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DEAD OCEANS

Charlie Hickey

Count The Stairs

    Born in 1999, Charlie Hickey grew up in South Pasadena, just minutes from Downtown Los Angeles. Raised by two singer-songwriter parents, Charlie’s second language was music since day one. As early as grade school, he was making sense of the world through songwriting, and by middle school he was writing, recording and performing songs that attracted a community of collaborators and could silence a room.

    A turning point for Charlie came at around the age of thirteen, when he covered a song by then up-and-coming artist Phoebe Bridgers, who was still in high school herself. The two quickly became friends and collaborators, setting Charlie on an exciting new musical path. Years later, Bridgers introduced Charlie to songwriter, drummer, producer and her bandmate Marshall Vore, who noticed something special about Charlie. The two began writing and recording songs together, and soon Charlie dropped out of school to work on his music full-time.

    Charlie Hickey’s first proper single is “No Good At Lying.” The Marshall Voreproduced track introduces us to Charlie’s evocative storytelling and features Phoebe Bridgers on backing vocals. “I’m no good at lying / on my back or through my teeth / but I’m good at dreaming / I can do it in my sleep,” he sings over hushed guitars and a whimsical banjo, searching for truth as his unconscious mind runs wild and bleeds into reality. It’s a slow, quiet, and understated peek to the world of Charlie Hickey, who is barely of legal drinking age, but taps into such universal themes that showcase a wisdom beyond his years and exudes promise for what’s to come

    TRACK LISTING

    SIDE A:
    1. No Good At Lying
    2. Count The Stairs
    3. Two Haunted Houses

    SIDE B:
    4. Seeing Things
    5. Ten Feet Tall
    6. Notre Dame

    Sloppy Jane

    Madison

      “A big part of the project and why I did it,” says Sloppy Jane’s Haley Dahl of her Saddest Factory debut Madison, “Was because it felt similar to being a little kid and buying an outfit that was too big that I’d have to grow into. I really valued from the start that making Madison gave me someone I had to become.” The record, which Dahl first conceived of back in late 2017, is a grand gesture, a statement about big love, and about growing into yourself in the process.

      Dahl and her 21 bandmates recorded all of Madison at the Lost World Caverns in West Virginia from 3pm to 8:30am each day over the course of two weeks (they also made four music videos on location during this time). To access the space, they’d enter through the back of a gift shop, down a long tunnel where they’d walk down 200 feet of stairs to reach the entrance. Dahl and her bandmates did this steep walk with a piano. The ceiling of Lost World Caverns is massively high and is a perfect dome. The inside was also 98 percent humidity, leading to both stellar sound and also problems with tuning and gear.

      Engineer Ryan Howe sat in his parents Subaru above the cave with his mixing board and computer, and threaded cables down 90 feet through a hole in the ground to the ceiling of the cave. It’s the first time someone has ever recorded an entire album in a cave, and the results are pretty sonically stunning. That alone is a marvelous thing. Madison is an astounding, glorious record of melodrama of the highest order

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Overture
      2. Party Anthem
      3. Jesus And Your Living Room Floor
      4. Judy’s Bedroom
      5. Bianca Castafiore
      6. Lullaby Formica
      7. Madison
      8. Wilt
      9. Wonderama
      10. The Constable
      11. Epilogue

      Khruangbin

      Mordechai Remixes

        The art of the remix has been around for several decades, from the fervid imaginations of JA pioneers like Coxsone Dodd, Duke Reid or King Tubby to the disco enthusiasts of New York, such as Tom Moulton, who bequeathed us the modern iteration of the remix and provided a template from which most remixers still work.

        Moulton’s first commercial remix, a reworking of BT Express’ appropriately-named ‘Do It ’Till You’re Satisfied’, which stretched it from three minutes to a luxurious five, assisted the band in securing its first Billboard R&B Number One, as well as providing a pathway for remixers like Walter Gibbons, Larry Levan, Richie Rivera and Tee Scott, to completely reinvent the concept of a remix (and in some instances, deconstructing the idea of what comprised a song). It has subsequently been used as a marketing tool, a dancefloor-devastator, a gimmick (both cheap and expensive) or even as a way of reaching a different audience (think Tori Amos’ ‘Professional Widow’).

        Khruangbin are no slouches when it comes to the remix themselves. They’ve been reworked before, in 2016, with the highly collectible EP on Boogiefuturo. But this time, they’re taking it a step further with an album dedicated to the art. Entering the tight-knit world of a Khruangbin song can be a little daunting. They have created this entire universe in which the trio seem to function telepathically in the way the music is composed, arranged and played. To mess with their delicate eco-system can invoke feelings similar to that of an unwanted guest crashing a good-time party. “We write our music to be interpreted; this is another wonderful interpretation of the music,” reassure Khruangbin. “There is something very vulnerable about letting others work on your music. But through the correspondence with the different artists, we gained a bigger connection to the songs themselves.”

        The choice of remixers for this album is neither arbitrary nor accidental. They’re not names picked randomly out of a hat or chosen via a throw of the dice. All have some connection to the band, sometimes personal friendships, musical connections, or simply mutual musical appreciation. Harvey Sutherland and Ginger Roots have both toured with the band, Kadhja Bonet and Ron Trent had their own mutual fan club going on, Knxwledge sampled ‘White Gloves’ on a recent mixtape, Natasha Diggs and Soul Clap’s Eli’s are recent buddy-ups, Quantic is a mutual friend of Bonobo (crucial in the KB origin story), while I’ve known Laura for number of years; plus she is also godmother to one of Felix Dickinson’s kids. Doesn’t get much more intimate than that, right?

        Some of these remixes were specifically made so you can dance your ass off while getting down to the Khruangbin sound, while some might better be appreciated horizontally with headphones on, wearing fashionably loose clothes. The choice is yours. But all were made with love and respect for Khruangbin. “A good remix deconstructs, recontextualizes, or simply extends a good time,” say the band. Amen and out.

        Bill Brewster

        TRACK LISTING

        SIDE A: 
        1. Father Bird, Mother Bird (Sunbirds)
        2. Connaissais De Face (Tiger?)
        3. Dearest Alfred (MyJoy)
        4. First Class (Soul In The Horn Remix)
        SIDE B:
        5. If There Is No Question (Soul
        Clap’s Wild, But Not Crazy Mix)
        6. Pelota (Cut A Rug Mix)
        SIDE C:
        7. Time (You And I)(Put A Smile On DJ’s Face Mix)
        8. Shida (Bella’s Suite)
         SIDE D:
        9. So We Won’t Forget (Mang Dynasty Version)
        10. One To Remember (Forget Me Nots Dub)

        Slowdive

        Slowdive - Love Record Stores 2021 Edition

          Love Record Stores Edition available instore from 10am on Saturday September 4th, any remaining copies will be available on online from 9pm on the same day.
          Limited to one per person.


          Kevin Morby

          A Night At The Little Los Angeles (4-Track Version Of Sundowner)

            Friends! I am so pleased to announce A Night At The Little Los Angeles - the 4-track version of Sundowner. Recorded at home and in my back shed - aka The Little Los Angeles - in suburban Kansas during the summer and winter seasons of 2017 and 2018. This is quite simply the sound of me alone in a room with a four-track to catch my songs as they fell out of my mouth. When I later went into a proper studio to make Sundowner my goal was to capture the essence of these initial recordings, and here you will now have access to the very essence I was chasing. In many ways, this feels like a proper album to me, as it’s my initial attempt to capture the Kansas sunset and put it into sound, where as Sundower was an attempt of an attempt. I love and am proud of them both, of course, but am happy to - for the first time - share this vulnerable side of my songwriting process with the public. Many of my favorite recordings have been made inside of an artist’s home without regard of the outside world, but instead deep in their own world that they’re creating in real time. And with that - I’d like to invite you into my own little world here and now and ask you to please....step inside of....and spend A Night At The Little Los Angeles! - Kevin Morby ****** Sundowner is Morby’s “attempt to put the Middle American twilight -- its beauty profound, though not always immediate -- into sound.” Released in fall 2020 on Dead Oceans, Morby’s distinctively conversational and reflective writing style was received with open arms and was beloved by fans and critics alike. Pitchfork lauded it as “a vision of the Midwest that feels mythical and enormous.” Sundowner’s vision was further fleshed out in comprehensive features in Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, Stereogum, The FADER, Vice, Aquarium Drunkard, and more. In addition to traditional music publications, Morby appeared on Adult Swim’s Fishcenter and Office Hours with Tim Heidecker. Morby also made his network television debut on CBS This Morning, where he performed the songs “Campfire” and “Sundowner” as part of a special joint performance with his partner and fellow songwriter Katie Crutchfield, aka Waxahatchee.

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Campfire (4-Track Version)
            2. Sundowner (4-Track Version)
            3. A Night At The Little Los Angeles (4-Track Version)
            4. Wander (4-Track Version)
            5. Velvet Highway (4-Track Version)
            6. Valley (4-Track Version)
            7. Brother, Sister (4-Track Version)
            8. Don’t Underestimate Midwest American Sun (4-Track Version)
            9. Provisions (4-Track Version)
            10. U.S. Mail (4-Track Version)

            Shame

            Songs Of Praise - Love Record Stores 2021 Edition

              Love Record Stores Edition available online from 9pm on Saturday September 4th.
              Limited to one per person.


              Devendra Banhart & Noah Georgeson

              Refuge

                Last spring, Devendra Banhart and Noah Georgeson started to make a record that was like nothing they had made before — an ambient album that would be both a haven from a suddenly terrified world and a heartfelt musical dialogue between two artists who have been friends and collaborators for over two decades. Refuge is an album of profound meditative beauty which offers the listener a much-needed sense of peace and renewal. But while it was recorded in 2020 its roots go back much further — all the way to the start of their friendship and, beyond that, to the shared sounds and ethics of their childhoods.

                Devendra grew up in Venezuela while Noah, six years older, is a native of Nevada City, California. But as they got to know each other, they realised that they had a similar history in the New Age subculture of the 1980s: a world of meditation, Eastern music, the Bhagavad Gita and The Whole Earth Catalog. Childhood memories were coloured by the aromas of health food stores and the sound of New Age labels like Windham Hill Records. Noah, whose production and mixing credits include Joanna Newsom and the Strokes, came on board as co-producer of Devendra’s 2005 album Cripple Crow and they have been working together ever since.

                It was while making Devendra’s 2019 album Ma that the pair finally decided to make their ambient record. Despite complicating logistics, 2020 created an emotional craving for music with this contemplative, therapeutic quality. Inspired by both memories of the past and the needs of the present, Refuge is an act of companionship and generosity which gives the listener room to breathe. “We’re hoping to create a sense of comfort and coming back to the moment,” Devendra says. “It’s really important to have a little bit of space between us and our anxieties and impulses. What you do with that space is up to you.” Dorian Lynskey May 2021

                TRACK LISTING

                SIDE A: 
                1. Book Of Bringhi
                2. A Cat
                3. Rise From Your Wave
                4. Peloponnese Lament

                SIDE B:
                5. In A Cistern
                6. Into Clouds
                7. For Em

                SIDE C: 
                8. Three Gates
                9. Horn In Deep Night
                10. Sky Burial

                SIDE D:
                11. Asura Cave
                12. Aran In Repose
                13. Lament Return

                Khruangbin

                Barn Breaks Vol. III

                  ‘Barn Breaks vol III’, presented by Owlvaro & Hugu, is the latest installment of oddball samples and loops from your favorite globe-trotting Texan trio, and is perfect for any portablist scratch jam or 7” DJ set... The latest in the series, this skipless 7” contains scratch samples from “Mordechai” - band hits, isolated basslines & vocals, guitar notes, keyboard stabs and drum loops - as well as custom “ahhhh” & “fressshh” sounds.

                  It’s funny cos we was just talking about scratch records and DJ tools the other day in the shop and how maybe they’ve kinda been superceded by Serato and digital DJing as it’s now much easier to line up a load of samples onto your USBs or Serato playlist and scratch till your hearts content… HOWEVER!!!! – you can’t beat that tangible feeling of black wax moving to and fro underneath your skillfully poised fingers and its nice to see hip, cool, tastemaking band Khruangbin reignite the fires of this particular format & style! 


                  Durand Jones & The Indications

                  Private Space

                    Private Space, the group’s third album, is a previously untapped vibe at the heart of The Indications. Pushing beyond the boundaries of the funk and soul on their previous releases, Private Space unlocks the door to a wider range of sounds and launches boldly into a world of synthy modern soul and disco beats dotted with strings. It’s an organic, timeless record that’s as fresh as clean kicks and familiar as your favorite well-worn LP.

                    Developed after being apart for much of the year, Private Space is creatively explosive and delights in upending expectations. Its 10 tracks are both an escapist fantasy and a much-needed recentering after a tumultuous 2020. Throughout, The Indications highlight a collective resiliency – as well as the power of a good song to be a light in the darkness.

                    Durand Jones and The Indications have long provided the soulful soundtrack for such deep thoughts, both on stage and on your turntable. But as the world slowly resets from the chaos of the past year, Durand Jones and The Indications’ Private Space is arriving at just the right time.

                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Barry says: It was always a brilliantly inventive maelstrom of sound emanating from a Durand Jones release, bridging the (admittedly small) gap between funk and soul, but this time sees them broaden their horizons into a wonderfully realised and perfectly weighted groove-laiden disco masterpiece. A stunning and completely essential outing.

                    TRACK LISTING

                    SIDE A:
                    1. Love Will Work It Out
                    2. Witchoo
                    3. Private Space
                    4. More Than Ever
                    5. Ride Or Die

                    SIDE B:
                    6. The Way That I Do
                    7. Reach Out
                    8. Sexy Thang
                    9. Sea Of Love
                    10. I Can See

                    Japanese Breakfast

                    Jubilee

                      From the moment she began writing her new album, Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner knew that she wanted to call it Jubilee. After all, a jubilee is a celebration of the passage of time—a festival to usher in the hope of a new era in brilliant technicolor. Zauner’s first two albums garnered acclaim for the way they grappled with anguish; Psychopomp was written as her mother underwent cancer treatment, while Soft Sounds From Another Planet took the grief she held from her mother‘s death and used it as a conduit to explore the cosmos. Now, at the start of a new decade, Japanese Breakfast is ready to fight for happiness, an all-too-scarce resource in our seemingly crumbling world.

                      Jubilee finds Michelle Zauner embracing ambition and, with it, her boldest ideas and songs yet. Inspired by records like Bjork’s Homogenic, Zauner delivers bigness throughout -- big ideas, big textures, colors, sounds and feelings. At a time when virtually everything feels extreme, Jubilee sets its sights on maximal joy, imagination, and exhilaration.

                      It is, in Michelle Zauner’s words, “a record about fighting to feel. I wanted to re-experience the pure, unadulterated joy of creation…The songs are about recalling the optimism of youth and applying it to adulthood. They’re about making difficult choices, fighting ignominious impulses and honoring commitments, confronting the constant struggle we have with ourselves to be better people.”

                      Throughout Jubilee, Zauner pours her own life into the universe of each song to tell real stories, and allowing those universes, in turn, to fill in the details. Joy, change, evolution—these things take real time, and real effort. And Japanese Breakfast is here for it.

                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      Barry says: Japanese Breakfast has an uncanny knack to sit right at the intersection of so many genres, while simultaneously defying them all. 'Jubilee' comes across as a celebration, taking the tried and tested sounds of synthpop and soul and fusing them with a wealth of influence from all over the musical spectrum, resulting in a gloriously well produced and uncannily uplifting end product.

                      TRACK LISTING

                      1. Paprika
                      2. Be Sweet
                      3. Kokomo, IN
                      4. Slide Tackle
                      5. Posing In Bondage
                      6. Sit
                      7. Savage Good Boy
                      8. In Hell
                      9. Tactics
                      10. Posing For Cars


                      Phoebe Bridgers

                      Copycat Killer

                        Copycat Killer is a 12” featuring 4 exclusive new versions of songs from Phoebe Bridgers’ wildly acclaimed Punisher album. Collaborating with arranger Rob Moose (Sufjan Stevens, The National, Bon Iver, Vampire Weekend, Jay-Z), these are brand new orchestral arrangements of the songs Kyoto, Savior Complex, Chinese Satellite and Punisher, all given a luscious revamp that is sure to delight any fans of Phoebe’s album and serve as perfect gateway for new listeners into what makes her one of the most special artists of 2020 and beyond.

                        TRACK LISTING

                        SIDE A:
                        1. Kyoto (Copycat Killer Version)
                        2. Savior Complex (Copycat Killer Version)
                        SIDE B:
                        3. Chinese Satellite (Copycat Killer Version)
                        4. Punisher (Copycat Killer Version)

                        Routine

                        And Other Things

                          When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S., Chastity Belt’s Annie Truscott descended into a state of mourning. Her plan had been to join her partner, Jay Som’s Melina Duterte, as violinist on tour, a privilege rarely afforded since both maintain busy road schedules, and for Truscott, the prospect of spending most of the year in a van wasn’t met with exhaustion so much as exhilaration. At long last, she’d be making a living playing music, no side hustle needed. The cancellation of the tour represented a sidelined dream. Routine was born of this disappointment. Like the phoenix rising from the ashes, Truscott and Duterte’s collaborative project offers a glimpse of the creative possibilities that can emerge from a state of defeat. Written and recorded over the course of a month in Joshua Tree, Routine’s lush debut EP And Other Things finds the couple trying on new roles. Truscott, who plays bass in Chastity Belt, wrote the bulk of the material and sings on the EP, while Duterte, normally a band leader, used the project as an opportunity to, in her words, “Take the backseat,” as accompanist, producer, and engineer.

                          Duterte describes the making of the EP as “seamless.” In the mornings, Truscott sat outside of the cabin in the not-yet-blazing sun and worked out chord progressions on guitar while Duterte slept in. Staring out at the horizon, Truscott could see a smattering of houses and the sharp outline of a mountain range, but overall the property felt remote, far removed from home in Los Angeles. On long walks Truscott admired the recently bloomed spring flowers and pondered the legacy of friendships and experiences that made her. “I spend a lot of my time thinking about the people who’ve impacted my life,” she says. “Routine gave me an opportunity to explore those relationships through music.” It was on one of these walks that Truscott began writing “Cady Road,” a contemplative, country-tinged pop song that urges listeners to sit in the discomfort of the present moment. “Relax/ It’s fine/ You don’t have to know this time,” Truscott sings on the chorus, reflecting on the unsuredness that gripped her in those early days of the pandemic. Duterte joins in harmony, giving a song about being alone with your thoughts a collaborative dimension. “In Annie’s songs I hear a yearning for something just out of reach, something unachievable,” Duterte says. “She’s such a great singer, so it felt good to just layer instruments to make her vision for it feel fully fleshed out.” That impulse is heard vividly on “Cady Road,”where an abundant arrangement accompanies Truscott, replete with the spry notes of a banjolele. A true collaboration requires trust, intimacy, and patience, three elements that cohered almost mystically in the process of making this EP.

                          “Melina is the most calming presence. She’s so good at sitting with silences in a conversation and just observing,” Truscott says. The quality not only makes Duterte a good partner, but also a good bandmate and producer. “Calm and Collected” is a tribute to that enviable ability to maintain serenity amidst the chaos of experience. Though it was written in Joshua Tree, Duterte and Truscott recorded it in the attic of their home in LA, where Duterte set up a studio in the free time afforded by the pandemic. The song is the quietest of the collection, a gentle ode underscored by atmospheric swaths of synth that swaddle the listener. “I think of And Other Things as a series of vignettes,” Truscott says. “We aren’t telling one story here, we’re telling a series of short stories that people can hopefully relate to.” Asked how it feels to offer the EP up to the world during a time of major uncertainty in the music industry, Truscott offers only one word: “Cathartic.”

                          TRACK LISTING

                          SIDE A:
                          1. Cady Road
                          2. Numb Enough

                          SIDE B:
                          3. Song 5
                          4. And Other Things
                          5. Calm And Collected


                          Shame

                          Drunk Tank Pink

                            There are moments on Drunk Tank Pink where you almost have to reach for the sleeve to check this is the same band who made 2018’s Songs Of Praise. Such is the jump Shame have made from the riotous post-punk of their debut to the sprawling adventurism and twitching anxieties laid out here. The South Londoner’s blood and guts spirit, that wink and grin of devious charm, is still present, it’s just that it’s grown into something bigger, something deeper, more ambitious and unflinchingly honest.

                            The genius of Drunk Tank Pink is how these lyrical themes dovetail with the music. Opener Alphabet dissects the premise of performance over a siren call of nervous, jerking guitars, its chorus thrown out like a beer bottle across a mosh pit. Songs spin off and lurch into unexpected directions throughout here, be it March Day’s escalating aural panic attack or the shapeshifting darkness of Snow Day. There’s a Berlin era Bowie beauty to the lovelorn Human For A Minute while closer Station Wagon weaves from a downbeat mooch into a souring, soullifting climax in which Steen elevates himself beyond the clouds and into the heavens. Or at least that’s what it sounds like.

                            From the womb to the clouds (sort of), Shame are currently very much in the pink.

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Barry says: As uncompromising and incendiary as ever, Shame's 'Drunk Tank Pink' takes all of the riotous guitars and pummeling percussion and twists them into a recognisable but refreshing take on their trademark sound. A lot more intricate, elaborate and nuanced, Shame go from strength to strength.

                            TRACK LISTING

                            SIDE A:
                            1. Alphabet
                            2. Nigel Hitter
                            3. Born In Luton
                            4. March Day
                            5. Water In The Well
                            6. Snow Day

                            SIDE B:
                            7. Human
                            8. Great Dog
                            9. 6/1
                            10. Harsh Degrees
                            11. Station Wagon

                            Soft-spoken with the look of a slightly disaffected 1950s matinee idol, Aaron Frazer possesses a unique voice that’s both contemporary and timeless. On ‘Introducing...’ - his debut solo album produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach - Aaron melds mid-60s soul with Auerbach’s particular sensibilities (‘Over You’), songs with a message in the key of Gil Scott-Heron (‘Bad News’) and uplifting tales of love told through a blend of disco, gospel and doowop (‘Have Mercy’).

                            The Brooklyn-based, Baltimore-raised songwriter first came into the international spotlight as multiinstrumentalist and co-lead singer of Durand Jones & The Indications but he’s more than a revivalist act. “I didn’t want ‘Introducing...’ to be an exact recreation of an era or a style,” Frazer says. “I’m excited to keep breaking some of the expectations around what exactly I’m supposed to be artistically and musically, or what this scene as a whole can be.” On ‘Introducing...’, Aaron expertly calibrates consciousness-raising and the desire to be enveloped by love.

                            Where previous records were written in a partial state of turmoil, Aaron’s debut LP shows maturation and range. ‘Introducing...’ is both loving and gracious, critical without losing hope and a showcase of a young artist on a seriously soulful ascent.

                            ‘Introducing…’ features an all-star ensemble including players with the likes of Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson, Dolly Parton and Charles Bradley.

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Barry says: There's something warmingly familar about Aaron Frazer's swinging take on classic Northern Soul, nut imbued with a modern tilt that's not only perfect for the home stereo but would go down perfectly in a late night club-based scenario (remember those?)

                            TRACK LISTING

                            You Don’t Wanna Be My Baby
                            If I Got It (Your Love Brought It)
                            Can’t Leave It Alone
                            Bad News
                            Have Mercy
                            Done Lyin’
                            Lover Girl
                            Ride With Me
                            Girl On The Phone
                            Love Is
                            Over You
                            Leanin’ On Your Everlasting Love 

                            Kevin Morby

                            Sundowner

                              In the winter of 2017 I moved back to my hometown of Kansas City from Los Angeles. The move was sudden and unforeseen, just as I was tying a bow on the writing process for what would become my 2019 album, Oh My God. I bought a Four Track Tascam model 424 off of an old friend to help me get to the finish line, but much to my surprise and excitement, this new piece of equipment in my all-but-bare home didn’t help complete one album but rather inspire another: Sundowner. The new collection of songs came quickly and effortlessly as I did my best not to resist or refine the songs, but instead let them take shape all on their own.

                              As the songs kept coming I cleared out the crowded shed that was sitting dormant in my backyard and built a makeshift studio before adding drums, lead guitar and piano to complete the demos. Each day I would teach myself basic recording techniques, watching the channels illuminate and pulse as if the machine were breathing, and then emerge in the evenings as the sun was getting low: - around 5:30 in the winter, when the Kansan sunsets look icy and distant, like a pink ember inside of a display case, and 9 o’clock in the summer, when the sunsets are warm and abstract.

                              Landing back home felt jarring juxtaposed with a life full of chaos and adventure with my band on the road. But at the very least, I was happy to have - for the first time in my adulthood - a place to close the door, with no temptations other than to work on music and reflect on what I had built since I left. It was a new form of isolation, one I had never explored or expected to experience. Not ready to let go of the hand of the California desert, I spent the winter decorating the best I knew how; with mementos from my previous home, cactus and aloe vera and covering the walls in pinewood - immediately earning my house it’s nickname, The Little Los Angeles.

                              In January 2019 I contacted my friend and producer Brad Cook to help recreate what I had made in my shed. We chose to work in Texas; we wanted to make sure the record was done far away from any coastline, and in the heart of America. Brad played bass and some keys on the album, but beyond that he encouraged and inspired me to play almost everything else. All lead guitar, proper drums (save the drums on “A Night At The Little Los Angeles”), mellotron and what I believe to be the albums secret weapon - a WWII era collapsible and slightly out-of-tune pump organ - were performed by me. We did, however, bring in James Krivchenia towards the end of the session to fill out the percussion. It was an honor to work with him as he built maracas from pecans and played on the floor of the live room, adding flourish wherever he saw fit.

                              On the last evening of the session, after everything had wrapped, we all climbed on top of an empty water tower on the property, giving us a view in all directions. To the North you could see an endless Texas, with long wisps of cirrus clouds above the desert floor, and to the South there was Mexico, the recent detention camps only a mile beyond, with large cumulus clouds hovering over, bringing us to an ominous pause. To the West, towards the setting sun, the two families of clouds merged, holding the last light of the day in purple and orange. Below, a freight train cut the landscape in half as it whistled in the distance.

                              Almost as soon as the session wrapped, I was off and away on press trips and then proper tours for Oh My God, which came out in April that same year. Sundowner sat inside of a hard drive back at Sonic Ranch and did not see the light of day, until I found myself, as did the rest of the world, stuck inside their home and in quarantine in March 2020. My second year of touring for Oh My God was cancelled. Brad, Jerry and I worked from our respective homes, sending notes back and forth as we worked alone but together to mix the album, and suddenly, just like that, Sundowner was finished.

                              Songs, like sunsets, are fleeting, and it’s only due to a willingness and desire to catch them that you ever, if even only for a moment, grab a hold of one. When writing Sundowner, I was lucky to have had the Tascam 424 there to help capture both. Sundowner is my attempt to put the Middle American twilight -- it’s beauty profound, though not always immediate -- into sound. It is a depiction of isolation. Of the past. Of an uncertain future. Of provisions. Of an omen. Of a dead deer. Of an icon. Of a Los Angeles themed hotel in rural Kansas. Of billowing campfires, a mermaid and a highway lined in rabbit fur. It is a depiction of the nervous feeling that comes with the sky’s proud announcement that another day will be soon coming to a close as the pink light recedes and the street lamps and house lights suddenly click on. -- Kevin Morby, Kansas, 2020.

                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Barry says: It's a blessing in a way, that all of the artists we know and love have had a chance to get through some unfinished work sitting around on their hard drives (obviously the circumstances surrounding it are less than ideal..). Here we have a fully fledged gorgous new album from Morby that just wouldn't have been given the attention it deserved had his tour for the last album gone ahead. Thank goodness it got finished, 'Sundowner' is a triumph.

                              TRACK LISTING

                              SIDE A: 
                              1. Valley
                              2. Brother, Sister
                              3. Sundowner
                              4. Campfire
                              5. Wander
                              SIDE B:
                              6. Don’t Underestimate Midwest American Sun
                              7.A Night At The Little Los Angeles
                              8. Jamie
                              9. Velvet Highway
                              10. Provisions

                              Fenne Lily

                              Breach

                                Isolation is nothing new for Fenne Lily – in fact, she’s written an album of songs all about it. “It’s kind of like writing a letter, and leaving it in a book that you know you’ll get out when you’re sad – like a message to yourself in the future,” she says, referring to BREACH, her Dead Oceans debut she wrote during a period of self-enforced isolation pre-COVID.

                                It’s an expansive, diaristic, frequently sardonic record that deals with the mess and the catharsis of entering your 20s and finding peace while being alone. “I think this record is proof that I can be emotionally stable, even if right now I feel a little bit up and down,” says Fenne. “There’s the ability to find clarity in that. It’s sobering, weirdly.”

                                Fenne was born in London and moved to Dorset as a toddler, where she grew up in the picturesque English countryside. She was a “free range kid,” as she calls it, after her parents took her out of school for a period at the age of seven. Over the following year, they taught her while the family travelled Europe in a live-in bus. Even after she returned to traditional school at 9, her home education never ended, extending to music. Her mother gifted Fenne with her old record collection, through which she discovered her love for T-Rex and the Velvet Underground and Nico. Soon after she fell for the strange genius of PJ Harvey and came to worship Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, and the richly crafted worlds of Feist, which inspired Fenne to pick up a guitar. It’s that journey to find peace inside herself that underpins the whole of Fenne’s second album.

                                Its title, BREACH, occurred to Fenne after deep conversations with her mum about her birth, during which she was breech, or upside down in the womb. The slippery double-sidedness of the word – which, spelled with an “A”, means to “break through” – drew her in. “That feels like what I was doing in this record; I was breaking through a wall that I built for myself, keeping myself safe, and dealing with the downside of feeling lonely and alone. I realized that I am comfortable in myself, and I don’t need to fixate on relationships to make myself feel like I have something to talk about. I felt like I broke through a mental barrier in that respect.” Even though it also carries implications of awkwardness, rebellion, and breakage, it’s a widereaching word, representing new beginnings and birth.

                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                Barry says: Perfectly on-point songwriting, crisp production and a keen ear for melody make this a perfect release for stalwart label, Dead Oceans. Fenne Lily writes clever, catchy and effecting poppy odes, rich with grit but *just* polished enough to shine. Beautiful.

                                TRACK LISTING

                                SIDE A:
                                1. To Be A Woman Pt. 1
                                2. Alapathy
                                3. Berlin
                                4. Elliott
                                5. I, Nietzsche
                                6. Birthday

                                SIDE B:
                                7. Blood Moon
                                8. Solipsism
                                9. I Used To Hate My Body But Now I Just Hate You
                                10. ‘98
                                11. Someone Else’s Trees
                                12. Laundry And Jet Lag

                                Bright Eyes

                                Down In The Weeds, Where The World Once Was

                                A lone pair of footsteps meanders down a street in omaha, into the neighborhood bar and then into a near-imperceptible tangle of conversations – about wars, sleepless nights – a surrealist din pushing against the sound of ragtime. Then, as the background quiets, a line rings out clearly: “i think about how much people need – what they need right now is to feel like there’s something to look forward to. We have to hold on. We have to hold on.”

                                Thus we enter the fitting, cacophonic introduction to bright eyes’ tenth studio album and first release since 2011. Down in the weeds, where the world once was is an enormous record caught in the profound in-between of grief and clarity – one arm wrestling its demons, the other gripping the hand of love, in spite of it.

                                The end of bright eyes’ unofficial hiatus came naturally. Conor oberst pitched the idea of getting the band back together during a 2017 christmas party at bright eyes bandmate nathaniel walcott’s los angeles home. The two huddled in the bathroom and called mike mogis, who was christmas shopping at an omaha mall. Mogis immediately said yes. There was no specific catalyst for the trio, aside from finding comfort amidst a decade of brutal change. Sure, why now? Is the question, but for a project whose friendship is at the core, it was simply why not?

                                The resulting bright eyes album came together unlike any other of its predecessors. Down in the weeds is bright eyes’ most collaborative, stemming from only one demo and written in stints in omaha and in bits and pieces in walcott’s los angeles home. Radically altering a writing process 25 years into a project seems daunting, but oberst said there was no trepidation: “our history and our friendship, and my trust level with them, is so complete and deep. And i wanted it to feel as much like a three-headed monster as possible.”

                                As a title, as a thesis, down in the weeds, where the world once was functions on a global, apocalyptic level of anxiety that looms throughout the record. But on a personal level, it speaks to rooting around in the dirt of one’s memories, trying to find the preciousness that’s overgrown and unrecognizable. For oberst, coming back to bright eyes was a bit of that. A symbol of simpler times, vaguely nostalgic. And even though it wasn’t actually possible to go back to the way things were, even though there wasn’t an easy happy ending, there was a new reality left to work with.

                                And here, there is a bleary-eyed hopefulness – earnest, emotive recommitments to love appear on “dance and sing” and “just once in the world.” And throughout, down in the weeds features snippets of oberst’s loved ones speaking, in late-night conversations. The fleeting loveliness of intimate moments punctuates the bleakness of the record’s existential crisis, crackling like lightning bugs illuminating the long night.

                                Down in the weeds is a distillation of a prolific, enduring canon. It’s immediate and urgent, the product of its creators’ growth across a decade apart, as well as the need to make a record together to find solace from loss. Through deliberate, fearless experimentation in process, the trio made the truest bright eyes sound: the sound of a deep bond, of a band coming home, but also a seamless continuation, like bright eyes never went away. It’s the impossible, sprawling mess of human experience that bright eyes has always sought to put to tape, since the beginning – the sound of holding on. Why now? Why not?

                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                Barry says: It's been far too long since the last Bright Eyes album, and this one shows why we've missed him so much. Beautifully tender melodies, orchestral swoon and soaring crescendos aplenty. This is a new journey for Oberst & crew, but also warmingly familiar.

                                TRACK LISTING

                                Pageturners Rag
                                Dance And Sing
                                Just Once In The World
                                Mariana Trench
                                One And Done
                                Pan And Broom
                                Stairwell Song
                                Persona Non Grata
                                Tilt-a-whirl
                                Hot Car In The Sun
                                Forced Convalescence
                                To Death’s Heart (in Three Parts)
                                Calais To Dover
                                Comet Song

                                Khruangbin

                                Mordechai

                                  Khruangbin has always been multilingual, weaving far-flung musical languages like East Asian surf-rock, Persian funk, and Jamaican dub into mellifluous harmony. But on its third album, it’s finally speaking out loud. Mordechai features vocals prominently on nearly every song, a first for the mostly instrumental band. It’s a shift that rewards the risk, reorienting Khruangbin’s transportive sound toward a new sense of emotional directness, without losing the spirit of nomadic wandering that’s always defined it. And it all started with them coming home.

                                  By the summer of 2019, the Houston group—bassist Laura Lee Ochoa, guitarist Mark Speer, drummer DJ Johnson—had been on tour for nearly three-and-ahalf years, playing to audiences across North and South America, Europe, and southeast Asia behind its acclaimed albums The Universe Smiles Upon You and Con Todo El Mundo. They returned to their farmhouse studio in Burton, Texas, ready to begin work on their third album. But they were also determined to slow down, to take their time and luxuriate in building something together. Musically, the band’s ever-restless ear saw it pulling reference points from Pakistan, Korea, and West Africa, incorporating strains of Indian chanting boxes and Congolese syncopated guitar. But more than anything, the album became a celebration of Houston, the eclectic city that had nurtured them, and a cultural nexus where you can check out country and zydeco, trap rap, or avant-garde opera on any given night.

                                  In those years away from home, Khruangbin’s members often felt like they were swimming underwater, unsure of where they were going, or why they were going there. But Mordechai leads them gently back to the surface, allowing them to take a breath, look around, and find itself again. It is a snapshot taken along a larger journey—a moment all the more beautiful for its impermanence. And it’s a memory to revisit again and again, speaking to us now more clearly than ever.

                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Emily says: The international peddlers of smooth, stylish grooves are back, and this time they’ve returned with a slightly revamped sound. They haven’t stopped trawling the globe for sonic inspiration and this could be some of their most eclectic work to date, adding elements of East and West African music to their already diverse sound palette. The vocals are far more present on ‘Mordechai’ than previous albums, but Khruangbin haven’t completely abandoned the deep instrumental format that they started out with. There is plenty of stripped back Cymande style elegance to be enjoyed in tracks like “If There is No Question” and “Father Bird, Mother Bird”. Perhaps one of the prettiest tracks is “One to Remember”, a shimmering dub incarnation of “So We Won’t Forget” which makes for a satisfying self-referential moment. Let’s hope their winning streak endures until they’ve distilled the essence of the entire globe into their singular soundworld.

                                  TRACK LISTING

                                  SIDE A:
                                  1. First Class
                                  2. Time (You And I)
                                  3. Connaissais De Face
                                  4. Father Bird, Mother Bird
                                  5. If There Is No Question

                                  SIDE B:
                                  6. Pelota
                                  7. One To Remember
                                  8. Dearest Alfred
                                  9. So We Won’t Forget
                                  10. Shida

                                  Phoebe Bridgers

                                  Punisher

                                    Phoebe Bridgers doesn’t write love songs as much as songs about the impact love can have on our lives, personalities, and priorities.

                                    Punisher, her fourth release and second solo album, is concerned with that subject. To say she writes about heartbreak is to undersell her blue wisdom, to say she writes about pain erases all the strange joy her music emanates. The arrival of Punisher cements Phoebe Bridgers as one of the most clever, tender and prolific songwriters of our era.

                                    Bridgers is the rare artist with enough humour to deconstruct her own meteoric rise. Repeatedly praised by publications like The New Yorker, The New York Times, GQ, Pitchfork, The Fader, The Los Angeles Times and countless others, Bridgers herself is more interested in discussing topics on Twitter, deadpanning meditations on the humiliating process of being a person, she presents a sweetly funny flipside to the strikingly sad songs she writes. Fittingly, Punisher is fascinated with, and driven by, that kind of impossible tension. Whether it’s writing tweets or songs, Bridgers’s singular talent lies in bringing fierce curiosity to slimy and painful things, interrogating them until they yield up answers that are beautiful and absurd, or faithfully reporting the reality that, sometimes, they are neither.

                                    Bridgers pulls together a formidable crew of guests, including the Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, Christian Lee Hutson and Conor Oberst as well as Nathaniel Walcott (of Bright Eyes), Nick Zinner (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Jenny Lee Lindberg (of Warpaint), Blake Mills and Jim Keltner as well as her longtime bandmates Marshall Vore (drums), Harrison Whitford (guitar), Emily Retsas (bass) and Nick White (keys). The album was mixed by Mike Mogis, who also mixed Stranger In The Alps. On the album’s epic, freewheeling closer, “I Know The End,” Bridgers orchestrates wails and horns, drums and electric guitar into a sumptuous doomsday swirl, culminating in her own final whispered roar.

                                    This is Punisher in a nutshell: devastating elegance punctuated by a moment of deeply campy self-awareness.

                                    Driving anywhere in Texas can cost you half a day, easy. For example, it’ll take you over four hours just to get from R&B singer Leon Bridges’ hometown of Fort Worth down to Houston, where the psychedelic wanderers in Khruangbin hail from. The state is vast, crisscrossed with rugged expanses of road flanked by limestone cliffs and granite mountains, forests of pine and mesquite, miles of desert or acres of sprawling grassland, all depending on what part you’re in. And it’s all baking under the "Texas Sun" that lends its name to Bridges and Khruangbin’s new collaborative EP.

                                    “Big sky country, that’s what they call Texas,” Khruangbin bassist Laura Lee says. “The horizon line goes all the way from one side to another without interruption. There’s something really comforting about that.”

                                    On "Texas Sun", these two members of the state’s musical vanguard meet up somewhere in the middle of that scene, in the mythical nexus of Texas’ past, present, and future - a dreamy badlands where genres blur as seamlessly as the terrain. It calls equally to the cowboys bootscooting at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, the chopped-and-screwed hip-hop fans rattling slabs on the southside of Houston, the art-school kids dropping acid in Austin, the cross-cultural progeny who grew up on listening to both mariachi and post-hardcore out on the Mexican borders of El Paso. All of these things, overlapping in a multicolored melange, purple hues as vivid and unpredictable as one of the state’s rightfully celebrated sunsets.

                                    A journey through homesick reminiscences, backseat romances, and late-night contemplations, the kind of record made for listening with the windows down and the road humming softly beneath you. Like the highways that inspired it, "Texas Sun" is guaranteed to get you where you’re going -especially if you’re in no particular hurry to get there.

                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                    Barry says: A mild departure for Khruangbin here, enlisting soulful maestro Leon Bridges on vox duties, adding a silky overtone to their nigh-horizontal grooves. A superb, hazy dream of an album.

                                    TRACK LISTING

                                    1. Texas Sun
                                    2. Midnight
                                    3. C-Side
                                    4. Conversion

                                    Bill Fay

                                    Countless Branches

                                      Bill Fay returns with the third album in the celebrated second phase of his recording career. A prime Fay song is a deceptively simple thing which carries more emotional weight than its concision and brevity might imply. There are ten of these musical haikus on Countless Branches, as pointed and as poignant as anything he’s ever recorded. For decades now - it’s almost 50 years since he cut his classic albums “Bill Fay” and “Time of the Last Persecution” - songs like these have been Fay’s ambassadors helping rave reviews and endorsements from the likes of Jim O’Rourke (Tortoise) and Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) which led to a huge revival of interest in his music. He had continued to make music almost every day in the intervening decades. For Countless Branches he’s completed new toplines over some of his cache of backing tracks, most of them 20 to 40 years old.

                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                      Barry says: Brittle and almost entorely unadorned (safe for a guitar and a guitar at most), Bill Fay's crackling voice soars above these perfectly produced and stunningly stripped back Americana gems. Evocative and stunning, this is a gem in an already hugely influential career.

                                      TRACK LISTING

                                      1. In Human Hands
                                      2. How Long, How Long
                                      3. Your Little Face
                                      4. Salt Of The Earth
                                      5. I Will Remain Here
                                      6. Filled With Wonder Once Again
                                      7. Time’s Going Somewhere
                                      8. Love Will Remain
                                      9. Countless Branches
                                      10. One Life

                                      Deluxe LP Bonus Tracks:
                                      11. Tiny
                                      12. Don’t Let My Marigolds Die (Live In Studio)
                                      13. The Rooster
                                      14. Your Little Face (Acoustic Version)
                                      15. Filled With Wonder Once Again (Band Version)
                                      16. How Long, How Long (Band Version)
                                      17. Love Will Remain (Band Version)

                                      Better Oblivion Community Center

                                      Little Trouble

                                        Back in January, Better Oblivion Community Center, surprise-released their self-titled debut album. The record is available digitally and physically via Dead Oceans. Today, the new band from Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst follow the release with two new songs, as well as a live set for NPR's Tiny Desk featuring stripped-down performances of "My City," "Exception to the Rule," and the album's lead single "Dylan Thomas."

                                        We've only got a handful of these so get in there quick!

                                        TRACK LISTING

                                        Little Trouble
                                        Sleepwalkin' (Daydreamin' Version)

                                        Bleached

                                        Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough?

                                          ‘Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough?’ is what Jennifer Clavin asked herself when she hit a turning point in her life. It’s also the title of the new record from Bleached, Jessie and Jennifer Clavin’s first album written from a place of sobriety. That newfound perspective serves as the guiding force, yielding a courageous, honest and sonically ambitious album. It’s a record about fighting both literally and figuratively for your life - and the clarity born from that struggle.

                                          Writing began in early 2018, both in a Los Angeles practice space and with friends and co-writers in Nashville. Producer Shane Stoneback (Vampire Weekend, Sleigh Bells) helped open every door to experimentation, wanting to be exploratory while keeping the sound singularly Bleached.

                                          The resulting album is explosive, grappling with the past; its twelve tracks mark some of the sisters’ most visceral, rawest songwriting to date - and some of their best. The work glimmers with inspiration found in touring with the likes of The Damned and Paramore. That arena-ready pop, incisively catchy, was a palpable influence helping to push Bleached’s sound in a new direction.

                                          TRACK LISTING

                                          Heartbeat Away
                                          Hard To Kill
                                          Daydream
                                          I Get What I Need
                                          Somebody Dial 911
                                          Kiss You Goodbye
                                          Rebound City
                                          Silly Girl
                                          Valley To LA
                                          Real Life
                                          Awkward Phase
                                          Shitty Ballet

                                          Marlon Williams

                                          Live At Auckland Town Hall

                                            “Well, this is the largest amount of people we’ve ever had in a room to watch us, so it feels pretty damn special,” Marlon Williams says, sitting down to the piano during the first night of two sold-out shows at the historic Auckland Town Hall. May 25th, 2018 was special in many respects. Williams had returned home to New Zealand to close a 60-date world tour for his new album, Make Way For Love. He shared the stage with his second family, The Yarra Benders, with the two evenings at Auckland Town Hall serving as a fitting cap after having toured the globe together over the course of two album campaigns.

                                            Across the past several years on the road, the Marlon Williams live show has taken on an almost mystical status — not just for Williams’ extraordinary voice, but also for the hypnotic command he has over an audience, his seamless blending of genres, and the effortless, instinctive relationship he shares with his band. Live at Auckland Town Hall showcases Williams at his finest, performing a set that includes songs from his acclaimed self-titled debut album, as well as 2018’s Make Way For Love, and standalone single, “Vampire Again.” The live album also includes previously unreleased covers of Barry Gibb, Yoko Ono, the late Lhasa De Sela, and a Williams live favorite, “Portrait of a Man” by Screaming Jay Hawkins.

                                            Live at Auckland Town Hall captures an artist both early enough in his career to be humbled by the occasion, and developed enough to present a stunning catalogue of music and quality of performance. As Williams’ first official live release, Live at Auckland Town Hall feels sure to enter the canon of great live albums in the years to come, a dazzling snapshot of Marlon Williams’ musical singularity.

                                            TRACK LISTING

                                            SIDE A:
                                            1. Come To Me
                                            2. I Know A Jeweller
                                            3. Everyone’s Got Something To Say
                                            4. Beautiful Dress
                                            5. I Didn’t Make A Plan
                                            6. The Fire Of Love

                                            SIDE B:
                                            7. Is Anything Wrong?
                                            8. Can I Call You
                                            9. Dark Child
                                            10. I’m Lost Without You
                                            11. What’s Chasing You

                                            SIDE C:
                                            12. Party Boy
                                            13. Carried Away
                                            14. Vampire Again
                                            15. Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore
                                            16. Make Way For Love

                                            SIDE D:
                                            17. Love Is A Terrible Thing
                                            18. Portrait Of A Man
                                            19. When I Was A Young Girl

                                            Alex Lahey

                                            The Best Of Luck Club

                                              On her sophomore LP, The Best of Luck Club, 26-year-old Melbourne, Australia native Alex Lahey navigates the pangs of generational ennui with the pint half-full and a spot cleared on the bar stool next to her. Self-doubt, burn out, break-ups, mental health, moving in with her girlfriend, vibrators: The Best of Luck Club showcases the universal language of Lahey’s sharp songwriting, her propensity for taking the minute details of the personal and flipping it public through anthemic pop-punk. Lahey’s 2017 debut I Love You Like a Brother encases Lahey’s knack for writing a killer hook and her acute sense of humor delivered via a slacker-rock package and, in a way, The Best of Luck Club picks up where that record left off.

                                              Lahey co-produced the album alongside acclaimed engineer and producer Catherine Marks (Local Natives, Wolf Alice, Manchester Orchestra), and dives headfirst into a broader spectrum of both emotion and sound through polished, arena pop-punk in the vein of Paramore with the introspective sheen of Alvvays or Tegan & Sara. Here, Lahey documents the highest highs and the lowest lows of her life to date. After a whirlwind of global touring in support of breakout debut I Love You Like a Brother, Lahey wrote the bulk of her follow-up in Nashville during 12-hour days of songwriting. There, she found the inspiration for The Best of Luck Clubís concept: the dive bar scene and its genuine energy.”Whether you’ve had the best day of your life or the worst day of your life, you can just sit up at the bar and turn to the person next to you - who has no idea who you are - and have a chat. And the response that you generally get at the end of the conversation is, "Best of luck", so The Best Of Luck Club is that place.

                                              TRACK LISTING

                                              1. I Don’t Get Invited To Parties Anymore
                                              2. Am I Doing It Right
                                              3. Interior Demeanour
                                              4. Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself
                                              5. Unspoken History
                                              6. Misery Guts
                                              7. Isabella
                                              8. I Need To Move On
                                              9. Black RM’s
                                              10. I Want To Live With You

                                              This is Kevin’s opus - a 2LP concept album on spirituality and religion. Throughout his four solo albums and myriad records of various collaboration, Kevin Morby has recognized in his work the ubiquity of an apparent religious theme. Though not identifying as “religious” in the slightest, Morby—the globetrotting son of Kansas City who has made music while living on both coasts before recently returning to his Midwestern stomping grounds—recognizes in himself a somewhat spiritual being with a secular attitude towards the soulful. And so, in an effort to tackle that notion head-on and once-and-for-all, he sat down in his form of church—on planes and in beds—and wrote what would become his first true concept-album: the lavish, resplendent, career-best double LP Oh My God.

                                              “This one feels full circle, my most realized record yet,” he says. “It’s a cohesive piece; all the songs fit under the umbrella of this weird religious theme. I was able to write and record the album I wanted to make. It’s one of those marks of a life: this is why I slept on floors for seven years. I’ve now gotten the keys to my own little kingdom, and I’m devoting so much of my life to music that I just want to keep it interesting. At the end of the day, the only thing I don’t want is to be bored. If someone wants to get in my face about writing a non-religious religious record? Thank god. That’s all I gotta say.”


                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                              Barry says: Although Matt and I agree that the front cover of this looks unbelievably like a topless Dom Kozubik, don't let that put you off. 'Oh My God' is a tenderly delivered and perfectly measured slice of indie songwriting. Morby's ear for a tune and perfectly balanced juxtaposition of tender, brittle balladry and uplifting soulful soothe make this one for every collection.

                                              TRACK LISTING

                                              SIDE A
                                              1. Oh My God
                                              2. No Halo
                                              3. Nothing Sacred / All Things Wild
                                              4. OMG Rock N Roll

                                              SIDE B
                                              5. Seven Devils
                                              6. Hail Mary
                                              7. Piss River
                                              8. Savannah

                                              SIDE C
                                              9. Storm (Beneath The Weather)
                                              10. Congratulations
                                              11. I Want To Be Clean

                                              SIDE D
                                              12. Sing A Glad Song
                                              13. Ballad Of Faye
                                              14. O Behold

                                              Strand Of Oaks

                                              Erasureland

                                                “When I was writing these songs, every day I would walk on the beach and I was completely alone and overwhelmed by fear...but then I realized how there really aren’t any rules for who you are, who you’ll become, or who you think you need to be. Eraserland is just that. It’s death to ego, and rebirth to anything or anyone you want to be.”

                                                In December 2017, Tim Showalter was uncertain about his next record and the shape it would eventually take. With no new songs written, he was unprepared for the message he would receive from his friend Carl Broemel, the conversation that would follow, and the album that would become Eraserland. Leading off with standout track “Weird Ways” and his powerful declaration of “I don’t feel it anymore,” Eraserland traces Showalter’s evolution from apprehension to creative awakening, carving out a new and compelling future for Strand of Oaks.

                                                Revived by the support of Broemel and his bandmates, Showalter felt the pressure to deliver songs worthy of musicians he had admired long before and after a 2015 Oaks/MMJ tour. So in February 2018, he spent two weeks alone in Wildwood, New Jersey writing and demoing all of the songs that would eventually comprise Eraserland. And in April, he went into the studio to record with Kevin Ratterman at La La Land Studios in Louisville, Kentucky, and with Broemel, Hallahan, Koster, and Blankenship as his band. Jason Isbell also contributed his Hendrix-esque guitar work to Eraserland, while singer/ songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle provided gorgeous vocals. Every song was recorded live, with all musicians playing together in one room and working to bring Showalter’s ideas to fruition. “I remember sitting next to Tim and Kevin listening to the final mixes with tears rolling down my cheeks,” said Hallahan. “From start to finish, this one came from the heart.”

                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                1. Weird Ways
                                                2. Hyperspace Blues
                                                3. Keys
                                                4. Visions
                                                5. Final Fires
                                                6. Moon Landing
                                                7. Ruby
                                                8. Wild And Willing
                                                9. Eraserland
                                                10. Forever Chords
                                                11. Cruel Fisherman

                                                Durand Jones & The Indications

                                                American Love Call

                                                  Durand Jones & the Indications aren’t looking backwards. Helmed by foil vocalists in Durand Jones and drummer Aaron Frazer, the Indications conjure the dynamism of Jackie Wilson, Curtis Mayfield, AND the Impressions. Even with an aesthetic steeped in the golden, strings-infused dreaminess of early ‘70s soul, the Indications’ sophomore LP, American Love Call, is planted firmly in the present, with the urgency of this moment in time.

                                                  The Indications’ 2016 self-titled debut was the product of friends who met as students at Indiana University in Bloomington, In., recorded for $452.11, including a case of beer. American Love Call, the band’s sophomore LP is instead the record the Indications dreamed of making, fleshed out with strings, backing vocals, and a newfound confidence in songwriting.

                                                  Blending a slew of influences from years spent crate-digging, guitarist Blake Rhein says the Indications approach songs in the same way hip-hop producers do, as likely to pull inspiration from ‘70s folk-rock or classic R&B as they are Nas’ Illmatic.

                                                  “Did I expect to do this shit once I got out of college? Hell no,” Jones relays, laughing. “Totally not. But this is what God is telling me to do – move and groove. So I’m gonna stay in my lane.”

                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                  Barry says: A brilliantly emotive and smoothly contrasting duo of voices over this classic soul, brought to the modern day with crisp, clean production and the perfectly sunny songwiting Durand Jones has become known for. From mournful, lost-love ballads to swinging, dancefloor ditties, this is yet another mindblowing LP from Jones & co.

                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                  1. Morning In America
                                                  2. Don’t You Know (feat. Aaron Frazer)
                                                  3. Circles
                                                  4. Court Of Love (feat. Aaron Frazer)
                                                  5. Long Way Home
                                                  6. Too Many Tears (feat. Aaron Frazer)
                                                  7. Walk Away
                                                  8. What I Know About You (feat. Aaron Frazer)
                                                  9. Listen To Your Heart
                                                  10. Sea Gets Hotter (feat. Aaron Frazer)
                                                  11. How Can I Be Sure (feat. Aaron Frazer)
                                                  12. True Love

                                                  Better Oblivion Community Center

                                                  Better Oblivion Community Center

                                                    Better Oblivion Community Center is a brand new band comprising the formidable talents of Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst, two of the most lauded American songwriters of the past several years. Written and recorded in Los Angeles during the summer of 2018, their self-titled debut album will be released on Dead Oceans in early 2019. The pair first collaborated on Bridgers’ 2017 single, “Would You Rather”, taken from her acclaimed debut album Stranger In The Alps. They teamed up again for a recording of Oberst’s “LAX” in the fall of 2018.

                                                    Co-produced by Bridgers, Oberst and long time Oberst/Bright Eyes collaborator Andy LeMaster and mixed by John Congleton, Better Oblivion Community Center features the work of several talented friends, including Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), and Carla Azur (Autolux, Jack White) among others.

                                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                                    Barry says: Better Oblivion provides the perfect stage for the juxtaposition of Oberst's rough husky vocals and Bridgers' smooth, ethereal air. Exactly as beautiful as you'd expect from this duo, tender and innovative, full of wonderful heartbreaking moments and perfectly written, wonderfully delivered bliss.

                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                    1. Didn’t Know What I Was In For
                                                    2. Sleepwalkin’
                                                    3. Dylan Thomas
                                                    4. Service Road
                                                    5. Exception To The Rule
                                                    6. Chesapeake
                                                    7. My City
                                                    8. Forest Lawn
                                                    9. Big Black Heart
                                                    10. Dominos

                                                    On ‘The Lillywhite Sessions’, Ryley Walker and the similarly indebted trio of drummer Ryan Jewell and bassist Andrew Scott Young cover Dave Matthews’ infamously abandoned 2001 art-rock masterpiece of the same name, a record where he and his band indulged a new adult pathos and a budding musical wanderlust.

                                                    With a delicate rhythmic latticework and vocals that ask you to lean in, ‘Busted Stuff’ recalls Jim O’ Rourke’s golden Drag City days. Emerging from a wall of distortion, ‘Diggin’ a Ditch’ becomes a power trio wallop à la Dinosaur Jr, shaking off existential malaise like twenty-something pals writing rock songs in the garage. Walker’s ‘Grace is Gone’, the most faithful take here, is a testament to his unflagging love for the music that helped make him a musician.

                                                    This end-to-end interpretation of youthful fascination is a collective reminder that we are all just kids from somewhere, reckoning with our upbringing the best we can. Walker has stepped through the door long ago opened by the Dave Matthews Band to find a world teeming with musical possibilities. On ‘The Lillywhite Sessions’, he has, in turn, created his own.

                                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                                    Barry says: As well as being a VERY good follow on the ol' Twitter, Ryley Walker is also a superb chap and undeniably brilliant songwriter and musician. Although the songwriting doesn't really get a look in on this release (it being entirely covers), it is clear that his laid-back style and impeccable vocal performance is only improving. Even if you've never heard this Dave Matthews Band release before, I implore you to hear Walker's take on things. Stunning.

                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                    Busted Stuff
                                                    Grey Street
                                                    Diggin’ A Ditch
                                                    Sweet Up And Down
                                                    JTR
                                                    Big Eyed Fish
                                                    Grace Is Gone
                                                    Captain
                                                    Bartender
                                                    Monkey Man
                                                    Kit Kat Jam
                                                    Raven

                                                    For years, Phosphorescent’s rise was a steady one: tours got a little better, rooms got a little bigger, and with it the music became more intricate, more ambitious in its recording and arrangement. Then came Muchacho, a juggernaut that to date has sold over 100,000 worldwide, with lead single “Song for Zula” now well over 50 million streams. Now, five years later, Phosphorescent returns with his seventh studio LP, C’est La Vie. Recorded in Nashville at Matthew Houck’s own Spirit Sounds Studio, C’est La Vie reveals a crystallization of what made Muchacho such a breakout — a little sweetness and a little menace, sometimes boot-stomping and sometimes meditative.

                                                    A lot of life was lived between these records: Houck became a father (twice), built his studio, escaped New York. And C’est La Vie does have a hefty, career-spanning feel. But there’s a newfound wisdom, too, a deeper well for all that livin’. The magic of Matthew Houck’s music has always been the way he weaves shimmering, almost golden-sounding threads through elemental, salt-of-the-earth sounds. It’s not experimental, exactly, but it’s singular and it’s definitely not traditional. That knack, the through-line across the Phosphorescent catalogue, is front and centre here.

                                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                                    Barry says: Even just listening to the title track alone gives you a decent impression of quite how stunning this collection is, shining and rich with orchestral instrumentation, heart-wrenching lyrics and twinkling synth pads. Think classic rock with a modern twist, a slightly smaller-scale War On Drugs or a less crap U2. Proper lovely.

                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                    Black Moon / Silver Waves
                                                    C'est La Vie No.2
                                                    New Birth In New England
                                                    There From Here
                                                    Around The Horn
                                                    Christmas Down Under
                                                    My Beautiful Boy
                                                    These Rocks
                                                    Black Waves / Silver Moon

                                                    For a limited period both formats include a FREE 4 track 'Remixes' CD bonus disc.

                                                    Lump was born of good timing and predestined compatibility. It began when Mike Lindsay – a prolific, Mercury prize-winning producer – was introduced to Grammy-nominated, Brit award-winning singer-songwriter Laura Marling after her show supporting Neil Young in London.

                                                    Lump is a heady blend of wonked-out guitars, Moog synths and pattering drums, set against droning, coiling clouds of flutes and voices. The lyrics are inspired by early-20th-century Surrealism and the absurdist poetry of Edward Lear and Ivor Cutler - a bizarre but compelling narrative about the commodification of curated public personas, the mundane absurdity of individualism, and the lengths we go to escape our own meaninglessness.

                                                    The composers are keen to stress that LUMP is a creation that passed through them, and they look upon it parentally. It is their understanding that, now it has come into being, LUMP is the artist, and it will continue to create itself from here on. Lindsay and Marling will assist it as necessary.

                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                    Late To The Flight [05:36]
                                                    May I Be The Light [04:46]
                                                    Rolling Thunder [04:29]
                                                    Curse Of The Contemporary [04:14]
                                                    Hand Hold Hero [05:26]
                                                    Shake Your Shelter [05:23]

                                                    CD Bonus Disc:
                                                    Curse Of The Contemporary (Charles Cave Remix)
                                                    Curse Of The Contemporary (Jata Remix)
                                                    The Light (IYEARA Remix)
                                                    Hand Hold Hero (Ball And Chain Mix - Wrangler)

                                                    “I was under a lot of stress because I was trying to make an anti-folk record and I was having trouble doing it. I wanted to make something deep-fried and more me-sounding. I didn’t want to be jammy acoustic guy anymore. I just wanted to make something weird and far-out that came from the heart finally. I was always trying to make something like this I guess, trying to catch up with my imagination. And I think I succeeded in that way — it’s got some weird instrumentation on there, and some surreal far-out words.

                                                    I’m lucky enough to have some people who are playing on it who had a big part in shaping the songs and writing with me. Cooper Crain, the guy who engineered it, and played all the synthesizers. And when the flute guy, Nate Lepine came in, that was really something that made it special. The producer was this guy LeRoy Bach. I love LeRoy, he’s a really talented guy. He did the last record too.

                                                    And it’s more Chicago-y sounding. Chicago sounds like a train constantly coming towards you but never arriving. That’s the sound I hear, all the time, ringing in my ears.” – Ryley Walker.

                                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                                    Barry says: Narcotics enthusiast and all-round ledge Ryley takes us on his newest journey into the wilderness with 'Deafman Glance', with the same tender plucking acousticry we've come to know and love, but with the psychedelic element all the more pronounced. Brilliantly progressive and nuanced songwriting with Walker's imitable style.

                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                    1. In Castle Dome
                                                    2. 22 Days
                                                    3. Accommodations
                                                    4. Can't Ask Why
                                                    5. Opposite Middle
                                                    6. Telluride Speed
                                                    7. Expired
                                                    8. Rocks On Rainbow
                                                    9. Spoil With The Rest

                                                    A Place To Bury Strangers

                                                    Pinned

                                                      Try, if only for a moment, to envision a scenario in which you could still be completely *surprised* by a rock band. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s increasingly rare.

                                                      A couple of years ago, A Place to Bury Strangers were in search of a new drummer. Lia Simone Braswell, an L.A. native, had recently moved to New York, and was playing drums in shows around Brooklyn "just to keep her chops up." As it turned out, APTBS bassist Dion Lunadon caught one of those shows and, after seeing her play, was moved to ask her if she’d want to come to a band practice sometime.

                                                      "I told some of my friends about it before I met up with them," Braswell says, of the rehearsal that would soon lead to her joining the band. "They told me, 'You’re just gonna have to keep up as much as you possibly can.’"

                                                      "To be fair, she had also never seen us live," Lunadon adds. "She didn’t necessarily know what she was getting into."

                                                      What she was getting into: For well over a decade now, A Place to Bury Strangers-Lunadon, founding guitarist/singer Oliver Ackermann, and, officially, Braswell-have become well known for their unwavering commitment to unpredictable, often bewildering live shows, and total, some might say dangerous volume. They don’t write setlists. They frequently write new songs mid-set. They deliberately provoke and sabotage sound people in a variety of cruel yet innovative ways. They can and will always surprise you. "When something goes wrong on-stage, a lot of bands will crumble under the pressure," says Ackermann. "We like the idea of embracing the moment when things go wrong and turning it into the best thing about the show."

                                                      This April marks the release of Pinned, their fifth full-length and an album that finds them converting difficult moments into some of their most urgent work to date. It’s their first since the 2016 election, and their first since the 2014 closing of Death By Audio, the beloved Brooklyn DIY space where Ackerman lived, worked, and created with complete freedom. "After DBA closed, I moved to an apartment in Clinton Hill," he says. "I couldn’t make too much noise, couldn’t disturb my neighbors. I would just sit there and write with a drum machine. It had to be about writing a good song and not about being super, sonically loud."

                                                      There are searing meditations on truth and government-led conspiracies ("Execution"), as well as haunting, harmonized responses to the tensions of our current political climate ("There’s Only One of Us"). It all opens with "Never Coming Back," a frightening crescendo of group vocals, vertiginous guitar work, and Lunadon’s unrelenting bass. "That song is a big concept," Ackermann says. "You make these decisions in your life…you’re contemplating whether or not this will be the end. You think of your mortality, those moments you could die and what that means. You’re thinking about that edge of the end, deciding whether or not it’s over. When you’re close to that edge, you could teeter over."

                                                      It’s a clear and honest statement of intent, not just for everything that follows, but for this band as a whole. "As things go on, you don’t want them to be stagnant," Ackermann says. "Being a band for ten years, it’s hard to keep things moving forward. I see so many bands that have been around and they’re a weaker version of what they used to be. This band is anti-that. We try to push ourselves constantly, with the live shows and the recordings. We always want to get better. You’ve got to dig deep and take chances, and sometimes, I questioned that. It took really breaking through to make it work. I think we did that."

                                                      They definitely did. 

                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                      Barry says: Throbbing bass, snappy distorted vocals and churning, machinated minimal-wave vox and NIN-esque claustrophobic ambience, all held withing a solid and impenetrable shell of gnarly, saturated guitars. Superb.

                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                      Single CD/LP
                                                      Never Coming Back
                                                      Execution
                                                      There’s Only One Of Us
                                                      Situations Changes
                                                      Too Tough To Kill
                                                      Frustrated Operator
                                                      Look Me In The Eye
                                                      Was It Electric
                                                      I Know I’ve Done Bad Things
                                                      Act Your Age
                                                      Attitude
                                                      Keep Moving On

                                                      Double CD/LP

                                                      Never Coming Back
                                                      Execution
                                                      There’s Only One Of Us
                                                      Situations Changes
                                                      Too Tough To Kill
                                                      Frustrated Operator
                                                      Look Me In The Eye
                                                      Was It Electric
                                                      I Know I’ve Done Bad Things
                                                      Act Your Age
                                                      Attitude
                                                      Keep Moving On
                                                      When You’re Alone
                                                      The World Dies
                                                      She Goes Out With The Devil
                                                      Flickering Fly
                                                      Punch Back
                                                      Delusion Of Time
                                                      Now That You’ve Left It All
                                                      I Will Follow You

                                                      Durand Jones & The Indications

                                                      Durand Jones & The Indications

                                                      The album, which was originally released in 2016, received praise from The Philadelphia Inquirer, who called it, “Smartly restrained music steeped in the Deep South” and Paste, who said, “With a tingling rasp that screams James Brown and coos Otis Redding, Jones simply has to be heard to be believed on these vintage R&B pleas.” Detroit Metro Times furthered, “Modern soul that pulls with as much power as Lee Fields and Charles Bradley.” Of their debut, the band reflects, “Three years ago we spent every Sunday in our basement with a 4-track tape machine and a goal: record an album inspired by not only the ubiquitous titans of soul music but also the should-have-beens and the never-weres. With that modest target in mind, we released the record and booked one show marking the occasion. The reception we saw was both humbling and invigorating, and what started as a recording project, became a touring unit with larger aspirations.”

                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                      Laura says: Boy can these guys sing! Timeless sweet soul music.

                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                      Make A Change
                                                      Smile
                                                      Can't Keep My Cool
                                                      Groovy Babe
                                                      Giving Up
                                                      Is It Any Wonder?
                                                      Now I'm Gone
                                                      Tuck 'N' Roll

                                                      Known for his effortlessly distinctive voice, Make Way For Love marks Marlon's exponential growth as a songwriter. Throughout 11 original songs, he explores new musical terrain and reveals himself in an unprecedented way in the wake of a fractured relationship. While Make Way For Love draws on Marlon's own story, it captures the vagaries of relationships we've all been through: the bliss, ache, uncertainty, and bitterness. Like the best breakup records, Make Way For Love doesn't shy away from heartbreak, but rather stares it in the face, and mines beauty from it. Delicate and bold, tender and searing, it's a mightily personal new step. Make Way For Love was recorded with producer Noah Georgeson and his backing band, The Yarra Benders, in North California's Panoramic Studios after several weeks of pre-production in his native Lyttelton, New Zealand with regular collaborator Ben Edwards. The finished result is an expansive record that moves Marlon several paces from "country" - the genre that's been affixed to him more than any in recent years - with forays into cinematic strings, reverb, rollicking guitar, and at least one quiet piano ballad.

                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                      Barry says: Heartfel odes, tinkling keys and powerful confident guitars weave into an engrossing and confident whole. Superbly written melodies and pitch-perfect production make this a sure-fire winner.

                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                      Come To Me
                                                      What's Chasing You
                                                      Beautiful Dress
                                                      Party Boy
                                                      Can I Call You
                                                      Love Is A Terrible Thing
                                                      I Know A Jewller
                                                      I Didn't Make A Plan
                                                      The Fire Of Love
                                                      Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore
                                                      Make Way For Love

                                                      Shame thrives on confrontation. Whether it be the seething intensity crackling throughout debut LP Songs of Praise or the adrenaline-pumping chaos that unfolds at Shame’s shows, it’s all fueled by feeling. NPR’s Bob Boilen noted, “Of the 70 bands I saw at this year’s SXSW, the band Shame seemed to mean what they played more than any other.”

                                                      Comprised of vocalist Charlie Steen, guitarists Sean Coyle-Smith and Eddie Green, bassist John Finerty, and drummer Charlie Forbes, the London-based five-piece began as school boys. From the outset, Shame built the band up from a foundation of DIY ethos while citing The Fall and Wire among its biggest musical influences.

                                                      Utilizing both the grit and sincerity of that musical background, Shame carved out a niche in the South London music scene and then barreled fearlessly into the angular, thrashing post-punk that would go on to make up Songs of Praise, their Dead Oceans debut. From “Gold Hole,” a tongue-in-cheek takedown of rock narcissism, to lead single “Concrete” detailing the overwhelming moment of realizing a relationship is doomed, to the frustrated “Tasteless” taking aim at the monotony of people droning through their day-to-day, Songs of Praise never pauses to catch its breath.

                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                      1. Dust On Trial
                                                      2. Concrete
                                                      3. One Rizla
                                                      4. The Lick
                                                      5. Tasteless
                                                      6. Donk
                                                      7. Gold Hole
                                                      8. Friction
                                                      9. Lampoon
                                                      10. Angie

                                                      Of his 12th studio album and its enigmatic title, Destroyer’s Dan Bejar offers the following:

                                                      Sometime last year, I discovered that the original name for “The Wild Ones” (one of the great English-language ballads of the last 100 years or so) was “Ken.” I had an epiphany, I was physically struck by this information. In an attempt to hold on to this feeling, I decided to lift the original title of that song and use it for my own purposes. It’s unclear to me what that purpose is, or what the connection is. I was not thinking about Suede when making this record. I was thinking about the last few years of the Thatcher era. Those were the years when music first really came at me like a sickness, I had it bad. Maybe “TheWild Ones” speaks to that feeling, probably why Suede made no sense in America. I think “ken” also means “to know.”

                                                      ken was produced by Josh Wells of Black Mountain, who has been the drummer in Destroyer since 2012. The album was recorded in its entirety in the jam space/studio space that the group calls The Balloon Factory. However, unlike Poison Season, ken was not recorded as a “band” record, though everyone in the band does make an appearance.

                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                      1 Sky's Grey
                                                      2 In The Morning
                                                      3 Tinseltown Swimming In Blood
                                                      4 Cover From The Sun
                                                      5 Saw You At The Hospital
                                                      6 A Light Travels Down The Catwalk
                                                      7 Rome
                                                      8 Sometimes In The World
                                                      9 Ivory Coast
                                                      10 Stay Lost
                                                      11 La Regle De Jeu

                                                      Alex Lahey

                                                      I Love You Like A Brother

                                                        I Love You Like A Brother is the highly anticipated album from Melbourne’s Alex Lahey. An infectious debut that shines with a rare confidence, I Love You Like A Brother is a riotous record, packed with relatable fuzzpop gems. 

                                                        After finishing school, Lahey initially went to university to study jazz saxophone, but unimpressed with “learning music in such a regimented way” she switched to an arts degree. While studying, Alex cut her teeth as a member of cult party collective Animaux, which allowed her restlessly rebellious streak to flourish. Alex began to form the blueprint for her own solo material by writing songs inspired by the two people she considers the greatest songwriters of all time, Dolly Parton and Bruce Springsteen, whilst retaining the punk spirit of her first musical outing. These songs found themselves on her first solo EP, the acclaimed B-Grade University.

                                                        The EP included the single. ‘You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me’; a mainstay on Australian radio, landing on triple j’s prestigious Hottest 100 of 2016. The song’s universal tale of rejection took Lahey global - its message, she says, is the flipside of the usual break-up scenario: “Yeah, you’re right. It’s not me. It IS you”. This no-shit-taken attitude forms the backbone of I Love You Like A Brother as evidenced by the uproarious opening track ‘Every Day’s The Weekend’.

                                                        Throughout the records’ ten songs, Alex’s lyrics deftly move between wry, often hilarious witticism to heartbreaking poignancy. For every uplifting anthem, such as ‘I Love You Like A Brother’ and the unruly ‘Perth Traumatic Stress Disorder’, there’s painfully relatable tracks like ‘Backpack’ and ‘Awkward Exchange’. Despite the instant pop chops of I Love You Like A Brother, there’s introspection, self-doubt and sense of working out the complexities of growing up in this limbo period between youth and adulthood.

                                                        The themes of Alex Lahey’s album might be universal, but it’s the unique approach she takes unpacking them that’s earned her millions of Spotify streams, buzz-worthy showcases at SXSW and festival sets alongside the likes of Flume, The Kills, At The Drive-In and James Blake as well as guesting on tours with Tegan & Sara and Blondie.

                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                        1 Every Day's The Weekend
                                                        2 I Love You Like A Brother
                                                        3 Perth Traumatic Stress Disorder
                                                        4 I Haven't Been Taking Care Of Myself
                                                        5 Backpack
                                                        6 Awkward Exchange
                                                        7 I Want U
                                                        8 Lotto In Reverse
                                                        9 Let's Call It A Day
                                                        10 There's No Money

                                                        Phoebe Bridgers

                                                        Stranger In The Alps

                                                          Phoebe Bridgers wrote her first song at age 11, spent her adolescence at open mic nights and busked through her teenage years at farmers markets in her native Los Angeles. By age 20, she’d caught the ear of Ryan Adams, who listened to her perform her song ‘Killer’ in his LA studio, inviting her to come back and record it there the next day. The session blossomed into the three song ‘Killer’ EP, released to much acclaim on Adams’s Pax-Am label in 2015. In the two short years since, Bridgers has toured or played with Conor Oberst, Julien Baker, City And Colour, Violent Femmes, Mitski, Television and Blake Babies among others.

                                                          Now Phoebe Bridgers releases her debut full-length, ‘Stranger In The Alps’. From the weeping strings and ‘Twin Peaks’ twangs of opening track ‘Smoke Signals’, to the simple heartbreak of ‘Funeral’ and melancholic crescendo of ‘Scott Street’, ‘Stranger In The Alps’ is a swooningly beautiful record with a gothic heart.

                                                          ‘Stranger In The Alps’ features guest vocals by Conor Oberst and John Doe.

                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                          1 Smoke Signals
                                                          2 Motion Sickeness
                                                          3 Funeral
                                                          4 Demi Moore
                                                          5 Scott Street
                                                          6 Killer
                                                          7 Goergia
                                                          8 Chelsea
                                                          9 Would You Rather
                                                          10 You Missed My Heart

                                                          Japanese Breakfast

                                                          Soft Sounds From Another Planet

                                                            Japanese Breakfast’s ‘Soft Sounds From Another Planet’ is less of a concept album about space exploration so much as it is a mood board come to life.

                                                            Over the course of 12 tracks, Michelle Zauner explores a sonic landscape of her own design, one that’s big enough to contain her influences. There are songs on this album that recall the pathos of Roy Orbison’s ballads, while others could soundtrack a cinematic drive down one of ‘Blade Runner’s endless skyways.

                                                            Zauner’s voice is capacious; one moment she’s serenading the past, the next she’s robotically narrating a love story over sleek monochrome, her lyrics more pointed and personal than ever before.

                                                            While ‘Psychopomp’ was a genre-spanning introduction to Japanese Breakfast, this visionary second album launches the project to new heights.

                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                            Diving Woman
                                                            Road Head
                                                            Machinist
                                                            Planetary Ambience
                                                            Soft Sounds From Another Planet
                                                            Boyish
                                                            12 Steps
                                                            Jimmy Fallon Big
                                                            Body Is A Blade
                                                            Till Death
                                                            This House
                                                            Here Come The Tubular Bells

                                                            Recorded in his hometown of Dunedin at the notoriously haunted Chick’s Hotel studio, Kane teamed up with producer Stephen Marr from trip hop group Doprah for Two Hearts and No Brain. The collaborative result is a razor sharp blend of intelligent alt-rock, bearing the signatures of grunge/alt rock swiftly executed with careful, meticulous precision over 11 tracks. Marr’s influence brings a pristine, retro-futuristic sheen which complements Strang’s perfectionist recording style, sharp melody, and verbose lyrical neuroticism. Taking to well-worn subject matter (heartbreak, loneliness, family) with a disarmingly frank scalpel, Strang’s wryly deadpan lines never miss a beat – the results often sardonic, and always captivating.

                                                            Two Hearts and No Brain is pure pop genius from start to finish. It’s hard to imagine who else could convincingly fuse fuzzy synths with slide guitar; crunchy chords with chiming vocals in such a kaleidoscopic pop vision. The album’s cover art, featuring a refracted analogue photograph taken of Kane atop of a rocky precipice; echoes the spirit of lean guitar-pop shining through a truly contemporary, innovative lens. His attention to detail shows up the fat slack present in the work of many of Kane’s contemporaries; yet his sound remains emotive and playfully laced with a tongue-in-cheek nostalgia – timelessly old and new in the same breath.

                                                            What sets Kane apart from the rafts of DIY indie songwriters is a willingness to push further. Having mastered the lo-fi aesthetic, he’s stretched his already limber songwriting legs and production chops to new unexpected spaces on Two Hearts and No Brain. Kane’s vision of extending his sound far beyond the bedroom promises international touring and releases the world over. With a live show that exhibits his unpredictable and exhilarating command on stage, Kane’s amassed a band of cohorts to execute his vision with arresting impact, sure to charm crowds with his sideways slant of guitar pop.

                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                            1. Lagoons
                                                            2. Silence Overgrown
                                                            3. Not Quite
                                                            4. Oh So You’re Off I See
                                                            5. See Thru
                                                            6. Summertime In Your Lounge
                                                            7. My Smile Is Extinct
                                                            8. Two Hearts And No Brain
                                                            9. It’s Not That Bad
                                                            10. Don’t Follow Me (I’m Lost)
                                                            11. Good Guy

                                                            Kevin Morby

                                                            City Music

                                                              City Music is the new album by Kevin Morby. Full of listless wanderlust, it’s a collection inspired by and devoted to the metropolitan experience across America and beyond by a songwriter cast from his own mold. As he puts it: “It is a mix-tape, a fever dream, a love letter dedicated to those cities that I cannot get rid of, to those cities that are all inside of me.”

                                                              His fourth album, City Music works as a counterpart to Morby’s acclaimed 2016 release Singing Saw, an autobiographical set that reflected the solitude and landscape in which it was recorded. Saw was imagined as “an old bookshelf with a young Bob and Joni staring back at me, blank and timeless. They live here, in this left side of my brain, smoking cigarettes and playing acoustic guitars while lying on an unmade bed.”

                                                              And now follows City Music, the yang to its yin, the heads to its tails. It is a collection crafted using the other side of its creator’s brain, the jumping off point perhaps best once again encapsulated by an image. “Here, Lou Reed and Patti Smith stare out at the listener,” explains Morby. “Stretched out on a living room floor they are somewhere in mid-70s Manhattan, also smoking cigarettes.” It finds Morby exploring similar themes of solitude, but this time framed by a window of an uptown apartment that looks down upon an international urban landscape “exposed like a giant bleeding wound.”

                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                              1 Come To Me Now
                                                              2 Crybaby
                                                              3 1234
                                                              4 Aboard My Train
                                                              5 Dry Your Eyes
                                                              6 Flannery
                                                              7 City Music
                                                              8 Tin Can
                                                              9 Caught In My Eye
                                                              10 Night Time
                                                              11 Pearly Gates
                                                              12 Downtown's Lights

                                                              The world has finally caught up with Slowdive. A band whose reach goes far beyond just influencing music is back, with their first new album in 22 years.

                                                              The album is called ‘Slowdive’ - self-titled in an echo of their debut EP from 1990, and is remarkably direct.

                                                              Deftly swerving what co-vocalist/guitarist Rachel Goswell terms “a trip down memory lane”, these eight new tracks are simultaneously expansive and the sonic pathfinders’ most direct material to date.

                                                              Self-titled with quiet confidence, Slowdive’s stargazing alchemy is set to further entrance the faithful while beguiling a legion of fresh ears.

                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                              1 Slomo
                                                              2 Star Roving
                                                              3 Don't Know Why
                                                              4 Sugar For The Pill
                                                              5 Everyone Knows
                                                              6 No Longer Making Time
                                                              7 Go Get It
                                                              8 Falling Ashes

                                                              Califone

                                                              Quicksand / Cradlesnakes: Deluxe Edition

                                                                In the Summer of 2002, Tim Rutili and the rest of Califone had just come out of a busy year that included touring with ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’-era Wilco and collaborating with Issac Brock’s alter-ego project, Ugly Casanova. With new creative energy unlocked the band began work on the follow-up to their breakout full-length debut, ‘Roomsound’. The result, the much celebrated ‘Quicksand / Cradlesnakes’, brims with earned confidence.

                                                                Here, Califone began to master the mix of blues, country and technical glitchery so oft-referenced today, all the while creating something timeless. ‘Quicksand / Cradlesnakes’ is rugged and elegant, dark and optimistic, familiar and entirely new. In a word it is beautiful.

                                                                Hard Love, Tim Showalter’s latest release as Strand of Oaks, is a record that explores the balancing act between overindulgence and accountability. Recounting Showalter’s decadent tour experiences, his struggling marriage, and the near death of his younger brother, Hard Love emanates an unabashed, raw, and manic energy that embodies both the songs and the songwriter behind them. “For me, there are always two forces at work: the side that’s constantly on the hunt for the perfect song, and the side that’s naked in the desert screaming at the moon. It’s about finding a place where neither side is compromised, only elevated.”

                                                                During some much-needed downtime following the release of his previous album, HEAL, Showalter began writing Hard Love and found himself in a now familiar pattern of tour exhaustion, chemically-induced flashbacks, and ongoing domestic turmoil. Drawing from his love of Creation Records, Trojan dub compilations, and Jane’s Addiction, and informed by a particularly wild time at Australia’s Boogie Festival, he sought to create a record that would merge all of these influences while evoking something new and visceral. Showalter’s first attempt at recording the album led to an unsatisfying result—a fully recorded version of Hard Love that didn’t fully achieve the ambitious sounds he heard in his head. He realized that his vision for the album demanded collaboration, and enlisted producer Nicolas Vernhes, who helped push him into making the most fearless album of his career.

                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                1 Hard Love
                                                                2 Radio Kids
                                                                3 Everything
                                                                4 Salt Brothers
                                                                5 On The Hill
                                                                6 Cry
                                                                7 Quit It
                                                                8 Rest Of It
                                                                9 Taking Acid And Talking To My Brother

                                                                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.

                                                                    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.

                                                                        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.

                                                                            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.

                                                                              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

                                                                                  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.

                                                                                    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.

                                                                                      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.

                                                                                              ‘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.”

                                                                                                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.

                                                                                                  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.



                                                                                                    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.

                                                                                                      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

                                                                                                      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).

                                                                                                        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.


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