Anand Wilder & Maxwell Kardon: Break Line The Musical
On a front porch in Philadelphia in early 2004, Anand Wilder and Maxwell Kardon sat with a guitar and a banjo and busily fingerpicked to keep their hands from freezing. After a few false starts they settled on a dirge in d-minor and began improvising lyrics about a labor conflict in a Western Pennsylvania coal town that their fathers had learned about from an old folk song taught in Quaker schools in the '50s. The principal heroes and villains of the story were lost to history and buried in mineshafts and unmarked graves, and the particulars of the outcome were primarily recorded on newspapers lost in warehouse fires and floods. Neither can believe that what started with just the two of them huddled on a cold porch would grow to involve a once-in-a-lifetime cast of collaborators. ? A decade after its conception, they are proud to present to the public their vision of a classic story of betrayal, pride and lost love.
Circulatory System: Mosaics Within Mosaics
Circulatory System are back with a new double album called "Mosaics within Mosaics". They are led by Will Cullen Hart, visual artist and one of the main songwriters of the psychedelic pop band The Olivia Tremor Control. Coinciding with a tour with old friends Neutral Milk Hotel, including an appearance at Pitchfork Music Festival, the album will be released June 24th, 2014. The album was culled together in the style in which Will has always worked, using recordings from his copious back catalog of home recordings spanning from twelve years ago to now. It was masterfully assembled by Derek Almstead (Faster Circuits) with overdubs by John Fernandes (Dream Boat, Jacob Morris, The New Sound of Numbers, Old Smokey), Heather McIntosh (The Instruments), AJ Griffin (Laminated Cat), Peter Erchick (Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't), and Jeff Mangum & Jeremy Barnes (Neutral Milk Hotel). The lyrics feature Will's unique observations and impressions of life - poetic and meaningful. The music is entrancing, sometimes flowing into long instrumental passages that set a very pleasant atmosphere. Since the mixes originated in Will's bedroom, they all have his signature deep-focus production style. He is very enamored with using the mixes of songs from the day they were recorded instead of trying to capture the same magic when re-recording them. It makes sense because the sound of the recordings have as much impact as the songs themselves in creating an enveloping world of words, melody, and texture. Available on limited edition vinyl (1000 copies), digital, and CD.
Craig Leon: Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 1: Nommos / Visiting
Craig Leon's seminal synthesizer albums Nommos and Visiting are finally re-editioned in definitive form as the Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 1 for RVNG Intl.'s archival series.
EULA: Orderly / Meadows
On June 24, Brooklyn's EULA will release their latest single "Orderly" b/w "Meadows" on Bloodmoss Records. Recorded by legendary producer Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Swans), EULA's angular, aggressive sound has reached their grandest scale yet. The merging of Alyse Lamb's guttural wails with the band's clashing guitars, deep rumbling bass, and booming backbeat-heavy drums is as chaotic as it is meditative. Bisi's focus on layers and textures is apparent here as he pulls back Alyse's haunting vocals just enough for the grimy feedback to have as much of an impact in all the heaviness.
Landlady: Upright Behavior
"This is the part of the song when we come together." Adam Schatz's voice rings out in the flickering candlelight of Manhattan Inn. "There's no before. There's no after. There's only this." Schatz leads Landlady, the Brooklyn five-piece whose beautifully-packaged Hometapes debut boldly disrupts the notion of genre and reveals the soulful work of one of NYC's most prolific group of musicians and producers. "I've never heard music that hit my heart and my brain quite like this," said Hometapes co-founder Sara Padgett Heathcott, who discovered a kindred spirit in Schatz and a gateway to timelessness in Landlady's music. "Paul McCartney, Jeff Lynne, Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, Sly Stone, Frank Black - these are the names that echo around the canyon that Schatz walked me into last year." The release of Upright Behavior -? with a colored vinyl LP and a CD that includes a 14"x14" poster insert - is accompanied by national touring, including MusicFest NW, Hopscotch, and dates with Man Man and Rubblebucket.
"the band has an intimate urgency that uncrosses arms and impels involvement, and their sound invokes the Band if they had Dirty Projectors' skewed sense of song structure." - Pitchfork
"There are so many moving parts?but they come together to make one big, beautiful whole." -Stereogum
Melted Toys: Melted Toys
Melted Toys self-titled debut is out on Underwater Peoples August 5, 2014. Culminating three years after their acclaimed Washed & Dried EP first unveiled the group's distinct blend of hazy, plaintive pop and psychedelic electronica, the full-length reigns in squarely as the group's most definitive vision yet. It comes on as a sort of sanctuary-in-transit, inspired both by the shifting visions of dreams and global travel, so that each of the twelve passages flicker and flame with equal impression.
My Brightest Diamond: None More Than You
The more influences My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden absorbs from the world around her, the less she sounds like anybody else.
Still, It's worth noting the strange paths these five new tracks took on their way to None More than You, My Brightest Diamond's latest EP. The lullaby "Dreaming Awake" was originally performed as a duet with circular-breathing sax titan Colin Stetson. It opens this disc in a tense, minimal Son Lux Mix, but Lux's raw electronic treatment only draws more attention to Worden's achingly tender vocal performance. Meanwhile, the layered orchestral arrangement on the flipside's Mason Jar Mix was created for an improbable guerrilla recording session that brought the cops to a decaying power station in Yonkers - but this richly detailed accompaniment only brings out the raw urgency of her songwriting.
"Dreams Don't Look Like" originated as silent movie music, an extract from Worden's score for The Balloonatic by Buster Keaton. "That Point When," a song Worden initially arranged to sing with the Orchestra for The Next Century, defies gravity too: musically and lyrically ambiguous, majestically lighter-than-air.
In fall of 2014, Asthmatic Kitty Records will release My Brightest Diamond's fourth full-length, This Is My Hand.
Nikki Sudden and the Jacobites: Texas
In a year when overproduced rock-fluff flooded radio waves, Texas - Sudden's 1986 solo debut for Creation - blasted through the saccharin for a damaged and masterful invocation at the imperfect alters of Chilton and Bolan, sonic influences the Brit bore proudly on his velvet sleeve throughout the course of his polarizing prolificacy. As the increasingly splintered Rolling Stones cultivated "Harlem Shuffle" cover cheese, the former Jacobite leader looked to the ragged Exile On Main St. and Sticky Fingers roots of his icons for a raw, 12-song predication melding tender jangle and staggering swagger. Widely considered Sudden's solo magnum opus, Texas is an exquisite mélange of the off-kilter sub-terrestrial songwriter. In founding Swell Maps, the post-punk prefacing Birmingham art-snots, Nikki Sudden and his drumming brother Epic Soundtracks charted new territory for racket and corrosive guitar. But after folding Swell Maps at the dawn of the '80s, Nikki Sudden plowed through another decade's worth of terrifically fertile ground. Drawing on his devotion to the Rolling Stones and T. Rex--alongside guitarist Dave Kusworth as Jacobites, plus a cheekily named cohort of British sidemen - Nikki Sudden cut a string of raw, inspired rock 'n' roll records, etched with double-edged travel melancholia and hard-bitten punk dejection.
Reigning Sound: Shattered
Shattered will be Reigning Sound's first album for Merge and the first full LP by the group since 2009's Love and Curses.
The band's principal songwriter/member is Greg Cartwright, who's been leading the shifting cast of characters since 2001. You may be familiar with some of the band's work, as this album is preceded by five studio efforts as well as numerous EPs and live records. Or perhaps some of Greg's other projects have been on your musical radar: The Oblivians, Parting Gifts, Compulsive Gamblers, 68 Comeback, Deadly Snakes, Detroit Cobras.
Regardless, as far as Reigning Sound is concerned, this is as good a place to start as any because through many line-up changes and mood swings, the central, constant feature is the way Greg writes songs.
The album was recorded at Daptone's Brooklyn studio (where drummer Mikey works in the office) and masterfully engineered by Wayne Douglas. The recordings are warm and punchy, a mixed bag of rockers, ballads, and something in between. There are only 11 songs on the album, but the band reckons it's just right.
The Clean: Anthology
Anthology serves as a celebration of The Clean, a band whose influence extends so far beyond their New Zealand home that even if you have never heard of The Clean before, you have surely heard of some of the bands (Pavement, Yo La Tengo, and Superchunk, to name a few) who have been influenced by their unique blend of homemade garage rock, hook-filled melodies, and psychedelic experimentalism.
The album is a compilation of songs from across The Clean's legendary musical career, which began in 1981 and continues today. Merge originally released the 2-CD Anthology in 2003, but in celebration of our 25th anniversary, we felt the time was right to release this essential collection on quadruple LP.
Hamish and David Kilgour formed The Clean in 1978. Hamish played drums, and David picked up a guitar and figured out how to play it as he went along. Various other folk passed through the Kilgour brothers' orbit during the first two years or so before Robert Scott (The Bats) joined on bass. Hamish, David, and Robert all wrote songs and sang in The Clean, who made their first recordings for the renowned New Zealand label Flying Nun in 1981.
United Nations: The Next Four Years
Originally conceived as a frenetic side-project founded by members of Thursday, Glassjaw and Converge, United Nations' membership and ideology have evolved into a full-time flagship for incendiary chaos. Their line-up overhauled to include members of acclaimed screamo group Pianos Become The Teeth, United Nations have become a perpetual lightning rod for controversy, confusion, and contempt ? in other words, they have become one of the most promising punk bands in North America. Now, the enigmatic supergroup have returned with the long-awaited follow-up to their self-titled 2008 debut - and their first new recordings since 2010's highly sought-after "Never Mind The Bombings, Here's Your Six Figures" 7" on Deathwish Inc. Featuring material recorded between the spring of 1981 and the fall of 2016, The Next Four Years picks up where "Never Mind The Bombings" left off, expanding on their already caustic sound with an even greater sense of urgency and aggression. It's a furious homage to the pioneers of punk, and a scorching critique on the current state of "punk." It is the most cathartic music of their mysterious career, and unquestionably some of the most vital heavy music released this year.