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LOOSE

Courtney Marie Andrews

Old Flowers

    On her 3rd album for both Fat Possum and Loose Records, Courtney Marie Andrews has seemingly pulled in to one package all the songwriting skill, vocal prowess, and musicianship displayed on previous albums, into one career defining statement. A break-up record for sure, though due to CMA's extraordinary storytelling gifts, more of a modern day coming-of-age tale of love won, love sustained, and unfortunately, love's inevitable dissolution.

    Damien Jurado

    What's New, Tomboy?

      What’s New, Tomboy? is an album that seeks respite in bare minimums and barren revelations: sometimes frail, sometimes affirming, sometimes wry, and usually a threadbare mix of all those sentiments. It could be considered Damien Jurado’s finest collection of music to date, with songs exuding the inviting warmth of a lone porch light gleaming amidst the disorienting darkness. Though more stripped and grounded in their execution, songs like “Sandra”, “Ochoa” and “Alice Hyatt” are generous and candid in their vocabulary, eschewing the sometimes abstruse imagery of Jurado’s previous releases. “There is no hiding on these tracks.” Though What’s New, Tomboy? is the first Damien Jurado record that ends with a question mark, he has never sounded more assured and content in giving up his ghosts: “I’m only living sentences // That were long before I got here.”

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      LP includes MP3 Download Code.

      The Handsome Family

      Odessa

        Vetiver

        Up On High

          Andy Cabic’s musical being is, like many curious 21st century musicians, shaped and sustained by divergent tangents. If he’s not crafting a melancholy folk rock diamond in his Northern California studio, he’s moving a dance floor with bossa nova and house DJ sets, or helping curate a compilation of Japanese City Pop.

          What’s magic about this new Vetiver LP Up On High is the way these tangents colour the ten songs without undermining a distinct move to more elemental, spacious and natural arrangements. At the heart of each of these ten songs is Cabic’s voice: sweet, tender and weathered - a welcome and soothing old friend if ever there was one. There are other familiar friends: the album also features longtime engineer and collaborator Thom Monahan and the same resourceful and versatile band that helped Cabic make the more dense and layered Complete Strangers from 2015.

          Up On High was written on acoustic guitar. Having moved twice since Complete Strangers, increasingly accustomed to a life in and out of boxes, it was the easiest instrument to reach for in moments of inspiration. The basic tracking of the album took place over a few Spring days at a friend’s house in the high desert of California. This simple set-up captured the organic immediacy of a roomful of friends playing together on the floor. It’s alive and ever so subtly crackling with the intensity of a band working together, teasing out the melody and rhythms of songs with warmth and intimacy. Cabic and Monahan took the fruits of this session to Los Angeles and finished the album at Monahan’s studio over the summer as other friends popped by to lend their talents.

          This album reflects the world that Cabic created and lives in: Jorge Ben phrasings peek out from behind Tom Petty's Wildflowers outtakes, a gentle jangle lifts whispers of REM’s Murmur on a breeze up from Compass Point Studios. But Up On High is most clearly Cabic and his band inhabiting the realm the band was born in—sleek, economical, soulful, and sometimes sadness-tinged melodies riding on the gentle choogle and sway of an ensemble moving in beautiful unison. This is an album that breathes with you in real, lived in, natural time.

          Damien Jurado has always worked fast, but In the Shape of a Storm came together with unprecedented speed. Recorded over the course of two hours one California afternoon, it’s Jurado’s sparsest album to date. Gone are the thundering drums and psychedelic arrangements that defined the trilogy of concept albums he made with his longtime collaborator and close friend Richard Swift. Gone even is the atmospheric air that hovered above his early albums for Sub Pop. Here, there’s only Jurado’s voice, acoustic guitar, and occasional accompaniment from Josh Gordon, playing a high-strung guitar tuned Nashville style, rendering its sound spooky and celestial. Though fans have long requested a solo acoustic album, the prospect never made sense to Jurado, until one day it simply did. “It just felt like it was time,” Jurado says. The idea of an unadorned album became its own medium in his mind, like a painter who sets down his brushes and instead opts for charcoal pencils instead.

          “There is nothing left to hide,” Jurado sings on “Lincoln,” which opens the record. It’s something of a thesis statement for these songs. Everything here is clear and laid bare, two-tone, like the drawing Jurado crafted for the record’s cover. Originally written for 2000’s The Ghost of David, “Lincoln” was shelved and forgotten about until Damien came across it on an old cassette tape. The discovery inspired him to go about gathering up songs that had never found proper homes. As a result, In the Shape of a Storm is like an archive of previously abandoned songs. Damien Jurado’s discography is filled with songs written as miniature movies, cinematic vignettes that capture people, the places they are from, and where they are going. In the Shape of a Storm is his first black and white picture. It’s both a snapshot of two hours in a California recording studio and a document spanning 19 years and a life of music. It is the sound of a singer pouring out possible futures and visions. “I believe songs have their own time and place,” Jurado says. For these ten, that time has finally come.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Andy says: Voice, guitar and glorious song-craft. Damien distilled.

          The final recordings made by Robert Fisher and his band before his untimely death on February 12th 2017. The album was completed before his death but the tapes have only recently been dusted down and brought to life with the care and attention of his longtime compadre David Michael Curry.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Barry says: Fisher's tender voice shines brightly on this posthumous final work from Willard Grant Conspiracy. The slowly crescentic beauty of 'Chasing Rabbits' or the simple plucking of 'Love You Apart' are just a couple stunners on this brilliant final testament to the talents of this superb musician.

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          LP includes MP3 Download Code.

          “Ghost Republic” is the first album from Willard Grant Conspiracy since “Paper Covers Stone” (2009) and the first album of entirely new music since “Pilgrim Road” (2008). The album was written and recorded in Massachusetts by David Michael Curry and Robert Fisher of Willard Grant Conspiracy.

          Managing at turns to sound skeletal, fully fleshed and all stages in-between, this is elemental music that does not fear simplicity. The songs are so intimate that it often seems like being inside the heads of the musicians while the songs were being written, illuminated by the beauty of the interplay of viola and guitars.

          The Felice Brothers

          Fire At The Pageant

          Described by The Guardian as a “clattering, accordion-fuelled drama” with “a snatch of oldschool hip-hop scratching”, ‘Fire At The Pageant’ is the opening track from the band’s highly praised fourth album ‘Celebration, Florida’.


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