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DAUGHTER

Mui Zyu

Nothing Or Something To Die For

    As mui zyu, Hong Kong British artist Eva Liu searches for a portal, wandering between nothing and everything in her pursuit of peace. On her second full-length album nothing or something to die for she looks outward, embracing the chaos with each tentative step.

    mui zyu's debut album Rotten Bun for an Eggless Century saw her explore her heritage, as she dived inward to find acceptance and healing. Now, instead of searching for answers from the inside, Liu raises her head to look at the world around her. As she attempts to understand the complexities and significance of human existence, she observes apathy alongside overwhelming chaos; the technological advancements of connection with the lack of meaningful bonds and the frustrations of upholding standards set by others. nothing or something to die for tries to decipher these juxtaposing truths, holding both the weight of those trying to destroy the world with the utter futility of it all.

    Working with co-producer and fellow Dama Scout band member Luciano Rossi, the sonic world of nothing or something to die for encapsulates both the fleeting tranquility of serenity and the dissonance in chasing it. After all, our reality can change in an instant. Like the psychedelic tones of Ryuichi Sakamoto's Thousand Knives, the urgent techno-pop of Miharu Koshis Parallelisme or the eerie wanderings of Angelo Badalamenti's work for Twin Peaks, nothing or something to die for expertly toes the line between disorder and clarity.

    Lead-single “the mould,” which is inspired by moving on from the past and pushing against the grain to attain inner peace. “Missing the dread, obsessed with it,” Liu sings over a shifty instrumental, carried by blocky drum machines, sharp guitars, and woozy synthesizers.

    The track is accompanied by a psychedelically youthful video inspired by creepy ‘90s kids shows, directed by 3D artist and Dama Scout member Danny Grant. Creatively toying with VR sculpting techniques, the otherworldly visuals came to life as Grant intentionally misused the high-end VFX software Houdini. It plays into the song’s wonkiness, heightening its empowering transcendence.

    On the track, Eva Liu shares: "'the mould’ is a frosted glacial sweetie about the many meanings of mould. mould is very cool, and the right kind can give you super powers. unfortunately though, it’s less than ideal to be squeezed in to a mould that doesn’t fit snuggly. so i’m at the bottom of the rotten jelly bowl trying to work out what mould is the good kind, and what is the bad kind, and maybe realising none of it really matters at all, as long as i can get out of this steep, slippery bowl. this also marks a new approach for my writing indicative of the whole record in a kind of anti-overture-y way."

    TRACK LISTING

    Satan Marriage
    The Mould
    Everything To Die For
    Donna Like Parasites
    The Rules Of What An Earthling Can Be
    Please Be Okay (feat. Miss Grit)
    Telephone Congee I
    Speak Up, Sponge
    What’s The Password Baby Bird?
    Hopefulness, Hopefulness
    Telephone Congee Ii
    Sparky (feat. Lei, E)
    In The Dot (feat. Pickle Darling)
    Cool As A Cucumber
    Ɖ

    S. Raekwon

    Steven

      For fans of: Nick Hackim, D’angelo, Dijon. "Steven is the sound of me holding a mirror up to and critically reflecting on who I am: the good, the bad, the ugly. It's about trying to understand the multitudes within me." - S. Raekwon. Steven Raekwon Reynolds performs as S. Raekwon, but his second LP is simply called Steven. Across ten tracks of furious and subtly strumming guitars, plodding bass riffs, and whispering revelations, S. Raekwon's newest album strips back sonic and personal layers to present his most vulnerable, yet authentic self.

      Born in Buffalo and now based in the East Village of New York City, Steven wrote, produced, engineered, and mixed everything on the record, in addition to playing every instrument except the drums. He packed up a rental car with all his gear and returned to his fiancée's parents' home in Southern Illinois, where they rode out the pandemic and where he recorded half of Where I'm at Now. The house proved to be a nontraditional recording space, but one that provided plenty of physical space as well as spiritual room for experimentation.

      Steven and drummer Mario Malachi, longtime friends since their days at college in Cleveland, Ohio, spent a week in July 2023 transforming the living room into a make-shift studio, rearranging furniture, sitting face-to-face in front of a mic, and taping songs in single takes. It was a new way of working together, with no demoing or pre-production; Mario hadn't even heard the songs before getting there, which created a sense of spontaneity and improvisation. Where his debut explored his past - longing for a connection to his father and the Black side of his family and wrestling with his identity while being raised in a household by a single, white mother - Steven looks inward. Steven is loosely structured in three parts: Part 1 is fast and energetic, exploring the concepts of rage, anger, jealousy. Part 2 is slow and dynamic, with themes of ugliness, disappointment, embarrassment. Part 3 is something gentler, a moment of contentment and clarity. Steven is a portrait of strengths and weaknesses, flaws and fulfillments. 

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Steven’s Smile
      2. Old Thing
      3. Winners & Losers
      4. The Fight
      5. The Camel
      6. If There’s No God…
      7. Does The Song Still Sound The Same?
      8. It’s Nothing
      9. What Love Makes You Do
      10. Katherine’s Song 

      Daughter

      Stereo Mind Game

        Elena Tonra isn’t a keen swimmer, but oceans pervade Stereo Mind Game. It’s a matter of distance. Daughter’s third record, the band’s first studio album for seven years, grapples with what it means to be separated, from loved ones and too from yourself.

        “Oh it will likely kill me / That I must live / Without you / Because I can’t swim,” Tonra sings, whisper-like, on “Isolation”. It’s a classic Daughter song that basks elegantly in deepest despair. Yet here there’s a sense of something beyond despair too. “I’ll compose myself / I’ll get over it,” Tonra continues. On Stereo Mind Game, Daughter tend to sorrow by fixing it in time. Doing so makes it more real, like the flower – dried, pressed and remembered – on the album’s cover.

        Daughter – the trio comprising Tonra, Igor Haefeli and Remi Aguilella – formed in 2010. After releasing two studio albums, If You Leave (2013) and Not to Disappear (2016), and the video game soundtrack Music From Before the Storm (2017), they chose to take some time off. But not before jamming together in Los Angeles, in between a support tour with The National and their first headline shows in South America. It was here that a new album started to germinate.

        Over the next couple of years – during which they worked on their own projects, including Tonra’s solo record as Ex:Re – Daughter met occasionally to write together in studios in London, Portland and in San Diego, where Haefeli lived for six months in 2019. The record’s central romantic figure is someone Tonra met out there when she visited from London. They shared a significant connection, but she knew the Atlantic lay between them.

        It’s this that she sings about on “Be On Your Way”, a longing but resilient song about an enduring connection that is also undefinable. Where previous Daughter songs mourned old relationships, here Tonra is accepting of whatever the future brings. “A friend said to me recently: just because something ends, doesn’t mean that it wasn’t real,” she says. Haefeli likens the revelation to the pressed flower image: “It’s still there. It still exists. It grew that spring.”

        Daughter began recording the album’s twelve songs in earnest in 2021. Haefeli, who lives in Bristol, met with Tonra at Middle Farm Studios in Devon. Aguilella, who is based in Portland, Oregon, recorded his drum parts in Bocce Studio in Vancouver, Washington. Haefeli produced a number of the songs, while Tonra produced “Junkmail”. They co-produced the rest.

        The longing to close physical distances – a feeling that only grew during the pandemic – has seeped into many of these tracks. On “Wish I Could Cross the Sea” we hear voice notes from Tonra’s young niece and nephew, who live in Italy. “(Missed Calls)” features another voice note, in which a friend describes a dream. Fed through some modular effects, it becomes glitchy, and haunting. These messages, attempts at connection from loved ones you’re unable to see, “can pull you out of the well”, Tonra says – but only if you pick up the phone.

        When you let others in, beauty can arise. Deep feeling comes from the bows of the 12 Ensemble, the London-based string orchestra, who play on many of the album’s tracks. Arranged by Haefeli and Tonra, and orchestrated by Josephine Stephenson, their parts were – fittingly – recorded at The Pool, a space in Bermondsey, south London, which is a former swimming spot. A brass quartet also brings a new sonic warmth to “Neptune” and “To Rage”.

        And for the first time, Tonra’s is not a lone voice. On “Dandelion”, which glistens with Haefeli’s chime-like guitars and Aguilella’s rousing drums, Tonra plays call and response with herself. Haefeli leads some vocal lines on the exhilarating “Future Lover”, and on “Neptune”, a choir appears. These vocalists are the string players of the 12 Ensemble. “It’s one of my favourite moments of the record,” Tonra says, “when suddenly, the crowd joins. It’s a very lonely song. But even when I’ve felt the most alone, arms have reached out to me.”

        In order to maintain relationships with others, we must first make peace with ourselves. “Party” recounts a significant moment: the night that made Tonra realise she wanted to give up alcohol. It’s a topic she has written about before, but she needed distance to see it clearly. Haefeli borrows her image: “This time you had climbed out of the well,” he says, “and were looking back down.” It’s the song she’s most proud of, and the one that lends its lyrics to the album title (“Some stereo mind game I play with myself”), which refers to the conflicting voices we all have in our heads.

        While Daughter’s previous work found power in emotional honesty, Stereo Mind Game welcomes opposing feelings. “It’s about not working in absolutes,” Haefeli says. After more than a decade spent depicting the darkest emotions, Daughter have made their most optimistic record yet.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: Though the shoegaze influence has always been clear in Daughter's work, the previous two LP's (And Ex:Re, Tonra's solo project) have leant more towards post-rock than the decidedly more upbeat and sonically rich 'stereo Mind Game'. It's an assured and confident step in a new direction for Daughter.

        TRACK LISTING

        Intro
        Be On Your Way
        Party
        Dandelion
        Neptune
        Swim Back
        Junkmail
        Future Lover
        (Missed Calls)
        Isolation
        To Rage
        Wish I Could Cross The Sea

        Mui Zyu

        Rotten Bun For Eggless Century

          For Fans Of - Hana Vu, yeule, Tirzah, Yves Tumor, Mitski, Westerman.

          Debut full-length from Hong Kong British artist Eva Liu, co-produced with Luciano Rossi.

          Liu & Rossi are both members of the UK indie rock group, Dama Scout

          As mui zyu, Hong Kong British artist Eva Liu navigates the tricky territory of ever-changing identity, merging fantasy and folklore to create a stage for self-acceptance and deliverance.

          On her debut full-length Rotten Bun for an Eggless Century, Liu utilizes chopped-up soundscapes, delicate industrial ambience and sweet pop melodies to introduce a character a guide who can be stretched across worlds to offer the catharsis of patience, perseverance and understanding. This isn’t a character formed from a desire to escape or flee the real world, but rather a way to submerge even deeper into ourselves. Rotten Bun for an Eggless Century is a reflection of everyone, and everything, that made us who we are.

          On her 2021 a wonderful thing vomits, Liu was praised for her seamless integration of darkened, often ominous instrumentation and pillowy-soft vocals. As the front person of UK indie-rock trio Dama Scout, Liu effortlessly navigates a disorientating genre-bending sonic landscape with a playful, gentle dexterity. Now, with the help of Dama Scout bandmate Luciano Rossi as co-producer, Liu’s first solo full-length builds upon these previous worlds to form a blossoming, more upbeat patchwork of lo-fi percussion, poignant lyricism and oddly alluring arrangements.

          The writing process of Rotten Bun for an Eggless Century prompted Liu to explore more of her Hong Kong heritage, allowing a space for acceptance and celebration. “I am Chinese and I am owning it,” she explains. “Before, I would resent it. I tried doing things that would make me like less Chinese somehow.” As the album began to take shape, Liu read the traditional Chinese folklore writings of Pu Songling and joined local East and Southeast Asian groups. It opened a portal into a new self, where Liu could blend her love of video games and film scores with traditional Chinese instruments.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Rotten Bun
          2. Ghost With A Peach Skin
          3. Hotel Mini Soap
          4. Mother’s Tongue
          5. Dusty
          6. Ho Bao Daan (Interlude)
          7. Demon 01
          8. Dancing For Drinks
          9. Talk To Death
          10. Paw Paw
          11. Eggless Century
          12. Sore Bear

          Danny Red / Dougie Conscious

          Roots Time Daughter / Roots Time Dub

          All Nations Records offers another splendid roots tune produced at Conscious Sounds studio by master chief Dougie Wardrop. This is another great one drop riddim with the notable participation of some top musicians regularly working for that studio: I David on keys, Hughie Izachaar on guitar and bass and Zinxx on drums! With the addition of great lyricist Danny Red from Kingston Jamaica delivering another very relevant song warning all bad minded men to not trouble any roots daughter, this is a very fine roots tune fit for 2022.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Matt says: Heady roots and dub here, one of two absolutely crucial 7"s on All Nations Records this week. Both vocal and dub are gonna slay the dance and the bass weight on the pressing is to die for. Essential dub!

          TRACK LISTING

          Danny Red - Roots Time Daughter
          Dougie Conscious - Roots Time Dub

          Tasha

          Tell Me What You Miss The Most

            Tasha’s second album, ‘Tell Me What You Miss The Most’ mingles pockets of introspection with wide, expansive, marveling at what’s yet to come. Born and raised in Chicago, Tasha is a musician who writes songs that take loving and longing seriously. Whether dwelling in the sad thrum of an impending break up or the dizzying, heart thumping waltz of new infatuation, here is an album that traces one artist’s relationship to herself in love. Full of deep, invigorating inhales and relieved, joyful exhales, Tell Me What You Miss The Most is an exquisitely crafted breath of much needed air.

            Tell Me What You Miss the Most isn’t just a catalogue of tenderness it’s also a showcase of Tasha’s growing and formidable musician-ship. “When I made Alone at Last, I had only been writing songs for two years. I hardly even knew what kind of song writer I was. But this record feels much stronger as far as a representation of my songwriter and musicianship,” says Tasha, adding “I did feel like I was piloting it in a way that I haven’t really felt before.”
            “I was inspired by a distance I felt from myself,” says Tasha of the album, “the writing was kind of born from this desire to get back to an intimacy, or honesty, with myself.” Other inspirations include kissing, long drives in nature, her mother, and “winter and all that it allows (being alone inside, wrapped up in something warm, feeling things deeply.)” Her list of inspirations is a collection of types of touch; fleeting affectionate touch, the brush of a knit blanket, the bracing grip of feeling one’s own skin twinned in a palm. So too does the album veer in and out of touch with Tasha herself, tracing tenderness and loneliness, the paradox of feeling held and utterly abandoned at once.

            “Tasha makes wondrous, gentle soul that advocates for self-care.” – Pitchfork.

            “Genre fluid like Lianne La Havas and Jamila Woods, with decorative-but-unobtrusive guitar work and electronics, Tasha roots her songs in a conversational poetry that hits like heart pangs.” - NPR Music.

            “Her gentle, resplendent songs are a salve for those who struggle to find space to be themselves.” - Chicago Reader.


            TRACK LISTING

            Side A
            1. Bed Song 1
            2. History
            3. Perfect Wife
            4. Sorry’s Not Enough
            5. Love Interlude
            Side B
            1. Dream Still
            2. Burton Island
            3. Lake Superior
            4. Year From Now
            5. Bed Song 2

            S. Raekwon, born Steven Raekwon Reynolds on July 10, 1995, is a singer / songwriter and producer from New York City by way of Buffalo, NY. The S. Raekwon project finds Reynolds documenting traces of a life both affected and infatuated by the power of difference. Reynolds’ journey began as a biracial Black boy in working-class Buffalo. He never met his father and grew up with a white mother who loved musical theatre and playing piano. He didn’t cut his teeth via a DIY scene, or in bands with neighbors and classmates; the isolation gave him space to channel his guarded nature into a freedom forged by the noises in his head. After graduating from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Reynolds moved to the East Village in NYC, an area he’s been fascinated by since family trips as a teenager. In Spring 2018, as he worked a day job and sought connections with others, Reynolds wrote and tracked the first S. Raekwon demos in his dingy studio apartment.

            Rather than self-releasing, Reynolds shopped the demos around, leading to the release of his 2020 debut single "Parts Towards Whole" b/w "A Crow’s Smile" via Saddle Creek’s Document Series. Recorded between New York City and a six-month stint at his girlfriend’s parents’ home in Edwardsville, IL during the pandemic, "Where I’m at Now" is the album S. Raekwon made for himself with a clarity that arrived as he located his missing pieces in the world. Delicate as his approach may be, chaos truly underscored the two working years as Reynolds not only moved to lift the weight of the world off his spirit but connected with his roots. In a serendipitous turn of fate, Edwardsville was not only the same town Reynolds’ father once went to college but is also in close proximity to St. Louis where most of Reynolds’ Black family members are located. When he didn’t work on music, he protested against police violence in Missouri, and eventually reconnected with this family for the first time since his childhood. Upon leaving Edwardsville in September 2020, Reynolds quickly finished the rest of the album, charged by a new fire in his spirit and the light of his blood driving him towards a new beginning. Completely self-produced and self-recorded (save for drums on two songs,) the music’s driven by the relentlessness of the East Village and the quiet serenity of Edwardsville. The abstractions of his earlier musings transform into a warm wave of genreless coherence, drawing influences from across R&B, rock, folk, and pop to build a record that shines in its quiet spaces as much as its sweeping movements.

            ”Darling” is awash in Phil Collins-y guitar licks, angelic harmonies, a gleaming, pulsating synth line. It builds to a point that’s almost overwhelming until, in its final moments, everything drops away. Never overstaying its welcome, it’s an appealing exercise in romantic restraint.


            STAFF COMMENTS

            Barry says: S. Raekwon forms beautiful synthy melodies imbued with a psychedelic sensibility and outsider pop influence, all topped with his wonderfully effective vocals and off-piste production elements. It's a heady and exciting mixture, and one that surprises at every turn.

            TRACK LISTING

            1 Darling
            2 Do You Feel The Same?
            3 Kissing Behind Your House
            4 Anywhere 4 U
            5 It's No Thing 6 T.D.T.K.A.
            7 After The Party
            8 Forever
            9 Darling (Reprise)
            10 Don't Leave

            Tunng

            Mother’s Daughter And Other Songs - Reissue

              The first Tunng album!

              Originally released in 2005 on the magnificent Static Caravan (VAN88V), this is the first time this beloved album has been available on vinyl since 2006. Lovingly restored from the original masters, re-cut in December 2020.

              Back in 2003, Sam Genders and Mike Lindsay were introduced by a mutual friend at a gig Sam was playing. Mike had a strange studio underneath a woman’s clothes shop in Soho at the time, and after some discussion, Sam asked if he could record an EP there.

              Mike agreed, and after a while played Sam some ideas he’d been working on, fusing his vision of electronica and acoustic paganistic folk music. He then asked Sam if he’d sing on one, and then another one…and then another one. The pair began to write songs together from this point, and became totally immersed in this new album project, which would later come to be known as Mother’s Daughter and Other Songs.

              Inspiration for the name “tunng” came from electronic artists Mike was into at the time – Mum, Isan, Benge. From here, the pair sent CD-Rs to labels, and Static Caravan got back immediately, signing on a handshake deal. “Tale From Black” was released on 7” in 2004 and became a favourite of John Peel’s. The album itself came out in Jan 2005 and it was from here that Tunng was made complete. Made up of friends the pair had made in London, Tunng now included Phil Winter (electronics), Ashley Bates (nylon string guitar), Becky Jacobs (vocals / melodica) and Martin Smith (sea shells, bear’s toenails, clarinet, keys). Seventeen years, a few mini world tours, a million festivals and 7 albums later the band are still making music together.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Barry says: Well well, this long awaited gem is finally here and it honestly sounds as good as the day it came out. One of the forefathers of the 'Folktronica' movement and consistently excellent to this day, this is an absolutely essential addition to any collection. It's a definite yes from me.

              TRACK LISTING

              1. Mother’s Daughter
              2. People Folk
              3. Out The Window With The Window
              4. Beautiful And Light
              5. Tale From Black
              6. Song Of The Sea
              7. Kinky Vans
              8. Fair Doreen
              9. Code Breaker
              10. Surprise Me 44

              Anna McClellan

              I Saw First Light

                The third album from Omaha, NE-based songwriter, Anna McClellan entitled I saw first light obliquely relates a tumultuous year in the life of its composer. Moving, geographically, from the heart of New York City to a bucolic retreat upstate, and finally back to her midwestern hometown of Omaha, NE, Anna also traversed emotional states - from the restless frenzy of urban life, to the enforced, depressive rumination of the country. Her vision - one artist's reckoning with her forebears and coevals, along with her ongoing obligation to use art as a tool for connection and understanding - coalesced, upon her return to Nebraska, with the help of local friends, into the album.

                Anna McClellan began performing original songs in her hometown of Omaha, NE at the age of seventeen and has been actively recording and touring ever since. Her debut, Fire Flames, earned her an opening slot on a Frankie Cosmos tour. Through the doors that tour opened, McClellan eventually met Father/Daughter Records which led to the release of her second full-length record, Yes and No, in 2018. After a stint in NYC, several subsequent tours and meandering, Anna returned to Omaha and recorded I saw first light, her latest effort for Father/Daughter. The album was recorded over two weeks with a multitude of local cohorts, and it documents Anna’s journey from the Midwest to the east coast and back again, probing both the roots of her creative impetus and her ongoing commitment to social issues. The process of composing and recording I saw first light has both reformed and renewed her dedication to exploration, be it inward or external, and to her own boundless creative energy

                TRACK LISTING

                1. Con S Sewer
                2. Raisin
                3. Desperate
                4. Feel You
                5. To Prove
                6. Pace Of The Universe
                7. Celery, Gone 
                8. Trying Too Hard 
                9. Veronica, No Wind. 

                Anjimile

                Giver Taker

                  On Giver Taker, the gorgeous debut album by Anjimile, death and life are always entwined, wrapping around each other in a dance of reverence, reciprocity, and, ultimately, rebirth. Giver Taker is confident, intentional and introspective. Anjimile Chithambo (they/them, he/him) wrote much of the album while in treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, as well as while in the process of living more fully as a nonbinary trans person. Loss hovers over the album, whose songs grieve for lost friends (“Giver Taker”) and family members (“1978”) along with lost selves (“Maker,” “Baby No More,” “In Your Eyes.”) But here, grief yields an opening: a chance for new growth.

                  “A lot of the album was written when I was literally in the process of improving my mental health, so there’s a lot of hopefulness and wonder at the fact that I was able to survive,” says Chithambo. “Not only survive but restart my life and work towards becoming the person I was meant to be.” Each song on the album is its own micro-journey, adding up to a transformative epic cycle created in collaboration with bandmate Justine Bowe of Photocomfort and New-York based artist/producer Gabe Goodman. “1978” and “Maker” both begin as Su an Stevens-esque pastoral ballads with Chithambo’s mesmerizing voice foregrounded against minimal instrumentation and swell into the realm of the majestic through the addition of warm, steady instrumentation (informed by the mix of 80’s pop and African music Chithambo’s Malawi-born parents played around the house) and harmonies by Bowe. “In Your Eyes” starts out hushed and builds to a crescendo via a mighty chorus inspired by none other than The Lion King. The allusion is fitting: each song encapsulates a heroic voyage, walked alone until accompanied by kindred souls. The choirs present throughout are equally deliberate. Chithambo grew up as a choir boy himself, and several songs (notably “Maker”) grasp not only towards reconciliation between his trans identity and his parents’ strong religious beliefs, but towards reclaiming his trans identity as an essential part of his own spirituality. (“[Less] Judeo-Christian, more ‘Colors of the Wind.’”) There is a boldness to this borrowing and shaping, a resoluteness that results from passing through hardship and emerging brighter, steadier. As a closing refrain on “To Meet You There” might sum it up: “Catalyst light of mine / now is your time.” 

                  TRACK LISTING

                  SIDE A:
                  1. Your Tree
                  2. Baby No More
                  3. In Your Eyes
                  4. 1978
                  5. Not Another Word

                  SIDE B:
                  6. Maker
                  7. Ndimakukonda
                  8. Giver Taker
                  9. To Meet You There

                  Laura Marling

                  Song For Our Daughter

                    Laura Marling’s exquisite seventh album 'Song For Our Daughter' arrives almost without preamble or warning in the midst of uncharted global chaos, and yet instantly and tenderly offers a sense of purpose, clarity and calm. As a balm for the soul, this full-blooded new collection could be posited as Laura’s richest to date, but in truth it’s another incredibly fine record by a British artist who rarely strays from delivering incredibly fine records.

                    Taking much of the production reins herself, alongside long-time collaborators Ethan Johns and Dom Monks, Laura has layered up lush string arrangements and a broad sense of scale to these songs without losing any of the intimacy or reverence we’ve come to anticipate and almost take for granted from her throughout the past decade.

                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Barry says: Laura Marling returns once again for more of her unmistakeable plucked guitars and brittle, Americana-tinged folk progressions and tender, effecting vocal. Song For Our Daughter is as much a progression as it is a comforting hark back to the songwriting of the early years. Beautifully orchestrated and an enchanting journey throughout.

                    TRACK LISTING

                    01. Alexandra
                    02. Held Down
                    03. Strange Girl
                    04. Only The Strong
                    05. Blow By Blow
                    06. Song For Our Daughter
                    07. Fortune
                    08. The End Of The Affair
                    09. Hope We Meet Again
                    10. For You

                    Daughter Of Swords

                    Dawnbreaker

                      In 2017, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig began recording a set of songs about a breakup that had yet to happen. Her partnership had drifted into a comfortable state of indecision, stalling when it came time to make big life moves or chase new horizons. She had the sense that she needed to slip the relationship in order to pursue everything else life might have in store—more music, more adventures, a general sense of the unknown. Those feelings drifted steadily into a set of songs that lamented the inevitable loss but, more important, outlined the promise of the future. Recording the ten tracks that became her stunning solo debut, Dawnbreaker, under the new name Daughter of Swords gave Sauser-Monnig permission to go.

                      Dawnbreaker began as the first phase of Sauser-Monnig’s return to music after stepping to the sidelines for the better part of a decade. Her college trio, Mountain Man, rose to quick acclaim for their peerless harmonies around 2010, but the friends slowly drifted apart, following their own interests to different coasts and concerns. While working on a flower farm as a farmhand, though, Sauser-Monnig realized that she missed the emotional articulation she found in writing songs and singing them and resolved to start again. She pieced together an album just as Mountain Man—now newly gathered in the fertile Piedmont of North Carolina—began to regroup for its second LP, 2018’s aptly named Magic Ship. Working with Sylvan Esso’s Nick Sanborn, Sauser-Monnig shaped what began as quiet reflections into confident compositions, crackling with country swagger and a sparkling pop warmth. They were, after all, preemptive odes to the next phase of life.

                      Calling the ten tunes of Dawnbreaker breakup songs is to hamstring them with elegiac expectations, to paint them as sad-eyed surrenders to loss and grief. Sure, there is the gentle opener “Fellows,” a hushed number that explores the turmoil of being unable to reciprocate the feelings of a wild and shy, tall and fine man. And there’s the blossoming country shuffle of “Easy Is Hard,” where Sauser-Monnig stands in the yard and sees her lover leave, his taillights fading into the night sky; she can’t sleep, so she gets up to turn the lights and stereo on, to “feel my soul coming down.”  Even there, amid the throes of a life convulsion, there is a wisp of hope and possibility, framed by the way “the dim light change[s] into dawn, rosy blue, pink  fawn.” The very heart of Dawnbreaker is not the impending breakup that inspired many of its songs but the sense of liberation and breaking out that the breakup inspired.

                      Buoyed by the insistent patter of a drum machine and rich acoustic guitars,
                      Sauser-Monnig finds herself in search of new thrills during “Gem,” whether pondering the fleeting nature of existence at a waterfall’s edge or watching the shapes of mountains seemingly dance beneath her headlights. The muted, harmonica-lined boogie of “Sun” begins with a vulnerable confession, a revelation of loneliness; it is, however, a low-key anthem for the open road, about giving oneself over to the infinity of solitude and an endless strip of asphalt. Sauser-Monnig captures these scenes with a painter’s eye and delivers them with a novelist’s heart.

                      There’s no better testament than “Shining Woman,” where Sauser-Monnig portrays a ropy woman navigating her “steel steed” up and down the bends and passes of California’s fabled Highway 1. She openly marvels at that spirit and strength, wishing that for her own life. With Dawnbreaker, she has found it in some measure—the joy of something new, the excitement of risk. Though Sauser-Monnig nearly recorded these songs as barebones folk ballads, she reimagined them with Sanborn and a top-tier crew of North Carolina friends, like fellow Mountain Man singers Amelia Meath and Molly Sarlé, bandleader Phil Cook, and guitarist Ryan Gustafson. These vivid settings highlight the emotional contours of these songs, revealing the complexity that comes with knowing that, in order to live, you sometimes have to let something as strong as love go.

                      At the start of “Human,” the undeniable climax of Dawnbreaker, Sauser-Monnig wakes up early and finds her lover in bed. She slips out of the room, watches the sun rise alone, and has herself a long think amid nature’s frozen splendor. What does it mean to leave? What does it mean to stay? Is she wrong, and is he right? As the piano rises and her voice multiplies, coming in now from all sides, she admits something crucial to herself: “You can’t will a love to life/But you can do the loving thing: Make like a bird and fly.” It is a moment of reckoning with one’s own liberation, of realizing that sometimes a profound loss is the only way to gain something else. That is the lesson of Dawnbreaker, an intimate document of what it means to set oneself free.


                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      Barry says: Gorgeous, softly-sung vocals, tenderly plucked guitar and understated percussive drive (is that a CR-78 I hear?), all working together to make Sauser-Monnig's gorgeous artistic vision a reality. Perfect hazy summer songs.

                      TRACK LISTING

                      1 Fellows
                      2 Gem
                      3 Fields
                      4 Shining Woman
                      5 Grasses
                      6 Easy
                      7 Rising Sun
                      8 Long Leaf Pine
                      9 Human
                      10 Dawnbreaker

                      Fidelity Kastrow

                      Daughter Of Darkness EP

                        Darkly melancholic, driving and highly original, the tracks from "Daughter Of Darkness EP" have been tested, tweaked and perfected at Sisyphos’ cavernous main room Hammahalle, where Fidelity Kastrow spins monthly as one of the Berlin club’s leading residents. Tracks "Daughter Of Darkness" and "The Huntress" are intuitively inspired by the Sunday daytime vibe from the Berlin club scene, whereas ‘Wolf Clan’ builds and raises energy, written from the perspective of being behind the decks as the DJ. For fans of ANNA, Charlotte de Witte, Marcel Dettmann, Ben Klock, Adam Beyer, Chris Liebing, Nina Kraviz etc.

                        TRACK LISTING

                        Daughter Of Darkness
                        The Huntress
                        Wolf Clan

                        First impressions matter. Especially on a debut album. Time and attention-strapped listeners size up an artist within a song or two, then move on or delve in further. Fortunately, it only takes Margo Price about twenty-eight seconds to convince you that you’re hearing the arrival of a singular new talent. “Hands of Time,” the opener on Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, is an invitation, a mission statement and a starkly poetic summary of the 32-year old singer’s life, all in one knockout, self-penned punch. Easing in over a groove of sidestick, bass and atmospheric guitar, Price sings, “When I rolled out of town on the unpaved road, I was fifty-seven dollars from bein’ broke . . .” It has the feel of the first line of a great novel or opening scene in a classic film. There’s an expectancy, a brewing excitement. And as the song builds, strings rising around her, Price recalls hardships and heartaches – the loss of her family’s farm, the death of her child, problems with men and the bottle. There is no self-pity or over-emoting. Her voice has that alluring mix of vulnerability and resilience that was once the province of Loretta and Dolly. It is a tour-de-force performance that is vivid, deeply moving and all true.

                        From the honky tonk comeuppance of “About To Find Out,” to the rockabilly-charged “This Town Gets Around” to the weekend twang of “Hurtin’ (On The Bottle)”, Price adds fresh twists to classic Nashville country, with a sound that could’ve made hits in any decade. Meanwhile, the hard-hitting blues grooves of “Four Years of Chances” and “Tennessee Song” push the boundaries further west to Memphis (the album was recorded at the legendary Sun Studio).



                        STAFF COMMENTS

                        Barry says: Margo price's vocals soar above rich and satisfying slide guitars and plucked acoustic, lifting strings and solid bass guitar. Emotive and reflective, but beautifully reminiscent of classic country acts (Parton, Cline etc.) but brought up to date with a production sheen and melodic originality. Country has never steered away from stereotypes of locale and thematic continuity and this is no exception. A stunning example of the modern Nashville sound.

                        TRACK LISTING

                        1. Hands Of Time
                        2. About To Find Out
                        3. Tennessee Song
                        4. Since You Put Me Down
                        5. Four Years Of Chances
                        6. This Town Gets Around
                        7. How The Mighty Have Fallen
                        8. Weekender
                        9. Hurtin? (On The Bottle)
                        10. World?s Greatest Loser

                        Nearly three years after the release of their debut 'If You Leave', Daughter – the London-based trio of Elena Tonra, Igor Haefeli and Remi Aguilella – will return in 2016 with a new album, entitled 'Not To Disappear'.

                        'Not To Disappear' is Daughter’s second album and finds the band making confident strides forward both sonically and lyrically. Elena, Igor and Remi spent a summer in New York recording 'Not To Disappear' with Nicolas Vernhes (Deerhunter, War On Drugs, Animal Collective) at his Rare Book Room studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

                        STAFF COMMENTS

                        Millie says: An amazing album by the very talented Daughter, it’s expressive and emotional throughout. More progressive and experimental from their previous album, ‘Not to Disappear’ is filled with devotion. Absorbing and beautiful, I would recommend it to anyone.

                        TRACK LISTING

                        1. New Ways
                        2. Numbers
                        3. Doing The Right Thing
                        4. How
                        5. Mothers
                        6. Alone / With You
                        7. No Care
                        8. To Belong
                        9. Fossa
                        10. Made Of Stone

                        Vertical Scratchers is John Schmersal (ex-Brainiac/Enon, live Caribou, and Crooks on Tape) and Christian Beaulieu (ex-Triclops!/Anywhere). Their debut album is 'Daughter of Everything'. Simplicity was the inspiration: get in the van, rehearse in the van, tour in the van, stay mobile. “I have played in a lot of bands with complicated set-ups and implemented technologies,” says John. “I also do a lot of recording and editing on computers, so part of the desire for simplicity was about wanting things to be as organic and in real time as possible.” This impulse to keep things moving is reflected in the songs themselves. Most Vertical Scratchers songs clock in under the two-minute mark but often go in twice as many directions as your average-length song. Pop deception. Think the Kinks with a Buzzcocks brevity. Daughter of Everything was recorded live in Los Angeles at The Smell in September of 2012. The special guest appearance lead vocal from Robert Pollard was recorded at Waterloo Sound in Ohio by Todd Tobias.

                        TRACK LISTING

                        1. Wait No Longer
                        2. Turn Me Out
                        3. Memory Shards
                        4. Pretend U Are Free
                        5. Way Out
                        6. Chambermaids
                        7. U Dug Us All
                        8. Kingdom Come
                        9. Someone
                        10. Run Around
                        11. These Plains
                        12. Get Along Like U
                        13. My Only Want
                        14. Rainbows
                        15. The End

                        Body Parts mobilizes a singularly elegant experimental pop idiom to explore the contours of modern devotion and doctrines of self-improvement alongside the immoderate reverberations of remembrance. Fire Dream delivers a delightful mix of brightly ominous and sensitively textured, biomechanical dance tracks and more earthly, emotive ballads. Trying to resist the tidal pull of Fire Dream's peculiarly beautiful world would be like trying to beat fate. Weaving together influences as varied as the rationalist prescriptions of the self-made seeker-healer- Scientology mastermind L. Ron Hubbard, the sensual guitar-scapes of Prince, and the haunting vocals and surrealist melodrama of Kate Bush, Ryder Bach and Alina Cutrono form the group’s core.

                        TRACK LISTING

                        1. Desperation
                        2. Past Is Coming
                        3. Be A God
                        4. Interlude A
                        5. Unavoidable Things
                        6. Helpless Child
                        7. People
                        8. Interlude B
                        9. You Inside My Head
                        10. Reprise, Prelude
                        11. Wash Over Me

                        Daughter

                        If You Leave

                        Daughter are a London-based trio consisting of Elena Tonra (vocals, guitar), Igor Haefeli (guitar) and Remi Aguilella (percussion).

                        Daughter started life in 2010 as an outlet for Elena’s musings. After recording a ‘Demos’ EP, Elena joined forces with Igor, then fellow classmates studying music at college. A four-track EP, ‘His Young Heart’, was self released in April 2011, and with Remi completing the line up soon after, The ‘Wild Youth’ EP was released in late 2011. On the strength of these releases alone they have gained a loyal fanbase which continues to grow as public and media alike discover their charms.

                        ‘If You Leave’ is Daughter’s debut album. Recorded over a period of months at home and in various spaces around London, it was produced by Igor with additional production from Rodhaidh McDonald (The xx, Adele) and Jolyon Vaughan Thomas, and mixed by Ken Thomas (Sigur Ros, M83) at High Bank Studios.

                        Less of a statement of intent, these songs are more a snapshot of a year in Daughter’s short life. Lyrically, Elena plumbs the depths of her psyche to reveal her innermost thoughts, finding catharsis in expounding those internal demons. There may be little light relief here, but the personal themes have universal appeal; tales of doubt, insecurity, fear, anger and loneliness all take centre stage.

                        Musically, Daughter balance an intricate interplay between vocal, guitar and rhythm section. Elena’s vocals are fractured, often delivering savage words with a smoke-tinged whisper. Igor wrestles his guitar to build up a stark and brutal landscape, colliding with Elena’s more structured rhythm guitar. All are punctuated by the jolts of Remi’s minimalist drums.

                        ‘If You Leave’ is a bold first move for an act still in its infancy, and yet the songwriting displays a maturity that belies their youth. Darkness may prevail on ‘If You Leave’, but the future looks extremely bright for Elena, Igor and Remi.

                        TRACK LISTING

                        Winter
                        Smother
                        Youth
                        Still
                        Lifeforms
                        Tomorrow
                        Human
                        Touch
                        Amsterdam
                        Shallows

                        Adam Ant

                        Adam Ant Is The BlueBlack Hussar In Marrying The Gunner's Daughter

                          Pop icon Adam Ant is making his eagerly-awaited comeback with his first album and single in 17 years, a world tour and a film. The national treasure, who rose to fame as lead singer of post-punk group Adam and the Ants in the early 80s, before embarking on a hit solo career, earned ten UK top ten hits - including three number ones - and became a figurehead for the New Romantic movement in the UK.

                          Ant is one of the few British artists to replicate his success on the other side of the Atlantic, with a string of best-selling albums and an ever-swelling fan base in America, where he was nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy and enjoyed three top 20 hits on the Billboard Top 100. ?Antmania? swept the nation, with Stand and Deliver hitting the number one spot for five weeks and winning Ant an Ivor Novello; album Kings of the Wild Frontier earning him a Best British Album BRIT Award; Prince Charming rocketing straight to number one and a further 12 singles making the top 30.

                          After overcoming a well-documented battle with depression and bi-polar disorder, the London legend has finally bounced back with the eagerly-awaited album - Adam Ant is The Blueblack Hussar In Marrying The Gunner?s Daughter.


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