BRAIDS: In Kind // Amends
After having released their critically acclaimed debut Native Speaker in 2011, BRAIDS have returned with a new 12" single In Kind // Amends. Out June 11th on Arbutus Records, the 12" features two singles from their forthcoming sophomore album, as well as two exclusive b-sides.
The first single "In Kind", hits the pinnacle of the group's songwriting as a four piece. Written live, it is a layered and emotionally raw saga. The second single, "Amends", is a strong contrast, and shows the group's exploration into electronic and dance music. Filling out the 12" are two exclusive tracks that explore the textured and atmospheric side of the band ? the subtly percussive "Near Enough" and the mesmerizing "A Dawn in Me".
Case Studies: This is Another Life
Case Studies is the musical project of Jesse Lortz, a prolific Seattle based musician. His lyrics wax and wane with truth bare tales from his life. Melodies surface as lines hummed in the in-between times. These easy melodies coat the heavy subject matter of suicide, heartbreak, grief and regret. As with his previous project, The Dutchess and the Duke, listening to Case Studies feels like taking part in an exploration of sentimental landscapes. They appear and fade like dark light lingering on the horizon. The meandering verse journeys to seek comfort in loneliness and vulnerability. Through the twisted subconscious, dawn breaks, breathing its light on both the joyous and dismal occasions that mark life's milestones, each song a continuation of his story, each song a probing examination of motivation and consequences.
Dur-Dur Band: Dur-Dur Band Remixes
The international re-release of legendary Somali outfit Dur-Dur Band?s Volume 5 celebrates the vibrant Mogadishu music scene of the 1980s. On the heels of that successful release comes Dur-Dur Band Remixes, a digital EP featuring reworkings by two crucial American producers: Airbird, aka Joel Ford, co-founder of the Software label and half of electronic duo Ford & Lopatin; and Secret Circuit, who is Eddie Ruscha, creator of a much-adored catalog of recordings for RVNG Intl., Beats in Space, Emotion Response along with his own self-released tapes and EPs.
Dur-Dur Band?s distinctive sound is a jumping off point like no other for these two artists. Airbird strips down the disco romp ?Dooyo? into an ethereal meditation with slowly mutating midranges. When the vocals finally rise from a bed of multiplied rhythms and angelic keyboards, the track approaches its sublime finish. Secret Circuit unleashes his signature dub/disco/acid sensibilities, layering and manipulating elements of the brief ?Dur-Dur Band Introduction.? He starts with a new beat and transforms it into a dubbed out synth delay with whispers of the guitar line and handclaps. The spoken word bits from the original version leak out in a dream-like trickle as the groove deconstructs and ultimately fades away.
Eleanor Friedberger: Personal Record
At a time when most female singer-songwriters perform as alter egos, Eleanor Friedberger is simply, refreshingly herself. And that’s just the way her fans like it. Having spent the last decade fronting the indie-rock institution The Fiery Furnaces (currently on hiatus) with her brother Matthew, she emerged in 2011 as a formidable solo artist with Last Summer, a thoughtfully crafted tale of memory and place couched in the organic pop of her ’70s idols. Instantly, Friedberger established herself as a modern-day heir to the tradition of Donovan, Todd Rundgren, Ronnie Lane, and their ilk: warm, nuanced, timeless songs. No gimmicks necessary.
The title of Friedberger’s sophomore album is Personal Record, and it is, in a sense. Personal, that is. But not personal in the way of, say, a coming-of-age record, or a diary about the past, which Last Summer was. Many of the songs seem to be about love, or love lost, but whether any of the experience is hers or someone else’s, she isn’t saying. “It’s not as specific a narrative this time,” she says. “There’s a universality to it.”
Free Time: Free Time
Free Time formed in the summer of 2012 around Melbourne luminary songwriter Dion Nania (Panel of Judges). After moving to New York in 2011, Nania kicked around for a while, played some lead guitar with fellow Melbourne transplantsScott and Charlene’s Wedding, then helped out the Twerps playing bass on a national tour. Shortly thereafter he began writing new songs with the intent of putting a new band together, eventually enlisting the support of Adrienne Humblet on bass, Jonah Maurer on guitar, and Michael Mimoun on drums. Filling out Nania’s jangly, sometimes heartbreaking pop, the band quickly recorded most of their first LP the day before Dion flew home to mix it. He returned with fragments for new songs and the band finished the record in December 2012.
Nania’s songs tell stories of following love across the world, of being unsure about the future and of his place in it. Like the trans-pacific ping pong of the last 2 years of his life, his songs veer between sweet sadness and wild exuberance.
Future Bible Heroes: Partygoing
Partygoing features 13 quick and catchy songs, and Stephin Merritt and Gonson deliver their lines with vim and vigor, particularly on “How Very Strange,” a mean-spirited look back at the implausibility of a relationship, batting lines back and forth—it could be a sequel to the Magnetic Fields’ “Yeah! Oh, Yeah!” (sample lyric: “I put a little heroin / In everything you took in”). Another top track is “Drink Nothing But Champagne,” in which Merritt gives his best impressions of David Bowie and Aleister Crowley, as he sings, “Children, drink nothing but champagne / It makes life shorter / Than drinking water” (and water’s mostly piss!). Merritt’s ode to double suicide, “Let’s Go to Sleep (And Never Come Back),” makes it sound like an adventure, while “Keep Your Children in a Coma” offers these words of wisdom: “You can’t let them go to school / For fear of bullying little beasts / And you can’t take them to church / For fear of priests.” His lyrics veer into territories few have the audacity to touch. There are fewer zombies and aliens on Partygoing than on the prior two albums, though there are plenty of songs about aging, death, heartbreak, rejection and austerity.
Future Bible Heroes: Memories of Love (reissue), Eternal Youth (reissue) & Partygoing
Future Bible Heroes are comprised of celebrated songwriter Stephin Merritt (the Magnetic Fields, the 6ths, the Gothic Archies), longtime friend and collaborator Christopher Ewen (Figures on a Beach, the Hidden Variable and a popular Boston-area DJ) and Magnetic Fields pianist-singer-manager Claudia Gonson. The band released two albums, Memories of Love (1997) and Eternal Youth (2002), and three EPs, all of which they are repackaging as one large collection for simultaneous release via Merge on June 4, 2013, along with their new album, Partygoing.
Gold Panda: Half Of Where You Live
Half Of Where You Live is the second album by Berlin-based electronic musician Gold Panda. The follow up to his award winning Lucky Shiner released in 2010, his new album is a distillation of that which that made his previous work both loved and acclaimed, and also displays an evolution of his sounds, stylings and methods. Half Of Where You Live is the culmination of three years of touring and intermittent experimentation in his self-builtstudio, the time between records was well-spent; each track is informed by the experiences of his trips through Asia and beyond. Shows and weeks away forming personal experiences that ultimately became the thematic basis for each track on the album.
Imperial Teen: Feel the Sound
The fifth album by Imperial Teen, Feel the Sound, succeeds completely at its goal, plainly stated in the collection’s title. Like the sharpest pop music, Feel the Sound gets you to keep coming back for more, but unlike so much music today, it rewards you for doing so, giving you the experience of a fulfilled and yet still yearning, lively potential, one that will be further realized when the songs are performed live. From the exhilarating, propulsive “Runaway,” which features the entire band on lead vocals (how many other groups can make that claim?), to the expansive final statement of “Overtaken,” Roddy Bottum, Lynn Perko Truell, Will Schwartz, and Jone Stebbins feel the sound themselves and, in turn, make the listener feel it in ways immediate and pleasurable but also lasting and haunting.
John Vanderslice: Dagger Beach
While it's true I did endure a terrible break-up at the beginning of writing this record, this is not a break up record. Dagger Beach is a put-me-the-fuck-back-together record. The break up came in late 2011, after endless months of White Wilderness touring. I returned home to an empty house, and, as that's pretty unbearable when you're not quite right in the head, I decided to set out walking. I hiked the Lost Coast (36 miles of off-the-grid splendor in Southern Humboldt County), I hiked the entire 150-mile trail system of Pt. Reyes, I hiked for days, deep, deep in the woods, usually alone.As I walked and walked, listening to records on repeat, I started obsessing about music again. As the experience changed me, it changed the record. Dagger Beach is looser, weirder, and more free because of it.
Lily & Madeleine: The Weight of the Globe
Written over the course of their summer vacation and recorded in three days, The Weight of the Globe is a musical snapshot by teenaged sisters Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz at a pivotal moment in their lives.
Each song on The Weight of the Globe was written as a discrete, self-contained folk-pop statement, but due to the real-time circumstances of recording it, the EP holds together like a collection of interconnected short stories. Taken as a whole, the songs chart a journey from love to disillusionment to heartbreak; the narrator's weariness in "Tired" persists into "Things I'll Later Lose" ("I've been hearing things, and I've been losing sleep"), while the words to "Back to the River" seemingly return to the same mythic river that flows through "In the Middle."
There's nothing calculated about The Weight of the Globe. As sincere as it is precociously sophisticated, it marks the auspicious debut of a strikingly talented musical family.
Lust For Youth: Perfect View
On Perfect View, Swedish producer Hannes Norrvide returns with his third full length and it?s warmer and more inviting than any of his previouswork. The album is composed of largely instrumental pieces, focusing more on beats, samples and general ambiance than its predecessor, last year?s Growing Seeds. Tracks like ?Breaking Silence? and ?Barcelona? highlight this shift in direction and overall mood, while tracks such as ?Another Day? and ?Vibrant Brother? stay true to Norrvide?s signature form. Overall this album ventures more towards rave than no-wave and this is perhaps most evidenced by witnessing their live show where Norrvideis joined by Vår frontman Loke Rahbek.
The band will embark on their first European and us tours this spring and summer, joining Chelsea Wolfe in Europe this April/May and touringthe US in late May beginning with the Chaos in Tejas festival and ending with Brooklyn?s Northside festival. They will be joined on the US tour by fellow Sacred Bones roster artist, Pharmakon and Body of Light from Arizona. LFY will also be hitting the west coast for the first time in mid June.
Stellar Om Source: Joy One Mile
Stellar OM Source?s new album, Joy One Mile, marks a certain and spirited departure into worlds unknown. A faithful leap into the infinite beat, Joy One Mile is the most forward-reaching effort by Stellar OM Source yet. Stellar OM Source originated from Christelle Gualdi?s desire to unhinge from her academic musical upbringing. A double bassist in the Konigin Katharina Stift Schulorchester and a student of music theory at Université Paris VIII, Gualdi completed her studies in electro-acoustic composition at the Conservatoire de Paris after earning an architecture degree.
The process of Gualdi?s ?unlearning? began in experimental ensemble settings, and it became more recognizable as she moved toward solo performance. Stellar OM Source?s name is fittingly inspired in part by the pathway to higher consciousness and cosmos via one?s own voice. Gualdi was also inspired by?and also an integral member of?the late aughts DIY synthesizer community. Alongside Oneohtrix Point Never, Emeralds and James Ferraro, Stellar OM Source?s stream of self-released CDRs defined a zeitgeist of artists trending away from their noisy roots via polyphonic escapism.
The Cleaners From Venus: The Cleaners From Venus vol. 2
The legendary lo-fi band Cleaners from Venus formed in the small town of Wivenhoe, southeast England at the turn of 1980s by Martin Newell. The man, the myth, but to rock singer and part-time kitchen porter with a love of sunny 1960s pop music, punk rock and musical comedy. He never cared much for any kind of musical rule book and broke new ground with music that garnered a cult following and a highly-influential sound that continues to inspire. These 4 albums span the next chapter in the unveiling of the entire discography from the band (1981-1985). One album included here contains 12 unreleased songs, making it the first “new release from the band in over 25 years, dubbed “A Dawn Chorus: Early Cleaners and Beyond.’’
This beautiful set includes a fold out poster by illustrator Jess Rotter, a pin, and the four albums, "In The Golden Autumn", "Under Wartime Conditions", "Songs For A Fallow Land" and "A Dawn Chorus".
Various Artists: Cause & Effect
"Cause & Effect" is a 3 x 7" release featuring an influential, trend-setting solo musician on side A, and a current, fully-formed band on side B who follow in the musical tradition set in motion by the side A fellow. Cause & Effect. The RSD-release features three separate 7" records:
Thurston Moore b/w Talk NormalDavid Yow b/w Child BiteLou Barlow b/w Dumb Numbers
All three 7"s are sold together in one super elaborate package, pressed on deluxe multi-colored vinyl.
Like a stunning spring morning, Saltwater is buoyant, expansive pop, with an astonishingly sure hand of craftsmanship. With a light and lilting poise and the unique perspective of Crane, Saltwater is a quixotic melange that is both understated and startlingly honest. This is our Martin Crane ? the restless, yearning, young musical adventurer - balancing raging power, with a lovely articulation of deep feelings.
Damien Jurado: Where Shall You Take Me (Deluxe Reissue)
Damien Jurado is the sort of songwriter who straddles rock's past and future, and with each record contributes a new chapter to an ever-fruitful body of work. Before we move onto the next chapter, we look back his first album with Secretly Canadian. An instant classic when released in 2003, Where Shall You Take Me? was his fifth full-length, and is a beautiful collection of ten Raymond Carver-esque vignettes terror and bliss in Middle America. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of this fine release comes a deluxe 2xLP vinyl reissue, incorporating unreleased basement reel demos, and the Just In Time For Something ep (never before released on vinyl).
"If it were not for Jason Molina, I may not have ended up on the Secretly Canadian record label. The guy practically twisted one arm behind my back, and with the other, walked me through the front door of where I am today. I am eternally grateful for the guidance, knowledge, influence, and inspiration he so graciously shared with me. The reissue of this album is dedicated to his life and legacy." - Damien Jurado
Foxygen: Foxygen 'No Destruction' b/w 'Where?s The Money?'
Featuring "No Destruction", a hot slice off the "We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic" pie, and the ostensibly quizzical b-side, "Where's The Money?"
Sean Nicholas Savage: Other Life
Sean Nicholas Savage is driven by the magic of the voice. A fixture of the Montreal music scene, Savage uses his instrument to express both the strength and fragility of the human experience. In his writing, Sean has the keen ability to articulate the intricate emotions of everyday life and romance with a measure of specificity and maturity uncommon to most singer-songwriters.
This is a collection of deep and personal songs, which showcases a focused, darker side not seen on his previous titles. Welcome to Sean's Other Life.
Son Lux: Black Waters
The May installment of the Joyful Noise 2013 Flexi Disc Series features an exclusive track from the incredible Son Lux. Son Lux’s debut recording, At War With Walls and Mazes (Anticon), earned him the title of "Best New Artist" by NPR's All Songs Considered. For his contribution to the Joyful Noise flexi disc series, Son Lux (aka Ryan Lott) offers the cryptic “Black Waters”. A cover song, originally written by 90-year old dulcimerist Jean Ritchie, “Black Waters” is a dark, meditative rendition of traditional Appalachian folk.
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.
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.”