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JOYFUL NOISE RECORDINGS

Lou Barlow

Reason To Live

    After decades on the road and the never-ending hustle of life as an artist, Lou Barlow has tapped into a new confidence in the chaos. In 2021, the concept of balance feels particularly intimidating. Now more than ever, it’s clear life isn’t just leveling out a pair of responsibilities. Instead, we’re chasing after a flock of different ideals with a butterfly net. On Barlow’s new solo album, Reason to Live, he has come to an understanding of that swirl rather than trying to contain it.

    As a long-time indie legend, Barlow has found a life akin to a middle-class musician. In recent years, he’s moved from Los Angeles back to Massachusetts, where he lives with his wife and three kids. And yet rather than settle into a comfortable malaise or yearn for the open road, Barlow’s strengthened urgency finds a way to merge the two instincts. Reason to Live is shambolic and grand yet intimate and doting, warmly acoustic and crackling with grit. “I had been struggling for a way to connect both my home life and my recorded life, but this record is the first time I've integrated that,” Barlow says. By folding the many facets of his life into one package, Reason to Live radiates with a renewed balance and calm.

    That comfort in complexity shines through even in the recording process, with select songs having origins in decades past and others written in the early stages of 2020.

    The multitude of whirring messages of Reason to Live are united by Barlow’s roiling multilayered arrangements and the understanding that change is inevitable--and that it can bring you a new reason to live in the darkest times. “This album is me really opening up, and the album follows that through its many different themes,” he says. “Some of my other work could be almost claustrophobic in its insistence on being all tied together but there’s space for people to live inside these songs.”

    After albums with Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr., Folk Implosion, and under his own name, listeners may have felt they knew the construction of a Barlow song, even that they knew Barlow himself. “People have this vision of me as this heartbroken, depressed guy, but this record feels so true to who I am, to this rich life I now have full of people I love,” he says. “The songs culminated over the last five years to show that music has returned to its central comforting role in my life. Now I’m home.”

    TRACK LISTING

    1 In My Arms
    2 Reason To Live
    3 Why Can’t It Wait
    4 Love Intervene
    5 Privatize
    6 I Don’t Like Changes
    7 Clouded Age
    8 Over You
    9 How Do I Know
    10 Cold One
    11 Thirsty
    12 Maumee
    13 Lows And Highs
    14 Paws
    15 Tempted
    16 All You People Suck
    17 Act Of Faith

    Kishi Bashi

    Emigrant EP

      Recommended If You Like: Regina Spektor, Dolly Parton, Fleet Foxes (or something like Fleet Foxes), Jeff Tweedy, Dougie Poole, The idea of Kishi Bashi going Americana.

      Over the last several years, the critically acclaimed composer and adventurous multi-instrumentalist Kishi Bashi has travelled frequently to Montana and Wyoming to work on Omoiyari, a “song film” about Japanese internment during WWII. The experience was potent for Kishi Bashi, who conducted research for the film (and 2019 album of the same name) by speaking to internment camp incarcerees and descendents. These conversations led to him reflecting on his own identity as a Japanese-American while laying the foundation of his forthcoming Emigrant EP.

      Along with the brutal history and harsh climate of the American West, Kishi Bashi also sensed a hope and potential, compassion, and resilience. In Emigrant EP, he celebrates these qualities. Arranged and recorded over the last year, the six tracks serve as a time capsule of the 2020 condition and a continuation of the concepts explored in Omoiyari. What’s more, they find Kishi Bashi rewriting musical tradition in the image of his own experience, further embracing his love for roots music and violin fiddling. Meditating on the anxieties of the COVID-19 pandemic, the comforts of nature, the pains of resource-fueled conflicts, and the resiliency that emerges from struggle, Emigrant EP is steeped in the past while it looks to the future. “I want to understand the history, but also dive in and really try to humanize it,” he says. “I’m trying to show how we’re all the same type of human being. We have the same desires and needs, to protect our loved ones and also to celebrate the everyday.”

      TRACK LISTING

      1 Cascades
      2 Wait For Springtime
      3 Laughing With
      4 Early Morning Breeze
      5 Those Days Are Gone
      6 Town Of Pray

      Joan Of Arc

      Tim Melina Theo Bobby

        Tim Melina Theo Bobby, Joan of Arc's final album, might be their most personal and adventurous to date, culminating the band's many inspired, divergent sounds into one self-reflective, conclusive statement. Joan of Arc always felt like an experimental intersection of its members interests. As prolific of a band as they have been, none of the albums sounded the same, none of the albums imagined themselves as too big to fail in the name of trying something new. They always felt like more of a collective than anything else. A smattering of gifted contributors, fighting their way through their own creative whims. Their shows, a type of controlled chaos.


        A chaos that required a close and gentle ear, or else one might miss the delicate daggers of lyric woven into the walls of sound, the walls of slow movement. It is good to determine your own endings; for yourself, but also for the sake of whatever comes next. To have the band going out on their own terms, still steeped in their own sound—melancholic, but biting; cynical, but also witty; a sonic forest that is both comfortable, but also a little treacherous. We are used to mourning moments like this, letting go of a beloved band. But a listener can hear in this album that these people still love making music together. They’re still excited by how far they can push each other creatively. And to know that and still decide that you have given all you can give as a band is a real gift. It is better this way, to lay a project down at the feet of fans, and listeners, and have it treated with joy, and not sadness. Musicians owe growth to themselves, they owe exploration, and excitement, and eager noise-making to themselves. Whatever fans get out of that, at the end of the day, is something we should all be grateful for. And in the case of Joan of Arc, we got over two decades of it. 

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Destiny Revision
        2. Something Kind
        3. Karma Repair Kit 
        4. Creature And Being
        5. Land Surveyor
        6. Feedback ¾
        7. The Dawn Of Something
        8. Cover Letter Song 
        9. Rising Horizon
        10. Upside Down Bottomless Pit. 

        Suuns

        Fiction EP

          Recommended If You Like: A Place to Bury Strangers, Clinic, Exploded View, Jerusalem In My Heart, Lightning Dust, Portishead, Frank Zappa. Featuring performances by Jerusalem In My Heart, Amber Webber (Lightning Dust, Black Mountain). SUUNS are future-oriented. New sounds, new techniques, new ways of thinking; above all, new environments are the lifeblood of the band. Whether in a sweltering studio in Dallas with John Congelton, self-recording in Montreal's storied Breakglass Studio, or playing acoustic instruments at Hotel 2 Tango, the group's environment has always had an indelible impact on the sound of whatever future SUUNS are imagining at the time. And true to form, here on FICTION EP, SUUNS are exploring fresh processes as a result of their current surroundings and global circumstances. On FICTION, new sounds and sonic directions are fashioned out of old. A year-long period of limited resources and contact inspired the band to reflect on the various environments in which they've created music over the years: to comb through their previous sounds and creative approaches, and fuse them together with new ideas, ultimately producing a sort of future/past alchemy. FICTION EP is as much a project of curation as it is one of creation: sifting, re-imagining, and re-framing, sometimes completely disassembling and then building from the ground up. Each song is a live-off-the-floor recording that was then taken into isolation and re-worked. But as much as FICTION EP is a project born of introspection and reflection, it's equally one for which SUUNS sought inspiration from outside. Longtime friend of the band Radwan Ghazi Moumneh (Jerusalem In My Heart), bringing relentless claps and buzuks, leads SUUNS through BREATHE, while Amber Webber (Lightning Dust) sings a mournful siren song on the penultimate track, DEATH. Finally, the ghost of Frank Zappa lends the band his fervent societal diagnosis, as relevant today as it ever was, on TROUBLE EVERY DAY, the EP's black North Star. Zappa's darkly prophetic message, repurposed from 1966 to meet our moment, is an apt referent. These dualities -- confluences of past and future, of introspection and influence -- are what defines FICTION EP. Produced from old remnants, it is entirely new; done in relative isolation, and is also something of a live album. The songs have been meticulously reworked, and yet the entire collection feels deployed with hardly any reflection, done in one breath. It's the sound of SUUNS regrouping, and then poised, and then driving towards the future. 

          TRACK LISTING

          1 Look
          2 Breathe (Feat. Jerusalem In My Heart)
          3 Pray
          4 Fiction
          5 Death (Feat. Amber Webber) Trouble Every Day

          Psychic Temple

          Houses Of The Holy

            Psychic Temple, the project of Chris Schlarb, returns with Houses of the Holy: a double album featuring Cherry Glazerr, The Dream Syndicate, The Chicago Underground Trio, and Xololanxinxo. Recommended If You Like: Led Zeppelin, Jim Sullivan, Townes Van Zandt, Cherry Glazerr, Chicago Underground Trio, Dream Syndicate / Steve Wynn, Freestyle Fellowship. "There is no double album that would not be improved by removing its worst songs and making it a single album..." With these words, Psychic Temple mastermind Chris Schlarb set out to prove himself wrong. Here's how he did it. In the modern history of rock music, the double album stands as the ultimate creative indulgence.

            A moment for an artist to make their grand statement amid the excess of four sides of vinyl. And yet, there is not one double LP that escapes the curse of filler: "Wah-Wah" on All Things Must Pass, "Night Flight" on Physical Graffiti, "Piggies" on the White Album, "Angel" on Tusk, etc. In 2016, Schlarb opened BIG EGO, a commercial recording studio in the same Long Beach neighborhood he grew up in. There he produced everyone from Terry Reid and James Gadson to Swamp Dogg and Jim Keltner. A year later he began work on Houses of the Holy: his own attempt at solving modern rock's great puzzle. His solution was to take over four existing bands and lead them into the realm of Psychic Temple.

            Recorded in the Joshua Tree desert, Schlarb and Cherry Glazerr (Side A) deliver five whiskey fueled songs of love, madness, and suicide. Reunited after almost 20 years, the legendary Chicago Underground Trio (Side B) wrap their unmistakable sound around songs written by Schlarb and co-writers Jerry David DeCicca and James Jackson Toth. On the precipice of entering their fourth decade as one the world's great rock bands, Dream Syndicate (Side C) explode when plugged into the Psychic Temple Universe. As euphoric closer, the words of cosmic street poet Xololanxinxo (Side D) are supported by the album's largest ensemble featuring a full orchestra, double rhythm section, and gospel choir. These four brilliant sides are the only Houses of the Holy that one ever need visit. Also Available From Psychic Temple: IV LP/CD. 

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Let Me Comb Your Hair
            2. If There's Kindness In The World
            3. This World Don't Mean Shit Without You
            4. (Who's Selling You) Conspiracy?
            5. One Solution Side B - Psychic Temple (feat. Chicago Underground Trio)
            6. Meditation For Strings, Piccolo Trumpet, And Overdraft Fees
            7. Your Dreams Don't Pay My Bills
            8. Lightning
            9. Little One
            10. Dream State > Police State (Revisited)
            11. Love Falls
            12. Why Should I Wait?
            13. Cherry Avenue
            14. Then Again
            15. On The Slide
            16. When Do You Reign?
            17. Streets Of Art
            18. El Caro
            19. Odessey
            20. In This Life

            El Ten Eleven

            Tautology

              RIYL: Explosions in the Sky, Sigur Ros, Do Make Say Think, Mogwai, Russian Circles, Minus the Bear.

              Experiencing an unexpected tragedy or loss often provokes a period of self-reflection, a time to contemplate one’s own place and purpose in the world. That was true for El Ten Eleven’s Kristian Dunn. When a beloved family member passed, Dunn found his own reflections on life emerging in the music he composed. Those expressions led to the creation of Tautology a sonic meditation on the arc of human life, composed in three parts.

              Over the course of three discs, Tautology is, in Dunn’s words, “a representation of life from the teenage years, through middle-age, until the end of life.” The sounds on the album echo Dunn’s own experiences, veering from aggressive metallic riffs to blissful ambient soundscapes. And while there are shared melodies and harmonies through all three records, each one has its own distinct qualities: Tautology I, which represents adolescence, is angsty, aggressive and occasionally depressive; Tautology II is head-noddy and mid-tempo, and represents middle age; while Tautology III, quiet and ambient, represents one’s golden years.

              Tautology is not a typical rock album, and El Ten Eleven are not a typical rock band. For seventeen years the instrumental duo of Dunn (bass/guitar) and Tim Fogarty (drums) have flourished outside the accepted norms of rock orthodoxy, releasing eight full length albums and four EPs, and performing over 750 live shows. Utilizing inventive arrangements and a masterful use of looping, El Ten Eleven create a sound much bigger than the sum of its parts. Joyful Noise Recordings will digitally release each of Tautology’s three discs, individually and in sequential order, beginning May 1st, with a physical 3LP release on September 18, 2020.

              Dunn explains there’s no right or wrong way to listen to Tautology, suggesting that a deep dive into the full project will yield rewards. “I think someone could listen to any one of the discs by themselves and have a really great experience—even if they didn't know about the others. But if they do want to go deeper, I think there will be a lot of interesting stuff to discover. It works symbolically and it all connects. I think this is the best record we've ever done.” 

              STAFF COMMENTS

              says: Having been at the forefront of two-man post-rocking for some time now (their self titled debut was, and still is one of my favourite albums), it was a delight to see this triple LP covering all the ground they've touched on in the past 10 years or so. Starting off a lot more driven and gradually rolling towards tender, shimmering post-rock,this is a true impression of just how varied El Ten Eleven can be. Lovely.

              TRACK LISTING

              1 Entropy
              2 With Report
              3 Jejune
              4 Moral Dynamite
              5 Division
              6 Lassitude
              7 Besotted
              8 Shimmer
              9 Nocturne
              10 The Silent Bell That Rings
              11 Half Mast
              12 Queen’s Gambit
              13 Growing Shorter
              14 Farrago
              15 Caducity
              16 You Are A Piece Of Me, You Are A Piece Of Her
              17 Aubade
              18 Shimmered
              19 Let's All Go Out Like Francis
              20 Senescent
              21 All Of This Bliss Doesn’t Come Without A Price

              Thor & Friends

              3

                Polymath percussionist Thor Harris inaugurated Thor & Friends in the autumn of 2015 after five years of touring as the percussionist of iconic avant-rock ensemble Swans. The project is intended as a vehicle for experimentation with the conceptual vocabulary of American Minimalism collaborating with a rotating cast of Austin-based musicians. The ensemble has three core members, Thor Harris, Peggy Ghorbani and Sarah 'Goat' Gautier — with its line-up expanding and contracting with the flux of compositional and improvisational contexts. Thor & Friends draws on classic Minimalist composers, including Terry Riley and Steve Reich, but also amalgamate such diverse influences as Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, Moondog and The Necks around a polyrhythmic core of mallet-struck instruments, primarily marimba, xylophone and vibraphone.

                Circling these core motifs are shifting streams of everything from processed pedal steel and analog synthesizer to violin, viola, stand-up bass, clarinet, duduk and oboe. Thor & Friends, '3’ is, naturally, the band's third LP. Initially put out as part of Joyful Noise Recordings, 2019 Artist in Residence, it is now being released far and wide through Joyful Noise. Thor writes, "This record was made over several years and in many locations. Only by the grace of the brilliant Jeremy Barnes was it all sewn together into this fantastic tapestry of sound you are lucky to now behold." Musicians who played on this record include, Jennifer Wasner, Tuvan throat singing is Soriah, Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost of A Hawk and a Hacksaw, John Dieterich from Deerhoof, Thierry Amar and Tim Herzog from Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Adam Torres, Michael Gira, Jarboe, Stine Janvin Motland, John Congleton and many others. 

                TRACK LISTING

                1. As Above So Below (feat. Jenn Wasner, Soriah)
                2. Lonely Dee
                3. Tucson (feat. Michael Gira, Crystal Fulbright)
                4. Jarboe Walks In The River (feat. Jarboe)
                5. Falling (feat. Jarboe, Stine Janvin Motland, Soriah)
                6. Stine And Her Animals (feat. Stine Janvin Motland)

                Thor & Friends

                4

                  Polymath percussionist Thor Harris inaugurated Thor & Friends in the autumn of 2015 after five years of touring as the percussionist of iconic avant-rock ensemble Swans. The project is intended as a vehicle for experimentation with the conceptual vocabulary of American Minimalism collaborating with a rotating cast of Austin-based musicians. The ensemble has three core members, Thor Harris, Peggy Ghorbani and Sarah 'Goat' Gautier - with its line-up expanding and contracting with the flux of compositional and improvisational contexts.

                  Thor & Friends draws on classic Minimalist composers, including Terry Riley and Steve Reich, but also amalgamate such diverse influences as Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, Moondog and The Necks around a polyrhythmic core of mallet-struck instruments, primarily marimba, xylophone and vibraphone. Circling these core motifs are shifting streams of everything from processed pedal steel and analog synthesizer to violin, viola, stand-up bass, clarinet, duduk and oboe. Thor & Friends, '4' is the band's fourth LP. Initially put out as part of Joyful Noise Recordings, 2019 Artist in Residence, it is now being released far and wide through Joyful Noise. Thor writes, "Thor & Friends is a collective of musicians. Some players are classically trained, others are punk musicians with no reading skills, just spirit and will. Through friendship and musical collaboration, this album brings together Craig Ross, Alan and Mimi from Low, Bill Callahan, and Jolie Holland; strings from the likes of Mollie Fischer, Travis Weller, Lindsey Verrill, Andrea Calderon, and Nino Soberin; and even more instrumentation from Jeff Johnston on saw, Christopher Cundy, Andrea Belfi, and Adam Harding." 

                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. Mystery Train (feat. Low, Jolie Holland)
                  2. Dies In Paris (feat. Bill Callahan)
                  3. Uber Driver
                  4. The Other Last Straw
                  5. I Told You They Were Lying
                  6. Saint Belfi
                  7. Off Her Meds

                  No Joy

                  Motherhood

                    Recommended If You Like: Sneaker Pimps, Primal Scream, Slowdive, Massive Attack, Kate Bush. First No Joy LP since 2015’s More Faithful. Mastered by Heba Kadry.

                    No Joy’s relentless sonic permutations are evidence of frontperson and principal songwriter Jasamine White-Gluz’s insatiable desire to grow.

                    For No Joy’s first full length in five years, White-Gluz took what she learned from synthesis, reincorporated guitars, and produced an album that is not a departure from No Joy’s early shoegaze, but a stylistically omnivorous expansion that ekes into trip hop, trance and nu-metal. Motherhood is the culmination of years composing outside of her comfort zone, and a return to DIY recording with a leveled-up expertise in production. Throughout the record there are loving nostalgic nods to the records White-Gluz adored on their release twenty years ago--Massive Attack, Sneaker Pimps, No Doubt.

                    White-Gluz hadn’t read Sheila Heti’s Motherhood when she wrote and titled this record, but when she did, the narrative parallels between the two projects were “like looking into a mirror. Time is critical, and you have to make decisions that are extremely time sensitive and your body doesn’t care,” she explains. “It’s a lot of seeing myself through my mother’s experiences, and the physicalness of a body getting older.”

                    The album also investigates the implications of her parents’ aging on her role as their child.

                    Heti’s book’s central conceit is an open-ended pondering of whether dedication to writing is more significant than the desire to have children. No Joy doesn’t definitively answer this existential quagmire, either--how could anyone? Instead, Motherhood is a beautifully dense exploration that proves how thoughtful, thorough music can translate into art that is rich, vast and alive.

                    TRACK LISTING

                    Birthmark
                    Dream Rats
                    Nothing Will Hurt
                    Four
                    Ageless
                    Why Mothers Die
                    Happy Bleeding
                    Signal Lights
                    Fish
                    Primal Curse
                    Kidder

                    Ohmme

                    Fantasize Your Ghost

                      There's an obvious chemistry emanating throughout Ohmme's music that's so tangible it can only come from a decades-spanning friendship. Songwriters Sima Cunnningham and Macie Stewart formed their unbreakable bond performing throughout the fringes of Chicago's many interlocking communities, collaborating with titans from the city's indie rock, hiphop, and improvised worlds. But together, along with drummer Matt Carroll, they've stretched the boundaries of what guitar music can do starting with the band's experimental 2016 self-titled EP and their adventurous debut 2018 LP Parts. Now their longstanding partnership culminates with the stunning and muscular follow-up Fantasize Your Ghost. Ohmme formed in 2014 as an outlet for Cunningham and Stewart to explore an unconventional approach to their instruments.


                      "That's the whole genesis of the band: us walking up to our guitars and saying, 'how can we make this noisemaker do something different?'" says Cunningham. But as their musical collaboration strengthened, bringing Parts and intensive tours with acts like Wilco, Iron & Wine, Twin Peaks, and more, the band's scope and focus has also broadened. "Grinding on tour last year for so long, it can alter your mental state where you have to think about your life in a different way than you would if you're home. A lot of the songs stemmed from just thinking about all of the possibilities that life could be and could take," says Stewart. The commanding single "3 2 4 3" tackles the terrifying realization of needing to make a change. Their deft scene-setting and the way their disparate voices blend together heightens the song's inherent anxiety. These moments of emotional clarity fill Fantasize Your Ghost.


                      Written across 2019, early sketches of the album's tracklist were demoed at Sam Evian's Flying Cloud Studios in upstate New York. "That's where we really started to see the record come together," says Cunningham. The sessions were intensely collaborative and open, the product of long, existential conversations between Stewart and Cunningham in the van about their lives and how to channel the anger they were feeling about the state of the world. Tracks like the driving opener "Flood Your Gut" underwent several revisions with Ohmme uncovering several new directions the song could go before finishing it. Fantasize Your Ghost was recorded over a six day session in with indie rock journeyman producer Chris Cohen and captures the astounding magnetism and ferocity of their live show.


                      Fantasize Your Ghost encapsulates the thrilling and sometimes terrifying joy of moving forward even if you don't know where you're going. It's an album that asks necessary questions: When life demands a crossroads, what version of yourself are you going to pursue? What part of yourself will you feed and let flourish and what do you have to let go of? This is a record of strength, of best friends believing in each other. Unapologetic and brave, Ohmme are ready to figure it all out together.

                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      says: Over the few years they've been recording, Ohmme have clearly perfected their brand of rhythmic indie rock into the perfectly hypnotic distillation we hear today. Elements of Americana, White Stripes-esque blues rock and hypntoic synthy kosmische. It's a melting pot indeed, but one that works flawlessly. That groove!

                      TRACK LISTING

                      1. Flood Your Gut
                      2. Selling Candy
                      3. Ghost
                      4. The Limit
                      5. Spell It Out
                      6. Twitch
                      7. 3 2 4 3
                      8. Some Kind Of Calm
                      9. Sturgeon Moon
                      10. After All

                      Jad Fair & Daniel Johnston

                      It's Spooky (Reissue)

                        Recommended If You Like: The Beatles, Satan, Half Japanese, Roky Erickson, Wesley Willis, Jandek, Moldy Peaches, Butthole Surfers. Limited pressing of 1500 on Casper White Vinyl 2LP + 7" Flexi, comes with Download Card. First time on vinyl in 30 years! Bonus Flexi-Disc features previously unreleased Daniel Johnston classic “I Live My Broken Dreams”. Gatefold jacket with printed innersleeves containing extensive liner notes from Everett True, Jeff Feuerzeig (The Devil & Daniel Johnston, director), Jad Fair and Kramer. Sound restoration and remastering by Kramer. 32 songs including bonus track “Ashes On The Ground”. I first heard Daniel in 1985. Half Japanese had a show in Austin and Daniel's manager Jeff Tartakov gave me a tape of "Hi How Are You?".

                        I loved it and began corresponding with Jeff and Daniel. A few years later I was in NYC to take part in a recording session of Moe Tucker at Kramer's studio Noise New York. Daniel was at the studio and he and I became friends. Daniel recorded two songs with lyrics I wrote. He recorded "Do It Right" for Moe's album, and "Some Things Last A Long Time" for his album "1990". Soon after his time in NYC I invited him to my home and we had a week to record the songs for "It's Spooky". I considered Daniel to be a genius. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with him. I'm so grateful to have it released again and it's sounding better than ever thanks to an amazing mastering job by Kramer. Jad Fair… "This is the sound of friendship, of love unfurling.” Everett True // “I never saw anything like the force-of-nature that was Daniel Johnston. Ever. And i'm sure I never again will. But there's more than just one force-of-nature in American music; Jad Fair is a hurricane unto himself.” Kramer 

                        Highly anticipated second album, 1.5 years after their critically acclaimed debut LP. Featuring members of the now-defunct band The Drones. RIYL: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Nick Cave, The Slits, Protomartyr, The Drones, Gang of Four, IDLES.

                        “I've invented fake news as a genre of music,” Gareth Liddiard observes with a laugh. He's talking about “Maria 63”, the closing track on Tropical Fuck Storm's sophomore LP ‘Braindrops’. The song takes aim at the once-marginalized alt-right conspiracy theories that now seem to be a driving force behind the rise of fascism in global politics. “It may be the most stupid song ever written,” Liddiard jokes. He's wrong, “Maria 63” is emblematic of Tropical Fuck Storm's keen ability to mine the extreme edge of pop culture's periphery for potent musical and conceptual spice.

                        Tropical Fuck Storm were formed around 2017 in the city of Melbourne, Victoria along Australia's south-eastern coast. The band released their debut long-player A Laughing Death in Meatspace on Joyful Noise Recordings in 2018. Each of the band's four members bring considerable experience to the group. Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin were part of the long-running and critically-acclaimed act The Drones, while Erica Dunn and Lauren Hammel have performed in a variety of well-received projects. Perhaps it's that wealth of rock and roll experience that allows Tropical Fuck Storm to so expertly deconstruct and distort the genre's norms.

                        “Everything we do, we try to do it in a weird way. The whole album is full of weird beats, and just weird shit everywhere,” Liddiard explains. He cites Doc at the Radar Station-era Captain Beefheart as a key sonic touchstone, and Braindrops certainly shares the Captain's penchant for pounding abstract grooves. Tropical Fuck Storm have achieved a uniquely off-kilter sound on Braindrops Liddiard partly credits this to the group's use of unconventional equipment, “We use lots of techno gear to make rock and roll because rock and roll gear is boring, and all sounds like Led Zeppelin.”

                        Liddiard's own description of Tropical Fuck Storm's sound is nearly as interesting and evocative as the music itself. He describes the LP's title track as “Fela Kuti in a car crash,” and talks of creating a sonic atmosphere that “sounds like chloroform smells” for “Maria 62”. A recurring theme on Braindrops concerns the various ways the human brain can be manipulated and controlled for exploitative gain. The bracing “The Planet of Straw Men” is a study of human behavior inside the social media comments section, a place where otherwise reasonable people are seen gleefully engaging in psychotic chest-thumping rhetoric. Listening to Braindrops is a jarring and exhilarating experience, full of pulsating grooves, dissonant experimentation, and unsettling dystopian plot-lines. Braindrops is an unrelenting work, from an unrelenting musical ensemble. “Tropical Fuck Storm is a full on thing,” Liddiard offers. “Everything we do, we do it to death.”

                        STAFF COMMENTS

                        says: A completely nuts, clashing collection of fragmented melodies and post-punk spirit, encompassing psychedelic freeform, spoken word vitriol and arty noise into a confounding but strangely addictive listen.

                        TRACK LISTING

                        1. Paradise
                        2. The Planet Of Straw Men
                        3. Who’s My Eugene?
                        4. The Happiest Guy Around
                        5. Maria 62
                        6. Braindrops
                        7. Aspirin
                        8. Desert Sands Of Venus
                        9. Maria 63

                        Dumb Numbers

                        Stranger EP

                          Recommended If You Like : Melvins, SWANS, Dale Crover, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai, David Lynch.

                          In September 2015, The Lemonheads invited us to join them on a short West Coast tour. A week before we were scheduled to leave, our drummer Murph had to drop out. Bonnie and Steve had already purchased their flights from Melbourne to LA so we were committed to playing these shows, but the thought of trying to find another drummer to emulate Murph's parts just felt wrong. We decided to throw away our planned set list of "Murph songs" and instead enlisted Aniela Perry to join us on electric cello for some very slow, cinematic and open-ended interpretations of “our songs.” We all really enjoyed playing these shows, and experiencing the songs opening themselves up, with space to stretch out and breathe and be as long as they wanted to be. It was a very freeing experience, so much room for improvisation from night to night. After the tour we decided to document these new renditions, so we booked a day at Toshi Kasai’s Los Angeles studio and recorded our set live.

                          Along with some epic drumming and percussion by the legendary Dale Crover (Melvins), we also welcomed the beautiful Thor Harris (Swans) into the family, who added tubular bells, gongs and additional percussion to our new version of "Without." "I Am Nothing" is not an Electric Wizard cover, but rather takes its name from the spoken word performance by another talented Melbourne family friend, Elissa Rose, who added her poetry to the improvised instrumental section we started our set with each night. And last but not least, another Aussie member of the Dumb Numbers family, Geordie Stafford from Golden Bats, added some crushing elemental guitar to "Sometimes." We sincerely hope you enjoy the music, and recommend listening at night with some mood lighting, incorporating the experience into your night-time ritual. 


                          TRACK LISTING

                          1 I Am Nothing / Sometimes 16:05
                          2 Without / Dissolution 12:36

                          The Low Anthem would beckon you into the salty sea. Formed in 2007 by best friends, Ben Knox Miller and Jeff Prystowsky, The Low Anthem grew from DIY ethos in the late-aughts to semi-accidental success. Having originally self-released What The Crow Brings and Oh My God, Charlie Darwin (which sold a combined 100,000+ copies), the group signed with Nonesuch, toured the world, and were reluctantly lumped in with the so-called "folk revival".

                          However, night after night of performing their early material was not ultimately where they wanted to land: “The moment was losing its mystery. We were scared of becoming robots,” said the band after six years of reflection. So, in the winter of 2012, the group came back to their hometown of Providence, RI, with an eye toward re-exploring their musical understanding from the ground up. Largely abandoning the international folk movement they were a part of, the group instead poured their energy into their local community by rehabbing a vaudeville-era theater, and building their own recording studio. It’s in this newly restored vaudeville theater-studio that The Low Anthem found new direction.

                          The band began recording in increasingly experimental and meticulous ways (using various non-instruments and painstakingly tracking hundreds of hours of material). It was an exercise in complete musical deconstruction - scrambling and reassembling their musical ideas – which eventually resulted in the album Eyeland. A complexly experimental album, the release of Eyeland was tragically cut short after four shows due to a crippling car accident, leaving the band hospitalized and the tour cancelled. It was through this whole journey that The Low Anthem were able to boil-down their musical ideals and find their true voice.

                          With their new album The Salt Doll Went To Measure The Depth Of The Sea, The Low Anthem present 12 short songs that are fragile, nuanced, and honest. In contrast to the existential freakout that is Eyeland, or the folk-faithful incubator albums, The Salt Doll... feels delicately purposeful. Acoustic arrangements are peppered with subtle and fragmented electronic elements. Rhythms are physically composed on the center loops of vinyl records. These elements weave songs that sound at once organic and highly-conceptual.

                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          says: Stunningly delicate in parts, but imbued with a bright and peaceful electronic counterpoint, 'The Salt Doll...' takes all the best parts of the 'Folktr*nica' (don't make me say it) craze of yesteryear, but deshittens it significantly. Properly lovely this.

                          TRACK LISTING

                          Bone Of Sailor Bone Of Bird
                          River Brine
                          Give My Body Back
                          Drowsy Dowsing Dolls
                          The Krill Whistle Their Fight Song
                          Toowee Toowee
                          Coral Crescent
                          Dotwav
                          Cy Twombly By Campfire
                          Gondwanaland
                          To Get Over Only One Side
                          Final Transmission From The Diving Umbrella

                          In 1974 Jad and David Fair teamed up to form a band called Half Japanese. The route was simple, at first. If one pounded on drums the other could squeeze sounds from an electric guitar. There were no other band members to stay in tune with, so there was no particular reason for them to worry about tuning the guitar in a traditional manner or learning traditional chords. They were free from the start to express their music in their own way. They traded off the guitar and drumming rolls. Whichever one sang the words also played the guitar and the other one drummed. For a couple of years they wrote, recorded and performed this way, without the convention of more members. When they did decide to expand they went big. They first thought of recruiting an outside drummer, so that both could play guitars at the same time.

                          In 2014 Jad and David stripped things back to the roots. They went back to recording as a duo. One sang and played guitar, the other one drummed. 40 years had passed, but they slipped right back into the original roles and churned out a number of breath-stealing songs. 40 years later; 40 years better. One pick, two sticks and heart-warming vocals...... That's all they needed; two brothers, still rockin' the same damn deal! 

                          Recorded in Joshua Tree, CA, "Command Your Weather" sees Big Business return to its original two-man lineup of Jared Warren and Coady Willis. It's a haunting dream about the struggle for dominance of will over the power and unpredictability of nature. Or it's just a really great rock record, it depends on how weird you're willing to get. But you've never had so much fun being crushed in the cogs of the universe's great machine, that much is for sure! I mean, there's no law against having a couple cold beers while we all burn in the fire of time, am I right?!

                          Recorded by Dave Curran of UNSANE/PIGS/BIG BUSINESS' previous record fame. Founded in 2003 in Seattle, WA., Big Business has spent the last 13 years touring the world and making records. In 2006 Jared and Coady joined forces with the Melvins and moved to Los Angeles. Performing as members of the Melvins and staying autonomous as their own band, they have been there ever since. 

                          TRACK LISTING

                          1. Last Legs
                          2. Regulars
                          3. Father’s Day
                          4. Blacker Holes
                          5. Popular Demand
                          6. Own Throats
                          7. Send Help
                          8. Diagnostic Front
                          9. Horses

                          Announcing "Overjoyed", the first album in 13 years from legendary punk band Half Japanese. One of the most influential bands of all time, Jad Fair and Half Japanese spearheaded the DIY and Lo-Fi movements, influencing countless bands such as Sonic Youth, Neutral Milk Hotel, Daniel Johnston, and perhaps most notably, Kurt Cobain (who ranked Half Japanese amongst his top 50 favorites, had them open the "In Utero" tour, and was wearing their t-shirt when he died). Without exaggeration, Half Japanese is one of the most important bands in the history of music. "Overjoyed" was recorded and produced by John Dieterich of Deerhoof, and ranks amongst the best albums of the band's catalogue.

                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          says: After 13 years away, Half Japanese return to the scene with 'Overjoyed'. And they prove themselves to be as vital as ever, melodic indie-punk that keeps them ahead of the pack.

                          TRACK LISTING

                          1. In Its Pull
                          2. Meant To Be That Way
                          3. Brave Enough
                          4. Do It Nation
                          5. The Time Is Now
                          6. Our Love
                          7. Shining Star
                          8. Each Other's Arms
                          9. Overjoyed And Thankful
                          10. We Are Sure
                          11. As Good Can Be
                          12. Tiger Eyes

                          RIYL: Randy Newman, Paul Simon, Kishi Bashi, Van Dyke Parks, music!

                          Lewis and Addison Rogers are brothers who make pop-music together. When they do this, they go by the name Busman’s Holiday. Lewis plays guitar, and Addison plays his modest drum kit, complete with suitcase bass-drum. Independently, the brothers have performed with artists such as Jens Lekman (Addison drumming and providing backing vocals on his recent tour) and Sleeping Bag (Lewis was the original guitarist). “A Long Goodbye”, the first proper album from Busman’s Holiday was recorded by Mark Lawson (Arcade Fire) and mixed by Drew Vandenberg (Toro Y Moi, Kishi Bashi). The band has been featured on WNYC’s Radiolab.

                          TRACK LISTING

                          01 Bones I
                          02 Child Actor
                          03 Hoped To
                          04 Death
                          05 Alone
                          06 Not Alone
                          07 Baby Blue
                          08 World
                          09 We Are We
                          10 Bones II

                          Announcing 'Golden Tickets' - the latest mini album from WHY? The Wolf brothers' pop-inflected psychedelic folk-hop was nominally referred to as hip-hop at the beginning of their career. At this point - certainly on 'Golden Tickets' - the project has outgrown any easy genre-categorization. With the musical eclecticism, pop-twist, and experimental bent of artists like the Flaming Lips or Beck. WHY? shimmers on this album in vibraphone stippled, sweetly riffed songs with characteristically gut-wrenching subtext.

                          TRACK LISTING

                          1. Hunter Van Brocklin
                          2. Banana Mae
                          3. Fogg
                          4. GM Hearts AB
                          5. Murmurer
                          6. Dropjaw
                          7. Peta Godfrey

                          Stripped-down, unblighted, bedroom pop songs... about girls. "Women Of Your Life" is the intimately facile sophomore album from indie-slackers Sleeping Bag. The Bloomington, Indiana based trio is spearheaded by Dave Segedy, who is the group's drummer, songwriter and primary vocalist (that's right: a drummer who writes and sings all the songs!). Specializing in simple and honest songwriting, Malkmus-deadpan vocal delivery, and unusually addictive melodies, Sleeping Bag craft songs that are at once familiar and fresh. The band's debut s/t album was released on Joyful Noise in August 2011, receiving praise from Under The Radar, Impose Magazine, Village Voice, RCRD LBL, and My Old Kentucky Blog.

                          With their second album, the trio have matured in the ways one might expect: songs are a bit longer, lyrics a bit more personal, and arrangements more developed. But all of Sleeping Bag's signature elements are well represented throughout: the heartfelt ("In The Pocket", "Still Life"), the playful ("Allison Cole", "Saturday Night") and the unbelievably catchy ("Soccer Ball", "Walk Home"). Segedy's effortless melodies, accompanied by the distinctively jangling guitar work of Lewis Rogers and the tastefully minimal bass of David Woodruff, combine to form a sound that summons the energy and earnestness of 90s rock, while sidestepping throwback territory. Familiar influences are organically reconstructed into relevant,
                          captivating pop. These are instantly accessible songs which gain surprising depth with each obsessively repeated listen.

                          TRACK LISTING

                          1. Women Of Your Life
                          2. Soda You
                          3. Soccer Ball
                          4. Allison Cole
                          5. In The Pocket
                          6. Nightmare
                          7. Saturday Night
                          8. Coco
                          9. Still Life
                          10. Walk Home..

                          Deriving their name from information reading proteins on the cell surface of the brain, this northern California duo creates strikingly original prog-influenced / semi-improv soundscapes from their secluded Mt Shasta studio. Musically the sound can be reminiscent of everything from Can to Sonic Youth, to early Floyd and Coil. The instrumentation is diverse, yet focused; some-what minimalist yet always interesting. Receptor Sight has developed as a vehicle to push musical boundaries while dually serving as a sort-of consciousness exploration. If you allow it, this album will take you places far beyond the normalcy of reality. With "Cycles And Connections", the groups sophomore effort, Receptor Sight has come into their own sound; and admirably, not a single computer or synthesizer was used in the recording of this album. Expanding upon their influences of psychedelic rock, Receptor Sight has created a sound which has yet to be truly categorized. Synchronicity is the theme here, a coincidence of sounds that, once they are played, seem to be meaningfully related. The energy which permeates the universe will flow from your speakers.


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