seemingly endless rooms and hallways in the old house felt like a metaphor for the invisible, internal labyrinths, which the band explores lyrically and sonically on their new album.
Recorded by drummer Julian Fader and vocalist/guitar player Carlos Hernandez, and mixed by Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Spoon, MGMT), it is safely their most polished recording to date. But their trademark intensity, mirthful humor, and angularity remain resolutely in place, the burnished surfaces illuminating the stories beneath like never before. By questioning, or maybe just forgetting the rules of the real world, on Infinite House the band has grown beyond the "nervous soul" descriptor they've been tagged with in the past, delivering an album on which nightmarish moments can phoenix into revelations that help us reconnect with the surreal magic in our everyday lives.
Citing wildly diverse influences - Gary Glitter, Slade, uppers, (cartoonish) depression, Iggy Pop, '70s iron-on font, Sex Pistols, booze and Hawkwind -Cheena's unifying theme is defiantly one of late '70s/ early '80s New York glam and cow-punk. Eschewing the genre boundaries in which their other projects are so deeply entrenched, the band manages to channel a pre-internet spirit painfully nonexistent in this age of Tumblr fashion and Discogs record collectors.
DFA Records is proud to announce the release of In Remembrance, a multimedia project by acclaimed contemporary artist Delia Gonzalez. Delia transplanted from Miami to New York City in the mid-1990s, working in various dance and guerilla theatre troupes. It was around this time that she met synth wizard Gavin Russom, beginning a series of multi-disciplinary collaborations, one of the most notable being their album of cosmic acid-house "The Days of Mars", released by DFA in 2005. Single "Relevee" is oft-cited as one of the high points of DFA's early years, especially the monstrous remix by Detroit techno legend Carl Craig.
In Remembrance is the next landmark in Delia's artistic pursuits. The project originates in a 2010 solo show of the same name at Galleria Fonti in Naples, which was further realized in 2012. The exhibitions consisted of four 16mm ballet dance films, accompanied by music composed by Gonzalez. The films were exhibited in 2012 at Clocktower Gallery in NYC, with a live performance featuring underground musicians Bryce Hackford and Alice Cohen. Bryce Hackford contributes a second disc of remixes, turning Delia's delicate piano score into left-field club bangers.
Dinner is the alias for Danish singer and producer Anders Rhedin. Since 2012, Dinner has released two EPs (Girl and You Are Like LA) and a guided meditation tape. This Fall, in collaboration with Texas label Red Eye Transit, we will be releasing his latest effort Oui!, a four-track EP that serves as a powerful introduction to this idiosyncratic musician. Dinner's songs seem to be inspired by his own life - in the lyrics you find references to cities, parties and girls (the latter sometimes referred to as the "divine feminine"). Dinner himself claims that "All the songs are about death and transcendence."
Catgut Tape is the debut solo album by the British songwriter O.D. Davey, available on LP, CD and digitally from Tomlab Records.
Recorded by its author during his late teens and early adulthood in the polar British counties of Aberdeenshire and Essex, it is a collection of love songs set amidst the tragicomedy of youth and the landscapes that stage it. Born of necessity, its pallet of sound is simple but singular; a bitcrushed and baseless skeleton of wooden guitar, drum pad and plastic organ, all under a voice that tells stories, sometimes as one person, sometimes as another, but always with sincerity and humour.
There are few direct comparisons: the melodic playfulness of Micachu & The Shapes; the open romance of Thom Yorke; the harsh, dry narratives of English folk; the barbed hooks of a CITV advert break, its jingles made meaningful. There is a style at play within Catgut Tape that is hard to define perhaps because it is just a means to an end, the songs themselves smart enough to be sung a dozen ways.
As the voice and words within the duo KLAAR, Davey is already causing a stir within the depths of the electronic music scene. And, under one pseudonym or another, the makings of Catgut Tape have been gaining airtime on BBC Radio 1, BBC 6Music and London's Resonance FM even before the album's completion. Now, perfectly homed within the Tomlab roster, this melodically delicate and lyrically blunt collection of very British songs is the first introduction to the work of this unexpected and original new voice.
Mike Simonetti has decided to split from Italians Do It Better (Chromatics, Glass Candy) to focus on his new project, Pale Blue, as well as his new venture: the freshly minted label 2MR (Two Mikes Records). A collaboration between Simonetti and Captured Tracks, 2MR is an opportunity for Simonetti to start from a blank slate and release music he believes in.
The first release on 2MR will be The Past We Leave Behind, the debut album from Pale Blue.
During the writing process of Capricorn Rising, Simonetti was asked to remix tracks from the West Coast twosome Silver Hands. Immediately taken by the incredible range of lead-vocalist Elizabeth Wight, he reached out to collaborate. The result of the bi-coastal email exchange would eventually become Pale Blue.
Pale Blue, referencing the term "Pale Blue Dot" , coined by Carl Sagan to refer to a photograph of planet Earth taken by the Voyager 1 space probe in 1990, was originally conceived around the time that Hurricane Sandy hit New York and came to completion with Simonetti's severance from Italians. Thus, many of the tracks that make up The Past... grapple with themes of loss and new beginnings.
The Past... encompasses a myriad of sonic elements, ranging from rhythmic, melodic techno to atmospheric ambient productions, while also incorporating Simonetti's varied background in noise, drone, and even experimental dream pop. Above it all though, Wight's vocals remain the focal point, saturating the record with a lush melodic warmth that's so often missing in the electronic world.
Musically, Pale Blue is a response to modern dance music and its constant fluctuations. It intentionally bears no obvious singles, nor club hits. While Simonetti, Wight and Jana Hunter (vocals on "Dusk in Parts") remain at its core, Pale Blue's philosophy is to keep everything open to collaboration. It does not aim to pigeonhole itself into a genre or any new vistas in music, but instead to a unifying sound produced collectively and harmoniously.
Part 1's underground deathrock classic Funeral Parade is finally seeing a reissue after years of being out of print. This edition is a remastered 12" vinyl in a deluxe gatefold sleeve with accompanying horror zine I... Paraworm, packed with never-seen text and unpublished artworks from the pen of guitarist Mark Ferelli, all contemporaneous to the original 1982 release.
For the twelfth volume of FRKWYS, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe and Ariel Kalma offer We Know Each Other Somehow. Recorded outside of Mullimbimby, a remote community on the eastern Australian coast, the album pairs two synth voyagers for six extended evocations of environmental ambience and entrancing naturalism. Accompanied by Sunshine Soup, a feature length documentary based on the intergenerational collaboration, We Know Each Other Somehow summons another world in an otherworldly part of the planet.
Stranger Cat is the new project from Cat Martino, Sufjan Stevens' right hand woman for the Age of Adz tour and record, as well as All Delighted People. Cat was also a recording and touring member of Sharon Van Etten's band circa Epic. She appeared with The Shins on SNL and Williamsburg Park, played in Passion Pit at Governor's Ball, and sings on the Son Lux record Lanterns.
Cat retreated from Brooklyn, NY to winter in the Sierra Foothills to write and record songs emerging from loops using her voice, synths, and percussion. With her pedal chain and gear in a small cottage she explored the gamut from ethereal to turbulence. Simple melodies or beats became powerful walls of sound melting through snowstorms, howling winds and stark silence nestled inside gargantuan oaks and the infinite starry dome.
Joined by Sven Britt for a week, each of them traded making beats, or melodic parts on casios, synths, guitars, branches and spoons, while the other recorded. Out of this adventure was born "In The Wilderness", the duo's debut full-length out April 14th on Joyful Noise Recordings.
Back in November of 2012 Suuns and close friend Radwan Ghazi Moumneh of Jerusalem In My Heart spent a week in a Montreal studio creating a collaborative album pulling in their two distinct sounds into one set of fluid and trippy recordings. These songs were not heard live until over a year later at Pop Montreal in 2013 which jump started both sides' efforts to finish this truly unique record.
More than two years later now we are proud to present the final product, a self-titled collaborative album from Suuns and Jerusalem In My Heart out April 14th.
When the NY Times placed Tal National's Kaani on their year-end Top 10 list, the Culture Minister of Niger organized a televised ceremony to honor the band. But it didn't stop there. The Guardian, The Independent, Mojo, Vice, The Wire, The Financial Times, Chicago Reader and others all sang exuberant praises. NPR, KEXP and WBEZ hosted live sessions. What they all recognized was the band's entirely new approach to West African music - that Tal National is a rock band.
Well, sort of.
The songs on Zoy Zoy are a mix of traditionals and originals, and they are intense. They are extraordinarily sophisticated. The band speak French, but use the expression "very rock and roll" quite seriously, implying their awareness that the loud guitars and bewildering rhythmic complexity separates them from their peers. They are proud that their members represent the different cultural groups of Niger, some of which haven't always been on the best of terms (the group includes Tuareg, Hausa, Fulani, and Zarma). Still, they are aware that Western ears may not fully grasp their self-proclaimed "rock" label, and we sure don't know many rock bands that keep folks dancing in a trance-like state for 5 hours at a time.
Body Pill is Anthony Naples' debut full-length for Kieran Hebden's (Four Tet) Text Records. As Anthony tells it, the title comes from a mangled English translation that caught his eye in a Japanese vending machine. "When I ran the title past Kieran, and he said it just sounded like a lost rave classic, but I thought in the end it makes sense. The LP is a small dose of synthetic noises and rhythms." Naples says. Stylistically, the album draws inspiration from the city that gave Anthony his start: New York. "I wanted to make a streetwise record that was also solid and simple, like a brick or those weird fluorescent light tubes in the subway. They give off this weird hum that you hear only when you're alone in the station between trains late at night. I wanted to make a record that evoked that experience." Body Pill is a surprising album for Anthony, his most understated and mature release to date. Body Pill opens with a wall of ambient noise on "Ris," only to be overtaken by a modest synth groove. Ambient noise washes over and eventuallyovertakes tracks like "Way Stone" and "Pale" later on in the record. But that's not to say there aren't echoes of Naples' work for Mister Saturday Night lurking throughout the record. "Abrazo" feels like the natural companion to Anthony's earlier singles, with elegant strings mingling with a deconstructed house-inspired beat. "Used to Be" is arguably Anthony's largest beat to date whose rolling hi-hats counterbalance the track's stabbing synths. The album's closer "Miles" abruptly morphs from a lo-fi house anthem into a surprisingly minimal synth soundscape, a microcosm of the record as a whole.
Föllakzoid began seven years ago as a trance experience between childhood friends Diego, Juan Pablo, and Domingo from Santiago, Chile. Heavily informed by the heritage of the ancient music of the Andes, the band has learned to integrate this influence with contemporary sounds of their times, creating a rich yet minimal atmosphere. III is a four-part minimal sound voyage in which you can hear Föllakzoid's musical language developing into something more upbeat, obscure, and sharp, yet even simpler in terms of elements.
Like many others, Ghostly became enamored with Fort Romeau's idea of "slow listening," the concept of enriching relationships with music through careful attention and focus. His understated take on deep, groove-friendly house started pushing this practice three years ago, when the producer's debut LP, Kingdoms, appeared via 100% Silk. The native Londoner, born Mike Greene, has evolved considerably since then, finessing his sound over the course of three breezy 12"s, one EP, and lengthy DJ sets at some of the best clubs in Europe - not the least of which were Berlin's famed Panorama Bar, London hotspot Plastic People, and Robert Johnson in Frankfurt. Those years Greene spent immersed in his craft and new inspirations have generously informed the eight stunning productions which comprise Insides, Fort Romeau's long-awaited sophomore album.
His patient methods are a central component to the billowy house music on Insides, though this isn't an indulgent album of gratuitous buildups and tiresome breakdowns. Each production is pointed and purposeful, as the artist crafts every second of analog electronics with rich detail, nuance, and refinement.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor (GYBE) returns with its first single LP-length release since the group's earliest days in 1997-99. 'Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress' clocks in at a succinct 40:23 and is arguably the most focused and best-sounding recording of the band's career. Following Godspeed's return from a long hiatus at the end of 2010 to begin playing live shows again, and with the hugely acclaimed 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!' release in 2012 marking their first new release in a decade, the group slowly and steadily put the new album together through late 2013 and 2014. This mighty slab of superlative sonics is shot through with all the band's inimitable signposts and touchstones: huge unison riffage, savage noise/drone, oscillating overtones, guitar vs. string counterpoint, inexorable crescendos and scorched-earth transitions. 'Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress' finds Godspeed in top form; a sterling celebration of the band's awesome dialectic, where composition, emotion and 'note-choice' is inextricable from an exacting focus on tone, timbre, resonance and the sheer materiality of sound.
No News From Home is the 2nd LP from Portland, Oregon quartet Houndstooth and the follow-up to Ride Out The Dark. That record was labeled "one of 2013's all too overlooked delights" by SPIN while their hometown Portland Mercury called it "an extraordinarily good album, a perfect representation of the band's trademark balancing of ease and passion." News is an altogether more mature record that widens the bands sound: from Velvets-style churners to shimmering, breezy, love songs, all penned by songwriting duo John Gnorski and Katie Bernstein.
Jerry Paper is the sonic caricature of New York-based musician Lucas Nathan. Brought into the world after Nathan's previous, more abstract projects dissolved into the ether, Jerry Paper represents a cartoonish vision of Self materialized through Jerry's bizarre vision of pop music. Nathan's latest full-length under the Jerry Paper moniker, Carousel, combines his fascination with synthetic reproductions of "real" instruments with his own brand of philosophical meditations. The album furthers the effort to make "goofy" sounds into "serious" music through the juxtaposition of idiosyncratic lyrics, sounds, and structures within the "grammar" of pop music. That being said, the album is much more than the sum of it's parts. Like his other releases, Carousel is meant to be taken not so much song-by-song but as a complete piece. Weaving through themes of greed, corruption, waste, impermanence, and belief, the listener is presented with a world of piggies, cockroaches, and garbage people set to a soundtrack of quasi-orchestral synth madness, a kind of saccharine sheen that you're not sure is cleanliness or grease; all you can be sure of is that you're riding out Jerry's trip.