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The Decemberists explore a new sound with a new producer on their inspired eighth studio album I’ll Be Your Girl, which will be released March 17 on Rough Trade Records. The acclaimed Portland, Oregon-based band worked with producer John Congleton (St. Vincent, Lana del Ray) and embraced influences such as Roxy Music and New Order to spark a new creative path, as can be heard on the synth-driven lead single “Severed”

I’ll Be Your Girl is the sound of a veteran band finding new inspiration, a unit unafraid of challenging itself to re-connect with its creativity. “Making music is an infinite choose-your-own-adventure,” says Colin Meloy, “and when you go down one path, the other paths get sealed off. So every time we could, we said, ‘If this is what our impulses would tell us to do, let’s try to imagine it in a different way.’”

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: A more direct affair than their previous outing, 'I'll Be Your Girl' flits between the full-sounding AOR melodicism of War On Drugs and the pseudo-country psychedelia of their previous iterations, 'I'll Be Your Girl' takes all the elements we love about The Decemberists and distills them into a cohesive and hugely satisfying whole.

TRACK LISTING

Once In My Life
Cutting Stone
Severed
Starwatcher
Tripping Along
Your Ghost
Everything Is Awful
Sucker’s Prayer
We All Die Young
Rusalka, Rusalka / The Wild Rushes
I’ll Be Your Girl

Everything Is Recorded

Friday Forever

    Friday Forever is the second album from multi-artist project Everything Is Recorded, helmed by producer artist Richard Russell. This follows the critically acclaimed and Mercury Music Prize nominated debut of 2018, Everything Is Recorded by Richard Russell. Friday Forever takes on a multi-lensed perspective of a classic night out, followed closely by the sobering reflections of the next morning. The album features an array of new collaborators – in British rappers Aitch, Flohio and Berwyn, Irish singer songwriters Maria Somerville and Kean Kavanagh, the inimitable voices of A.K. Paul, James Massiah, and returning vocalist Infinite Coles – as well as established names like Ghostface Killah and Penny Rimbaud.

    TRACK LISTING

    10:51 PM / The Night
    09:46 PM / Every Friday Thereafter
    12:12 AM / Patients (Fucking Up A Friday)
    01:32 AM / Walk Alone
    02:56 AM / I Dont Want This Feeling To Stop
    03:15 AM / Caviar
    04:21 AM / That Sky
    05:10 AM / Dream I Never Had
    09:34 AM / Pretending Nothings Wrong
    10:02 AM / Burnt Toast
    11:55 AM / This World
    11:59 AM / Circles

    Everything Is Recorded

    Everything Is Recorded By Richard Russell

    Everything Is Recorded by Richard Russell features an eclectic international and inter-generational cast of collaborators and musicians who include (in order of appearance on the album) Sampha, Obongjayar, Kamasi Washington, Giggs, Ibeyi, Wiki, Syd, Rachel Zeffira, Infinite, Green Gartside, Peter Gabriel and Owen Pallett. The twelve track album features previous singles ‘Close But Not Quite (feat. Sampha)’, ‘Mountains Of Gold (feat. Sampha, Ibeyi, Wiki and Kamasi Washington)’ and ‘Show Love (feat. Syd and Sampha)’, which have been described as “the embodiment of pure, creative freedom” by Noisey and “a celebration of artistic freedom” by Dazed, while The New Yorker stated “Russell’s vision, it seems, is about the power of collaboration … a grand synthesis of XL’s stylistic history."

    Everything Is Recorded by Richard Russell was recorded at Russell’s west London studio, The Copper House. Over the past couple of years, the studio became a creative second home for the revolving cast of both new and established artists who passed through to write, record and share ideas, mixing traditional recording sessions with extended, uninhibited live jams that lasted long into the night. With Russell at the production helm, a spirit of soundsystem-inspired collaboration and experimentation runs through the heart of an album that is born out of some spontaneous moments of togetherness and periods of intense personal reflection for its creator, and is at once soulful, timeless and boldly modern.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Intro
    2. Close But Not Quite (feat. Sampha)
    3. She Said (feat. Obongjayar & Kamasi Washington)
    4. Wet Looking Road (feat. Giggs)
    5. Mountains Of Gold (feat. Sampha, Ibeyi, Wiki & Kamasi Washington)
    6. Show Love (feat. Syd & Sampha)
    7. Echoes In The Bone - Interlude (feat. Rachel Zeffira)
    8. Bloodshot Red Eyes (feat. Infinite & Green Gartside)
    9. Cane (feat. Ibeyi)
    10. Purify - Interlude (feat. Infinite & Peter Gabriel)
    11. Be My Friend (feat. Infinite)
    12. Everything Is Recorded (feat. Sampha & Owen Pallett)

    The Goon Sax

    Mirror II

      Since forming in high school, Brisbane band The Goon Sax—the trio of Riley Jones, Louis Forster, and James Harrison, best friends who take turns writing, singing, and playing each instrument— have been celebrated for their unpretentious, kinetic homemade pop. Mirror ll, The Goon Sax’s first album for Matador, is something else entirely: a new beginning, a multi-dimensional eclectic journey of musical craftsmanship that moves from disco to folk to no wave skronk with staggering cohesion. Gone are the first-person insecurities of their school days—they’ve been made expansive, more universal, more weird.

      Mirror II is intense, the sum of everything that has always made The Goon Sax great: robust sprech- gesang, raw lyrical candor, ascending guitar pop structures that would make the most storied jangle bands blush, elevated into their newfound narra- tive verisimilitude and expanded sonic xperiment- tations. Each member’s idiosyncratic style comes across on record: Riley’s bubblegum noise is more present than ever before, Louis’ moody, super- natural avant-pop, and James’ psychedelic folk.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: We love a bit of Goon Sax in the shop, and this really is the quintessential document from this talented band. Rapid changes in timbre or pace do nothing to dull the pure groove on display here, brilliantly toeing the line between high energy post-punk and jangling, swooning indie rock.

      TRACK LISTING

      In The Stone
      Psychic
      Tag
      Temples
      The Chance
      Bathwater
      Desire
      Carpetry
      Til Dawn
      Caterpillars

      Recorded over 15 months in the band’s east London studio-laboratory-bunker with co-producer Craig Silvey, it’s the follow-up to the band’s 2007 debut Strange House, the Mercury-nominated Primary Colours (2009), and the critically-acclaimed Skying (2011) – a record that entered the charts at Number Five, featured prominently in the end-of-year magazine/newspaper polls, and was anointed NME's Album Of The Year.

      Luminous is an album that, for once, merits that over-used phrase “keenly-anticipated”. Tipped to be one of the biggest British albums of 2014, it follows the breakthrough success of the silver-selling Skying, an album beloved of heroes and peers such as Bobby Gillespie, Alex Turner and Trent Reznor and that also brought The Horrors into the world of the Radio 1 A-list and Later… With Jools Holland. Tasking themselves with, as ever, moving onwards, The Horrors determined to make an album that was brighter, more positive, more electronic. ‘We’ve refined our sound,” affirms lead singer Faris Badwan, “and in terms of songwriting it is the record I'm happiest with.” Or, in the words of bass player Rhys Webb, “it’s not so much about heavier guitars as a heavier potency… We want to make music you can dance to, music that elevates…” Luminous by name, luminous by nature: this is an album radiating light and energy. These songs are The Horrors writing at their instinctive, intuitive and accessible best.

      By way of explaining the intense but unhurried writing and recording of the album, the frontman says that, “If you're happy with one record I think you always have those fears that you'll somehow never be able to write a good song again. But I think between us we would never allow something that we weren't happy with to be released. I can imagine it taking us 10 years to finish something – but I'd rather that than be a band who regress with each release.” Shedding some light on the intra-band, in-studio creative process, keyboard player Tom Furse mentions an ever-evolving playlist featuring “so much, the usual – Beatles, Sabbath, Kraftwerk also Eno, J Dilla, Metroplex/Trax Records…but as always psychedelic music from all over the world, soul, funk, dub…”

      Further input came from producer Paul Epworth (Adele, Paul McCartney, Foster The People) on the track Falling Star. There was also a crucial role for a new piece of kit. Badwan reveals that Richard Russell, boss of their label XL, “had the pyramid synth from our Changing The Rain video built for us.”

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Andy says: Beautifully produced, deep, melodic, doomy yet somehow skyscraping album. Great songs, bringing the past into the future. Their best album.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Chasing Shadows
      2. First Day Of Spring
      3. So Now You Know
      4. In And Out Of Sight
      5. Jealous Sun
      6. Falling Star
      7. I See You
      8. Change Your Mind
      9. Mine And Yours
      10. Sleepwalk

      Ibeyi

      Ash

        French-Cuban twins Ibeyi are back with their second album ‘Ash’, a record that tackles subjects as diverse as womanhood, spirituality, activism and racism, all conveyed in Ibeyi’s own unique blend of modern pop, hip-hop and electronic influenced music that incorporates the traditional sounds of Yorùbá. ‘Ash’ is the follow-up to the twin’s 2015 critically acclaimed, eponymous debut album that made Ibeyi a globally recognized name.

        While Ibeyi’s first album grappled with the past—the sister’s relationship, origins, loss, and roots. It earned them fans and collaborators in some of the most iconic and crucial artists of today, Beyoncé and Alvin Ailey included. By contrast, Ash is a more visceral and potent political statement, and while firmly rooted in Afro-Cuban culture and history, finds itself entirely concerned with Ibeyi’s present: Who Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi are, what’s important to them, and how they live today, especially given that the spheres, both personally and politically, are entirely different from when Ibeyi was recorded.

        ‘Ash’ was recorded in November 2016 in London with producer Richard Russell at his studio The Copper House. The album features twelve new tracks, including ‘Away Away’ which was released in June, and includes appearances from Kamasi Washington, Mala Rodriguez, Chilly Gonzales, Meshell Ndegeocello.

        ‘Deathless,’ the second track to be debuted from ‘Ash’, features the incomparable Kamasi Washington on saxophone, and was written in the wake of an experience that Lisa-Kaindé had when she was sixteen that involved her being wrongly arrested by French police. She went home and wrote the emotive ‘Deathless,’ in which she describes her experience: “I was writing ‘Deathless’ as an anthem for everybody!” Lisa-Kaindé says. “For every minority. For everybody that feels that they are nothing, that feels small, that feels not cared about and I want them to listen to our song and for three minutes feel large, powerful, deathless. I have a huge amount of respect for people who fought for, what I think, are my rights today and if we all sing together ‘we are deathless, ’they will be living through us into a better world”.

        Step out of the gloom and into Ibeyi’s world, a place of optimism, openness and acceptance. The modern world never looked so beautiful as it does through Ibeyi’s lens

        The Lemon Twigs emerged in 2016 with their debut LP, Do Hollywood, which was praised by Rolling Stone for its “toting hooky songs that stand out for their intricate arrangements and delectable melodies” and NPR Music who mused, “like listening to music from a time that never was…a baroque rock romp.”

        Their second album, Go To School is their most ambitious work yet; a conceptual musical, conceived by brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario, which tells a heartbreaking coming of age story of Shane, a pure of heart chimpanzee raised as a human boy as he comes to terms with the obstacles of life. Todd Rundgren and their real-life mother Susan Hall play Shane’s parents. The album also features contributions from Jody Stephens (Big Star), Natalie Mering (Weyes Blood) and their father Ronnie D’Addario.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: Immediately reminiscent of all your favourite rock greats (you name it, the Lemon Twigs know it), but with a brilliantly innovative sense of pacing and style. Brilliantly mature and eccentrically conceptual, this is a killer LP from a band rising through the ranks quickly. Ace.

        TRACK LISTING

        Never In My Arms, Always In My Heart
        The Student Becomes The Teacher
        Rock Dreams
        The Lesson
        Small Victories
        Wonderin' Ways
        The Bully
        Lonely
        Queen Of My School
        Never Know
        Born Wrong/Heart Song
        The Fire
        Home Of A Heart (The Woods)
        This Is My Tree
        If You Give Enough
        Go To School

        Gruff Rhys

        Pang!

          The new album from Gruff Rhys, ‘Pang!’ is a Welsh Language pop album with a couple of verses of Zulu and an English title. ‘Pang!’ developed unexpectedly over about 18 months. A solo album of songs by Gruff Rhys, produced & mixed by the South African electronic artist Mmusi, and will be released by Rough Trade Records.

          Recorded in Cardiff, Wales. It was mixed by the producer Muzi in Johannesburg, South Africa. Drums by Welsh-American psychedelic warlord Kliph Scurlock, brass by Gavin Fitzjohn and flute and percussion by the engineer Kris Jenkins. Beats, bass & ah’s by Muzi with Gruff on vocals and guitar.

          Gruff explains “Pang! Is a Welsh language song with an English title. It started life as a folk reel and soon expanded into a ‘list’ song, listing various reasons for pangs; hunger, regret, twitter, pain, bad design etc. Using the English word pang in a Welsh language track may appear weird but I suppose it’s like using the French word ‘Magazine’ in an English song. In that it’s slightly pretentious but completely acceptable.”

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Barry says: There is no more distinctive a voice in modern indie than Gruff, with his impeccable grasp of melody and seamless integration of welsh vocals, dynamic percussion and classic songwriting. Another absolute classic, and an absolutely lovely chap to boot. Perfect.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Pang!
          2. Bae Bae Bae
          3. Digidigol
          4. Ara Deg
          5. Eli Haul
          6. Niwl O Anwiredd
          7. Taranau Mai
          8. Oi Bys Nodau Clust
          9. Annedd Im Danedd

          SOAK returns after 4 years with a new album, bringing with her 4 years worth of growth, introspection and understanding. The result is Grim Town, the follow-up to her Mercury Music Prize-nominated debut Before We Forgot How To Dream, which saw her win the prestigious Choice Music Prize for Album of the Year, the Northern Irish Music Prize, and the European Border Breaker Award, in addition to being shortlisted for a Q Award.

          Her astonishingly assured, emotionally mature songwriting was often hailed as wise beyond its years; but, as her new album often asks, when do we ever truly shake off those childlike fears, the imposter-syndrome, the outsider-status? The term ‘to come of age’ lands with so much expectation, but with Grim Town, Bridie dissolves all such assuredness with imaginative, ambitious, and cathartic results. It is almost as though the greater soundscape - heavier in places, more pop-focused in others - has given SOAK the confidence to put her long overdue introspections in the firing line. It’s beauty and brutality is there from the album open opener, ‘Get Set Go Kid’ which traces the train-tracks out of depression (“I’ve got to get out, I can’t live here anymore!”) and was as inspired by the audio-visual environmentalism of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ as Bridie’s train-obsessed grandad on voiceover duties.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Barry says: Grim Town is the newest album from Soak in 4 years, and displays a much more mature and thematically consistent side to Monds-Watson's sound. Still encompassing the punky chord sequences but with a much more nuanced and musically diverse backdrop, shimmering and soaring before bringing things back to earth with minimal guitar pieces, accentuated only by those unmistakable vox.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. "all Aboard"
          2. Get Set Go Kid
          3. Everybody Loves You
          4. Knock Me Off My Feet
          5. Maybe
          6. Fall Asleep / Backseat
          7. Crying Your Eyes Out
          8. I Was Blue, Technicolour Too
          9. Déjà Vu
          10. Scrapyard
          11. Valentine Shmalentine
          12. YBFTBYT
          13. Life Trainee
          14. Missed Calls
          15. Nothing Looks The Same

          Bonus 7”:
          1. IOU
          2. Talk Of The Town

          Tune-Yards

          I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life

          Officially now a duo, Merrill Garbus is joined by long-time collaborator Nate Brenner. Their new album, I can feel you creep into my private life, tackles race, politics, intersectional feminism and environmental prophecies head on. But in the billows of intense subject matter, the album is their most immediate and upbeat yet – this is Tune-Yards’ music to dance to.

          The follow-up to 2014’s acclaimed album, Nikki Nack, much of I can feel you creep into my private life was recorded at John Vanderslice’s new Tiny Telephone studio in their hometown of Oakland, CA. To help finish this stunning record, they enlisted mixer Mikaelin “Blue” Bluespruce (Solange, Skepta, Kendrick Lamar) and mastered it in Harlem, NY with Dave Kutch (Jay-Z, Chance the Rapper).

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Heart Attack
          2. Coast To Coast
          3. ABC 123
          4. Now As Then
          5. Honesty
          6. Colonizer
          7. Look At Your Hands
          8. Home
          9. Hammer
          10. Who Are You
          11. Private Life
          12. Free

          There's a riot going on. You don't need me, or Yo La Tengo, to tell you that. These are dark times, in our heads as much as in the streets. It's easy to lose contact with the ground, flying through endless banks of storm clouds day after day. Confusion and anxiety intrude into daily life and cause you to lose your compass. There are times that call for anthems, something to lift you out of your slump and put fire in your feet. And then there are times when what is indicated is a balm, a sound that will wrap around you and work out the knots in your neck.

          While there's a riot going on, Yo La Tengo will remind you what it's like to dream. The sound burbles and washes and flows and billows. If records were dedicated to the cardinal elements, this one would be water. There are shimmery hazes, spectral rumbles, a flash of backward masking, ghostly flamingos calling "shoo-bop shoo-bop." You are there. And even if your mind is not unclouded--shaken, misdirected, out of words and out of time--you can still float, ride the waves of an ocean deeper than your worries, above the sound and above the Sound.

          For Yo La Tengo this is a slow-motion action painting, and Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan, and James McNew did it all themselves, in their rehearsal studio, with no outside engineer (John McEntire later did the mix). They did not rehearse or jam together beforehand; they turned on the recorder and let things coalesce. Songs came together over long stretches, sometimes as much as a year going by between parts. You'd never guess this, since the layers are finessed with such a liquid brush. You'd imagine most of the songs had sprung forth whole, since they will enter your head that way. Within two listens you will be powerless to resist the magnetic draw of "Shades of Blue," will involuntarily hear "She May, She Might" on your internal jukebox first thing in the morning and "Let's Do It Wrong" late at night. While there's a riot going on you will feel capable of bobbing through like a cork.

          In 1971, when the nation appeared to be on the brink of violently coming apart, Sly and the Family Stone released There's a Riot Goin’ On, an album of dark, brooding energy. Now, under similar circumstances, Yo La Tengo have issued a record with the same name but with a different force, an album that proposes an alternative to anger and despair. Their first proper full-length since 2013’s Fade, There's a Riot Goin’ On is an expression of freedom and sanity and emotional expansion, a declaration of common humanity as liberating as it is soft-spoken. 

          TRACK LISTING

          You Are Here
          Shades Of Blue
          She May, She Might
          For You Too
          Ashes
          Polynesia #1
          Dream Dream Away
          Shortwave
          Above The Sound
          Let's Do It Wrong
          What Chance Have I Got
          Esportes Casual
          Forever
          Out Of The Pool
          Here You Are


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