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Ryley Walker

Golden Sings That Have Been Sung - Deep Cuts Edition

Ryley Walker is pleased to announce his new album, Golden Sings That Have Been Sung, coming out August 19th on Dead Oceans. It’s the triumphant follow up to his breakout album, Primrose Green, which earned critical hosannas from the likes of NPR, Village Voice, Uncut, and Mojo and admiration of musicians who had chalked up no shortage of turntable miles in Walker’s life. Robert Plant declared himself a fan – as did double-bass legend Danny Thompson, with whom Ryley embarked on a British tour.

In November 2015, at the end of a ten-month period which saw Ryley play over 200 shows in support of Primrose Green, Ryley decided that he should probably head home. However you wished to measure it, he was surely due some sort of holiday. Although, a holiday was the last thing on Ryley’s mind – and certainly not a holiday in his adopted hometown. After a year spent on the road, all that Ryley could associate with Chicago was the emotional debris he had left behind.

He went into the studio over the Christmas vacation to record Golden Sings That Have Been Sung whose songs were directly wedded to Ryley’s return to Chicago. Some of his formative musical memories had been shaped by the work of pioneering Chicago acts such as Gastr del Sol and Tortoise. “Jeff Parker was the guitarist with Tortoise, and I used to listen to him a lot,” recalls Ryley, who figured that, for the first time in his career, it might be helpful to enlist the services of a producer. With only one person on his shortlist, once again, all roads led back to Chicago.

Ryley had been a long-time admirer of sometime Wilco multi-instrumentalist LeRoy Bach. Back in 2009, still in his teens, he had frequented the improv nights hosted by Bach at a restaurant/gallery space called Whistler. “For me, it was an incredible opportunity,” recalls Ryley, “…because you would sometimes also have Dan Bitney, the drummer with Tortoise, and I’d get to play with these people. I mean, they were twice my age. I’m sure they thought I was annoying at first, maybe some of them still do, but I kind of looked at them like gurus – and to have these old school Chicago heads taking me in was just amazing.”

For Ryley then, the prospect of having Bach produce his album was something of a no-brainer. “It was everything I wanted it to be,” he enthuses. “I would go to LeRoy’s house every other day with a riff, and we would take it from there.” Perhaps more than any other song on the record, the somnambulant sun-dappled intimacies of opening track and lead single “The Halfwit In Me” most audibly bear the imprint of those Whistler sessions.

Golden Sings That Have Been Sung was made for the dewy magic hour when night and day have yet to meet and, as long as the song is playing, you feel might briefly leave the corporeal world with them. This is the music you might imagine the woodland animals making once the humans have left for the night. This is Ryley Walker’s coming of age.

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Having been one of our end of year favourites in 2015, Ryley Walker had a lot to live up to with this follow-up (obviously he had impressing us in mind). It turns out that this is just as monumental, if not moreso. There is a sense of assurance here, a confidence gained through years of honing his craft. Perfectly sculpted Americana-tinged acoustic guitars are bolstered but never overpowered by frenetic violin slashes, molasses-slow drums perfectly compliment the unhurried and confident instrumentation. Walker and band have got a lot of bettering to do if they'll ever top this, but going on previous form, i'm sure they will. An absorbing and rewarding listen.

TRACK LISTING

2CD Tracklisting
1 The Halfwit In Me
2 A Choir Apart
3 Funny Thing She Said
4 Sullen Mind
5 I Will Ask You Twice
6 The Roundabout
7 The Great And Undecided
8 Age Old Tale
9 Sullen Mind (Live At SiriusXMU The Loft)

2LP Tracklisting
1 The Halfwit In Me
2 A Choir Apart
3 Funny Thing She Said
4 Sullen Mind
5 I Will Ask You Twice
6 The Roundabout
7 The Great And Undecided
8 Age Old Tale
9 Sullen Mind (Live At SiriusXMU The Loft) - Part 1
10 Sullen Mind (Live At SiriusXMU The Loft) - Part 2

Ryley Walker

Golden Sings That Have Been Sung

In November 2015, at the end of a ten month period which saw him play over 200 shows, Ryley Walker decided that he should probably head home. The preceding months had been extraordinary. In March, his second album ‘Primrose Green’, emerged to critical hosannas from the likes of NPR, Village Voice, Uncut and Mojo and in the process earning admiration of musicians who had chalked up no shortage of turntable miles in Walker’s life. Robert Plant declared himself a fan, as did double-bass legend Danny Thompson, with whom Ryley would later embark on a British tour. A sprawling tour of the USA around ‘Primrose Green’ presented a perfect chance to workshop ideas for what would eventually become this, his third studio album, ‘Golden Sings That Have Been Sung’.

‘The Roundabout’ represents a symbolic return to Chicago, while other songs are directly wedded to Ryley’s actual return there. Perhaps more than any other song on the record, the somnambulant sun-dappled intimacies of opening track ‘The Halfwit In Me’ most audibly bear the imprint of Ryley’s improvisational sessions with Wilco multi-instrumentalist, Chicagoan and producer Leroy Bach, while ‘Funny Thing She Said’ is an unflinching study of separation set to a shimmeringly supple ensemble performance.

Soft, slo-mo explosions of melody intermittently burst through the distant thunder of the verses on ‘A Choir Apart’. Intriguing, surreal images are meted out by ‘I Will Ask You Twice’, like a malfunctioning slide projector and, perhaps best of all, the stunning finale, ‘Age Old Tale’, which spiders out from an Alice Coltrane-inspired reverie into a sustained rapture that very few artists have managed to achieve.

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Having been one of our end of year favourites in 2015, Ryley Walker had a lot to live up to with this follow-up (obviously he had impressing us in mind). It turns out that this is just as monumental, if not more so. There is a sense of assurance here, a confidence gained through years of honing his craft. Perfectly sculpted Americana-tinged acoustic guitars are bolstered but never overpowered by frenetic violin slashes while molasses-slow drums perfectly compliment the unhurried and confident instrumentation. Walker and band have got a lot of bettering to do if they'll ever top this, but going on previous form, i'm sure they will. An absorbing and rewarding listen.

TRACK LISTING

The Halfwit In Me
A Choir Apart
Funny Thing She Said
Sullen Mind
I Will Ask You Twice
The Roundabout
The Great And Undecided
Age Old Tale

Mitksi’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed 2014 breakout album ‘Bury Me At Makeout Creek’.

Ask Mitski about happiness and she’ll warn you: “Happiness fucks you.” It’s a lesson that’s been writ large into the New Yorker’s gritty, outsider-indie for years but never so powerfully as on her newest album, ‘Puberty 2’. “Happiness is up, sadness is down, but one’s almost more destructive than the other,” she says. “When you realize you can’t have one without the other, it’s possible to spend periods of happiness just waiting for that other wave.” On ‘Puberty 2’ that tension is palpable: a both beautiful and brutal romantic hinterland, in which one of America’s new voices hits a brave new stride.

“No one else can make shattering sound like such an act of strength.” - Stereogum

“Her songs build a quiet fury with lyrics that pulverize the heart while still making a break-up seem almost beautiful.” - Paste Magazine

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: Puberty 2 is very original and distinctive in every sense. A strong element of both mixed electronic riffs and heavy guitars gives it a fierce prominent essence; it’s pieced with authentic and wistful lyrics. Her voice begins as a soft lullaby then builds into this astonishing provoked voice of passion.

TRACK LISTING

Happy
Dan The Dancer
Once More To See You
Fireworks
Your Best American Girl
I Bet On Losing Dogs
My Body’s Made Of Crushed Little Stars
Thursday Girl
A Loving Feeling
Crack Baby
A Burning Hill

Julianna Barwick’s revelatory third album, ‘Will’, is the Brooklyn experimental artist’s most surprising left turn to date. Conceived and self-produced over the past year in a variety of locations, the compelling ‘Will’ departs from the weighty lightness of 2013’s ‘Nepenthe’.

If ‘Nepenthe’ conjured images of gentle fog rolling over desolate mountains, then ‘Will’ is a late afternoon thunderstorm, a cathartic collision of sharp and soft textures that sounds ominous and restorative all at once.

‘Will’ comes after Barwick’s busiest period to date in her career following ‘Nepenthe’ - a spate of activity that included playing piano for Yoko Ono, performing at the 25th annual Tibet House Benefit Concert alongside such kindred spirits as The Flaming Lips and Philip Glass, releasing the ‘Rosabi’ EP and delivering a reimagining of Bach’s ‘Adagio’ from Concerto In D Minor.

Her life over the past several years has largely been lived in transit and as such the genesis of ‘Will’ was not beholden to location; Barwick reflects on this cycle of constant motion. “You’re constantly adjusting, assimilating, and finding yourself in life-changing situations.” That sense of forward propulsion is largely owed to ‘Will’s synth-heavy textures, an ingredient she was inspired to add to her vocal loop-heavy formula after demoing a new prototype analogue sequencer for Moog.

Another new wrinkle ‘Will’ introduces in Barwick’s sound: Mas Ysa’s Thomas Arsenault, who lends his richly complex vocals to ‘Same’ and ‘Someway’.

The beguiling, beautifully complicated ‘Will’ is the latest proof yet of Barwick’s irresistibly engaging talent as a composer and vocalist.

Julianna has recently collaborated with Moog and MoMa, lending her prestige as both a musician and artist as a whole.

TRACK LISTING

St. Apolonia
Nebula
Beached
Same
Wist
Big Hollow
Heading Home
Someway
See, Know

Kevin Morby

Singing Saw

    Singing Saw is a record written simply and realized orchestrally. In it, Kevin Morby faces the reality that true beauty – deep and earned – demands a whole-world balance that includes our darker sides. It is a record of duality, one that marks another stage of growth for this young, gifted songwriter with a kind face and a complicated mind.

    In the Autumn of 2014, Kevin Morby moved to the small Los Angeles neighborhood of Mount Washington. The move would shape Singing Saw, Morby's first album for new label Dead Oceans. Previous tenants at Morby's new home happened to leave an upright piano behind, with a few mysterious pieces of sheet music and an introductory book of common chords stacked on top. Thankful to finally be in one place for an extended spell, Morby, a beginner at the piano, immediately sat at the new instrument and began composing the songs that would form Singing Saw.

    Alongside, he began taking long walks through the winding hills and side streets of the neighborhood each night, glimpsing views of both the skyline's sweeping lights and the dark, dried out underbrush of the LA flora. The duality of the city itself began to shape a set of lyrical ideas that he would refine with the sparse accompaniment of piano and acoustic guitar.

    What is a singing saw? It is an instrument that creates ethereal sounds, but it is also a tool: basic and practical while also being fearsome, even destructive. Morby watches the singing saw in its eponymous song; that instrument of eerie soft beauty cuts down the flowers in its path and chases after him, while his surroundings mock and dwarf him, Alice in Wonderland style. And in a singing saw, we can understand music as something more powerful than its inviting, delicate sound. No wonder Morby talks about a "songbook" in his head as something he needs to take up the hills so he can "get rid of it." Heavy themes are nothing new for Morby, whose previous records (2013's Harlem River and 2014's Still Life, both released on the Woodsist label) dealt with their own eerie visions and damning prophecies.

    Morby opens Singing Saw with "Cut Me Down", a song of tears, debts and a prescient vision of being reduced to nothing. "I Have Been to the Mountain", "Destroyer" and "Black Flowers" continue to explore beauty and freedom, seizing upon the rot that seeps into even the supposedly safest of realms; peace, family and romantic love. By the end of the record on "Water", Morby is literally begging to be put out once and for all, like a fire that might burn all the visions away.

    Travels beyond his mountain walks inform songs like "Dorothy", which recounts a trip to Portugal, witnessing a fishing ritual and luxuriating in the aura of a bar light-tinged reunion with old friends The touching innocence of "Ferris Wheel" stands alone in stark simplicity amidst the lush sonic textures of the album. Here, the album is balanced by Morby's signature sweetness and joie de vivre.

    The arrangements of Singing Saw trace back to Morby's experience playing in The Complete Last Waltz, a live recreation of The Band's legendary last performance. There, Morby developed a fast friendship with producer/bandleader Sam Cohen (Apollo Sunshine, Yellow Birds), which led Morby to forgo recording in Los Angeles and take the nascent songs of Singing Saw to Isokon Studios in Woodstock, New York. There, in a converted A-frame house, they set about creating a record that would bring a sonic balance, intricacy and depth to match these songs and all that inspired them.

    Sam Cohen added a multitude of instrumentation to the record (guitar, bass, drums and keyboard), and were joined by fellow Complete Last Waltz alum Marco Benevento on piano and keyboard, fleshing out Morby's original compositions and upholding the vision for a cohesive piano sound that serves as a touchstone for the entire album. Backup vocalists Hannah Cohen, Lauren Balthrop and Alecia Chakor contribute soaring harmonies; Nick Kinsey (Elvis Perkins) adds drums and percussion; Justin Sullivan, a longtime Morby collaborator and staple of his live band, contributes drums; Oliver Hill and Eliza Bag lift numerous songs with string accompaniments, and Alec Spiegelman on saxophone and flute and Cole Kamen-Green on trumpet bring dramatic swells. Finally, John Andrews (Quilt) adds the eerie lilt of the album's promise, providing saw on the "Cut Me Down" and "Singing Saw".

    In the end, Morby fulfills the promise many heard on his first two albums, bringing his most realized effort of songwriting and lyricism to fruition. The songs of Singing Saw reflect the clarity that comes from welcoming change and embracing duality, and the distillation of those elements into an entirely new vision. 

    TRACK LISTING

    Cut Me Down
    I Have Been To The Mountain
    Singing Saw
    Drunk And On A Star
    Dorothy
    Ferris Wheel
    Destroyer
    Black Flowers
    Water

    Bleached

    Welcome To Worms

      Los Angeles-based sister duo Jennifer and Jessie Clavin knew that things were going to be different for their band Bleached’s sophomore album ‘Welcome The Worms’. Not only had they managed to charm world renowned producer and engineer Joe Chiccarelli (Morrissey, The Strokes, Elton John) to join them and their bassist Micayla Grace in the studio, Jen and Jessie had also been crawling out of their own personal dramas. Jessie was evicted from her house and scrambling, while Jen ended a torrid, unhealthy romance. While emotionally spinning she dove head first into music. She struggled and escaped the pressures with drinking and partying, sometimes to excess, feeling like she was losing herself altogether.

      “I was a loose cannon,” the commanding frontwoman says. “I was losing serious control of my personal and creative life. I was falling apart, trying to escape. I felt like Bleached was the only thing I actually cared about.”

      The 10-song album was born out of triple the amount of demos. Sometimes the three girls spent time writing at a remote house in Joshua Tree away from the seemingly destructive city (a first since bassist Micayla had never contributed to songwriting on previous releases). Other times Jen and Jessie worked alone, just like when they were teenaged punk brats playing in their parents’ San Fernando Valley garage imitating their heroes The Slits, Black Flag and Minor Threat.

      In the studio, Chiccarelli and co-producer Carlos de la Garza (Paramore, YACHT) helped the band perfect their fervent songs into fearlessly big pop melodies. They drew inspiration from the iconic hits of everyone from Fleetwood Mac to Heart to Roy Ayers.

      ‘Welcome The Worms’ is an ambitious rock record with a new found pop refinement that somehow still feels like the Shangri-Las on speed, driven forward in a wind of pot and petals, a wall of guitars in the back seat.

      Marlon Williams

      Marlon Williams

        Marlon Williams’ self-titled album features majestic rendering of such diverse touchstones as classic orch-pop ballad ‘Lost Without You’ and conceptual 1974 vintage nugget ‘Silent Passage’.

        These covers blend seamlessly with novelistic noir standouts ‘Strange Things’ and ‘Dark Child’ (cocredited to childhood choral pal Tim Moore), which deliver gallows humour with a widescreen groove.

        Marlon was nominated for five New Zealand Music Awards (equivalent to The Brits / Grammys) and an ARIA award (Australian Ivor Novello) and won Best Male Solo Artist and Best Newcomer 2015 for the New Zealand Music Awards.

        TRACK LISTING

        Hello Miss Lonesome
        After All
        Dark Child
        I’m Lost With Out You
        Lonely Side Of Her
        Silent Passage
        Strange Things
        When I Was A Young Girl
        Everyone’s Got Something To Say

        Mark McGuire

        Beyond Belief

          The second Dead Oceans full length from acclaimed guitarist Mark McGuire, formerly of Emeralds.

          Mark McGuire's albums are, amongst many other things, strong arguments for the album and for the stereo system. They're not just music; they're statements, and they demand to be experienced by the best sonic means available. They're throwbacks, not in style, but intent and effect. Put another way -- they don't make them like this anymore.

          McGuire's albums have beautiful and carefully selected cover art. McGuire's own liner notes for his breakthrough Dead Oceans debut, Along The Way (2013), are an experience unto themselves -- a detailed explication of an artist's "journey towards the beginning" -- a new spiritual manifesto you won't find on Spotify. The wall of sounds contained therein constitute a degree of ambition uncommon since the 70s heyday of McGuire's forebears - Göttsching, Eno, Fripp. This is not laptop music.

          Beyond Belief, his second full-length for Dead Oceans, finds McGuire now well on the way of his own trip. Fantastical liner note tales written to accompany and set the stage for his mostly-wordless songs delight and confound. Throughout nine tracks we find an unrelenting drive to refine, build upon, focus and maximize the effect of an already remarkably prolific body of work. Though deservedly known for his virtuosic multitracked guitar playing, McGuire in fact plays every bass / synth / piano note, and every beat on the album himself, his vocals more prominent than ever before. 26 months in the making, the passion going into Beyond Belief is self-evident, and the effect is overwhelming. 

          Running nearly 80 minutes, the bold and fearless Beyond Belief is McGuire's magnum opus to date, but in truth, there is no end in sight for McGuire's vision, making any such assessment wholly premature.

          Destroyer's Poison Season opens swathed in Hunky Dory strings. Dan Bejar’s a dashboard Bowie surveying four wracked characters—Jesus, Jacob, Judy, Jack—simultaneously Biblical and musical theatre. This bittersweet, Times Square-set fanfare is reprised twice more on the record—first as swaying, saxophone-stoked “street-rock” and then finally as a curtain-closing reverie.

          Broadway Danny Bejar dramatically switches scenes with “Dream Lover,” all Style Council strut and brassy, radio-ready bombast (echoes of The Boo Radleys’ evergreen earworm “Wake Up Boo!”). This being Destroyer, its paramours-on-the-run exuberance is judiciously spiked by his deadpan delivery: “Oh shit, here comes the sun…”

          Like the other DB, Mr. Bejar has long displayed a chameleonic instinct for change while maintaining a unified aesthetic (rather than just pinballing between reference points). No two records sound the same, but they’re always uniquely Destroyer. His latest incarnation often appears to take sonic cues from a distinctly British (usually Scottish, to be precise) strain of sophisti-pop: you might hear traces of Aztec Camera, Prefab Sprout, Orange Juice, or The Blow Monkeys. These songs merge a casual literary brilliance with intense melodic verve, nimble arrangements, and a certain blue-eyed soul sadness.

          Playfully rueful, “Sun in the Sky” foregrounds cryptic lyrical dexterity over pop-classicist strum before gradually left-fielding into rhythmically supple, delirious avant-squall. It’s as if Talk Talk took over a Lloyd Cole show. Originally released on a collaborative EP with electronic maestros Tim Hecker and Loscil (the latter’s drones are retained here), a retooled “Archer on the Beach” suggests Sade swimming in The Blue Nile, smooth-jazz marimba melancholy dilated by ecstatic ambience. Flecked in heady dissonance, elusively alluring, Dan hymns its eponymous “impossible raver on your death bed” while implicitly beckoning the listener: “Careful now, watch your step, in you go.”

          That’s Poison Season in essence: familiar yet mysterious, opaquely accessible. Arch, for sure, but ultimately elevatory.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Andy says: After the incredible Kapputt, Destroyer change style again but crucially Keep The Tunes!

          TRACK LISTING

          1 Time Square, Poison Season
          2 Dream Lover
          3 Forces From Above
          4 Hell
          5 The River
          6 Girl In A Sling
          7 Times Square
          8 Archer On The Beach
          9 Midnight Meet The Rain
          10 Solace's Bride
          11 Bangkok
          12 Sun In The Sky
          13 Time Square Poison Season II

          Night Beds

          Ivywild

            Night Beds, the musical project of 26-year-old Colorado Springs native Winston Yellen, received much acclaim for his 2013 debut album, Country Sleep, scoring plaudits for its tortured take on alt country and Yellen’s soaring vocals. But Yellen has always been much more than another singer-songwriter. “When Country Sleep came out, I had never made songs like that before,” explains Yellen, who currently splits his time between Nashville and Los Angeles. “That was a departure for me. That wasn’t my bread and butter.” The charismatic, enticingly unhinged Yellen had been living in a house that used to belong to Johnny Cash and the atmosphere had taken an effect, but after finishing that album and before Country Sleep was even released, Yellen began experimenting with the kind of melancholic, neon-tinged R&B that makes up the mesmerising Ivywild.

            Dark Bird Is Home, the fourth album from The Tallest Man On Earth, doesn’t feel like it came from one time, one place, or one tape machine. The songs and sounds were captured in various countries, studios, and barns, and they carry a weather-worn quality, some dirt and some grit.

            Early in Dark Bird, toward the end of the opening track, we hear other voices and sounds backing Kristian Matsson’s own. One of them, later credited in the liner notes with Angel Vocals, shows up several times throughout the record, adding new color to the familiar palette. And so the story grows and expands. That first song has horns and a piano, keyboards, synthesizers, and other modern noisemakers . . . and by track two you’ve got The Tallest Man on Earth as full-throttle rock and roll.

            While Dark Bird is The Tallest Man at his most personal and direct, deeper and darker than ever at times, it’s also an album with strokes of whimsy and the scent of new beginnings — which feels fresh for The Tallest Man on Earth, and well timed. Reliably, the melodies and arrangements are sturdy and classic, like old cars and tightly wound clocks. The lyrics and their delivery are both comforting and alarming, like tall trees and wide hills.

            The other musicians and layers on this recording put a wide lens on familiar themes. Fear and darkness, sleep or lack of it, dreams in the dark and in the light. Moving, leaving, going. Distance and short stops, long straight lines, temporal places. More hopefully, a grateful nod to a traveling partner, a healing mind. Maybe a little forgiveness needed. Definitely some things to forget.

            TRACK LISTING

            01. Fields Of Our Home
            02. Darkness Of The Dream
            03. Singers
            04. Slow Dance
            05. Little Nowhere Towns
            06. Sagres
            07. Timothy
            08. Beginners
            09. Seventeen
            10. Dark Bird Is Home

            Bill Fay

            Who Is The Sender?

              Ask Bill Fay about his relationship with his instrument and he says something revealing, not ”Ever since I learnt to play the piano,” but “Ever since the piano taught me…”

              What the piano taught him was how to connect to one of the great joys of his life. “Music gives,” he says. And he is a grateful receiver. But, it makes him wonder, “Who is the sender?”

              Fay - who after more than five decades writing songs is finally being appreciated as one of our finest living practitioners of the art – asserts that songs aren’t actually written but found. He recorded two phenomenal but largely overlooked albums for Decca offshoot Nova in 1970 and 1971. After 27 years of neglect, people like Nick Cave, Jim O’ Rourke, and Jeff Tweedy were praising those records in glowing terms. Recorded in Ray Davies' Konk Studios, North London, Who Is The Sender? sees Bill expanding upon themes he has touched on from the beginning, spiritual and philosophical questions, observations about the natural world and the people in the city he has lived in all his life.

              Ryley Walker

              Primrose Green

                The title sounds pastoral and quaint, but the titular green has dark hallucinogenic qualities, as does much of the LP. Ryley didn’t have much time to write this LP, so some of it he didn’t. Bits of lyrics were improvised into full-blown songs in the studio, more often than not on the fly. However, the ratty bits of handwritten words that make up the balance of the record grew from scattered misadventures across an ill-fated 2013 tour.

                The band on Primrose Green is a mixture of new and old Chicago talent, blending both jaded veterans of the post-rock and jazz mini-circuits together with a few eager, open-eared youths. (It’s worth stating at this point that this is not a jazz record, despite the sheer volume of jazz and experimental heavyweights that make up the rest of Primrose Green’s all-star cast. Chicago has blurred these lines since forever.)

                Ryley Walker is the reincarnation of the True American Guitar Player. That’s as much a testament to his roving, rambling ways as to the fact that his Guild D-35 guitar has endured a few stints in the pawnshop. Swap out rural juke joints for rotted DIY spaces and the archetype is solidly intact. His personal life might be tumultuous and his residential status in question, but his bedrock is disciplined daily rehearsal and an inexhaustible wellspring of song craft.

                Raised on the banks of the ol’ Rock River in northern Illinois, Ryley’s early life doesn’t give us much more than Midwestern mundanity to speak of. Things start to pick up in 2007, when he moves to Chicago and briefly attempts a collegiate lifestyle. Here, he storms the local noise scene with his Jasmine-brand electric guitar, and a few years of wasted finger-bleeding basement shows firmly established his name locally, if not always positively. By 2011, at age 21, Ryley’s music offered impressive displays of fingerpicking prowess, though not fully elaborated documents.

                It was a 2012 bike accident that set Ryley on his current path. Practice became more diligent. He began lacquering his fingertips at cheap salons. Ryley was finding a new path refracting the British traditional spectrum, from Bert Jansch to Nick Drake, and defying all the limitations of the genre. His 2013 recordings — The West Wind EP and All Kinds of You LP – fully express these Anglophilic tendencies to the point of nearly exhausting their possibilities.

                “Primrose Green” is a colloquial term for a cocktail of whiskey and morning glory seeds that has a murky, dreamy, absinthian quality when imbibed, and a spirit-crushing aftereffect the morning after. It is the moment before departure from the mindstate of Ryley’s previous release, All Kinds Of You.


                STAFF COMMENTS

                Andy says: Love Tim Buckley, John Martyn and Nick Drake? So does Ryley Walker! Classic songs, grooves and vibes, but unlike the folk-lite froth choking up the "Charts", this goes straight to the source and brings it on home! Good stuff.

                TRACK LISTING

                1. Primrose Green
                2. Summer Dress
                3. Same Minds
                4. Griffiths Bucks Blues
                5. Love Can Be Cruel
                6. On The Banks Of The Old Kishwaukee
                7. Sweet Satisfaction
                8. The High Road
                9. All Kinds Of You
                10. Hide In The Roses

                Mark McGuire

                Noctilucence

                  Noctilucence is a new EP from the prolific artist Mark McGuire, it's the second release from him this year and comes off the back of the critically acclaimed LP Along The Way. Noctilucence was recorded between in 2013 and 2014 between Los Angeles, California, and McGuire's home of Cleveland, Ohio.

                  "Noctilucence" is the 12 minute centerpiece of the EP, a sprawling and expansive track which might be the most ambitious track McGuire has ever released.

                  The term "noctilucence" comes from "noctilucent clouds", the name given to clouds which, for some reason, emit a brilliant vibrance at night. On this recording we find our subject diving into the electric waters of the night sky, in long drives across the vast deserts of America. It's a recording about the discovery and understanding of the shadow, entrance to the realm not controlled by the light of day, or the logic of reason. It's about confronting nocturnal terrors and all of those things that go bump in the night. Understanding that the ancient archetypes which watch over us don't flinch, and stand firm across the spell of time.

                  On Along The Way McGuire sought the Macrobes for guidance, and on Noctilucence we see them taking real shape. Opening with a mantra to the perpetual regeneration of the spirit of love, crying out for new levels of confidence and consciousness to emerge from the human race, Noctilucence is a deep stare into the infinite eye of the shimmering night sky of the future, and all it holds in its gaze.

                  Greylag

                  Greylag

                    Like the wild goose the Portland-based trio are named after, the members of Greylag have all undertaken amazing journeys, migrating as if by homing instinct from different parts of the US to create a self-titled debut album that’s the latest must-have slice of verdant, far-reaching Americana.

                    ‘Greylag’ is rich in melody, mood and detail with a range that mirrors the distance between their individual birthplaces, creating a personal twist on some timeless musical traditions, embracing electric and acoustic with a sound that’s both subtle and forceful.

                    Bishop Allen

                    Lights Out

                      The new Bishop Allen record, 'Lights Out' is here at last. Here's what went into it: ten years, three full-lengths, twelve EPs, thousands of shows, a move out of Brooklyn, a new home in the wooly wilds of Kingston, NY, time off to score the films Bully and Mutual Friends, as well as an Anderson Cooper 360 special, months of demos, drum tracking in a sweat-lodge attic studio during a July heat wave, a wet Fall arranging guitars, bass, and synths in a now-chilly attic studio, the coldest December on record spent mixing, a close call with a frozen pipe and flooded hard drives, and a photo found on a friend's refrigerator.

                      Here's what you do with it: Check the weather. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you've still got some summer left - the bittersweet tail end of it. Get yourself invited to some cookouts, or throw one, and if you still have it in you to get a little drunk or otherwise shut off any sense of responsibility, go for that. Play this record at that event. You don't have to listen too closely - it sounds great & you're going to have fun with it and feel good. Hey! you'll say, I wish we had this record at the beginning of the summer!

                      Bear In Heaven’s new album is aptly titled ‘Time Is Over One Day Old’. It’s a record with a visceral relationship to time and its processes. Where invulnerability and ambition can support you as you grow, at some point they become dead weight and being true to yourself means casting them off, starting anew. This plays out as a powerful analogy for the band across the arc of their career.

                      They’ve always made intriguing records, here especially. It’s easy to see why musicians fall hard for this band. They entice and envelop you. Any ‘Bear In Heaven’ song will most likely greet you with a provocative beat, textural synthesizers and unassuming but adeptly supportive bass and guitar, all exquisitely arranged and glistening. Jon Philpot’s high, smooth, strong voice is so tightly wound into the music that it can be easy to overlook the lyrics, Bear In Heaven’s capacious third dimension. Philpot is a centre seeking, contemplative writer who captures the fleeting thoughts that underscore our emotional lives, the interactions with the world that are both difficult to express and anathema in daily conversation.

                      While all of this can be said of any Bear In Heaven album, each varies wildly in tone and approach. 2007’s ‘Red Bloom Of The Boom’ is ambitious and experimental. ‘Beast Rest Forth Mouth’ (2009) was a pivotal record that still feels important, seductive and intense. On their 2012 album ‘I Love You, It’s Cool’ the structural and musical ideas are challenging and masterfully developed. For ‘Time Is Over One Day Old’, we witness the band once again turning their gaze inward and prioritizing their evocative abilities in line with or even slightly ahead of technical skills. It feels very much in the tradition of BRFM in that way. It’s beautiful; it’s moving.

                      Here Philpot and partner Adam Wills are more deeply collaborative than ever. This album is darker at times, louder than their others; it feels personal and direct. ‘If I Were To Lie’ places Wills’ bass groove front and centre, ‘Demon’ is riveting and propulsive in spite of its dark pointed lyric and ‘They Dream’ dissolves into three and a half minutes of deeply satisfying ambient synth work in its second half. Wills has always been the band’s anchor, providing rock solid, rhythmic bass lines and guitars that blur the boundaries of Philpot’s synth. Though in moments such as the final track ‘You Don’t Need The World’ Wills cuts through with an audacious, biting guitar hook. It’s a great culmination of the album’s sense of release. This album isn’t about being dark, it’s about releasing darkness and frustration.

                      When bands age well, their vitality takes shape. They wear but with intention. They trim excesses. Throughout this album one can hear a band at peace with themselves. They’ve learned to cut back on that which is merely impressive and to concentrate on simply what is crucial. For Philpot this is about making something lasting. “A lot of shedding, getting rid of layers and preconceptions… breaking up with old ways of thinking, old ways of being, starting to look at this thing in a new way and finding something positive.” The result is a record that will stay with you.

                      Mixed by Nicolas Vernhes (Deerhunter, Matthew Dear, Wild Nothing, War On Drugs).

                      TRACK LISTING

                      Autumn
                      Time Between
                      If I Were To Lie
                      They Dream
                      The Sun And The Moon And The Stars
                      Memory Heart
                      Demon
                      Way Off
                      Dissolve The Walls
                      You Don’t Need The World

                      From the first bars of ‘Heal’, the exhilarating melodic stomp of ‘Goshen ‘97’ puts you right into Tim Showalter’s fervent teenage mindset. We find him in his family’s basement den in Goshen, IN, feeling alienated but even at 15 years old believing in the alchemy and power of music to heal your troubles. “The record is called ‘Heal’ but it’s not a soft, gentle healing, it’s like scream therapy, a command, because I ripped out my subconscious, looked through it, and saw the worst parts. And that’s how I got better.” ‘Heal’ embodies that feeling of catharsis and rebirth, desperation and euphoria, confusion and clarity. It is deeply personal and unwittingly anthemic.

                      Showalter was on tour, walking home on a mild autumn night in Malmo, Sweden, when he first felt the weight of the personal crisis that would ignite him to write ‘Heal’. “It was a culmination of pressure,” Showalter recalls. “My marriage was suffering, I’d released a record I was disappointed in, I didn’t like how I looked or acted… so I’d gone on tour, I was gone about two years! I didn’t take time to think about failure, but I knew I was going deeper and deeper…I was thinking, I have this life, but it’s not my life, I haven’t done it right…” When Showalter returned, he wrote 30 songs in three weeks, a process that proved difficult but cathartic and at times invigorating. Previous Strand Of Oaks records were more skeletal, raw examples of folk-rooted Americana with occasional rock and electronic currents that have now come to the fore.

                      ‘Heal’ is a bold new beginning, with a thrilling full-tilt sound that draws on Showalter’s love of 70s, 80s and 90s rock and pop, with the singer and guitarist playing the intense valedictory confessor.

                      Crucial to ‘Heal’s sound was the man who Showalter chose to mix the record, the stellar alt-rock icon John Congleton. Showalter also re-connected with Ben Vehorn, synth expert and studio engineer extraordinaire and drummer Steve Clements, who provides ‘Heal’s thunderous, sinewy drive. Songs such as ‘Shut In’, ‘Plymouth’ and ‘Woke Up To The Light’ have a classic construction and mood, recalling 70s powerpop / ballads and the yearning ache of Big Star’s late, great Chris Bell.

                      Many of the songs on ‘Heal’ reveal an electronic undercarriage and towering drums that push the album’s wired dynamic to its stretching point, especially on ‘For Me’, which expertly bridges the album’s twin decades of influences. If ‘Goshen ‘97’ recalls the molten energy of Dinosaur Jr, that’s because it actually is J Mascis on lead guitar. Despite the initials, the album’s smouldering 7-minute epic ‘JM’ is not a Mascis tribute but one to the late Jason Molina, about having his music as comfort no matter how bad things get.

                      TRACK LISTING

                      1 Goshen '97
                      2 HEAL
                      3 Same Emotions
                      4 Shut In
                      5 Woke Up To The Light
                      6 JM
                      7 Plymouth
                      8 Mirage Year
                      9 For Me
                      10 Wait For Love

                      White Hinterland

                      Baby

                        White Hinterland (aka Casey Dienel) returns with her most confident and assured album yet.

                        A deep, dark heady mix of songs, Dienel set forth to subvert the existing power structure of male producer as Svengali and female artist as figurehead.

                        For ‘Baby’ Dienel worked with friends and acclaimed musicians Sean Carey (Bon Iver), Neal Morgan (Joanna Newsome, Bill Callahan) and Cole Kamen-Green (Beyonce).

                        Her life-long love of R&B and gospel comes to the fore, complementing and contrasting the sharp dynamic shifts, booming drums and blasts of brass.

                        Already getting a very strong response at radio and with lots of great reviews lined up, this is sure to be White Hinterland’s moment to shine.

                        Mark McGuire

                        Along The Way

                          Mark McGuire was previously a member of the critically acclaimed drone band Emeralds.

                          From the mid-western underground consciousness, guitarist / producer Mark McGuire emerges with his forthcoming ‘Along The Way’ album. The conceptual album details the inner journey of an individual seeking definition and enlightenment.

                          For those following McGuire’s musical ascent thus far, the record is a culmination of a prodigious and prolific artist.

                          Playing with a wide variety of instruments and styles on ‘Along The Way’, McGuire presents his unique vision of modern psychedelia. Using electric and acoustic guitars, a Talkbox, drum machine, a mandolin and lots in between, McGuire conducts a sonic exploration of the inner self.

                          Destroyer

                          Five Spanish Songs

                            Produced by JC/DC and recorded at their studio in Vancouver earlier this summer, ‘Five Spanish Songs’ features musical contributions from Nicolas Bragg, David Carswell, John Collins, Stephen Hamm, and Josh Wells.

                            Destroyer’s Dan Bejar writes: “It was 2013. The English language seemed spent, despicable, not easily singable. It felt over for English; good for business transactions, but that’s about it. The only other language I know is Spanish, and the only Spanish songs I really know are those of Sr. Chinarro, led by Antonio Luque. I've been a decades-long fan of how he conducted his affairs, his strange words, his melodies that have always felt so natural (this is important), his bitter songs about painting the light. Something about them, I knew I could do it...”

                            Strand Of Oaks

                            Darker Shores EP

                              Dead Oceans is proud to announce signing Strand of Oaks, currently about to embark on an extensive European tour to promote the Darker Shores EP, (a welcomed follow-up to last year's LP, Dark Shores). After long spells supporting both The Tallest Man On Earth and Phosphorescent, Strand of Oaks takes his newly informed sound to Europe for a headlining tour, plus London and Nijmegen dates with Damien Jurado and a stop at End of the Road Festival on September 1. Plan to see this powerful two-piece live.

                              Darker Shores is a collection of songs that continues to reveal itself. Its path leads back to the vintage synthesizers used to create a unique journey into the human experience. Beyond the bleak and uncertain lies a solace and comfort that comes when songs achieve their highest possible potential. These songs represent both a definite ending and an undeniable new beginning. Hope you enjoy the journey.

                              All of the songs the Strand of Oaks writes are based on true stories. Lovers get divorced, murder John Belushi’s drug dealer, go bowling with mythical giants, watch their youth slip away and commune with John F. Kennedy’s illegitimate son. Obviously, Timothy Showalter (who is Strand of Oaks) has allowed himself many liberties with what constitutes the truth, and his commingling of fact and fiction, of humor and heartbreak simultaneously distinguishes him from the bearded, acoustic-toting singer-songwriters he’s so easily compared to: immerse yourself in a Strand of Oaks record and confessionals turn into metaphor, autobiography transferred into tall tales.

                              ‘Stitches’, the new album from Califone, touches on all permutable definitions of the word - sewing together, loops, yarn, abdominal pain. Archetypes and mythological figures rub shoulders with bruised civilians throughout this odyssey.

                              Intimate timbres - garage sale drum machines, slack guitar strings, hushed vocals - offset the album’s cinematic inclinations. The listener moves through a landscape of Old Testament blood and guts, spaghetti Western deserts and south western horizons, zeroing in on emotions and images that cannot be glanced over.

                              TRACK LISTING

                              Movie Music Kills A Kiss
                              Stitches
                              Frosted Tips
                              Magdalene
                              Bells Break Arms
                              Moonbath.brainsalt.a.holy.fool
                              Moses
                              A Thin Skin Of Bullfight Dust
                              We Are A Payphone
                              Turtle Eggs / An Optimist

                              Produced by Jacob Portrait (Unknown Mortal Orchestra), an the appropriately named The Cave studio, ‘Stills’ follows the once Denver-based band’s 2011 self-titled debut for Dead Oceans, and singles spread across labels like Forest Family and Mexican Summer.

                              After moving back to their hometown of Chicago last year, drummer Craig Nice and singer / guitarist Andy R looked to their teenage selves for inspiration. “I started listening again to the stuff I would have in my Discman in the back of my mom’s car,” says Nice. “White Zombie, Marilyn Manson - the production on those records is so amazing. Nothing sounds like that anymore.”

                              TRACK LISTING

                              Human Nature
                              Spew
                              Simple
                              Bad Apple
                              New To It
                              Obey Me
                              Heave
                              G.I.D.
                              Falling Out
                              Waste Your Art

                              Brazos

                              Saltwater

                                Following on from his respected-but-under-theradar self-released debut, Brazos puts out his first album for Dead Oceans and it’s sure to put him on the map.

                                Already receiving a glowing 8/10 from Uncut (with coverage on the covermount) plus very strong 6Music support, this is a record that teases the listener with ideas and melodies, asking for patience and then rewarding the loyal with one of the most beguiling and beautiful listens of 2013 so far.

                                Akron / Family

                                Sub Verses

                                  Akron/Family return with the Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Black Mountain, The Cave Singers, Boris) produced album, ‘Sub Verses’.

                                  “The album started with visions of large monumental sounds inspired by the land artists Heizer and Turrell; American works on a grand scale, monuments, dirty hands and an epic American masculinity. Dust, Stone, Sky, Earth. These broad, bold strokes would come to pass but not quite as expected. A Sci Fi aesthetic narrative emerged. How to deal with it open heartedly? The plots within plots of ‘Dune’ mirrored in many layers of sound. Creating 3D sonic atmospheres that our songs and singers inhabit. Our story, a story, all stories. Of the future, of yourself. Of everyone. We are all we are, only this and yet we move forward. Along some line to somewhere. And who knows?” - Seth Olinsky, Akron/Family

                                  “Music dissolves in sad earnest mist of drenched melancholy, spent... […] They’re inside the music, grinding it, fighting it, chewing it, digesting it, then spewing it up to the sky in a multicolored spray of endless sound and love.” - Michael Gira, Swans / Young God Records

                                  This is Akron/Family’s seventh album / masterpiece of musical mayhem and meditations.

                                  “Innovative no-holds-barred pop music” - Mojo (*****)



                                  Bleached

                                  Ride Your Heart

                                    On the heels of three well-received singles comes ‘Ride Your Heart’, the bombastic debut album by LA band Bleached.

                                    Sisters Jennifer and Jessie Clavin match their ability to blend a mix of freewheeling 1977 punk with vintage sunny Southern California melodic rock and roll, creating blindingly bright hooks and dark heartfelt lyrics about love, loss, and the crazy fun moments in between. That’s the goal - the sugary and sour, repurposed by two aggressively harmonic musicians and songwriters.

                                    The band’s first single, ‘Next Stop’, epitomizes this movement - fun, raw, adventurous and free. Tossing you out onto the dancefloor, hair mussed from make-outs, cigarette still dangling from your fingertips.

                                    Raised deep in the San Fernando Valley, their suburban isolation nurtured the girls’ creativity, as they started making their own music at a young age. Sneaking into punk shows over the hill in Hollywood, they grew up to become teenage underground staples at all-ages downtown DIY venue The Smell. “Me and Jen were punk kids who weren’t taught how to play instruments,” says Jessie. “We taught ourselves how to play, out in the garage.”

                                    Eventually signing to Kill Rock Stars and Post Present Medium, their all girl punk band Mika Miko drew international acclaim, landing slots on tours with No Age, Black Lips, and The Gossip.

                                    Bleached originally formed when the Clavin sisters resolved to continue working with each other after the break up of Mika Miko. Plans were postponed when the sisters joined other bands. Jennifer relocated to New York and toured extensively. With Jennifer away, Jessie began to play with various bands in LA. But in the fleeting moments they found together back home, the songs that became Bleached’s early 7” singles came together.

                                    Since Jennifer moved back to her hometown, Bleached now serves as both girls’ chief creative outlet. “I was going crazy being in someone else’s band,” remarked Jennifer. “Me and Jessie are so proud and happy to be able to focus on our own music, together.”

                                    As a whole, the twelve tracks on ‘Ride Your Heart’ reveal the many facets of Bleached’s music in a delicious vortex of playful harmonies, tangled guitars, and golden noise. Each song brings a new element, while also imbibing the classic moods of bands as varied and iconic in nature as The Ramones and The Cars, to The Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac.

                                    From the syncopated backbeat and two-part chorus of ‘Dead In Your Head’, the rolling riffs and sparkling melodies of ‘Searching Through The Past’ and the pulsating energy and urgency of ‘Dreaming Without You’ and ‘Outta My Mind’, Bleached take you on a sweeping emotional roller coaster that churns and burns. ‘Ride Your Heart’ is a thrilling, beating, glorious wall of sound strong enough to withstand its own impact.

                                    Phosphorescent

                                    Muchacho

                                      Nearly three years on from his breakthrough album Here's To Taking It Easy, Phosphorescent returns to the fray with his most stunning record yet: Muchacho . During the last album's 'cycle', one could almost hear jaws hitting the floor witnessing a live band of such infinite verve. Not only did the album draw high praise in the form of Mojo's 'Album of the Month' (#8 End of Year), Sunday Times & The Independent 'Albums of the Week', hit Rough Trade's Top 5 Best of the Year, but the band also supported The National over the course of three sold out nights at Brixton Academy, a show that The Independent gave 5/5 and called "a sublime, joyous gig".

                                      Matthew Houck, for he is Phosphorescent, likes to work. The Alabama native, now resident in Brooklyn has delivered five albums as Phosphorescent since his 2003 debut. Houck has a highly distinctive artistic voice, but also a refreshing, rolled-sleeves approach to his expression, and if he had his way, he'd have twice as many albums under his belt by now. The singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer is envious of the time when prolificacy was expected. "In the '60s and '70s, they were making artists crank out records every six months. With guys like Waylon Jennings, John Prine and even Dylan, I don't think those records would have gotten made in today's climate, because now you're allowed – or even required – to make a grand statement. I have this ideal – and I know it's not possible, because of the way the industry works – of making a record every year."

                                      Houck may not have managed that, but still has an impressive output – one born of commitment and his soul's need to have its say. It was 2007's Pride – a delicate and spare, haunted and haunting work of ragged country, bittersweet southern gospel and forlorn folk-ish drone – that first caused ears to swivel appreciatively in Phosphorescent's direction. He followed it with To Willie, a tribute to country legend Willie Nelson, then 2010's Here's To Taking It Easy, an unapologetically enthusiastic plunge into country rock and rolling Americana. Now, his sixth album flashes yet another colour in the subtly shifting Phosphorescent spectrum.

                                      Muchacho reprises the understated melancholia and sensuous minimalism of Pride, while kicking up a little of Here's To Taking It Easy's dust, but it also strikes out into more adventurous waters via rhythm and electronic textures. It took shape if not quite by accident, then partly as a result of events beyond Houck's control. After spending the best part of 18 months touring his last record, Houck was, in his words "pretty fried." In late 2011, he returned to the Brooklyn Navy Yard studio where he'd recorded his previous two albums, planning "on taking this whole thing down a few notches. I wanted to make music," he explains, "but I was weary, so the spectre of putting anything out and getting back on the road was a bit of a block." In December, he bought a load of old analogue gear and "just starting playing around with it, making these noises. They weren't songs, they were just strange sound pieces. I've always had that element in my work, and one or two weird, ambient pieces seem to squeeze themselves onto every record, but suddenly I was doing a lot of those." Houck also turned into a bit of DIY electrician, since a lot of the vintage gear needed fixing. "I ended up spending a lot of time learning about stuff like impedance matching and ohms," he laughs. "I really got quite nerdy about how it all worked."

                                      Night Beds

                                      Even If We Try / You Were Afraid

                                        The creative voice of Night Beds, Winston Yellen, hails from Nashville by way of Colorado Springs. The 23 year-old songwriter boasts a new, great American voice with a specific brand of intimate thirst that few musicians possess.

                                        On ‘Even If We Try’, Yellen makes a stunning first step and displays his strength of sparseness. The A-side slowly builds in force from a wistful lullaby to an unexpectedly buoyant climax.

                                        The song centres around the singer's desire to sever his past life and start anew. It's that awkward and often terrifying feeling of distancing oneself from demons while realizing that they're fundamental elements in gaining the confidence to move forward.

                                        ‘Even If We Try’ was recorded in a self-built studio in the former home of Johnny Cash located in Hendersonville, TN. The song was formed on his drives to and from Nashville and Hendersonville.

                                        The B-side, ‘You Were Afraid’, was the first song a then 18 year-old Winston Yellen wrote with Night Beds in mind. The song recounts the gut wrenching realization of an imminent end to a relationship and the bittersweetness that can come with it.

                                        Animator, opens with ‘Montuno’, a 9-minute account of a hallucination about the repetition of days, the split seconds that define us, and the strangeness of the certainty of death.

                                        There's something almost supernatural to the feel of this album: “‘Animator’ is supposed to be some weird resuscitation. The animator’s job is to create the semblance of movement in things that cannot move themselves. The musician’s is to make us feel like something is happening with a sound,” explains singer and multi-instrumentalist Jessie Stein.

                                        Recorded and produced at the Treatment Room by band member and experimental brass player Pietro Amato, and mixed by Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes at his Breakglass Studios in the band’s hometown of Montreal, ‘Animator’ is a cathartic sophisticated collection of songs.

                                        As melodically compelling as it is artistically rich, ‘Animator’ is intuitive, seductive, moody and textural. It slowly unfolds its beauty and trusts the listener to stay with it.

                                        TRACK LISTING

                                        Montuno
                                        Fifty Fifty
                                        The Quiet Way
                                        Face
                                        Your Name’s Mostly Water
                                        Earth Turner
                                        Talking Mountains
                                        Traces
                                        Crimes Machine
                                        Channeling

                                        The Tallest Man On Earth

                                        There's No Leaving Now

                                          Hugely anticipated, The Tallest Man On Earth returns with ‘There’s No Leaving Now’.

                                          The sense of urgency that fuelled his previous work remains, and the results are paralyzing – drums, piano, baritone guitar, woodwinds and pedal steel combine with songwriting so detailed and captivating.

                                          Since his last album, ‘The Wild Hunt’, The Tallest Man On Earth has sold out Shepherds Bush Empire two months in advance of the show, performed on ‘Later With Jools Holland’ and now lands at the start of this campaign with a sold out London Hackney Empire show, with fans desperate to hear his new material.

                                          A Place To Bury Strangers

                                          Worship

                                            A Place To Bury Strangers’ new album is explosive, visceral, and dark.

                                            Coming off the back of their hugely well received ‘Onwards To The Wall’ EP (their first release for new label Dead Oceans), this is the album that they have been promising and hinting at on their previous two.

                                            More dynamic, more honest, more brutal and more melodic.

                                            A Place To Bury Strangers

                                            Onwards To The Wall

                                              ‘Onwards To The Wall’ packs every bit of the searing sonic maelstrom listeners have come to expect from A Place To Bury Strangers. Yet, the adroit songcraft that’s always been there is brought more the fore, pop hooks are repurposed and more instantly recognizable.

                                              Now joined by bassist Dion Lunadon, formerly of The D4, in whom the band have found a crucial companion in pulling timeless melodies from their jet engine textures.

                                              Standout ‘So Far Away’ takes all the pure pop perfection of The Box Tops’ ‘The Letter’ and shoots it through with a barely-harnessed dark energy and snarling propulsion. The title track carries a similar balance of classic, 60s pop hooks and doomed-out vibes, employing a boy-girl vocal trade off that’s at once both sexy and menacing.

                                              A handful of contemporary bands are currently exploring the new limits of loud. And here, A Place To Bury Strangers prove that they have not only been leading that charge for some time now, but that they are also evolving and maturing on those front lines.

                                              ‘Onwards To The Wall’ is a fresh, complete artistic statement. It’s a new chapter, a prelude for what awaits on the horizon. It is a taste of greatness to come.

                                              Bowerbirds

                                              The Clearing

                                                ‘The Clearing’ is Bowerbirds’ third album - a much bigger, bolder and broader record than the first two records could even hint at.

                                                Recorded with Brian Joseph (Bon Iver) in Wisconsin.

                                                From the first song onwards, this is a band willing to make a statement and develop all the finest moments heard on the previous two records. The band sing of the best and most important moments in life and, in turn, create new ones.

                                                In this blistering world, these songs are the rarest sort of balm. A record sure to turn this much loved and well kept secret into one of the most acclaimed bands of 2012.

                                                Special edition 7” taken from the acclaimed selftitled debut album.

                                                Instead of using reverb as a gauze, Gauntlet Hair use its curvature and decay to form and push the melodies, to further shape the songs.

                                                Two exclusive new songs on the B-side: ‘Need To Retire’ and ‘Minimal Armageddon’.

                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                My Christ
                                                Need To Retire
                                                Minimal Armageddon

                                                Gauntlet Hair

                                                Gauntlet Hair

                                                  Over the last year and a half, Gauntlet Hair have seen their noise-pop anthems released on 7"s by tastemaker labels Forest Family and Mexican Summer.

                                                  With the self-titled debut, the duo of Andy R (guitar, vox) and Craig Nice (drums, triggers) fulfill the booming promise of those now collectible singles.

                                                  Coming as leaders of a scene based in Colorado around a space called the Rhinoceroplis (with fellow bands Pictureplane, Woodsman and Hollagramz), Gauntlet Hair have received a ton of online love over the last year that is now sure to tip over into a mass embrace.

                                                  Music made with the sole purpose of losing yourself - both mind and body - inside of it. The band take the listener into the red, evoking that unmistakable feeling of being squarely in front of the speaker as it is screaming blissfully loud melodies.

                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                  Darryl says: Exuberant and euphoric art-rock, like an in-yer-face Animal Collective or Arcade Fire. Superb stuff!!

                                                  Nurses

                                                  Dracula

                                                    The follow up to the well received debut album ‘Apples’ sees Nurses’ unmistakable elastic melodies, heady pop hooks and knack for catchy songwriting get right under your skin.

                                                    It’s a bolder, heavier, groovier, record. Mixed with Scott Colburn (whose production credits include Arcade Fire’s ‘Funeral’ and Animal Collective’s ‘Feels’) this is a three dimensional being, solidifying the band’s evolution from a bedroom recording experiment to a fully fleshed dynamic ensemble.

                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                    1. Fever Dreams
                                                    2. You Lookin’ Twice
                                                    3. Extra Fast
                                                    4. Through The Window
                                                    5. So Sweet
                                                    6. Trying To Reach You
                                                    7. New Feelings
                                                    8. Wouldn’t Tell
                                                    9. Dancing Grass
                                                    10. Gold Jordan
                                                    11. Eternal Thrills

                                                    ‘Wild Palms’ b/w ‘Symphony In White, No. 2’ is the first taste of new material from Sun Airway since the release of their acclaimed debut album, ‘Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier’.

                                                    Following tours with Bear in Heaven, Cults, Small Black, Lower Dens and more, the band went back into the studio and emerged with this stunning new single.

                                                    On this 7" the band's modern sounds glance backwards, with faint 80s pop melodies sneaking into the band's repertoire.

                                                    Although the sounds are lush, subtle and carefully crafted, Sun Airway once again proves the songwriting comes first, writing instantly classic pop tunes on their new single.

                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                    Wild Palms
                                                    Symphony In White, No. 2

                                                    Destroyer

                                                    Kaputt

                                                      Destroyer is Dan Bejar from Vancouver, British Columbia. ‘Kaputt’ is his latest vision: an opulent, lyrical, game-changing masterpiece to rank with the choicest works of Sade, Scritti Politti, Simply Red and Steely Dan.

                                                      For a more contemporary touchstone, consider this album as the sad-eyed psychic cousin of GAYNGS’ smooth opus ‘Relayted’. These elaborate songs were lovingly crafted by a large studio ensemble of dedicated players; they are given fresh life on the road by an eight-piece touring band which will visit European shores for the first time this year.

                                                      ‘Kaputt’ entered the Billboard chart at number 62 and received exultant hosannas from such publications as The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Spin and The Washington Post. Pitchfork awarded it their Best New Music accolade, noting that “‘Kaputt’ feels wise. Like a mirror that actually points back at something better. ‘Kaputt’ rolls luxuriously in its own plush soft-rock grandeur, powerfully alluring and deeply sad at the same time.”

                                                      A picture-perfect collection of echo-drenched space-age pop songs, "Too Beautiful To Work" buzzes and pops into retro-futurist sonic bliss.

                                                      The Luyas enlisted the help of many friends on "Too Beautiful To Work". These friends happen to double as world-class musicians. Owen Pallett plays the violin and arranges the strings. Colin Stetson adds saxophone and clarinet. Sarah Neufeld (who plays in Arcade Fire) also plays violin. John Marshman adds some cello, Daniel Tavis Romano plays the bass, Lisa Chisholm brings the bassoon and Leonie Wall plays the flute.

                                                      "Too Beautiful To Work" was recorded by Jeff McMurrich, whose fingerprints can be found on fantastic recordings by Tindersticks, Constantines, Owen Pallett and countless others.

                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                      1. Too Beautiful To Work
                                                      2. Worth Mentioning
                                                      3. Tiny Head
                                                      4. Moodslayer
                                                      5. Canary
                                                      6. Spherical Mattress
                                                      7. Cold Canada
                                                      8. What Mercy Is
                                                      9. I Need Mirrors
                                                      10. Seeing Things

                                                      John Vanderslice

                                                      White Wilderness

                                                        Nine new and wildly impressive JV songs captured live over three days in a unique collaboration with the Magik*Magik Orchestra, a collective of classically trained musicians in the Bay Area led by artistic director Minna Choi.

                                                        The Magik*Magik Orchestra have a comprehensive mastery of classic performance and repertoire, but also have a full appreciation of the aesthetics of indie and underground music.

                                                        Choi arranged and conducted "White Wilderness" with 19 members of the Magik*Magik playing strings and horns, vibraphone, pedal steel and piano, an assortment of reed instruments, and much to JV's benefit, the voice of Minna Choi singing backup at key moments throughout the album.

                                                        Recorded in San Francisco, "White Wilderness" was produced by John Congleton, whose resume includes albums by St Vincent, The Walkmen, Explosions in the Sky, Bill Callahan and many more.

                                                        Sun Airway

                                                        Nocturne Of Exploded Crystal Chandelier

                                                          It is hard to imagine namedropping both The Strokes and Animal Collective when describing a single band, but that is exactly what Pitchfork has done with Sun Airway while describing "Put The Days Away" and "Infinity", two tracks from the band’s debut album, "Nocturne Of Exploded Crystal Chandelier".

                                                          Hailing from Philadelphia, Sun Airway is led by songwriter Jon Barthmus, who is joined by fellow sound sculptor Patrick Marsceill. Recorded primarily in Barthmus’ basement studio over the course of 18 months, the album blends processed sounds, field recordings and timeless vocal melodies into their abstract fractured pop.

                                                          The duo expands to a full blown quintet when performing live, with projections designed for each song creating a wondrous sensory overload.

                                                          In addition to an ambitious live show, Sun Airway have been reinventing the music of others, with remixes of Delorean, Kisses, Here We Go Magic and more circulating around the internet.

                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                          Andy says: Wonky, dreamy pop that can't quite make it to the mainstream and is all the better for it.

                                                          The Good Ones

                                                          Kigali Y' Izahabu

                                                            The Good Ones is a trio of Rwandan genocide survivors who play joyous, acoustic love songs written in the ancient local Kinyarwanda street dialect of their nation's capital, Kigali.

                                                            Adrien Kazigira, Stany Hitimana and Jeanvier Havugimana recorded the songs collected on "Kigali Y’ Izahabu" over the course of one summer evening on the back porch of a friend's home. The primary obstacle to recording the group was that the musicians showed up with only one guitar for two players, and that guitar was missing two strings. Hitimana ‘played bass’ on the 4-string and a beat-up acoustic was located for the second guitarist, the sullen, primary songwriter Kazigira, who interweaves intricate harmonies with cosinger Havugimana.

                                                            In a style often referred to as ‘worker songs from the streets’, these simple, direct and plaintive love songs speak more to the healing power of peace than a thousand academic treatises or preachy goodwill ambassadors ever could.

                                                            The Tallest Man On Earth

                                                            Sometimes The Blues Is Just A Passing Bird

                                                              The Tallest Man On Earth released "The Wild Hunt" this year to widespread acclaim. The live reaction that the Tallest Man On Earth (aka songwriter Kristian Matsson) generates from his fans is a sight to behold. He has performed around the world, headlining Euro festivals and selling out prestigious club venues.

                                                              Matsson is the rarest of performers, charismatic and captivating. At many of the Tallest Man on Earth shows this year, Matsson closed his set with a new song titled ‘Like The Wheel’. It quickly became a fan favourite, with YouTube videos spreading virally, and the sets closing on a high note night after night.

                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                              Darryl says: A five track mini-album and another example of his superb widescreen late night Americana songwriting skills.

                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                              1. Little River
                                                              2. The Dreamer
                                                              3. Like The Wheel
                                                              4. Tangle This
                                                              5. Trampled Wheat
                                                              6. Thrown Right At Me

                                                              Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band

                                                              Where The Messengers Meet

                                                                While it has only been 18 months since Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band's self-titled debut, they have traveled what feels like thousands of miles. "Where The Messengers Meet" is in real time, an expansion of the sound of the band's eponymous debut. They take the same frantic and skewed elements and stretch them out, giving them room to breathe and blossom.

                                                                Thematically, "Where The Messengers Meet" is an exercise in contrasts: the delicate and gentle, the dark and furious. Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band collects powerful compositions into one cohesive whole held together with lush production and a haunting atmosphere. They are imperceptibly inching away from an angular style influenced by Modest Mouse and Wolf Parade, instead incorporating an epic sound recalling both the modern masters such as Arcade Fire, and classic pioneers, like Pink Floyd.



                                                                Phosphorescent

                                                                Here's To Taking It Easy

                                                                  Just 20 seconds into the new Phosphorescent album, you hear something so immediate, so purposeful, so damn infectious, it's clear that something special is underway. The first album of original material since 2007's "Pride" captures the band moving into a truly extraordinary place. "Here's to Taking It Easy" is the culmination of the past three years: a grand statement, the album we dreamed Phosphorescent would make.

                                                                  "Pride" was a deeply personal, haunting record that Phosphorescent's Matthew Houck recorded on his own, playing all of the instruments himself. 2009's "To Willie" (their tribute to Willie Nelson) featured Houck joined by his bandmates, rambling through the Nelson catalog with fifths of whiskey and undeniable swagger. So if "Pride" was built for 5AM and "To Willie" sounded just right as last call approached, where does "Here's To Taking It Easy" fit? This is the Phosphorescent record made for any time, any season.

                                                                  Featuring the current live incarnation of Phosphorescent (Scott Stapleton, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; Chris Marine, drums; Jesse Anderson Ainslie, guitar; Ricky Ray Jackson, pedal steel), "Here's To Taking It Easy" is the new Cosmic American Music. Recorded in the band's hometown of Brooklyn with outside mixing assistance from Stuart Sikes (White Stripes, Cat Power, Loretta Lynn, the Walkmen), this album breathes with life like nothing Phosphorescent has ever done before. "We'll Be Here Soon" and "Hej, Me I'm Light" hint at the narcotic haze of "Pride", while anthems like "The Mermaid Parade" and "It's Hard to Be Humble (When You're From Alabama)" sound perfect pumped out of the car stereo with the windows rolled down. "Heaven, Sittin' Down" recalls the country rock of "To Willie", while the stark album closer, "Los Angeles" sounds as if it was lifted from the grooves of Neil Young's On the Beach. Jam after jam, "Here's to Taking It Easy" brings everything together for Phosphorescent; a classic that could be from another era, but sounds perfect right here, right now.



                                                                  Frog Eyes

                                                                  Paul's Tomb: A Triumph

                                                                    Three years in the making, "Paul’s Tomb: A Triumph" marks Frog Eyes’ thunderous, frantic, fiery return. Carey Mercer also plays in the indie supergroup Swan Lake, alongside Dan Bejar (Destroyer) and Spencer Krug (Wolf Parade / Sunset Rubdown).
                                                                    Informed by the likes of Scott Walker, Roxy Music, ‘Nuggets’ collections and the Everly Brothers.

                                                                    The Tallest Man On Earth

                                                                    The Wild Hunt

                                                                      When fans lined up to see the sold-out Bon Iver performances at New York City's Town Hall in late 2008, few of them went with any expectations of the opening act. But the audience that night, and on every other night of Bon Iver's tour that December, were introduced to something special, something unforgettable: The Tallest Man on Earth. This was the first of several tours for the Tallest Man on Earth (aka Kristian Matsson), with obsessive crowds growing each step of the way.

                                                                      It is impossible to discuss The Tallest Man on Earth's music without acknowledging Bob Dylan. The seemingly effortlessness, the melodic sensibility and the deft lyricism all recall Dylan's early years. But when you witness the Tallest Man on Earth perform live, you are watching a man possessed. The energy pours out with every word. Full of intensity and raw emotion, he paces the stage, bringing the audience into the palm of his hand, completely lost in his songs.

                                                                      This brings us to the reason you are reading this. With unbridled excitement, we bring you The Tallest Man on Earth's second LP, "The Wild Hunt". It is all here: The words. The voice. The melodies. Ten perfect songs. "The Wild Hunt" picks up where "Shallow Grave" left off, with Matsson doing what he does best. It is unmistakably The Tallest Man on Earth, from the urgent strums of "You're Going Back" and the sweet melodies of "Love is All," to the playful lyricism of live favourite "King of Spain" and the subtle hook on "Burden of Tomorrow". "The Wild Hunt" isn't just another folk album; this is acoustic rock 'n' roll from a man with a story to tell.

                                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                      Darryl says: Ace singer/songwriter with a desolate, stripped down acoustic Americana vibe that brings to mind early Dylan.

                                                                      On "Kairos", we find White Hinterland exploring the edges of minimal pop, accomplishing a delicate but lively seduction through deep, patient bass throbs, prismatic synth textures, and direct, intimate songs sung with an empowered gravitas. Here Casey Dienel tailors the acrobatics of her former songwriting into a slender focus, folding it into deeper grooves. Beneath the baroque arrangements and intellectual lean of Dienel's previous musical efforts was a sexiness that "Kairos" exposes, showing the artist for what she is: powerful and comfortable in her own skin, with a glittery voice weaned on pop R&B. With a sound so modern, so contemporary, "Kairos" fixes White Hinterland's gaze firmly on the future.

                                                                      "Kairos" was written after Dienel and band-mate Shawn Creeden relocated to Portland, Oregon from Boston and Brooklyn, respectively. There, without regular access to a piano, the centrepiece of previous White Hinterland recordings, Dienel's writing process took on an innovative new shape. Soon she and Creeden delved excitedly into a new practice of collaboration centered around live looping, electronic and acoustic percussion, and kaleidoscopic sound, all providing a shimmery underpinning to intricate layers of Dienel's voice.  

                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                      1. Icarus
                                                                      2. Moon Jam
                                                                      3. No Logic
                                                                      4. Begin Again
                                                                      5. Bow & Arrow
                                                                      6. Amsterdam
                                                                      7. Thunderbird
                                                                      8. Cataract
                                                                      9. Huron
                                                                      10. Magnolias

                                                                      John Vanderslice

                                                                      D.I.A.L.O

                                                                        Limited edition 7” of this choice cut from John Vanderslice’s "Romanian Names" album. On "D.I.A.L.O" he takes a more electronic  direction than the average singer-songwriter while on the flip, exclusive track "Do What You Want" is a heavier more rockin number.


                                                                        Citay

                                                                        Dream Get Together

                                                                          Citay makes a joyous return on "Dream Get Together", the San Francisco cosmic wanderers' expansive third album. Many of the touchstones from Citay's previous work remain intact – flourishes of Led Zeppelin, Eno/Fripp, Thin Lizzy, Pink Floyd, Popul Vuh and ELO can be heard throughout – but a newfound swagger pushes "Dream Get Together" way over the top.

                                                                          Seldom has there been a more obvious choice for an album-opener than "Careful With That Hat", a song propelled by a deep groove and swing that practically begs the listener to stand up and air-drum wildly. The vocals soar, the lead guitars catch fire and the mammoth solo (courtesy of guitarist Josh Pollock) builds to an ecstatic explosion. This is the shot across the bow. Citay have arrived on "Dream Get Together".

                                                                          Led by songwriter Ezra Feinberg, Citay has made a career out of studio exploration, recalling a time when studio excess was the norm. Producer Tim Green, of the Fucking Champs, is no stranger to sonic indulgence, and together Feinberg and Green have woven together a musical tapestry that is both heavy and sweet. In Citay, the metal leanings of Green's band are replaced by an altogether different brand of fantasy rock. "Dream Get Together" has an embroidered and epic beauty that flies over the ocean while snuggling up to the ears. Joining Feinberg in Citay is drummer Warren Huegel, whose rhythmic sensibilities are best exemplified not only by his thunderous beats, but also his percussion decorations that lift the Citay sound from the ground up. Flanking Feinberg's acoustic six string live are the electric guitars of Sean Smith and Josh Pollock. Bassist Diego Gonzalez holds it all together throughout. Feinberg shares vocal duties on "Dream Get Together" with Tahlia Harbour and Meryl Press, whose sweet, soaring voices play the perfect foil to the bombast.



                                                                          On Fillmore

                                                                          Extended Vacation

                                                                            Both Glenn Kotche and Darin Gray are highly respected musicians in their own right, having played in countless critically acclaimed groups over the years. This is their third album but first for Dead Oceans, having previously released on Drag City. On Fillmore are the dream rhythm section that played on Jim O'Rourke's much loved "Eureka", "Halfway To A Threeway" and "Insignificance". A beguiling and wily yet beautifully melodic record, painstakingly put together over a number of years - atmospheric and spacious.

                                                                            Citay

                                                                            Remixes

                                                                              Citay's 2007 album "Little Kingdom" made reference to everything from Thin Lizzy and acoustic Led Zeppelin, to Popul Vuh and early Mike Oldfield. So, when the band started asking remixers to rework tracks from "Little Kingdom", it caused more than a little surprise. As it turns out, the world needs Citay's "Remixes". From the ambient textures of White Rainbows' "Eye On The Dollar" remix to Cornershop's Anthony Saffery adding sitar and percussion to "First Fantasy", these are anything but typical remix rave-ups. These Are Powers' Brenmar (aka Bill Salas) gives "Moonburn" a playful, skittering treatment, while Black Mountain's Steve McBeam adds his effected vocals to "Former Child", the end result sounding more like Metallica than Aphex Twin. While some remixes use the Citay originals as a foundation for embellishments, others simply take the audio as found sounds and source material. Either way, the reinterpretations of Citay's music on "Remixes" is surprising and eye-opening.

                                                                              Califone

                                                                              All My Friends Are Funeral Singers

                                                                                In an underground music landscape where 140 characters equals 'journalism' and lone MP3s propel bands to momentary internet stardom, bands are here today and gone tomorrow. Califone is a band that defies this blueprint. Their albums are full of layers and textures, offering endless depth, entire universes to lose yourself in – and beyond the thick spectrum of sound, they do something even more important: They write great songs. Califone is a band that will stand the test of time. The band is at the peak of its powers on "All My Friends Are Funeral Singers", its sixth song based album. The long-awaited follow-up to 2006's acclaimed "Roots And Crowns", the album is the strongest collection of songs in a career with no shortage of strength. The subtlety and detail of Califone's previous work is present here – the atmospheres are carefully nuanced, the percussion is both rattling and melodic, the melodies are rich and soulful, interspersed throughout softly strummed folk and electrified blues. "All My Friends Are Funeral Singers" is a dense collage of sounds, expertly formed into fully realized pop songs.

                                                                                Bishop Allen

                                                                                Grrr...

                                                                                  Bishop Allen have been compared to many classic pop artists such as Jonathan Richman and The Kinks, but with a unique voice of their own. Principle songwriters, Justin Rice and Christian Rudder, are accomplished actors with appearances in Andrew Bujalski's 'Mutual Appreciation' and 'Funny Haha'. Rice in particular is in numerous upcoming films including 'Let Them Chirp Awhile'. The whole band appear (and play) in 'Nick And Norah's Infinite Playlist' starring Michael Cera (Arrested Development, Superbad, Juno).

                                                                                  Phosphorescent

                                                                                  To Willie

                                                                                    Phosphorescent have covered eleven Willie Nelson songs, adding their personal take to each one. Matthew Houck's voice and style finds an inspiring home in these country outsider classics. Two years of solid touring with a full band shines through on this unique and truly beautiful love letter to Willie Nelson.

                                                                                    The Donkeys

                                                                                    Living On The Other Side

                                                                                      The Donkeys are best friends from southern California, with songs steeped in the music of their state – part Beach Boys, part The Byrds, part Pavement. "Living On The Other Side" is about rolling the windows down, cranking the stereo up and hitting the open road.

                                                                                      Bowerbirds

                                                                                      Hymns For A Dark Horse

                                                                                        'Only once every ten years or so does one hear a new band this good, this bursting with ideas, this audibly in love with music... It is beyond stunning' - John Darnielle, The Mountain Goats. In their early days, Bowerbirds were a duo - guitarist and principle songwriter Phil Moore and accomplished painter Beth Tacular on accordion and percussion. Before the recording of "Hymns For A Dark Horse", Mark Paulson joined the band, adding piano, violin and percussion to their musical equation. All three members share intertwined vocal harmonies, and paired with the acoustic instrumentation, have conjured a mystical, gorgeous debut. Moore and Tacular currently reside in an AirStream trailer on the outskirts of Raleigh, NC, on a quiet plot of land that is completely off the grid. This sort of organic, rural, simple way of life is reflected in their music. The songs could be written underneath a moonlit sky, joyously sung around a campfire, and performed without the use of any electric amplification. The music is pure, spiritual and perfectly unrefined, and with each song, Bowerbirds remind us that we humans are part of something larger than our culture, larger than humanity - something beautiful and sacred. Highly recommended!!!

                                                                                        White Hinterland

                                                                                        Phylactery Factory

                                                                                          At a mere 20 years of age, this is Casey Dienel's second album. With echoes of Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell, John Cage, Alice Coltrane and M. Ward throughout, Dienel understands the importance of hooks as well as invention – the melodies are distinct and clear throughout.

                                                                                          Evangelicals

                                                                                          The Evening Descends

                                                                                            Evangelicals follow up 2006's "So Gone" with their expansive yet restrained second album. According to the band, "The Evening Descends" is their 'answer to Prince's "Around The World In A Day", but from the perspective of someone crashing at Pee-Wee's Playhouse.. who happens to have a chainsaw slowly gnawing through his leg.'

                                                                                            Bishop Allen

                                                                                            The Broken String

                                                                                              2006 was a big year for Bishop Allen. The band recorded and self-released an EP every month of the year. Fifty-eight songs later, they completed one of the most ambitious recording projects in recent memory. With the EPs, Bishop Allen's pop smarts sound timeless, escaping the indie-pop idiom and revealing a language informed by the Kinks, Dylan, and the Zombies. "The Broken String" includes nine reworked tracks from the EPs along with two previously unreleased tracks. These are not just re-recordings: Bishop Allen has stepped out of the home studio and created definitive versions of songs that were originally conceived within the constraints of a monthly deadline. Benefiting from the earlier recordings and several tours, the songs' arrangements have grown, the production is lush, the lyrics are front and centre, and the band's evolution has reached a new level.


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