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DRAG CITY

Bill MacKay

Locust Land

    Rolling and tumbling in his own sweet way, guitarist Bill MacKay discovers a territory all his own - 'Locust Land'. New vistas abound, Bill adds a measure of keyboard playing to his picking mastery, sings a few more, and, a devout and ceaseless collaborator, features a few other players (Sam Wagster, Mikel Patrick Avery and Janet Beveridge Bean). Whether played solo or with companions, Bill’s music projects the strength of the universal collective.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Phantasmic Fairy
    2. Keeping In Time
    3. Glow Drift
    4. Half Of You
    5. Oh Pearl
    6. Radiator
    7. When I Was Here
    8. Neil’s Field
    9. Locust Land

    John Mulaney

    Baby J

      The Emmy-winning Comeback Kid himself comes back yet again with a blunt, brilliantly quotable stand-up special. 'Baby J' takes the form of a wide-ranging
      conversation between John Mulaney, a kid in the balcony named Henry, and the rest of the sold-out crowd at Boston’s Symphony Hall. And now, you!

      John dominates the chat, of course - and while his cautionary tales are a bit too convulsive to be functionally preventative, you probably aren’t here to be cautioned. So have at it!

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Miss America
      2. Lost In New York
      3. Star-Studded Intervention
      4. Koala Bank Changing Station
      5. Dr. Michael
      6. A Call From Al Pacino
      7. Baby J
      8. John, John And John
      9. Breaking Up With
      10. Your Dealer
      11. Mushing Metals
      12. Hello Old Friend
      13. A Wide Ranging Conversation

      Gastr Del Sol

      We Have Dozens Of Titles

        Like a bolt echoing back from the blue, We Have Dozens of Titles restrikes the iron of Gastr del Sol, plunging the listener (that’s us!) back into the maelstrom of their all-too-brief (-but-ultimately-long-enough-to-change-everything-incisively) passage of 1993-1998 via an assembly of previously uncollected studio recordings and beautifully captured unreleased live material.

        Gastr del Sol’s music was of the transformative variety – or was it transfiguration they were up to? Or transmigration? Flux was key, to be sure. David Grubbs formed Gastr from the final lineup of Bastro; on Gastr’s del Sol’s debut, The Serpentine Similar, Grubbs, Bundy K. Brown and John McEntire downshifted from a thrashing electric outfit into a droning, acoustic-based one. Following this, the lineup shifted again, decisively – Brown and McEntire departed to focus on the project to be known as Tortoise, and Jim O’Rourke arrived, pairing with Grubbs to make a sequence of unpredictable leaps across genre and practical approach alike, over three LPs and a pair of EPs that threatened the passage of musical time as we knew it in the mid-90s.

        We Have Dozens of Titles contains nearly an hour of previously unreleased live recordings, alongside another near-hour of studio recordings culled from previously uncollected singles, EPs, and compilations. At long last, vinyl purchasers will hear the full range of “The Harp Factory on Lake Street”, “Dead Cats in a Foghorn”, “Quietly Approaching” and “The Bells of St. Mary’s” for the first time EVER on vinyl – all of it, live and studio alike, lovingly mastered and remastered by Jim O’Rourke, and packaged in a three LP box set with a wicked Roman Signer image on its removable lid, interior printing on the box bottom and inner sleeves for each LP with performance credits for all the songs.

        As much as Gastr del Sol’s albums showcase a group eminently at home in the studio, they were inclined to thoroughly reinvent their compositions in performance. While reviewing live tapes for this compilation, the studio versions of most things felt more and more definitive, with the exception of the live takes included here, which essay startling new qualities in pieces that have been in the public ear for several decades.

        The majority of these live performances come from a miraculous find in the CBC archive – a broadcast-quality recording of Jim and David from the 1997 Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville. This was the last time they performed together as Gastr del Sol, during which several still-gestating Camoufleur pieces were presented in radically different forms and Jim played organ on a track from David’s first solo album, the concert-closing, band closing (and now album-closing) version of "Onion Orange”.

        The studio recordings included were originally released by the Red Hot Organization, God Mountain, Table of the Elements, Sony Japan, Teenbeat and Drag City. Studios utilized in the making of the material were Idful Music Corporation, Kingsize Soundlab and steamroom. The extended company of players on these numbers includes Jeb Bishop, Bundy K. Brown, Steve Butters, Gene Coleman, Thymme Jones, Terri Kapsalis, John McEntire, Günter Müller, Bob Weston and Sue Wolf – a virtual “what’s who wha'?!?” of Chicago’s hothouse scene in those times.

        We Have Dozens of Titles revisits the slow-burning incendiaries of Gastr del Sol, finding, once again and after so much time elapsed, another, further set of reinventions from a group who continues to change the way we hear music.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. The Seasons Reverse (live)
        2. Quietly Approaching
        3. Ursus Arctos Wonderfilis (live)
        4. At Night And At Night
        5. Dead Cats In A Foghorn
        6. The Japanese Room At La Pagode
        7. The Bells Of St. Mary’s
        8. Blues Subtitled No Sense Of Wonder (live)
        9. 20 Songs Less
        10. Dictionary Of Handwriting (live)
        11. The Harp Factory On Lake Street
        12. Onion Orange (live)

        Six Organs Of Admittance

        Time Is Glass

          With Time is Glass, Six Organs of Admittance is captured once again in the intricate tangle of the fretboards, soaring in open skies above. Like lens flare cutting through the speakers; spiderwebs cracking the windshield that holds back all the onrushing reality. Blowing the dust away, cutting a new path for cognition. As is always endeavored.... After 20 years of living on the road in different places, Six Organs of Admittance had returned home to Humboldt County — a far country, to some, but still part of the world through which creatures of all kinds are moving through and contributing to. And some of them are human. Alone together — forming connection and exchange out of thought and expression — no different from the people on the other side of the Redwood Curtain. It was there, where Six Organs had long ago emerged, in the name of everything cycling, of circles that spiral concentrically and remain unbroken, the new music was conceived.

          TRACK LISTING

          The Mission
          Hephaestus
          Slip Away
          Pilar
          Theophany Song
          My Familiar
          Spinning In A River
          Summer’s Last Rays
          New Year’s Song

          Oren Ambarchi, Johan Berthling, Andreas Werliin

          Ghosted II

            Missing out on that super-chill, uber-jittery minimal groove thing? Let’s get real, real Ghosted again.

            An utterly unique guitar/bass/drums triad: the guitar sounds like anything but a guitar; bass and drums simultaneously insistent and relaxed. Telepathic group-think opens a window to fresh fields of fusion: funk-jazz heads, polyrhythmic skeletons, ambient pastorals, post-kraut drones and shimmering soundtrack reveries. A music of sustained tension and deep atmosphere, marked by subtle, shifting dynamics playing out in an open sound field.

            Oren Ambarchi has been collaborating with the Fire! trio (Mats Gustafsson, Johan Berthling and Andreas Werliin) for over a decade – and both Johan and Andreas played on Oren’s Live Hubris as well. Oren and Johan began music-making together back in the early aughts – but it wasn’t until 2021 that the three of them got together to record music. That became the first Ghosted album. When they were done, it was clear they had founded a new group. A music of sustained tension and deep atmosphere marked by subtle, shifting dynamics, Ghosted was released in May of 2022 to psyched response everywhere; the trio embarked upon an ongoing series of concert bookings around Europe, with loads of other people in the world still hoping to have the chance to be in the room at the next show. Two years on, Ghosted has gone through several represses, now it’s time for the “dreaded follow up album”! Rather than go back to the well, the guys decided to tear everything down and start all over again, reimagining themselves from scratch.

            Just kidding! As we’ve noted, Oren, Johan and Andreas have been playing together for years and years, developing an essential telepathy within their shared space. They get each other and feed each other’s music processes on an elemental level. Why change that? What made the most sense was to go back to Daneil Bengtsson at Studio Rymden in Stockholm for a couple days, then have Oren and Joe Talia mix and Joe master it at Good Mixture in Melbourne again, then get Pål Dybwik to do some well-distinctive cover art, and once more, call it a record.

            That’s just what they did — and it should be no surprise at all that the new Ambarchi/ Berthling/Werliin album looks and sounds as engrossing as their debut, if not more so! Ghosted II has a definitively fresh quality radiating throughout. The mutual feeling among the three players goes deep, allowing for lots more to say every time they get together — a further recombination of elements, a new expedition through alternative angles... there’s always more, and incredibly, it’s all improvised, with next-to-nothing prepared going in and minimal overdubs after they’ve laid things down. References are shared in shorthand, with just a single word, like “Santana,” or “Police” acting as working titles for certain pieces on this record (have a guess!). It’s a disservice to call them jams: above and beyond the innate feel of the songs, there’s a strong sense of structure, informed by the band’s communal aesthetic, and edified immeasurably by their time spent in concert the last couple years.

            As noted at the top, these guys balance their music improbably between a relaxed feel and a nervy resolve, as each member holds down their corner in an open sound field. Making Ghosted II, the band found that there’s a different kind of tension making something for an established project rather than the kind one feels making something for the first time — and they used this new variety, as before, as a kind of fuel — driving their terse minimalism fruit-fully through the process of succumbing to and then transcending guilty pleasures. Finding fresh territory in funk sketches, jazzy heads, ambient pastorals and droning soundtrack pieces, Ambarchi, Berthling and Werliin compellingly haunt a mad variety of spaces, leaving us wanting to get Ghosted II.

            TRACK LISTING

            En
            Två
            Tre
            Fyra

            Faun Fables

            Family Album - 2024 Reissue

              Happy 20th birthday to ‘Family Album’, the third recording of Faun Fables and the first one released on Drag City.

              These songs belong to sons and daughters, entwined and orphaned, domesticated and feral; to all the family vines unravelling from a ball of yarn.

              In this family album, runaways graze the wild together, a mother finds her courage playing the piano, dogs become thieves and wolves, and a son is taken too soon. Fourteen-year-old nymphs sit dangerously at the crossroads, a younger brother tries to find his place, packs of girls defeat fear with a march, and the nightly adventures of the household mouse are spied upon.

              Dawn McCarthy’s creative background was forged in oral tradition amidst a large musical family in Spokane, Washington; studying piano, music theatre, rock bands, guitar, folklore and ethnomusicology. Dawn cut her teeth as a singer and performer with various bands and cabarets in Madison, Wisconsin and New York City, most notably as yodeller with the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, who inspired her to want a gypsy life with a kindred spirit someday. Her focus took a pivotal turn in that direction in 1997 with a solo quest through the UK and Ireland and their bardic traditions; singing songs in clubs and homes, all the while undergoing a pastoral, psychological experience with the land. Upon her return to the States, a fateful meeting with Oakland, CA born-and-raised Nils Frykdahl (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum) moved McCarthy back to the West to begin a new creative collaboration in the thriving hills and art community of the San Francisco Bay Area.

              Since 1999, Faun Fables have released six albums and performed their animist, otherworldly folk music across North America and Europe, with shows in Australia, New Zealand and Israel, as well. Dawn’s writing and voice (described by The New Yorker as “one of the more compelling instruments in contemporary music”) opens hearts and minds with a whisper to a rallying battle cry, further animated by Frykdahl’s adventurous musicality and vocals.
              Dawn has written musical theatre performed by the Idyllwild Arts Academy, among others, and has lent her vocals to Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy on ‘The Letting Go’ and ‘What the Brothers Sang’. In 2022, Faun Fables debuted their family band, joined onstage by their daughters with vocals, percussion, keyboard and dance.

              TRACK LISTING

              1. Eyes Of A Bird
              2. Poem, No. 2
              3. A Mother
              4. And A Piano
              5. Lucy Belle
              6. Joshua
              7. Nop Of Time
              8. Still Here
              9. Preview
              10. Higher
              11. Carousel With
              12. Madonnas
              13. Rising Din
              14. Fear March
              15. Eternal
              16. Mouse Song
              17. Old And Light

              Faun Fables

              Mother Twilight - 2024 Reissue

                ‘Mother Twilight’ is the second Faun Fables album. It has since been noted by Scottish author R.J. Stewart as a work containing true artifacts of the oral underworld tradition. Dawn and Nils made a handassembled first pressing and peddled it to nearly every bar and rural hall across North America from 2001 to 2003. Drag City reissued the CD in 2004.

                Things are glowing outside, enough to bring any sun worshiper in for the night. But you must remain outside and begin walking. It’ll prepare you for the night, which otherwise comes as a chilling surprise. If you pay attention this time, maybe you’ll understand why you’re becoming invisible. When your memory began, it wasn’t startling, wasn’t a mistake. It came out of an old, dark and familiar thing, like a storyteller, like Twilight… so save us from fear, mother, and tell your story.

                Dawn McCarthy’s creative background was forged in oral tradition amidst a large musical family in Spokane, Washington; studying piano, music theatre, rock bands, guitar, folklore and ethnomusicology. Dawn cut her teeth as a singer and performer with various bands and cabarets in Madison, Wisconsin and New York City, most notably as yodeller with the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, who inspired her to want a gypsy life with a kindred spirit someday. Her focus took a pivotal turn in that direction in 1997 with a solo quest through the UK and Ireland and their bardic traditions; singing songs in clubs and homes, all the while undergoing a pastoral, psychological experience with the land. Upon her return to the States, a fateful meeting with Oakland, CA born-and-raised Nils Frykdahl (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum) moved McCarthy back to the West to begin a new creative collaboration in the thriving hills and art community of the San Francisco Bay Area.

                Since 1999, Faun Fables have released six albums and performed their animist, otherworldly folk music across North America and Europe, with shows in Australia, New Zealand and Israel, as well. Dawn’s writing and voice (described by The New Yorker as “one of the more compelling instruments in contemporary music”) opens hearts and minds with a whisper to a rallying battle cry, further animated by Frykdahl’s adventurous musicality and vocals.

                Dawn has written musical theatre performed by the Idyllwild Arts Academy, among others, and has lent her vocals to Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy on ‘The Letting Go’ and ‘What the Brothers Sang’. In 2022, Faun Fables debuted their family band, joined onstage by their daughters with vocals, percussion, keyboard and dance.

                TRACK LISTING

                1. Begin
                2. Sleepwalker
                3. Shadowsound
                4. Hela
                5. Traveller
                6. Returning
                7. Train
                8. Beautiful Blade
                9. Mother Twilight
                10. Lightning Rods
                11. Moth
                12. Girl That
                13. Said Goodbye
                14. Washington State
                15. Catch Me
                16. Live Old

                Jim White

                All Hits: Memories

                  This is long overdue. I mean, looooooonnnnnng overdue. A solo album by Jim.

                  The trap kit - so straightforward, so mysterious. What’s inside those things? Air and light - from which century? Which continent? Which planet? Depending on how and when you hit them it can be a vibration sent through a prehistoric breath, particles of Saturn’s atmosphere, the dead, wet leaves you walked through on the way to the first day of school. These are the memories of the drums on this record. Infinite and personal. Editing each other as they muscle to the front or soft shoe to the shadow. Cymbals can override/cancel everything out - wipe your memory clear or make the memory clearer. Drums are the instrument where you can feel the presence of the player the most - the full body - and sense the thoughts of the player the most. The instrument with the most choices to be made sends out the most brainwaves. A bouquet of brainwaves is on this LP.

                  Jim oversees it all, surveys from the lost place we’re in, the void - the drumless song. We trust. We trust, Jim. His big green eyes search for the right tool (mallet, brush, etc), eyes that search you like you’re a song he wants to join, wants to see if he can add to or understand. Before humans, drums were playing - these drums. Genesis was a solo drum piece. After humans, these drums, this album.

                  Someone - the last man - is out in a spaceship at the edge of space. He plays a single chord on a synth to set time free from its bind and then lets go. This album sets time free, lets it frolic, lets it graze, lets it remember. This is a record of thoughts, memories, surgery. A deft surgical operation you may not even realize is happening as it’s happening but you’re back on your feet when it’s over. Memories refreshed. Did you really even listen to it? Bill Callahan, November 2023

                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. Curtains
                  2. Percussion Build
                  3. Marketplace
                  4. Soft Material
                  5. St. Francis Place Set Up
                  6. Uncoverup
                  7. Walking The Block
                  8. Jully
                  9. Long Assemblage
                  10. Names Make The Name
                  11. No/Know Now
                  12. Stationary Figure
                  13. Here Comes

                  High Llamas

                  Hey Panda

                    High Llamas present Hey Panda - a modern pop music/deep listening experience that could only issue forth from their personal quadrant of the galaxy. Hey Panda projects soulfully through an enervating abstract of today’s popular music; the sound of the Llamas’ stately melodies and expressive ditties laid open – blissfully shattered – with drums and vocals hitting different, burning sounds and contemporary production twists pulling the ear at every turn.

                    For the past few decades, High Llamas have trafficked in contemporary pop sounds directed toward the avant end of the spectrum as much as not. But here the message was clear. Llamas’ composer-in-residence Sean O’Hagan was determined to let go. Hey Panda does just that, with a set of tunes reflecting on multiple levels how definitions change over the course of a lifetime, radiating an optimism derived from the diverse conundrums of today.

                    Eight years since their last release, the pop musical Here Come The Rattling Trees, High Llamas have reinvented themselves again, mixing their peerless harmonic voice with what Sean regards as the “extraordinarily good” production sounds of today on Hey Panda.

                    Choosing not to look backward to former golden ages celebrated in earlier Llamas eras, Sean’s instead found himself opened up by the sounds of music brought into the house by his adult children and the sounds encountered at sessions for which he’s recently written arrangements. In addition to the more traditional contributions he made to The Coral’s Sea of Mirrors album, plus his score for the Safdie brothers’ 2022 film production, Funny Pages, Sean’s drawn great inspiration through working with Fryars, Rae Morris, King Krule, Pearl and The Oyster, while also soaking up the work of Tierra Whack and Chicago's Pivot Gang, and being cheered on from a distance by longtime admirer Tyler The Creator.

                    Thus, Sean’s producer procedural has evolved again, with upgrades first detected in his 2019 solo effort, Radum Calls, Radum Calls. With a cover of Billie Eilish’s “Wish You Were Gay” arranged for Bill Callahan and Bonnie Prince Billy’s Blind Date Party, along with his COVID-era solo single, “The Wild Are Welcome”, Sean has leveled up again and again, leading to the delirious revelations of Hey Panda.

                    Hey Panda’s wide reach is aided by two co-writes from Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, (who bonded with Sean over a shared love of gospel soul during writing sessions), guest vocals from Rae Morris and Sean’s daughter Livvy, production twists from Fryars and the stalwart, flexible presence of High Llamas.

                    For all of its sense of departure, Hey Panda is a movement in the High Llamas oeuvre that’s been a long time in development. Aspects of soul music were addressed at the time of Can Cladders; similarly, aspects of electronic dance music were in the mix in the late 90s, around the time of Cold and Bouncy. But nothing up to now has refocused the music of High Llamas so completely. Sharing the impulse of late-period Miles Davis and Quincy Jones, with further inspiration from Steve Lacy, SZA, Sault, No Name and Ezra Collective, among many others, Sean O’Hagan and High Llamas are living joyfully in the new and the now, with Hey Panda.

                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Barry says: A constantly evolving, soulful collection of syncopated orchestration and flickering electronic indie songwriting. Seamlessly mixing lounge-jazz, folk and synth-pop into the mix, all topped with vocals both human and *otherwise*. Baffling, but always surprisingly smooth and accessible.

                    TRACK LISTING

                    Hey Panda
                    Fall Off The Mountain
                    Bade Amey
                    Sisters Friends (featuring Rae Morris)
                    How The Best Was Won (featuring Bonnie "Prince" Billy)
                    The Grade
                    Yoga Goat
                    Stone Cold Slow
                    Toriafan
                    Hungriest Man (featuring Bonnie "Prince" Billy)
                    The Water Moves
                    La Masse (featuring Fryars)

                    Ghost

                    Ghost - 2024 Reissue

                      The return of holy sounds of Ghost, with the long-awaited reissue of their first three releases: Ghost (s/t), Second Time Around, and Temple Stone are back on vinyl, twenty-five years since they were last in print. These first three Ghost titles were originally released by P.S.F. on CD in 1990, 1992 and 1994, respectively, radiating enigma and energy in palpable waves with their original sound. After the acclaim that greeted Drag City’s 1996 US release of Lama Rabi Rabi, they quickly reissued all three on vinyl — and they quickly went out of print! The first two studio albums, each one an iteration of Ghost’s unique lysergic folk music, were followed by the monolithic “live in various places” happening of Temple Stone, which raised the trippiness levels considerably. But this was only the end of the beginning. In the twenty year sweep of Ghost history, these first three releases qualify as embryonic early Ghost — sort of like a German Os Mutantes (or perhaps a Brazilian Amon Düül). Clearly inspired by various forms of transcendental music throughout history, Ghost created a new syncretic psychedelia with these albums, mixing the texture and vibe of multinational forms of traditional music, with strummed antique stringed instruments and the haunting wail of a recorder on top of their heavy beats and guitars. The considerable depth of this approach was explored through 2014 over another five Ghost LPs, as well as the further explorations to the present day of leader Masaki Batoh, as a solo artist and with The Silence, Damon and Naomi, Helena Espvall and most recently, nehan.

                      TRACK LISTING

                      1. Sun Is Tangging
                      2. Guru In The Echo
                      3. Moungod Te Deum
                      4. I’ve Been Flying
                      5. Ballad Of Summer Rounder
                      6. Moungod Asleep
                      7. Moungod Radiant Youth
                      8. Rakshu

                      Ghost

                      Second Time Around - 2024 Reissue

                        The return of holy sounds of Ghost, with the long-awaited reissue of their first three releases: Ghost (s/t), Second Time Around, and Temple Stone are back on vinyl, twenty-five years since they were last in print. These first three Ghost titles were originally released by P.S.F. on CD in 1990, 1992 and 1994, respectively, radiating enigma and energy in palpable waves with their original sound. After the acclaim that greeted Drag City’s 1996 US release of Lama Rabi Rabi, they quickly reissued all three on vinyl — and they quickly went out of print! The first two studio albums, each one an iteration of Ghost’s unique lysergic folk music, were followed by the monolithic “live in various places” happening of Temple Stone, which raised the trippiness levels considerably. But this was only the end of the beginning. In the twenty year sweep of Ghost history, these first three releases qualify as embryonic early Ghost — sort of like a German Os Mutantes (or perhaps a Brazilian Amon Düül). Clearly inspired by various forms of transcendental music throughout history, Ghost created a new syncretic psychedelia with these albums, mixing the texture and vibe of multinational forms of traditional music, with strummed antique stringed instruments and the haunting wail of a recorder on top of their heavy beats and guitars. The considerable depth of this approach was explored through 2014 over another five Ghost LPs, as well as the further explorations to the present day of leader Masaki Batoh, as a solo artist and with The Silence, Damon and Naomi, Helena Espvall and most recently, nehan.

                        TRACK LISTING

                        1. People Get Freedom
                        2. Second Time Around
                        3. Forthcoming From The Inside
                        4. Higher Order
                        5. Awake In The Muddle
                        6. A Day Of The Stoned Sky In The Union Zoo
                        7. First Drop Of The Sea
                        8. Under The Sun
                        9. Orange Sunshine
                        10. Mind Hill 

                        Ghost

                        Temple Stone - 2024 Reissue

                          The return of holy sounds of Ghost, with the long-awaited reissue of their first three releases: Ghost (s/t), Second Time Around, and Temple Stone are back on vinyl, twenty-five years since they were last in print. These first three Ghost titles were originally released by P.S.F. on CD in 1990, 1992 and 1994, respectively, radiating enigma and energy in palpable waves with their original sound. After the acclaim that greeted Drag City’s 1996 US release of Lama Rabi Rabi, they quickly reissued all three on vinyl — and they quickly went out of print! The first two studio albums, each one an iteration of Ghost’s unique lysergic folk music, were followed by the monolithic “live in various places” happening of Temple Stone, which raised the trippiness levels considerably. But this was only the end of the beginning. In the twenty year sweep of Ghost history, these first three releases qualify as embryonic early Ghost — sort of like a German Os Mutantes (or perhaps a Brazilian Amon Düül). Clearly inspired by various forms of transcendental music throughout history, Ghost created a new syncretic psychedelia with these albums, mixing the texture and vibe of multinational forms of traditional music, with strummed antique stringed instruments and the haunting wail of a recorder on top of their heavy beats and guitars. The considerable depth of this approach was explored through 2014 over another five Ghost LPs, as well as the further explorations to the present day of leader Masaki Batoh, as a solo artist and with The Silence, Damon and Naomi, Helena Espvall and most recently, nehan.

                          TRACK LISTING

                          1. Moungod Radiant Youth
                          2. Guru In The Echo
                          3. Under The Sun
                          4. Moungod Asleep
                          5. Freedom
                          6. Rakshu
                          7. Blood Red River
                          8. Orange Sunshine
                          9. Giver's Chant
                          10. Sun Is Tangging

                          Ty Segall

                          Three Bells

                            A fifteen song cycle that takes a journey to the center of the self. Ty’s been on this kind of trip before, so he’s souped up a vehicle that’s all his own – a sophisticated machine – to take us there this time. The conception of Three Bells arcs, rainbow-like, into a land nearly beyond songs – but inside of them, Ty relentlessly pushes the walls further and further in his writing and playing to cast light into the most opaque depths.

                            Ty Segall follows 2022’s acoustic introspection opus “Hello, Hi” with a deeper, wilder journey to the center of the self. With Three Bells, he’s created a set of his most ambitious, elastic songs, using his musical vocabulary with ever-increasing sophistication. It’s an obsessive quest for an expression that answers back to the riptide always pulling him subconsciously into the depths. Questions we all ask in our own private mirrors are faced down here — and regardless of what the mysterious “Three Bells” mean in the context of the album’s libretto, you can be assured that Ty’s ringing them for himself, and for the rest of us in turn.

                            It’s a growing up and out of your head parable, but the farther out you get, the farther in you go. The two-headed suggestion of 2012’s Twins has grown ever more complex, as the outside/inside world of perception dissolves into a greater world of the senses — all six or seven of them! Since Ty deals in sounds, Three Bells rings with them most of all: sounds signaling the next phase, ringing to keep you stuck, or to set you free, with guitars like voices, questioning and answering the others in their turn.

                            Since 2008, the singer/guitarist/puzzled panther we call Ty Segall has played out his hunger to be free over a dozen solo LPs and a series of other-named projects. In his music, freedom has taken the form of a rippling eclecticism in songs and production sounds, all of them conversing from album to album in a mad diversity of voices. Across the discograverse, 2014’s Manipulator and 2018’s Freedom’s Goblin precede Three Bells in double-album epicity, each unfurling its own multivarious tapestry in an atmosphere of gleeful octophenia, as Ty throws everything against the wall, delighting in how much he can stick there. With all fifteen songs brimming with perspectives, shape-shifting incessantly, not even waiting for a new song to work into the next idea, Three Bells steps into the shoes of both his previous doubles at the same time, designing finally to do the extended format justice.

                            The acoustic songs of “Hello, Hi” had been a blast of fresh air; wanting another hit of that sweet air, Ty recognized that his body was craving to play the drums. This was a key that let him into the album — the songwriting happening on both guitar and drums. As the songs emerged, Ty pushed them out farther and farther compositionally, challenging the way they’d be played, then playing much of Three Bells in conversation with himself — a decision that further elevates the album’s conception.

                            But you don’t get outside/inside all on your own — for Three Bells, Ty and Denée Segall collaborated on five of the songs. In Ty’s world, Denée forms the second self outside his self. And these selves radiate out into the world through other selves. Co-producer Cooper Crain, whose contributions to Harmonizer and “Hello, Hi” were deep, engineered and mixed most of the album, again bringing his individual vision into the process. Finally, some of the songs as written needed the kind of playing that Ty couldn’t get alone. On some numbers, Emmett Kelly’s bass parts not only addressed that need, but inspired the way the songs eventually went down. So it was when the Freedom Band was called in to play; their contributions transformed the material.

                            Three Bells kind of goes beyond songs. The fifteen of them work together as a mosaic, creating the larger work at the same time as they stand on their own. Composing the album as a piece, Ty formed certain chord shapes over and over again, making thematic material that each song moves through in its own way, building a claustrophobic/paranoia vibe, cycling bold thrusts forward into ego deaths, the one-step-forward, two-steps-back patterns framing an overriding ask: what we can do to get past the back-and-forth conversation, to arrive at a place of acceptance.

                            Three Bells takes Ty Segall’s trips so much deeper and farther than they’ve gone befor — a masterpiece of personal expression, expressed through words, music and production, parabolically addressing malaise with compassion in a flowing, unstoppable hour-plus of intoxicating sound.

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Barry says: There's little I can say as a non-expert of Ty Segall for those of you who've heard Ty Segall before. One of the most innovative, prolific voices in blazing, garage rock and/or roll returns and it's as incendiary as you'd imagine. A masterclass in balance and heft.

                            TRACK LISTING

                            1. The Bell
                            2. Void
                            3. I Hear
                            4. Hi Dee Dee
                            5. My Best Friend
                            6. Reflections
                            7. Move
                            8. Eggman
                            9. My Room
                            10. Watcher
                            11. Repetition
                            12. To You
                            13. Wait
                            14. Denée
                            15. What Can We Do

                            François J. Bonnet & Stephen O'Malley

                            Cylene II

                              Cylene II is the new materialization of the collaboration between François J. Bonnet & Stephen O'Malley, initiated in 2018 and continued without interruption since then, taking form in a myriad of contexts ranging from common practice to recording sessions, concerts and tours.

                              Cylene II bears witness to these different contexts, offering a multifaceted sound signature developed on different occasions (artist residencies in La Becque, Switzerland and Modena, Italy, live performance excerpts, a studio session at INA-GRM Studios in Paris).

                              The epic opening track "Four Rays (Anti Divide)" welcomes, for the first time, other musicians — in this case a wind quintet — expanding the duo's sonic palette without betraying the fundamental component of their music, namely the driving of sonic energy. Elsewhere, Bonnet and O'Malley propel the energy between themselves, extending the singular climate that has characterized their musical development over the past five years. Among their minimal presentation of tones and resonances, as glacial harmonic intersections slowly elevate with massive physicality to an orchestral degree, new refinements become evident: the music's relationship to silence, and a brightening of the fine metallic edge glowing at its core.

                              For the listener, Cylene II is a sound that reaches from the deep and scales up to the far firmament in its careful motion, drawing emotions viscerally from the chest, giving rise to the suggestibility of the soul. A séance of sorts for all who witness it, whether playing or listening.

                              TRACK LISTING

                              1. Four Rays (Anti Divide)
                              2. Rainbows
                              3. Vulcani Di Fango
                              4. Ghosts Of Precognition
                              5. Troisième Noire
                              6. La Ronde

                              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’.

                                TRACK LISTING

                                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

                                Upstate

                                  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.

                                  TRACK LISTING

                                  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

                                  Arnold Dreyblatt & The Orchestra Of Excited Strings

                                  Resolve

                                    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

                                    Container
                                    Shuffle Effect
                                    Flight Path
                                    Auditoria

                                    Emil Amos

                                    Zone Black

                                      Emil Amos was originally commissioned by the legendary KPM music library to make this music for use in television and film. But after the executive overseeing their experimental wing exited the company, Emil brought ‘Zone Black’ to Drag City and remixed it into a proper full-length album. While the record was originally inspired by old school 1970s television music, like the grim, descending riffs that took us to commercial as the running back strained in anguish for the ball in slo-mo, it became a genuine attempt to reach towards a new kind of library music.

                                      Emil (Grails, OM and podcaster supreme) carves out a much more personal interpretation of what we think of as ‘music for television’ with ‘Zone Black’. Taking classic, dark pieces that he grew up with as inspiration, like the ‘Lonely Man Theme’ from the original ‘Hulk’ TV series, he fantasized an alternate environment where composers were allowed to explore more extreme states of mind, while on much witchier drugs, fully separating library music from its outmoded commercial constraints. Imagine Brian Eno recording ‘Another Green World’ equipped with Madlib’s gear and a much darker sense of humour, or Kafka creating ‘The Castle’ with a Juno keyboard and sampler instead.

                                      In the spirit of classic synth-based soundtracks like ‘Firestarter’ or ‘Midnight Express’, the instruments narrate the experience. Urban landscapes in noirish chiaroscuro, fatal encounters unfurling beneath the persistent glow of riot lights, last-ditch meetings in pre-dawn discotheques, all evoked with synths, harpsichords and mellotrons drifting over drum machines and the arachnoid radiation of FX disappearing up into the darkness. Every track illuminates a different corridor of Emil’s brain, but AE Paterra and Steve Moore of ZOMBI periodically step in to contribute sax solos and drum beats to amp the coloration up.

                                      ‘Zone Black’ is a fully inhabitable world, its episodic narrative divided into an improbable balance between morbid, ambient anthems and insouciant hip-hop instrumentals. Emil hadn’t heard it done quite this way before, so he took it upon himself to make the sound real. And if you don’t hear it in the next, big horror feature, it’ll make great mood music for tripping in the bathtub while dreaming of a new horizon of music to take drugs to. Listening to Emil Amos’

                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                      Barry says: I'm a huge fan of Emil : Grails, Om, Lilacs & Champagne,
                                      Holy Sons, the list goes on. What's immediately clear about 'Zone Black' is that he's taken influence from each one of his projects, the soaring opium-den majesty of BTP-era Grails or the jagged sex-funk chug of L&C and perfectly drawn them together into a wonderfully breath-taking whole, a steamy juxtaposition of cut-up samples and triumphant organic instrumentation. Ace.

                                      TRACK LISTING

                                      Moving Target
                                      Theme From A Personal
                                      Prison
                                      Zone Black
                                      Bad Night At Cowboys
                                      Personal Prison II
                                      Red Palms
                                      Jealous Gods
                                      Interloper #1
                                      Zone Bleu
                                      Static Mist
                                      Static Mist II
                                      Realistic #1
                                      Blue Palms

                                      Jim O'Rourke

                                      Hands That Bind (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

                                        O’Rourke’s process – sourcing resonant sounds to be enmeshed together into a music that supersedes their resident parts – makes a fitting soundtrack for Kyle Armstrong’s “prairie gothic” tale of down-on-the-farm horror way up north in Canada. His minimalist score inhabits the wide open, big sky landscape, flowing into suddenly-deep (and opaque) emotional waters, then panning out to a chilly omniscient remove. 

                                        TRACK LISTING

                                        1. Go Spend Some Time With Your Kids
                                        2. Wasn’t There Last Night
                                        3. He’s Only Got One Oar In The Water
                                        4. That’s Not How The World Works
                                        5. A Man’s Mind Will Play Tricks On Him
                                        6. Here Is Where I Seem To Be / The Good Lord Doesn’t Need Paperwork
                                        7. You Have No Idea What I Want
                                        8. One Way Or Another I’m Gone

                                        The Fucking Champs

                                        III

                                          “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
                                          Amanda
                                          ’84
                                          Flawless Victory
                                          The Golden Pipes Trilogy:
                                          1) The Golden Pipes
                                          2) On Seas Of Sorrow Sail Death’s
                                          Ships
                                          3) Starlight On The Barrow Downs
                                          Some Swords Reprise
                                          ROM
                                          Atop The Pyramid That Is You
                                          Guns In Our Schools
                                          Tonight, We Ride
                                          The Tennis Book
                                          You’ve Got A Thirst, Portland

                                          Matt Espy

                                          Hawksworth

                                            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
                                            Loon
                                            Dexlark
                                            Grey Winged Blackbird
                                            Thrushwren

                                            Suarasama

                                            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)

                                              Om

                                              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
                                                Version

                                                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
                                                    Underworld
                                                    Witnessed By Angels
                                                    Memories And Souvenirs
                                                    Long Doll

                                                    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
                                                      Baby
                                                      Out The Door
                                                      When The End Is Over
                                                      Stay With Us
                                                      Drag On Girard
                                                      Shining Gilded Boulevard

                                                      Bill Callahan

                                                      YTI⅃AƎЯ

                                                        “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
                                                        Everyway
                                                        Bowevil
                                                        Partition
                                                        Lily
                                                        Naked Souls
                                                        Coyotes
                                                        Drainface
                                                        Natural Information
                                                        The Horse
                                                        Planets
                                                        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
                                                          Blue
                                                          Saturday Pt. 2
                                                          Distraction

                                                          Meg Baird

                                                          Furling

                                                            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

                                                            Bitchin Bajas

                                                            Switched On Ra

                                                              A year after the cassette-only release of ‘Switched On Ra’, another format has fallen from whatever kind of rare ether Bitchin Bajas occupy when they’re at home. The LP edition of ‘Switched On Ra’ bears all the same riches (only richer of course) in its grooves, adding a lovely screen-printed rendering of the graphics to its larger-than cassette- cosmos dimensions.

                                                              ‘Switched On Ra’ is the outcome of a typical Bajas exercise: pouring some out for the pioneers that came before (as they’ve done with Bitchitronics and their participation in the annual Chicago performance of ‘In C’ over the years). It’s a nice way to get a flow - they play a little of themselves, then some for the pioneers, then a little more for the band. Before long, they’re playing with the inspirations twined, as they can only come from within.

                                                              For ‘Switched On Ra’, this meant a deep delve into the song-book of one of their soul-predecessors, Sun Ra, whose music is literally written in the Bajas DNA. Digging into this music sounded wild on paper: the drone synth group taking on the Arkestra harmonies and Ra’s loose grooves? The trick was to get that sense of rhythm to translate across the spectrum, from Ra to Bajas, in a way that worked for them both.

                                                              Their rearrangements of the tunes went good - up and down the EQ band, they were finding the round sounds and jagged edges that brought Ra’s music into their own thing. Then at the last minute, there was another twist - why not pay tribute to the Queen herself, and think of the arrangements with a Wendy Carlos vibe? A little side homage? After all, ‘Switched on Bach’ was visionary, bringing analogue synths from the outside all the way into the mainstream in the late 60s - and this take on Ra’s meant to take him to new ears everywhere.

                                                              Sun Ra of course was his own kind of original keyboard visionary, using electric keyboards in the late 40s and 50s to fill a role in jazz that had traditionally been played on acoustic piano only. Once he’d done so, he took his writing in directions inspired by the electricity, places no one had thought to go before then. Doing what he did on the keys was a stand for individuality that became the background radiation of his journey through the cosmos; the search for a place beyond earthly dominance.

                                                              Bitchin Bajas have been content to dominate in a microtonal world, usually without a single chord to be found anywhere. But here, they step up righteously, their vibe triangulated as they bring Ra’s music forward with some Wendy Carlos style, making an unexpected space for all to thrive. There’s a real feeling of joy as these collected signals bounce off the platter and through the speakers into your space.

                                                              To get this unique colloid exactly right, Bitchin Bajas used nineteen different keyboards. They abstained from deploying their arsenal of reed and woodwind instruments: everything had to be on the keys. This meant Yamahas, Rolands, Korgs, Casios, a MicroMoog and of course their trusty Ace Tone organ. They even broke out the Crumar DS-2, to have some of Ra’s chosen tone in the mix. Then Jayve Montgomery added an EWI as a solo voice on a few tunes, just to get some air-blown signal (and a natural shout out to EWI master Marshall Allen) in there, after all. It felt like somewhere in the universe, Ra was decreeing it.

                                                              ‘Switched On Ra’ is an effervescent celebration of music throughout time and space.

                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                              Space Is The Place
                                                              A Call For All Demons
                                                              Outer Spaceways Incorporated
                                                              Moon Dance
                                                              Lanquidity
                                                              Opus In Springtime
                                                              Island In The Sun
                                                              We Travel The Spaceways

                                                              No Age

                                                              People Helping People

                                                                First thought, best thought. Until the next thought: a guiding principle for No Age in the 16ish years they’ve been around. Constantly responding to their own streams of consciousness with reductive flexibility, they’ve taken the basic duo of guitar and drums with vocals WAY farther than anyone listening in halcyon Weirdo Rippers days could have guessed. Expounding on those larval possibilities, they’ve zig-zagged in serpentine precision, in and out of the teeth of the wringer — ranging outside and back in again, as befits the present thought. And now, six albums into it, these principles have led them to make People Helping People. Composed in their studio of ten years in the “pre pandemic” times, then an eviction from said space, and finished deep in the midst at their new basecamp: Randy’s Garage.

                                                                It starts with an instrumental, too. First counter-intuition, best counter intuition! Nearly five minutes prelude Dean’s debut vocal interjection — a zoom in from the upper atmosphere, Randy’s guitar clouds pulsing with radiation, paced by spare, percussive accents. When the first song with singing (“Compact Flashes”) bounces in on an insane synthetic beat, the only recognizable sound of No Age is a sputtering of enchanted clicks and creaks — muted guitar strings and drumkit rattlings that cycle for a full minute before voice song and snare fall into place.

                                                                This is the sound of People Helping People: No Age, deep in the lab, scraping available nuclii together to see what new compound they find next. Erasing the starting points, reordering the pieces and beginning anew. It’s an everyday mindset — and as the first No Age album recorded entirely by No Age, People Helping People is a broadcast of entirely lived-in proportions.

                                                                Side one ricochets expertly back and forth between magisterial instrumentals and sing-song forms cut up on the mixing desk, as with the undeniable hitness of “Plastic (You Want It)”, winningly rewired to MIDI-mangled beat squelches. They don’t really land on a straight up punk-style riff until it’s almost time to flip the side, and even once they’ve got off on a run of rockers on side B, their aesthetic choices continuously reframe the norms, enhancing their inherent power. People Helping People finds their disparate desires operating in perfect sync; prolegomenic weirdness fused immaculately to classic rock propulsion, transforming the energy pouring out from their hands and feet with electronics.

                                                                Dean’s lyrics are like pieces taken off the belt at the factory and put together into a John Chamberlin-esque sculpture, meant to sit out in the rain. Randy’s guitars, collaged into arrangements that reflect, again, boundless curiosity and exquisite restraint. This is People Helping People: unpretentious, suspicious, inviting, confident, left field. The most accurate display of the No Age ethos put to record. Yet!

                                                                No Age’s ethos sings to us from beyond the clouds, with words and without, a conceptual boost to everyone helping everyone. Ensconced in Randy’s Garage without a clock to spit on ‘em, Dean and Randy composted drums and guitar and life on planet earth into a stream of miniatures, vignettes and reembodied images – an infinity of hits.

                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                You’re Cooked
                                                                Compact Flashes
                                                                Fruit Bat Blunder
                                                                Plastic (You Want It)
                                                                Interdependence
                                                                Violence
                                                                Flutter Freer
                                                                Rush To The Pond
                                                                Slow Motion Shadow
                                                                Blueberry Barefoot
                                                                Tripped Out Before Scott
                                                                Heavenly
                                                                Andy Helping Andy

                                                                Bitchin Bajas

                                                                Bajascillators

                                                                  ‘Amorpha’, a side-long shower of synthetic bells and bass, as patterns interlock and repeat and the beat within the bar lines shifts constantly, forms a new, latest miniature of infinity. You flip it, and ‘Geomancy’ resets you, starting anew, with heavy drift and drone leading into a space of shorter broken lines and Middle Eastern tonalities, that roll back into ether again - new spaces, but mysteriously consonant with the vibe.

                                                                  ‘Bajascillators’ arrives almost five years since their last official fulllength, 2017’s ‘Bajas Fresh’. In the eight years prior to ‘Bajas Fresh’, Bitchin Bajas issued seven albums, plus cassettes, EPs, singles… wave after wave of analogue synth tones and zones extending into a stratospheric arc. Each release its own headspace, shape and timbre, each one sliding naturally into their implacable, eternal gene pool.

                                                                  Following the flow, always, the Bajas went ever-deeper-and-higher on these records, whether making soundtracks or collaborating with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, using only fortune cookie fortunes as a libretto. Plus engagement, with a steady stream of shows and tours around the world; live re-airings and expansions of the space captured in their records as they continued to grow and flow - all the way through, really, to the present moment.

                                                                  Plus, there have been releases since 2017 - a split 12”, a 7” single, digital track release and two ‘Cuts’ cassettes, plus the allcovers cassette release ‘Switched On Ra’. But the overall number of releases, plus the five years between long players, implies a potential distance between phases, a new line in the sand. The sound of Bajascillators bear this out. How couldn’t it? Compared to 2017, this is a different world.

                                                                  Mastered directly from half-inch analogue tape, ‘Bajascillators’ floats transparently from the speakers, its expansive grooves gathering resonance and building momentum over the four sides, from genesis to re-conclusion, cascading ecstatically. The elastic magic of time at its brightest. As the world keeps turning, so too do Bitchin Bajas, in the same unknowable way. You can’t explain it - just keep turning.

                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                  Amorpha
                                                                  Geomancy
                                                                  World B. Free
                                                                  Quakenbrück

                                                                  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

                                                                    Anthony Moore

                                                                    Flying Doesn’t Help

                                                                      40-plus years since its original release, the pop-punk-new wave inventions of Anthony Moore’s ‘Flying Doesn’t Help’ are freshly remastered, blasting the sparkling, angularsounds into today with perfect vitality.

                                                                      After spending the early years of the 1970s making experimental music first as a soloartist, then with Slapp Happy and Henry Cow, 1976’s ‘OUT’ sessions had reinvigoratedAnthony’s youthful love of the naive pop melodies of pop radio, the undeniable excitementof songs. While ‘OUT’ ultimately went unreleased at the time, the iconoclasm clouding thelate ’70s air was addictive and transformative for Anthony.

                                                                      England seemed to be roiledas violently as it had been in counter-cultural days a decade earlier; the UK pop chartsbreathlessly reflected the changing spectrum with equal parts aging hippie and progdelicacies alongside new ascendant sounds: rough-hewn pub and punk rock, plus dubreggae and disco and ska and Stiff and Krautrock. This proved to be an ideal environmentfor Anthony to make records by exploring, as he puts it, the“deep connection betweenminimalism, repetition, working with tape and celluloid and forming the modules of athree-minute pop song.”

                                                                      Rather than recreate the conditions ofthe original release of ‘Flying Doesn’t Help’, this reissue instead embraces the changedenvironment of the current time and place: instead of no credits, now they are complete,with Anthony’s full name restored and even the artwork subtly ‘relocated’ to reflect a newset of relationships. All of which brings the forward-looking sounds of ‘Flying Doesn’t Help’into the more independent-minded 21st Century syntax where it belongs.

                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                      1. Judy Get Down
                                                                      2. Ready Ready
                                                                      3. Useless Moments
                                                                      4. Lucia
                                                                      5. Caught Being In Love
                                                                      6. Timeless Strange
                                                                      7. Girl It’s Your Time War
                                                                      8. Just Us
                                                                      9. Twilight (Uxbridge Rd.)

                                                                      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

                                                                        Dean Spunt & John Wiese

                                                                        The Echoing Shell

                                                                          With their duo debut, Dean Spunt and John Wiese invite you to experience the frenzy of percussive space and discreet sound found inside ‘The Echoing Shell’.

                                                                          This is the first official collaboration between the two veteran music-makers, though their connection goes back to 1999. As John recalls, “[Dean] was in a high school arts program at CalArts. A friend and I were recording the first Sissy Spacek demo in the design studios there, and taking a tape to my car over and over again to check the mix. Dean was walking through the parking lot with a Locust shirt on, we said hello, and he immediately got into a car with two strangers to ‘listen to a tape’.

                                                                          "The tape-listening ended well, apparently. Dean and John became friends and fellow travellers in LA circles and beyond: in 2005, John did a remix for Dean’s first band, Wives; in 2007, Dean played percussion with Sissy Spacek’s 13-Tet Los Angeles; John toured with No Age several times and collaborated live with them in 2010.

                                                                          Under the Sissy Spacek name as well as his own, John’s recordings for his own Helicopter label and many others kicked things off for him around the end of the century; since then, he’s been constantly engaged in solos and collaborations on record, performances, and installations around the world. In addition to Dean’s ever-growing discography with No Age, he curates his own label, Post Present Medium. In 2018, Radical Documents released Dean’s solo debut ‘EE Head’, which explored concrète and experimental techniques in a four-part, album length piece. 

                                                                          ‘The Echoing Shell’ is born of Dean and John’s shared understanding, using John’s process common to Sissy Spacek: elaborate sound-collage works using source material originating from punk, hardcore and improvised music. A series of impositions, tape manipulation and edits recompose the material, cracking open the crust of the source, freeing its implied guts to steam forth in gushes of extreme noise. On ‘The Echoing Shell’, this is as often noise as it is extreme intimacy, seeming at times to be sourced from within Dean’s drumkit, at other times appearing to emanate from the capsules of microphones and the circuits of the signal path itself.

                                                                          One may read these collaged sounds as abstraction, but there is a unique language conveyed in their assembly, forming something like word-shapes and meaning. And intention: the two side-long pieces, comprised of many short sections, form a linear whole, creating alternately ripping and discriminating music - and meaning - in the process.

                                                                          ‘The Echoing Shell’ is a fantastic conception in contemporary musique concrète, combining incendiary post-rock power, dry humour and astonishing depth of field. Whether projecting the sound through headphones, ear buds, bookshelf speakers or your own personal amp stack, crank up ‘The Echoing Shell’.

                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                          1. Fruit From Color Vapor
                                                                          2. Black Fruit

                                                                          Oren Ambarchi, Johan Berthling, Andreas Werliin

                                                                          Ghosted

                                                                            It was November 2018 that Oren Ambarchi, Johan Berthling and Andreas Werliin met at Studio Rymden, in a quiet, pretty suburban district of Stockholm, to make the music that became ‘Ghosted’. They can’t remember exactly when it was made because that time - the when and where that it was recorded - doesn’t really matter anymore. Now the music of ‘Ghosted’ exists in the intention of a shared moment of playing, a clearly delineated time, put forth with a steady flow of small details on bass, guitar and drums, in a remarkable display of rhythmic flexibility within a minimal framework.

                                                                            Oren and Johan have met many times onstage and off since 2003, with several duo recordings to their credit, as well as additional encounters in the group Fire! with Mats Gustafsson and drummer Andreas Werliin. A while back, Oren and Johan decided to reconvene in the studio for a furthering of the thought process that they’d come to on the second Ambarchi / Berthling collaboration, 2015’s ‘Tongue Tied’. As Andreas had mixed that session, it felt right to have him on kit - he’d already been intimately involved in the process.

                                                                            The music they all play together in Fire! is, to put it mildly, loud. This session, they sensed an opportunity to explore different dynamics - to tap, perhaps, a shared inner ECM space. Studio Rymden sits on an upper floor of the building it’s located in, and the light coming through the windows was pleasant on that day. They set up, picked out some amps (including the best-sounding Leslie speaker Oren’s ever heard) and got started.

                                                                            Rooting in the rich tonality and repeating figures of Johan’s acoustic (and sometimes electric) bass, the four tracks that make up ‘Ghosted’ act as variations on a theme, unspooling continuously over the course of 39 minutes with the terse flow of krautrock jams - closely observed percussive riffs and repetitions that build continuously with subtle shifts as they move forward, with the small details flying expansively in and out across the stereo spectrum. Oren’s guitar often sounds with an organ-like tone, with notes of fire and glass wafting out over the percolation and permutation in Johan and Andreas’ rhythms. These men have been playing long enough to, without any real words, shape their improvisations with short- and long-term goals.

                                                                            Performances that day ranged from almost five minutes to almost sixteen. With an eye toward further expansion, they’d invited the legendary Swedish reed player Christer Bothén, whose knowledge of the guimbri and donso n’goni was incisively shared with the great Don Cherry some fifty years ago. Christer plays donso n’goni on the first track, and his parts sync like cogs in a watch, revolving in fluid coordination with Oren, Johan and Andreas.

                                                                            Mixed and mastered by Joe Talia at Good Mixture, Berlin, ‘Ghosted’ highlights the intimate dialogue between players, as well as the careful curation of space between them. It is rare to think of silence in relation to music where everyone is constantly playing - and yet, listening to this, we do.

                                                                            Once it was all done, Pål Dybwik’s misty, nocturnal basketball court images seemed to embody the spirit of the album, while once more steering it in a direction that nobody had stopped to imagine, because this was just something in the air.

                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                            I
                                                                            II
                                                                            III
                                                                            IV

                                                                            Matchess

                                                                            Sonescent

                                                                              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

                                                                                A
                                                                                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)
                                                                                B
                                                                                Rooftop Garden (feat. George Xylouris)
                                                                                Deacon Blues (feat. Bill MacKay)
                                                                                I Love You (feat. David Pajo)
                                                                                C
                                                                                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)
                                                                                D
                                                                                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)

                                                                                Joel Vandroogenbroeck

                                                                                Fair View

                                                                                  Distinctively exotic drifts of library music suffused with psych and next wave ambience, all collected from Joel Vandroogenbroeck's cult-classic Coloursound releases of the 1980s. Leagues beyond the top-shelf work he'd done throughout the 70s with kraut-progsters Brainticket: these were new musical idioms to be explored. All tracks remastered from their original analog tapes!

                                                                                  Far View is a compilation of tracks from Joel Vandroogenbroeck’s series of library music releases for the Coloursound label — a uniquely trippy catalog of music vignettes long overdue for their day in the library music sun, remastered from the original analog reels!

                                                                                  The late Joel Vandroogenbroeck was among that rare breed of musician who defy all categorization, using music conventions to explore the far reaches of human and cosmic consciousness. After passing through the jazz and rock worlds from the 1950s through the 70s, Joel found new outlets for his expansive vision in the 80s with the Swiss library music label Coloursound. Far View draws tracks from these releases, which form a unique entry in the genre of library music. For the uninitiated, this is just one way to begin a brilliant musical trip through Vandroogenbroeck’s undersung career.

                                                                                  A musical prodigy from youth, Joel arrived at Brussels’ classical Music Conservatory in the early 50s, but his studies were curtailed by the revelation of jazz. Soon, Joel was touring in groups around Europe and beyond with luminaries like Eje Thelin, Stan Getz, Bob Brookmeyer and Zoot Sims. As time passed, his musical consciousness continued to expand: time spent in Africa sparked a deep exploration of the music of the Middle East. The new rock sounds from England, like The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, were mind-blowing. And from Germany came the krautrockers, with something completely else again.

                                                                                  Vibing on the eclectic energies of the day, Vandroogenbroeck formed Brainticket, whose approach to composition fused jazz, rock, and a mélange of global musical traditions, combining a western rhythm section and analog synthesizers with an astonishing array of acoustic instruments; ethnic flutes, sitar, harp, kalimba and all manner of percussion. Steeped in diverse approaches of playing and listening, Brainticket drew from prog rock and psych, traditional sounds and minimalist music, all of which passed through their hands like the tributaries that formed the basis of what would soon be known as New Age music.

                                                                                  In the late 1970s, Vandroogenbroeck began composing for sound libraries, with recordings to be used as underlay music in films, radio and television. Gunter Greffenius’ Coloursound Library was formed in 1979 with an inclusive vision of music, including experimental, progressive rock, and some of the earliest examples of ambient music — styles not well represented in other libraries. Coloursound gave Joel the freedom to create music in any style or genre, and over the next decade-plus, he embarked on a musical journey that is unmatched anywhere in the world of library music. Working under the pseudonyms VDB, Joel, and Eric Vann, his output on Coloursound is some of his most sublime and otherworldly — ranging from dark electronics to imagined music of the ancient past to ethereal ambient sounds of the future, which makes sense, as JoelJoel’s records were always ahead and in and out of their time.

                                                                                  Joel VandroogenbroeckJ passed away in in December 2019, while work was being done assembling this collection. Curated by David Hollander, whose Unique Sounds album and book of the same name delightfully explore the library music world, Far View draws from ten of Joel’s Coloursound albums with lovely cohesion. Featuring brilliantly remastered sound, liner notes from David Hollander, album art designed by Robert Beatty and reproductions of the Coloursound album jackets, Far View is an entry point to Joel Vandroogenbroek’s mind-bending body of work — sonic soma to expand your consciousness and vibrate with the cosmos.


                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                  Fairy Tale
                                                                                  Rocks
                                                                                  Group Meditation
                                                                                  Summer Clouds
                                                                                  Mutation
                                                                                  Oil Tankers
                                                                                  Biblical Band
                                                                                  Papyrus Of Ani
                                                                                  Easy To Love
                                                                                  Procession
                                                                                  Wono Sari
                                                                                  Rock Program
                                                                                  Chipland Liquids
                                                                                  New Wave Rock
                                                                                  Far View

                                                                                  Ben Chasny

                                                                                  The Intimate Landscape

                                                                                    At the invitation of KPM Music, the wizard of Six Organs of Admittance steps behind his acoustic to produce a new instrumental guitar set. Library music, or deeply personal essays on a formative instrument? Under his fingers, Ben plays it both ways, making simply beautiful music that spans beyond the limits of folk, ambient and soundtrack music.

                                                                                    A new instrumental album of acoustic guitar playing from Six Organs of Admittance’s Ben Chasny! Everybody knows it’s been far too long since 2004’s much-beloved For Octavio Paz; even as the landscape has crowded with acoustic players, we’ve all been dying to hear Ben’s distinctive virtuosity again in this format. But The Intimate Landscape is so much more . . .

                                                                                    KPM Music, the legendary British library music company, extended an offer to Ben to make some songs for their library. Well aware of their history, he immediately agreed. The field of library music (music made for hire, for use in placement in films and advertising) is one that’s come to public consciousness only relatively recently in the long century of record-making, but the influence of such records has been felt for years in the aesthetics of many diverse artists, including several who’ve recorded for Drag City. So it’s a special thing for Drag City, whose appreciation for Ben’s unique artistry has been borne out over a countless variety of releases, to issue this really amazing entry in both the KPM Music tradition and the ever-expanding Ben Chasny/Six Organs of Admittance ouvre.

                                                                                    Ben chose the acoustic guitar for these recordings after considering the width and breadth of possible music he could make for the occasion. His approach while playing it was simple — deceptively so: to make music as present and immediate and beautiful as possible. This type of playing requires a deep breath before beginning, as it has to generate from within, as well as at the fingertips.

                                                                                    The resulting music is inventive and engaging, both in and out of the astral style of Ben’s music and the utilitarian genre of music to which he’s contributing. The album’s title — The Intimate Landscape — is a clue to these dual intentions, as is Ben’s use of his given name rather than the 6OOA alias he has preferred in his career. These songs manifest lovely themes played on acoustic guitar, recorded with spacious, almost pastoral ambiance; richly evocative pieces that can fill the multiple purposes of any sound library around the world. When paired with their titles, however — such as, “Last Night to Use the Telescope,” “Circular Road,” and “On the Way to the Coast” — these pieces are profoundly re-contextualized as potent personal expressions. So too are the songs with titles like “Water Dragon.” “Star Cascade,” and “Dust In the Ravine.” Two decades-plus into his life in music, Ben’s got the craft and ability to make music that can be encompassingly heard as intimate AND universal.

                                                                                    Going for melody, Ben employs a relaxed technical facility, supported by a few guitar overdubs, plus several well-placed synths and a passage of wordless vocalizing, accessing the murky depths of his reservoir of spirituality while hand-spinning irresistible sonic candy at the same time. This is a greatly engrossing listening experience, regardless of what the listener’s intentions are.

                                                                                    Given the rarity of such lovely acoustic essays from the fingers of Ben Chasny, and thanks to EMI and KPM Music, we’ll find ourselves returning to gaze over The Intimate Landscape often, for many years to come.

                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                    A
                                                                                    The Many Faces Of Stone
                                                                                    Last Night To Use The Telescope
                                                                                    Waterfall Path
                                                                                    Cross-Winged Formation
                                                                                    Water Dragon
                                                                                    Star Cascade

                                                                                    B
                                                                                    Where Have All The Summers Gone?
                                                                                    Circular Road
                                                                                    Six Diamonds
                                                                                    Dust In The Ravine
                                                                                    Fading Blue
                                                                                    Second Moon
                                                                                    On The Way To The Coast

                                                                                    Ty Segall

                                                                                    Harmonizer

                                                                                      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
                                                                                      Learning
                                                                                      Whisper
                                                                                      Erased
                                                                                      Harmonizer
                                                                                      Pictures

                                                                                      Side B
                                                                                      Ride
                                                                                      Waxman
                                                                                      Play
                                                                                      Feel Good
                                                                                      Changing Contours

                                                                                      Mess Esque

                                                                                      Mess Esque

                                                                                        Mess Esque are a duo featuring music and instruments by Mick Turner and words and voice by Helen Franzmann. Their self-titled album is a beguiling travelogue of restless, somnambulant wanderings.

                                                                                        Perhaps best known as one of the Dirty Three, Mick’s been playing guitar and making music with many collaborators for forty years. He’s loved his paintings too but revered especially for his solo music - since 1997, Drag City have released four of his albums, plus an EP and an album of the Tren Brothers (Mick with percussionist and fellow Dirty Three-ite, Jim White) and two EPs featuring Mick as the Marquis de Tren with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy.

                                                                                        Mick’s last record was 2013’s ‘Don’t Tell the Driver’, a work that found him departing from his traditional hermetic instrumental template by employing a rhythm section and brass charts and even collaborating with a vocalist. After all the purely instrumental music he’s made with Dirty Three and solo, a singer is now part of the sound he’s hearing in his head these days; while demoing new material, he realized that he was again writing music that needed lyrics - and for that matter, someone other than himself to sing them. But who? In 2019, he was introduced to Helen through a mutual friend who’d produced her last album. Under the name Mckisko, Helen has released three albums over the past 12 years, working and touring with a range of Australian musicians along the way. Her music has been described as numinous and transformative. Her most recent album, ‘Southerly’, saw her moving into a more expansive sound which led to an openness and excitement around further collaboration.

                                                                                        Helen’s words are carefully observed, her phrasing responding intuitively to Mick’s looping guitar figures with vocal repetitions of her own. Starting with a feeling or a voicing, there are often no words - both players are searching on their own paths. Then suddenly they have arrived and are passing the emerging meaning back and forth, the rising intensity forming a kind of undertow that pulls the listener deeper into their world.

                                                                                        Often, Helen would record her vocals in the middle of the night, seeking that 2am flow, a moment of greatest isolation through which to trace her melodie with fragility and strength. This crystallizes Mess Esque’s intention: riding the sleepy drift through the blurred edges of the day… time-traveling to that moment beyond stasis where sense and no sense coincide and share space and time and energy. Viewing from afar the immense peace of this planet when its ghost world of spirits below - the madness of crowds, people sliding past each other faraway in the night - are quieted at last.

                                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                                        Wake Up To Yesterday
                                                                                        Sweetspot
                                                                                        Forever
                                                                                        Jupiter
                                                                                        Take It Outside
                                                                                        Beneath The Rain

                                                                                        Alasdair Roberts Og Völvur

                                                                                        The Old Fabled River

                                                                                          In January 2019, at the invitation of fiddler Hans Kjorstad, Alasdair Roberts travelled from his home in Glasgow, Scotland to Oslo, Norway, where the two men convened with five additional Scandinavian musicians at Riksscenen, Oslo’s centre for Norwegian traditional arts and music. Thus newly-formed, the group worked on arrangements of songs—self-written and traditional—from Alasdair’s back catalogue, in preparation for performances at Riksscenen as well as at ALICE in Copenhagen, Denmark and the bucolic western Danish island of Fanø. The group was named Völvur (The Seeresses), a reference to the ancient Icelandic apocalyptic text Völuspa (The Prophecy of the Seeress). In January 2020, Völvur visited England and Scotland, to perform with Alasdair Roberts at Cecil Sharp House, London and at Platform, Glasgow, the latter as part of Celtic Connections festival. The group had new material—freshly written songs by Alasdair and several traditional Norwegian songs sung by Marthe Lea—and over a couple days at Sam and Rachel’s Studio, Hackney, laid down the music which now flows forth as The Old Fabled River. The musicians who make up Völvur—Marthe Lea, saxophone, clarinet and voice, Fredrik Rasten, guitars and voice, Andreas Hoem Røysum, clarinet, Egil Kalman, bass and electronics, Jan Martin Gismervik, drums, percussion and the aforementioned initiator of the project, Hans Kjorstad on fiddle—are a busy and artistically inquisitive group, involved in a diverse range of projects with a wide variety of musical interests, from folk and jazz to free music, modular synthesis, microtonality and beyond.

                                                                                          They make an ideal pairing for such voyages in the alchemical world as Alasdair pursues in his own music. On The Old Fabled River, Alasdair Roberts og Völvur meld their worlds: fiddle and vocal styles formed in the Norwegian valleys blending now with exploratory clarinet, saxophone and metallic bowed guitar drones, now fashioned into baroque folk arrangements. In one case, instrumental accompaniment is laid aside, as three voices locate a questing fullness harmonizing together. A word about the four “traditional” tracks on this collection. “Song Composed in August,” sung unaccompanied, was written by the well-known Scottish poet Robert Burns; it has been described by the great Scottish singer Dick Gaughan as a song “about everything.” Fredrik Rasten suggested they record it; the arrangement is heavily indebted to that by the group The Voice Squad. “Sweet William’s Ghost” is a traditional night visiting song, or revenant ballad. Alasdair recorded it once before, over a decade and a half ago, in a solo arrangement; but sometimes the ghosts don’t leave, and so there arose a feeling to resummon the song. The two Norwegian songs, sung by Marthe Lea, are spiritual pieces respectively about the sun coming up and the sun going down.

                                                                                          They put traditional Norwegian melodies to sets of lyrics from two 17th-century Scandinavian hymnists, Thomas Kingo (of Denmark) and Samuel Olsen Bruun (of Norway). A word about Alasdair’s four self-written songs on this collection. All are love songs of sorts, as most directly exemplified by “Orison of Union” and “The Tender Hour.” “Hymn of Welcome” is a song imagining the passing on of a candle-flame; one at life’s end offering a benediction to one at its beginning. “The Green Chapel” touches upon the ancient notion in Celtic culture of “the three noble strains” of music: geantraí, goltraí and suantraí (the strains of joy, lamentation and sleep). These are the three intertwining threads from which the fabric of a music is woven. In “The Green Chapel” the three knot together, like wind, wave and wood, to form a syncretically co-existing wholeness—a fulfilling distillation of the deep nature of collaboration among Alasdair Roberts og Völvur.

                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                          1. Hymn Of Welcome 
                                                                                          2. Orison Of Union 
                                                                                          3. Nu Rinner Solen Opp 
                                                                                          4. Song Composed In August 
                                                                                          5. The Green Chapel 
                                                                                          6. The Tender Hour 
                                                                                          7. Sweet William’s Ghost 
                                                                                          8. Nu Solen Går Ned

                                                                                          Birds Of Maya

                                                                                          Valdez

                                                                                            Eight years passes like nothing for Birds of Maya. Their fourth album kicks out the Philly jams with every bit as much fervour as their earlier releases - in fact, as it was recorded in 2014, it kind of is one of their earlier releases.

                                                                                            A long era of dull ringing and nothing else in our ears is over. Once again, winds of warm guitar and humid thunderheads of bass and toms rumble all around. With ‘Valdez’, Birds of Maya are back in flight. And like the first song title explicitly states, this latest is a soaring blast of riffers, rife with punk rock abandon, sludge, treble, distortion, neck-throttling rock ‘n’ roll solos, pummelling drums and bass and half-shouted/half-gargled vocals, all of it half on and half off the mic.

                                                                                            ‘Valdez’ was recorded in 2014 at Black Dirt Studios in otherstate New York. After a Purling Hiss session there, Birds of Maya got a bunch of tunes they liked into shape - that is, different shapes on different days. But nice shapes. Once they got to the studio, they loaded in and set up, curious to see how they felt playing in a different room. Pretty good as it turned out - running through the songs that first night, they accidentally recorded the whole album. Then they finished up the next day, mostly. Trading the crushed harmonics of their basement tapes for studio-grade mics, overdubs in the mix and only slightly lessbruised harmonics, their roiling essence not only survives but thrives, non-stop, on ‘Valdez’, stuttering, screaming and stomping through six circuitous numbers.

                                                                                            At the time this was recorded, Birds of Maya were standing on the other side of ten years kicking around town, suddenly far away from the primordial ooze they’d flopped forth from. The streets where all this had happened on were changing, with new money rolling in, but they were the same old Birds, content with their libations and ear-splitting variations on old favourite Stooges chords. The cover art of Valdez is a couple of images from those days, glimpses at the old grass roots before they were ripped up by developers to build condos. But nothing ever really goes away. ‘Valdez’ is a totem of the wildness that refuses be tamed.

                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                            High Fly
                                                                                            BFIOU?
                                                                                            Busted Room
                                                                                            Recessinater
                                                                                            Front Street
                                                                                            Please Come In

                                                                                            Cory Hanson

                                                                                            Pale Horse Rider

                                                                                              Lingering at the remains of a campfire before dawn, with the politics of the personal burnt into ash, running his stick through what’s left, Wand singer/guitarist Cory Hanson is reflecting on a series of moments in which he steps farther into himself, finding the ultimate big sky country on the inside of his skull. It’s a combination of songs and sounds that journey through bleak and broken territory and places of sweet, lush remove and it adds up to the best record he’s been involved in yet: his second solo album, ‘Pale Horse Rider’.

                                                                                              Cory’s first solo, ‘The Unborn Capitalist From Limbo’, was an intense affair, a grand experiment that produced inspiring, unconventional music - but this time around, he wanted to breathe a bit easier, to feel that breath in the music as well. So he and his band drove out to the desert to record in a lowstress environment: Brian Harris’ Cactopia, a house surrounded by 6ft tall sculptural psychotropic cacti. They built a studio inside and then they made music and lived off pots of coffee and chili and cases of Miller High Life as they played guitars, bass, keyboards and drums in what seemed increasingly like a living biomech, their tech made out of fungal networks and cacti needles.

                                                                                              It was loose and flowed onto tape well. Recorded by Robbie Cody and Zac Hernandez (who assisted on Wand’s ‘Laughing Matter’), the sounds were great from the get-go. First takes were mostly best takes. Fuelled with DNA lifted from country-rock cut with native psych and prog strands, Cory guided his craft toward the cosmic side of the highway, a benevolent alien in ambient fields hazy with heat and synths, early morning fog and space echo spreading the harmonies wide.

                                                                                              ‘Pale Horse Rider’’s got a lot to get out of its mind, looking around and seeing that, on the surface, things don’t always look like much. A lifelong Californian, Cory’s naturally found himself standing to the left of most of the country. The west may be only what you make it; these days, the roadside view looks exceptionally sunbleached and left behind. ‘Pale Horse Rider’ eyes the city, the country and the fragile environment that holds them both in its hands - a record as much about Los Angeles as it can be with its back to the town and the sun in its eyes; as much about nostalgia as new music can be with the apocalypse over the next rise.

                                                                                              On ‘Pale Horse Rider’, Cory Hanson moves ceaselessly forward. The old myths weave and waft, the shadows of tombstones flickering in the mirages and the light that lies dead ahead.

                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                              Paper Fog
                                                                                              Angeles
                                                                                              Pale Horse Rider
                                                                                              Necklace
                                                                                              Bird Of Paradise
                                                                                              Limited Hangout
                                                                                              Vegas Knights
                                                                                              Surface To Air
                                                                                              Another Story From The
                                                                                              Center Of The Earth
                                                                                              Pigs

                                                                                              Mind Maintenance

                                                                                              Mind Maintenance

                                                                                                Drag City drift out of their comfort zone here to provide our Balearic beards and ambient fans with an unlikely record of the year contender. Rather than their usual (and top notch) indie, the label host Joshua Abrams and Chad Taylor's guimbri and mbira duets as Mind Maintenance. As the duo harness their inner Reich, Glass and Riley through a cascade of shimmering hypnotism, it becomes clear that the name was no accident. Part improvised, part composed, the dream like tracks see the duo fall into a rhythmic trance, fusing the exoticism of fourth world ambient with the traditional music of th Gnawa and Shona people. Soothing, serene and at time stunning music ideal for meditative moods and chakra realignment.



                                                                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                Patrick says: Perfectly titled, "Mind Maintenance" is a immersive excursion into hypnotic repetition and shimmering rhythm. Entirely comprised of guimbri and mbira duets, the LP recalls Glass, Reich and Riley's repositioning of gamelan with a distinctly African aesthetic. A stunning listen from start to finish.

                                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                Glow & Glimmer
                                                                                                Entrainment
                                                                                                The Ladder
                                                                                                Snap Yr Teeth
                                                                                                Cyclic Bloom
                                                                                                Valence
                                                                                                Slack Water
                                                                                                Complete Rain
                                                                                                Mental Eyes

                                                                                                The Peacers

                                                                                                Blexxed Rec

                                                                                                  The Peacers are back with their third album. The time has been kind. Three years since they went about their sophomore release, ‘Introducing the Crimsmen’. That second Peacers record was made by the second Peacers line up, after two thirds of the first gang made for the door after the first album. In came Bo Moore, Shayde Sartin and Mike Shoun but, after they’d finished making ‘Introducing the Crimsmen’, singer Mike Donovan moved out of his old San Francisco digs to the east coast and made two solo albums.

                                                                                                  The Peacers were consistently great no matter who they were, delivering Mike D’s irrepressible subterranean pop in a full colour spectrum of moods from purple to blue-black to sometimes white. ‘Blexxed Rec’ is a different time in the band’s life - a second album from the same line up, plus with a country in between them. Also Bo, who had one song on the last one, brought three in for this one and Shayde’s got the closing number. Suddenly, three singersongwriters under The Peacers’ flag.

                                                                                                  The Peacers send out a mad variety of the thrills and chills of modern rock, whether glam-tinged (‘The Thunder Is an Electrical Love God’), psyched-out (‘Colors for You’, ‘Dandelion’), folky (‘Irish Suit’), riding the knife blade of post-garage fusion (‘Blackberry Est’, ‘Ms. Ela Stanyon’s School of Acting’) or pumping the winning strains of their own pure pop sound (‘Ghost of a Motherfucker,’ ‘Bic Sitar,’ ‘Make It Right’) and melting it all together.

                                                                                                  Recorded in SF and Hudson NY with The Peacers’ production ear for small and curious detail in full spectrum, ‘Blexxed Rec’ is a blessed event for all you rock and roll people.

                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                  Ms. Ela Stanyon’s School Of Acting
                                                                                                  Ghost Of A Motherfucker
                                                                                                  Dickdog In Paris
                                                                                                  Colors For You
                                                                                                  Stinson Teep
                                                                                                  Irish Suit
                                                                                                  Blackberry Est
                                                                                                  Dandelion
                                                                                                  The Thunder Is An Electrical Love God
                                                                                                  Alloyed Shiek
                                                                                                  Bic Sitar
                                                                                                  Make It Right

                                                                                                  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

                                                                                                    Ty Segall & Cory Hanson

                                                                                                    She's A Beam / Milk Bird Flyer

                                                                                                      2015. Two boys with guitars on their chests, stretching songwriting muscles and finding, to their delight, new possibilities at every run up the neck. This means trading vocal parts mid-song, then trading back again, modulating madly through rhythm changes, looking for a note in the harmony they’d never played or sung before. All in the service of locating the feelgood pop alchemy in a song in which no parts are repeated. Laying it all down with a sweet solid state vibe.

                                                                                                      “Whatever happened to ‘She’s a Beam’!?!” has been a question/passive-aggressive demand from Ty and Cory aficionados over the past few years. This is what happened. It went to Heaven and lived a beautiful life there. This is the sound of it. Guitars and harmonies. Helium-coated keyboards. A celestial, Steve Millerish synth transformation. Positivity. Lightness. Rock. Epic. Energetic. Happy, headbanging days.

                                                                                                      ‘Milk Bird Flyer’ is a perfect other ‘A’ to pair with ‘She’s a Beam’, hovering on a fade-in fanfare of gleaming guitar godness before shifting into a countryish tripper with cheerful Psilo-sci-fi-bin lyrics to bend and stretch the ecstatic shuffle of the beat. As with ‘She’s a Beam’, Ty and Cory are floating so tight in the harmony that we’re like “Who’s who?”

                                                                                                      The pure sounds of yesterday are bright like a moment in time just waiting for its chance to exist, a nugget of potency landing right between the eyes in any era. Turn it up and smile, smile, smile.

                                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                      She’s A Beam
                                                                                                      Milk Bird Flyer

                                                                                                      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

                                                                                                        Curve
                                                                                                        Clean & Clear
                                                                                                        Lethargic
                                                                                                        Jer Bang
                                                                                                        Daylight
                                                                                                        Lu Lu
                                                                                                        Lo & Behold
                                                                                                        The Sculptor
                                                                                                        Mutant Being
                                                                                                        More
                                                                                                        Hypocrite
                                                                                                        My Man
                                                                                                        Frank Says Relapse
                                                                                                        Known Unknown

                                                                                                        Bill Callahan

                                                                                                        Gold Record

                                                                                                          For his first record in….uh, well, just a little over a year (!), Bill Callahan’s given us his first Gold Record. They can’t all be gold, and they’re not all six years apart either — all good! You could probably call the album “Gold Records,” too: all the songs have a stand-alone feel, like singles, meant for you to have a deep encounter with all of a sudden, from the start of the song to the finish. And what do you got when you have a record full of singles — and let’s face it, hit singles, at that?

                                                                                                          That’s a Gold Record for you.

                                                                                                          From the top, it’s clear this is music with an affection for people, as Bill immediately slips easily and deeply into his characters. Among them: a limo driver, a watcher of television, a suitor, a man in a broken-down car, a reader of books, a Ry Cooder superfan, and in the closing number, a wanderer who “notices when people notice things”. The voices of the people, with their ups and downs, their loss and laughter. You can feel the love.

                                                                                                          For Bill, preparing to tour for Shepherd In a Sheepskin Vest meant considering being away from home for long stretches of time — maybe up to a year, who knew? Feeling his oats, Bill pulled out a few sketches from over the years and touched them up. Before he knew it, he was recording them, and in the shuffle, newer songs started popping up.

                                                                                                          It happened fast. Basics were recorded live with Matt Kinsey playing guitars, guitars, guitars and Jaime Zurverza holding it down “and then letting it go” on bass. Drums and horns were brought in for a couple songs. Spirits were high! Six out of the ten were done first take; overdubs, when needed, came equally quickly. Listening, one hears their intuitive cohesion coming together richly behind Bill’s titanic voice spread across the stereo spectrum: the gentle conversation of Bill and Matt’s guitars, the subtle percussion of the bass and drums, and odd appearances of trumpet, woodwind and synth, striking notes both decorous and discordant, sounding for all the world like the naturally occurring sound meant to accompany and express lives lived everywhere.

                                                                                                          These are in fact songs meant for other people to sing — but until they do, Bill’s got this. He’s got a secret on this one, and before we go, we don’t mind sharing it with you: he’s figured out how to perfectly place his voice in proximity to your ear. It’s based on the distance from your heart to your brain. Simple! Why don’t more people think like this?

                                                                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                          Barry says: It would appear that Mr. Callahan is entering a super productive time in his life, with not one but two records out in the short space of a year. This follows on from 'Sheepskin..' in many ways, with the more languid, minimal moments echoing those from the gorgeous 2019 outing, but with a little more focus on Callahan's (still) spellbinding vocal drawl. Beautiful stuff.

                                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                          1. Pigeons
                                                                                                          2. Another Song
                                                                                                          3. 35
                                                                                                          4. Protest Song
                                                                                                          5. The Mackenzies
                                                                                                          6. Let's Move To The Country
                                                                                                          7. Breakfast
                                                                                                          8. Cowboy
                                                                                                          9. Ry Cooder
                                                                                                          10. As I Wander

                                                                                                          John Mulaney And The Sack Lunch Bunch

                                                                                                          John Mulaney And The Sack Lunch Bunch

                                                                                                            Emmy Award-winning comedian John Mulaney aims to recapture the magic of that bygone television era - when children sang songs about their feelings with celebrity guests on funky outdoor sets - with ‘John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch’, a television special that premiered December 24, 2019 on Netflix. Now, Christmas is coming again like never before, with physical editions of the soundtrack. This includes a special peelable sticker on the cover of the LP edition, allowing children of all ages to pick at it. 

                                                                                                            Who are John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch and what is this album? Well, John Mulaney is a 6ft tall comedian with many credits and two awards and he was born on a humid August night in 1982. The Sack Lunch Bunch is a group of children ages 8-13, born after the turn of the 21st Century, and they are each unique human beings with way more talent than Mr. Mulaney.
                                                                                                            With the brilliant musical chameleon and Emmy nominated composer Eli Bolin, Mulaney and his co-writer Marika Sawyer put together some songs and then were joined by guests like David Byrne, Tony Awardwinner André De Shields, Annaleigh Ashford, Shereen Pimentel and Jake Gyllenhaal. 

                                                                                                            There are probable hits like ‘Grandma’s Boyfriend Paul’, inspired by the breezy piano pop of Carole King’s ‘Really Rosie’. ‘Plain Plate of Noodles’ may be a child’s existential food lament but you can still dance to its Three Dog Night-inspired funk. ‘I Saw a White Lady Standing on the Street Just Sobbing (and I Think About It Once a Week)’ is a daydream made of the rich major 7th chords of Laura Nyro layered with the warm flugelhorn that seems to whisper Burt Bacharach. 

                                                                                                            Calypso, New Orleans jazz and even the Alan Parsons’ Project’s ‘Eye in the Sky’ make up the DNA of other Sack Lunch songs. David Byrne lent his time, his voice and his whole essence for a song that demands the listener ‘Pay Attention’. Bolin, Byrne, Sawyer and Mulaney wrote it in 2019 but it’s also a nod to a bizarre boy back in the 1980s named John who was thunderstruck by Talking Heads’ ‘Warning Sign’ and its command: “Pay Attention, Pay Attention/I’m talking to you and I hope you’re concentrating.”

                                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                            1. It’s John Mulaney And The Sack Lunch Bunch
                                                                                                            2. Grandma’s Boyfriend Paul
                                                                                                            3. Algebra Song!
                                                                                                            4. Googy’s Theme
                                                                                                            5. Plain Plate Of Noodles
                                                                                                            6. Do You Wanna Play Restaurant?
                                                                                                            7. Pay Attention!
                                                                                                            8. Do Flowers Exist At Night?
                                                                                                            9. I Saw A White Lady Standing On The Street Just Sobbing (and I Think About It Once A Week)
                                                                                                            10. Music, Music Everywhere!

                                                                                                            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

                                                                                                              No Age

                                                                                                              Goons Be Gone

                                                                                                                Summer 2020, and No Age are back out on the street! 

                                                                                                                Effortlessly raw and extravagant in one practiced swoop, they set their live/bedroom internal clock and get out early into a glorious windtunnel of naked beats and sunbaked guitars, forming a wave from which they hang eleven tunes. 

                                                                                                                A perfectly balanced set, ranging from their classic punk and indie to ever-evolving soundscapes, in maybe their most direct statement yet.

                                                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                Sandalwood 02:31
                                                                                                                Feeler 02:40
                                                                                                                Smoothie 03:53
                                                                                                                Working Stiff Takes A Break 01:01
                                                                                                                War Dance 02:33
                                                                                                                Toes In The Water 03:11
                                                                                                                Turned To String 03:41
                                                                                                                A Sigh Clicks 02:26
                                                                                                                Puzzled 03:59
                                                                                                                Head Sport Full Face 03:55
                                                                                                                Agitating Moss 03:05

                                                                                                                Masaki Batoh

                                                                                                                Smile Jesus Loves YOU

                                                                                                                  Masaki Batoh’s solo career continues to rise up with his 5th solo album, and second in the last two years, Smile Jesus Loves YOU.

                                                                                                                  As long time listeners of Ghost and The Silence are well aware, Batoh’s music is of the world and for the world . . . it exists as part of the conundrum of the world, for us to hear and form thought or feeling. We have no way of knowing it, other than to listen. The defiance of a fixed notion in Batoh’s world and music is made clear, as with the ambiguities of last year’s mortality meditation Nowhere, by the title of his new album. This shouldn’t be taken at face value. It might be a politically bitter statement. It might not be political at all, in this time of insane corrupt leaders who clearly believe in nothing except what they can use. It is a question for anyone who believes, or doesn’t believe. Listeners must come up with their own understanding, based on their own sentiment and where they find themselves in their evolving form.

                                                                                                                  Following the mostly solitary activity of making’ Nowhere’, Batoh has invited several guests to play with him for parts of ‘Smile Jesus Loves YOU’. Like family members, collaborators from The Silence and Ghost make guest appearances, including, for two songs, ex-Ghost and legendary percussionist Hiroyuki Usui (Fushitsusha).

                                                                                                                  For the journey of this new album, Batoh takes us a great distance, singing in Japanese, English, Spanish and Latin, including an amazing cover of one of his heroes, Atahualpa Yupanqui, with lyrics translated from Spanish to Japanese, giving them a haiku-like feeling.

                                                                                                                  Batoh plays a variety of stringed instruments throughout, as well as mellotron and shanai, supported at times by the playing of others on flute, piano, lap steel, saxophone, contra bass and drums. The songs expand amoebically, with music styles of the world shifting and merging to form their whole. Through phases of dark and light, including some new musical discoveries in Batoh’s world, we travel through the multipart epic title track to salvation.

                                                                                                                  This world is a difficult place, whether or not the gods will come to save us, but there is a happy ending for us if we accept and make it so. As with all of Batoh’s recent releases, Smile Jesus Loves YOU is a 100% analogue recording of absolutely human playing, with no digital copying and pasting. This allows us to hear and feel the air around the recording as if it is our own.

                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                  In The Hour Of Serpent
                                                                                                                  Pobrecito Mi Cigarro
                                                                                                                  Uzumaki
                                                                                                                  No Momento
                                                                                                                  Sarabanda
                                                                                                                  Smile Jesus Loves YOU

                                                                                                                  Bill Nace

                                                                                                                  Both

                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                      Celerity
                                                                                                                      Mit’s Linctus Codeine Co.
                                                                                                                      Renaissance Nod
                                                                                                                      Graveyard Wanderers
                                                                                                                      Dust Devils
                                                                                                                      Enville
                                                                                                                      Black Sara
                                                                                                                      The Coming Of The Rats
                                                                                                                      Vellum

                                                                                                                      Espers

                                                                                                                      Espers

                                                                                                                        Espers’ self-titled first release appeared in 2004, heralding an era in which there was a perception of back-to-the-roots in the underground; kids making new music that spoke strongly of folk traditions and psychedelia, in the process setting themselves apart from latter-day sounds and approaches. Espers didn’t shy away from this image, projecting a collective air, almost like a rural outpost, out of time and place in the urban environs of Philadelphia. The staid harmonies of Meg Baird and Greg Weeks, the 6- and 12-string guitars and percussion of Brooke Sietinsons, the full-bodied arrangements rife with traditional and classical details and the regular intervention of acid-toned guitar leads formed, along with the mystic and melancholy cast to their songwriting, a galvanizing identity for them among other like-minded music players of the day.

                                                                                                                        Espers, existing in between places, were a part of a flow of ideation that has as much to do with revelations from the 70s or 60s - with all the decades of the last century, really - as it does with the current expressions in favour of selfhood and safety that are struggled over today. Their music has retained a mysterious, unknowable vitality that, in the name of their original intention, continues to express Espers’ individualism, optimism and deeply empathetic soul. ‘II’ and ‘III’ continued the journey through 2009, after which Espers quietly dispersed. Since then, ‘Espers’ and ‘The Weed Tree’ went out of print and have stayed away for some years now. New vinyl and CD editions will surely be welcomed by the members of the burgeoning listening community that continues to evolve in the spirit and image of the communities that preceded them. And the circle remains unbroken.

                                                                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                        Flowery Noontide
                                                                                                                        Meadow
                                                                                                                        Riding
                                                                                                                        Voices
                                                                                                                        Hearts & Daggers
                                                                                                                        Byss & Abyss
                                                                                                                        Daughter
                                                                                                                        Travel Mountains

                                                                                                                        “C’est ce que je fais qui m’apprend ce que je cherche. (It’s what I do that teaches me what I’m looking for.)” - Pierre Soulages

                                                                                                                        Jim White and George Xylouris have been friends since Jim’s early days in Dirty Three. Their musical connection goes back to then and led them to start Xylouris White in 2013. Since then, they have released three albums and been touring the world. ‘The Sisypheans’ is their fourth release.

                                                                                                                        Jim on ‘The Sisypheans’: “As George Xylouris and I traveled around these last five years, we found ourselves talking about Sisyphus. George had a theory about Sisyphus, condemned to climb that hill with that rock forever. George saw him carrying the rock in different ways, in his left hand, behind his back, pushing it with his head while crawling and noticing each journey the seasons changing, the grass and the insects. The meaning was clear and for George it fit with playing the popular Cretan song ‘Proto Hanoti’ many turns each day for his life and discovering it new each time... I found it fit in with a long held set of thoughts I’d had, that if one concentrated activity and thought enough on one thing it would expand and be a whole world. It sounded like the same idea and also with the idea of first principles, for it to be new each time: that is our job as musicians. We would talk about this as we traveled playing music. One day a waitress heard us talking, and she asked if we knew the Camus essay about Sisyphus. We didn’t, but I got it in English and then we found it in Greek and it fit too. When we were playing in Louisville and working on Black Peak, we stayed at a house and saw the artwork you see on the cover, by Elsa Hansen Oldham... We’d finished the circular trilogy of Goats, Black Peak, and Mother and we found ourselves making -. What we do leads us to who we are, the Sisypheans.”

                                                                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                        Tree Song
                                                                                                                        Goat Hair Bow
                                                                                                                        Heart’s Eyes
                                                                                                                        Telephone Song
                                                                                                                        Black Sea
                                                                                                                        Inland
                                                                                                                        Wedding Song
                                                                                                                        Ascension

                                                                                                                        Sean O'Hagan

                                                                                                                        Radum Calls, Radum Calls

                                                                                                                          ‘Radum Calls, Radum Calls’ is Sean O’Hagan’s second solo album. His first came out in 1990, titled ‘High Llamas’. Nearly 30 years down that once-was road, 10-12 albums of the extreme pleasures that High Llamas song craft and sonic obsessions have provided (counting a comp and a remix record), here’s Sean again, with his second solo opus. Sean continues to modify, adjust, turn and amend aspects of his unswaying beliefs to produce sound fresh and new.

                                                                                                                          In the past decade there have been two High Llamas albums. During that time, Sean’s day job has largely been in the studio, arranging and producing with other outfits - most recently, Mount Kimbie, Fryars, James Righton from Klaxons and Hockney. The ways of the new generation are reflected in the mix of ‘Radum Calls, Radum Calls’, with bold latest obsessions side by side with the grand old traditions. As the parts old and new rotate inevitably back and forth in cyclical perfection, we are reminded of the beauty and craftmanship of the old cuckoo clocks; an ingenuity of cogs and gears to express perfect time as entertainingly as possible. Threaded in with exquisite melodies are hard- punching drum sounds, low rumbling synths, an extra-sharp dubby sound-design for percussion. In moments of this concision of old and new, Sean’s goal is honestly to conjure a new musical language.

                                                                                                                          Sean’s approach to lyrics reaches for the deft, tongue-in-cheek understatement of a LeCarre or a Philip K. Dick - and as fantasia melts into social portraiture into out-there sci-fi, we discover some of Sean’s most toothsome topics - ‘The Paykan (Laili’s Song)’ tells the story of one of the Shah’s servants masking a dash for freedom at the dawn of the Islamic revolution in 1979 Iran. ‘Spoken Gem’ and ‘Candy Clock’ use the lyric interventions of Sean’s former Microdisney vocal-partner Cathal Coughlan to free-associate the listener into fantastic, elastic, unknowable worlds.

                                                                                                                          Sean working with Cathal, or with his backup singers May Robson, Livvy O’Hagan and Kelsey Michael, brings their participatory energy - that of joy - to the mix and to our ears. And all this energy - derived from history, ambition, humour - is presented simply but effectively, sinking deep into our ears. ‘Radum Calls, Radum Calls’ reaches across time, curating details from wherever its fascination lands, then working them into the harmonic flexibilities of Sean O’Hagan. The album is a light delight and marks this place in time as a very pleasant stop on the way forward.

                                                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                          Candy Clock
                                                                                                                          Better Lull Bear
                                                                                                                          I Am Here
                                                                                                                          The Paykan (Laili’s Song)
                                                                                                                          McCardle Brown
                                                                                                                          Clearing House
                                                                                                                          On A Lonely Day (Ding, Dong)
                                                                                                                          Spoken Gem
                                                                                                                          Sancto Electrical
                                                                                                                          Take My Steps (Nora
                                                                                                                          Bramms)
                                                                                                                          Radum Calls
                                                                                                                          Calling, Sending

                                                                                                                          Om

                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                              Europe
                                                                                                                              Comments
                                                                                                                              A Keen
                                                                                                                              The Stranger With The Scythe
                                                                                                                              Actors
                                                                                                                              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

                                                                                                                                Mike Donovan

                                                                                                                                Exurbian Quonset

                                                                                                                                  Mike Donovan has seen his share of the world, making records and playing shows all over the past 20 years with, chronologically, The Ropers, Yikes, The Hospitals, Sic Alps, Ty Segall, The Peacers and most recently, himself.

                                                                                                                                  In June of 2017 Mike led The Peacers’ sophomore effort, ‘Introducing The Crimsmen’, into the world. In 2018 his own sophomore solo release, ‘How To Get Your Record Played In Shops’, hit down (in shops - it worked!). Now a third long player in the timeframe arrives, as Mike whisks us away to his remote ‘Exurbian Quonset’.  ‘Exurbian Quonset’ sticks up like a fork in the road - it was drawn together as Mike prepared to be the last man from the old gang to leave SF, where he broke so many rules and new ground, working as a driver, a trimmer and a craftsman, cementing bricks into the foundation of the new centurion West Coast rock and roll movement from his place alongside Thee Oh Sees over the past decade. It’s dedicated to the woman who married him and taught him both words in the title of the album - exurbian and quonset - and who he’ll whisk away with to somewhere just like the title.

                                                                                                                                  ‘Exurbian Quonset’ is a pure solo record - Mike created everything in the place, from voices and guitars to keys and space. It is pure pop music as well, as it has been played in dark, wet corners (and on the safety of cold, dry turntables) for the past half-century. Abstract-, post-, deconstuct- and autodestruct are as much a part of Mike’s songs and singing as the melodic evocations of personal moods and private memories, dreams and fantasy, a Proustian matrix, stamped into antic untameter.

                                                                                                                                  After a burst of Velvet clatter and noise, clamour, balladry and cavernous shimmying to open the record, the skies clear and birds appear, as if to signal a new season. Side two displays his deep propers, moving from the uncompromising Lennonist collage, ‘Wot Do Rich People Do All Day’ to the cheerful McCartneyisms of ‘B.O.C. Rate Applied’ to the Harrisonseque despondence of ‘Nowhere Descender’, creating corroded ‘White Album’-esque fx in our mind without ever leaving his own backyard - or cleaning it up. The mood is only extended with the acid-burnt instrumental ‘Zone Dome’ and the farewell ditty ‘My System’, ringing down the curtain in definitively (Mike) Donovanesque fashion. Where will we find him next?

                                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                  Digital Dan
                                                                                                                                  Iwata-Wise
                                                                                                                                  Wadsworth March
                                                                                                                                  Hate Mail Writer
                                                                                                                                  Stone
                                                                                                                                  Wot Do Rich People Do
                                                                                                                                  All Day?
                                                                                                                                  B.O.C. Rate Applied
                                                                                                                                  Nowhere Descender
                                                                                                                                  Zone Dome
                                                                                                                                  My System

                                                                                                                                  Wand

                                                                                                                                  Laughing Matter

                                                                                                                                    A little less than two years on from 2016’s Plum, Californian scrap polymorphs Wand are prepared to announce their newest, and fifth long playing record, Laughing Matter. By now, Wand is the shifting but unmistakable collaboration between Sofia Arreguin (keys, vocals), Cory Hanson (guitar, vocals), Robert Cody (guitar), Lee Landey (bass) and Evan Burrows (drums). Laughing Matter is marked by the confidence and exuberance of a band that has lived, feuded, thrived and grown together through years of dedicated jamming, touring and recording, across western and eastern states, continents and mind-sets. In this world that insists we must increasingly rely upon ourselves, Wand listen to each other, and this is the sound.

                                                                                                                                    Largely recorded on the infamous southern border of broken, decadent America, Laughing Matter belongs to the after-life. After the dull flood. As rock n roll lurched sideways and fell away, drunkenly lost in a funhouse mirror of…recycled Funhouses. With no major label funding, no management or lawyers, no corporate distribution, near zero social media presence and no commercial dealings whatsoever (with only poor, pitiful Drag City to help them carry the flag!), Wand have toured the world a bajillion times in five years and made four varied and compelling records while accumulating a devoted following. There may be a future in rock music beyond slapping rote regurgitations onto a lifeless syntactic grid. Wand are proof you don’t have to be an industry toy to sell records – that, with devotion and time, the seeds you plant with intention and care will grow back into the world.

                                                                                                                                    Swerving between out-of-focus parable, travel diary, pep talk, polemic, love song, and lullabye, Laughing Matter is a tough and tender album, its eyes on a lot of prizes. Where Plum held the tension of its five band members getting on their feet, the songs on Laughing Matter are concentrated and relaxed, even as they search for the right accusations to hurl at cynics and megalomaniacs. The music is distilled and sculpted from an ash heap of collected improvisations, riven with audio-verite; the methods and instrumentation are traditional handmade rock ‘n’ roll. Yet the unorthodox arrangements of “Scarecrow”, the joyous embrace of pastiche and disruption on “Walkie Talkie”, the radical eclecticism of shapes and approaches on “Thin Air”, the ascendant choruses of “Wonder” are all decidedly contemporary. This music is not revivalism or throwback; Wand are a precision instrument, a band that probes and teases style, genre, trope and anachronism into material, according to a law of motion that is aimed directly toward an uncertain future.

                                                                                                                                    Laughing Matter is a record about love in a time of terror, about making the best use of the surveillance technology available today. It calls you down from panic room labyrinths, to work the deep tissue of unravelling trauma we all carry so dear. The 15 songs on this record face their energy outward, to take with you through a common world that can’t suffer its human abusers much longer. Laughing Matter encourages you to shake hands with your old demons, to lay your pathologies to rest, to hold your spirit close, and let your body do what’s next.

                                                                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                    1 Scarecrow
                                                                                                                                    2 Xoxo
                                                                                                                                    3 Bubble
                                                                                                                                    4 High Planes Drifter
                                                                                                                                    5 Walkie Talkie
                                                                                                                                    6 Thin Air
                                                                                                                                    7 Hare
                                                                                                                                    8 Wonder
                                                                                                                                    9 Evening Star
                                                                                                                                    10 Tortoise
                                                                                                                                    11 Rio Grande
                                                                                                                                    12 Airplane
                                                                                                                                    13 Lucky's Sight
                                                                                                                                    14 Wonder II
                                                                                                                                    15 Jennifer's Gone

                                                                                                                                    Ty Segall & The Freedom Band

                                                                                                                                    Deforming Lobes - Live

                                                                                                                                      In 2018, Ty Segall’s Freedom’s Goblin hit with a watershed feeling. A feeling like, how much longer will rock albums like this even exist? An epic epoch double-LP that took the heroic arc of Ty’s populist masterpiece Manipulator and wadded it up into a much more aerodynamic (and harder-hitting) ball (or 20-sided D&D die), FG was also the continued work of the Freedom Band, Ty’s crew of choice since 2016. Storming the world playing songs from throughout his catalog in a series of ecstatic setlists, they sought freedom for themselves and the audience, even it if was just one night of emancipation from world’s numbing chill. Then they went and did it again the next night!

                                                                                                                                      An all analog production, recorded live on stage at Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles by Steve Albini (via mobile unit onto two-inch tape!) and mixed with Steve in Chicago at Electrical Audio, Deforming Lobes witnesses the blunt-force traumpact of The Freedom Band in full effect, updating (and upending) numbers from Melted, Emotional Mugger, Twins, Manipulator, $ingle$ 2 and Self-Titled. From the start, the “Warm Hands” suite shows the growth of the group since recording the original version for the 2017 Self-Titled album—the jam has a new life all its own, and the band explores every song with similar unrestrained curiosity, never forgetting the collective experience they’re sharing. The feeling between audience and band at Los Angeles’ Teragram Ballroom on those January nights was its own special thing; here, the band is somehow even more front and center, making Deforming Lobes the first wholly original statement from The Freedom Band and bookending the Goblin experience with a fuck of an exclamation point.

                                                                                                                                      A year-plus later, another rock album exists—but what’s to be done with the guitar? These guys did everything they could get away with to a certain degree of (well-focused) depravity. Maybe now it’s time for a transition, away from live band rawk into whatever, who knows? But before you grieve your speculative future loss too hard, you really oughta get Deforming Lobes.

                                                                                                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                      Barry says: By all accounts, Ty Segall are one of the most dominant forces in live music around today, and this perfectly captures the energy and visceral heft of this momentous experience. Grooves are stretched out and worked around, turning a simple riff into a multi-layered tapestry, rich with distortion and so huge you can almost feel the sweat dripping off the stage.

                                                                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                      1 Warm Hands
                                                                                                                                      2 Squealer
                                                                                                                                      3 Breakfast Eggs
                                                                                                                                      4 The Crawler
                                                                                                                                      5 Finger
                                                                                                                                      6 They Told Me Too
                                                                                                                                      7 Cherry Red
                                                                                                                                      8 Love Fuzz

                                                                                                                                      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

                                                                                                                                        Tim Presley's White Fence

                                                                                                                                        I Have To Feed Larry's Hawk

                                                                                                                                        Tim Presley’s White Fence, informed by the extreme polarities of punk rock and psych, brings forth songs like no others. Two years on from his solo missive, the sense that something has cratered and someone has walked away, somehow alive, is heavy in the air. Vulnerability is painted with Tim’s unpredictable brush, letting down his hair in counter-intuitive steps, while intimating that any path taken, whether one of transformation or one of succumbing, may meet an ambiguous outcome. With ‘I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk’, Tim Presley meets White Fence and together, they move on.

                                                                                                                                        “I started writing songs for this album in a small rural town in the UK called Staveley. I was staying with Cate Le Bon there during winter. While she was there going to school learning how to build & design furniture out of wood, I started writing on her piano. Staveley is in the Lake District (Northern England) and everywhere you look is the most beautiful serene British landscapes. Your eyes go quiet.

                                                                                                                                        “I came back to SF to record, but first I had a fervent dream that Johnny Thunders asked me to be honest & simple with this album, and why dolphins were not given arms. I booked studio time with a very talented fellow named Jeremy Harris and we worked together out of a studio in the Dogpatch district of SF (owned and run by Paul from the UK band The Bees (or in US... A Band of Bees). Because I can only play the piano like a 5-year-old, Jeremy was able to learn the songs on piano, keys and finesse the parts, including most drums and also record/engineer the whole album. Also playing on the album, is S.F. Mission district native Dylan Hadley who plays drum on two songs: Until You Walk’ & ‘Forever Chained’ and H. Hawkline adding guitar and vocals on ‘Phone’.

                                                                                                                                        “I have to re-learn how to walk. The poppy stomp. I’ve been tethered to a hawk, that I must feed on the dot. Many people get, and many people need. I can’t believe what I now hear and what I now read. It’s funny how the human moves, it’s desperate how the fog seeps through. San Francisco the city, is an artist that had become rich off one masterpiece painting, but still conflicted & inspired, trying to shake the blue. I needed to remember my heart is plausible, and not a closet of hornets & flies. Even though closing my eyes can still bring me to my knees, I think love and inspiration will lead me to free. Through life’s cycles and movements you get re-taught, but still everyday I must feed Larry’s hawk.” - Tim Presley, 2018

                                                                                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                        I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk
                                                                                                                                        Phone
                                                                                                                                        Fog City
                                                                                                                                        I Love You
                                                                                                                                        Lorelei
                                                                                                                                        Neighborhood Light
                                                                                                                                        I Can See You
                                                                                                                                        Until You Walk
                                                                                                                                        I Saw Snow Today
                                                                                                                                        Indisposed
                                                                                                                                        Forever Chained
                                                                                                                                        Fog City (outro)
                                                                                                                                        Harm Reduction (A: Morning)
                                                                                                                                        Harm Reduction (B: Street & Inside Mind)

                                                                                                                                        Papa M

                                                                                                                                        A Broke Moon Rises: Music For Four Acoustic Guitars By Papa M

                                                                                                                                          Late 2016’s ‘Highway Songs’ brought Papa M back to us, after many years of silence and several harrowing dances with death for his Id-ego/host body, David Pajo. Now, two years on down the road, we’re all here again to witness ‘A Broke Moon Rises’.

                                                                                                                                          ‘Highway Songs’ was a necessarily cathartic experience in all phases. Afterwards, with no tour dates forthcoming (partially due to lousy clubs and their lack of wheelchair-accessible stage doors), it felt good just to play for fun again, like being in the practice space instead of the psych ward - a much healthier change of pace than some might guess. David blew it out; all the different styles he’s played in over the years, from folk-blues to metal, electronic, pop, Bollywood... all of it. When the spasms subsided, however, a back-to-roots sediment remained in the bottom of the bowl, which he read as a motive for a new Papa M album done with all acoustic instruments. That’s how there’s nothing electric about ‘A Broke Moon Rises’. Even the drums are acoustic.

                                                                                                                                          The five songs of ‘A Broke Moon Rises’ find David focusing his technique in unknown directions, to find out what he can do with them. When that happens, he finds himself on the very spot where Papa M music becomes alive. As the quietly funereal march of the opening track resonates with a spare drum beat, we are completely transfixed into the open spaces around the guitars.

                                                                                                                                          David’s been engineering and mixing his records for years, so the sensation of his sound-thoughts doesn’t entirely surprise us, even in their latest, acoustic anointment. Layers of guitars curl and unfurl, falling away from the centre with feathery softness. Slide figures cut through the progressions with a rusty glide. Arpeggiations flicker with light, leading into a change that’ll break on ones ear like a small revelation. Even the sound of Papa M playing in the room, leaning forward or untouching the strings, provides textural byplay in created space. ‘A Broke Moon Rises’ is meditative in the most active sense, with the unquiet mind leaping from place to place in a static, spartan theatre. All of which action makes hypnotic music, perfect for listening.

                                                                                                                                          The album’s title is based upon his son’s observation of a half-moon one evening (when his son was 29) and it helped infuse the record with an essential feeling, which draws to a decidedly tasty conclusion with David taking on an Arvo Pärt piece. After years of fascination with the music, listening in passivity, he finally decided to do something about understanding it by playing it himself. If you’re wondering, that’s the key to ‘A Broke Moon Rises’.

                                                                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                          The Upright Path
                                                                                                                                          Walt’s
                                                                                                                                          A Lighthouse Reverie
                                                                                                                                          Shimmers
                                                                                                                                          Spiegel Im Spiegel

                                                                                                                                          Ty Segall & White Fence

                                                                                                                                          Joy

                                                                                                                                            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

                                                                                                                                            Wand

                                                                                                                                            Perfume

                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                Babylon
                                                                                                                                                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

                                                                                                                                                  Leave
                                                                                                                                                  Foreign
                                                                                                                                                  Baby Jesus
                                                                                                                                                  Cool/Cowtown
                                                                                                                                                  New Pop
                                                                                                                                                  Corners
                                                                                                                                                  Don’t Be
                                                                                                                                                  Here
                                                                                                                                                  Order

                                                                                                                                                  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

                                                                                                                                                    Freedom’s Goblin is the new Ty Segall album: 19 tracks strong, filling four sides of vinyl nonstop, with an unrestricted sense of coming together to make an album. It wants you to get your head straight — but first, the process will make your head spin! Back in the Twins days, we talked about the schizophrenia of Ty’s outlook; today, it’s super-dual, with loads of realities all folding back on each other. On any given side, we’re tracking five or six full-blown personalities, unconcerned with convention or continuity.

                                                                                                                                                    So drop the needle — who can say what it’ll sound like where it lands? This is Freedom’s Goblin — one track engendering, the next one oppressing, violence up in the mix — a look at everything around that Ty used to make the songs. What will you use it for when you listen? The songs came in the flow of the year: days of vomit and days of ecstasy and escape too, and days between. The rulebook may have been tossed, but Freedom’s Goblin is thick with deep songwriting resources, be it stomper, weeper, ballad, screamer, banger or funker-upper, all diverted into new Tydentities — each one marking a different impasse, like a flag whirling into a knot, exploding and burning on contact, in the name of love and loathing. Freedom’s Goblin wears a twisted production coat: tracks were cut all around, from L.A. to Chicago to Memphis, whether chilling at home or touring with the Freedom Band. Five studios were required to get all the sounds down, engineered by Steve Albini, F. Bermudez, Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell and of course, Ty himself.

                                                                                                                                                    The goal was getting free, embracing any approach necessary to communicate new heights and depths, new places for the fuzz to land among octaving harmonies, dancefloor grooves, synths, saxes and horns, jams, post-Nicky-Hopkins r’n’b electric piano vibes, children-of-the-corn psycho-rebellions, old country waltzes and down-by-the-river shuffles. Basically, the free-est pop songs Ty’s ever put on tape. And one about his dog, too! We’re ALL Goblins and we ALL want our Freedom. The freedom to love or to be alone; to be pretty or pretty ugly; the freedom to turn the other cheek or to turn up the volume. And of course, the freedom to make just about any kind of song you think will free people when they hear it. But there’s that goblin of freedom too — and once you let it out of the bottle, it can fuck with you, so . . . take it or leave it. Go away or go all the way in. Live free and die! BUT be careful what you wish for . . . .

                                                                                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                    1 Fanny Dog
                                                                                                                                                    2 Rain
                                                                                                                                                    3 Every 1’s A Winner
                                                                                                                                                    4 Despoiler Of Cadaver
                                                                                                                                                    5 When Mommy Kills You
                                                                                                                                                    6 My Lady’s On Fire
                                                                                                                                                    7 Alta
                                                                                                                                                    8 Meaning
                                                                                                                                                    9 Cry Cry Cry
                                                                                                                                                    10 Shoot You Up
                                                                                                                                                    11 You Say All The Nice Things
                                                                                                                                                    12 The Last Waltz
                                                                                                                                                    13 She
                                                                                                                                                    14 Prison
                                                                                                                                                    15 Talkin’ 3
                                                                                                                                                    16 The Main Pretender
                                                                                                                                                    17 I’m Free
                                                                                                                                                    18 5 Ft. Tall
                                                                                                                                                    19 And, Goodnight

                                                                                                                                                    Circuit Des Yeux

                                                                                                                                                    Reaching For Indigo

                                                                                                                                                      “Reaching for Indigo” is the 5th album from Circuit des Yeux. It references a moment that fell down in the life of Haley Fohr on Jan. 22, 2016. “Reaching for Indigo” adds to the definition of Circuit des Yeux, as she realises her goal of becoming one of the most distinctive voices of this time.

                                                                                                                                                      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

                                                                                                                                                      Ty Segall

                                                                                                                                                      Fried Shallots

                                                                                                                                                        ‘Fried Shallots’ is a handful of numbers from different times and places over the past few years that all work together in a weird way. For Ty Segall, that requires rock with the gears shifting and stripping, tempos and tropes mashing up; a primal outburst, a quick-and-fuzzy soundtrack of rock, folk, R&B and pure power pop, to give us a chance to chill and do the new Century twist for just a minute. Ty Segall’s ‘Fried Shallots’ is here to help us surf the tides and not be swept under.

                                                                                                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                        Big Man
                                                                                                                                                        Dust
                                                                                                                                                        When The Gulls Turn To Ravens
                                                                                                                                                        Is It Real
                                                                                                                                                        Another Hustle
                                                                                                                                                        Talkin’

                                                                                                                                                        Mark Fosson

                                                                                                                                                        Solo Guitar

                                                                                                                                                          Mark Fosson has been playing music for nearly 50 years now. ‘Solo Guitar’ is the fifth album released under his name in all that time, which gives an insight into the nature of his music; when it is time for Mark to commit to something underneath his fingers, regardless of whether that is after two years, ten or twenty, that’s what’s right.

                                                                                                                                                          ‘Solo Guitar’ sees Mark continuing to use his chops and enthusiasm to wander musically, drawing up pieces of sparkling, nimble fingerstyle with an eclectic vision. As the title implies, this time Mark is focused on the austerity of the guitar, plain and simple, to bring out the music. Whether on six- or twelve-string, his sure touch is transported by crystal-clear recordings that belie their down-home origins, as they catch the contours of every string as it is pressed, bent and struck - a full-bodied sound projecting soulful dips down into bass strings and shimmering upper register runs with equal power. The air around these performances is coloured with curving waves of steel-stringed beauty and the pungency of freewheeling wit and recollection.

                                                                                                                                                          The songs are from all over the place: The bristling, fluent action around the neck on ‘Still Ain’t Got No Home’ - a song he wrote when returning east from his long sojourn in California - evokes a traveling energy, motoring down the road in a way that never really ends. This is one of Mark’s favourites of all that he’s written and it is clear why: the golden, eternal promise of the guitar is ebulliently, transcendently delivered.

                                                                                                                                                          Mark Fosson’s ‘Solo Guitar’ is a masterful work, the kind it takes a lifetime to assemble.

                                                                                                                                                          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

                                                                                                                                                            Hoz
                                                                                                                                                            Black Fences
                                                                                                                                                            Haptic Chillweed
                                                                                                                                                            Jurgen’s Layout
                                                                                                                                                            D.T.M.T.Y.C.Y.M.
                                                                                                                                                            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)
                                                                                                                                                              Committed
                                                                                                                                                              Refl Ectors
                                                                                                                                                              Deep Background
                                                                                                                                                              Galactic Emergence
                                                                                                                                                              The Woman With The Invisible Necklace
                                                                                                                                                              Sacred Project

                                                                                                                                                              Alasdair Roberts

                                                                                                                                                              Pangs

                                                                                                                                                                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

                                                                                                                                                                Six Organs Of Admittance

                                                                                                                                                                Burning The Threshold

                                                                                                                                                                  In preparing for the first album of non-Hexadic Six Organs of Admittance music since 2012’s Ascent, Ben Chasny had a think about what he’d be saying in his own tongue for the fi rst time in a half-decade. As ever, a head-full of ideas were driving him to think and speak music as a spirituality superimposed onto a reality, with the ghosts of both whispering at each other. In the end, what sits in our listening ears is the sound of communion. Burning the Threshold brings a wealth of Six Organs-styled lightness into one of his sweetest musical meditations yet.

                                                                                                                                                                  With a spacious acoustic soundstage, Burning the Threshold may actually more resemble 2011’s Asleep on the Floodplain. Or it may more resemble Compathia, or School of the Flower. All of this is speculative, comparative, unverifyable — but our sense of what is true tells us that nobody plays acoustic music quite like Six Organs of Admittance, and that furthermore, nothing sounds so much like Burning the Threshold as Burning the Threshold.

                                                                                                                                                                  Ben is in a particularly expansive mood this time around, singing and playing while thinking of birds in the morning, anarchy, Third Ear Band, Gaston Bachelard, The Gnostics, Ronnie Lane and/or The Faces, Deleuze, Aaron Cheak, Odysseus, This Heat, Takoma Records, St Eustace, Dark Noontide and a HELL of a lot more than that, with all the thoughts affi xed to a quiver of potent melodies launching forth and arcing out through dimensions, seeking infi nite space.

                                                                                                                                                                  The space radiates out from the album’s fi rst moment, with “Things As They Are,” a song examining the life of poet Wallace Stevens. Ben’s currently working on music for a theatrical work about Stevens’ life set to debut in Cleveland later in 2017. The empathetic waves generated by this song resonate throughout the album, giving a new dimension to the music of Six Organs of Admittance.

                                                                                                                                                                  Like so many other Six Organs records, Burning the Threshold was created mostly solo, but features the singing talents of Alex Nielsen, Haley Fohr and Damon and Naomi; the drumming of Chris Corsano; a guitar duet with Ryley Walker, and keys and mixing from Cooper Crain. With this new music, Ben Chasny has created a potent tonic for our times. The gentleness found here, balanced on top of his classical asceticism, provides much of what we need in 2017 and beyond: love, forgiveness, reality and an ever-wider view, with the understanding of our circular path in this lifetime. Looking at the world through clear eyes beneath a knitted brow, but with a laugh rising up from its heart, Burning the Threshold brings us a powerful draught of essence.

                                                                                                                                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                                  Barry says: Six organs of admittance pull out another beautiful album of intricate campfire folk, looped guitars and heady ambience, all topped by Chasny's brilliantly hypnotic vocal musings. An arty but accessible alt-folk masterpiece, and a journey to be undertaken time and time again.

                                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                                          YDUN
                                                                                                                                                                          Goodbye
                                                                                                                                                                          Ta Nasza Mlodosc
                                                                                                                                                                          Country House Waits
                                                                                                                                                                          Madmen & Dogs
                                                                                                                                                                          Born Of The Sun
                                                                                                                                                                          Wild Kids Rant
                                                                                                                                                                          Outing In The Country
                                                                                                                                                                          O My Stars
                                                                                                                                                                          Invitation
                                                                                                                                                                          Mountain

                                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                                          Ornament
                                                                                                                                                                          DEX #1
                                                                                                                                                                          Galasdama
                                                                                                                                                                          Breath Figure
                                                                                                                                                                          Little Red Record
                                                                                                                                                                          Company
                                                                                                                                                                          Fireball

                                                                                                                                                                          Six Organs Of Admittance

                                                                                                                                                                          Hexadic II

                                                                                                                                                                            Sounding forth from a resonating body, the music of Six Organs Of Admittance seems to reach us from an ancient remove. Ben Chasny’s Six Organs vehicle is a wide-ranging craft, spanning over a dozen albums whose gaze is always shifting but whose focus never wavers, descending through a labyrinth of contrasting lexicons (both linguistic and musical) in an attempt to resolve existential codes while engaging the listener and the musician in shared pursuit.

                                                                                                                                                                            With ‘Hexadic II’, Ben Chasny’s unique touch on acoustic guitar is brought back to our ears after what feels like a kind of forever. What may signify to some ears as folk music is caught in an equally compelling undertow of powerful subterranean energy. Ghostly vocals of divergent timbres sing over the fluid interplay of guitars, harmonium, violin and pure space, as the reverberant room around the sounds plays as much a part in the experience as the music.

                                                                                                                                                                            ‘Hexadic II’ is ultimately what the listener hears it to be - a darkly spiritual listen, filtered through their ears, perceptions, and choices. It may be primarily about time: how perspectives change and choices vary over time, as if a separate yet parallel existence, with shared meaning, is being undertaken.

                                                                                                                                                                            As ever, Chasny has a head full of ideas that are driving him; ‘Hexadic II’ simultaneously explores the same charts and paths that gave birth to its predecessor, while creating music of a totally different order. The ‘Hexadic II’ songs have direct correlates to the ‘Hexadic’ songs yet are much more than mere acoustic versions. Think of them as distant cousins to the songs on ‘Hexadic’, obsessed with Greek choir, the desert and the sea.

                                                                                                                                                                            Simultaneously more inviting and challenging than ‘Hexadic’, ‘Hexadic II’ is a powerful musical journey into the enigma of interpretation and inspiration - at once a technical work and a deeply personal emission from a seasoned musical traveller.

                                                                                                                                                                            ….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

                                                                                                                                                                            Wand

                                                                                                                                                                            1000 Days

                                                                                                                                                                              Wand launch their third album, ‘1000 Days’, in what can only be called the relative blink of an eye.

                                                                                                                                                                              August of 2014 was ‘Ganglion Reef’, Wand’s debut album release, on the GOD? label, revelling in their dark circuits and three-ring modulations. Following that, they ranged from their south-Cali base, towing their sound around this maze of interstates and state routes. Shows of all kinds were playing, plenty of people to meet up with on the way. Europe got booked and suddenly it was March of 2015 with a second album entitled ‘Golem’ (this time on In The Red) trailing Wand’s sound farther down the road, past the sky, into storm and casino food.

                                                                                                                                                                              Recorded in Los Angeles and San Francisco in between tour days, ‘1000 Days’ finds Wand searching in corners. Where have all the people gone? Where have they put them? Panoramas of the body history are viewed through Wand’s spy-glass as it sweeps the horizon. · Never shy of a new machine, Wand found extra texture during ‘1000 Days’ via synthetic animation. Songs compelled them to reach across lifestyle, relying on broadcast to find out who might need the sound. The atmosphere is quicksilver and the space acoustic; as a beacon sparks electric, a cascade of hifi noises for everyone’s ear moles - raucous, impassive, inevitable musical expressions.

                                                                                                                                                                              Jim O'Rourke

                                                                                                                                                                              Simple Songs

                                                                                                                                                                                2015 and the silence has been broken with ‘Simple Songs’. Jim O’Rourke is ready to talk to you again with his first pop album since 2001. ‘Simple Songs’ is an amazing record of musical song entertainment because Jim O’Rourke knows what he wants and how to get it.

                                                                                                                                                                                The range of sounds and songs that have turned Jim’s head are numerous enough to have crushed together into something that is unmistakably his. The music is played so immaculately by so many instruments and most of them by the creator’s hand. ‘Simple Songs’ was worked over, from source material to finished mix, for five years or more now. Jim’s writing is rooted in the approach of ‘Insignificance’ - frosted pop tarts that leave a darkly bitter aftertaste.

                                                                                                                                                                                Let ‘Simple Songs’ seep into your brain, as a musical expression and a statement of animal motherhood. It may help you get your bearings in a world gone hopeless.

                                                                                                                                                                                Six Organs Of Admittance

                                                                                                                                                                                Hexadic

                                                                                                                                                                                  Wine-dark, oozing thick like oil and suddenly bright with phosphorescent lickage, Hexadic is witness to the primordial birth of a new approach to the neck of the guitar. Six Organs kills it!


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