ADULT.: The Way Things Fall
The Way Things Fall ? the band’s first full length since 2007’s Why Bother? ? is a record that sounds both focused and coherent, flowing with a conceptual ease. "[The album] flowed efficiently and agreeably for us," says Miller. "We have never worked better together. We believe this is because we exorcised all of our demons through our past records, we have no baggage, we started anew. We left behind the self-conscious adolescents." And indeed, ADULT. have never sounded so self-assured, so poised, and so vital.
Angel Olsen: Half Way Home
After her highly-acclaimed debut Strange Cacti landed in the hands of listeners, it became very obvious the special presence Angel Olsen offered to listeners. She had a fresh edge to her sound, a warm and wonderful range, and a level of skill and charm out of this world.
Half Way Home is a continuation of her elegance brought forth on Strange Cacti, a collection of both new and old music, honed and matured, thoughts revisited. We're hearing this same beautiful girl with that same beautiful voice, this time brought up to a new level, in no doubt a growth and reach brought on by several roadtrips with the one and only Bonnie "Prince" Billy and crew.
The work of Angel Olsen is entirely her own: a raw, glowing sound that stands out now just as much as it did in 2010. It's an emotional stew with Angel's robust voice up front, bold and engaging, coming out of the background, aching to be heard. With the help of Emmett Kelly (The Cairo Gang) behind the board and playing throughout the songs, Half Way Home is a natural progression showcasing the wondrous sounds of a songwriter with such a voice that is rarely found.
The charming strength of the resulting Dungeonesse rests in the dichotomy formed by of a bold re-introduction of the beautiful imperfections of the human voice into a landscape of what is an increasingly mechanized process of music making. The fun resides in the listen.
Dungeonesse: Dungeonesse (Deluxe Bundle)
Includes Dungeonesse self-titled full-length on both vinyl LP and CD, glossy 11 x 17" poster featuring the album artwork, "Drive You Crazy" b/w "Private Party" single on 12" vinyl, and digital download code for the full album (as .zip file containing 320 kbps mp3), redeemable April 29th, 2013.
Eluvium: Nightmare Ending
Nightmare Ending is the first proper Eluvium album released since 2010's Similes, the unexpectedly vocal-heavy ambient-pop record that simultaneously delighted and confounded longtime fans. But the Nightmare Ending story actually began years earlier, as it was intended to be the follow-up to the watershed album, Copia. Conceived as a way of helping loosen his selfimposed ideals of perfection, Cooper labeled each Nightmare Ending track as either a "dream," or an "imperfection" ? a way of differentiating the philosophical concept of "dream vs. reality," couched in the more tangible technical distinctions of "flawless vs. flawed." With each progressive listen those differences naturally challenged themselves, and without relying on the standardized perfection protocol, Cooper became increasingly reluctant to release any of it. He shelved it, and pursued Similes instead. But Nightmare Ending wouldn't go away; it lingered in the back of his mind, the abandoned fruits of a truly worthwhile and noble journey towards a less creatively constraining mindset. Cooper returned to it with renewed vigor, writing and recording in a blur of time that spanned several years, ending with a pair of inspired collaborations with Mark T. Smith of longtime friends and label mates, Explosions In The Sky ("Envenom Mettle," closing Disc 1)and Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo ("Happiness," closing Disc 2). The result is a body of work that encompasses everything remarkable about past Eluvium albums, executed more powerfully and poignant than ever before.
Eprhyme: Lost Tapes and Found Sounds (2006-2012)
Mikal Cronin: MCII
Mikal Cronin’s self-titled debut from 2011 was all about endings: the end of college, the end of a serious relationship, and the end of his time in Los Angeles, where he grew up. So it’s no surprise that his sophomore release MCII—and first disc for Merge Records—is all about new beginnings. “Since the first record came out, my life has changed quite a bit,” Cronin says, referencing his move to San Francisco and tours with Ty Segall as well as with his own band. “I was presented with a whole new slew of problems and situations that I was trying to work through.” “Am I Wrong” and “Shout It Out” dissect his fears over a new relationship, while “I’m Done Running from You” and “Weight” find him freaking out about what it means to grow up in the 21st century. Other than these few exceptions, Cronin played all of the instruments. “It all makes total sense to me, but when I step back, it sounds kind of schizophrenic,” Cronin says. “Hopefully it all sounds enough like me to make sense.”
Margaret Chardiet was born and raised in New York City. She has been making power electronics / death-industrial music under the name Pharmakon for five years. As a founding member of the Red Light District collective in Far Rockaway, NY she has been a figurehead in the underground experimental scene since the age of seventeen. She describes her drive to make noise music as something akin to exorcism where she is able to express, her ?deep-seated need/drive/urge/possession to reach other people and make them FEEL something [specifically] in uncomfortable/ confrontational ways.? Engineered by Sean Ragon of Cult of Youth at his self-built recording studio Heaven Street, Abandon is Pharmakon?s 1st proper studio album and also her first widely distributed release.
Pure X: Crawling Up The Stairs
Crawling Up The Stairs is the second LP from Austin, Texas' Pure X. Made up of principal members Nate Grace, Jesse Jenkins and Austin Youngblood, they stay true to the dense sound they explored on their last album, Pleasure, but add twinkling atmospherics and a new clarity to their carefully cultivated, emotionally heavy songs.
Where Pleasure was built on syrup-slow hooks and a weighty, sexy haze, Crawling Up The Stairs is the sound of Pure X emerging from that humid cocoon to stare all the screwed up parts of life directly in the face and embrace them. When Grace's voice, cracked and worn, breaks through a fog of downtempo drums and misty guitar on "Someone Else," the pain that used to be visible in his face when he was on stage is pushed to the forefront of their sound, his voice growling and moaning with barely contained anger and apocalyptic worry in anguished falsetto. Crawling isn't a record about escape, it's about what you do after you've realized that escaping isn't an option and you just have to face the world you live in head on.
Saltland: I Thought It Was Us But It Was All Of Us
Saltland is the new project led by Montreal-based cellist Rebecca Foon (Esmerine, ex-Silver Mt. Zion), joined by Jamie Thompson (Unicorns, Esmerine) on miniature percussion, programming and signal processing.
I Thought It Was Us But It Was All Of Us is a beautifully restrained debut album that telescopes the directness and delicacy of Foon's compositional and vocal styles into lush, twilight atmospheres aglow with luminescent tendrils and flickering particles. Foon sings of childhood innocence lost, of serene utopic reveries and downcast dystopic horizons, and the search for soft, stoic strength in a darkening world, in most cases propelled by Thompson's handmade percussion and understated programming/processing.
The album's ambience also owes much to the work of Mark Lawson, the award-winning producer (Arcade Fire) who collaborated closely with Foon to record and mix these songs. With contributions from Laurel Sprengelmeyer and Jess Robertson (Little Scream), Mishka Stein (Patrick Watson), Colin Stetson (Bon Iver), Sarah Neufeld and Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire) among others, Saltland offers up an unassumingly immersive debut album of searching songs that blend several core influences into a distinctively naturalistic sound. Saltland stakes out a unique space where minimalism, shoegaze, dream-pop, coldwave, chamber music, drone and ambient/electronic coexist and coalesce.