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Temples

Hot Motion

    It is one of the brilliant facets of recorded music that while it can frame forever in time one of humanity’s most fluid art forms, those captured sounds themselves can go on to become an active launchpad for the ideas, memories, emotions and feelings of those listening. Returning with their third album, Hot Motion, Temples have not just provided a strong demonstration of this dual static/frenetic nature, but they’ve created a record that revels in this beautiful contradiction.

    A brilliantly crafted, thoughtfully recorded collection, the album’s propulsive, seemingly immediate songs soon reveal an impressive depth of ideas and energy with subsequent listens because, as its title warns, Hot Motion is not a record that stands still.

    “I’m excited for people to experience these songs for the first time,” declares singer and guitarist James Bagshaw. “They are constructed in such a way that the album should feel relatively instantaneous, but we did not water down our creative ideas. Getting that balance can be hard, perhaps on the last record on some songs we used too many layers to create depth, but making this album we discovered that depth doesn’t simply come by layering things, it can come from the intensity of an idea.”

    While proud of 2017’s electronically orchestrated Volcano, the trio – completed by bassist Tom Walmsley and guitarist Adam Smith – feel they have reconnected with the verve and spirit of their debut, 2014’s Sun Structures, although Hot Motion proves as unique and forward-thinking as any Temples album.

    “There’s something more primal about this record,” suggests Walmsley of its energy. “We didn’t want to complicate things. We wanted it to have a more robust feel to it and focus more on guitars. Having less on there, but making everything sound as big as possible. I’ve always wanted our records to sound quite grand and larger than life, but we achieved that with some more earthy sounds in this time.”

    As with the band’s first two LPs, the group recorded the album themselves in Northamptonshire, although this side of Temples as evolved too. “We’ve gone from bedroom to living room to a dedicated space. We could all set up in the same room and allow things to play out a lot more like a band. That played a huge part in the sound of the record,” says Walmsley, although despite the extra room Hot Motion remains a home recording like its predecessors.

    "The room is a 300 year-old outbuilding at my house,” continues Bagshaw. “I spent two years fixing it up because it had a leaky iron roof on it. It was nice to work in a space which had a little charm to it but still felt like home recording.”

    That space fed directly into Temples vision. While retaining their enviably poppy instincts, the band created a host of brand new guitar sounds for this record and also took a lead from the “simplicity” of some 70s rock recordings which ensured the fundamentals behind each track are organic and original. “We were hiding less behind synth sounds and delays, which meant that the pureness of the melodic construct of each song was more thought through,” explains Bagshaw. “There was an element of less is more in some places.”

    A glorious technicolour infuses much if the album, but there is a David Lynch-like undertone that adds a gravity to Hot Motion’s soaring moments. “It felt like there was a darker edge to what we were coming up with and we wanted to make sure that carried through across the whole record,” says Walmsley. “It’s not a ten track, relentless rock record from start to finish, it’s got a lot of light and shade and more tender moments, but that heavier, darker sound for us is something we wanted to make sure was in there and explore further.”

    The exemplar of this is the opener and title track Hot Motion. Starting with a seemingly innocent, crunked ice cream van-like riff, the song quickly bounds through a sonic landscape of shadowy valleys and exalted highs as the track captures Temples at their inventive best, and shares an expansive, irresistible energy with the listener.

    “Hot Motion is the feature piece,” declares Walmsley. “It was one of the first songs we put together for the record and it felt like it had all the marks and inspiration that we wanted the whole record to have, that was an important track.” Bagshaw agrees, suggesting that it set a tone for the next phase of Temples’ development. “Hot Motion is a better song than I ever dreamed it could be,” he says. “There was something in essence of that song to conjure with.”

    From the impressive opening, the rest of Hot Motion similarly boats an initial immediacy before unfurling greater depth and ideas, although each song cascades onto its own unique territory. Tracks like The Beam, It’s All Coming Out and Step Down offer swirling, enticing mini journeys, while the groove on Context “huge and a bit of a nod to an old school hip hop vibe” according to Bagshaw. “Songs like The Howl and Holy Horses have a slightly harder, heavier than we’ve done before,” adds Walmsley. “It felt like it was very important to retain that element on the record because it allowed us to open up with tracks like Atomise.”

    Lyrically too, this record has seen Temples embrace “purer, primal” feelings.

    “I’m really proud of You’re Either On Something lyrically because I feel deeply connected with the words – they’re so truthful,” admits Bagshaw. “On that track, I can hear influences of stuff that I listened to when I was growing up. There’s almost a nostalgia to that track, even though it’s very forward-looking. Equally, while the words on [album closer] Monuments are a little cryptic, it’s very much about the time we live in. I wouldn’t say it’s a political song but you can’t help but write about the things that are happening otherwise you’d just be a hermit.”

    Fizzing with ideas, bursting with kinetic energy and balancing an immediate impact with an enduring, timeless intensity, Hot Motion is an album that very much provides a snapshot one of Britain’s most progressive bands’ soul, while offering its audience a starting point for their own flights of emotion and imagination. Indeed, one of its creators is jealous that he cannot experience it anew too.

    “This record has really got me excited,” declares Bagshaw. “I really want to be on the receiving end of it more than any other record we’ve done. While we were making it I was thinking I wanted to be able to hear what it sounded like without working on it – I’d love to hear this out of the context in which it was made. I was really longing for that as we worked on each song, so I’m excited for people to experience these songs for the first time.”

    Don’t delay this life-affirming trip, Hot Motion awaits.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    2xColoured LP Info: Limited transparent red and black marble edition.

    Indies Exclusive LP Info: Limited indies only zoetrope version. US import. Forest green & tan mixed vinyl with red & yellow splatter. Standard weight. Includes animated zoetrope labels, gatefold jacket, double-sided fold-out poster, custom inner sleeve, and digital download card.

    Temples

    Hot Motion + WRISTBAND

      PRE-ORDER THE LP OR CD FOR 1 FREE WRISTBAND FOR AN EXCLUSIVE EVENING OUTSTORE GIG AT THE SOUP KITCHEN IN MANCHESTER ON MONDAY 30TH SEPTEMBER. WE ALSO HAVE A LIMITED NUMBER OF WRISTBAND ONLY PURCHASES AVAILABLE. 

      It is one of the brilliant facets of recorded music that while it can frame forever in time one of humanity’s most fluid art forms, those captured sounds themselves can go on to become an active launchpad for the ideas, memories, emotions and feelings of those listening. Returning with their third album, Hot Motion, Temples have not just provided a strong demonstration of this dual static/frenetic nature, but they’ve created a record that revels in this beautiful contradiction. 

      A brilliantly crafted, thoughtfully recorded collection, the album’s propulsive, seemingly immediate songs soon reveal an impressive depth of ideas and energy with subsequent listens because, as its title warns, Hot Motion is not a record that stands still. 

      THIS SHOW IS STRICTLY OVER 18's - PLEASE BE AWARE THAT ID MAY BE REQUIRED AT THE VENUE.

      WRISTBANDS CAN BE COLLECTED WITH YOUR PURCHASE FROM DAY OF RELEASE. WE ADVISE SELECTING THE 'PICK UP INSTORE' OPTION AT CHECKOUT RATHER THAN RISKING POSTAGE DELAYS AS THE GIG IS VERY CLOSE TO RELEASE DATE.


      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Limited transparent red and black marble edition.

      Indies Exclusive LP Info: Limited indies only zoetrope version. US import. Forest green & tan mixed vinyl with red & yellow splatter. Standard weight. Includes animated zoetrope labels, gatefold jacket, double-sided fold-out poster, custom inner sleeve, and digital download card.

      Wristband Only Info: IMPORTANT - this gives you access to the gig on Monday 30th September ONLY. It does not entitle you to a copy of the album. Max 2 per person.

      Joseph

      Good Luck, Kid

        In the making of ‘Good Luck, Kid’ Joseph pushed beyond the dreamy folk of their debut album with ATO Records, embracing a grittier, more dynamic sound.

        The 13-song collection was produced by Christian ‘Leggy’ Langdon (Meg Myers, Charlotte OC) and the result brims with thick drums and lustrous guitars, heavy grooves and radiant melodies.

        Despite the bolder sonic palette, ‘Good Luck, Kid’ remains centred on the band’s crystalline vocal work, including the otherworldly harmonies that suggest a near-telepathic connection among sisters.

        “The through-line of the album is this idea of moving into the driver’s seat of your own life - recognizing that you’re an adult now, and everything’s up to you from this moment on,” Natalie said. “You’re not completely sure of how to get where you need to go, and you don’t have any kind of a map to help you. It’s just the universe looking down on you like, ‘Good luck, kid.’”

        “[The] blend their voices in the eerily close way that only siblings seem able to accomplish” - NPR Music. 

        “a rallying cry and a celebration of the determination and angst that has pulled us all through these toxic times” - Nylon. 

        “Upbeat, anthemic” - Brooklyn Vegan. 

        “Dark folk-pop that will make you cry (in the best, most cathartic way possible)” - Paper. 

        “an uplifting stronghold” - Paste.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        LP Info: LP format includes digital download code.

        Black Pumas

        Black Pumas

          Sometimes, a mystical, life-changing connection can be closer than you think. In 2017, Grammy Award-winning guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada had recorded some instrumentals in his Austin studio, and he started looking around for a vocalist—he knew a lot of singers, but he wanted something different. He reached out to friends in Los Angeles, in London, but nothing seemed right. Meantime, Eric Burton had recently made his way to Texas. Born in the San Fernando Valley, he grew up in church and then got heavily involved in musical theater. He started busking at the Santa Monica pier, where he brought in a few hundred dollars a day and developed his performance skills. Burton traveled through the Western states before deciding to settle down in Austin—setting up his busking spot on a downtown street corner, at 6 th Street and Congress, for maximum exposure.

          A mutual friend mentioned Burton to Quesada, saying that he was the best singer he had ever heard. The two musicians connected, but Burton took a while to respond (“My friends were like ‘Dude, you’re an idiot, you need to hit that guy back!’ “) Finally, he called Quesada, and started singing to one of the tracks over the phone. “I loved his energy, his vibe, and I knew it would be incredible on record,” he says. “From the moment I heard him on the phone, I was all about it.” The results of that inauspicious beginning can now be heard on the self-titled debut album from Black Pumas, the group that Quesada and Burton assembled, which has become one of the year’s most anticipated projects. Described as “Wu-Tang Clan meets James Brown” by KCRW, Black Pumas were the winner of Best New Band at the 2019 Austin Music Awards.

          Quesada has a storied reputation from playing in bands like Grupo Fantasma and Brownout, accompanying artists from Prince to Daniel Johnston, and producing such acclaimed projects as 2018’s Look At My Soul: The Latin Shade Of Texas Soul. For the tracks that kicked off this project, though, he had a different direction in mind. “I was looking for somebody with their own identity,” says Quesada, “who liked Neil Young as much as Sam Cooke.” Burton’s taste, range, and experience proved to be exactly what Quesada was seeking. “We just take to the same kind of music,” he says. “I listen to East Coast hip-hop, old soul music, folk music. When Adrian sent me the songs, it was like I had already heard them before. We were on the same wavelength from the get- go.”

          The first day they got together in the studio, they recorded the dusty funk that would become the Black Pumas’ first two singles, “Black Moon Rising” and “Fire.” Quesada had written the music for “Black Moon Rising” on the day of the 2017 solar eclipse, and Burton took that concept and ran with it. “Right away, the hair stood up on the back of my neck,” says Quesada. “I knew, ‘This is it—this is the guy.’ ”

          Burton sensed the potential, as well. “When I saw that Adrian played with Prince and had a Grammy,” he says, “that he was a serious, respected artist, I knew that I would do my best not to squander that. If you can do it on the street, for a long time, without making yourself crazy, you can do it with a guy who’s won a Grammy.”

          The duo also knew that they didn’t want their sound to be too retro or imitative. “We didn’t want to just do throwback soul and pretend that hip-hop never happened,” says Quesada, nothing that it was listening to Ghostface Killah that initially triggered him to start writing this material. “It had to feel sincere coming from us. I have a certain aesthetic in the studio, Eric has a voice that evokes a certain era, but I don’t think we reference that too directly.” “Adrian has had the time and the interest to really dive into a specific sound, to recreate something he heard on a Motown record,” adds Burton. “And because of that specific knowledge, he provides an interesting sandbox for me, whose background is in theater, to do something super-unorthodox—to be an art student and play with all the colors I have, but to put it on something that’s more familiar to listeners’ ears.”

          With Black Pumas having evolved from an idea to a session to an album, they decided to put a band together and see how this music sounded live. They booked a residency at C Boys (a sister venue to Austin’s famed Continental Club), initially playing every Thursday for a month. “We only rehearsed twice, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into,” says Quesada. “But with the first show, we knew it was unique, special—the chemistry and fire were there immediately. And what Eric could do as a frontman was like nothing I’d ever seen.”

          As word got out, the C Boys shows turned into a local phenomenon (“the hottest party in town,” according to the Austin American-Statesman), with lines around the block despite the fact that the band had only released one song. The reaction to the group’s recent South by Southwest appearance helps explain the mania—the Chicago Tribune called Burton’s performance “a whirlwind of movement and gesture,” while Rolling Stone, in naming Black Pumas “One Of The 30 Best Bands We Saw In Austin,” wrote that “the hometown six-piece’s grooves were funky in a thick, viscous way, oozing out in ambitious jams that wandered into heady territory without meandering” and praising Burton’s “tireless, charismatic energy.”

          The other, unexpected result of the C Boys residency was that Burton presented more of his own songs to help fill out the set, which led Black Pumas into new territory. “Eric had all these other songs based on other styles, going back into what he was doing when he was busking,” says Quesada. “It was a real spark that we could huddle around him and his songs, too, and get a real sense of what our sound was.”

          In fact, the final song recorded for Black Pumas was “October 33,” a tense, pleading ballad by Burton. “I didn’t feel like we had the right last song,” says Quesada, “we needed something with more of Eric on guitar. I said ‘I want to put down one more, do you have anything?’ and he texted me back exactly what I was imagining—it was almost unspoken.”

          Quesada and Burton both return, over and over, to this almost mystical connection they felt from the beginning. It’s this sense of common purpose, of shared vision, that gives Black Pumas its focus and power—and that points to great things ahead.

          “It’s so seamless, it’s like we’re musical brothers to some degree,” says Burton. “It feels so easy to meld together that what’s most important for us now is to continue to look for new sounds—to make sure we’re feeding ourselves the knowledge to continue to evolve. Every time we get together, it’s better than the last time.”

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Barry says: A beautiful groove-led juxtaposition of classic soul and simmering low-key funk, brimming with tenderly plucked guitars and phased Wurlis, all working their way around the momentum-filled majesty of Burton's perfectly fitting vocals. Stunning stuff.

          Dylan LeBlanc

          Renegade

            Born in Shreveport, LA with time spent in Muscle Shoals, AL, LeBlanc has released three full length albums including his most recent, 2016’s ‘Cautionary Tale’, which featured Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes) and was produced by John Paul White (The Civil Wars) and Ben Tanner (Alabama Shakes). 'Renegade' was produced by Grammy Award-winning Dave Cobb and features ten new songs. It was recorded at Cobb’s RCA Studio A in Nashville.

            A proud New Yorker, Emily King spent her first three decades living on the same Midtown block. She loved her home, her family, her friends and her life there. But last year, when she finally resolved to challenge herself by moving out of her comfort zone, positive changes started taking shape immediately. In Upstate New York, the fresh air and fresh mentality gave her the proper space and perspective to create what would become the album of her career. Its name: ‘Scenery’.

            Without a doubt, King has carved out such a space for herself. With ‘Scenery’, she has challenged herself to create new roots, both in physical form as well as sonically. “For me, ‘Scenery’ is about taking a chance and having an adventure, with themes of independence, confidence, and self-reliance throughout, and having a sense of freedom and self-worth,” she says. “I’m really proud of this record because we took time to make sure it was right. We let time pass in between creating, recording, and listening, so that my true judgment can be revealed, ego goes away, and you see it for what it is. Sometimes you have blinders on because you want it to be good so badly. When I listen to this record there are no cringe-y moments. I’m proud of the process.”

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Barry says: From sashaying, finger-clicking soul, swooning funk and low-key rhythmic R&B to longing acoustic ballads, anthemic indie-pop and snappy guitar-led minimal melodicism, Emily King pulls of every key change with absolute skill and an impeccable ear for a tune.

            FORMAT INFORMATION

            LP includes MP3 Download Code.

            “The idea for UNIFORM CLARITY came from UNIFORM DISTORTION,” says James, “an album of intentional chaos/dirt: literal and figurative distortion of lyrics and sound meant to echo and hopefully shed some light on the twisted times and distortion of the truth in which we now live. UNIFORM CLARITY is meant to illuminate the other side – raw and real, but very clear, much like in the early days of recording where all you could hear was the truth because there were no ways to manipulate recordings in the studio. Working with Shawn Everett, we created a document style recording of these songs- just vocals, guitar and the space itself- no special FX. A crystal clear illustration of the flawed beauty of what a song starts off as or sometimes remains- a thought. a seed. a light from the womb of the universe brought to life down here on earth."

            FORMAT INFORMATION

            Coloured LP Info: First pressing on white vinyl.

            Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

            Rayland Baxter

            Wide Awake

              Thoreau had Walden Pond. Kerouac had Big Sur. Rayland Baxter? He had an old rubber band factory in Franklin, Kentucky, and it suited him just fine. As one of the hardest-touring artists on the road today, Baxter’s spent most of his professional life in transit, but ever since he was a kid, he dreamed of creative seclusion someplace lonely and isolated, somewhere he could sit still and devote his every waking hour to writing without interruption or distraction. When the opportunity finally presented itself in late 2016, the Nashville native pounced.

              “I packed everything in my van and moved to Franklin for three months,” says Baxter. “It was the fist time I ever got to be alone and focus solely on songs like that. All I did was write, write, write all day every day. I was obsessed.”

              By the time Baxter emerged, he’d penned more than 50 tunes and crafted a detailed blueprint for his spectacular new album, ‘Wide Awake.’ Deftly produced by Butch Walker, the record infuses Baxter’s easygoing, soulful sound with British Invasion melodies and rock and roll swagger, marrying lean, muscular songwriting with adventurous, inventive arrangements. It’s a cutting, insightful collection, one that takes a sardonic view the violence, greed, and division that seem to define the modern American landscape. Rather than point a finger, though, the music holds up a mirror, offering a sober reflection of the times thoughtfully bundled in bright, infectious hooks. There’s no judgment here, only keen observation, and Baxter implicates himself as much as his neighbor through it all.

              “This is an album about decision making,” he explains. “It’s about being a human at the crossroads. Do I do good or do I do evil? Do I lie or do I tell the truth? Am I going to be happy or am I going to be sad? All of these questions and emotions are things I see in myself, and they’re the same things I see in everyone else no matter where I go.”

              Baxter’s built a career on capturing those sorts of timeless, deeply human sentiments, bringing colorful characters to vivid life with equal parts humor and pathos. His debut album, ‘feathers & fishhooks,’ was a critical hit praised by Interview for its “well-worn maturity,” while NPR described “Yellow Eyes,” the lead single from his 2015 follow-up, ‘Imaginary Man,’ as “close-to-perfect.” Stereogum dubbed the record “an impeccable sophomore break-out,” and Rolling Stone hailed its pairing of “whimsical narrative with often deceptively complex arrangements.” The music earned Baxter festival appearances from Bonnaroo to Newport Folk in addition to tours with an astonishing array of artists, including Jason Isbell, The Lumineers, Kacey Musgraves, The Head and The Heart, Shakey Graves, Lauryn Hill, and Grace Potter.

              “The six months leading up to the release of ‘Imaginary Man,’ that was the first time I really started playing electric guitar and performing with a band,” says Baxter. “We did my first headline run and toured that album for a year-and-a-half, and the experience really opened up this whole new sound for me. It helped me figure out more of who I was as an artist and a songwriter and a traveler and a human being.”

              It was with that newfound sense of self that Baxter entered Thunder Sound, the abandoned rubber band factory-turned-studio in the cornfields of Kentucky that would become his home for three months of intensive soul searching and songwriting.

              “I blanketed the windows so no one could see inside,” he explains. “I laid a mattress down next to an old Wurlitzer so I had somewhere to sleep. I had a guitar, a desk with a lamp and some paper and pencils, and that was it. For fifteen hours a day, I wrote.”

              When it came time to record his mountain of new songs, Baxter relocated to Santa Monica, California, where he wrangled an all-star studio band that included Dr. Dog’s Erick Slick on drums, Butch Walker on bass, Cage The Elephant’s Nick Bockrath on guitar, and piano wizard Aaron Embry (Elliott Smith, Brian Eno) on keys. A producer and artist equally at home working with massive pop stars and indie stalwarts, Walker immediately embraced Baxter’s vision for the album, and the result is a sunny and altogether charming collection. Scratch beneath the surface, though, and you’ll find it’s populated by a cast of characters who project a vision of the good life as they struggle to keep it all together behind closed doors. On the punchy ‘Casanova,’ the singer reckons with debts he knows he’ll never be able to repay, while the volatile “Amelia Baker” charts the narrator’s descent into near-madness as he pines for a starlet perpetually out of reach.

              “We have this society where we’re obsessed with celebrity and living on the top of the mountain,” says Baxter. “But what’s at the top? Maybe it’s a lonely place to wake up.”

              Late 2016 was a particular tumultuous time in the country, and though Baxter did his best to isolate himself from the outside world while he wrote, it was inevitable that some of the chaos would seep in. On album opener “Strange American Dream,” a chiming piano and spare Motown groove give way to lush harmonies and unexpected melodic twists as Baxter sings, “I close my eyes and realize that I’m alive inside this strange American dream.” Meanwhile, the soaring “79 Shiny Revolvers” finds him reflecting, “you really wanna save the world, man / well, I wanna save it, too / we can blow ’em away / the American way.”

              While ‘Wide Awake’ offers plenty of broad, wide-angle musings, some of its most arresting moments arrive bundled inside deeply personal memories and snapshots. The heartfelt “Everything To Me” is a tender tribute to family (Baxter’s father Bucky, who played pedal steel with Bob Dylan and Ryan Adams among others, contributes to the record), and the laidback “Let It All Go Man” is a reminder that there’s beauty in simply being alive.

              “I actually started that song two years ago on a trip to South America,” says Baxter. “I was sitting on the porch of a house in this little town in Colombia, and I was all alone playing a gut string classical guitar, just staring out at the ocean and the beach in the middle of the night. It made me realize how much unnecessary stuff we hold on to, all the grinding away we do chasing success and money and missing the big picture. It made me realize what an incredibly beautiful gift it is to be human.”

              That empty South American beach may have been a world away from the rubber band factory in Kentucky, but for Baxter, the effect was the same. The solitude offered a chance to observe, to reflect, to grow, to appreciate, and most importantly, to write.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Andy says: Effortlessly melodic pop craftsmanship in a Southern/ West Coast easy stylee. This is the perfect album for the summer.

              Jim James third studio album ‘Uniform Distortion’ follows on from his previous success from being frontman of My Morning Jacket.Uniform Distortion was produced by Jim James and Kevin Ratterman at Louisville, KY’s La La Land, with Ratterman also serving as recording engineer. All songs were written by James, who is backed on the album by bassist Seth Kauffman (Floating Action) and longtime touring drummer Dave Givan, with backing vocals provided throughout by Dear Lemon Trees’ Leslie Stevens, Jamie Drake and Kathleen Grace. “The name of my new record is Uniform Distortion because I feel like there is this blanket distortion on society/media and the way we gather our ‘news and important information. More and more of us are feeling lost and looking for new ways out of this distortion and back to the truth…and finding hope in places like the desert where I write this now...finding hope in the land and in the water and in old books offering new ideas and most importantly in each other and love.” says James. Uniform Distortion is James’ finest work to date filled with compassion and brimming with meaningful ideology. 

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Andy says: Jim James does things differently on his solo records and this one's no exception. Raw, playful and rocking, but still with melodies galore, which other massive alt-rock stars keep things this fresh!

              Natalie Prass had her new album written, her band ready, the recording studio booked. Then the 2016 election happened, and out of her despair and disappointment in those results came an impulse she could not ignore: she rewrote the album to reflect these swirling emotions. The result is ‘The Future and The Past’ a stunning snapshot of a musician in a state of personal rediscovery and surging femininity. The celebratory and defiant ‘The Future and The Past’ also signals a significant artistic leap for Prass on the heels of her 2015 breakthrough debut album. It finds Prass tapping into deep, dancey grooves that glisten with 80s pop and 90s R&B, nestled alongside quivering, lushly orchestrated ballads.

              Like her debut album, Prass made ‘The Future and The Past’ in Richmond, VA with long-time friend and collaborator Matthew E. White at his Spacebomb Studios. She added some new collaborations to the mix as well: Blue (Solange’s ‘A Seat At The Table,’ Blood Orange, Carly Rae Jepsen) and Michael Brauer (Elle King and James Bay). ‘Future’ is ripe with string orchestrations and piano flourishes, snaking synth lines and fuzzed out guitars.

              ‘The Future And The Past’ is bursting with a myriad of grooves and Natalie’s vocals float on top, light as a feather and tough as nails. “Short Court Style” dials the tempo into 90s R&B territory – punctuated by handclaps, sampled “woos,” and a Dr. Dre-esque whistling synth line. Lyrically she wields a sharp knife as well. The love torn “Lost” begins with: “Turn up the fader, its like a lightning bolt / we can’t be saved, so now I’m listening on my own / Once there was a time when you had me hypnotized / you realized that your finger prints were on my bones.” Funky feminist anthem “Sisters” is an empowering rallying cry: “I want to say it loud / for all the ones held down / we gotta change the plan.”

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Barry says: A brilliantly smooth set of low-key soul, funky synth-pop and swooning groove-led summer anthems. Prass' perfectly emotive vox offset the choppy funk with aplomb, accentuating the groove and leading us through her latest opus. Superb.

              FORMAT INFORMATION

              Coloured LP Info: Limited edition rust coloured vinyl.

              In The Rainbow Rain' - produced by Sheff and mixed by Shawn Everett (Perfume Genius, Alabama Shakes, The War on Drugs) - serves as showcase for Sheff's writing and the musical interplay of his new band mates, Benjamin Lazar Davis (bass), Will Graefe (guitar), Sarah Pedinotti (keys) and Cully Symington (percussion) - the same iteration of Okkervil River that joined Sheff on the Away tour. Recalls Sheff of that tour: "It was my favorite touring experience in many years... I felt like a kid again. I realized how phenomenally lucky I am that I've been able to play music for this long."

              Sheff and the band started work on the new album shortly after the end of that tour - and the presidential election. "If December 2016 was good for anything, it was good for writing songs," he says. Galvanized by the seismic events of that Fall and the following year, Sheff, sometimes co-writing with his new band, channeled his outrage and sadness into music intended to be hopeful, healing and uplifting. Inspired by the Quaker meetings he had been attending, Sheff injected the album with undercurrents of spirituality and gratitude. The result is something akin to a modern secular gospel record, and among the best music of his career.

              Highlights include driving, melodic anthems "Love Somebody" and "Pulled Up The Ribbon," and "Famous Tracheotomies," which chronicles notable figures who've endured the titular procedure, including Gary Coleman, Dylan Thomas, Ray Davies, and Sheff himself. "In places, the record deals with heavy things like trauma and betrayal and shame, but, actually, it's supposed to be a good time," says Sheff. "I hope it's something fun, that makes people feel happier

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Andy says: With hints of smooth synthpop mixed in with the usual swooning indie anthems, Sheff has managed to sacrifice none of his original appeal whilst bringing in the considerable talents of his new bandmates, somehow simmering into a cohesive and enjoyable whole.

              Jim James

              Tribute To

                Tribute To is a collection of George Harrison songs recorded by Jim after George’s death. “All I had was that eight track at our studio and right after George died I just went up there and sat in a room and played those songs to try and deal with the emotions I felt from his passing and pay tribute to him” said Jim James.

                Spin described the EP as “spare and somber – just that windy Americana tenor against a squeaky acoustic guitar … Many of us remember where we were when Harrison died; now we hear when James began to heal.”


                This re-issue includes a bonus track, a cover of "If Not For You".

                Drive-By Truckers

                It's Great To Be Alive

                  Drive-By Truckers present a live set recorded at The Fillmore in San Francisco, available in two editions.

                  In the band’s own words: “Thrilled to announce that our long awaited live album, recorded over three nights at the historic Fillmore in San Francisco CA, will be released […]! Our long-time producer, David Barbe, acquired the necessary mobile gear to record us and flew out to San Francisco to capture our three-night stand in November of 2014. We hired some horns, sold some tickets and played three special and unique shows. From those shows we have sequenced a sort of ultimate live DBT collection, one that hopefully captures the essence of our life’s work into one cohesive whole.

                  “We are releasing two versions... a shorter 13 song version called ‘This Weekend’s The Night’ which provides a Best Of version snapshot of our live show [and] also a larger 35 song box set entitled ‘It’s Great To Be Alive!’ which goes far more in-depth into the DBT catalog and history. Songs and stories spanning thirty years of Drive- By Truckers sequenced to hopefully give as close as possible document of the DBT show.”

                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  LP Box Set Info: The vinyl edition comes with six mini concert posters and a bonus copy of the album across three CDs.

                  Following the release of 2012’s ‘Women And Work’, Lucero’s new album ‘All A Man Should Do’ contains some of the most resonant lyrics Ben Nichols has ever written.

                  Working with producer Ted Hutt (Old Crow Medicine Show, Flogging Molly) for a third time at Memphis’ Ardent Studios, the band felt comfortable enough to take some chances with a palette of new tones that sound understated yet powerful, bringing life to the stories behind the lyrics without overshadowing them.

                  For the first time the band have put a cover song on a record, with a full band version of Big Star’s ‘I Fell In Love With A Girl’. The track features Jody Stephens from Big Star singing back-up vocals.

                  New album ‘We Are Undone’ is Two Gallants’ second full length release on the ATO Records label following 2012’s ‘The Bloom And The Blight’.

                  Two Gallants’ Adam Stephens (guitar, harmonica, keyboard and vocals) and Tyson Vogel (drums, guitar and vocals) spent one month recording ‘We Are Undone’ with Karl Derfler (Tom Waits) at Panoramic House in Northern California.

                  Of the title track, Stephens says “‘We Are Undone’ was, without being too blunt about it, trying to make sense of this unending pressure to acquire and consume, and usually as conspicuously as possible, that has taken a hold of our culture.”

                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  Vinyl comes with CD version of the album enclosed.

                  Drive-By Truckers release their new album ‘English Oceans’ through ATO Records.

                  ‘English Oceans’, the band’s 12th release, is an elegantly balanced and deeply engaged new effort that finds the group refreshed and firing on all cylinders. “It can go from this chainsaw rock ‘n’ roll to this very delicate, pretty-sounding stuff,” says singer and guitarist Mike Cooley.

                  ‘English Oceans’ was recorded over 13 days at Chase Park Transduction Studios in Athens, GA with the band’s longtime producer David Barbe.

                  Their fourth album proper and second for a major label, this should be the one that does it for these Louisville longhairs. It's got all their special ingredients; country, lonesome rock with a little Neil, a lot of echo and even more soul - but, with the help of John Leckie (and this time not recorded in a barn in Kentucky!) they've made a modern, otherworldly, dream-rock record that puts them in a similar arena to Mercury Rev. They tap into the very heart of the classic American music we all know and love. This one's slightly more rhythmical and with synths bubbling up, but they still ache and burn. Jim James still pines away, his voice as beautiful as ever. This is a more compact MMJ, but no worse for it. Infact, this may prove to be their most powerful album yet. Rich, as ever.


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