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Tashi Dorji

Guitar Improvisations

    “Guitar Improvisation and Tashi Dorji are the first physical releases of my guitar improvisations. They were put out by a small local, now defunct, label called Headway Recording in 2012 and 2013. The friends who ran the label had heard some of my guitar music and reached out to me about doing a cassette release.

    Guitar Improvisations was really my first recording of improvisation—in a semi-studio setting at my friend’s basement space. It really was a formative time for me because it felt like everything opened, as far as the possibilities of what music-making meant. Like improvisation walked in and then there was a volcanic eruption...

    The self-titled session was recorded at a nice studio at the local university here in Asheville. I had some friends that were studying music there and had access to studio time. This session focused more on extended/prepared guitar ideas. My interest in percussive elements of sounds, timbre, harmonics, and dynamics plays a lot in this recording.”


    1. Improvisation I
    2. Improvisation IV
    3. Improvisation V
    4. Improvisation II
    5. Improvisation VII

    Tashi Dorji

    Tashi Dorji

      These two early cassette-only titles from the renowned guitar improviser Tashi Dorji were released a decade ago—this reissue marks their debut on vinyl.

      “Guitar Improvisation and Tashi Dorji are the first physical releases of my guitar improvisations. They were put out by a small local, now defunct, label called Headway Recording in 2012 and 2013. The friends who ran the label had heard some of my guitar music and reached out to me about doing a cassette release.

      Guitar Improvisations was really my first recording of improvisation—in a semi-studio setting at my friend’s basement space. It really was a formative time for me because it felt like everything opened, as far as the possibilities of what music-making meant. Like improvisation walked in and then there was a volcanic eruption...

      The self-titled session was recorded at a nice studio at the local university here in Asheville. I had some friends that were studying music there and had access to studio time. This session focused more on extended/prepared guitar ideas. My interest in percussive elements of sounds, timbre, harmonics, and dynamics plays a lot in this recording.”


      1. Iron Cloud
      2. April
      3. Macula
      4. Sunder
      5. Take Shape
      6. Moves Southward

      John Fahey

      Proofs & Refutations

        Recorded in 1995 and 1996, mostly in John Fahey’s room at a Salem, Oregon boarding house, the performances on ‘Proofs & Refutations’ prefigure the ornery turn of the page that marked Fahey’s final years, drawing another enigmatic rabbit from his seemingly bottomless musical hat.

        Cloaked in the language of dogma - what is he proving? refuting? - this is Fahey dancing a jig in the Duchampian gap, jester cap bells a-jingling. True believers? He’s got something for you: an uncompromising vision that you can sneer at (“guy can’t play anymore and refuses to concede!”) or embrace as evidence of his genius (“the reinventor does it again!”). Skeptics? He’s there with you, too: sending up the fallacy of certitudes altogether. Institutions, systems, accepted wisdoms. Heroes. Alternative facts, indeed.

        Right out the gate, Fahey re-materializes before us, somewhere between Oracle of Delphi and Clown Prince at Olympus. Mounting a thundering dialectic from on high, ‘All the Rains’ resembles nothing else in his extensive discography - betraying roots in everything from Dada to Episcopal liturgical chant - and contains nary a plucked guitar note. You can’t fool him! When the lap steel of yore appears on ‘F for Fake’, it serves more as soundbed for an extended sequence of vocal improvisations, running the gamut from wordless Bashoian caterwauling to free-form (but decidedly fake) Tuvan, even revealing a burnished falsetto in the process.

        Fahey takes on a different kind of provocation in the two acoustic guitarbased tracks closing Side 1 - ‘Morning’ parts 1 and 2 - the first of four recordings in this session that have him wrestling with the ghost of Skip James, perhaps Fahey’s effort to wrench the “bitter, hateful old creep” (his words) back into the grave.

        Anchoring Side 2 is the two-part ‘Evening, Not Night’, the second half of his extended cathexis on James (and the latter’s avowed castration complex - another story for another day, perhaps). Bit of a chill in the air – where’s the impish Fahey from earlier? Unmistakably working through some psychic wounds here, we might think: the unheimlich rendered in glistening viscera. Or is he playing with our notions of authenticity, of his reputation as troubadour of raw emotional states, a pilgrim of the ominous, the simmering unconscious? These cards are kept decidedly close to the vest. The opening and closing pieces again feature Fahey’s guitar as drone soundbed - employing distortion, oscillation, and an altogether absurd quotient of reverb to create texture and harmonics that are - if we want to go there - not dissimilar to the sustained tonic clusters of Tibetan singing bowls, the hurdy gurdy, Hindustani classical music, or La Monte freaking Young.

        Portions of this material appeared on obscure late 1990s vinyl in the 7” or double-78 rpm format, but as a ‘session’ it has lain dormant more than a quarter century now. Taken together, we can now see these tracks as secret blueprints to latter-day Fahey provocations, several years prior to records like 1997’s ‘City of Refuge’ and ‘Womblife’.


        All The Rains
        F For Fake
        Morning, Pt 1
        Morning, Pt 2
        For LMC2
        Evening, Not Night, Pt 1
        Evening, Not Night, Pt 2
        Untitled (w/o Rain)



          Prison is a state of mind, an experience, a loose collective, a band, a jam band and a bunch of psychedelic dudes who aren’t your average bunch of jambanders.

          The only way to really get it is to go to Prison - and if you’re not from greater NYC and haven’t showed up at any of the shows, here’s your best bet: their breakout album, ‘Upstate’. And what a breakout. So high, you can’t get under it; so wide, you can’t get over it. How wide? Every song has two titles, that’s how wide. And almost everybody sings, all the time. That wide.

          Sure, you can break down the numbers - five guys, five songs and four sides of vinyl in one gatefold sleeve - but that won’t get you ‘Upstate’, either. Prison is the sound of everybody in the room figuring out where to go, individually and collectively. As they go through it, the meaning changes, the destination changes, the words mean something different. It’s meaning and no meaning, rising and falling, sinking and flying on the back of something massive cacophonized by three guitars, four vocals, a bass and drums. A lot of information bouncing around and enough time to really get you out of yourself.

          The Prison population changes with the seasons, and during the season this album was recorded, Sarim Al- Rawi, Mike Fellows, Sam Jayne, Matt Lilly and Paul Major were in Prison. Sarim you might know from Liquor Store, Mike’s made a bunch of scenes and records as Mighty Flashlight, Sam, who passed away in 2020 (RIP) was in Love as Laughter, and Paul Major you know from Endless Boogie, who Matt had roadied for, and, despite being “just a skateboarder who loves music” with no previous experience on the drums, he and Sarim inaugurated the Prison experience seven years ago. Since then, it just fell together, and it keeps doing so. A free thing called Prison.


          Hold The Building Up / The Prison Within
          Hold ‘em Up / Comin’ Down On Me
          Low Hangin’ Disco Ball / So Alone
          I Always Get What I Want / Playin’ Pool With The Planets
          Destroy / Cookin’ With Heat

          P.G. Six

          Murmurs & Whispers

            Back from the silence is P.G. Six, with their first proper album since 2011’s Starry Mind. Introducing ‘Murmurs & Whispers’.

            After five releases in the first decade of P.G. Six, it may seem a bit of a surprise to have not heard something new in the past twelve years — but Pat Gubler has been keeping busy as ever in his expanding musical universe. He’s been active since the mid-90s, first with Memphis Luxure and Tower Recordings, then as P.G. Six, and as a member of Metal Mountains, Wet Tuna, Garcia Peoples and Weeping Bong Band in recent years.

            After the previous P.G. albums of electric band arrangements, Pat found himself in a familiar place of quiet and solitude. He took on a lot of ‘Murmurs & Whispers’ himself, adding guitar, bass, keyboards, recorder and hurdy gurdy, in addition to harp and vocals. Clark Griffin and Wednesday Knudson, whom Pat plays with in Weeping Bong Band, played and sang a bit themselves, and the record was recorded piece by piece in houses around upstate New York with Mike "The Mighty Flashlight" Fellows acting as producer.

            On the first single, ‘I Have Known Love’, Pat's years of playing the harp (more of them than years he's been in bands) pay off, as he plays his Triplett Celtic model with pristine fingerwork and heavy soul. Evoking worlds, generations and future waves radiated from the folk tradition, Murmurs & Whispers finds P.G. at an apex of his special talent for earthly sounds with transcendent aspirations.

            Returning to the deep acoustic focus of the first couple of P.G. Six albums, ‘Murmurs & Whispers’ is more straightforward in expressing its vision of rural celestial wonder. Bucolic and comfortably lived in, ‘Murmurs & Whispers’ nonetheless projects the transcendent heart of P.G. Six once again, and as ever, it is magnificent to hear it passing through us.

            TRACK LISTING

            I Have Known Love 
            Tell Me Death 
            I Have A House 
            Just Begun 
            Barley Wine 
            I Don't Want To Be Free
            Foggy Hill 

            Arnold Dreyblatt & The Orchestra Of Excited Strings


              Following several releases over the past decade of archival Arnold Dreyblatt & The Orchestra of Excited Strings material and collaborations with other ensembles, on labels including Black Truffle, Choice Records, Megafaun and Superior Viaduct, Drag City are excited to be able to introduce ‘Resolve’, the first release of new Excited Strings music from Arnold Dreyblatt since 2002.

              ‘Resolve’ acts in dialogue with the minimalist inspirations of the first Arnold Dreyblatt & The Orchestra of Excited Strings release, 1982’s ‘Nodal Excitation’ - in effect, looking beneath the hood of several decades of progression, reviewing and renewing the revolutionary intent of their foundation credo.

              The reference points, then as now, include La Monte Young, Tony Conrad and Phill Niblock, as well as Jim O’Rourke, whose support for Arnold’s music in the 1990s sparked new life. Konrad Sprenger, Joachim Schütz and Oren Ambarchi form the current Orchestra of Excited Strings, first initiated in Berlin in 2009 - but the story of Arnold Dreyblatt’s conception (a rhythmic drone played by Dreyblatt on a double bass strung with piano wire, playing in concert with other stringed instruments performing in 20 unequal microtones per octave and changing key but keeping the same fundamental pitch) dates back to the 1970s, when Arnold evolved his interests in media arts to include acoustic sound while studying under Young and Pauline Oliveros before forming his first Orchestra in 1979 (from 1980 he studied with Alvin Lucier at Wesleyan University, where the second Orchestra was formed).

              Each phase of Arnold’s music with The Orchestra of Excited Strings requires several overlapping periods of gestation. In the initial writing of the music, the expectation is that the musicians be there to allow the instruments to sound; later, in playing the music with the orchestra, free interaction among the players results in the fixing of additional parts in the final pieces. And so, each Orchestra brings their selves to the project. In the case of Resolve, each of the members, as composers, producers, DJs and artists in their own right, brought their own unique angles. Konrad Sprenger (aka Jörg Hiller)’s treatments involved solenoids, sine waves and a computer-controlled multi-channel electric guitar (as well as a relentless style behind the drum kit and overseeing the sound production), while Joachim Schütz’s individual conception of electronics and electric guitar and Oren Ambarchi’s undeniable innovations with signal path work together with Arnold’s Excited Strings bass as magnetic component parts of ‘Resolve’.

              Side One features three potent new compositions demonstrating the Orchestra’s unique feel - incorporating rhythmic accents that act as microbeats within Dreyblatt’s microtones, implying shuffling funk and metallic rock at times, yet never deviating from the driving intensity of the harmonic play.

              Side Two is taken up by the piece ‘Auditoria’, in which Ambarchi and Sprenger’s production methodologies turn the Orchestra inside out, working expansively backwards through harmonic overtones to Dreyblatt’s original tempo in a mesmerizing spatial redistribution of the music. The music of ‘Resolve’ uses a variety of vehicles to find avenues back to the inaugural intent of the Orchestra of Excited Strings.

              This effort is, in ways both tactile and inadvertent, a timely one. With over 40 years of work as a solo artist, collaborator, composer, educator and bandleader, and with his 70th birthday approaching, ‘Resolve’ is an important expression for Arnold Dreyblatt. The album title’s tendency to mean different things is an indicator of the dynamic qualities of his music with The Orchestra of Excited Strings - an evolution that continues to produce new dimensions in acoustic sound with every new release.

              TRACK LISTING

              Shuffle Effect
              Flight Path

              Cory Hanson

              Western Cum

                Cory Hanson’s third solo LP follows 2020’s luminescent ‘Pale Horse Rider’, upping the heat to molten levels, six strings at a time. In search of further adventures, Cory draws with vampiric glee from the madness coursing through the world outside; a spiralling shitshow that’s reawakened a compulsion in him - an old ambition, even! - to crush brutality and elegance together into a fresh set of rocks to hail down upon us.

                ‘Western Cum’ is a high-stepping, hard-dancing, first love / heartbreak, tonight’s-the-night, future nostalgia kind of good time - the sound of guitars through the speakers of luxury cars.

                Harmony leads are just the tip of the iceberg - the guitars like to melt everything in their path. The eight songs of ‘Western Cum’ are driven by the stalwart bass of brother Casey Hanson and the drums of Evan Backer, with a few passing acoustics from Cory and the intermittent spiritmoans of Tyler Nuffer’s steel guitar.

                The quartet sound - two guitars, bass and drums - acts as beat-making principle / phrasing device, as well as template for Cory’s layers of six-string and vocal textures. From the rooftop of their musical safe house - the band in their makeshift hut and Cory ensconced in an outhouse - they let loose with a blast both face-melting and mindblowing.

                With ‘Western Cum’, this debauched and shameless world is redeemed in the same breath as it is repudiated. A massing of voices and guitars form an almost post-gospel harmony, bright and burgeoning, engorging the thermostat, prising the pressure from your chest before the final wink-out. Maybe it’s a mirage, but those things are just another part of reality, aren’t they?

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Barry says: Corey Hanson's voice perfectly rides atop the evocative country-adjacent musical backdrop. Swooning slide guitar and soft lyrics clash headfirst with distorted riffs and athletic noodling. It's both brilliantly inventive and a bold new take on the quiet / loud formula.

                TRACK LISTING

                1. Wings
                2. Housefly
                3. Persuasion Architecture
                4. Horsebait Sabotage
                5. Ghost Ship
                6. Twins
                7. Driving Through Heaven
                8. Motion Sickness

                The Fucking Champs


                  “In May of 1996, with a handful of releases under their belts, the kings of the insanity sound, then known simply as: The Champs, began recording their magnum octopus, III. This time their sights were set beyond the still diminutive cassette format and trained squarely on a gatefold double album - the perfect medium for Total Music. Over the next year, in between touring up and down the west coast, the band molded the Kubrickian monolith known as ‘III’.

                  “In May of 1997, after lugging a console, tape machines, speakers and a smattering of outboard gear up three flights of stairs, the band mixed the album in the bedroom of a third floor apartment, directly overlooking the 280 freeway. The noise floor was such that all windows remained closed for the duration of the process.

                  “Over the next six weeks they played wherever people thirsted for something compelling and different, something to rock out with their Bach out, in a word, well two words, Total Music. While on the road, the band also searched for a suitable record label willing to make the financial commitment a gatefold double album requires - a tall order for a band virtually unknown outside of the west coast and the borough of Manhattan.

                  “Ultimately, the eclectic San Francisco label, Frenetic, took the plunge and generously emptied their modest coffers to fund the manufacture of ‘III’, which was released under the legally distinct band name: C4AM95. In print, the name was easily decoded by use of the ubiquitous ‘devil horns’ or ‘maloik’, with the index finger covering the awkward section of the 4 and the underrated pinkie finger covering the southern portion of the 9. This deliberate obfuscation shielded the band from increasingly ominous communications emanating from Nashville concerning the similarity in name to a certain band from the 1950’s.

                  “After the release of ‘III’, The Champs continued to tour the US, embarking on (and completing) six tours before the turn of the millennium. It was at this point the powers that be at Drag City International realized they could sit on the sidelines no longer and committed to release the band’s aptly titled follow-up, ‘IV’ (on which I was honored to guest, playing bass on the only Champs song ever to feature that instrument). However, one obstacle stood in the band’s way to global dissemination of Total Music: the seemingly benign moniker they had saddled themselves with so many years earlier. After much discussion and consultation with The Oracle, it was determined that adding the supplemental ‘Fucking’ to The Champs name would clear up any confusion regarding another band of the same name from the 1950’s and provide lasting legal indemnification.

                  “The band subsequently released four albums with Drag City, an EP with Thrill Jockey, and a collection of greatest hits on Matador. They contributed music to moving pictures (both television and film) and wrote music for video games, such as The Sims. They collaborated with French sensations Justice. They toured the US, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, and spread the totality of Total Music far and wide. Name dropped by luminaries such as Chloë Sevigny, they were often cited as inspiration by sources from Metallica to The Strokes to that guy from Guided by Voices. The Fucking Champs left an indelible mark on the musical consciousness of the second to last and final millennia.

                  “For this special 26th anniversary edition of III, the album was remastered by the band from the original master tapes, lacquers expertly cut by John Golden and artwork restored by forensic experts in Drag City’s employ. Long sought after on eBay, Discogs and the like, this will be the first time that this master stroke of musicality will be made widely available.”

                  “I hope you enjoy this timeless classic as much I have these past 25 years.” - Dale Nixon, April 15, 2022

                  TRACK LISTING

                  Andres Segovia Interests Me
                  Valkyrie Is Dying
                  Don The Atmosphere
                  Heart To Heart
                  The Trees
                  Silent Night, Friendly Night
                  Some Swords
                  Lee Tom
                  Now Is The Winter Of Our Discoteque
                  You’re Feelings
                  Dale Bozzio
                  Sad Segovia
                  Flawless Victory
                  The Golden Pipes Trilogy:
                  1) The Golden Pipes
                  2) On Seas Of Sorrow Sail Death’s
                  3) Starlight On The Barrow Downs
                  Some Swords Reprise
                  Atop The Pyramid That Is You
                  Guns In Our Schools
                  Tonight, We Ride
                  The Tennis Book
                  You’ve Got A Thirst, Portland

                  Matt Espy


                    Matt Espy is an American drummer and percussionist. Born in Dayton, Ohio, he spent his youth playing every genre of music he could find, playing out in clubs starting at age 14 and launching his touring career at 18. He moved to Chicago in 1996 and continued his journey playing rock, avant-garde, jazz, and performance art pieces. He’s played drums for a number of groups and charismatic individuals, including Atombombpocketknife, Duke Special and The Mountain Goats. Over the past decade, he’s found his home with Dead Rider, also on Drag City.

                    ‘Hawksworth’ is Matt’s first solo adventure. In the field of solo drumming albums, it’s an avian psychedelic percussion trip all of its own. A dialogue between birds, electronics, and drums, ‘Hawksworth’ operates along precise degrees in the vastness that exists between the diverse poles of Terry Riley and Martin Denny. It captures one particularly memorable morning walk from long ago, a time immemorial in Matt’s life. In this new musical rendering, that fateful morning is ridden with wormholes throughout the piece, like hyperspace links that travel to motifs from his 30-plus years music career with every step along the way.

                    The inspiration for the album came to Matt all at once a couple of years back. It was early pandemic times, and the world outside his home felt drained of people, which brought the sounds of the world without people to his attention. It took a while for the impact of that to settle in. One day, while, naturally, listening to music, he heard a pop song employing the barking of a dog as percussion, and sat up with a start. Was it real, or? Like a bolt from the blue, the sonic and the visual design for ‘Hawksworth’ came whole cloth, completely evident to him in that moment. It was done, and all it needed now was to be executed.

                    Matt started with the birds, locating a variety of hi-definition free source samples of their song. He chopped and scattered them into a new state of nature, collapsing the hemispheres and the regions within, to allow the birds of all nations the freedom to flock together. Once the editing work was done, drumming to this sound was almost simple compared to that process. He brought forward some licks - perennials - and other things worked up over time that had or hadn’t found a place with the different bands he’d been in, with room allowed for improvisation. And for Matt, drums were the only way to fly.

                    Working at the studio of Dead Rider frontman Todd Rittmann, Matt found his happy place. ‘Hawksworth’ comments upon a life in music as a space where the firmament is ever vaulting above our head, and Matt uses the world we too often take for granted - the one we live in - as a means to get back to the sky.

                    TRACK LISTING

                    Robin Throated Sparrow
                    Grey Winged Blackbird


                    Timeline - 2023 Reissue

                      2023 marks the twenty-eighth year of Suarasama; it is also the first year for this reissue of their 2013 masterpiece, ‘Timeline’.

                      Irwansyah Harahap and Rithaony Hutajulu, Ethnomusicology lecturers at University of Sumatera Utara, founded Suarasama in 1995 after graduating from the University of Washington Ethnomusicology program. Their music, as expressed on both ‘Timeline’ and ‘Fajar Di Atas Awan’ (first issued in 1998, reissued by Drag City in 2008) is hypnotic and joyful, progressing ancient North Sumatran music concepts while referencing the music of adjacent ethnic traditions. ‘Dukkha’, for example, was written combining Mandailing and Eastern European musical inspirations. Playing this song on African jembe, Indian sruti box and a European lute known as the mandolin, Suarasama instigate a musical synesthesia in the listener that may honestly earn and truly deserve the title of ‘world music’.

                      Throughout ‘Timeline’, this is largely due to Irwansyah Harahap’s master playing on a variety of stringed instruments, including acoustic guitars, Malaysian gambus, mandolin, and an invention of his own design, the saz-guitar. Suarasama’s spirit and intention is further elevated by Rithaony Hutajulu’s vocals, as well as the skilled rhythm playing of Muhammad Amin and Horas Panjaitan, with additional percussion and singing from several others. The sound of Suarasama is the sound of people engaged in a deeply spiritual, constantly moving recital in open space.

                      Suarasama’s conception of ‘Timeline’ was a multifaceted one from the start. It grew from the concept of hemiola, a metric rhythmic structure involving the juxtaposition of a 2-beat time signature upon 3-beat time within the same line. The song ‘Timeline’ itself addresses the history of musical lutes around the world as a means of debuting their custom-made lute, the aforementioned saz-guitar.

                      Finally, and perhaps most significantly, a ‘timeline’ charts the passage of time, and therefore references Suarasama’s musical path over the years of their existence. This is especially significant since founder and leader Irwansyah Harahap passed away in 2021 at the age of 60. As difficult as this loss is for his family, friends and fans alike, the reissue of ‘Timeline’ is seen as a celebration of the vitality and importance of his music career and journey. As a professor, he taught his students about the qualities of North Sumatran traditional music and their relationship to other traditional musics of the world; with the music of Suarasama, he demonstrated the same to listeners across the planet. He worked to preserve the music and the instruments as well, such as the traditional Sumatran taganing, a five-piece set of tuned drums, and hasapi, a lute of the Toba Batak people of North Sumatra. After Irwansyah’s passing, Ritha’s daughter Niesya said that he had always wanted their music studio Rumah Musik Suarasama, in Simpang Selayang, Medan Tuntungan, North Sumatra, to be a centre for music preservation. This dedication to the music was acknowledged in his lifetime through several awards and fellowships around the world, including a recognition from the Ministry of Culture and Education of Indonesia as the pioneer of the World Music genre in Indonesia.

                      Suarasama mourn the loss of their leader, Irwansyah Harahap, and grieve his passing. They intend to continue his legacy and spread his music to the world. As shall we - with the eternally resonant music of ‘Timeline’, crossing as many borders as possible, to bring Suarasama’s world music to all the people, everywhere.

                      TRACK LISTING

                      1. Untukmu Yang Berperang
                      2. Dukkha
                      3. Timeline
                      4. Sea Fish
                      5. Awesome
                      6. Journey
                      7. Kita Berbagi (We Share)


                      Gebel Barkal / Version - 2023 Reissue

                        Reissue of the 2008 Sub Pop single.

                        This was the first OM recording to feature Emil Amos on drums.

                        TRACK LISTING

                        Gebel Barkal

                        Will Oldham & Lori Damiano

                        Shorty’s Ark

                          ‘Shorty’s Ark’ is a book for young readers, a collaborative effort between singer Will Oldham and graphic artist Lori Damiano, based on work by Oldham and musician Matt Sweeney. Drawing inspiration from the story of Noah, ‘Shorty’s Ark’ names and pictures a wild variety of species to inform and engage an equal variety of young minds with the diversity that can be found around this great planet of ours. The flood stands as metaphor for current impending changes in our planet, and the story works as a springboard for understanding concepts of interdependency, diversity and extinction.

                          Colourfully illustrating as many creatures and their places as possible, ‘Shorty’s Ark’ is an earth-affirmative vision meant to stimulate the curiosity and passion of those who encounter it. Will Oldham makes songs, mostly out of his home in Louisville, KY where he lives with his wife Elsa Hansen Oldham and their daughter, Poppy Jo. Increasingly, Oldham’s lyrics make sense. He loves partnering up in order to make the strongest work; it was partnership that yielded the song ‘Shorty’s Ark’ (it can be heard on Matt Sweeney & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s ‘Superwolves’ album), and his partnership with Lori Damiano that make this book what it is.

                          Lori Damiano is an illustrator / animator / textile artist based in Oregon. She loves to tell stories in pictures made out of paint, yarn, or pixels. A lot of the stories she draws are based on observing her fellow earthlings.

                          Xylouris White

                          The Forest In Me

                            Once the listener has set the needle down on the record and heard for themselves the intimacies and impressionism, abstraction and unfiltered emotion found in ‘The Forest In Me’, Xylouris White’s fifth album release (and first since 2019’s ‘The Sisypheans’), one may wonder what was the mood of the room in which this music came to be. Only three people can say for sure, and even then...

                            Guy Picciotto: “In late 2019, we had begun taking steps to working on new material. In a haphazard fashion, Jim and I started tracking drums in my basement, cutting them up into shapes with no set landing in mind. Some of it we sent to Giorgos in Crete - he responded with his lyra and his lute. Without intention we had initiated a process that would soon become more ruthlessly mandated by the world events that separated and isolated us to three corners of the globe in the following year.”

                            Giorgos Xylouris: “Every harmonic is a fallen tree trunk that I climb over. I’m stepping in muddy waters in the woods or coming to a clearing - that is part of the journey I take whether I am playing music with an audience or recording alone. It’s a journey around the forest of my inner self. That’s how I see it.”

                            Jim White: “I ended up in the pandemic in rural Australia on care duty and then back in Melbourne alone in a house with an imminent, ultimately very long lockdown.”

                            Giorgos: “The past several years created a very particular situation that none of us had ever lived through, in such seclusion in our homes and within ourselves. In the isolation I found other wrinkles/folds in my inner being. That helped create this music, as did the unusual way we went about recording.”

                            Jim: “The night before the curfew I acquired some mics from a studio and bought an interface. And learnt to record. And tracked. George tracked in Crete. Guy, in New York, helped assemble the structures and find combinations.”

                            Giorgos: “So every note, every phrase, every instrument came from in and around our inner forests.”

                            Guy: “On previous projects our customary way of working was to be in one room all together; an inward facing triangle of instant communication leading to marathon sessions from which we would build an archive from which to sculpt the records, finding the binding lines that connected the statements we were trying to make.”

                            Giorgos: “Using whatever instruments I had with me in the studio at home, in the silence I discovered things I hadn’t had the peace to uncover previously. I saw that music isn’t static, moving only in its usual ways within the parameters of its centrifugal force–it can move a long way further in other directions.”

                            Guy: “With this record we still had that stash to draw from but now we were also adding material composed from this enforced new geometry; this different, wider triangle where we each assumed different roles than we had previously with writing, engineering, arranging all mixed up like finger paints.”

                            Giorgos: “While we were recording, I noticed that the music had a certain solitude about it, both from the title and from inside. That led us to find more music from within that we had not yet discovered.”

                            Jim: “The idea emerged, naturally nourished and nourishing a record with none of our usual angles and themes, no verbal language, no angst nor sudden dynamics, a more subtle structure. And we found ‘The Forest In Me’.”

                            TRACK LISTING

                            Second Sister
                            Latin White
                            Seeing The Everyday
                            Missing Heart
                            Tails Of Time
                            Night Club
                            Forest In Me
                            Red Wine
                            Witnessed By Angels
                            Memories And Souvenirs
                            Long Doll

                            Alasdair Roberts

                            Grief In The Kitchen And Mirth In The Hall

                              From our now-venerable, but ever thistle-sharp, Scots singer of new songs and old, comes a fifth full-length collection of traditional songs. Reaching down the centuries to unpack these numbers anew, Alasdair finds a set of eternal melodies – and with them, an unsettling number of surreal images that parallel the madness of our modern times.

                              TRACK LISTING

                              The Wonderful Grey Horse
                              Eppie Morrie
                              The Lichtbob’s Lassie
                              Young Airly
                              Bob Norris
                              The Convict Maid
                              The Bonny Moorhen
                              The Baron O’Brackley
                              Mary Mild
                              The Holland Handkerchief

                              Purling Hiss

                              Drag On Girard

                                The colliding circles of time bring us back to the brink of the Hiss at last. Classic rock singing/screaming guitars fuse with Mike Polizze’s hope-n-dreamz feels and explode into fresh heartbreak, happening right now today, as sweet tunes and crushed guitar harmonics pour off the turntable and run out in the street, just like in the old days.

                                It’s 2023, and even the turn of century seems a long time ago now — but oddly, Purling Hiss’s guitar-band ethos feels ever more timeless, even as time accelerates and passes us in the outside lane. The Hiss aren’t just a simple part of the tradition going back 50-odd years. Their DNA, pulsing in waves of punk and classic radio rock, grunge and slacker, is ineffably, re-singably music — but their signature crushed guitar harmonics, fused with deep soulfulness, meld into something that cuts us with fresh heartbreak, an eternal recurrence that seems to be happening right now today, as it pours off the turntable and runs down the street.

                                Drag On Girard, the first Purling Hiss album in six years, cruises through these states of mind and places in time — dreams from the past and the future, careening lawlessly as they slide around loose on the road, an ever-present youth in their roll. As before, but with new twists, Mike Polizze and his gang let loose with the chaos and noise implied by their name, applying high-end splatter and slow-rolling low end to eight vehicles, running the gamut from gleaming pop gems to head-cleaning epic jams before they’re done.

                                TRACK LISTING

                                Yer All In My Dreams
                                Something In My Basement
                                Out The Door
                                When The End Is Over
                                Stay With Us
                                Drag On Girard
                                Shining Gilded Boulevard

                                Bill Callahan


                                  “And we’re coming out of dreams / And we’re coming back to dreams” is the first thing you hear Bill say as you remake your acquaintance on YTI⅃AƎЯ. Right out the gate, he’s standing in two places at once: meeting up with old friends behind the scenes and encountering them on the record, finding himself coming round the bend and then again as someone else on down the line. Like the character actor he played on Gold Record, writing stories about other people, telling jokes about everyone, and in singing them, becoming the songs.

                                  From the beautiful to the jarring, intrepid explorer Callahan charts a passage through all kinds of territory, pitting dreams of dreams against dreams of reality. When he makes it back to us, his old friends 'n acquaintances, we are reminded how much of a world it can be out there - and in here as well, where we live everyday.

                                  TRACK LISTING

                                  First Bird
                                  Naked Souls
                                  Natural Information
                                  The Horse
                                  Last One At The Party

                                  Ty Segall & Emmett Kelly

                                  Live At Worship

                                    A sunny night from July of 2022 as “Hello, Hi” was just about to drop! Ty and Emmett staged a spontaneous acoustic show at a Highland Park clothing boutique, in advance of the album release shows at LA’s mighty Teragram Ballroom. With the packed crowd drawing magnetically toward the players, their performance elevates to the roof, intimate in nature but epic in response to the audience’s open enthusiasm.

                                    TRACK LISTING

                                    Hello, Hi
                                    Don't Lie
                                    Saturday Pt. 2

                                    Meg Baird


                                      Meg Baird’s songs are rarely made up of tidy stories. In fact, for Meg, mystery itself is often the medium. With ‘Furling’, Meg’s fourth album under her own name, she explores the breadth of her musical fascinations and the environments around them - the edges of memory, daydreams spanning years, loose ends, loss, divergent paths, and secret conversations under stars. ‘Furling’ moves through these varied spaces with the slippery, misty cohesiveness of a dream - guided by an ageless, stirring voice that remains singular and unmistakable.

                                      Since co-founding the beguiling and beautiful Espers in the mid-aughts amid Philadelphia’s fertile underground music community, Meg’s solo recordings have constituted just a fraction of her work.

                                      Her first solo LP, the disarmingly out-of-time ‘Dear Companion’ (2007), saw her carve a quiet, sunlit space away from the flickering swirl of Espers. Since her last solo releases, ‘Seasons on Earth’ (2011) and ‘Don’t Weigh Down the Light’ (2015), Meg has lent thunderous drumming, lead vocal, and poetry to Heron Oblivion (Sub Pop) on an album that garnered praise from the New York Times and made Mojo’s Top Ten Albums Of 2016 list. She collaborated with harpist Mary Lattimore on the mesmerizingly hazy ‘Ghost Forests’ (2018). She’s played drums with Philadelphia scuzz-punks Watery Love (In The Red, Richie Records) and explored her deep familial folk roots in the Baird Sisters (Grapefruit Records). She also contributed her vocal arrangements to albums from Sharon Van Etten, Kurt Vile, Will Oldham and Steve Gunn, and toured with Angel Olson, Dinosaur Jr., Bill Callahan, Thurston Moore and Bert Jansch, among others.

                                      Yet ‘Furling’ is the album that most irreverently explores the span of her work and musical touchstones. It showcases her natural tether to 1960s English folk traditions. But it also reveals her deep love for soul balladry, the solitary musings of Flying Saucer Attack and Neil Young shackled to his piano deep in the foggy pre-dawn, dubby Bristol atmospherics, the melancholy memory collage of DJ Shadow’s ‘Endtroducing’, and the delicious, Saturday night promise of St. Etienne.

                                      ‘Furling’ was primarily recorded at Louder Studios by Tim Green (Bikini Kill, Nation of Ulysses, Melvins, Wooden Shjips). Additional piano and vocal recording were captured at Panoramic Studios in Stinson Beach, CA with Jason Quever (Papercuts). It was mastered in Brooklyn by Heba Kadry, who mixed Bjork’s ‘Utopia’ and mastered albums for Slowdive, Cass McCombs and Beach House.

                                      For all its adornments, ‘Furling’ remains deeply intimate. The entire album was performed by Meg and her long-time collaborator, partner, and Heron Oblivion bandmate Charlie Saufley. While her prior solo work hinted at more expansive horizons, ‘Furling’ explores the idea of Meg Baird as a band much more freely. Venturing beyond the musical confines of fingerstyle guitar, she plays drums, mellotron, organs, synths, and vibraphone over her piano and guitar foundations. Her distinctive, simultaneously elegiac and uplifting vocals, meanwhile, connect surreal dream montages, graft sunshine sonics to swooning mediations on romantic solidarity in trying times, and weave odes to the simple gestures of friendship - and the loss of family and friends.

                                      This rich sound world makes the songs a varied bunch: ‘Twelve Saints’ mates Pacific sunset ambience and Pink Floyd pastoral to a meditation on mortality and escape. The infectious and kinetic ‘Will You Follow Me Home’ contemplates hope and longing through the looking glass of a Jimmy Miller-era-Stones strut. And in the closing piece, ‘Wreathing Days’, language disintegrates over tone clusters that feel somewhere between falling and flying.

                                      ‘Wreathing Days’ also reveals much about Meg’s mastery of contrast - situating the dear and delicate adjacent to chaos. And while it’s true that some songs on ‘Furling’ grapple with humanity’s existential unknowns in stark terms, they primarily revel in the mysteries that hide in nature and humanity at their most ordinary. ‘Furling’ lives in the notion that whole universes of experience, enlightenment, elation and ecstasy can bloom in these corners.

                                      TRACK LISTING

                                      Ashes, Ashes
                                      Star Hill Song
                                      Ship Captains
                                      Cross Bay
                                      Twelve Saints
                                      Unnamed Drives
                                      The Saddest Verses
                                      Will You Follow Me Home?
                                      Wreathing Days

                                      Ty Segall

                                      "Hello, Hi"

                                        The man in the tree has a guitar, he’s gonna sing. But the sun shining through the branches— are those rays yellow or hazy gray? What day is today? When are you not going to feel this way again? “Hello, Hi”: welcome in to a new room to play the styles and feels that lie under Ty Segall’s fingers, easing fresh air into acoustic space with an assortment of love songs flowering in righteous unconsciousness. Plaintive and wistful, but unafraid. Like rain washing away yesterday, “Hello, Hi” pushes open the door, inviting the new to pass through all the old shades and degrees of hot and cold. Dark paths turn off abruptly into absurd darkness, then wind back through the broken rocks, ecstatic again.

                                        Absurdity again. It happens everyday. “Hello, Hi” is expansively rendered by Ty, mostly by himself, at home. The isolation suits the songs: you’re only ever as “at home” as you are with yourself in the mirror. Ty’s acoustic and electric guitars and vocal harmonies layer self upon self, forming a spiny backbone for the album. Textures at once gentle and dissonant root the songs as they make their move: melodic arcs convulsing in doubt and bliss and rage. Busting out of the endless gridlock into open space, these spirits pass on through. “Hello, Hi”’s flickering awakening to this trip: the opening three tracks’ train of sweet and salty reflections, before the abrupt crunch of the title track electrifies the senses. Good morning’s turned to good mourning in nothing flat, but there’s still a way up from the doldrums, to try again. Why can’t it be just as simple as “Hello, Hi”? What to do with yourself when love triggers loathing? How many more times do you have to go back there again?

                                        Pulling at the scratchy wool threads of an old sweater favored for warmth, comfort, protection, rejection, denial, blindness etc, Ty Segall dives from a clear, open sky, down through the marine layer and the shimmering waves of all the years. Radiating from the same mind fields as Goodbye Bread and Sleeper, mixed with shard edges of contrast and contradiction from things like Freedom’s Goblin, Manipulator, and First Taste, “Hello, Hi” is Ty’s most relaxed and complete production to date, an ebb-and flow fusion of words and music offering abstraction and acceptance as it wrestles itself through a fucked-up time. Your life and what you make of it — throughout “Hello, Hi,” Ty Segall charts a passage through its enduring tangles honestly, with clarity and confusion.

                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                        Barry says: It's clear that Ty Segall have always been, and always will be one of the most propulsive and groundbreaking forces in modern music. 'Hello, Hi' looks to continue this streak of excellence, both wildly inventive and highly intricate, it's a riff-lovers dream.

                                        TRACK LISTING

                                        1. Good Morning
                                        2. Cement
                                        3. Over
                                        4. Hello, Hi
                                        5. Blue
                                        6. Looking At You
                                        7. Don't Lie
                                        8. Saturday Pt.1
                                        9. Saturday Pt.2
                                        10. Distraction

                                        Ty Segall

                                        Whirlybird (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

                                          Drag City grandly presents Whirlybird (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), featuring all-new music by Ty Segall, created for Matt Yoka’s compelling new documentary.

                                          Released to great acclaim in Summer 2021, Whirlybird tells the story of Zoey Tur and Marika Gerrard, former partners and founders of the Los Angeles News Service, and deftly tracks their extraordinary and often-reckless pursuit of breaking news throughout the 80s and 90s — a time in which they pioneered the use of a helicopter to report on Los Angeles at its most chaotic, capturing historical moments like the 1992 riots and the O.J. Simpson slow speed pursuit.

                                          Through striking interviews and one-of-a-kind archival footage,Yoka’s documentary expertly tells the story of Zoey and Marika’s unraveling marriage as they singlehandededly changed broadcast news forever. These two arcs intertwine to create an electric view of the encroaching intensities of that era, when the 24-hour news cycle first rose up to dominate our national consciousness.

                                          Ty Segall has previously scored scenes and interstitial bits for film and video things here and there — but this is his first full-on feature film score, a work done in collaboration with the director, whose friendship and creative partnership with Ty has grown over a decade-plus of music videos and other projects. Working off notes and feels from Matt and responding to the images and story on screen, Ty crafted some of his most creative arrangements to date, using synth, drum machine, Wurlitzer keyboard, guitars, drums and percussion (plus saxes played by Mikal Cronin, who also cowrote the title track with Ty) to articulate a multitude of tones running through the film. For a shape-shifter like Ty, this apex of tone color is no mean feat, an achievement further highlighted by the full set of pieces. Rather than simply throw a bunch of songs-with-singing at the project, Ty’s score perfectly epitomizes the film’s ethos, providing an instrumental counterpart that dialogues with and helps frame the film’s provocative themes and images.

                                          As both Matt and Ty are natives to the Southern Californian milieu, particularly the era Whirlybird depicts, their collaboration involved a journey through their past. In realizing the music, they revisited their own Los Angeles awakenings, adding another personal layer to the deeply felt meditations and elegies sighted by the remarkable Whirlybird — now an equally thrilling counterpart to be experienced through the original soundtrack.

                                          TRACK LISTING

                                          1. Whirlybird
                                          2. First Date
                                          3. Los Angeles News Service
                                          4. Getting The Story
                                          5. Sky Duo
                                          6. Lawrence Welk III
                                          7. First Pursuit
                                          8. 1992
                                          9. High
                                          10. News Junkies
                                          11. Story Of The Century
                                          12. Whirly Suite
                                          13. Last Flight



                                            Matchess take a giant step from psychedelic songcraft into pure psychoacoustic space, in which songs float with all the other sounds we hear in our body. The music of meditation; a flow of sounds and thoughts of sounds and the natural beating of our ears as they strain to hear more.

                                            TRACK LISTING

                                            Almost Gone (18:00)
                                            Through The Wall (17:59)

                                            Bill Callahan And Bonnie 'Prince' Billy

                                            Blind Date Party

                                              The Blind Date Party hosted by Bill Callahan and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and featuring AZITA, Matt Sweeney, Alasdair Roberts, Matt Kinsey, Sean O’Hagan, Bill MacKay, George Xylouris, Dead Rider, David Pajo, Mick Turner, Meg Baird, Ty Segall, Emmett Kelly, Cory Hanson, Six Organs of Admittance, David Grubbs, Cassie Berman, Cooper Crain and Sir Richard Bishop happened online in the fall and winter of ’20–’21 — but the party planning dated back to the spring of 2020. Stuck at home, with no gigs in the foreseeable future, Bill, Bonnie and Drag City needed an outreach program to keep themselves busy, not to mention sane. In the absence of any company or anything on the calendar, playing songs they loved was an idea; playing with people they loved, the desire. And making it fun — so pairing someone with someone else having no say in the matter, the essence of the blind date, was the plan. Favorite songs were chose; players from around the Drag City galaxy were messaged. Pretty soon, songs were flying back and forth — music in the air!

                                              And thus, they were entertained throughout the summer of 2020, when so much else in the world seemed so completely wrong. By the fall, the songs started to appear online: Bill and Bonnie singing a song by someone they loved and admired; each song cut by another another artist they loved and admired, then sent to Bill and Bonny to provide the finishing touches. The spotlight pointed in every direction each week: toward the singers and writers who’d originally played the songs (Yusuf Islam, Hank Williams Jr., Dave Rich, The Other

                                              Years, Billie Eilish, Steely Dan, Lou Reed, Bill Callahan, Jerry Jeff Walker, Robert Wyatt, Lowell George, Johnnie Frierson, Air Supply, Will Oldham, Leonard Cohen, David Berman, Iggy Pop and John Prine), toward their featured collaborators, the artists whose artwork adorned each digital single and videos made by still more collaborators. And you, the listener.

                                              Like the best parties, it turned out to be everything and more than they’d even hoped for. So many more people were involved in the process that we can get on the page here. Suffice to say, making records over the years has required a broad sense of community and an always-surprising mix of independence and unity, inspiration and utility. Some of our best memories are those where as many of our folks as as possible were together in one place at one time. In those moments, it was just a great thing just to be there. And with others looking in . . . this was a joy one could only be infinitely lucky to feel and to take for granted, as well.

                                              The Blind Date Party was one of these, maybe the most improbable one yet. It’s for everyone who’s here and it’s in the name of everyone who’s gone but will never go and will always live with us here. This album will too.

                                              And thus, we are entertained.

                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                              Darryl says: Combining the best elements of each others talents 'Blind Date Party' finds Bill and Will in fabulous form. Mellow, dark, country-folk laments to snuggle up to during the cold winter months.

                                              TRACK LISTING

                                              The Blackness Of The Night (feat. Azita)
                                              OD'd In Denver (feat. Matt Sweeney)
                                              I've Made Up My Mind (feat. Alasdair Roberts)
                                              Red-Tailed Hawk (feat. Matt Kinsey)
                                              Wish You Were Gay (feat. Sean O'Hagan)
                                              Our Anniversary (feat. Dead Rider)
                                              Rooftop Garden (feat. George Xylouris)
                                              Deacon Blues (feat. Bill MacKay)
                                              I Love You (feat. David Pajo)
                                              Sea Song (feat. Mick Turner)
                                              I've Been The One (feat. Meg Baird)
                                              Miracles (feat. Ty Segall)
                                              I Want To Go To The Beach (feat. Cooper Crain)
                                              Night Rider's Lament (feat. Cory Hanson)
                                              Arise, Therefore (feat. Six Organs Of Admittance)
                                              The Night Of Santiago (feat. David Grubbs)
                                              The Wild Kindness (feat. Cassie Berman)
                                              Lost In Love (feat. Emmett Kelly)
                                              She Is My Everything (feat. Sir Richard Bishop)

                                              Ty Segall


                                                With Harmonizer, his first album in two years, Ty glides smoothly into unexpected territory, right where he likes to find himself! Responding to the challenge his new songs gave him: a synthtastic production redesign, Ty kicks back with bottom-heavy creativity, dialing up a wealth of guitar and keyboard settings to do the deed. Harmonizer is a glossy, barely-precedented sound for him, and truth, it enraptures the ear — but in Ty’s hands, the sound is also a tool that allows him to cut through dense undergrowth, making for some of his cleanest songs and starkest ideas to date. Harmonizer’s production model couches tightly-controlled beats in thick keyboard textures, with direct-input guitar signal whining and buzzing purposefully from left to right. The Freedom Band appear all over the record, but often one at a time, their contributions leaving a distinctive footprint on the proceedings wherever they appear. Operating in this airtight environment with an eye towards precision, feel, and explosive mass, Ty’s crafted a formidable listening encounter — and once you get between the lines, the need to know more grows more compelling with every song.

                                                The thing about closed doors is they need opening again, no matter what happens. You open them and then you can pass through them. And there’s light on the other side. That’s what this album is about.

                                                Bursting with transcendent energy, Harmonizer is an extension of the classic style of Emotional Mugger and Sleeper, revisiting the lonely days and loathsome nights of the alienated, grown-up-wrong soul, to make it all right in the end.

                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                Side A

                                                Side B
                                                Feel Good
                                                Changing Contours

                                                New Bums

                                                Last Time I Say Grace

                                                  Seven years and a handful of lifetimes ago, New Bums came out of nowhere with their debut album, ‘Voices In a Rented Room’ - a record the New York Times described as “feeling like it’s falling apart.” New Bums took this as a compliment and, thus emboldened, they toured relentlessly in support of the release: criss-crossing the USA in the spring of 2014, with a European run that summer. Then, silence descended, as the Bums withdrew to the place from which they’d mysteriously emerged.

                                                  Now, the Bums are back. 2021 finds them with a new album in hand. Following a West Coast US tour in late 2019 it’s clear that the duo of Donovan Quinn (Skygreen Leopards) and Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance, Rangda, etc) are fully reanimated, as evidenced by the songs and sounds of ‘Last Time I Saw Grace’.

                                                  Retaining the drunk-dog-locomotion of their debut, New Bums sprinkle a bit of fresh fancy into their signature twin guitarsand- vocals sound, with cleaner recording techniques, further developments in harmonies and a new appreciation for a song with more than two parts, making ‘Last Time I Saw Grace’ nothing less than the perfect progression from the purposefully murky mixes of their debut.

                                                  Continuing to embrace an acoustic rock ’n’ roll sound, inspired by artists such as Jacobites, Robyn Hitchcock, Johnny Thunders, Replacements and such, New Bums push the words and the stories to the front of the line, crafting tales with satiric glee on ‘Last Time I Saw Grace’. However, this world of empty perfume bottles, bodies tied to masts and moving onward to devastation (after the bottle on the table pulls out a gun) feels much more Gombrowiczian dreamscape than drunken night on the town. Yes, everything is wasted but this is an existential wasteland rather than a substance-laden one. This combination of arch Californian post-aristocratic melodrama with torn and frayed acoustic guitars opens up a new genre entirely, one those at Drag City are tempted to call Rent Control Romantic.

                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                  Billy, God Damn
                                                  Obliteration Time
                                                  Marlene Left California
                                                  Onward To Devastation
                                                  Wild Dogs
                                                  Cover Band
                                                  Tuned To Graffiti
                                                  Street Of Spies
                                                  Hermitage Song
                                                  So Long, Kus
                                                  Follow Them Up The Slope

                                                  Dope Body

                                                  Crack A Light

                                                    Dope Body are back with their first album since 2015 - and it’s got all the gnarly, bisected body rock of their great records from the far side of the teens.

                                                    A decade plus from the audacity of their debut cassette, ‘20 Pound Brick’, and four years after calling it quits, ‘Crack a Light’ is about getting back to essentials.

                                                    In 2016, Dope Body were fairly much burnt from seven years of nonstop playing and recording, feeling as if their four albums had tracked away from the early days’ intentions of spontaneous weirdness. The band had formed in the abstract, an art project designed to provoke by embodying values that didn’t necessarily reflect any deep roots in their collective mindset. They were good with this approach for a minute but by their final release of the initial run, ‘Kunk’, they were composing new pieces from leftover parts of the ‘Lifer’ sessions, as if trying to relocate the almost out-of-body state that they’d been conceived in.

                                                    Turns out they just needed a bit of time off. Even (or perhaps especially) with a couple of the guys on the West Coast and the other two back east, the energy is again surging out of the Dope Boys, as witnessed by ‘Crack a Light’s explosive and exuberant opening track, ‘Curve’. The refrain “I think I feel alright” expresses relative optimism on the oft-scorched earth of Dope Body and it should - with ‘Crack a Light’ they’ve come all the way around to the stance of their experimental genesis, while continuing to evolve the identity that’s emerged since then - all of which bodes well for the future of rock music.

                                                    Essentially a power-trio with singer, Dope Body have traditionally excelled at projecting monstrously-voiced street music, artfully welded to the massive space of rock anthems, hardcore and metallic, hard-rolling funk, driven by incisively pounding rhythm and attenuated with guitar loops and FX.

                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                    Clean & Clear
                                                    Jer Bang
                                                    Lu Lu
                                                    Lo & Behold
                                                    The Sculptor
                                                    Mutant Being
                                                    My Man
                                                    Frank Says Relapse
                                                    Known Unknown

                                                    Box Of Chocolates

                                                    Fearful Symmetry

                                                      As the liner notes would have it: “It is a story or record of a group of artistically inclined people who haphazardly found themselves living together and who - toward the end of the arrangement - decided to record the experience in the form of songs written whilst at 140 Plymouth Street in Dumbo.”

                                                      The credits list some incredible names - Brute Rake, Mickey Hawaii, Wayne Oliphant - and indeed, those names are listed again on the all-new-artwork of this opus. But with the new artwork, and the inclusion of several pieces that weren’t there back then - or even finished back then - this has become a living, growing document of a disorganized and dishevelled film cooperative (is there any other kind?) who dared to trace its name in the sands and has come back to deepen the groove.  

                                                      The artwork’s been flipped about and the tracks have been reordered too, in places. ‘Stigmataphoria’ and ‘The Past Lives of Clarence Thomas’, which include much of the spirit and some of the bonafides of the initial set of songs, have been inserted for the benefit of all. And the names of the songs’ writers, singers and players, including Michael Howe, Will Oldham, Arnie Wobble (of early Phish-lore), Tony Award-winner Michael Chorney, sound artist and ethnographer Rob Millis and others whose names we shall not speak - appear also for the first time. Along with a plethora of retrospective notes. 

                                                      As this cast of dozens loft-crashed their way toward a collectively-unknown future, these songs and visions were scrapped together - a loose assemblage of middle-period indie rock, roots-rock pastiche, punk brio and cinema-fed abstractions, as a suggested soundtrack for the party of your choice.

                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                      1. Catatonic
                                                      2. Emperor’s Clothes
                                                      3. Garbage Barge
                                                      4. The Writhe
                                                      5. Shadow Of
                                                      6. The Rat
                                                      7. Mother’s Heart
                                                      8. Stigmataphoria
                                                      9. Perdido
                                                      10. Good Side
                                                      11. The Ephant
                                                      12. Happiness
                                                      13. The Past Lives Of
                                                      14. Clarence Thomas
                                                      15. The King
                                                      16. Twinkle, Twinkle
                                                      17. Little Nightmare
                                                      18. Everyone’s
                                                      19. A Loverod

                                                      Bill Nace


                                                        With a requisite crackle, hum and drone, you’re fixed to slide into the disrupture in stereo that is guitarist Bill Nace and — well, THIS is a nice surprise — Bill’s got his own record out this time.

                                                        Sweet — in the past 15 years or so, Bill’s been a trusty improv partner to so many: Steve Baczkowski, Chris Corsano, Paul Flaherty, Greg Kelly, James Twig Harper, Samara Lubelski and Thurston Moore, plus - with Kim Gordon – in Body/Head, to name but a handful.

                                                        Bill’s appeared on probably more than 50 albums — but other than a few solo cassettes way back in the day, Both is his actual solo LP debut. It’s been a long time coming, and just like we hoped, with the Nace approach to electric guitar waxing front and center, sound and countersound, it’s a blast.

                                                        Working with producer Cooper Crain, Bill constructed Both with the ribs of composition protruding from his improvisational electron pool, pulsing with energies black and shiny, finding lots of sound and music in the process. The listening experience is only faux-monolithic — you can take it all in as a big noise thing if you want, but it’s much more rewarding to lean in and observe the variety of colors and spaces in the playing, how it breaks along discrete lines into alternating currents. The small details, like the crunch of contact between fingers and strings, the hum of the amp in a resting moment, the rhythm implied in a waveform and then pursued, all build up into melodies, climatic detours and underlying emotional expression before wiping into silence again. A real encompassing vision of what to do with a guitar in this day and age. Plus, you got cover artwork by Daniel Higgs.

                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                        Part 1
                                                        Part 2
                                                        Part 3
                                                        Part 4
                                                        Part 5
                                                        Part 6
                                                        Part 7
                                                        Part 8

                                                        Sir Richard Bishop

                                                        Oneiric Formulary

                                                          Five years after Tangier Sessions, Sir Richard Bishop, we presume, is back from his travels around the world. With Oneiric Formulary, he’s dug deeper into his bag of extra-musical gestures from the eternal and unknowable, along with a few sounds we might recognize, all transmuted for our mortal ears’ enjoyment. The last couple of Sir Richard Bishop releases on Drag City were genre exercises of sorts — The Freak of Araby explored the musical legacy of late Egyptian guitarist Omar Khorshid while Tangier Sessions explored the sound of an obscure 19th century guitar that Rick had acquired from a mysterious Swiss luthier.

                                                          The title Oneiric Formulary, may sit contrarily on the tongue — but we may refer to it as representing “a collection of dream states” — which means we like it! With such a lofty goal in mind and at his fingertips, Sir Rick returns to the approach of his DC debut, Polytheistic Fragments — a different sound, a different instrument, for nearly every track, drawing from the music of all nations, including and especially that infamous republic with only one person on the census roll (initials SRB). It’s got mad variety, the kind you don’t see much of anymore — an Ed Sullivan kind of evening out, with some spinning plates, dancing mice, and of course, an appearance from Zippy the Chimp.

                                                          What it means is that when you drop the needle/raise the laser/press the head to tape/or do whatever happens when you stream it, you’ve got sounds that don’t sound at first like guitars — because they’re not! Then you’ve got sounds that sound initially like guitars — because they are! Sir Richard found joy in not only finding unlikely sounds, but also writing a fake jingle, soundtracking an unreleased film, reflecting on Southern origins, going concrète (Beatles-style!), using computers (Sir Rick, no!), and accidentally juxtaposing Frippian electric guitar drone against the grit of ol’ school acoustic guitar while thinking of sci-fi, as well as revisiting (t)rusty old forms such as Americana, classical, gypsy and raga. It’s all trotted out to phantasmic effect, as it brings to us with the freshness, the roar of the old crowd as they see, smell and hear the greatest show on earth. What a night! Thank you, Sir Richard Bishop.

                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                          Call To Order
                                                          Mit’s Linctus Codeine Co.
                                                          Renaissance Nod
                                                          Graveyard Wanderers
                                                          Dust Devils
                                                          Black Sara
                                                          The Coming Of The Rats


                                                          BBC Radio 1

                                                            Recorded live at BBC Radio 1, Maida Vale, May 3rd, 2019.

                                                            The songs continue to evolve; two each from the classic OM releases Advaitic Songs and God Is Good, encompassingly recorded and mixed with the pristine quality that BBC engineers (and OM) bring to recorded sound.

                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                            Gethsemane 11:17
                                                            State Of Non-Return 8:22
                                                            Cremation Ghat I 3:43
                                                            Cremation Ghat II 5:37

                                                            Alasdair Roberts

                                                            The Fiery Margin

                                                              “Every song that’s nevermore sung/will sound again upon the Evernew Tongue”. Whether we understand the reference in the line, it sums up Alasdair Roberts’ approach as a singer and songwriter, now halfway through its third decade. Down the years, he has devoted himself to the history of traditional songs, playing them forward into our ever-evolving world as their meanings continue to evolve within him. Whether singing the auld songs, using inspiration from a line of text, or taking a time-honoured air as a starting point to a new song, he has pushed the tradition ahead in ways that few other singers and writers have approached.

                                                              Since his first two solo releases, a collection of traditional songs followed by one of original material, Alasdair has followed this pattern more or less over the course of a dozen albums. The Fiery Margin follows 2018’s What News, a collaboration with David McGuinness and Amble Skuse that took eight Scots ballads and focused them through the use of vintage keyboards and modern electronic techniques to make something new that was also in the tradition. Thus, The Fiery Margin is a new collection of originals, some of which draw elements from the songs, singing and thought of the last couple millennia. With that scope in mind, it’s safe to say there’s something for everyone here!

                                                              Alasdair’s impulse to communicate nuanced historical arcana in his music is matched with an ability to do so compactly in song, turning, say, a 1000-year-old Irish text on the mysteries of creation and apocalypse, or the peregrinatory journal of a mediaeval English mystic, into something with which we can all sing along. He’s been doing it long enough and with enough other fine players and singers to intuit what a set of songs might benefit from. On The Fiery Margin, he taps the percussive elan of Alex Neilson and the expansive bass playing of Stevie Jones, who have paired together with him on a couple of previous albums. On their previous encounter, Pangs, Alasdair focused on electric guitar, which gave the music a lean and wild quality that drew comparisons to the British folk scene of the classic rock era. The Fiery Margin has a diverse sound design, moving fluidly from acoustic to electric guitars while adding the nimble playing of Irish violist Ailbhe nic Oireachtaigh to embody and expand the parameters of the material. Additional players bring touches of accordion, pedal steel guitar, saxophone and barbershop vocals (!), aiding Alasdair’s process of excavating the enduringly mysterious roots of our shared music at a consonant, yet still enigmatic depth.

                                                              Recorded by Luigi Pasquini at Anchor Lane Studios in Glasgow, The Fiery Margin has the distinction of being an exceptional recital whose origins could be ascribed to traditional Scottish, Irish and English music, not to mention the sounds of the world beyond. Alasdair Roberts is an underrated talent – one that we imagine will sound even better in the gifted ears of generations to come. As for you, dear citizen of today’s world – don’t wait!

                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                              Barry says: Rich and enchanting acoustic pieces here, boldened by Roberts' acrobatic vocals and ability for sketching a scene. Obviously influenced by the psych-folk movement, but unafraid to branch into other areas, 'The Fiery Margin' is a wonderfully emotive and fascinating narrative treasure.

                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                              False Flesh
                                                              The Evernew Tongue
                                                              A Keen
                                                              The Stranger With The Scythe
                                                              Common Clay
                                                              Learning Is Eternal
                                                              The Untrue Womb

                                                              It’s a year and a half since the release of Freedom’s Goblin. A winter of rain has buried the recent times of drought. Now voices from the garden cry of desire and disaster, but outside the gates, rebirth is happening.

                                                              “Our salivating makes it all taste worse,” croons Ty Segall in the first salvo of First Taste. He’s talking about us: how we’re the masters of our own destiny, tellers of our own prophecy, makers of our own sickened choices. It’s a warning, but this time, the finger is pointing back at him too. He’s one with us.

                                                              Contradictions are rife. First Taste is an introspective set after the extroversions of Freedom’s Goblin — yet just as steeped in party beats somehow, even as Ty trails through his back pages, reflecting on family, re-encountering pasts, anticipating futures. Feeling, like it was the first time, the duplexity of core truths. Lines of struggle wind through the songs. “My life is a mystery / I’d look inside but I can’t see,” as one goes — and yet, such promisingly oblique reflections act to unravel the onion, lifting the veil. Ty skates through oneness, self-esteem, the parents — all the joys of a rain-filled childhood — while reaching outward in the here and now, feeling for a shared pulse. To go on, we need to feel it.

                                                              These are serious indoor moods, but with Ty, there’s a moment that always comes, a joke or something to crack the bubble and let some air in. It all comes together with volcanic energy — who knows what it means? One disaster ends another; mudslides down the hills into gaping canyons, freeways blocked, the sky filled with smoke. Then we go on.

                                                              Meanwhile, the sounds — what are they? This production is INSANE, far-out, stranger than known, tones and rhythms that expand before our ears. These colors are weird. Together, they float like a flag, flashing binary lines like sirens to our eyes. There’s tons of drums, and acoustic . . . . things of all kinds. Horns, synth pads. Pianny. Boiling overtime, Ty’s creative juices suggested that First Taste be written and executed with some radical new instrumentation — koto, recorder, bouzouki, harmonizer, mandolin, saxophones and brass, voices, and sure, a sprinkling of keys. And the drumkit(S!), a position Ty occupies whenever it’s heard on the left speaker, while Freedom Band drummer (and SO much more) Charles Moothart plays the kit on the right side. Those two get DOWN together. Whatever the mood is, the pedal is pushed cleanly to the metal — and that means to the max of the lightest ballads ever, OR through the most raging rocks yet. Ty’s vocal prowess, always a highlight, sits in fresh relief against his mutant orchestra, spooling tension through some of his most patient songs, his feral scream in complete control. Taking us through it.

                                                              First Taste is arch, full of high-energy jams, with a thing in each mix always insistently different. Ty’s song design’s all over the place — not even a surprise anymore — but unlike the freewheeling feast style of Freedom’s Goblin, these twelve numbers form a tightly revolving cycle of song and sound that focuses thoughts. First Taste isn’t really the first for Ty, or you or me. But for the latest, it’s a remarkably fresh taste. Maybe it’s the first for today — and when tomorrow is today, then too.

                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                              Barry says: It's their first since last year's 'Freedom Goblin', and Ty Segall have once again pulled a stormer out of the bag (would it ever have gone any differently?). Incendiary, rawkous, ingenious and not unexpected in the slightest. One of the most confounding and reliable bands out there at the moment. Brilliant.

                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                              1 Taste
                                                              2 Whatever
                                                              3 Ice Plant
                                                              4 The Fall
                                                              5 I Worship The Dog
                                                              6 The Arms
                                                              7 When I Met My Parents (Part 1)
                                                              8 I Sing Them
                                                              9 When I Met My Parents (Part 3)
                                                              10 Radio
                                                              11 Self Esteem
                                                              12 Lone Cowboys

                                                              “Well I don’t really like talking to myself, but someone’s got to say it, hell...”

                                                              You know this voice. An old friend has returned. It was some years back that you dropped the needle on the record and heard it say, “No, I don’t really wanna die...” Like so many lines you couldn’t possibly have guessed the finish to, it’s now among the flat natural-born good-timin’ faves that you sing along with in the jukebox inside your head. It’s loaded up there along with at least a couple dozen others from Silver Jews, whose classic run was made somehow finite in 2009, when the voice himself, David Berman, announced his retirement from music. Ten years have come and gone since then. Where the time goes, we do not know. What do they say about old songwriters? We don’t know that one either, okay? We’re not good with jokes – we’re just glad that there’s always more songs to be written and sung. That’s what raised up Purple Mountains for all of us, after all.

                                                              Yes, Purple Mountains is the new nom-de-rock of David Berman. Purple Mountains is also the name of what will be known as one of his greatest albums – full of double-jointed wit and wisdom, up to the neck in his special recipe of handcrafted country-rock joys and sorrows that sing legendary in cracked and broken hearts. The songs are produced impeccably by Woods’ Jarvis Taveniere and Jeremy Earle, buffed up like a hardwood floor ready to be well-trod upon for an evening of romance and dance. And then…

                                                              What is 10 years? What are 50? How is everything anything in the eventual blink of eternity? The songs of Purple Mountains are a potent brew, stitched together from lifetimes, knitting the drift of the years with the tightest lyric construction Berman’s ever attempted. Honesty is archly in the air, but lines of incredible bleakness somehow give way to playful distraction and the hiding of surprises for close listeners. Even still, as the songwriter once wrote, “every single thought is like a punch in the face.” It won’t take long after slapping the record on the platter for you to hear that this is one of THOSE albums. There’s breakup records. There’s apocalypse records. Then there’s Purple Mountains.

                                                              The portrait is David Berman’s most to-the-bone yet, very frankly confessing a near-total collapse from the first moment, then delving into the layers of nuance with twin lazers of personal laceration and professional remove. This etches a picture that cries to be understood in the misbegotten country that made everything great about Purple Mountains. America’s fate is that of its treasured icons: the cowboy, the outlaw, the card sharp and the riverboat gambler, who all face simple resignation in the end. There are no perfect crimes. Berman’s poet-thief of so many precious moments, now stripped and chastened, recalls his latest lowest moments in perfect detail, hovering ghostly above the tumescent production sound as it echoes with tragic majesty and the sound-fragments of former glory, evoking the defeated-king era of late Elvis, soutern-fried and sassy still on his countrypolitan way down, and somehow still solid-gold at the bottom.

                                                              Berman’s songwriter’s bone’s never been laid more bare, either – if redemption doesn’t come on the lyric sheet, the act of putting these songs into singing, dancing form allows them their finest end – to provide infotainment for others, embodying moments of life and truth via music that elevates with disarming warmth and a reassuring commonality, even as David himself stands outside the communal campfires.

                                                              Where are you tonight, America? The things that used to be have slipped away into the darkness without you knowing it, and your children are wandering in a blasted landscape, with only Purple Mountains left to comfort them, and David Berman’s shattered fables for company.

                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                              Andy says: An incredible record with just the saddest/funniest lyrics. David Berman was a poet as well as a genius song-writer and for me, this is even better than anything he did with Silver Jews. Backed by Woods, one of my favourite bands, who play more Americana than psych here, there is not one weak track on show. David Berman RIP.

                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                              1. That’s Just The Way That I Feel
                                                              2. All My Happiness Is Gone
                                                              3. Darkness And Cold
                                                              4. Snow Is Falling In Manhattan
                                                              5. Margaritas At The Mall
                                                              6. She’s Making Friends, I’m Turning Stranger
                                                              7. I Loved Being My Mother’s Son
                                                              8. Nights That Won’t Happen
                                                              9. Storyline Fever
                                                              10. Maybe I’m The Only One For Me

                                                              Bill Callahan

                                                              Shepherd In A Sheepskin Vest

                                                                As you listen to Shepherd In a Sheepskin Vest, a feeling of totality, of completeness, steals over you, like a thief in broad daylight. Of course it does – you’re listening to a new Bill Callahan record! The first one in almost six years! What more do you need to complete you?

                                                                Or perhaps, after all the time, the obvious needs to be made just a little more explicit?

                                                                First, it’s a different kind of record. Bill’s now writing from somewhere beyond his Eagle-Apocalypse-River headspace, and Shepherd In a Sheepskin Vest is very much its own beast. The songs are, by and large, shorter, and there are more of them. It took almost all of the previous three albums to add up to that many. Plus, twenty’s a lot of songs! But again, it goes a lot deeper than that.

                                                                After Dream River, Bill’s life went through some changes. Good changes – marriage and a kid - but afterwards, it was suddenly harder for him to find the place where the songs came, to make him and these new experiences over again into something to sing. His songs have always been elusive, landing lightly between character study and autobiography, as the singer-songwriter often does. This felt different, though. After 20 years of putting music first, he wasn’t prepared to go away from it completely. Or was he? The lives of a newlywed, a new parent, they have so much in them – but writing and singing, it was his old friend that had helped him along to this place where he’d so happily arrived. Was there room for everybody? While sorting it all out, he worked on songs every day – which meant that for a while, there were lots of days simply confronting the void, as he measured this new life against the ones he’d previously known.

                                                                It informed the shape of the album. Moving gradually from reflections upon the old days in “Ballad of The Hulk” and “Young Icarus” to the immediacy of the present moment in “Watching Me Get Married” and “Son of the Sea”, Bill traces the different life lines, casually unwinding knotty contradictions and ambiguities with an arresting stillness. The sense of a life thunderstruck by change infuses Shepherd In a Sheepskin Vest– the songs wander from expressions of newfound joy and great contentment to other snapshots, considerations of the not-joy that we all know. Unsettling dream-images and mythic recollections are patiently received; the undertow of the past is resisted, pulling against it instead into the present, accepting revolutions of time and the unconscious as a natural flow.

                                                                These transcendent expressions are wedded translucently to the music. Acknowledging the uncertainty in which the songs were assembled, Bill went to the studio alone, unsure if he could find what he was looking for with a band riding along – because who knew how long it would take? This allowed the fluidity of his song-thoughts to be laid down with the right feeling. Once there was guitar and vocals, the other parts came. Matt Kinsey’s guitar partnership is an essential relationship within the music, as is Brian Beattie’s acoustic bass – but also, Bill found himself overdubbing parts himself for the first time in many years, which lent the songs an episodic drift, as if he’s passing through rooms while singing.

                                                                In it’s final mix, Shepherd In a Sheepskin Vest glows incandescent – an entirely acoustic arrangement, sounds and stories shifting seamlessly, almost like one big song made of a bunch of new stories – the kind that only Bill Callahan thinks to sing.

                                                                It’s a joy to hear from this old friend – informing all the lives that we’ve led in the hearing. Good listeners and tired dancers, sing along.

                                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                Barry says: Say what you will about Bill, but he sure knows how to keep writing the tunes doesn't he? A beautiful mix of brittle jazzy progressions, flickering percussion and swooning syncopated (but never jarring) melodic counterpoint show exactly why big Billy is still so present in our record collections and our hearts.

                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                1 Shepherd's Welcome
                                                                2 Black Dog On The Beach
                                                                3 Angela
                                                                4 The Ballad Of The Hulk
                                                                5 Writing
                                                                6 Morning Is My Godmother
                                                                7 747
                                                                8 Watch Me Get Married
                                                                9 Young Icarus
                                                                10 Released
                                                                11 What Comes After Certainty
                                                                12 Confederate Jasmine
                                                                13 Call Me Anything
                                                                14 Son Of The Sea
                                                                15 Camels
                                                                16 Circles
                                                                17 When We Let Go
                                                                18 Lonesome Valley
                                                                19 Tugboats And Tumbleweeds
                                                                20 The Beast

                                                                Bill MacKay

                                                                Fountain Fire

                                                                  Fountain Fire is Bill MacKay’s second solo album on Drag City. The Chicago-based guitarist’s continued sonic journeys in conversation with himself follow a travel-worn map written in his own hand. Bill has followed the trail from familiar confines to unknown places, catalyzing a style equally enamored with the traditional and the avant-garde to make his most expansive and forceful music to date.

                                                                  You can hear it in the opening track; as the lava and lakes of “Pre-California” simmer to boiling, Bill assembles a bridge of guitars, layering beams of rumbling acoustic, distorted electric, and arcing slide parts. By leaping boldly from fixed points, he makes synergetic discoveries in mid-air. This is the MacKay writing style in its most evolved state thus far, following serpentine paths within the patterns, lunging in and out of tonality with instinctive flair and a stoic sense of inevitability, forging a sonic mosaic that breathes and grows organically as it fills the space of a song.

                                                                  Yet there is far more here than straitlaced sonic captures of picker’s prowess and captivating harmonic motivation. Bill’s pieces are informed by meditation and memory, impressionistic as cinematic miniatures, inspired as much by filmic and literary passions as by sure-playing hands, and always rooted with deep soul and steady intention.

                                                                  As the pieces move in and out of focus in enticingly hallucinogenic fashion, Bill throws another element into play: a pair of stark and emotionally-charged vocal numbers that cause the hair to raise on the listener’s neck, etched as they are with a haunting and eerie beauty. Alongside the ever-shifting flows of instrumental color running through Fountain Fire, these moments shine blindingly, like mirages in the desert. The fire in the album title is a continuity in Bill’s life — part of his genealogy, his living history, his astrology, the scorching effect of the overdriven slide in the penultimate “Arcadia.” It is also a sigil for the chaos around us.

                                                                  Bill says: “While the record definitely reflects the turbulence and urgency of the times we’re living in, it also takes an autobiographical look back at the upheaval that characterized the nomadic rambles of my formative years. I learned to adapt to this constantly shifting landscape. Grasping the unfamiliar became second-nature, and the impressions made by the unknown rapidly entered my art. The bittersweet sense of fleeting time & place became a hallmark. Now is more of a time than ever to dramatize what matters to us through our art.”

                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                  1 Pre-California
                                                                  2 Birds Of May
                                                                  3 The Movie House
                                                                  4 Man & His Panic
                                                                  5 Welcome
                                                                  6 Try It On
                                                                  7 Arcadia
                                                                  8 Dragon Country

                                                                  Ty Segall & White Fence


                                                                    Blonde and brunette. Dog and cat. Lemon and onion. Friend and foam. The change has been made! You can scratch your seven-year itch freely now: Ty Segall and White Fence are become one again, regrooving what we once called Hair into what is now Joy.

                                                                    Hair grew out of a simpler time, man! If, as the dyphrenic duo indeed affi rm on Joy, rock in 2018 is dead, don’t come around here looking for no burial. Instead, fi nd Joy caught up in the commencement of on-beyond rock; music made with the old tools, but emitted from a fresh new, single-celled organism. This time, the old “one and one make one” line does not apply. Hair had the quality of emulsion — drops of Segall suspended in Fence; a compound of White dispersed over sheets of Ty. With Joy, Tim and Ty arrive without travelling from the same place, occupy one single headspace, fi nishing the other’s phrases, pulling licks from each other’s places. Singing and thinking and laughing as one. Calling themselves from inside the house. C-c-c-creepy!

                                                                    Both these fellows have been known to trifl e with tropic pasts and reactivate vintage visions within their new music. Not now. Now is the only time this time — Joy is their own sound of today, a shared individuality, prisming all possible stances into an unseamly metastasis that FLOWS for 15 ebbcentric tracks. Plus, since it ends at the beginning, it never has to stop. LOOP that shit!

                                                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                    Barry says: Ty Segall and White Fence bring it back for more of their collaborative journey through foggy psychedelia, simmering rock and roll and lysergic arm-swaying riffage. Yet another superb meeting of minds from these two top talents. Superb.

                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                    1 Beginning
                                                                    2 Please Don't Leave This Town
                                                                    3 Room Connector
                                                                    4 Body Behavior
                                                                    5 Good Boy
                                                                    6 Hey Joel, Where You Going With That?
                                                                    7 Rock Flute
                                                                    8 A Nod
                                                                    9 Grin Without Smile
                                                                    10 Other Way
                                                                    11 Prettiest Dog
                                                                    12 Do Your Hair
                                                                    13 She Is Gold
                                                                    14 Tommy's Place
                                                                    15 My Friend



                                                                      If the emblem of Wand’s ‘Plum’ was the stark blue cloud - a condensation, a linking between longing molecules, data hungering for more data, a flotilla of vapor between eye and sky - then Wand’s new release reeks of something more forceful, more seductive, more intoxicating, more insidious: this is ‘Perfume’.

                                                                      Here are seven electric hues, shocks of light that flagrantly provoke the dark, a posy’s clutch of purple, fuchsia, green and snowy white that curl against a stench of plague.

                                                                      Recorded between tours and fire seasons in Grass Valley, California, by Tim Green, ‘Perfume’’s potent, expansive tunes were mixed in Woodstock, New York by Daniel James Goodwin. The band features Sofia Arreguin, Evan Burrows, Robbie Cody, Cory Hanson and Lee Landey.

                                                                      There’s a kind of return here, a haunting, the déjà vu you only take in through a curious nose. Your nose invites the world inside your skull. A familiar fragrance finds you when you thought you’d let a lover go but it won’t linger like a lover, flickering away with the breeze toward a yawning future.

                                                                      Alasdair Roberts, Amble Skuse & David McGuinness

                                                                      What News

                                                                        For his twelfth solo album - ‘What News’ - and his fourth album focused exclusively on the performance of traditional songs, Alasdair Roberts has chosen a typically unusual and eclectic pair of collaborators: Amble Skuse and David McGuinness.

                                                                        On past albums ‘No Earthly Man’ and ‘Too Long In This Condition’, Alasdair relied on his deep connection to the songs to anchor often exploratory arrangements that would locate the hundreds-years-old songs in a contemporary milieu. The resulting works are magnetically compelling and have been powerfully acclaimed down the years. For his first project in this vein since 2010, Alasdair was inspired by Scottish singers such as Jeannie Robertson, Lizzie Higgins, Duncan Williamson, Elizabeth Stewart and Sheila Stewart. He had a desire to sing and not so much to play, so he asked early music scholar and Concerto Caledonia director David McGuinness (a previous collaborator) to play keyboard accompaniment for these songs, upon which Alasdair would not be playing guitar.

                                                                        This was provocative: Alasdair was counting on David to respond to a counter-intuitive suggestion with surprising, idiosyncratic playing. David was challenged but up to the task. He started with the choosing of appropriate instruments, which he found at the University of Glasgow: an 1844 grand pianoforte and a ‘Mozart-style’ fortepiano of relatively recent vintage - the types of instrument they call in Holland ‘brown pianos’ (as opposed to the ‘black’ sound of the modern Steinway). To these, David added his own circa-1920 Dulcitone, a Glaswegian keyboard that plays tuning forks instead of strings.

                                                                        During the process of developing the arrangements, David hit upon an idea for an additional collaborator: sonologist Amble Skuse, whose work involves interactive, electronic performance treatments. This provided a third plane for the project and thus triangulated, they were able to crystallise an approach involving a very open soundstage: David’s keyboard, Alasdair’s vocals and Amble’s structural soundscaping. This makes for beautiful and driven music that has no analogue in Alasdair’s catalogue - for while he has consistently pursued the dynamic fusion of songs from hundreds of years ago in a modern and progressive context, he hasn’t worked with a keyboard as the central instrument. The beauty of the conception is evident throughout, with immaculate engineering capturing all the nuances of David and Amble’s work. Alasdair’s singing embodies previously unheard capacities in his ever-evolving catalogue of song and he also contributes a powerful guitar obbligato and solo on ‘The Dun Broon Bride’ - no doubt in response to the fine work of his collaborators.

                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                        The Dun Broon Bride
                                                                        Johnny O’ The Brine
                                                                        Young Johnstone
                                                                        Rosie Anderson
                                                                        The Fair Flower Of Northumberland
                                                                        Clerk Colven
                                                                        Long A-Growing

                                                                        Your Food

                                                                        Poke It With A Stick

                                                                          ‘Poke It With A Stick’ - the only record by Louisville legends Your Food - is a sui generis gem of the American underground, now faithfully reissued for the first time by Drag City. Recorded in 1983 by four scarecrows from Kentucky subsisting largely on cheap beer and baked beans, the album is a burbling burgoo of hypnotic rhythm, uncoiling tension, and sharp invective - a proud bastard of post-punk royalty.

                                                                          Slint drummer Britt Walford remembers seeing Your Food at age 11: “You knew you were in the presence of something powerful whenever they played. Their sound was open and catatonic. Cathartic. You recognized it right away. A lot of it was based on the bass, which was cool, and the drums were expressive, too. Like the bass, they were simple, but odd and insistent. The guitar was angular and somehow just as present as the bass and drums, which seemed like the center. Doug’s singing went right along with it. He was mocking and smart, then bare and vulnerable, without being vulnerable.”

                                                                          In the fall of 1981, the residents of 1069, Louisville’s original punk house, began to spy three teenagers lurking outside the decrepit environs. Eventually the teens grew bold enough to approach, and soon two, John Bailey and Wolf Knapp (“that’s my real name, not my punk rock name”), were learning guitar and bass in the trashed rehearsal space within. “Their practices seemed interminable at first,” remembers Charles Schultz, “and then picked up confidence and momentum.” Charles had been the drummer for Louisville’s recently defunct Dickbrains, a band described by the Village Voice as freaky weirdos who couldn’t fit in if they tried. He started playing with John and Wolf. Douglas Maxson, the Dickbrains male singer, was lured back from New York with the promise of beer and cigarettes and soon Your Food were playing weekly shows at the local Beat Club, mostly for free beer. (The third lurking teen, Janet Beveridge Bean, formed left-of-the-dial, cracked country act Freakwater with Dickbrains guitarist Catherine Irwin.)

                                                                          Financed by a Pell Grant and what little cash the band could scrounge, the album was cut largely live in the studio by a guy who usually recorded church groups and self-released on the band’s own Screaming Whoredog label. The prevailing themes of restlessness and isolation are palpable in songs like opener ‘Leave’, where ennui morphs into dark comic fantasy. The punk funk of ‘Don’t Be’ fits perfectly with the downtown NYC groove of bands like ESG and Bush Tetras. Doug’s sardonic wit laces each song with trenchant, first-class put-downs. “Everybody really wants to be your friend / Shit, I wouldn’t even want to talk like you.”

                                                                          The band became big brothers and bad influences for prepubescent Slint project Languid And Flaccid (which included Will Oldham’s elder brother Ned). It was a golden age but a waning one, an adolescent state before hope or commercial prospect or any plan for the future. When no one gives a damn what you are doing, you are free to do what you want.

                                                                          Your Food managed three short tours in a world before cell phones, social media, or global positioning and earned the admiration of the few who heard them but they were sonically out of step with the then-dominant hardcore scene, where speed and aggression alone were valued. It all came to a spectacularly bitter end on the side of some frozen, forlorn highway in West Virginia. The tour van broke down three times in four days. The money for the planned second album went to repairs and the band, beaten and broken, called it quits.

                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                          Baby Jesus
                                                                          New Pop
                                                                          Don’t Be

                                                                          No Age

                                                                          Snares Like A Haircut

                                                                            With the world around us bruised and bloodied with teeth already dug into the concrete curb, we fi nd ourselves with the shadow of a large boot looming overhead. What better time for No Age? Remember, they are the ones who fi rst brought you the hospital-bedfeel-good-anthem, “Get Hurt” (2007). They know how to ecstatically rage and power on thru pain, because what else are you gonna do? The future belongs to the cockroaches, and this record is made for the disparate band of misfi ts who 2017 couldn’t kill.

                                                                            Yeah. New No Age! Not new age No Age (except for the odd “Sun Spots”/“Keechie”-style shimmer that only ever makes everything better), but defi nitely an age of album-making located somewhere beyond and back from where we last heard ’em in aught-13, when they’d wrapped their process in as much deconstruction as An Object could bear. Reimagined rippers, compelling ever forward; something that provokes challenges on the ear — that was always the goal, but after a few years spent not No Age-ing, just working on that thing called life, is it any wonder that Dean and Randy wanted to pump out some rock and roll for the black hole? Does time mean nothing to you? Don’t answer that.

                                                                            Snares Like a Haircut sounds like the good shit, and smells like the buzzy burning off of an aura, the marine layer suddenly vanished, leaving a thin layer of smog over the songs, simmering sock gazing tunes, revved and displacing enormous amounts of sound soil. This is pure driving music, for the bus racer and the car driver, with too many signs, bells and little lites fl ashing, ticking away. This is a record for the Foothill and the Valley, with a chemical sunset fl owering at the end of every day. It’s a feeling made by driving music for driving music.

                                                                            Recorded in a few days and mixed forever, Snares Like a Haircut finds No Age in full on mode, because there was nothing else to do but go full on. In the songs inside the songs, the thumpy/thwappy drums, the desperately voiced paens to determination, the churning and the stinging-but-shiny fuck-it built into the structure, a promise from the 1980s echoes once again across today, for the undetermined in-between generation reality seekers. With Snares Like a Haircut, No Age scrub the itch in the little moments, engage actively with the process and carve/plaster/shave something in an album shape that’ll last. You don’t have to drive, but you can’t stay here. Let No Age do all the driving for you. Snares Like a Haircut.

                                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                            Laura says: A welcome return from Dean and Randy. This album follows in a similar vein to 2013's "An Object", combining their raucous, hook-filled guitar fuzz gems with spacey, experimental interludes. They seem to have got it pretty much spot on this time around too, balancing everything out perfectly and seemingly knowing exactly how much of each ingredient to throw into the mix at any one time.

                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                            1 Cruise Control
                                                                            2 Stuck In The Changer
                                                                            3 Drippy
                                                                            4 Send Me
                                                                            5 Snares Like A Haircut
                                                                            6 Tidal
                                                                            7 Soft Collar Fad
                                                                            8 Popper
                                                                            9 Secret Swamp
                                                                            10 Third Grade Rave
                                                                            11 Squashed
                                                                            12 Primitive Plus

                                                                            Plum is Wand’s fourth LP since the band formed in late 2013 but their " rst new album in two years. After a whirlwind initial phase of writing, recording, and touring at a frenetic clip, their newest document marks a period of relative patience; a refocusing and a push toward a new democratization of both process and musical surface.

                                                                            In late winter of 2016, the band expanded their core membership of Evan Burrows, Cory Hanson, and Lee Landey to include two new members — Robbie Cody on guitar and Sofi a Arreguin on keys and vocals. From the outset, the new ensemble moved naturally toward a changed working method, as they learned how to listen to each other and trust in this songwriting process was consciously relocated to the practice space, where for several months, the band spent hours a day freely improvising, while recording as much of the activity as they could manage. Previously, Wand songs had generally been brought to the group setting substantially formed by singer and guitarist Cory Hanson; now seedling songs were harvested from a growing cloudbank of archived material, then ! eshed out and negotiated collectively as the band shifted rhythmically between the permissive space of jamming and the obsessive space of critique.

                                                                            This new process demanded more honest communication, more vulnerability, better boundaries, more mercy and persistence during a year that meanwhile delivered a heaping serving of romantic, familial and political heartbreak for everyone involved. They learned more about their instruments and their perceived limitations. Much else fell apart in their personal lives, in their bodies, and the bodies of those near to them. In this way, Plum lengthened like a shadow underneath a dusking Orange; or rather “Weird Orange,” an affectionate name given to the color of a roulette-chosen, tour-rushed batch of Golem vinyl... an idiom, an inside joke, a talisman, a bookmark, a mood ring. And meanwhile all the shifting weather, the wireless signals, the helicopters overhead. Weird orange softened, darkened delicately, and rouged itself to a Plum.

                                                                            The music of Plum focuses teeming, dense, at times wildly multichromatic sounds into Wand’s most deliberate statement to date, with a long evening’s shadow of loss and longing hovering above the proceedings. Plum delicately locates the band’s tangent of escape from the warm and comfortable shallows of genre anachronism, an eyes-closed, mouth-open leap toward a more free-associative and contemporary pastiche of logic that more honestly re! ects the ravenous musical omnivorousness of the " ve people who wrote and played it.

                                                                            It usually goes without saying — we are so lucky to have had each other in this time, and we are more than lucky to have you all listen to this record.

                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                            1 Setting
                                                                            2 Plum
                                                                            3 Bee Karma
                                                                            4 CDG
                                                                            5 High Rise
                                                                            6 White Cat
                                                                            7 The Trap
                                                                            8 Ginger
                                                                            9 Blue Cloud
                                                                            10 Driving

                                                                            The Peacers

                                                                            Introducing The Crimsmen

                                                                              Introducing The Peacers’ ‘Introducing The Crimsmen’. Escalating from a disembodied voice to slowly mounting full-band hypnosis, this is a trip into the golden rod days of fandom, a dimension where a T-shirt could change your life.

                                                                              Since their first album in the summer of 2015, The Peacers have been gigging in SF and around, woodshedding and collecting tunes for this divinely awaited moment. Lurching back into life, with buzz and hum alight and colours flashing, is the name but the instigators of the sound are almost a whole other bunch (Mike Donovan, Shayde Sartin, Mike Shoun and Bo Moore).

                                                                              The tunes rock forth from a jukebox with a crack in the glass, with channels leaking / kaleidoscopic aspects of low-fi life directed back through the wires to form discrete detail, little shadows, backdrops, edgework.

                                                                              Whether gentle psych, basement throb, keening ‘Time Of The Season’ nocturne or ground-glass soundscape, it’s all bubblegum boiled in pot, scripted up with stinging street smart reverie and a wink and a chill grin.

                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                              Black Fences
                                                                              Haptic Chillweed
                                                                              Jurgen’s Layout
                                                                              Robot Flame
                                                                              Windy Car
                                                                              Ma State Fugue/
                                                                              Return Of The Roller
                                                                              Theme From Sonny
                                                                              On Matt
                                                                              Aboriginal Flow
                                                                              Organ Zip
                                                                              A Golden Age
                                                                              Snoopy Bag
                                                                              Staying Home
                                                                              R. Reg
                                                                              Child Of The Season

                                                                              Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble

                                                                              Find Me Finding You

                                                                                Another New Year, and new shapes are forming — if only we are fortunate enough to notice them! As we spin through this world, we are witness to all manner of combinations unfolding before us — familiar arcs and breaking waves alike, upon all of which it is our choice, our chance and our challenge, to possibly ride. Find Me Finding You, the new album from the new organization called the Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble, manages to strike new chords while touching familiar keys in the song of life.

                                                                                From its percolating opening beat, Find Me Finding You locates new systems within the sound-universe of Laetitia Sadier. This in itself isn’t a surprise — Laetitia has relentlessly followed her music through different dynamics and into a variety of dimensions over the course of four solo albums since 2010 (not to forget her three albums with Monade and the long era of Stereolab) — but the nature of the construction here stands distinctly apart from her recent albums. Laetitia was inspired by a mind’s-eye envisaging of geometric forms and their possible permutations. As she sought to replicate the shapes in music, this guided the process of assembly for the album.

                                                                                Part of the freshness of Find Me Finding You comes from working and playing within the Source Ensemble and exploring new sound combinations via a set of youthful and evolving musical relationships. Laetitia recognized the energy of the tracks in their initial form, and sought to preserve their vitality by not retaking too many performances — instead, the rawness in the tracks was retained and refi ned at the mixing stage, maintaining an edge throughout. When we hear synth lines diving, lifting and drifting, unusual guitar textures, the plucked sound of fl at wound bass strings or the bottomless pulsing of bass pedals stepping out of the mix with an exquisite vibrancy, this is the sound of the Source Ensemble.

                                                                                A key to Laetitia’s music is her use of vocal arrangements. Throughout Finding Me Finding You, the shifting accompaniment creates space to bring this element gloriously forward. Arranged by Laetitia with Joe Watson and Jeff Parker making string charts that were subsequently transposed to vocal parts for several songs, richly arranged choirs of voices provide depth along with the thrilling presence of extra breath in the sound. Laetitia’s community-politic is well-served by the groups of voices lending support to the machining of the song craft, providing additional uplift to her quintessentially forward-facing viewpoint — as well as massed voices from three different countries sharing space in harmony!

                                                                                Working in collaboration is Laetita’s traditions, and a key to this album’s view on being free together (it is necessary, preferable and right!). The designation of Source Collective implies a new togetherness phase; alongside long-time collaborators Emmanuel Mario and Xavi Munoz, keyboard and fl utes parts played by David Thayer (Little Tornados) were essential contributions, as well as further keys, synths and electronics from Phil M FU and several intense guitar sequences from Mason le Long. Chris A Cummings (aka Marker Starling, Laetitia’s favorite composer) graciously wrote “Deep Background” for her. The duet with Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor on “Love Captive” (not to mention Rob Mazurek’s distinctive coronet playing!) gives voice to an ideological cornerstone of Find Me Finding You — that, should we be responsible enough to endeavor into a world of basic incomes and open relationships, we would make astonishing strides as a society. These sorts of things can only be done in agreement with others.

                                                                                Expressing great compassion and expectation with startling immediacy, as well as an abiding belief in an underlying unity that permeates and intimately binds all things and beings, Find Me Finding You combines a rigorous process for music-making with a deeply invested mindset, making captivating music that promises many stimulating spins to come!

                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                Undying Love For Humanity
                                                                                Double Voice, Extra Voice
                                                                                Love Captive
                                                                                Pyschology Active (Finding You)
                                                                                Refl Ectors
                                                                                Deep Background
                                                                                Galactic Emergence
                                                                                The Woman With The Invisible Necklace
                                                                                Sacred Project

                                                                                Alasdair Roberts


                                                                                  Since 2001, Alasdair Roberts has busily pursued the path of his ancestors, down the many and varied byways of Scottish traditional music — and of English and Irish traditional music as well, all of which have fed the American folk tradition from its earliest days. Over the past 15 years, Alasdair has released eight albums of selfwritten material and interpretations of traditional song alike, all played in a diversity of electric and acoustic arrangements, bringing a modern thrust to the music while honoring the many singers from whom this material was learned and adapted. Following the acoustic austerity of his self-titled 2015 release, Alasdair’s applied himself to electric guitar and band once again for his ninth album, Pangs.

                                                                                  Alasdair Roberts and Friends were deep within the epic song approaches of the widely-acclaimed A Wonder Working Stone (2013) when last heard creating music of such scope. While similarly broad in range, Pangs brings different forms of song-craft and modes of collaboration again. Throughout his career, Alasdair has created an original and personal music from certain traditional song sources (always carefully annotated in the album notes for the listeners’ derivation). His additional contributions to music and lyric bring new meanings, passing the pieces ever forward, as they were passed to him. Anyone immersed in the old texts of Child ballads and the narrative and history that they embody might be expected to imbibe in other ancient and sacred materials — and indeed, on occasion, Alasdair has taken care to weave the disparate strands of his far-fl ung researches and musings into what we can only perceive as a new form of folk song — Syncretic Ballads, for want of any other term. And so the Pangs songs variously touch on subjects as diverse as kenosis, couvade and Malthusianism.

                                                                                  Recorded in Ireland with Julie MacLarnon, Pangs fi nds Alasdair in a power trio beside his long-time musical partners Alex Neilson on drums and Stevie Jones on bass (and he turns his hand to piano and organ too). Along with guests Debbie Armour, Tom Crossley, Rafe Fitzpatrick and Jessica Kerr, they summon up a powerful — and powerfully gorgeous — storm over ten new songs. With “The Angry Laughing God” and “The Downward Road,” Alasdair delivers two of his most driving pieces — one might even call them “rocking”! Following that, he turns around and plays two of his most touching ballads (and our lad’s had a lot of them over the years!) in “Wormwood and Gall” and “Scarce of Fishing”. Additionally, the album is launched with the eponymous track “Pangs” in what we hear to be a remarkable evocation of the 60s and 70s folk-rockers of the British Isles — the electric warriors of Fairport Convention, the Battlefi eld Band, Planxty, Richard Thompson and so many signifi cant others! Alasdair’s roots run deep and his sound is conversant with the many iterations of the music from the past, but it is simultaneous present and active in our contemporary milieu. This is vitally true of Pangs — the people of today are in dire need of the edifi cation and amusement that Alasdair Roberts brings. Pass the music ever forward!

                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                  1 Pangs
                                                                                  2 No Dawn Song
                                                                                  3 An Altar In The Glade
                                                                                  4 The Breach
                                                                                  5 The Angry Laughing God
                                                                                  6 Wormwood And Gall
                                                                                  7 The Downward Road
                                                                                  8 Scarce Of Fishing
                                                                                  9 Vespers Chime
                                                                                  10 Song Of The Marvels

                                                                                  Life is a Rorschach, life is a Rashomon. Fuck your facts. Throw ‘em out with yesterday’s webpages. Lives lie beyond the equations of currency, border lines and government —  and truth is just a drop in the beholder’s eye.

                                                                                  Ty Segall has made whole records that wrestle with realities — fighting against some, pulling mightily to bring others into being. Of late, he’s thrown up his hands and donned clown shoes, dancing merrily in the dual role of oppressed/oppressor! His hands aren’t any more or less dirty than anyone else’s — but amidst the thunder and the chaos of the ongoing storm, he’s looking for the eye within.

                                                                                  The new self-titled record — the next record after Emotional Mugger, Manipulator, Sleeper, Twins, Goodbye Bread, Melted, Lemons, and the first self-titled album that started it up in the now-distant year of 2008 — is a clean flow, a wash of transparency falling into a world that needs to see a few things through clearly, to their logical end. It’s got some of the most lobe-blasting neckwork since the Ty Segall Band’s Slaughterhouse (from way back in the long, hot summer of 2012), but it also features a steep flight of fluent acoustic settings, as Ty’s new songs range around in their search for freedom without exorcism, flying the dark colors high up the pole in an act of simple self-reclamation. All he wants is some truth!

                                                                                  The construction and destruction of his chosen realities has, until now, been a luxury Ty has rightfully reserved for himself, striping overdubs together to form the sound — but for this new album, he entered a studio backed by a full band — Emmett Kelly, Mikal Cronin, Charles Moothart and Ben Boye — to get a read on this so-called clarity. This leads to a new departure in group sound, as well as some of the most visceral and penetrating vocal passages yet heard from Ty Segall.

                                                                                  “Freedom/Warm Hands” puts the “sweet” back into suite; “Orange Color Queen” is a supreme moment of tenderness; “Talkin’,” a roots-infused truth-attack. “Papers,” looks behind the doors of Ty’s process; “Break A Guitar” is a brutal fun-fest pitched to the back of the house. Ty Segall keeps you guessing, bracing your skin with a welcome astringency, seeking to stem the bleeding with chunks and splashes of guitar, tight beats, audio-verité toilet smashes, a Wurlitzer electric piano in a jam, blazing harmonies, and LOTS of songs to sing. There’s no concept beyond that; finding the right places to be is a momentary thing. Ty Segall is the sum of his songs — and about getting the free. The free to be!

                                                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                  Barry says: Ty’s latest LP is more punky than sludgy, with more in common with early Pixies than his recent output. Driven, rocking and absolutely essential.

                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                  1 Break A Guitar
                                                                                  2 Freedom
                                                                                  3 Warm Hands (Freedom Returned)
                                                                                  4 Talkin'
                                                                                  5 The Only One
                                                                                  6 Thank You Mr. K
                                                                                  7 Orange Color Queen
                                                                                  8 Papers
                                                                                  9 Take Care (To Comb Your Hair)
                                                                                  10 Untitled

                                                                                  The Silence

                                                                                  Nine Suns, One Morning

                                                                                    Papa M

                                                                                    Highway Songs

                                                                                      David Pajo’s been writing lines on the guitar since he was a kid. It sustained him through a lot of groups, like Maurice, Slint, Aerial M, Tortoise, The For Carnation, Dead Child and Papa M. The sounds he’s made on albums with names like ‘Live From A Shark Cage’ and ‘Whatever, Mortal’ implied danger, violence and total alienation alongside a peaceful, easy, good-willing and wide streak of broke-toothed black humour.

                                                                                      With a humble combination of sources Papa M has traditionally traced his music from aboriginal blues all the way through the rock and on into 21st Century classical, exploring moments via an audio-diary vérité. With each encroaching moment of ‘Highway Songs’ it sounds more and more like good old Papa M, as David throws back the veil of tears from recent times to bear witness to miasmic mood-clouds passing not over but through him. Music from where the mind goes when the body is broken. Reflecting time spent hooked up to machines. A good person with bad thoughts, a story told in fragments picked up off the bathroom floor.

                                                                                      The Papa M approach is laced with fun amongst the bristle, with loads of tasty playing and a dynamic that pits darkness vs light vs irreverence in a Mexican standoff. As before, it’s pretty much all played by Pajo, whose multi-instrumental flair (and Def Leppard-inspired one-legged drum technique) speaks of the gumption and optimism that has always run under his bridge, along with the blood and water and sperm, massed together in a hypnotic flow. All these things are what makes Papa M and it’s good to hear them and him again.

                                                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                      Barry says: Shining with the sort of instrumental flare seen in Pajo's former bands Slint and Tortoise (among others), this incarnation has a lot more of an acoustic playfulness. Upbeat melodies and interwoven guitar lines cascade into each-other before crackling with electronic shards and static flourishes. This is a finely crafted and impeccably produced collection of soulful electro-acoustic gems.

                                                                                      Cory Hanson

                                                                                      The Unborn Capitalist From Limbo

                                                                                        Drag City announce the solo debut full length from Wand’s Cory Hanson. ‘The Unborn Capitalist From Limbo’ was recorded during May of 2016 in various locations across Los Angeles County and features string arrangements by Heather Lockie.

                                                                                        Hanson’s lyrics here are his best to date. By turns naked, leering, playful, evasive, they present a mute, parading statuary - doughy figures waltzing in doomed configurations through bleeding watercolour backdrops across terrains of tangled information. The music is gorgeous and liveable. Every surface threatens with the promise of an untold depth; every depth threatens to collapse into a surface. Every place you ply a solution turns out to be an intractable edge. You go looking for the soul, but there is no soul - just the things you had to lift to look behind.

                                                                                        Tim Presley

                                                                                        The Wink

                                                                                          Lit up within the shades and the folding conflex of his many musical outfits are the musical sparks that make Tim Presley come alive — but The WiNK lives beyond all previous incarnations found in Drinks, Hair, White Fence and Darker My Love. Here, there’s fewer filters than ever between you and Tim. Thus, his name up front; a wink towards ostensible (and ominous?) solosity, making light as it whistles through the layers that cage Tim’s life.

                                                                                          Tim’s a man in a glass booth, grabbing at scraps of paper blown at his windscreen as if they were of the greatest value. They’re actually of the ONLY value. And we grin in delight in his twist and tumult; in this process, he’s assembling his tunes in essential fashion, rolling around in the dust of his Id-bowl, then reordering the scrambled head-events into a barrage of phrases and stages, flickering through disembodied and re-embodied moments, held together by Tim’s inviolable belief in the song progression underneath. The tension is unbreakable, a thin plastic slip, as he intones upon a maze of high wild mercury stings.

                                                                                          When you tune in to The WiNK, it takes a couple minutes for you to hear a word. But then it takes only one line until “and then you die,” uttered in a voice of mottled, throaty horror, as if ghosts that haven’t yet shown themselves are advancing through walls. Working with the creative team of producer Cate Le Bon, drummer Stella Mozgawa, and engineer Samur Khouja, Tim’s located the corners of a perfect square, with their creativity and truth crafting unique parts to function as songs within songs, giving the tunes double-jointed features that extend their original intentions. The Presley guitar hand has a powerful, yet quicksilver touch, with metallic brilliance ALWAYS, esp. in rhythm figurations, where it wrings chords out like panic signals, highlighting “Can You Blame,” “Long Bow,” “Underwater Rain,” and “Clue” (to name a few), and a cover version of Willie “Loco” Alexander’s “Kerouac” (nod and a wink!), where a smooth and steadfast lyric melody is supplanted by a throw of broken guitar and shards of keys. Throughout The WiNK, Tim’s tone is thin and princely, connecting the dots sideways and backwards to align and make the image emerge.

                                                                                          The WiNK is produced by Cate Le Bon, who does the impregnable work of bringing a Tim Presley solo statement into focus somehow from without, by leading Tim the long away around to make a portrait of him. Cate fully embodied the producer role, picking the songs for the album from a deep pile of demos, making arrangements for the chosen songs and steadfastly suggesting that the trusted team go off the beaten path in their execution. Alert to the scribble from which Tim’s songs emerge in best home-recorded intimacy, Cate’s studio production teases such details out without losing any of the cerebral splatter — deconstructing and rebuilding the songs with a tight-knit crew whose shared language lifts Tim’s sound from the deep blue to create a different, stranger, authentic result.

                                                                                          The pop pusher of our teenage century has slipped from behind the Fence to claim his name. It’s about Tim!

                                                                                          Faun Fables are back with ‘Born Of The Sun’. Since 1998, Faun Fables has been the musical world of Dawn McCarthy, visited in collaboration with her partner Nils Frykdhal. In early times, their wild spirit roamed the streets and hills of the SF / Oakland community while, pilgrim-like, wandering the world and issuing two albums of deeply-rooted, swirlingly other folk music in 1999 and 2001. With the release of ‘Family Album’ in 2004, Drag City got involved and ‘The Transit Rider’ (2006), ‘A Table Forgotten’ (2008) and ‘Light Of A Vaster Dark’ (2010) followed. Now, suddenly, it’s 2016. Six years have passed since ‘Light Of A Vaster Dark’ appeared. Life has happened, in the form of three children born to Dawn and Nils.

                                                                                          Anyone who has spent time in the thrall of Faun Fables’ bewitching sound knows that this was the dream; beyond Dawn’s passion for song, dance, theatre and all manner of folklore (plus a regular regimen of yodelling), the mythic shadows of home and hearth, friends and family, have infused all of their expressions. Now, raising the family that was once only dreamed about makes for an earthier and more expansive Faun Fables album, informed by the slow and sudden progress of time that occurs when we are with the very young.

                                                                                          ‘Born Of The Sun’ is in itself another birthing, the songs gestating over several years, then recorded mostly in concentrated periods over the past two winters. On previous albums, the passions of Faun Fables seemed to be laid firmly on the stones of the Old World. The minstrels who cavorted across the cover of ‘Mother Twilight’ seemed out of another, hard-to-place time. ‘Born Of The Sun’ continues on in this exalted tradition but also reflects the rhythms of family living, where each day is a new and irreversible step forward through the necessarily scorched earth of raising children.

                                                                                          Where ‘Family Album’ and ‘A Table Forgotten’ looked yearningly through time at the spiritual natures of communal living, ‘Born Of The Sun’ is forged in the crucible of now and, as such, has a feeling apart from the previous days of Faun Fables.

                                                                                          Dawn and Nils and the kids (whose vocals on ‘Wild Kids Rant’ suggest they are following their parents’ path into the forest) are embracing the phenomena of creation as they move inexorably forward. ‘Born Of The Sun’ is the bountiful and exuberant album of this place and time - an old, candlelit world of arcane beliefs in our brightly-lit world, growing ever more profound in the light of perpetual discovery that bathes all of Faun Fables’ songs.

                                                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                          Barry says: An enchanting and often beguiling mix of traditional medieval folk and swirling Californian psychedelic sounds. Progressive but coherent chord changes and textures develop as time goes on, building and morphing into a cacophony of instrumental depth and vocal intensity. Fascinating and thoroughly skilled instrumentation and (in places) frightening heart-wrenchingly poignant lyricism. A Journey not to be missed.

                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                          Holding The Sky
                                                                                          Ta Nasza Mlodosc
                                                                                          Country House Waits
                                                                                          Madmen & Dogs
                                                                                          Born Of The Sun
                                                                                          Wild Kids Rant
                                                                                          Outing In The Country
                                                                                          O My Stars

                                                                                          Bitchin Bajas And Bonnie 'Prince' Billy

                                                                                          Epic Jammers And Fortunate Little Ditties

                                                                                          YES! An unlikelier of collabs on the face of it comes to pass, and makes SO much sense upon consideration that you wonder why you hadn’t rioted for your right to experience this sooner. Chill, man! Life gave you a surprise — a missing peace — now GO with it.

                                                                                          Yessir, Bitchin Bajas and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy be in righteous and TRUE collaboration on this one, flowing ideas through the air between them, which seems a rare thing in this age where records course forth without wires, pieced together out of the zeros and ones that divide and don’t define us. The air’s meant to be shared, and that’s how Epic Jammers and Fortunate Little Ditties came to pass — a morning, afternoon and evening of frisson in blissed acceptance of the eternal recurrence. And it always came.

                                                                                          These guys GET each other. They share a passion for arresting the moment in the process of now, and both of ’em get music from this action in their way. Bajas have a fan in Bonny; their ability to stretch time and get in between the grains scratches his itch to LIVE in those instances. And this makes him a worthy co-jammer, a fourth plane to the BB triangle that quantifies and dimensionalizes the sound. Inevitable, then, that they’d do something. Their first blend was for the Shirley Collins tribute comp, a rendition of “Pretty Saro” that built from the starkness and tonal monophony of the auld ballads and opened the hatch to timeless stasis. But if more was desired (which it was), more would be needed — the full trio of Bajas in the room together, in audience with the ‘Prince.’ Following one of their many mini-jaunts around the country, Bitchin Bajas stopped by Bonnie’s aerie one day after tour to make it so.

                                                                                          It was an epic and fortunate day.

                                                                                          Epic Jammers and Fortunate Little Ditties contains moments of tranquility and trance, with the players integrating their separate ways, vibing off each other, making songs together. Bonny is at his spiritmelting celestial best wandering through a lifetime of fortunes that amount, when incanted, to a prayer to the god of many names. The Bajas’ access to the universal aural paintbox is unparalleled; their reach is deep. And it all went down onto a 2-track reel-toreel in primitive left-right seps that helped to define their ability to finish it in mixing. These WERE jams, with whatever preparation, gear, thought and cords — vocal and electric — backgrounded, in support of intuition and what existed AT THE MOMENT.

                                                                                          Epic Jammers and Fortunate Little Ditties is simple and stark and empyrean and inspirational...and pretty modal, too — probably never more than three chords! — as Bonny and the Bajas pursue the life of the spirit down ever-fading vapor trails, in a bottomless (and topless — let ’em loose!) space.

                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                          1 May Life Throw You A Pleasant Curve
                                                                                          2 Nature Makes Us For Ourselves
                                                                                          3 Your Heart Is Pure, Your Mind Is Clear, Your Soul Devout
                                                                                          4 Your Whole Family Are Well
                                                                                          5 Despair Is Criminal
                                                                                          6 You Are Not Superman
                                                                                          7 Show Your Love And Your Love Will Be Returned
                                                                                          8 You Will Soon Discover How Truly Fortunate You Really Are
                                                                                          9 Your Hard Work Is About To Pay Off, Keep On Keeping On

                                                                                          From the press release for ‘Emotional Mugger’:
                                                                                          “Get in the booth -
                                                                                          punch in the number
                                                                                          when they pick up
                                                                                          don’t say a word
                                                                                          just listen
                                                                                          shout at the double
                                                                                          from the damned
                                                                                          from a dry throat
                                                                                          dry eye chuckle
                                                                                          insistent / elastic (but never plastic)
                                                                                          thick / butt jump pierced by the kids
                                                                                          sweet angel voice sinister (what are they thinking)
                                                                                          guitars sliced with scribble
                                                                                          graffiti sprawled across the hemispheres; stuttered, stunted, dual-mono machine dreams flashing sudden stereophobic and back again / two screens alone together squeezing shaking oozing metallic pool like brain blood, slowly draining away all mental life. shaking ass / nihility at most corrodes candy’s gone no more fun.”

                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                          1. Squealer
                                                                                          2. Californian Hills
                                                                                          3. Emotional Mugger/Leopard Priestess
                                                                                          4. Breakfast Eggs
                                                                                          5. Diversion
                                                                                          6. Baby Big Man (I Want A Mommy)
                                                                                          7. Mandy Cream
                                                                                          8. Candy Sam
                                                                                          9. Squealer Two
                                                                                          10. W.U.O.T.W.S.
                                                                                          11. The Magazine

                                                                                          The Silence are a storm that has been brewing across Japan for over a year and now that system is breaking into the skies of the rest of the world. Their debut, self-titled release proved to be simply a preamble to the fluid and formidable electro-acoustic display of ‘Hark The Silence’.

                                                                                          The first record was of a song-based nature, rendered with careful beauty familiar to long-time listeners of Maski Batoh and Ghost; a sounds that turned on occasion into greater journeys. Several months after finishing that album more songs were was taped during an epic recording session in an enormous studio with an audience of listeners whose presence inspired The Silence and added to the performance. However, these recordings were only a beginning and the band returned to the studio later to refine the songs in new versions, creating a powerfully jamming album that contains all the elements of music that define The Silence in flowing and transcendent performance, all of it recorded on 24-track analogue tape, a process which brings their musical and spatial elements into dynamic balance.

                                                                                          Everything in the universe accessible to The Silence may be found in the ‘Ancient Wind’ trilogy that fills side one of ‘Hark The Silence’. From the depths of space rolls washes of gong, through which a terse, minimal bassline comes marching. Rattles of prepared piano spark and pass through the frame, blown over with the celestial omnipotence of a flute. The now-sensuous groove is underscored with luxuriant stereophonic drums rolling across the speakers.

                                                                                          Representing the state of nature from which all music as well as The Silence has to come, ‘Ancient Wind Part 1’ ceases to exist and explodes into a furious Bo-Diddley beat for ‘Part 2’, a chant replete with acid-rock guitar solos, an encompassing saxophone testament and an echounit driven drum breakdown.

                                                                                          Part 3 of ‘Ancient Wind’ resumes the chant in the mode of ‘Gangamanag’ (from Ghost’s ‘Hypnotic Underworld’ opus) and extends the fury of the progression in 7/8 to include a dazzling organ solo over unending volcanic eruption. As the swirling mass subsides, a few rusty blue notes from an acoustic guitar are sounded over the encroaching Silence.

                                                                                          Recorded completely live, ‘Ornament’ continues with resonant guitar acoustics from the fading embers of the first side, starting with a gentle mode and sung by Batoh in their native tongue, before the song ascends to explorations in space with music.

                                                                                          ‘DEX 1’ continues the ride, a heavy jam in 4/4 dedicated to Dexter Gordon with loads of texture from keyboards and saxophone that make for very compelling physical listening.

                                                                                          The second half of the album contains an exquisite and intense rock arrangement from Damon and Naomi with Batoh’s tremendous singing atop the pile-driving power of The Silence in full swing, plus several other awe-inspiring encounters in live performance, minimal jamming, poetry, baritone-sax breath and group-think at its best.

                                                                                          As the album closes with the clarion call of ‘Fireball’ the graveyard of all history traversed by The Silence is illuminated by the dead’s spirit burning in the air - a great and profoundly jarring moment. ‘Hark The Silence’ is a composite of such moments, an album that travels enormous distances and captures live energies in astonishing studio sounds.

                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                          Ancient Wind Part 1 & 2
                                                                                          Ancient Wind Part 3
                                                                                          DEX #1
                                                                                          Breath Figure
                                                                                          Little Red Record

                                                                                          ….further along and down the road apiece from where she took her leave of us, Joanna Newsom plays on. Breathe deep and equalize your today-ears to the new world of Divers…

                                                                                          Good heavens-five years go by-what can one do? Dive, listener, knowing that diversions aplenty await: a wheeling circuit of sci-fi sea-shanties and cavalier ballads; a family of polysemic song-sets; a paranomasaic Liederkreis of harmonic sympathies and knotted hierarchies; a fanfare of brazen puns and martial lullabies, blazing in sorrow and horseplay and love, in turns symphonic and spare, joined by Mellotrons and Marxophones and Moogs, clavichords and celestas-and of course the harp, thrumming its threnodies of circadian invasions and avian irruptions and strange loops of Shepard-toned resonant-frequencies and something called goddamned Simulacreage…

                                                                                          The music of Divers is a wonder of considered arrangements, immaculately sequenced for telescoped brevity. The music speeds with dissociative dread over montaged cityscapes; it hoofs with delight among the collaged quotations and sepia-toned codices of Popular Song; it ambles its carefree citational course through the public domain and down into the dustier corners of municipal parks, to lionize infamous airmen and anonymous Dutch Masters, to mourn pearl divers and Poorwills, and to elegize the ineluctable tragedy of relativity…

                                                                                          At the center of the mythos and the maelstrom is the woman. Divers reminds us that Newsom is a melodist, above all—an acolyte of melody and beauty in form, a crackerjack of emotional truth conveyed with undiluted immediacy. Here, at the aortic confluence of countless strings and wires, winking beneath the lacquered layers of instrumental nacre, biding quietly between the ranges of rhapsodic arrangement—including those by Nico Muhly, Ryan Francesconi, Dave Longstreth, and Newsom herself—there lies an intimacy seldom achieved, and simply heard. Divers dives forth with a pure love and respect for the traditions and mysteries of man, such that we can feel the surge of life itself passing over our bones as we hear the songs and sounds, the players and the arrangements; as basic maths are reviewed to uncover heights of joy and sorrow, all traced in triumphal arches and supernumerary rainbows through eternal amber, gleaming in analog entrapment-with that VOICE riding high atop-recorded with snow-bright, high-noon-verity by Steve Albini and Noah Georgeson, mixed in phantasmagoric, deep-sea-saturation by Noah and Joanna, and loosed, fuckin’ FINALLY by Drag City Records.

                                                                                          We have reached Peak Newsom. Divers is coming, to incline into your many and varied lifelines, for now and then and the rest of the moments that will always return in your lifetimes again. 

                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                          01. Anecdotes
                                                                                          02. Sapokanikan
                                                                                          03. Leaving The City
                                                                                          04. Goose Eggs
                                                                                          05. Waltz Of The 101st Lightborne
                                                                                          06. The Things I Say
                                                                                          07. Divers
                                                                                          08. Same Old Man
                                                                                          09. You Will Not Take My Heart Alive
                                                                                          10. A Pin-Light Bent
                                                                                          11. Time, As A Symptom

                                                                                          You thought Ty Segall’s ‘Manipulator’ was the money album of the year? Think again. ‘Singles 2’ is here.

                                                                                          ‘Singles 2’ sweeps out the ashes of the breakneck days (and nights) of 2011 - 2013 and burns down the house all over again in the process - but not by accident. ‘Singles 2’ slinks low and flat-out sprints behind the scenes of the ‘Goodbye Bread’ / ‘Twins’ / ‘Sleeper’ trilogy, collecting all the now-out-of print sides that totally work amazingly well together when placed back-to-back-to-back as an album.

                                                                                          The super-deadly ‘Spiders’ single is spun again here in full, along with the epically pop B-sides for ‘I Can’t Feel It’, ‘The Hill’ and ‘Would You Be My Love’. Plus there are tracks for other righteous labels too like Permanent, Castleface and Famous Class.

                                                                                          Covering The Groundhogs, the Velvets and GG Allin, Ty reps for a good array of punk godheads too. Between the covers and the originals, ‘Singles 2’ is also a run through the SF 388 scene circa 2010 - 2013, with various local heroes like King Riff, Mike Donovan and Ty himself at the board.

                                                                                          ‘Singles 2’ is really about the rush of getting a single for the A-side and then finding a total sunshine jewel like ‘Children Of Paul’ or ‘Mother Lemonade’ on the flip. Or a stone-solid jam on a classic like the complete retooling of ‘Femme Fatale’ or the Mackay-style sax bleatings of ‘Fucked Up Motherfucker’.

                                                                                          Closing the album with the seemingly unlikely (‘Music For A Film’) and the seemingly inevitable (‘Pettin The Dog’, a mighty hardcore slamming of the lid) cleanses the palate for... what? Another spin, probably! Singles 2 has been designed to withstand obsessive flipping.

                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                          Hand Glams
                                                                                          Cherry Red
                                                                                          Falling Hair
                                                                                          Children Of Paul
                                                                                          It’s A Problem
                                                                                          Mother Lemonade
                                                                                          For Those Who Weep
                                                                                          Fucked Up Motherfucker
                                                                                          Femme Fatale
                                                                                          Music For A Film
                                                                                          Pettin The Dog


                                                                                          Red Apple Falls

                                                                                            Over the years Smog records ranged around from several completely selfplayed and recorded efforts, dictated by voices from within, to more collaborative projects involving the people outside Bill Callahan’s head. However, never before was there a Smog album made like this

                                                                                            Produced and co-arranged by Jim O’Rourke, ‘Red Apple Falls’ combs back the passions of ‘Wild Love’ and ‘The Doctor Came At Dawn’ to make an even part, revealing a purer pop sound; all of it pressed into pure 24k gold.

                                                                                            Why is it that Smog looks to find beauty in such unfortunate moments? Is sadness truly this wonderful? Make no mistake - Smog were always about beauty. Even back in the home-cooked early days of ‘Sewn To The Sky’ and ‘Forgotten Foundation’, the rocky sounds and found noises were a way to express wonderment and experience joy. More recent Smog releases vividly (and exclusively) catalogued the agonies of failing relationships and breaches of faith so intense that ‘the singer’ ended up isolated by belief. Placing himself in a fictive position seemed to allows Bill to tap into deep emotional trespasses. This ability to fictionalize stepped up to centre stage for ‘Red Apple Falls’.

                                                                                            Here we have the tale of a man no longer bitter over the lonely path of his life. In the middle of the night, a ‘Blood Red Bird’ crying in the darkness is his closest companion; upon waking, even ‘The Morning Paper’ is more company than he can bear. Rather than be regarded as a friend, he recalls fondly the days when ‘I Was A Stranger’. The parade of small tales rolls out with the languor and uniform quality of the Kinks’ Village Green Preservation Society - one story at a time, each with its own rueful bite.

                                                                                            It all hearkens back to the song ‘Fables’, from the first Smog album, ‘Sewn To The Sky’, a song about the people’s penchant for morality play. On ‘Red Apple Falls’, things like the song ‘Red Apples’ (a remake of an early period Smog song) present epochal imagery very much in the centuries-old mythic tradition. Smog presents fables for our troubled times.

                                                                                            The soundtrack to this not unentirelv unpleasant state of affairs is the most visceral backing we’ve heard on a Smog album to date. Lush instrumentation threads through the material, with the sudden booming of a French horn giving way midsong to a barrelhouse, piano riff, a bloomin’ steel guitar, or a chorus of sweet Smog chanting. It’s enough to make you think you’re listening to a Nick Drake record, or ‘Forever Changes’. The orchestral feel of the record is reminiscent of later Phil Spector productions like George Harrison’s ‘All Things Must Pass’ and Dion’s ‘Born To Be With You’.

                                                                                            Now available again after far too long on CD through Drag City.

                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                            The Morning Paper
                                                                                            Blood Red Bird
                                                                                            Red Apples
                                                                                            I Was A Stranger
                                                                                            To Be Of Use
                                                                                            Red Apple Falls
                                                                                            Finer Days

                                                                                            ‘Chills On Glass’, Dead Rider’s third album, is as distinct from the second album as ‘The Raw Dents’ was from their debut, ‘Mother Of Curses’.

                                                                                            The goal for Dead Rider is always super-heavy and superdriving, with more ‘up’ moments than ever before. ‘Chills On Glass’ moves forward in this tradition, juxtaposing high and low values - serious playing, danceablity, controlledoutcomes and experimentation, thick and thrashing rhythms and expertly manoeuvred tight corners, vocal textures smooth and sandy rubbing together and igniting. Synths tickle the top of one’s spine, guitars piercing like a neural system, the fullness of real drums, vocal layers and masks of all kinds.

                                                                                            This is composition that uses improvisation as an element within a larger structure, the ultimate streamlining of production, where songs are processed on several levels, mirroring and flashing their meanings through tactics and layers, backgrounded by a panorama of yawning, silent, benevolent black velvet. Dead Rider move relentlessly around the borders of their sound, finding new textures throughout, which act as candy to the ears. Self-recorded, produced and mastered in the Dead Rider studio suites, ‘Chills On Glass’ is a self-contained statement.

                                                                                            Todd Rittmann, infamous from his days in US Maple, is a guitar warrior with intensive craft at his fingertips. For the past five years, he’s been furthering his reputation by doing further damage with his instrument and others, and by spreading the carnage wide with Dead Rider (Matthew Espy, Andrea Faught, Thymme Jones and Rittmann for ‘Chills On Glass’).

                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                            New Eyes
                                                                                            Blank Screen
                                                                                            Weird Summer
                                                                                            Sex Grip Enemy
                                                                                            The Unnatural Act
                                                                                            Four Cocks
                                                                                            Of One Thousand
                                                                                            Cry Honey
                                                                                            Fumes And Nothing Else

                                                                                            ‘Return Of The Silkie’, 1983’s third chapter in the as-yet unfinished saga of the nomadic West Coast harpist Carol Kleyn, offers a slice of the wild and free utopian dream that changed so many lives in the 60s and 70s.

                                                                                            Pure and simple, harp and vocals, accompanied only by scatterings of harbor seals and sea lions, this loosely woven concept album includes gentle reminders that life is short - take it in while you can and, along the way, try to preserve the magnificence of this world for the next generation. Sentiments and music as hauntingly true today as the day they were first sung and recorded.

                                                                                            Carol’s lyrics close with: “there’s a storm over paradise and it’s we who decide… just how long we shall live… or when we shall die…” The instrumental that follows, and closes this album, reiterates that message with the cries of sea lions in the background, as the ‘Silkie’ returns, perhaps by choice, to her underwater origins.

                                                                                            Thirty years later, Carol resides on an island in Puget Sound, where she walks amongst the eagles and the sea lions, and is guided by the beauty and the changes she observes along that beach, in the sky and on a distant Mt. Rainier. Of greatest concern to her today is that the heat wave we’re now experiencing has only just begun. That being said, there will be, without a doubt, new songs and recordings to follow.

                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                            Return Of The Silkie
                                                                                            Sailor In The Sun
                                                                                            Hello Mister Drifter
                                                                                            Land Voyage
                                                                                            Rivers’ Calling
                                                                                            Storm Over Paradise
                                                                                            And Back Again

                                                                                            In the song world of Bill Callahan, the present realities tumble ecstatically like cloth in the wind - sheets and flags and clothes. These things borne aloft are not simply physical details in the landscape, but the contours of an emotional one as well. Bill’s a cartographer way out there, tracing the coastlines, telling the tales he has discovered along the way. Some seen in life and others in mind’s eye, they float down ‘Dream River’ with humble eminence.

                                                                                            The river that was once deemed not too much to love, that once freed convicts and their guard in a still and silent moment, is now a ‘Dream River’, fished in a variety of depths, viewed in panorama. This is a waterway that winds across the landmass, a ribbon that touches and changes and feeds and gives to and takes from many lives as it rolls to the ocean.

                                                                                            Dialed into the mindset, the ‘Dream River’ instrumental crew man a hovercraft that bears the songs along, humming deeply with bass and percolating with the abiding resonance of hands drumming on skins, the lively popping of claves. Guitar strums fan into blooms of smoke, sliced through by other guitars taking other forms - shards of mirrors, plumes of ignition, telephone wires, snakes and ladders plunging through the depths of the sky. The musical modes are exquisite, aquatic; shifting in delicate but deliberate undetectable time as Bill’s lyrics wander from yard to yard.

                                                                                            ‘Dream River’ is the fourth studio album from Bill Callahan, following the sweet devastation of ‘Apocalypse’.

                                                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                            Patrick says: It's easy to paint Bill Callahan as a world weary traveller. After all, he's fourteen albums into a twenty year career, deadpans with the best of them and has been known to dwell on death and destruction more than a Scandinavian drama. His last offering, 2011's ‘Apocalypse’ sees two protagonists meet their maker before side-B is through, amongst a general discourse on devastation and despair. But if ‘Apocalypse’ was the storm sent to purge the earth, then ‘Dream River’ is the verdant calm that follows. Bill has always explored natural themes, even back in his days as a lo-fi auteur, and on this album they abound. As ever water is the most prominent motif, whether it be a river, ocean or rain, with Bill's warm baritone deep enough to drown in. Elsewhere, flight is the focus as arrows, javelins and seagulls all soar through clear skies adding to the lightness of what is certainly Callahan's most uplifting album to date. But what is most striking about ‘Dream River’ is the happy marriage of Callahan's trademark Americana with soul. Aside from the lyrical nod to Marvin Gaye and Bill's Callier register, the congas and claves of Thor Harris lend a temperate groove to proceedings, while Beth Galiger's flute doffs it's beret towards Brian Jackson, inspired by Gil Scott-Heron covering ‘I'm New Here’. Once again the excellent Matt Kinsey returns to add his psychedelic guitar to the record, magnifying the transportative qualities of "Summer Painter" and "Javelin Unlanding". ‘Dream River’ sees a mature Callahan at his best casting a musical spell that only breaks when the needle hits the centre.

                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                            1. The Sing
                                                                                            2. Javelin Unlanding
                                                                                            3. Small Plane
                                                                                            4. Spring
                                                                                            5. Ride My Arrow
                                                                                            6. Summer Painter
                                                                                            7. Seagull
                                                                                            8. Winter Road

                                                                                            Five short years into the Ty Segall expedition and we’re farther and farther out with each and every record. Between two minds, between two places, beyond previous album ‘Twins’, ‘Sleeper’ envisions a world of haves and have-nots, but the currency that separates them is psychic.

                                                                                            With ‘Sleeper’, Ty Segall explores your mind, coming through his own head to slip inside with thought sharing. Ty engineered this one from beginning to end, and his ultimate sonics were accessed with a freaky hand and an instinct for what makes something perfect. ‘Sleeper’ flows more colours through your mind’s eye than ever before, pushing the walls of the universe out just a micron further, making everything heavier and lighter all at once, to allow for one moment that will live forever.

                                                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                            Andy says: Cracked, slightly fried, acoustic psych...a glorious departure for this most prolific artist. His best yet?

                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                            The Keepers
                                                                                            The Man Man
                                                                                            She Don’t Care
                                                                                            Come Outside
                                                                                            6th Street
                                                                                            Sweet C.C.
                                                                                            Queen Lullabye
                                                                                            The West

                                                                                            ‘The Best Of The Howling Hex’ is a new album of new music by a new incarnation of The Howling Hex, now broadcasting as a band from the big town of Denver, Colorado. After years staked out in the border country of southern New Mexico, guitarist and leader Neil Hagerty is back in the phonebook, giving the Hex an urban soapbox on which to stand for the first time in their ten years of rere- revisionist history.

                                                                                            ‘The Best Of The Howling Hex’ is the first album of new music since the release of ‘Wilson Semiconductors’ in 2011.

                                                                                            ‘The Best Of The Howling Hex’ weaves the wild spirits and far-flung textures of ‘Wilson Semiconductors’ into tightly compressed sing-songs, before turning the jam out to bring the levee home. Hagerty’s guitar tone is an alien wonder, and the careening beat of the band unleashes him to fill solo spots with fervour.

                                                                                            After five years of wandering through the arid brushcountry of ‘Earth Junk’ and ‘Wilson Semiconductors’ (as well as the sidetrack soundtrack adventure that was ‘Victory Chimp, A Book’), the days of the covered wagon seem to be behind The Howling Hex for the time being. However, the depth of the earth and the true direction of the wind are lessons learned from their years out there - they can’t be unlearned.

                                                                                            The Howling Hex are now operating out of Denver, CO, and feature Eric Allen (of The Apples In Stereo) on bass guitar.

                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                            Built A Friend
                                                                                            Primetime Clown
                                                                                            Electric Northern
                                                                                            Street Craps
                                                                                            The General Prologue
                                                                                            Green Limousine
                                                                                            Trashcan Bahamas

                                                                                            ‘Twins’ is Ty Segall’s fourth full release this year. A singles comp, a fabulous collaboration with White Fence, an album with The Ty Segall Band, and now this.

                                                                                            ‘Twins’ contains the hit single ‘The Hill’.

                                                                                            ‘Twins’ follows ‘Goodbye Bread’, ‘Melted’, ‘Lemons’ and ‘Ty Segall’ as the prime statements in Ty Segall’s ongoing discography, dating back to 2008.

                                                                                            Today, Ty Segall is a new man, a different kind of man from his more knuckle dragging earlier incarnations. Now he’s jetting toward Jupiter, brooding, looking around with X-ray eyes, yearning with a superhuman heart for a love to come and stay.

                                                                                            The songs of ‘Twins’ are haunted by ghosts, shadowed by the other that we’ll never see, struggling to rise above. A fury of rock ensues; songs rigged to explode on a dime, fired from a cannon into the stratosphere. They fuse together into one multifarious projectile, a bullet from a gun marked yin and yang.

                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                            Thank God For Sinners
                                                                                            You’re The Doctor
                                                                                            Inside Your Heart
                                                                                            The Hill
                                                                                            Would You Be My Love
                                                                                            They Told Me Too
                                                                                            Love Fuzz
                                                                                            Who Are You
                                                                                            Gold On The Shore
                                                                                            There Is No Tomorrow

                                                                                            During Pavement’s ‘One More For The Money’ tour of 2010, Sic Alps played some British gigs with them. It’s been written that during one long night in Brixton, Stephen Malkmus was heard uttering within shot of a microphone that Sic Alps would be one of the most important bands of the next ten years.

                                                                                            ‘Sic Alps’ will be the fifth album from Sic Alps, if you include the compilation album ‘A Long Way Around To A Shortcut’ on Drag City. There’ve also been a number of singles and some splits. In the nearly-two-years since ‘Napa Asylum’, Sic Alps have kept busy with a series of singles, culminating in the tape-stretching double-B side ‘Vedley’ and a 7” EP of Tronics covers.

                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                            God Bless Her, I Miss Her
                                                                                            Lazee Son
                                                                                            Polka Vat
                                                                                            Wake Up, It’s Over II
                                                                                            Drink Up!
                                                                                            Thylacine Man
                                                                                            Rock Races
                                                                                            See You On The Slopes


                                                                                            Advaitic Songs

                                                                                              Where ‘God Is Good’ was the first step in a more ornate and sophisticated direction for OM, ‘Advaitic Songs’ achieves a level of composition that would’ve been impossible to foresee. There remains the singularity of purpose that is the core of all OM records, but no single reason can account for this comprehensive nature of their evolution.

                                                                                              On this album the core primary sound of OM remains, yet everything reaches further and becomes more of itself. Whatever drone-doom camp that OM had previously been placed in has been decimated by the sheer imagination and expansive quality of this recording. For a band that has continually followed its own course, and stood alone in its sound and approach, ‘Advaitic Songs’ for certain, is the band’s most focussed, progressive document.

                                                                                              ‘Advaitic Songs’ has been mastered for greatest fidelity on 45 rpm double vinyl, achieving fullness, high definition and depth out of every consecutive moment.

                                                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                              Darryl says: Breaking away from the shackles of the doom genre - OM now tread a more varied, progressive and sophisticated path. That's not to say they don't ROCK anymore though, they can still shake the core of the earth at the drop of a hat!

                                                                                              It’s almost 1980. Soho, New York, is fertile with young, no wave punks getting sharper and increasingly angular: Glenn Branca, DNA, Teenage Jesus, Contortions, Suicide, as well as the groups they would spawn. Coveted and revered bands for many today, this music was peripheral at the time. Within the periphery of this periphery, Social Climbers made sounds that were of their environs yet remarkably unique, leaving an indelible stamp on the scene while somehow managing to slither undetected out of all the history books.

                                                                                              A downtown New York art band as much as any other, Social Climbers also claimed Midwestern roots and actual musicianship that many of their contemporaries lacked, and in trade dismissed and essentially protested the snotty pretensions that drove many others within the scene.

                                                                                              Social Climbers are an absolute post punk blueprint: fat bass (often two), guitar, drum machine (dubbed ‘The Monkey’), feverish vocals, and organ.

                                                                                              Their lone, self-titled album is agitated and impossibly wild, yet danceable and composed. And it’s here, again, sounding as relevant today as it did when it was of the moment; perhaps, even more so.

                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                              1. Domestic
                                                                                              2. Chicken 80
                                                                                              3. Western World
                                                                                              4. Chris & Debbie
                                                                                              5. Palm Springs
                                                                                              6. That's Why
                                                                                              7. Ernie K
                                                                                              8. Hello Texas
                                                                                              9. Taipei
                                                                                              10. Tickhead (Live) *
                                                                                              11. The Day The Earth Stood Still *

                                                                                              (* = CD Only Track)

                                                                                              Pat "P.G. Six" Gubler is still enmeshed in the mystic & the unknowable even as he feels and knows the fullness of his rock phase on his latest, 'Starry Mind'. The band featured on 2007's 'Slightly Sorry' (with Debby Schwartz coming in on bass) has grown together, and you can hear it in the powerful unity of the performances.

                                                                                              This has a 'Shoot Out The Lights' vibe versus 'Slightly Sorry's 'I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight', played with a bit more rock abandon, and includes a guest spot from Tara Key (ANTIETAM). Fear not, Pat's serene vocalizing over a gently shaken brew of folk, rock and experimental elements is still atop the mountain, herein. To aid the long and lonely wait until the next iteration, 'Starry Mind' is here to fill our cosmos.

                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                              1. January
                                                                                              2. Letter
                                                                                              3. Days Hang Heavy
                                                                                              4. Palace
                                                                                              5. Talk Me Down
                                                                                              6. Wrong Side Of Yesterday
                                                                                              7. Crooked Way
                                                                                              8. This Song

                                                                                              23 year old Ty Segall has his finger on it. A finger on it, digging into your vinyl, since 2008. 'Goodbye Bread' is his 5th full length, his first for Drag City. For those who are unaware, Ty tours like a monster, plays his ass and his band's ass and his audience's ass off every night and people seem to like it. The shows are moving, almost beyond control. It's not gonna stop either! 'Goodbye Bread' will see to that.

                                                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                              Darryl says: ‘Goodbye Bread’ is his most accomplished work to date, sounding like a long lost dusty classic from the 70's. A lo-fi production, psyche-garage guitars and glam elements combine wonderfully with his retro styled vox. A big hit on the Drag City label!

                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                              1. Goodbye Bread
                                                                                              2. California Commercial
                                                                                              3. Comfortable Home (A True Story)
                                                                                              4. You Make The Sun Fry
                                                                                              5. I Can't Feel It
                                                                                              6. My Head Explodes
                                                                                              7. The Floor
                                                                                              8. Where Your Head Goes
                                                                                              9. I Am With You
                                                                                              10. Fine

                                                                                              Joanna Newsom

                                                                                              Have One On Me

                                                                                                Joanna Newsom releases her first album since late 2006’s "Ys", making up for lost time with a disc for 2008, one for 2009 and one for today. Featuring Ryan Francesconi and Neal Morgan from Joanna’s Ys Street Band, "Have One On Me" is an extravagantly packaged (and extravagantly nicely-priced) collection of fantastic new Joanna Newsom songs — her most colourful record to date. Through the course of the 18 songs, Joanna visits ditties, weepies, court dances, rump-bumpers, epics and moments of panavision fantasia upon us.

                                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                Disc 1:
                                                                                                1. Easy 6:04
                                                                                                2. Have One On Me 11:02
                                                                                                3. ’81 3:52
                                                                                                4. Good Intentions Paving Company 7:02
                                                                                                5. No Provenance 6:25
                                                                                                6. Baby Birch 9:30

                                                                                                Disc 2:
                                                                                                7. On A Good Day 1:49
                                                                                                8. You And Me, Bess 7:13
                                                                                                9. In California 8:42
                                                                                                10. Jackrabbits 4:23
                                                                                                11. Go Long 8:03
                                                                                                12. Occident 5:31

                                                                                                Disc 3:
                                                                                                13. Soft As Chalk 6:29
                                                                                                14. Esme 7:56
                                                                                                15. Autumn 8:02
                                                                                                16. Ribbon Bows 6:11
                                                                                                17. Kingfisher 9:11
                                                                                                18. Does Not Suffice 6:45

                                                                                                OM albums are rituals, personal convictions transcripted into verse. Playing the music is visceral, emotional, a catharsis of soul and spirit. As ever, dynamic relationships and the slow building of mood are attenuations that shape the structures of "God Is Good". With careful microscopic increase, the energy grows through the four songs, leading towards moments that one could interpret as… Revelation? Oblivion? Awakening?

                                                                                                Jim O'Rourke

                                                                                                The Visitor

                                                                                                  "The Visitor" is a seriously all-Jim O'Rourke affair - all the sounds you hear are Jim and Jim alone. This time you can't blame any of those session dudes and their bloodless line readings - the chill you're getting is a one-hundred percent O'Rourke effect. As a matter of fact, it might be more like two hundred percent — some of it is tracked so deep, it took two hundred tracks to hold it all. It doesn't sound like it though - to Jim's credit, the mix sounds very minimal, very straightforward - not like several hundred tracks at all. All the classic O'Rourke-isms are here: percolating banjos, smooth electric leads, organic, kicking drum sounds, the flickering of shakers to the left and right, mellow but ominous woodwinds, sounds that indicate 'vintage', sonic jokes and sonic tear-jerkers, all wrapped in spacious yet subtle left to right placement of everything in the picture. This is one one-track album everyone's gonna have to buy. However, "The Visitor" doesn't overstay its welcome. Get ready for redefinition - Jim O'Rourke is back.

                                                                                                  Joanna Newsom & The YS Street Band

                                                                                                  The YS Street Band EP

                                                                                                    A new Joanna Newsom record already? Don't rub your eyes and ears just yet —it's 'just' an EP. But with all new arrangements and performances of two already-classic Joanna songs and the debut of a brand-new song, it's a solid short-play record at least — and another inspiring slice of Newsom at best! The EP was performed by Joanna's road-tested band: Kevin Barker, Neal Morgan, Dan Cantrell and Ryan Francesconi, with Joanna Newsom singing and playing her harp. Recorded and mixed in its entirety by Tim Green at The Plant Studios in Sausalito, California, it's an all-new, live and lively look into the world of one of today's fastest-growing young artists. Both formats feature "Colleen", "Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie" and "Cosmia".

                                                                                                    Joanna Newsom

                                                                                                    The Milk Eyed Mender

                                                                                                      Joanna's music has more of an affinity with the folk revival of the 60s, or the bluegrass movement at present, than with most contemporary 'folk' (or 'anti-folk') scenes. Her harp arrangements are at times ethereal and delicate, at others galloping and ornate, but never overwrought.

                                                                                                      Neil Michael Hagerty

                                                                                                      Plays That Good Old Rock And Roll

                                                                                                        Great mix of down country and twisted rock 'n' roll from this ex-Royal Trux man.

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