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Kishi Bashi

Lighght

    Violinist, singer, and composer Kishi Bashi releases his new album. The album entitled “Lighght” (pronounced “Light”) continues and expands the sound of his critically acclaimed debut, “151a” - which earned Kishi Bashi the *title* of “Best New Artist” by NPR. Since the profoundly successful release of “151a” two years ago, Kishi Bashi has toured relentlessly, captivating audiences across the globe with his loop-based live show, and fostering a groundswell of devotees. “151a” was crafted over a four-year period while Kishi Bashi was touring and recording with Regina Spektor, Sondre Lerche, and of Montreal (where he was a full-time member and co-producer). In late 2012, after the success of “151a”, Kishi Bashi decided to focus solely on his own music and began composing the new material which has become “Lighght”. “Lighght” takes its title from the one-word poem by minimalist poet Aram Saroyan.

    As Kishi Bashi explains, “The poem’s blatant assault on literary convention and classical form was attractive to me.” It is apparent that such an approach informed the new album, which has both broadened and redefined his classical foundations. “Though I have studied classical composition, I prefer to take an unconventional path when it comes to creating and thinking about music,” says Kishi Bashi. Though violin remains his primary instrument and songwriting muse, Kishi Bashi has expanded his palette to include more diverse and nuanced instrumentation. Bright and soaring avant-pop songs are prevalent, as are Eastern-tinged arrangements, gentle ballads, Philip Glass inspired improvisations, and more than a few moments that flirt with 70s prog (in the tradition of ELO or Yes). If this sounds jarringly kaleidoscopic, that’s because it is. But it works. Listen and see.

    J Fernandez

    Occasional Din

      Occasional Din is a sunny shoebox diorama for the eternal pessimist. Over the past decade, songs by Chicago artist J Fernandez have appeared like unexpected gifts, each time invoking a holiday we didn't realize existed. Like all good holidays, his songs are imbued with a mythical energy, full of curious moods, charmed settings and the timelessness of a familiar moment. J Fernandez started as the eponymous home recording project of Arkansas born Justin Fernandez, who came to Chicago in 2008 to work for map company Rand McNally.

      After three EPs, his 2015 debut LP, Many Levels of Laughter, attracted high praise from the music press – including 8/10s from UNCUT and NME, plus end of year nods from Under The Radar and Brooklyn Vegan, who called it “one of 2015’s most underrated albums”. That year also saw him share the stage with the likes of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Alvvays, Mitski, and Ezra Furman. Fernandez is a hunter of what is lost and a seeker for that which is forgotten, spending his free time photographing missing gloves which have been split from their other half, or scouring the Craigslist collectibles section for treasures otherwise consigned to oblivion. He celebrates the mundane, allowing it to permeate his music and its surrounding ephemera - the album’s minimal artwork is even designed to look like packaging, more like a candy bar or box of cigarettes than an album cover.

      Fernandez starts skeletons of songs with an organ and a Casio drum machine. Through endless revisions and tweaks, he builds and rebuilds each into complex arrangements. With Occasional Din, he mines the sound of the past; drawing influences from vintage Italian pop and soundtrack composers like Bruno Nicolai, Alessandro Alessandroni, and Mina, as well as their American contemporaries like The Free Design and Margo Guryan. 

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Amber coloured vinyl.

      10th Anniversary Reissue, back in print for the first time in years. "I'll go unknown by torpedo or Crohn's / Only those evil live to see their own likeness in stone." It's the kind of couplet you'd carve into a wall whilst savoring the irony at hand, but when Yoni Wolf spit the line ten years ago he was blissfully, broodily unaware that he and his band WHY? were creating a career-defining album—one so fan-adored that it would go out of print, and so influential that the art-pop heroine Lorde herself would lovingly steal the very lyric quoted above. When it dropped in 2008, "Alopecia" not only marked WHY?'s evolution from a sonically collaged mostly solo project to a live-recorded powerhouse band of badass multi-instrumentalists.

      It also minted a genre of one: wryly written, poignantly posed, simultaneously swaggering and heart-rending song-rap that jangles like folk, bursts like psych-rock, and sways like chamber pop. To this day, there is no other group in the known universe that sounds or feels like WHY? does on Alopecia. The album's 2018 reissue cheekily etches that aural likeness into our musical history. If the genre-agnosticism of WHY? is no longer novel, it’s still stunningly unique. Yoni Wolf has carved out a curious niche for himself. In the two decades he's spent releasing off-kilter hip-hop under the WHY? moniker--first as a solo act, and more recently as the frontman of a six-piece band--he's evolved in some sort of isolation, refining his sound while indie rock and hip-hop forked off around him. He's adored for it, too.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Cloud coloured vinyl + 7" inc. Boards Of Canada / DNTEL remixes.

      Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

      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. 


        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Coloured LP Info: Vinyl Includes Download, Limited to 500 Hand-Numbered Olive & Oxblood Swirl Color Vinyl Edition.

        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

        Barry 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.

        Goblin Cock is a band from beyond time, beyond space, beyond your naive concept of dimension in METAL. Since before your pathetic "god" had supposedly "created" you and your kind, Lord Phallus was hunkered in a cybertimeship/fun dungeon skating the layers of what was considered "true metal" in all societies and in all generations. Eventually His Majesty realized that he really didnt care and launched a full-scale war against bland metal with and emphasis on ACTUALLY HAVING A GOOD TIME! "Bagged and Boarded" was the first assualt on your laughable 5 senses (Lord Phallus and his kind have 32), followed by the sonically intense "Come With Me if You Want to Live". 

        Being in a band can be like being in a marriage, for better or for worse. Dumb Numbers is more like an open relationship. There is no definitive lineup. I have an amazingly talented bunch of friends from all across the world who contribute to recordings, but there is no commitment beyond that. This makes live performances a rare occurrence. Basically if My Bloody Valentine want us to open we'll be there! But otherwise Dumb Numbers is mostly a recording project. With that being said, The new album from DUMB NUMBERS features ADAM HARDING with LOU BARLOW (Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr), DALE CROVER (Melvins), DAVID YOW (the Jesus Lizard/Scratch Acid), MURPH (Dinosaur Jr), KEVIN RUTMANIS (Cows/Melvins) ALEXANDER HACKE (Einstürzende Neubauten), BOBB BRUNO (Best Coast), BONNIE MERCER (Grey Daturas) and STEVE PATRICK (Useless Children). 

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Coloured LP Info: Limited edition purple vinyl.

        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. 

        LA/Joshua Tree based Sugar Candy Mountain deliver carefully built psychedelic odes in the style of Jacco Gardner and Tame Impala. Their newest album 666 feels like something unearthed from a box of records found in your dad's garage, glowing wistfully with vintage inspired tones, rambling organs, fuzzed out guitars, shimmering keys and sprawling drums. Ash Reiter's woolly voice croons with the icy warmth of Francoise Hardy, while Will Halsey's tender Lennon-esque vocals uncoil with easy languor. Recorded with Jason Quever of Papercuts, the bands sophomore album sits comfortably between 60's Laurel Canyon bliss and more modern production of Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips/Tame Impala).

        666 is the band's first record after deciding to retire Ash Reiter's eponymous solo project to focus solely on Sugar Candy Mountain. With this shift Ash became more heavily invested in writing for the project. On 666 the band moves away from the grandiose production of their previous album, Mystic Hits, on which some songs featured over two hundred instrument tracks. The majority of basic tracking was done on Jason Quever's 16 track Ampex tape machine through a Neve console, and completed at the bands home studio. Under Quever's guiding hand, production on 666 is significantly simplified, favoring featuring strong melodies over the wildly playful orchestrations of Mystic Hits. Quever is also significantly featured on the record as a player, with his influence distinctly coloring the album. 

        Half Japanese is one of the most influential bands in rock history. Founded by brothers Jad & David Fair in 1975, the band is credited with pioneering the DIY and lo-fi movements and influencing everyone from Sonic Youth and Neutral Milk Hotel to Daniel Johnston and Kurt Cobain (who asked the band to open some of the dates on Nirvana’s In Utero tour.) Known for dismissing conventional music basics like melody, song structure and chords (and for Jad’s famous line “the only chord I know is the one that connects the guitar to the amp”), Half Japanese operated under the premise that rock music should be accessible to anyone who wanted to play.

        Perfect is a collection of songs that feature otherworldly sounds, chaotic rhythms, and weird time signatures, topped off with Jad’s brash vocals and oddball lyrics. Its tracks run the gamut from sweet love songs with overtly sincere lyrics to manic, almost abrasive tracks that seem to end before you can fully wrap your head around them. With Perfect, Half Japanese manages to combine elements of every genre imaginable into one strange, unpredictable, and undeniably-catchy package. 

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Deluxe LP Info: Limited coloured vinyl for UK indie stores only.

        Pfarmers is the new project from Danny Seim (Menomena, Lackthereof), Bryan Devendorf (The National), and Dave Nelson (David Byrne & St. Vincent, Sufjan Stevens). Danny and Bryan have been friends since The National and Menomena toured together in the early 2000s. Their paths crossed several times since then, most recently backstage at a festival, where Bryan showed Danny some severly damaged, synth-affected drumbeats he had recorded with his friend Dave, sho was currently playing horns in David Byrne’s band. Shortly after, Pfarmers was born.

        According to Seim, "The record is about a dream I had where I'm reluctantly accepting a fear of drowning by focusing on being reincarnated as a giant Gunnera plant, which thrive on the banks of rivers (specifically the Jordan River i.e. the Biblical promised land) after I paint myself gold and sink to the bottom like the El Dorado of South American folklore." Despite the notariety of it's members, Pfarmers sounds unlike anything they've produced before.

        The first track “Benthos” is a sprawling ambient piece comprised of looping, layered horns. The album then launches into a set of pop songs, reminiscent of Lackthereof (Danny’s solo project), as played by Kraftwerk. Devendorf's trademark drum style anchors everything, but now it's been filtered so heavily as to almost sound mechanical. Seim contributes his layered vocals and the deep, almost funky bass grooves, while Nelson provides complex spatial arrrangements. The result sounds like Lackthereof (Danny's solo project) as played by the Tom Tom Club through a THX soundsystem. It's a diverse record, switching swiftly from catchy pop hooks to ambient instrumental movements. For those willing to dive in, this album is incredibly rewarding. 

        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

        Darryl 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.

        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.

        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.

        Dumb Numbers is a brand-spankin' new band featuring a pretty unbelievable cast... With his debut album, Australian songwriter Adam Harding has teamed up with Lou Barlow (Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr., Folk Implosion), Dale Crover (Melvins), Murph (Dinosaur Jr.), Bobb Bruno (Best Coast), CR Matheny (Emperor X) and others to create an impressive breadth of material.

        Dumb Numbers walks a line between the aggressive and the emotional. In just 36 minutes the album manages to move from feedback-drenched pop ("Last Night I Had A Dream") to Melvins-leaning rock ("Lost Inside"), to monastery doom metal ("Without"), to sentimental piano pieces ("The Broken Promises"), to balls-out guitar shredding ("Redrum"). Such a wide range of sounds contained on one album would usually result in an artistic train-wreck, but expert musicianship and an undefinable cohesion tie these songs together.

        The result is an unpredictable and masterful debut album. The band’s debut self-titled LP walks a line between the aggressive and the emotional. Not heavy enough for metal, and not tame enough for indie rock, the music of Dumb Numbers is at once feedback-drenched and catchy, touching on everything from doom-metal to Kim Deal covers.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Ryan says: Full of heavy, feedback-filled pop & at the same time leaning towards doom. Great stuff!

        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.

        Like the shrinking car whose disappearance is mapped out on track 5, the sophomore album from New York City's Hi Red Center moves from poignant, nostalgic musical terrains toward a kind of pure, beaming, quantum velocity. Vibraphones, barbershop quartet harmonies, sung rounds, and a cleanliness and clarity of instrumentation are neatly nestled together with noisy guitars, highly controlled melodic breakdowns, asyncopation, false starts and sudden endings. Yes, they are sometimes a difficult band. Their musical influences range from Lionel Richie to Captain Beefheart. But they sincerely want to make music that you will love.

        Originally forming in 2003, this NYC area band released their debut Architectural Failures on Pangaea Recordings (now Natural Selection Records) back in 2006. The band's second album "Assemble" moves in more clear, concise direction while somehow containing instrumentation that, here and there, seems to slide off its track, breaking into weirdly juxtaposed parallel trajectories. But for all of their esoteric and almost academic experimentation a cheerful soulfulness comes through on this album that distinguishes HRC from many of their musical contemporaries.
        Throughout the album, the intellectual rigor of its composition is energized and animated by a manic gleefulness: the unpolluted self-enjoyment produced in the process of generating such nimble patterns in sound. Particularly on tracks like "Toothless Beau" and "Symmetry Chameleon" there is a kind of giddy, child-like ecstasy that comes through in both the instrumentation and the vocals. And while much of this album can be appreciated by those who have suffered through upper-level music composition classes, schooling is not a requirement to enjoy this music. With "Assemble" Hi Red Center have created an endearingly odd album - challenging and strange, but also honest and unpretentious.


        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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