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Genre pick of the week Cover of Saint Cloud by Waxahatchee.

Waxahatchee

Saint Cloud

    What do we hold on to from our past? What must we let go of to truly move forward? Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield spent much of 2018 reckoning with these questions and revisiting her roots for answers. The result is Saint Cloud, an intimate journey through the places she’s been, filled with the people she’s loved.

    Written immediately in the period following her decision to get sober, the album is an unflinching self-examination. This raw, exposed narrative terrain is aided by a shift in sonic arrangements as well. While her last two records featured the kind of big guitars, well-honed noise, and battering sounds that characterized her Philadelphia scene and strongly influenced a burgeoning new class of singer-songwriters, Saint Cloud strips back those layers to create space for Crutchfield’s voice and lyrics. The result is a classic Americana sound with modern touches befitting an artist who has emerged as one of the signature storytellers of her time. Many of the narratives on Saint Cloud concern addiction and the havoc it wreaks on ourselves and our loved ones, as Crutchfield comes to a deeper understanding of love not only for those around her but for herself. This coalesces most clearly on “Fire,” which she says was literally written in transit, during a drive over the Mississippi River into West Memphis, and serves as a love song to herself, a paean to moving past shame into a place of unconditional self-acceptance.

    Over the course of Saint Cloud, which was recorded the summer of 2019 and produced by Brad Cook (Bon Iver), Crutchfield peels back the distortion of electric guitars to create a wider sonic palette than on any

    previous Waxahatchee album. It is a record filled with nods to classic country, folk-inspired tones, and distinctly modern touches. To bolster her vision, Crutchfield enlisted Bobby Colombo and Bill Lennox, both of the Detroit band Bonny Doon, to serve as backing band on the record, along with Josh Kaufman (Hiss Golden Messenger, Bon Iver) on guitar and keyboards and Nick Kinsey (Kevin Morby) on drums and percussion. Saint Cloud marks the beginning of a journey for Crutchfield, one that sees her leaving behind past vices and the comfortable environs of her Philadelphia scene to head south in search of something new. If on her previous work Crutchfield was out in the storm, she’s now firmly in the eye of it, taking stock of her past with a clear perspective and gathering the strength to carry onward.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Indies only coke bottle clear LP in matte gatefold jacket. Also includes 24" x 36" poster and download.

    LP Info: Includes 24" x 36" poster and download.

    LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    Sleaford Mods

    Key Markets (Repress)

      Housed in a gatefold sleeve designed by Steve Lippert, mastered by Matt Colton at Alchemy. Everything else was done by Sleaford Mods. From Original Press Release 2015 “Key Markets was a large supermarket bang in the centre of Grantham from the early 1970's up until around 1980,” explains Jason Williamson. “My mum would take me there and I'd always have a large coke in a plastic orange cup surrounded by varnished wood trimmings and big lamp shades with flowers on them. Beige bricks with bright yellow points of sale and large black foam letters surrounded you and this is why we called the album 'Key Markets'. It's the continuation of the day to day and how we see it, the un-incredible landscape.” “The album was recorded in various periods between summer 2014 through to October of that year. We worked fast as we normally do, the method was the same as the other albums and like the other two, the sound has naturally moved itself along. 'Key Markets' is in places quite abstract but it still deals heavily with the disorientation of modern existence. It still touches on character assassination, the delusion of grandeur and the pointlessness of government politics. It's a classic. Fuck em

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Red & White splatter LP.

      Songdog

      A Happy Ending

        This eighth album by Songdog is a collection of twelve songs by Welsh songwriter Lyndon Morgans on the subject of passing time, the damage it can inflict, and the condolences it may bestow upon a man. Songdog's 2017 album 'Joy Street' received great press from the likes of Mojo, Uncut, The Mirror, Maverick and AmericanaUK, amongst others. Tracks were featured on BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music, including a session on Tom Robinson's show. In his review for The Mirror, writer Gavin Martin said: "Morgans' development as a songwriter, playwright & musical connoisseur is clear. The songs breathe in details and scenes of a lifetime." In his assessment for Uncut, Nigel Williamson said: "Dylan Thomas meets Ray Davies backed by The Waterboys? Believe it." Previous output has also attracted praise from well-known names such as Bruce Springsteen and Robert Wyatt.

        Waxahatchee

        Cerulean Salt

          Reissue of the second Waxahatchee album.

          On her second full-length record as Waxahatchee, former P.S. Eliot singer Katie Crutchfield’s compelling hyper-personal poetry is continuously crushing.

          On this new record, Crutchfield’s songs continue to be marked by her sharp, hooky songwriting; her striking voice and lyrics that simultaneously seem hyper-personal yet relentlessly relatable, teetering between endearingly nostaglic and depressingly dark. But whereas before the thematic focus of her songcraft was on break ups and passive-aggressive crushing, this record reflects on her family and Alabama upbringing. And whereas American Weekend was mostly just Crutchfield and her guitar, Cerulean Salt is occasionally amped up, with a full band and higher-fi production. At times, Cerulean Salt creeps closer to the sound of PS Eliot: moody, 90s-inspired rock backed by Keith Spencer and Swearin’ guitarist Kyle Gilbride on drums and bass. The full band means fleshed-out fuzzy lead guitars on “Coast to Coast”, its poppy hook almost masking its dark lyrics. Big distorted guitars and deep steady drums mark songs like “Misery over Dispute” and “Waiting”. There’s plenty of American Weekend’s instrospection and minimalism to be found, though. “Blue Pt. II” is stripped down, Crutchfield and her sister Alison (of Swearin’) singing in harmony with deadpan vox. She’s still an open booking, musing on self-doubt versus self-reliance, transience versus permanence. “Peace and Quiet” ebbs and flows from moody, minimal verses to a sing-song chorus. “Swan Dive” tackles nostalgia, transience, indifference, regret over the a minimal strum of an electric-guitar, the picking at a chirpy riff and the double-time tapping of a muted drum. The album closes with a haunting acoustic-guitar reflection on “You’re Damaged,” possibly the best Waxahatchee song to date.

          Waxahatchee

          American Weekend

            Debut album from Waxahatchee aka Katie Crutchfield. The Brooklyn via Alabama artist brings ‘just guitar, her voice, and a piano to tell stories.’ 

            The 11 songs were recorded in a span of seven days on an 8-track recorder.

            Colin Stetson

            New History Warfare Vol. 1

              No better is his virtuosic ability heard than on New History Warfare, Volume 1, Stetson‘s first full-length solo recording from Aagoo Records. On this album, the vast musical experiences that Stetson has accumulated over a short period of time have been crafted into 12 songs that defy genres, establishing a sound that is Colin Stetson in full bloom.

              Dana Gavanski

              Yesterday Is Gone

                ‘I’m learning how to say goodbye / to let you go and face the tide / to wrap my feelings in a song,’ sings Dana Gavanski on the title track of her debut LP, Yesterday Is Gone. To wrap her feelings in a song: this is the task Dana has dedicated herself to with this record. It’s a goal common to many songwriters, but few approach it with such aplomb. By turns break-up album, project of curiosity, and, as Dana puts it, ‘a reckoning with myself’, Yesterday Is Gone is her attempt to ‘learn to say what I feel and feel what I say’: an album of longing and devotion to longing, and of the uncertainty that arises from learning about oneself, of pushing boundaries, falling hard, and getting back up.

                Born in Vancouver to a Serbian family, Dana has always harboured a desire to sing. In her final year of university in Montreal, she picked up the guitar left by her ex-partner and decided to re-learn. But with a father in film and a painter mother, other art-forms clamoured for her attention. She spent a summer as her producer father’s assistant in the Laurentians, in a derelict hotel-turned-office that looked like something out of The Shining. The long days behind a computer cemented her desire to make music, ‘because it was so impossible to play that I needed to, in order to feel like it was real.’ The income she saved that summer funded a year of writing religiously, leading to EP Spring Demos in September 2017, which Dana describes as ‘whatever was coming out of me. A flood.’

                Following Spring Demos, Yesterday Is Gone reflects Dana’s aim ‘to make something bigger, more thought through’. Steeped in determination and uncertainty in equal measure – ‘I just wanted to write a good song’ – the album took shape after she returned from a writing residency in Banff, Alberta. She left the residency resolved not to worry about her songs being ‘too obvious’. She’d begun to learn the art of empty time, of being alone with her emotions, losing herself in a landscape. She thought of Vashti Bunyan, riding for hours and writing, writing, writing. She considered how she might use writing to make sense of her life after the tumults of a break-up and a new city. Adrift in Toronto, Dana struggled to feel at home and connected to people, but the solitude also allowed her to ground herself in writing. She kept office-style hours at her bedroom desk every day until she started to understand the writing process, to see that ‘transforming a burning desire into something clear and tangible is a vulnerable and delicate act. You have to be able to let things happen, to accept losing control.’

                The record is a co-production between Dana, Toronto-based musician Sam Gleason, and Mike Lindsay of Tunng and LUMP. While Sam helped Dana bring out the tunes, Mike’s input marked ‘the beginning of developing a sound that was closer to what I had in my head’. Though excited by the other elements of a song introduced during production, Dana and Mike were keen on ‘finding essential things, not overblowing, keeping things bare and letting the elements speak for themselves’. Not that the sheer variety of sounds and instruments didn’t overwhelm. ‘But you have that feeling,’ Dana says, ‘then you just pick up an instrument. At the base, you do know what you want. It’s about how to chip away at what you don’t want.’

                The album shapeshifted as it passed through the hands of Dana, Sam, and Mike, taking on different tastes, feelings, and visions. When Dana performed the songs with a band, they found new form again. She was intrigued by performers like David Bowie and Aldous Harding, who inhabit different personalities on stage, physically tuning themselves to their music. ‘Watching these kinds of performances,’ Dana says, ‘I feel my body longing to express myself in exaggerations … to leave behind self-consciousness and become this energy.’ But a three-month trip to Serbia in autumn 2018 really pushed performance to the forefront of Dana’s mind. She took singing lessons to learn how to sing with the resonance that defines traditional Serbian song. Stirred by the bombast of fifties, sixties, and seventies music, including the high-energy kafana, or café music, as rooted in expressive pouts as it is vocal resonance, the trip incited a yearning to completely inhabit herself on stage. ‘I often feel we’re all just these controlled bodies,’ she says. ‘Sometimes I just want to make a snarl with my lip and keep it there.’

                Stood on a crowded train last spring, Dana sang the Macedonian song Jano Mome to an audience of cheery Scottish ladies. The moment, brief but beautiful, lays bare Dana’s craving for live spontaneity. But it also reflects her injection of stylish drama and vivid emotion into the folk landscape that inspires her, from contemporary singers H Hawkline and Julia Holter, to stalwarts Fairport Convention, Anne Briggs, Connie Converse, and Judee Sill. Expressive urges run all through Yesterday Is Gone. Moments of beguilement splinter a backdrop of tenderly picked guitar, bass, synth, and poppier elements, which commune to produce her own kind of wall of sound. Each component is meticulously placed, yielding a deeply sincere response to the chaos of human emotion. ‘Often we have to go a little far in one direction to learn something about ourselves,’ Dana says. The months of solitary writing and self-doubt testify to this, but they’ve led to Yesterday Is Gone: an optimistic, steely-eyed gaze into the future.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive orange vinyl.

                Robert Forster

                Danger In The Past

                  2020 sees the thirtieth anniversary of the album that launched the solo career of sometime Go-Betweens frontman Robert Forster. Upon its release ‘Danger In The Past’ met with universal acclaim from critics, even drawing comparison with Bob Dylan’s ‘Blood On The Tracks’ in some quarters. To mark this milestone, Needle Mythology will be reissuing expanded versions of both Danger In The Past and its 1992 successor ‘Calling From A Country Phone’. The re-release of these albums comes on the back of an incredible 2019 for Forster, in which he released an acclaimed studio album Inferno and received unanimous five star reviews for G Is For Go-Betweens Vol. 2, the second in a trilogy of box-sets gathering Go-Betweens studio albums and previously unreleased live recordings and outtakes. Forster himself has been fully involved on this expanded reissue contributing new liner notes and newly unearthed photographs. For Danger In The Past, Robert recorded in Berlin with an illustrious ensemble that included Bad Seeds alumni Mick Harvey (producer, multi-instrumentalist), Hugo Race (guitar) and Thomas Wydler (drums). BBC 6 Music’s Gideon Coe, described the record as "a beautiful, confident solo debut.” Of these new remasters, Needle Mythology co-founder Pete Paphides says, “The remastering (from Sean Magee at Abbey Road Studios) has dramatically revealed a depth and physicality to these recordings that casts new light on Robert’s intentions for these records. 

                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  LP Info: LP + bonus 7".

                  Robert Forster

                  Calling From A Country Phone

                    2020 sees the thirtieth anniversary of the album that launched the solo career of sometime Go-Betweens frontman Robert Forster. Upon its release ‘Danger In The Past’ met with universal acclaim from critics, even drawing comparison with Bob Dylan’s ‘Blood On The Tracks’ in some quarters. To mark this milestone, Needle Mythology will be reissuing expanded versions of both Danger In The Past and its 1992 successor ‘Calling From A Country Phone’. The re-release of these albums comes on the back of an incredible 2019 for Forster, in which he released an acclaimed studio album Inferno and received unanimous five star reviews for G Is For Go-Betweens Vol. 2, the second in a trilogy of box-sets gathering Go-Betweens studio albums and previously unreleased live recordings and outtakes. Forster himself has been fully involved on this expanded reissue contributing new liner notes and newly unearthed photographs. For Danger In The Past, Robert recorded in Berlin with an illustrious ensemble that included Bad Seeds alumni Mick Harvey (producer, multi-instrumentalist), Hugo Race (guitar) and Thomas Wydler (drums). BBC 6 Music’s Gideon Coe, described the record as "a beautiful, confident solo debut.” Of these new remasters, Needle Mythology co-founder Pete Paphides says, “The remastering (from Sean Magee at Abbey Road Studios) has dramatically revealed a depth and physicality to these recordings that casts new light on Robert’s intentions for these records. 

                    The Chats

                    High Risk Behaviour

                      The Chats are a pub-punk shed-rock band from Queensland, Australia. They began playing together in high school, releasing their debut self titled EP a month away from graduating in 2016. Triple J described the EP as "seven joyous sky-punching tracks that combined 60s garage punk and 70s new wave punk" About nine months out of high school, The Chats went back into the studio to record their follow up EP, "Get This In Ya". The second EP sat online for half a year until the band had a viral hit with the music video for their song "Smoko", which racked in millions of views on Youtube in a couple of days, quickly becoming a viral hit and drawing attention from popular rock musicians Josh Homme, Iggy Pop, and Dave Grohl. Since then, The Chats have become notorious for their loud and chaotic live shows and their zero fucks attitude.

                      The Chats have sold out shows in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Europe. They've toured with Australian punk legends Cosmic Psychos, US rock heavyweights Queens of the Stone Age, and fellow pisswrecks Pist Idiots. With a debut album in the works, as well as national and international tours, The Chats aren't showing any signs of slowing down soon. The Chats have coined the term "shed rock" to describe their sound. Their self-contained approach has been likened to that of King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard. They have cited Australian bands Cosmic Psychos, Dune Rats and Eddy Current Suppression Ring as major influences The band takes its name from the phrase "that's chat" - (Australian slang to describe something terrible) and Sydney suburb of Chatswood. 

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      Coloured LP Info: Piss Colour Vinyl

                      Coloured LP 2 Info: Indies Exclusive Blue & Black Coloured vinyl.

                      Brian Fallon

                      Local Honey

                        The lead singer of beloved heartland-punk band The Gaslight Anthem, Brian Fallon steps away from that sound and into a stripped-down Americana space on his third solo album, Local Honey. Produced by Grammy-award winning producer Peter Katis (The National, Frightened Rabbit, Death Cab for Cutie), the album showcases Fallon's songwriting in small vignettes, from a loving devotional for his daughter to a vengeful murder ballad.

                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                        Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive yellow vinyl.

                        Coloured LP 2 Info: Translucent orange vinyl.


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