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Fucked Up

One Day

    With One Day, Fucked Up have delivered one of the most energizing and intricate albums of their career, a massive-sounding record that arrives in deceptively small confines. The Canadian hardcore legends have been known for their epic scale in the past, so it might be a surprise that Fucked Up’s sixth studio album is their shortest to date, written and recorded in the confines of one literal day (hence the title). Don’t mistake size for substance, though: The band’s sound has only gotten bigger, more hard-charging, with even denser thickets of melody.

    “I wanted to see what I could record in literally one day.” That singular idea came to mind for guitarist Mike Haliechuk in the closing months of 2019. Haliechuk got himself into a studio and proceeded to write and record the record’s ten tracks over three eight-hour sessions, reconnecting with the core the band’s songwriting essence in the process.

    Initially, Fucked Up vocalist Damian Abraham was also set to complete his vocals in similar fashion—that is, before the lockdowns of 2020 took place. As it turns out, the isolation yielded creative dividends, as Abraham returned to contributing lyrics as well for the first time since 2014’s Glass Boys. “It almost felt like it might be the last time I’d ever get to record vocals for anything,” Abraham says of the stakes he felt while putting his part to tape, before reflecting on how he approached the lyrical process: “What do I want to say to friends who aren’t here anymore? What do I want to say to myself?”

    Over swarms of tuneful noise that evoke Sonic Youth circa Daydream Nation, Abraham lets loose on gentrification in “Lords of Kensington,” which was inspired by an “incredible” Toronto neighborhood that was regularly subject to life-ruining police surveillance and structural violence. “The police chief during that era he just opened a cannabis store,” Abraham explains. “It’s so cynical and gross, what society has come to but by being in a band, we’re culpable in changing the neighborhood, too, since the punk spaces and cool happenings that pop up are part of gentrification. Are you building a culture? Or are you ruining something that’s already been there?”

    Then there’s the dusky burn of “Cicada,” a sonic cousin to Dose Your Dreams’ excellent standout “The One I Want Will Come for Me” that features Haliechuk taking lead-vocal duty. The song is dedicated to lost friends, and in his words, it’s about “what life is like after you lose people, and our responsibility to carry them forward into the future, using the things they taught us as a light. I like to imagine the sound of cicadas as a metaphor for our strange life in the subculture we all just live these weird little hidden lives under the dirt, and then once in a generation, one of us gets to bust out of the dirt and intone their song so loud that it can be heard allover.”

    One Day is an undeniable work of confidence from a band that continues to operate at the top of their game, making music that’s guaranteed to last a lifetime and beyond.

    TRACK LISTING

    SIDE A
    1. Found
    2. I Think I Might Be Weird
    3. Huge New Her
    4. Lords Of Kensington
    5. Broken Little Boys
    SIDE B
    6. Nothing’s Immortal
    7. Falling Right Under
    8. One Day
    9. Cicada
    10. Roar

    H.C. McEntire

    Every Acre

      If naming is a form of claiming, of being claimed, how is one tethered to both the physical landscape that surrounds us, as well as our own internal emotional landscape at times calm, at times turbulent, and ever changing? H.C. McEntire’s new album Every Acre grapples with those themes that encompass grief, loss, and links to land and loved ones. And naming claiming land, claiming self, being claimed by ancestry and heritage permeates the hauntingly beautiful landscape that is this poignant collection of songs.

      The songs straddle the line between music and poetry. In “New View,” McEntire cites poets “Day, Ada, and Laux, Berry, and Olds” fixtures in the world of writing, whose works are beacons of light over bleak horizons. The beginning of the song is backed by soft guitar plucks that fall on the downbeat and spangle like stars, and, throughout, guitar, bass, and drums swell together gently, mimicking ebbing and flowing tides under the moon. McEntire’s voice (at once tender and fierce) intones the truth of both giving and taking, releasing and claiming: “Bend me, break me, split me right in two. Mend me, make me I’ll take more of you.”

      Permeated by heartbeat-like drums, “Shadows” develops quiet ruminations on surrender and loss reminiscing, moving on. This ponderous, dreamlike song asks the question of how “to make room.” How does one make room, for self and for renewal and surrender, when it is so difficult to leave what you know behind? Playing with slivers of descending chromatics, along with the occasional downward-stepping bass, here McEntire yearns for home, and for nesting.

      Perhaps one of the more grief-stricken songs, “Rows of Clover” is a lamentation, one that touches on the loss of a “steadfast hound.” The lone piano in the beginning of the song is rhythmically hymn-like. The stark verse arrangement gradually leads to a chorus that reads like a moody exhale, swollen with lush guitar strums and a Bill Withers–esque understated soul groove. But what stands out the most is an image of being “down on your knees, clawing at the garden” the only explicit mention of a person in the song. “It ain’t the easy kind of healing,” sings McEntire, seemingly from further and further away as her voice echoes; and healing ta;kes time, time takes time truths that linger painfully.

      “Dovetail” is a song that tells of various women. The song moves back and forth between solo piano and the addition of bass and drums under vocals. McEntire’s gentle, trembling vibrato harmonized in thirds in a celebratory manner calls to mind a rejoicing psalm and shines through these images, leaving the listener cuttingly fraught with emotions such as wonder, sadness, nostalgia that can only arise with these juxtapositions.

      Gracious (and graceful) with its lilting melodies and lush harmonies, Every Acre explores the acres of our physical and emotional homes. These songs are reaching for the kind of home that we all seek: one where we can rest and lay down (or tuck away) our burdens of loss. And maybe, moving through every acre of a world that often tries to tear our sense of identity and heritage down, McEntire sheds light on what it is to be human in this life both stingy and gracious, both hurtful and kind.

      TRACK LISTING

      SIDE A
      1. New View
      2. Shadows (feat. S.G. Goodman)
      3. Turpentine (feat. Amy Ray)
      4. Dovetail
      SIDE B
      5. Rows Of Clover
      6. Big Love
      7. Soft Crook
      8. Wild For The King
      9. Gospel Of A Certain Kind

      Archers Of Loaf

      Reason In Decline

        As sculpted shards of guitar tumbling, tolling, squalling shower the jittery bounce of a piano on opener “Human,” it’s obvious that Reason in Decline, Archers of Loaf’s first album in 24 years, will be more than a nostalgic, low-impact reboot. When they emerged from North Carolina’s ’90s indie-punk incubator, the Archers’ hurtling, sly, gloriously dissonant roar was a mythologized touchstone of slacker-era refusal. But this, the distilled shudder of “Human” (as in “It’s hard to be human / When only death can set you free”), is an entirely different noise. In fact, it’s a startling revelation.

        In short, this is not your father’s Archers of Loaf, even if you’re a father now who was a fan then. (If that’s the case, congrats on surviving the Plague and getting to hear this fearlessly poignant record, you alt-geezer!) Otherwise, thank your youthful fucking lucky stars, kids! Enjoy Reason in Decline with fresh ears and do as the Archers have been doing: Stay humble, stay informed, express yourself creatively, and try not to lose your goddamned mind while the polar ice caps melt. Peace.

        TRACK LISTING

        01 Human
        02 Saturation And Light
        03 Screaming Undercover
        04 Mama Was A War Profiteer
        05 Aimee
        06 In The Surface Noise
        07 Breaking Even
        08 Misinformation Age
        09 The Moment You End
        10 War Is Wide Open

        Dawn Richard And Spencer Zahn

        Pigments

          Merge Records releases Pigments, the debut collaboration between New Orleans electro-revival dynamo Dawn Richard and multi-instrumentalist, producer, and composer Spencer Zahn.

          Pigments is a project about the power of self-expression through living art, through motion. It’s also a love letter to New Orleans, Louisiana. Not strictly classical, jazz or ambient electronica but rather a body of “movements,” Pigments is an expressive soundscape that is an immersive passage through the city as seen through the eyes of a young Black girl with dreams to paint her future with the pigments given to her.

          Richard explains: “Spencer wanted to create one long piece of music that would ebb and flow around my lyrics and emotions, which tell a story of growing to love my own skin. I wanted my voice to be moss surrounding the roots of Spencer’s compositions, never forcing the moment to fill every space but rather reveling in the openness of thought and breath.”

          Zahn agrees, saying, “I wanted to work with all these different textures, tones, and colors to have a new sound to frame Dawn’s voice and lyrics. To hear a lone clarinet as the breath fades and a cello continues its melody to cue Dawn’s vocal entrance is unlike any other record she has made. These are things that excite me as a composer but more as a listener. I hope that other listeners feel the same.” Coming on the heels of Dawn Richard’s critically acclaimed Merge debut Second Line, Pigments will introduce listeners to a different facet of Richard’s outrageous talent and bring Zahn’s thoughtful creativity to a new audience



          TRACK LISTING

          SIDE A
          1. Coral
          2. Sandstone
          3. Indigo
          4. Vantablack
          SIDE B
          5. Sienna
          6. Cerulean
          7. Opal
          8. Saffron
          9. Crimson
          10. Cobalt

          Titus Andronicus

          The Will To Live

            The Will to Live was produced by Titus Andronicus singer-songwriter Patrick Stickles and Canadian icon Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, Leonard Cohen, The Whole Nine Yards) at the latter’s Hotel 2 Tango recording studio in Montreal. Drawing on maximalist rock epics from Who’s Next to Hysteria, Bilerman and Stickles have crafted the richest, densest, and hardest hitting sound for Titus Andronicus yet. All at once, the record matches the sprawl and scope of the band’s most celebrated work, while also honing their ambitious attack to greater effect than ever before.

            “It may strike some as ironic we had to go to Canada to record our equivalent to Born in the USA,” quips Stickles, “but the pursuit of Ultimate Rock knows no borders.”For his recent stretch of personal stability, he credits a newfound domestic bliss and steadfast mental health regimen (“Lamictal is a hell of a drug”) as well as the endurance of what has become the longest-running consistent lineup of Titus Andronicus—Liam Betson on guitar, R.J. Gordon on bass, and Chris Wilson on drums. On the crueler side of the coin, however, The Will to Live was created in large part as an attempt to process the untimely 2021 death of Matt “Money” Miller, the founding keyboardist of the band and Stickles’ closest cousin. Stickles explains: “The passing of my dearest friend forced me to recognize not only the precious and fragile nature of life, but also the interconnectivity of all life. Loved ones we have lost are really not lost at all, as they, and we still living, are all component pieces of a far larger continuous organism, which both precedes and succeeds our illusory individual selves, united through time by (you guessed it) the will to live.”

            “Naturally, though, our long-suffering narrator can only arrive at this conclusion through a painful and arduous odyssey through Hell itself,” he qualifies. “This is a Titus Andronicus record, after all.”

            When Titus Andronicus made their long-awaited return to the stage in 2021, it was to celebrate the anniversary of their landmark breakthrough The Monitor, and the act of playing that material before an ecstatic audience left the band determined to deliver an album that would reach for those same lofty heights, relying this time less on the reckless fire of youth and more on the experience and perspective at which a band only arrives with a thousand shows under their belt. Through this golden ratio, Titus Andronicus have arrived at the peak of their creative powers. From its adrenalizing opening instrumental “My Mother Is Going to Kill Me” to its wistful

            closing benediction “69 Stones,” The Will to Live conjures a vast landscape and sends the listener on a rocket ride from peak to vertiginous peak. Rock fans will find themselves a feast, whether they crave barn-burning rock anthems such as “(I’m) Screwed” and “All Through the Night,” rapid-fire lyrical gymnastics (“Baby Crazy”), symphonic punk throwdowns (“Dead Meat”), or an adventurous excursion into the darkness that delivers thrills as it breezes boldly past the seven-minute mark, “An Anomaly.”

            As if that wasn’t enough gas for the tank, The Will to Live features sterling contributions from members of the Hold Steady, Arcade Fire, and the E Street Band, as well as duets with the aforementioned Betson, former Titus Andronicus drummer Eric Harm, and Josée Caron of the Canadian rock band Partner. The album comes packaged with gorgeous triple-gatefold artwork by illustrious illustrator Nicole Rifkin, a Hieronymus Bosch–inspired triptych which mirrors the three-part structure of the narrator’s perilous voyage across the corresponding three sides of vinyl. All together, this esteemed ensemble, with Stickles and Bilerman determined and defiant at the helm, have found The Will to Live—now, the question is… will you?

            TRACK LISTING

            SIDE A
            1. My Mother Is Going To Kill Me
            2. (I’m) Screwed
            3. I Can Not Be Satisfied
            4. Bridge And Tunnel
            SIDE B
            5. Grey Goo
            6. Dead Meat
            7. An Anomaly
            SIDE C
            8. Give Me Grief
            9. Baby Crazy
            10. All Through The Night
            11. We’re Coming Back
            12. 69 Stones
            SIDE D
            Etching

            Tall Dwarfs

            Unravelled: 1981 - 2002

              Unravelled: 1981–2002 shines a loving light on lo-fi pioneers Tall Dwarfs, the prized New Zealand duo of Chris Knox and Alec Bathgate. The collection, available as a 4-LP or 2-CD box set, compiles songs from Tall Dwarfs' two decades of recordings. The vinyl edition includes a 20-page collector's booklet of photos, comics, posters, and other ephemera. The songs on Unravelled: 1981–2002 were curated by Alec Bathgate, who also designed the box set packaging; Chris Knox suffered a debilitating stroke in 2009 just as they had started work on a new album. The collection captures the different sides of the Tall Dwarfs in 55 songs. Though the band was an excuse for two good friends who lived in different cities to get together, drink beer, watch shitty old movies, and do some recording and drawing, Tall Dwarfs created music unlike anyone else.

              Capturing the initial excitement of creation and taking pride in what they did, Knox and Bathgate showed a whole generation of musicians what could be done at home on a 4-track and what magic could be made if you mixed pop melodies and hooks galore with homemade sounds. After a failed flirtation with success in their previous band Toy Love, Knox and Bathgate formed Tall Dwarfs in 1981, opting to record themselves on a 4-track reel-to-reel. New Zealand’s AudioCulture wrote of the duo’s project: “Early live performances were a ramshackle work in progress. Knox described them in an interview with American magazine Forced Exposure as ‘two minutes of song followed by five minutes of fucking around,’ and they dismayed many Toy Love fans—but the pair had no interest in a career spent in pubs cranking out ‘Pull Down the Shades.’”

              Tall Dwarfs was meant to be a one-off, but after the founding of their New Zealand label Flying Nun, they continued to record music for the next 21 years, releasing seven EPs and six albums. Their process was spontaneous, with songs being recorded as they were written. Typically, Bathgate would work up something on guitar while Knox provided vocals, lyrics, and tape loops. Then they added any sounds that seemed necessary to finish a song, using whatever was lying around: pans, chairs, baby rattles. Though Tall Dwarfs could be weird, they were never too experimental; Knox and Bathgate both loved melody too much

              TRACK LISTING

              CD 1:

              1 Nothing’s Going To Happen
              2 Luck Or Loveliness
              3 All My Hollowness To You
              4 Maybe
              5 Pictures On The Floor
              6 Clover
              7 Paul’s Place
              8 The Brain That Wouldn’t Die
              9 Walking Home
              10 Beauty
              11 Turning Brown And Torn In Two
              12 Crush
              13 Shade For Today
              14 Pretty Poison
              15 Carpetgrabber
              16 Sleet
              17 Burning Blue
              18 Woman (Live)
              19 Road And Hedgehog
              20 Attack Of The Munchies
              21 The Slide
              22 Waltz Of The Good Husband
              23 Cant
              24 Dog
              25 The Winner
              26 Bodies
              27 Sign The Dotted Line
              28 Rorschach
              29 Pirouette

              CD 2

              1 Wings
              2 Lowlands
              3 Oatmeal
              4 Think Small
              5 Life Is Strange
              6 We Bleed Love
              7 More 54
              8 Entropy
              9 Bee To Honey
              10 Self-Deluded Dreamboy (In A Mess)
              11 The Green, Green Grass Of Someone Else’s Home
              12 The Severed Head Of Julio
              13 Two Minds
              14 Jesus The Beast
              15 Albumen
              16 Cruising With Cochran
              17 Fatty Fowl In Gravy Stew
              18 The Ugly Mire Of Deep Held Feelings
              19 Gluey, Gluey
              20 Round These Walls
              21 Room To Breathe
              22 Time To Wait
              23 Baby It’s Over
              24 We Are The Chosen Few
              25 The Fatal Flaw Of The New
              26 Over The Hill

              The Mountain Goats

              Bleed Out

                Heady with hooks and unforgettable melodies, gliding on deeply danceable grooves, always with Air Waves’ innate compassion, concision and uncanny pop sense shining throughout. A masterpiece that’s beautifully simple, instantly accessible and entirely addictive. Featuring Cass Mccombs, Skyler Skjelset (Fleet Foxes, Beach House), Luke Temple, Brian Betancourt (Hospitality, Sam Evian), Rina Mushonga, Frankie Cosmos, Lispector, David Christian, Ethan Sass, and Ben F

                Maybe you are just like John Darnielle: In the depths of the pandemic end of 2020, the Mountain Goats frontman passed the time trapped at home watching pulpy action movies, finding comfort in familiar tropes and sofabound escapism. But you are not really like John Darnielle, unless the action movies you found comfort in included French thrillers like 2008’s Mesrine, vintage Italian poliziotteschi, or the 1974 Donald Pleasence mad-scientist vehicle The Freakmaker. Or unless watching them brought you back to your formative days as an artist, when watching films fueled and soundtracked your songwriting jags and bare-bones home recordings and in turn inspired your 20th album to be a song cycle about the allure and futility of vengeance. But there’s no shame in not being like John Darnielle; few people are.

                “On earlier tapes you’ll find these sound samples,” Darnielle says. “‘Oh, where’s this sample from?’ It’s from whatever movie I was watching while I was sitting around on the couch with a guitar. I watch a movie, somebody’d say something that I like the sound of and I’ll write that phrase down. And then I would pause the VHS, write the song, record the song on a boombox, and go back to watching my movie. I got into doing that again; I just kept watching action movies and taking notes on what they’re about and on what the governing plots and tropes and styles are. It was very much like an immersion method acting technique.”

                The resulting performance is Bleed Out, a cinematic experience unto itself. One song about preparing to exact bloody revenge begat another song about the act of exacting bloody revenge and then more songs about and the causes and the aftermath of being driven to exact bloody revenge, each delivered with the urgency and desperation deserving of their narrators and circumstances. “We often make a record and then bring in some guests who flesh out the textures,” Darnielle says. “And for this one, it was very much like a pack mentality. That sort of seemed to proceed from the songs.” One new face was that of Bully’s Alicia Bognanno, recommended to Darnielle by his manager as a producer who could help nurture the rougher edged sound these songs requested. “We met up and hit it off. She’s a great guitarist. It was kind of just a lark, to see what would happen, and it was totally great.”

                Running narrative themes are not new to Mountain Goats projects, especially in recent years, be it the pro wrestlers of 2015’s Beat the Champ or the goths of 2017’s Goths. Darnielle was drawn to the antiheroes of the hard-boiled action flicks he was bingeing, particularly the ways in which their quests for justice were almost all inevitably doomed.

                Bleed Out could be all one movie, from the opening training montage to the demise in the elegiac closing title track. Songs like “Make You Suffer,” “First Blood,” “Hostages,” and “Need More Bandages” do what they say on the tin, telling typically vivid, deliberately recognizable vignettes of desperate characters in no-win situations who plan on taking as many people down with them as they have to. But Darnielle sees these as unconnected stories that feel universal in their desire for justice, if not in their wanton bloodshed. Anthems don’t get more straightforward or anthem-y than “Wage Wars Get Rich Die Handsome,” tapping into an anger that’s easy to reach in 2022, even if the solutions aren’t.

                Few people think as much, or as well, about violence and its portrayal as John Darnielle. His recent bestselling novel Devil House (his third) is all about the relationship between tragedy and entertainment, though he is careful to downplay any parallels to Bleed Out beyond a natural attraction to terrible things as a coping mechanism. “That’s what catharsis is,” he says. “When you are able to experience something that is frightening to you but you don’t have to be harmed by it that experience is really valuable. I think we’re reflecting on the nature of what we consume and of what it says about us.”

                TRACK LISTING

                SIDE A
                1. Training Montage
                2. Mark On You
                3. Wage Wars Get Rich Die Handsome
                4. Extraction Point
                SIDE B
                5. Bones Don’t Rust
                6. First Blood
                7. Make You Suffer
                8. Guys On Every Corner
                SIDE C
                9. Hostages
                10. Need More Bandages
                SIDE D
                11. Incandescent Ruins
                12. Bleed Out

                Seaweed

                Actions And Indications - 2022 Reissue

                  Seaweed formed out of the fertile northwest punk scene of the mid-to-late '80s in Tacoma and Olympia Washington. Singer Aaron Stauffer, fresh off a stint in the little-known Spook & the Zombies, founded the band with best friend Clint Werner, who assumed guitar duties. After the recruitment of guitarist Wade Neal, bassist John Atkins, and drummer Bob Bulgrien, Seaweed began playing clubs throughout the Pacific Northwest. From 1989 to 1999, Seaweed recorded five punk-pop LPs and played over a thousand shows.

                  According to All Music Guide, "they played D.I.Y. with the Sub Pop label for their first three records, went ambitiously astray by signing with Hollywood Records, then did the cool right thing by returning to indie Merge." This August, Merge Records offers the vinyl reissue of 1999's Actions and Indications, remastered and pressed to high quality vinyl, with three unreleased bonus tracks (digital only) added. Originally recorded at Tacoma's Uptone Electric studio in the summer of 1998, Actions and Indications is a tour de force of power chord dynamism.

                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. Antilyrical
                  2. Thru The Window
                  3. Hard Times
                  4. Steadfast Shrine
                  5. Red Tape Parade
                  6. What Are We Taking?
                  7. Warsaw
                  8. Against The Sky
                  9. In The Middle
                  10. Let Go
                  11. Stay Down
                  12. Everybody’s OK

                  BONUS (included On Download Coupon) Choices Lost, Ghosts.

                  Friendship

                  Love The Stranger

                    Friendship’s Merge debut, Love the Stranger, moves like a country record skipping in just the right spot, leaving its fellow travelers longing for a place they’ve only visited in their dreams. Guitarist Peter Gill, drummer Michael Cormier-O’Leary, bassist Jon Samuels, and hawkeyed balladeer Dan Wriggins map out the group’s particular, breathtaking landscape and invite the listener to share in its glory.

                    Love the Stranger’s invitation is all the more wondrous because its characters have clearly been hurt before. “I need solitude and I also need you,” Wriggins reckons in “Ugly Little Victory.”

                    Wide awake, vulnerable, and gimmickless, Friendship won’t hesitate to confide in us, or even ask for help when the moment calls, like on the lyrical centerpiece of “Alive Twice”: Under your eyeball spell, I was losing myself/ Not in the good way you used to talk about / I remember a day, Cedar Park Cafe/ I was in a bad place and you set me straight/ With your on-the-nose advice.

                    Between instrumental pit stops at “Kum & Go” and “Quickchek,” local references in Love the Stranger create a catalog of human perception, presented as roadside attractions. From grape jelly residue (“Ramekin”) to the site of a demolished cathedral (“St. Bonaventure”) to King of the Hill quotations (“Smooth Pursuit”), the record’s images craft a symbolic language of high and low Americana, both evocative and consistently accessible. Spending time with Love the Stranger creates a community one in which the window between the listener and the music[1]maker shatters in full, until all that remains are the fragments you decide to pick up together.

                    Like its sprawling lyrical references, Love the Stranger’s production is both familiar and capacious enough for pedal steel, synth strings, airy folk guitar field recordings, and MIDI pad exploration to work in vital harmony. Influenced by Friendship’s punk and indie peers as much as road-star forebears like Lucinda Williams and Lambchop, Wriggins says of the recording sessions: “We all got to stretch out, chase our personal musical fixations, and build on each others’ work.

                    Bradford Krieger, our engineer at Big Nice Studio, has a mind-blowing creative energy and hundreds (thousands?) of instruments.” He recalls further: “I wanted the album to sound like Emmylou Harris and the Hot Band in the ’70s. Pete wanted it to sound like a semi full of spent fuel rods, barreling towards a runaway truck ramp. Jon kept reminding us that the studio is an instrument, and Michael wanted it to sound like the breakdown two-and-a-half minutes into Shuggie Otis’ ‘Strawberry Letter 23.’”

                    Some breakdowns, however, are irreparable. Wriggins, a manual laborer and poet, calls “Hank” “a song about when you go to fix something that’s broken and realize the tools you’re supposed to fix it with are also broken.” Form follows function on the mesmerizing outro of the single, which buzzes with the sound of a shoddy Craigslist guitar from Woonsocket, RI (incidentally, the home of the Museum of Work & Culture) getting chainsawed in two. Friendship is probably already your favorite band’s favorite band, a long-revered IYKYK of DIY with a devoted cult following from Wawa to In-N-Out. With Love the Stranger, the Friendship universe only continues to expand and grow more open-hearted, more inviting, with every passing note. It’s a record that locates the listener exactly where the listener is, and wherever that may be, makes a friend out of them, too. All said and done, the age-old maxim of “Mr. Chill” holds true: “You be real with me and I’ll be real with you”

                    TRACK LISTING

                    SIDE A
                    1 St. Bonaventure
                    2 What’s The Move
                    3 Blue Canoe
                    4 Hank
                    5 Chomp Chomp
                    6 Love’s
                    7 No Way
                    8 Alive Twice
                    SIDE B
                    9 Quickchek
                    10 Ramekin
                    11 Mr. Chill
                    12 UDF
                    13 Ryde
                    14 Season
                    15 Kum & Go
                    16 Ugly Little Victory
                    17 Smooth Pursuit

                    Hollie Cook

                    Happy Hour

                      With Happy Hour, her ravishing new LP, Hollie Cook matures into the queen of modern day “lovers rock”—the lush girly harmony reggae style beloved in Britain since the 1970s. Evolution rings from the bittersweet opening title track; tender yet assertive, Hollie’s voice caresses evocative lyrics through the arrangement’s tumbling changes.

                      Hollie dares to invite listeners into her true personality through these alluring songs, which she co-produced with her General Roots band members Ben Mckone and Luke Allwood, and executive producer Youth.

                      “Particularly with the songwriting, I was trying to really push myself and be open, to not be restricted in any way. I have always been a fan of theatrical pop music and wanted to experiment more with the song form.” Indeed, the dizzying arrangement of “Gold Girl” shows Hollie as boldly orchestrated, cinematic. “Now I don’t shy away from it when I want to be dramatic,” she declares.

                      The record itself is a product of great drama: the pandemic. After eight years of touring together, General Roots—keyboards man Luke Allwood, drummer Ben Mckone, guitarist Joe Price, and bassist James Mckone—have truly become Hollie’s band. They all spent quarantine together, honing songs they had started writing pre-COVID. “I used to definitely lean on my producers (Prince Fatty and Youth), but my vision was always to write and produce with my band,” she explains. “We are a circle of trust.”

                      Full of emotion, leaning into healing and understanding, Hollie’s lyrics on Happy Hour speak directly to our pain and confusion and steer us towards resolution on tracks like “Moving On,” “Unkind Love,” and “Love in the Dark.” The album’s closer, “Praying,” is inspired by a trauma in her close friendship circle. “I was feeling raw and had to figure out how to find strength and express myself in a time of crisis, where to turn if you are not of a particular faith,” she says. Though spiritual, Hollie is no saint, inviting us to rave on “Move My Way,” which she describes as “a party song inspired by the Notting Hill Carnival.” Hollie is also a wise woman—literally the “Full Moon Baby” she summons so seductively. And like any good witch, Hollie understands the power of medicinal herbs on “Kush Kween,” her collaboration with Jamaican singer Jah9. These are love incantations that would be wrong to resist. “It’s about finding a space where you can reach for moments of light, love, and self-care,” she explains.

                      Touring as a teenager with punk legends The Slits encouraged the fierceness within her sweetness. Hollie’s mentor was Ari Up, the band’s lead singer and a lifelong friend of Cook’s parents (Sex Pistols drummer Paul and her singer mother Jeni). “My father always said I would be a singer. But I discovered lovers rock on my own. I heard it on pirate radio and at friends’, and I was bewildered, enchanted,” she recalls. “The Slits are the reason I have pursued this career. I was surrounded by powerful women at a young age, and when my time came, I was never fazed by male dominance. They were my wall of courage.”

                      From those feisty roots, Hollie has only grown. Her soulful directness on Happy Hour is relatable and authentic. “I can’t get away from it,” she says. “Making this music that I love, I do turn deep inside myself. It makes me explore a lot of human truths and feelings that we should not shy away from, and it feels like a release to turn them into songs.” — Vivien Goldman.

                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      Barry says: Hollie Cook's new LP has all the swooning beauty of her previous outing, Vessel Of Love but this time leans even more heavily into traditional pop structures, leaving the sound both wilfully pristine and undeniably catchy. The perfect summer album.

                      TRACK LISTING

                      SIDE A
                      1. Happy Hour
                      2. Moving On
                      3. Full Moon Baby
                      4. Kush Kween (featuring Jah9)
                      5. Unkind Love
                      SIDE B
                      6. Gold Girl
                      7. Love In The Dark
                      8. Move My Way
                      9. Praying

                      Redd Kross

                      Neurotica - 2022 Reissue

                        . Neurotica could be viewed as a This Is Your Life-esque document of what brothers Jeff & Steve McDonald had been working toward creatively since starting Redd Kross in their Hawthorne, CA living room circa 1978. The songs quake with punk rock fury. And how could they possibly have shaken off the untamed energy of their early Red Cross years which laid a foundation for Southern California hardcore punk & DIY culture alongside bands like Black Flag, Circle Jerks and Descendants? But fury is only part of their formula. To find the other parts, travel back to the ‘70s, when the McDonald boys lived for nothing but Saturday morning cartoons, sugary cereal, bubblegum pop singles, Beach Boys LPs, Partridge Family TV specials and the arena rock guitars of KISS & Cheap Trick.

                        Whereas most self-respecting punk rockers would have sneered at ‘60s/‘70s radio and pop culture schmaltz (even if they secretly liked it), that was all a tremendous part of the Redd Kross DNA. And the McDonalds wore those influences on their dayglo sleeves. They decontextualized the macho, sometimes saccharine, sound of classic rock, celebrating its bombast without falling into its pretentious pitfalls. They played what sounded good to them. If along the way they could convince you that those David Cassidy AM radio singles were actually great & subversive in their own way, that was just an added bonus. Their technicolor punk rock was first explored on Teen Babes From Monsanto in 1984. But Neurotica is where the Redd Kross sound gelled into something miraculous.

                        TRACK LISTING

                        SIDE A

                        1. Neurotica
                        2. Play My Song
                        3. Frosted Flake
                        4. Janus, Jeanie, And George Harrison
                        5. Love Is You
                        6. Pink Piece Of Peace
                        7. It’s The Little Things.

                        SIDE B

                        8. Peach Kelli Pop
                        9. McKenzie
                        10. Tatum O’Tot And The Fried Vegetables
                        11. Ballad Of A Love Doll
                        12. What They Say
                        13. Ghandi Is Dead (I’m The Cartoon Man)
                        14. Beautiful Bye-Byes. Bonus Demos:

                        SIDE C

                        1. Neurotica (demo)
                        2. Play My Song (demo)
                        3. Pink Piece Of Peace (demo)
                        4. All Of The Things (demo)
                        5. Janus, Jeanie, And George Harrison (demo)
                        6. McKenzie (demo)

                        SIDE D

                        7. What They Say (demo)
                        8. Peach Kelli Pop (demo)
                        9. Tatum O’Tot And The Fried Vegetables (demo)
                        10. Love Is You (demo)
                        11. Ghandi Is Dead (I’m The Cartoon Man) (demo)
                        12. Beautiful Bye-Byes (demo)

                        Wye Oak

                        If Children

                          The duo of Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack present an exuberant and assured debut seamlessly combining elements of noise, folk, and shoegaze to create a style all their own. Originally self-released in 2007 under the moniker Monarch, Wye Oak’s debut If Children was given a proper introduction to the world the following spring on Merge Records. Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack take their minimalist setup to maximalist ends, pairing gentle campfire folk with bombastic hazy shoegaze, sometimes within the same song. 

                          TRACK LISTING

                          1. Please Concrete
                          2. Warning
                          3. Regret
                          4. Archaic Smile
                          5. Family Glue
                          6. Orchard Fair
                          7. I Don’t Feel Young
                          8. Keeping Company
                          9. A Lawn To Mow
                          10. If Children Were Wishes
                          11. Obituary

                          Reigning Sound

                          Memphis In June (RSD22 EDITION)

                            THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2022 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

                            Reigning Sound's Memphis in June is a document of Greg Cartwright and the original Memphis lineup of his garage/soul group in the pocket and on their home turf. Live from the Harbor Town Amphitheater, right on the river, they forcefully knock out a dozen songs across the bandís catalog with their friends, many of whom appeared on 2021's A Little More Time with Reigning Sound. The live album is pressed on neon orange vinyl, exclusively for Record Store Day 2022.

                            Superchunk

                            Incidental Music 1991 - 1995 (RSD22 EDITION)

                              THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2022 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

                              Superchunk's Incidental Music: 1991-1995 is the bandís second compilation of singles, B-sides, and EPs, originally released in 1995 shortly after their landmark album Foolish. It collects fan favorites from soundtracks such as "Shallow End" and B-sides like "On the Mouth", as well as covers of The Magnetic Fields, The Verlaines, The Chills, and even Motorhead. All Music's Fred Thomas says it all: Incidental Music is an essential piece of the Superchunk discography and a snapshot of the band as it transitioned from the scrubby radiance of its early days into the more nuanced songwriting machine it became throughout the mid-90s.

                              Exclusively for Record Store Day 2022, the double LP makes its first reappearance on vinyl since its original release, with LP1 on opaque green and LP2 on opaque orange housed in a gatefold jacket.

                              Wye Oak

                              If Children (RSD22 EDITION)

                                THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2022 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

                                Originally self-released in 2007 under the moniker Monarch, Wye Oak's debut If Children was given a proper introduction to the world the following spring on Merge Records. Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack take their minimalist setup to maximalist ends, pairing gentle campfire folk with bombastic hazy shoegaze, sometimes within the same song. Their assured mission statement makes its vinyl debut, on red and white splatter, no less, exclusively for RSD 2022.

                                Even in trying times, “there is no love without electricity.” Electricity is the fourth and most progressive album from Ibibio Sound Machine, and like all good Afrofuturist stories, it begins with an existential crisis. “It’s darker than anything we’ve done previously,” says Eno Williams, the group’s singer. “That’s because it grew out of the turbulence of the past year. It inhabits an edgier world.”

                                Electricity was produced by the Grammy Award and Mercury Prize nominated British synthpop group Hot Chip, a collaboration born out of mutual admiration watching each other on festival stages, as well as a shared love of Francis Bebey and Giorgio Moroder. The fruits of their labor reveal a gleaming, supercharged, Afrofuturist blinder. Electricity is the first album Ibibio Sound Machine have made with external producers since the group’s formation in London in 2013 by Williams and saxophonist Max Grunhard. True, 2017’s Uyai featured mixdown guests including Dan Leavers, aka Danalogue, the keyboard jedi in future-jazz trio The Comet Is Coming, but Hot Chip and Ibibio Sound Machine worked together more deeply throughout the process, collaborating fully. Along the way, the team conjured a kaleidoscope of delights that include resonances of Jonzun Crew, Grace Jones, William Onyeabor, Tom Tom Club, Kae Tempest, Keith LeBlanc, The J.B.’s, Jon Hassell’s “Fourth World,” and Bootsy Collins.

                                The hook of opener “Protection From Evil” has Williams wielding a massive synth line from Hot Chip’s Al Doyle like a spiritual shield against unspecified, malign forces unspecified because Williams is speaking in tongues. Her lyrics are onomatopoeic: their meaning is defined in her energetic delivery. As Electricity takes off, so do Williams’ words towards a brighter future, alternating between English and Ibibio, sometimes within verses, and propelled by Joseph Amoako’s unabating afrobeat. She digs into this sentiment further on single “All That You Want,” coolly assuring her romantic interest while also requesting reciprocity. Meanwhile, Scott Baylis’ playful Juno synth guides the listener’s feet along the dancefloor.

                                Electricity is a deep and seamless realization of Williams’ and Grunhard’s ambitious founding manifesto to combine the singularly rhythmic character of the Ibibio language which Williams spoke growing up in Nigeria with a range of traditional West African music and more modern electronic sounds. While the band enjoys veering further into electronic territory with the help of mutuals like Hot Chip, Grunhard emphasizes, “For us, it’s not just a matter of embracing new technology. What’s key is to keep the music grounded in African roots.” Ibibio Sound Machine best exemplify this on Electricity’s “Freedom.” That track was inspired by the water-drumming rhythms of Cameroon’s Baka women, which in turn fueled its lyrics, which in turn prompted Hot Chip and Ibibio Sound Machine to layer joyfully kinetic electronic counterparts on top in the studio. As the track culminates with the mantra of “rage, hope, cope, soul,” it’s clear that Ibibio Sound Machine have channelled, harnessed, and distilled these words as guiding principles, both for the album and for the turbulent world that awaits it.

                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                Barry says: I remember buying ISM's self titled album from this very shop around 2014 because it was recommended highly, and it couldn't have been more of a welcome punt. It turns out that they've only gone from strength to strength, and 'Electricity' absolutely shines with the raw groove and scattered influences of the earlier LP's, but with a much more honed sense of rhythm and melody. Absolutely, unsurprisingly brilliant.

                                TRACK LISTING

                                SIDE A
                                1. Protection From Evil
                                2 .Electricity
                                3 .Casio (Yak Nda Nda)
                                4. Afo Ken Doko Mien
                                SIDE B
                                5. All That You Want
                                6. Wanna See Your Face Again
                                7. 17 18 19
                                8. Truth No Lie
                                9. Oyoyo

                                CD & LP3 Download Bonus:
                                10. Something We’ll Remember
                                11. Almost Flying
                                12. Freedom

                                Superchunk

                                Endless Summer

                                  The first single from Wild Loneliness, “Endless Summer,” features the harmonies of Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley. Participating independent record shops will carry an exclusive translucent lime green edition. Both versions of the 7” contain a cover of The Glands’ “When I Laugh” as the B-side, originally released as part of Merge’s Going to Georgia benefit compilation.

                                  Superchunk

                                  Wild Loneliness

                                    Like every record Superchunk has made over the last thirty-some years, Wild Loneliness is unskippably excellent and infectious. It’s a blend of stripped-down and lush, electric and acoustic, highs and lows, and I love it all. On Wild Loneliness I hear echoes of Come Pick Me Up, Here’s to Shutting Up, and Majesty Shredding. After the (ahem, completely justifiable) anger of What a Time to Be Alive, this new record is less about what we’ve lost in these harrowing times and more about what we have to be thankful for. (I know something about gratitude.

                                    I’ve been a huge Superchunk fan since the 1990s, around the same time I first found my way to poetry, so the fact that I’m writing these words feels like a minor miracle.) On Wild Loneliness, it feels like the band is refocusing on possibility, and possibility is built into the songs themselves, in the sweet surprises tucked inside them. I say all the time that what makes a good poem the “secret ingredient” is surprise. Perhaps the same is true of songs. Like when the sax comes in on the title track, played by Wye Oak’s Andy Stack, adding a completely new texture to the song. Or when Owen Pallett’s strings come in on “This Night.” But my favorite surprise on Wild Loneliness is when the harmonies of Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley of Teenage Fanclub kick in on “Endless Summer.”

                                    It’s as perfect a pop song as you’ll ever hear sweet, bright, flat-out gorgeous and yet it grapples with the depressing reality of climate change: “Is this the year the leaves don’t lose their color / and hummingbirds, they don’t come back to hover / I don’t mean to be a giant bummer but / I’m not ready / for an endless summer, no / I’m not ready for an endless summer.” I love how the music acts as a kind of counterweight to the lyrics.

                                    Because of COVID, Mac, Laura, Jim, and Jon each recorded separately, but a silver lining is that this method made other long-distance contributions possible, from R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, Sharon Van Etten, Franklin Bruno, and Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura, among others. Some of the songs for the record were written before the pandemic hit, but others, like “Wild Loneliness,” were written from and about isolation.

                                    I’ve been thinking of songs as memory machines. Every time we play a record, we remember when we heard it before, and where we were, and who we were. Music crystallizes memories so well: listening to “Detroit Has a Skyline,” suddenly I’m shout[1]singing along with it at a show in Detroit twenty years ago; listening to Overflows,” I’m transported back to whisper-singing a slowed-down version of it to my young son, that year it was his most-requested lullaby.

                                    Wild Loneliness is becoming part of my life, part of my memories, too. And it will be part of yours. I can picture people in 20, 50, or 100 years listening to this record and marveling at what these artists created together beauty, possibility, surprise during this alarming (and alarmingly isolated) time. But why wait? Let’s marvel now. - Maggie Smith

                                    TRACK LISTING

                                    SIDE A
                                    City Of The Dead
                                    Endless Summer
                                    On The Floor
                                    Highly Suspect
                                    Set It Aside
                                    SIDE B
                                    This Night
                                    Wild Loneliness
                                    Refracting
                                    Connection
                                    If You’re Not Dark

                                    The Magnetic Fields

                                    The House Of Tomorrow

                                      The House of Tomorrow EP celebrates 30 years in 2022. The House of Tomorrow EP marks the first release introducing vocals by Stephin Merritt.

                                      Cast your mind back to notable landmarks of 1992. Outside the Twin Cities, Mall of America opened to the public. Frank Gehry’s enormous golden fish sculpture, El Peix, welcomed Barcelona Olympians. And The House of Tomorrow, a four-song 7” on a small indie label, ushered in a new era for The Magnetic Fields. When Susan Anway, who sang on early albums Distant Plastic Trees and The Wayward Bus, left the group, Stephin Merritt stepped up to the microphone. “This was my first time singing on record,” he recalls. He sought to sound simple, subtle, and unobtrusive, à la the Japanese concept of shibusa. “But now, listening back, I hear a little too much vocal influence from the Jesus and Mary Chain. (I really should move to Scotland. I belong there.)”

                                      Likewise, the arrangements and production of The House of Tomorrow felt less polished overall than on its predecessors, even as the band’s sound was evolving. “I wanted to have rock instrumentation, plus cello (so ELO without keyboards), but everyone was tracked separately so there was no question of sounding like we were playing together,” explains Stephin. Instead, he chose to highlight the artifice. Voilà! “The drums are like Tusk only more so, the cello sounds like a synth, and the guitars might as well be programmed.” The House of Tomorrow rose in stature upon re-release on compact disc in 1996, with a new addition, “Alien Being” (previously relegated to the flip of the “Long Vermont Roads” single), boosting its modest track list from four songs to five. The limits of technology had stymied plans the first time: “You can’t fit five two-and-a-half–minute songs on a 7” record, even at 33rpm.”

                                      From World’s Fairs and Disneyland to Tex Avery and Hanna-Barbera cartoons, visions of the home of the future have long been popular. Although this new vinyl edition of The House of Tomorrow includes an etching of Buckminster Fuller’s visionary D.I.Y. Dymaxion House, Stephin laments the sluggish pace of architectural innovation. What is his dream home? “I want to live in Barbarella’s spaceship, with my neighbors being the Jetsons, floating defiantly over Edinburgh Castle.”

                                      Never before released as a 12”, this 30th anniversary remastered edition of The House of Tomorrow is available on opaque spring green vinyl (as well as basic black). But don’t press Stephin to discuss the color’s charms, please. “I had a sickly pea green bathroom in my East Village tenement, and I never got over it,” he reveals. “It’s okay on plants, but everywhere else, the browner it is, the less I hate it. My favorite shade of green is brown.”

                                      TRACK LISTING

                                      Side A
                                      1 Young And Insane
                                      2 Technical (You’re So)
                                      3 Alien Being
                                      4 Love Goes Home To Paris In The Spring
                                      5 Either You Don’t Love Me Or I Don’t Love You
                                      Side B
                                      Etching……..

                                      Hiss Golden Messenger

                                      O Come All Ye Faithful

                                        Conceptualized and written during the chaotic fall months of 2020, Hiss Golden Messenger’s O Come All Ye Faithful recorded shortly after the widely hailed Quietly Blowing It is a meditation on grace, loss, hope, and community. Explains songwriter M.C. Taylor, “Big, brash holiday music the type that we hear in big box stores in the middle of December has never resonated with me, and this past year it felt absolutely dissonant. I wanted to make a seasonal record that felt more in step with the way that I, and so many others, experience this time of year: quiet, contemplative, searching, and bittersweet.”

                                        Contributors to O Come All Ye Faithful include many members of Hiss Golden Messenger’s extended family, as well as special guests like GRAMMY Award winner Aoife O’Donovan, Nathaniel Rateliff, Erin Rae, and Buddy Miller. The tracklist includes new tunes written by Taylor, classic hymns, and renditions of songs by Spiritualized, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Woody Guthrie, all arranged in the inimitable Hiss Golden Messenger style. Adorned with a beautifully spare design created by celebrated artist Cody Hudson. The deluxe vinyl version of O Come All Ye Faithful includes an additional collection of remixes by Revelators, Taylor’s spiritual jazz and dub-influenced project with Cameron Ralston.

                                        TRACK LISTING

                                        SIDE A

                                        1 Hung Fire
                                        2 O Come All Ye Faithful
                                        3 Grace
                                        4 By The Lights Of St. Stephen
                                        5 Shine A Light

                                        SIDE B

                                        6 Joy To The World
                                        7 Silent Night
                                        8 Hanukkah Dance
                                        9 As Long As I Can See The Light 

                                        Peak Vinyl Bonus LP :

                                        The Sounding Joy: Hiss Golden Messenger Meets Revelators On South Robinson Street: LP

                                        SIDE C

                                        1 Shine
                                        2 Light
                                        3 Sounding Joy Dub

                                        SIDE D

                                        4 Grace Version
                                        5 King Of Angels Dub
                                        6 Silent

                                        She & Him

                                        A Very She & Him Christmas - 10th Anniversary Edition

                                          This holiday season, Merge will celebrate ten years of A Very She & Him Christmas, the wonderful collection of tunes from two of music’s most beloved artists, Zooey Deschanel (She) & M. Ward (Him)! Recorded and originally released in 2011, Deschanel and Ward let the songs speak for themselves, oftentimes recording them with only acoustic guitar and vocals.

                                          The result is an intimate holiday recording that deserves a place in your collection next to seminal Christmas albums by the likes of The Carpenters, Vince Guaraldi, The Beach Boys, and Elvis Presley.

                                          To mark this joyous occasion, the limited-edition deluxe 10th anniversary reissue is pressed on tinsel silver vinyl and includes a brand-new 7”, also on silver vinyl, that features renditions of Madonna’s “Holiday” and Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” as well as a bonus download of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.” The 7” can also be purchased separately on evergreen vinyl.

                                          A portion of all proceeds from A Very She & Him Christmas are donated to 826 National, a non-profit for young people to ignite and channel their creativity, explore identity, advocate for themselves and their community, and achieve academic and professional success.

                                          TRACK LISTING

                                          SIDE A
                                          1. The Christmas Waltz
                                          2. Christmas Day
                                          3. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
                                          4. I’ll Be Home For Christmas
                                          5. Christmas Wish
                                          6. Sleigh Ride
                                          SIDE B
                                          7. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree
                                          8. Silver Bells
                                          9. Baby, It’s Cold Outside
                                          10. Blue Christmas
                                          11. Little Saint Nick
                                          12. The Christmas Song

                                          7” SIDE A
                                          1. Holiday
                                          7” SIDE B
                                          2. Last Christmas
                                          NOTE: 7” Includes The Digital-only Bonus Track “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.

                                          The Clean

                                          Tally Ho! / Platypus (Reissue)

                                            On November 12, Merge will reissue two crucial releases from The Clean's distinguished discography. The "Tally Ho!" b/w "Platypus" 7-inch and the Boodle Boodle Boodle 12-inch EP, the Dunedin trio's first official recordings as a band, both celebrate their 40th anniversary this year. These reissues have been remastered by Tex Houston with assistance from the Alexander Turnbull Library New Zealand, and The Clean's David Kilgour and Robert Scott oversaw the careful re-creation of the original packaging. Merge is thrilled to make these records globally available for the first time since their original release in 1981. Pitchfork described "Tally Ho!" as "a classic of immense proportions, from its Velcro melody, absurdly mixed garage organ and motorik beat, to the crusty, hiss-laden home eight-track recording that embodies it." Recorded in the middle of a New Zealand tour for a humble NZ$60, the song broke into the country's Top 20 singles chart at #19, surprising everyone including the band. Its B-side "Platypus" was recorded live at a show just days prior, capturing the band's buoyant and elastic sound on stage. The 7” reissue will be available on limited-edition silver Peak Vinyl and standard black vinyl, as well as limited clear vinyl exclusively in New Zealand.

                                            Superchunk

                                            Here's To Shutting Up (Reissue)

                                              To write the songs for Here’s to Shutting Up, we gathered in Jim’s garage (he lived way out in the woods) a couple times a week for what seemed like months. We started from actual scratch with no demos or concepts, just playing instrumental music with our usual gear plus a Casio. Sometimes one of us would play the keys instead of our normal instrument, or Jon would hop on guitar and we’d use the Casio drum machine for the beat. We ended up with a LOT of ideas and plenty of good names for them—“Frank’s Bath,” “There’s Something About Marvin,” and “Bestial Warning” to name a few. We recorded practice onto MiniDisc or cassette, and I would ride around listening to these demos and thinking of words. The subject matter, in retrospect, has a lot to do with touring and travel (“Out on the Wing,” “What Do You Look Forward To?”), coming home (“Rainy Streets,” “Act Surprised”), the 2000 election (“Florida’s on Fire”), and late-stage capitalism (“Late-Century Dream,” “The Animal Has Left Its Shell”).

                                              September 2001: Here’s to Shutting Up was meant to be released on September 18, 2001. On September 11, obviously the world changed. Our release date moved a couple weeks, but our tour dates remained and we flew to Japan in October. It was a WILD time to be traveling the world. Receptions ranged from “thank you for giving us something else to think about” to “why are you here?” We flew home from Japan and left for the UK the day the US started bombing Afghanistan. This was the climate, and the climate was not great for playing rock music. People were thinking about other things. Our friend Annie Hayden (of the band Spent) joined us on keyboards and guitar for the US leg which was an exciting expansion of our lineup and a fun way to play old songs in a new way. We had some great shows along the way and got to tour with excellent openers like Rilo Kiley, The Good Life, and Aereogramme. But the fear in the air and the length of the tour was exhausting. 

                                              TRACK LISTING

                                              SIDE A
                                              1 Late Century Dream
                                              2 Rainy Streets
                                              3 Phone Sex
                                              4 Florida’s On Fire
                                              5 Out On The Wing

                                              SIDE B
                                              6 The Animal Has Left Its Shell
                                              7 Act Surprised
                                              8 Art Class (Song For Yayoi Kusama)
                                              9 What Do You Look Forward To?
                                              10 Drool Collection

                                              LP Bonus CD | CD2:
                                              1 Late-Century Dream (acoustic Demo)
                                              2 Rainy Streets (acoustic Demo)
                                              3 The Hot Break (acoustic Demo)
                                              4 Florida’s On Fire (acoustic Demo)
                                              5 Act Surprised (acoustic Demo)
                                              6 A Collection Of Accounts (acoustic Demo)
                                              7 Art Class (Song For Yayoi Kusama) (acoustic Demo)
                                              8 Flying Aka Out On The Wing (acoustic Demo)
                                              9 Becoming A Speck (acoustic Demo)
                                              10 Frank’s Bath Aka Phone Sex (acoustic Demo)
                                              11 The Animal Has Left Its Shell (acoustic Demo)
                                              12 Corp Song Aka What Do You Look Forward To? (acoustic Demo)
                                              13 Drool Collection (acoustic Demo)

                                              Mac McCaughan

                                              The Sound Of Yourself

                                                Throughout his career fronting Superchunk and Portastatic, Mac McCaughan has channeled more than his share of angst into a microphone, resulting in undeniable rock anthems. So how can a voice so familiar to others still seem foreign to its owner? On The Sound of Yourself, McCaughan’s second release under his own name, he explores that question fully, shooting his voice through a prism and refracting it across these songs in new and rewarding ways. In January 2021, McCaughan found himself at his home studio in Chapel Hill North Carolina staring down a clean slate after wrapping a film score and several other music projects. His thought process was simple: “Each day is blurring into the next, so what are we doing today?

                                                How can I disrupt this? I think what resulted was a theme of subdued… ‘joy’ is the wrong word, but it’s at least comforting if not propulsive to have something open-ended to work on every day without any kind of structure or deadline or rules.” McCaughan leaned into allowing randomness and accidents to catalyze his compositions. Where a guitar riff might typically start a Superchunk song, an indistinguishable loop found on an old sampler dictates the mood on “Found Cricket,” and simply opening up his studio to the woods outside channels Another Green World on “36 and Rain.”

                                                Instrumentals make up nearly half of The Sound of Yourself, and are integral to the album’s atmosphere. While the pop-oriented tracks hint at sounds explored on Non-Believers, McCaughan’s recent scoring work and frequent excursions with synthesizers and sequencers (see: the Moogfest commissioned POMS and his ambient project with Mary Lattimore) add a particularly crystalline spaciness akin to The Durutti Column and Bowie’s Berlin trilogy. A sloping new wave bassline grounds the catchy “Circling Around” as McCaughan rejects rumination with cleverly cyclical lyrics and a few strategically placed “whoa”s. The warbled synthetic voices emanating from the Mellotron on “Sleep Donor” are already singing isolation blues well before McCaughan frets, “I hear a footstep in the hall when there should be no one there at all…”

                                                These could be the same ghostly sounds “softer than the light, under the door” he describes in “I Hear a Radio,” a track on which Michael Benjamin Lerner (Telekinesis) and Annie Hayden (Spent) provide shimmering vocal harmonies. For a record titled The Sound of Yourself, the irony in having many contributions from friends is not lost on McCaughan: “I’m constantly inspired by the work of my peers. I feel lucky to be able to collaborate with them despite the distances between us. Sending off a song into the ether and having it returned greatly improved and in often surprising and moving ways was one of the most satisfying aspects of making this record.” 

                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                1. Moss Light
                                                2. The Sound Of Yourself
                                                3. I Hear A Radio
                                                4. 36 And Rain
                                                5. Burn A Fax
                                                6. Gen Ash
                                                7. Circling Around
                                                8. R Dream
                                                9. Sleep Donor
                                                10. Dawn Bends
                                                11. Found Cricket

                                                Torres

                                                Thirstier

                                                  Torres’ fifth album Thirstier pumps the miraculous into the mundane. It is in open revolt against the gray drag of time, a searing and life-affirming eruption of an album that wonders what could happen if we found a way to make our fantasies inexhaustible. What if we got whatever we wanted and still wanted it, endlessly, with no threat of boredom and no danger of depletion? What could we become if we let ourselves grow incandescent with eternally renewing desire?

                                                  Since releasing her self-titled debut album in 2013, Torres the stage name of Brooklyn-based rock musician Mackenzie Scott has used her pointed lyricism and disarming vocal presence to seek openings in the everyday, prying apart the walls of the real in search of escape. After a pandemic year that toggled relentlessly between numbing dread and active terror, Thirstier explodes the borders of imaginative possibility. It is Scott’s most exuberant and daring record to date, showcasing her in thrilling freefall.

                                                  Recorded in the fall of 2020 at Middle Farm Studios in Devon, UK, Thirstier marks a turn towards a bigger, more bombastic sound for Torres. The anxious hush that fell over much of Scott’s previous music gets turned inside-out in songs tailored for post-plague celebration. Scott co-produced the album with Rob Ellis and Peter Miles, drawing on her experience self-producing the acclaimed 2020 LP Silver Tongue to push her music onto an even broader scale. Guitar-driven walls of sound, reminiscent of producer Butch Vig’s work with Garbage and Nirvana, surge and dissipate like surf in high winds, carrying Scott’s commanding voice to the fore.

                                                  “I wanted to channel my intensity into something that felt positive and constructive, as opposed to being intense in a destructive or eviscerating way,” Scott notes. “I love the idea that intensity can actually be something life-saving or something joyous.”

                                                  From the sparkling country romp of “Don’t Go Puttin Wishes in My Head” to the sour grunge bite of “Keep the Devil Out” and the unabashed, overflowing devotion of the album’s title track, Thirstier clasps together love songs from all angles. Romantic love, platonic love, familial love, self-love, and freeing spiritual love all commingle, all feeding one another and vaulting toward the horizon. Scott sings of love that never knows scarcity.

                                                  “The more of you I drink / The thirstier I get,” she pronounces on the title track’s chorus a thesis statement for the album as a whole, and its resolute striving toward abundance. “Keep me in your fantasies / Even though you live with me,” she sings at the song’s climax, enclosing transportive, alchemizing desire inside the pedestrian without dulling any of its glow.

                                                  “We’re always fantasizing about something that’s out of reach. That’s what a fantasy is. It’s something you can’t have. But I wanted to turn that idea around and ask, ‘What if your fantasy was the thing that you have, this endless loop of fantasy?’” Scott says. “It’s a way to be in this fantastical, magical realm forever. I want to make that space for myself. I want to create a reality where my day-to-day is actually my fantasy. That’s what I want more than anything.”

                                                  With Thirstier, Torres clears the way to that wellspring and invites others to follow her there. “I’ve been conjuring this deep, deep joy that I honestly didn’t feel for most of my life,” she says. “I feel like a rock within myself. And I’ve started to feel that I have what it takes to help other people conjure their joy, too.”

                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                  SIDE A
                                                  Are You Sleepwalking?
                                                  Don’t Go Puttin Wishes In My Head
                                                  Constant Tomorrowland
                                                  Drive Me
                                                  Big Leap

                                                  SIDE B
                                                  Hug From A Dinosaur
                                                  Thirstier
                                                  Kiss The Corners
                                                  Hand In The Air
                                                  Keep The Devil Out

                                                  The Mountain Goats

                                                  Dark In Here

                                                    When the Mountain Goats got together in March 2020, it was to make not one album, but two. The idea was to again work with Matt Ross-Spang, the dashing Memphis wunderkind. Matt pitched we spend a week at Sam Phillips Recording, his home base in Memphis, followed by another at the storied FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, a plan that dovetailed nicely with John’s notion of corralling these songs into two complementary batches: one light, one dark. The Memphis album Getting Into Knives, would be brighter, bolder, marked by rich and vibrant hues; the Muscle Shoals album Dark in Here, is quieter, smokier, but more deeply textured and intense. We were all aware of the mythos surrounding FAME. The second you step inside you transport to its early ’60s heyday and its louche mid-’70s denouement. The room we set up in is the room where Percy Sledge sang “When a Man Loves a Woman” and where Aretha Franklin recorded “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You).” The Wurlitzer with which Spooner Oldham opens the last? It’s sitting right there. Spooner is living musical history, having played with everyone from Bob Dylan and Neil Young to Linda Ronstadt and Liberace, for crying out loud. And Spooner is all over Dark in Here any time you hear

                                                    a bit of Hammond organ or electric piano chiming in without repeating a phrase. We tracked the album’s one outright banger, “The Destruction of the Kola Superdeep Borehole Tower,” live with Spooner, and “Mobile” and “Dark in Here” with guitarist Will McFarlane another local veteran who played with Bonnie Raitt for years. We only had Spooner for two afternoons, though, and Will for just one. After it was just the four of us: John playing acoustic guitar and occasional piano, the rhythm section of drummer Jon Wurster and myself, and our jack-of-all-trades Matt Douglas picking up everything else. The result is something more stripped down and intimate than the lush arrangements of Getting Into Knives.

                                                    Of “The Slow Parts on Death Metal Albums,” John concedes that the song is autobiographical. While the lines, “In a new universe / trying to find the mask that fits me” would take on a newly literal connotation in the weeks to come, the song is about going to late ‘80s metal shows at Fender’s Ballroom in Long Beach, and about seeking a sense of identity and community in strange and occasionally forbidding places. This theme feeling at once conspicuous and invisible, the frustrated craving for acceptance is echoed elsewhere. Then there are elegies to lost causes, some big and institutional (“The Destruction of the Kola Superdeep Borehole Tower”), some small and personal (“Arguing With the Ghost of Peter Laughner About His Coney Island Baby Review,” a tribute to David Berman, whose return from self-imposed musical exile had been cause for huge celebration in our camp). “Before I Got There” neglects to identify its victims, or the tragedy that’s befallen them.

                                                    John writes in the liner notes that “if you’re looking for a governing theme here, it’s calamity, as all the songs are either anticipating one or reflecting one that’s already happened.” Peter Hughes, Rochester, March 2021.

                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                    SIDE A
                                                    1 Parisian Enclave
                                                    2 The Destruction Of The Kola
                                                    3 Superdeep Borehole Tower
                                                    4 Mobile
                                                    5 Dark In Here
                                                    6 Lizard Suit

                                                    SIDE B
                                                    7 When A Powerful Animal Comes
                                                    8 To The Headless Horseman
                                                    9 The New Hydra Collection
                                                    10 The Slow Parts On Death Metal Albums

                                                    SIDE C
                                                    10. Before I Got There
                                                    11. Arguing With The Ghost Of Peter Laughner About His Coney Island Baby Review
                                                    12. Let Me Bathe In Demonic Light

                                                    SIDE D
                                                    [Vinyl Etching]

                                                    Reigning Sound

                                                    A Little More Time With Reigning Sound

                                                      A Little More Time, Reigning Sound’s seventh proper full-length, is the original lineup’s first in-studio collaboration since 2005’s Home for Orphans LP, which Merge reissued last year. Ultimately, that 2020 reissue laid the groundwork for the outfit’s reunification. Cartwright explains, “When Merge reissued Home for Orphans, we booked a little string of shows with the original lineup. We still love to get together and play every couple years.” The short reunion tour wrapped just as pandemic hit the United States.

                                                      Soon after, Cartwright found himself with a batch of new songs. With Reigning Sound’s current lineup based in New York City, then a COVID-19 hotspot, Cartwright made the decision to produce the new record back in Memphis—though he did regret not being able to work with the players behind 2014’s Daptone-recorded Shattered. “It was not something I anticipated, making a record with the original lineup again,” Cartwright says. “Mainly, because I had guys I was playing with, and we had an established dynamic that was working. In addition to working with old bandmates, Cartwright enlisted acclaimed producer Scott Bomar (Al Green, William Bell) at Electraphonic Recording, to produce in downtown Memphis. “Scott was in a band called Impala for many years,” Cartwright recalls. “And he also played bass with me and Jack [Yarber] on the Compulsive Gamblers’ Bluff City album.

                                                      He has the machine I like to record on, a Scully one-inch 8-track. I’ve worked on one-inch 8-tracks for the last four records, and I’m kind of addicted.” While having 24 tracks offers up more capability for overdubs, Cartwright prefers the limitations of 8-tracks. “It’s super helpful when you get to the mixing process and your head isn’t still going, ‘What should I add?’ It helps streamline the process, and it helps so I can focus on what’s there instead of what’s not. Then I can just work on the sound.”

                                                      For the new LP, Cartwright employed a string section, an additional percussionist, and a pedal steel player on some of the tracks. Beyond that, Coco Hames (The Ettes, Parting Gifts) sings co-lead vocals on “Just Say When.” “Let’s Do It Again,” the album’s boisterous opener, captures the mundaneness and yearning that isolation creates, but with Reigning Sound’s signature foot-stomping rock ’n’ roll. It’s also delivered with optimism and a desire to reconnect with people. Elsewhere, on tracks like “I’ll Be Your Man,” the LP decelerates and shifts into moody ballad territory. Rounding out A Little More Time is a raucous cover of Adam Faith’s “I Don’t Need That Kind of Lovin’.” The 1965 single is a longtime staple at Reigning Sound shows, but this is its first appearance on record.

                                                      “When I write songs, it’s the melody I write first. The melody dictates what the mood is whether it’s about being happy, confused, sad, lonely… The melody speaks to a feeling. From there, my job is to translate that feeling into words. I try not to be too structured in how I think about that because the more ambiguous it is, the more people can read their own story into what you’re saying, and I think that’s important. On some level, I consciously don’t want to know what a song is about.” Ambiguities aside, the LP closes with the poignant “On and On,” a song that reminds us that despite all of the highs and lows we face, “love is still a choice… love is the only choice.” It offers a glimmer of light. These days, that’s not a bad note to end on.

                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                      SIDE A

                                                      Do It Again Real Soon
                                                      A Little More Time
                                                      I Don’t Need That Kind Of
                                                      Lovin’
                                                      I’ll Be Your Man
                                                      Oh Christine
                                                      Moving & Shaking

                                                      SIDE B

                                                      You Don’t Know What You’re
                                                      Missing
                                                      Make It Up
                                                      A Good Life
                                                      Just Say When
                                                      You Ain’t Me
                                                      On And On

                                                      Writhing Squares

                                                      Chart For The Solution

                                                        Philadelphia duo’s third album. Features mbrs of Ecstatic Vision, Astute Palate, Rosali & the Middlemen. Mastered by Mikey Young (Total Control / Eddy Current). Writhing Squares - the Philadelphia duo of Kevin Nickles (sax, flute, synth) & Daniel Provenzano (bass, vocals)  have been refining the nuts & bolts of their sound over their previous two albums.

                                                        Their latest (and second for Trouble In Mind), "Chart For The Solution" is a double album chock full what makes them tick; heady, progressive, psychedelic space-rock-cum-minimal synth slop, punctuated by MacKay/Chance-style blasts of brass & woodwinds that definitely scratch an itch. Over the course of "Chart For The Solution"s four sides, Nickles & Provenzano utilize the extended format to stretch out & settle into a groove all their own. From the relentless synth pulse of opener "Rogue Moon", thru the aggro-throb of "Geisterwaltz" & four-on-the-floor scree of "Ganymede", The Squares have no mercy for your weary ears.

                                                        After a brief, (slightly) mellow respite thru three tunes ("The Abyss Is Never Brighter"/"A Chorus of Electrons"/"The Library"), the band ratchets up the intensity with the cacophonous clatter of "NFU" (featuring Philly legend "Harmonica" Dan Balcer RIPPING thru runs on his harp) leading right into the album's centerpiece; all of Side Three's "The Pillar", a near-nineteen minute epic suite that launches the listener straight into the maw of a black hole & thru the other side. Side Four closes out "Chart For The Solution" starting with the slinky stomp of "North Side of The Sky" into "Resurrect Dead On Planet Whatever"s unsettling, cosmic-funeral dirge.

                                                        Fittingly, "Epilogue" closes out the album, with Nickles' sax dive bombing around Provenzano's bass throb like an alien interpretation of "Funhouse"s howling anarchy, augmented by live drums by John Schoemaker & organ by Alex Ward. Recorded by the band themselves & utilizing recordings made from 2015 all the way thru earlier this year, "Chart For The Solution" really is a ZONE, & the perfect auditory cleanser to scrub away the stain of the previous year. 


                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                        1. Rogue Moon
                                                        2. Geisterwaltz
                                                        3. Ganymede
                                                        4. The Abyss Is Never Brighter
                                                        5. A Chorus Of Electrons
                                                        6. The Library
                                                        7. NFU
                                                        8. The Pillars
                                                        9. North Side Of The Sky
                                                        10. Resurrect Dead On Planet Whatever
                                                        11. Epilogue

                                                        Wye Oak

                                                        The Knot - Reissue

                                                          Wye Oak's second album, released in 2009. Press quotes - “The shimmering of shoegaze slowed down into a throbbing pulse, and loud-quiet-loud aesthetics channeled around ethereal vocals. Their first album was good, this is just amazing. The songs are sleepers and insidious, lounging around for days in your head without you even being aware.” AQUARIUM DRUNKARD // “So dense yet so simple and so affecting, the longing, mournful sway-rock of Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack’s Wye Oak after just two albums already stands to be the music Baltimoreans 15 years from now hold up in the same way we hold up, say, Lungfish today.

                                                          The songwriting is pristine: Its melodies, downcast and celebratory in the same measure, burrow under the skin like a gentle inoculation. The lyrical ideas are timeless. Bits of country and folk twang their way to the surface like remembered bits of a dream. And sounds and layers stack themselves improbably, and majestically, into some of the city’s finest tunes. Just a couple of years ago, Wye Oak was crafting its music in relative obscurity and, since, has found its way onto the national and world stages, spreading a whole new Baltimore gospel.”

                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                          1 Milk And Honey
                                                          2 For Prayer
                                                          3 Take It In
                                                          4 Siamese
                                                          5 Talking About Money
                                                          6 Mary Is Mary
                                                          7 Tattoo
                                                          8 I Want For Nothing
                                                          9 That I Do
                                                          10 Sight, Flight 

                                                          In the winter of 2019, Bob Mould bucked the era’s despair with his most melodic, upbeat album in ages, Sunshine Rock.

                                                          Cut to spring of 2020, and he has this to say: “We’re really in deep shit now.”

                                                          That sentiment informs the new full-length album, Blue Hearts (Merge, September 25), the raging-but-catchy yin to Sunshine Rock’s yang.

                                                          To be sure, we were in some shit back in 2018, when Mould recorded Sunshine Rock with longtime colleagues Jon Wurster (drums), Jason Narducy (bass), and Beau Sorenson (engineer). Back then, he had a song called “American Crisis” that didn’t fit the album.

                                                          “That song is the seed for what we’re talking about now,” Mould says from his home in San Francisco during the COVID-19 lockdown. “At the time, it just seemed too heavy. Today it seems fucking quaint.”

                                                          “American Crisis” is the third song in a walloping first half of an album that spits plainspoken fire at the people who fomented this crisis. “This is the catchiest batch of protest songs I’ve ever written in one sitting,” he says.

                                                          Through some of the most direct, confrontational lyrics of his four-decade career, Mould makes his POV clear: “I never thought I’d see this bullshit again / To come of age in the ’80s was bad enough / We were marginalized and demonized / I watched a lot of my generation die / Welcome back to American crisis.”

                                                          Why “welcome back”? Because Mould experienced deja vu writing Blue Hearts in the fall of 2019. “Where it started to go in my head is back to a spot that I’ve been in before,” he says. “And that was the fall of 1983.”

                                                          Back then, Mould was a self-described “22-year-old closeted gay man” touring with the legendary Hüsker Dü and seeing an epidemic consume his community. Leaders, including the one in the White House, were content to let AIDS kill a generation. Mould later realized why his mind wandered back there for Blue Hearts.

                                                          “We have a charismatic, telegenic, say-anything leader being propped up by evangelicals,” he says. “These fuckers tried to kill me once. They didn’t do it. They scared me. I didn’t do enough. Guess what? I’m back, and we’re back here again. And I’m not going to sit quietly this time and worry about alienating anyone.”

                                                          Recorded at the famed Electrical Audio in Chicago with Sorenson engineering and Mould producing, Blue Hearts nods to Mould’s past while remaining firmly planted in the issues of the day. Acoustic opener “Heart on My Sleeve” catalogues the ravages of climate change. “Next Generation” worries for who comes next. “American Crisis” references “Evangelical ISIS” and features this dagger of a line: “Pro-life, pro-life until you make it in someone else’s wife.”

                                                          “There are songs that have no room,” Mould says, laughing. “The other songs, there’s room. There is room for imagination on the second half of the record.”

                                                          That’s where the songs turn personal in a different way. Tracks like “When You Left,” “Siberian Butterfly,” and “Everyth!ng to You” are grounded in personal relationships. “Racing to the End” captures the economic disparity of Mould’s neighborhood, and “Leather Dreams”… well, maybe Jon Wurster put it best.

                                                          “Jon turns to Jason and asks, ‘Is this the dirtiest song you’ve ever played on?’” Mould recalls with a chuckle. “I clearly did not put the edit tool to that one. Those are all pretty true bits. What kind of person could possibly have a life like that?” He laughs again. “Says the author.”

                                                          “Leather Dreams,” “Password to My Soul,” and “The Ocean” were composed during a writing binge before a January 2020 Solo Electric tour, when Mould stayed up for three straight days. “Songs just kept coming out,” he says. “‘Leather Dreams’ and ‘The Ocean’ both appeared within hours. I barely remember writing them.”

                                                          That feels right for an explosive, hook-laden album like Blue Hearts. Only there’s nothing forgettable about it.

                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                          1. Heart On My Sleeve
                                                          2. Next Generation
                                                          3. American Crisis
                                                          4. Fireball
                                                          5. Forecast Of Rain
                                                          6. When You Left
                                                          7. Siberian Butterfly
                                                          8. Everyth!ng To You
                                                          9. Racing To The End
                                                          10. Baby Needs A Cookie
                                                          11. Little Pieces
                                                          12. Leather Dreams
                                                          13. Password To My Soul
                                                          14. The Ocean

                                                          Will Butler

                                                          Generations

                                                            In the five years since Will Butler released his debut album, Policy, he’s toured the world both solo and as a member of Arcade Fire, released the Friday Night live album, recorded and released Arcade Fire’s international #1 album Everything Now, earned his master’s degree in public policy from Harvard, hosted a series of touring town halls on local issues (police contracts, prison reform, municipal paid sick leave, voting rights), and spent time raising his three children. He also found the time and inspiration to write and record a new album, Generations. “My first record, Policy, was a book of short stories,” Butler says. “Generations is more of a novel despairing, funny, a little bit epic… A big chunk of this record is asking: What’s my place in American history? What’s my place in America’s present?

                                                            Both in general as a participant, as we all are, in the shit that’s going down but, also extremely particularly: me as Will Butler, rich person, white person, Mormon, Yankee, parent, musician of some sort, I guess. What do I do? What can I do? The record asks that question over and over, even if it’s not much for answers.” While the songs on Generations contain their fair share of dread and regret, there is ultimately a lightness that shines through Butler’s music. That brightness is at its most intense when he and his solo band Miles Francis, Sara Dobbs, and Julie and Jenny Shore perform on stage. Their electricity is palpable throughout Generations, with the bulk of the new songs having been worked out live.

                                                            Wild synth production gnarly bass synths with live drums and anthemic backing vocals as on first single “Surrender” are punctuated by intimate, direct moments: Butler’s voice cracking on “Fine” as he conjures his ancestors, and “Promised,” a meditation on friendship, how lives are built together, and how and why they drift apart. Generations was recorded and produced by Butler in the basement of his home in Brooklyn. Tracking finished in March 2020, as New York closed down for the pandemic. Half the record was mixed in Montreal by longtime Arcade Fire engineer Mark Lawson, the other half by Brooklyn-based producer Shiftee (who is, incidentally, bandmate Julie Shore’s husband and Will’s brother-in-law). Generations opens a dialogue with the world. It posits answers and deals with those answers being refuted. Ultimately, it navigates the conversation as a way to find the truth… or at least a way forward. 

                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                            1. Outta Here
                                                            2. Bethlehem
                                                            3. Close My Eyes
                                                            4. I Don’t Know What I Don’t
                                                            5. Know, Surrender.
                                                            6. Hide It Away
                                                            7. Hard Times
                                                            8. Promised
                                                            9. Not Gonna Die
                                                            10. Fine

                                                            Mikal Cronin

                                                            Switched-On Seeker

                                                              THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2020 RELEASE AVAILABLE ONLINE ONLY AS PART OF THE AUGUST 29TH DROP DAY AT 6PM.
                                                              LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.


                                                              Limited edition companion piece to Mikal Cronin's 2019 Seeker album, Switched-On Seeker is a completely synth-based, full-length reworking of 2019's Seeker in the vein of Wendy Carlos' "Switched-On" series.Mikal Cronin will continue his world tour across the calendar in 2020, including a confirmed BBC 6 Music session with Marc Riley at the end of February.

                                                              Archers Of Loaf

                                                              Raleigh Days / Street Fighting Man

                                                                THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2020 RELEASE AVAILABLE ONLINE ONLY AS PART OF THE AUGUST 29TH DROP DAY AT 6PM.
                                                                LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.


                                                                Limited edition on black vinyl.Raleigh Days is the first new material in 20 years from indie rock icon Archers of Loaf, with a cover of "Street Fighting Man" originally recorded by The Rolling Stones, on the B-side.The band tour North America across the calendar in 2020, including on Record Store Day.

                                                                Narratively, H.C. McEntire’s Eno Axis is about finding direction in the natural world, and following love.

                                                                Sonically, it’s an album shaped enormously by the atmosphere it was recorded in - the crew’s synergy and positivity, the proximity and presence of a band in a room playing with intention.

                                                                Structurally, it’s a group of songs inspired by the colors and tones of open tunings, by the sacrality of space and instinct.

                                                                Stylistically, it’s folk-rock leaning into its curious experimental side and moved by the spiritual rawness of classic soul and the simplicity of earnest pop.

                                                                Eno Axis feels like a confident and mature step forward from her debut album LIONHEART - in tone, arrangement, production, and spirit.

                                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                Barry says: Eno Axis is an entrancing record in many ways, rich with the majesty of traditional Americana but with an experimental sensibility effecting everything from the timbres, chord patterns and song structure. Psychedelic, downbeat moments are contrasted with major key changed and spine-tinglingly optimistic turns. Gorgeous stuff.

                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                Side A
                                                                1 Hands For The Harvest 4:17
                                                                2 Footman's Coat 3:43
                                                                3 High Rise 4:49
                                                                4 River's Jaw 4:34
                                                                5 One Eye Open 2:12

                                                                Side B
                                                                6 Final Bow 4:09
                                                                7 True Meridian 3:34
                                                                8 Sunday Morning 1:41
                                                                9 Time, On Fire 3:07
                                                                10 Hoses Of The Holy 4:10

                                                                Wye Oak

                                                                No Horizon

                                                                  No Horizon, the new EP from Wye Oak, is the latest offering and sound of a project plumbing the depths of an "evolve or die" ethos. For multi-instrumentalists Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack, there is no fear of the unknown, no preciousness about rigidity, no hard definition of what Wye Oak is. Here, in a transitional moment for the band, there is no "if" about whether or not they'll experiment with the format of their musical output - it's "how?" Wasner and Stack have been making music together as Wye Oak for over a decade, yielding five critically acclaimed LPs in the process. The Baltimore-born, Durham-based pair spent 2012-2019 writing music while living in different parts of the country, but the five songs that make up No Horizon mark the first that Stack and Wasner composed while both lived in Durham. The EP was originally composed in a tight, concentrated timeframe at the end of 2018 and early 2019, and then performed at New York's Merkin Hall as part of Ecstatic Music Festival in collaboration with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. The resulting EP is beautiful and strange: distinctly and recognizably Wye Oak, while simultaneously unlike any other of the band's studio work. 

                                                                  Reigning Sound

                                                                  Home For Orphans - Reissue

                                                                    When Reigning Sound’s Greg Cartwright assembled the tracklist for 2005’s Home for Orphans compilation LP, he was mining from a moody pool of outtakes and rarities cut at various locations across his hometown of Memphis.

                                                                    The year prior, his band unveiled its manically raucous Too Much Guitar! LP, but left behind on the cutting-room floor were slow and sullen alternate takes of “Funny Thing” and “If You Can’t Give Me Everything.” Along with those Cartwright originals, Home for Orphans also contains two tracks from Reigning Sound’s 2001 debut, the hard-to-find “Two Sides to Every Man” 7-inch: “Pretty Girl” and “Without You” (a Gene Clark cover). One other cover tune also appears, a fuzzy live take of The Breakers’ “Don’t Send Me No Flowers, I Ain’t Dead Yet,” an angsty 1965 Memphis garage classic.

                                                                    Opening the aptly titled Home for Orphans is “Find Me Now,” a lonelyhearted gem that was omitted from the original Too Much Guitar! roster. Another similar “orphan” included here is “What Could I Do?,” a shining example of Cartwright’s ability to tastefully and poetically lay down heartbreaking ballads. Of course, having his original Memphis lineup on these sessions only deepens the dynamic range of sounds. With bassist Jeremy Scott, drummer Greg Roberson, and organist Alex Greene on board, Home for Orphans presents the band’s classic sonic blueprint.

                                                                    From there, “Medication Blues #1,” “Carol,” and “If Christmas Can’t Bring You Home” only strengthen this essential collection. It’s varied but cohesive, a song-crafting skill Cartwright perfected back in his early days with The Compulsive Gamblers and The Oblivians.

                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                    SIDE A
                                                                    Find Me Now
                                                                    If You Can’t Give Me
                                                                    Everything
                                                                    Funny Thing
                                                                    Medication Blues #1
                                                                    Carol

                                                                    SIDE B
                                                                    What Could I Do?
                                                                    If Christmas Can’t Bring You
                                                                    Home
                                                                    Pretty Girl
                                                                    Without You
                                                                    Don’t Send Me No Flowers, I Ain’t Dead Yet (Live)

                                                                    Jade Hairpins

                                                                    Harmony Avenue

                                                                      Jonah Falco and Mike Haliechuk (of Jade Hairpins) also perform together in Canadian outfit Fucked Up. Harmony Avenue is the debut album by Jade Hairpins. LP is black vinyl in jacket & printed inner sleeve + LP3 album download. CD is 4-panel wllet + 24 page booklet. Jade Hairpins sneaked onto the scene in late 2018 with a mysterious 12-inch on Merge Records and a couple of poetic sentences about hiding in trees. The label remained tight-lipped while touting Dose Your Dreams, a truly epic new Fucked Up album released on the same day.

                                                                      Fast forward to 2020, when Fucked Up drummer Jonah Falco and songwriter/guitarist Mike Haliechuk burst out of the proverbial trees with Harmony Avenue, a collection of songs written and recorded in real time. Pop foraging with analog acoustics and electronic landscaping. As the project expanded, Falco took on frontman and main lyricist duties for the first time and is building a live band based in his adopted hometown of London, England. He describes the new record as “straddling the post-post-punk of something like New Order, Scritti Politti, and Orange Juice, with a primordial sense of humour and absurdity not unlike Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Television Personalities, or the Monks.” Each Jade Hairpins song was conceived in studio, then edited and crafted to become Harmony Avenue. Each vocal approach was different— first focusing on creating stories for character-based writing, and then on less absurd  motional/thoughtful/personal reflection.

                                                                      The LP was originally conceived as a potential addendum to the universe of Dose Your Dreams, but the end result was more exciting than Falco and Haliechuk anticipated and deserved its own spotlight. The themes of Harmony Avenue mostly focus on contradictory behavior and double entendres as well as regret and control, revelation, support, and complete absurdity. Jade Hairpins are here to challenge, confound, and sparkle their way into listeners’ hearts and keep them coming back for more!

                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                      1. J Terrapin
                                                                      2. (Don’t Break My) Devotion
                                                                      3. Father Coin
                                                                      4. Yesterdang
                                                                      5. Post No Bill.
                                                                      6. Broadstairs Beach
                                                                      7. Dolly Dream
                                                                      8. Mary Magazine
                                                                      9. Truth Like A Mirage
                                                                      10. Motherman..

                                                                      Waxahatchee

                                                                      Saint Cloud

                                                                        What do we hold on to from our past? What must we let go of to truly move forward? Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield spent much of 2018 reckoning with these questions and revisiting her roots for answers. The result is Saint Cloud, an intimate journey through the places she’s been, filled with the people she’s loved.

                                                                        Written immediately in the period following her decision to get sober, the album is an unflinching self-examination. This raw, exposed narrative terrain is aided by a shift in sonic arrangements as well. While her last two records featured the kind of big guitars, well-honed noise, and battering sounds that characterized her Philadelphia scene and strongly influenced a burgeoning new class of singer-songwriters, Saint Cloud strips back those layers to create space for Crutchfield’s voice and lyrics. The result is a classic Americana sound with modern touches befitting an artist who has emerged as one of the signature storytellers of her time. Many of the narratives on Saint Cloud concern addiction and the havoc it wreaks on ourselves and our loved ones, as Crutchfield comes to a deeper understanding of love not only for those around her but for herself. This coalesces most clearly on “Fire,” which she says was literally written in transit, during a drive over the Mississippi River into West Memphis, and serves as a love song to herself, a paean to moving past shame into a place of unconditional self-acceptance.

                                                                        Over the course of Saint Cloud, which was recorded the summer of 2019 and produced by Brad Cook (Bon Iver), Crutchfield peels back the distortion of electric guitars to create a wider sonic palette than on any previous Waxahatchee album. It is a record filled with nods to classic country, folk-inspired tones, and distinctly modern touches. To bolster her vision, Crutchfield enlisted Bobby Colombo and Bill Lennox, both of the Detroit band Bonny Doon, to serve as backing band on the record, along with Josh Kaufman (Hiss Golden Messenger, Bon Iver) on guitar and keyboards and Nick Kinsey (Kevin Morby) on drums and percussion. Saint Cloud marks the beginning of a journey for Crutchfield, one that sees her leaving behind past vices and the comfortable environs of her Philadelphia scene to head south in search of something new. If on her previous work Crutchfield was out in the storm, she’s now firmly in the eye of it, taking stock of her past with a clear perspective and gathering the strength to carry onward.

                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                        SIDE A
                                                                        Oxbow
                                                                        Can’t Do Much
                                                                        Fire
                                                                        Lilacs
                                                                        The Eye
                                                                        Hell

                                                                        SIDE B
                                                                        Witches
                                                                        War
                                                                        Arkadelphia
                                                                        Ruby Falls
                                                                        St. Cloud

                                                                        A person whose words are so potent that they cause the people and beings around them to vibrate is said to have a “silver tongue.” It’s apt, then, that Mackenzie Scott—who has spent the 2010s making boundary pushing pop music under her TORRES moniker—has chosen to call her fourth album, and first release on Merge, just that. Recorded at O’Deer in Brooklyn, New York, Silver Tongue is a full-scale realization of the world Scott has created over TORRES’ last few albums. Even when singing in more subdued tones, Scott’s voice is fervent, her lyrics stirring and unyielding as she draws from both the divine and the everyday. It’s also the first TORRES record produced solely by Scott. After having shared production duties on her first three albums, the latter two alongside PJ Harvey collaborator Rob Ellis, she found the process liberating: “I made exactly the record I want, and it feels very ‘me.’”

                                                                        Silver Tongue fastidiously chronicles the impulses that make up desire from the dreamy first blushes of infatuation through the slightly terrifying wonder that accompanies connection with another. In between, Scott wrestles with the highs and lows of what “being in love” might mean over heady guitars and swirling synths. While potent vocal hooks punctuate songs like the sparkling “Dressing America,” which combines New Wave glitter with hovering frustration, and the brooding “Good Grief,” which gently pokes at the idea of fetishized sadness, the knottiness lurking underneath reflects Scott’s realtime processing of her emotions while making the record. Silver Tongue’s musical world is vast and at times seemingly infinite. Edge-of-the-world synths add gravity to the vulnerability of “Two of Everything,” and refracted guitars offer a gnarled counterpoint to Scott’s increased determination at the end of “Last Forest.” On “Gracious Day,” one of TORRES’ most forthright love songs, Scott’s voice hovers over a starlit landscape in a way that transcends the mundane and enters the otherworldly as she sings. TORRES’ music has long navigated the space between the physical and the metaphysical, and Silver Tongue faces that conflict head-on, examining the ways in which the actions of others can stir up deep-seated feelings and seemingly alter the space in which one exists.

                                                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                        Barry says: Silver Tongue is a triumph in many ways, not only musically but with the thematic intensity of the pieces on offer tempered beautifully with a playful optimism shining through. Scott's voice is as effecting as ever, and clearly is only getting better. Lovely stuff.

                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                        SIDE A
                                                                        Good Scare
                                                                        Last Forest
                                                                        Dressing America
                                                                        Records Of Your Tenderness
                                                                        Two Of Everything

                                                                        SIDE B
                                                                        Good Grief
                                                                        A Few Blue Flowers
                                                                        Gracious Day
                                                                        Silver Tongue

                                                                        Mikal Cronin

                                                                        Seeker

                                                                          Mikal Cronin releases Seeker, his fourth and finest full-length to date. Recorded live with a crew of close friends and engineer Jason Quever at Palmetto Studios in Los Angeles, it finds Cronin pushing his often devastating power pop into darker territory—from the isolation of “Show Me” to the desperation of “Fire” to the unadorned heartache of “Sold.”

                                                                          It comes with a backstory that feels like fate. Cronin writes:

                                                                          I was stuck. I’d had a rough few years. Relationships end, begin, and end again. I had to stay active, tour with other bands, make music through various other avenues—writer’s block is real and it can crush you, scratching at an itch you can’t quite get. I needed to clean up, to stop leaning on external crutches to get through the anxiety. I needed to grow the fuck up.

                                                                          I needed a change.

                                                                          I went to the woods, to Idyllwild, a small town in the mountains of southern California. I spent a month in a cabin there, alone with my cat, Ernie. It was so quiet and peaceful. I got weird looks at the store. I got bug bites that didn’t heal for months. I walked around a small lake a few times. I wrote. I took literally something that’s usually a hypothetical, something every artist thinks about doing. It worked: A large majority of Seeker was written and demoed there.

                                                                          But then I had to go, immediately. An arsonist had sparked a series of fires and the woods exploded. I saw the flames coming up the hill as I packed up all my instruments and recording equipment. Ernie hid under the bed and was the last to go. I got him in the car just as the police came up the street to help with evacuations. I ended up home in LA a few days early; a small blessing because I was losing my mind a bit.

                                                                          Once I was back, I was ready to make something. I needed help. I found Jason [Quever] and his studio. I collected as many friends as I could and brought them in to record live with me. I needed the energy of a group of people in a room playing together—a simple concept but one that I had never tried with my own songs. Most of the record is backed by Ty Segall’s Freedom Band. I play bass in this band. We had been touring and playing together for a long run over a few years, so it seemed natural to stick together.

                                                                          I aimed for nature. I wanted organic sounds. I wanted to bring you into the room. Jason and I talked about The Beatles’ White Album a lot when placing mics. I brought a charred pine cone from the woods to the studio, just in case it would help. Fire—specifically its cycle of purging and reseeding the landscape—is a central theme to the record. Death and rebirth.

                                                                          I was looking for something: answers, direction, peace. I am the seeker.



                                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                          Barry says: Superb new album from Ty Segall's Mikal Cronin, encompassing the shredding psych-rock vibe of his parent band but with a definite sound of his own. Tender moments are cut through with a swathe of distorted guitar and Cronin's gravelly vocals. At points, 'Seeker' veers towards country-rock but with a more edgy, saturated edge. A brilliant development for Cronin, and a thrilling journey for us.

                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                          Side A
                                                                          1 Shelter 3:48
                                                                          2 Show Me 4:50
                                                                          3 Feel It All 4:58
                                                                          4 Fire 4:35
                                                                          5 Sold 3:27
                                                                          Side B
                                                                          6 I've Got Reason 3:46
                                                                          7 Caravan 2:05
                                                                          8 Guardian Well 5:17
                                                                          9 Lost A Year 5:07
                                                                          10 On The Shelf 2:59

                                                                          Bonus 12" On Dinked Edition:
                                                                          Side A
                                                                          Arsonist 17:07
                                                                          Side B
                                                                          Tsinosra 17:07

                                                                          Little Scream

                                                                          Speed Queen

                                                                            On her third album, Little Scream offers a reflection on class and poverty in America. Speed Queen began as bits of prose written while touring her last album across North America—observing the slow entropy of the US, ruminating on her own low-income upbringing in a flyover state, and, as she says, “taking it all in from the privileged position of being a new Canadian.” In “Privileged Child,” she reminds wealthy people who like to adopt the style of the poor and working class that “poverty’s a feeling money just can’t buy.” On “Dear Leader,” she reminds those opposing migration that “when the waters rise, it’s gonna be you, Miami,” warning them that when they’re needing help, “…you will ask your God, but he’ll be busy getting risen, and the rich will be too busy buying stock in private prisons— that’s where they’ll send you for talking about socialism.”

                                                                            The biting commentary served with a sense of humour softens its presentation but doesn’t detract from its power. This is a theme throughout Speed Queen, where humour and warm heartedness prevail despite some of the darker subjects touched upon. Montreal-based Laurel Sprengelmeyer has been playing music under the moniker Little Scream since 2008. In 2011, she released The Golden Record, which Pitchfork dubbed “a stellar debut” and NPR called “an absolutely captivating record.” It was included in NPR’s Best Albums of 2011 list, and the New York Times evoked its “hints of the divine.” Her second album and Merge debut Cult Following featured guests including Sufjan Stevens, Mary Margaret O’Hara, and Sharon Van Etten. Little Scream is using the release of first single “Dear Leader” to raise awareness about the 1000 Cities initiative. “If 1000 cities adopt Paris climate accord standards, the world can still meet its global emissions targets,” Little Scream explains. “Most of us feel disenfranchised from international agreements. But all of us can get our heads around local involvement.” That kind of optimism in the face of harsh reality is a theme that has always run through Little Scream’s work, whether personal or political. Speed Queen is a powerful reflection of that hard-won hope. 

                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                            1. Dear Leader
                                                                            2 One Lost Time
                                                                            3. Switchblade
                                                                            4. Disco Ball
                                                                            5. Still Life
                                                                            6. Forces Of Spring
                                                                            7. No More Saturday Night
                                                                            8. Speed Queen 
                                                                            9. Don’t Wait For It 
                                                                            10. Privileged Child.

                                                                            David Kilgour And The Heavy Eights

                                                                            Bobbie's A Girl

                                                                              "It's moody - as in low, subdued," says David Kilgour of his new album, Bobbie's a girl. David Kilgour’s 11th solo album, Bobbie’s a girl is a quieter affair than fans may associate with the pioneer of New Zealand indie rock. “I tended to shy away from too much guitar playing for a point of difference and to mix things up for myself a little,” Kilgour continues. The style set in at the beginning of sessions, as he and the Heavy Eights (i.e., longtime collaborators Thomas Bell, Tony de Raad, and Taane Tokona) headed to Port Chalmers Recording Services with producer Tex Houston. “We have worked on these songs for a number of years now, so that’s different because I usually can’t wait to get them out,” Kilgour says. Why the delay? Like with the themes of the album, Kilgour doesn’t want to elaborate too much.

                                                                              “Everything’s related to the music and mood,” he says, “but I’d rather not say how. I like a little mystery.” Largely missing the jangly distortion of Kilgour’s other work, the album’s ten songs exude a hazy warmth, with a light psychedelia that recalls the ’60s outfits like The Byrds and The Velvet Underground. Opener “Entrance” floats wordlessly on acoustic guitar, whose ringing chords slightly mask the deft fingerpicking beneath it. “Smoke you right out of here” picks up the pace, but “Crawler” rolls in like a storm, its organ and fingerpicked guitars creating an ominous sound until a chorus of “aaaahs” lightens the mood. Only four songs have lyrics. “I kind of wanted a rest from verbalizing everything, like listening to yourself going, ‘Blah blah blah blah…,” Kilgour says. The guitar quietly shimmering between channels, the music seems to speak more than the words. “Ngapara,” the closing track of Bobbie’s a girl, is his favorite song on the album. It’s a loping instrumental carried by thickly distorted guitars and heavy reverb. Like the rest of Bobbie’s a girl, it feels both a part of Kilgour’s previous work, and just outside of it

                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                              1. Entrance
                                                                              2. Smoke You Right Out Of Here
                                                                              3. Crawler
                                                                              4. Threads
                                                                              5. Coming In From Nowhere Now
                                                                              6. Spotlight
                                                                              7. Swan Loop 
                                                                              8. If You Were Here And I Was There
                                                                              9. Looks Like I’m Running Out
                                                                              10. Ngapara.

                                                                              Hiss Golden Messenger

                                                                              Terms Of Surrender

                                                                                Describing the Durham based Hiss Golden Messenger is like trying to grasp a forgotten word: It’s always on the tip of your tongue, but hard to speak. Songwriter and bandleader M.C. Taylor’s music is at once familiar, yet impossible to categorize: Elements from the American songbook the steady, churning acoustic guitar and mandolin, the gospel emotion, the eerie steel guitar tracings, the bobbing and weaving organ and electric piano provide the bedrock for Taylor’s existential ruminations about parenthood, joy, hope, and loneliness. And then there’s an indescribable spirit and movement: Hiss Golden Messenger’s music grooves. There’s nothing else quite like it. For over ten years, Taylor has spearheaded this prolific, perpetually evolving group. He’s toured and recorded relentlessly, earning devotees along the roads, deep in festival pits, and across the seas.

                                                                                “The work that I do requires me to be in a certain emotional place,” says Taylor. “My music depends first and foremost on being in a heightened emotional state and putting my vulnerability on display.” This vulnerability is also central to Taylor’s steadily growing fanbase, which continues to discover universal themes in his deeply personal work. The critical acclaim and attention for Hiss Golden Messenger and barn-burning performances on Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with Seth Meyers affirm the emotional power of Taylor’s work.

                                                                                This raw emotion is especially apparent on Hiss Golden Messenger’s new album, Terms of Surrender. Terms follows Taylor’s journey through a tumultuous year of trauma and psychological darkness, hoping and working towards redemption and healing, and the conflicting draw of home and movement. “Another year older,” Taylor sings on album opener “I Need a Teacher.” “Debt slightly deeper. Paycheck smaller. Goddamn, I need a teacher.”

                                                                                Later, Taylor tracks the complex dynamic between father and grown son on “Cat’s Eye Blue,” singing, “Is this wicked word too bad to be spoken? You let the heart attack in. One taste and it’s broken.” He later pivots towards his relationship with his own daughter on “Happy Birthday, Baby.”

                                                                                Taylor says that he wanted to make Terms of Surrender “a wandering record. I wanted where we recorded it to mirror the searching spirit of the music.” Having written upwards of 40 songs in motel rooms, his studio in Durham, and a secluded cottage outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, 10 songs were chosen. Includes regular collaborators Phil and Brad Cook, Josh Kaufman, and Matt McCaughan and new friends like Jenny Lewis and Aaron Dessner (of The National).

                                                                                Hiss Golden Messenger songs create feelings to which devoted listeners attach their own meanings and memories with each repeated spin. Throughout Terms of Surrender, those feelings range from fearful to celebratory. But perhaps the title track with its refrain of “I’m gonna give it/ but don’t make me say it/ It’s one thing to bend it, my love, but another to break it” best summarizes the nature of Taylor’s work as a musician, father and spouse, and cultural communicator on this album.

                                                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                Barry says: I was just having a discussion with Dave about how i'm obviously getting a little bit older, and my tastes are changing, veering more towards slightly miserable Americana ballads, but my appreciation for HGM has remained throughout regardless of my advancing years. It's a testament to his skill as a songwriter that he can continue to smash out such beautiful LP's without veering too far from the formula, but keeping things as transportive and dreamy as they are on 'Terms Of Surrender'.

                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                1 I Need A Teacher
                                                                                2 Bright Direction (You’re A Dark Star Now)
                                                                                3 My Wing
                                                                                4 Old Enough To Wonder Why (East Side West Side)
                                                                                5 Cat’s Eye Blue
                                                                                6 Happy Birthday, Baby
                                                                                7 Down At The Uptown
                                                                                8 Katy (You Don’t Have To Be Good Yet)
                                                                                9 Whip
                                                                                10 Terms Of Surrender

                                                                                Superchunk

                                                                                Acoustic Foolish

                                                                                  Originally released in 1996, Foolish turns 25 in 2019. 

                                                                                  From Mac McCaughan: Our original idea for an all-acoustic album was for it to be a selection of songs from all our albums, played in the style of an acoustic performance in a record store or a radio station, which we have done quite a bit of over the years (and documented on the first of our “Clambake” series in 2001). But with 2019 being the 25th anniversary of the Foolish album, it seemed weirder and more interesting to record an acoustic version of one whole album. I didn’t want this to sound like “acoustic demos recorded 25 years after the fact” or a band trying to “rock out” except on acoustic guitars, though to be fair we do some rocking out. Once we got into the process of learning how to play the songs on acoustic guitars—some of which we had never performed at all—it made sense to make this record its own thing altogether. When Foolish came out, people kind of freaked out that all the guitar sounds weren’t as distorted as they had been, and it was treated as a radical departure from what we had been doing. Which is funny listening to the original album now because it pretty much sounds like our other records. But I started thinking about the acoustic version of the album as “what Foolish would have sounded like if it were as different as people acted like it was.” So—we have guests, we have strings, we have piano, we have a saxophone! The songs themselves, extracted from the drama of the moment and what people wanted to write about then, are more applicable to Real Life than I thought they would be. Without the embarrassing angst of the 25-year-old, they are just songs about transitions, holding grudges or trying not to, letting go of things that aren’t healthy, moving through difficult situations and relationships and trying to be “normal” in the course of all that, even though there’s no such thing. We are lucky to have Allison Crutchfield, Matt Douglas, Peter Holsapple, Owen Pallett, and Jenn Wasner lend their great talents to the record and also lucky that Jon has an arsenal of small bells and a vibraslap.

                                                                                  Acoustic Foolish recorded live by John Plymale at Overdub Lane Strings by Owen Pallett on “Like a Fool” & “In a Stage Whisper”. Guest vocals by Allison Crutchfield (of P.S. Eliot, Swearin’) on “The First Part” Guest vocals by Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak, Flock of Dimes) on “Keeping Track” Piano by Peter Holsapple (of the dB’s) on “Stretched Out” & “Driveway to Driveway” Saxophone by Matt Douglas (of the Mountain Goats) on “Saving My Ticket” and “In a Stage Whisper”.

                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                  SIDE A
                                                                                  1 Like A Fool
                                                                                  2 The First Part
                                                                                  3 Water Wings
                                                                                  4 Driveway To Driveway
                                                                                  5 Saving My Ticket
                                                                                  6 Kicked In

                                                                                  SIDE B

                                                                                  7 Why Do You Have To Put A Date On Everything
                                                                                  8 Without Blinking
                                                                                  9 Keeping Track
                                                                                  10 Revelations
                                                                                  11 Stretched Out
                                                                                  12 In A Stage Whisper

                                                                                  Gauche

                                                                                  People’s History Of Gauche

                                                                                    A People's History of Gauche, a collective catharsis of anger, frustration, and trauma through creativity. Jason P Barnett, Adrienne CN Berry, Mary Jane Regalado, Pearie Sol, and Daniele Yandel find their agency and joy through creating and performing music together in 36 minutes of groove-filled power punk. When asked about the genesis of the title of their Merge debut, Daniele cited this definition: A people's history, or history from below, is an account of events from the perspective of common people rather than leaders, the story of mass movements and of outsiders. It's a fitting title for an album that tackles such heavy topics as anxiety, capitalism and colonialization, and healing ancestral traumas, as well as dismantling and dissecting patriarchy, creating beauty in the face of oppressive forces, and resisting exploitation. These are vital songs manifested in a celebratory manner, created quickly through the group's self-proclaimed "Gauche magic." Recorded with Austin Brown (Parquet Courts) and Robert Szmurlo in Brooklyn, NY, and with Jonah Takagi (Ex Hex) in DC, A People’s History of Gauche marks the first time the band worked with people outside of their ranks, resulting in a fuller sound that boasts more intricate instrumentation.

                                                                                    From the very first line of album opener “Flash”—“Light’s supposed to show the way, not over-expose it”—Gauche are here to compel us to dance while singing along about society’s universal struggles. Gauche undoubtedly make art, but their guiding tenet is craft. "When I say that, I mean in the sense that Art with a capital A is thought of as something rarefied, something outside the context of everyday life, outside of everyone's grasp or potential," expounds Daniele. "That sense of craft, of something you return to every day and is valuable because it is something you share in common with all people, is how I think of music. Well, good music at least." Gauche bring us music and movement and struggle and light, and now it is our job to dance! 

                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                    1. Flash, Cycles,
                                                                                    2. Pay Day,
                                                                                    3. Surveilled Society,
                                                                                    4. Copper Woman,
                                                                                    5. Running. 
                                                                                    6. Boom Hazard,
                                                                                    7. Dirty Jacket,
                                                                                    8. History,
                                                                                    9. Rent (v.),
                                                                                    10. Rectangle..

                                                                                    (7” Flexi Track Is “Conspiracy Theories”). 

                                                                                    Joyero

                                                                                    Release The Dogs

                                                                                      Andy Stack has rightfully earned a reputation as a generous collaborator and musical polymath, both as half of the beloved duo Wye Oak and on the road and in the studio with Lambchop, Helado Negro, and EL VY. As a multiinstrumentalist and producer, Andy has an uncanny ability to construct the precise musical architecture to frame and support unique and compelling voices. With his debut solo record as Joyero, Andy puts his own voice front and center. Written and recorded primarily in Marfa, Texas, during a transitional moment between records, cities, and relationships, Release the Dogs occupies its own liminal space between the natural and the man-made, between the structures we create to keep ourselves safe and the terrifying enormity that exists beyond them. Throughout the record, organic and electronic elements are seamlessly woven together into a single fabric that can be both intimate and explosive. The fingerpicked guitars of “After You” appear no more or less “real” than the processed drum machine beats on album opener “Alight,” just as the tarantula on the album’s cover appears no more or less “real” than the white wall on which it sits.

                                                                                      The magic of the image, and the magic of the record, is in the way they are framed together. As with Wye Oak’s best records, Release the Dogs finds its own unique voice by holding opposing ideas and aesthetics in tension with each other, and inviting the listener to find their own answer. That tension comes through loud and clear in Andy’s voice, which is recorded so intimately that it sometimes sounds like it’s emanating from inside your own throat. “While you’re away, I wait outside the house / Lift an ear to every sound / I sleep all day like a dog whose master’s out,” he sings on “Dogs,” painting a vivid picture of the album’s titular animals as a symbol of both domestic stasis and what often lurks beneath it. Throughout Release the Dogs, the habits and rituals of domestic life begin to crack and fray under the questions we are afraid to ask and the truths we are afraid to acknowledge. After painting a picture of daily domestic tasks like gardening and baking bread in “Starts,” Andy concludes, “We live between the good and the bad dream,” giving voice to the ways in which the signifiers of domestic stability can, themselves, be illusions or fantasies.

                                                                                      At times, Release the Dogs brings to mind the homespun world-building of Phil Elverum’s early-’00s work as The Microphones. At times, it brings to mind the deliberate introspection of Arthur Russell. It’s a cliché to say that a record “defies comparison,” but it fits here; not because of any self-styled aesthetic obtusity, but rather because Release the Dogs invites you into such an intimate and singular space that you can’t imagine it being anything, anywhere, or anyone else. Even as he constructs ever more complicated musical worlds, and even as he fills those worlds with big, complicated questions, Andy is still somehow making it all seem natural and effortless

                                                                                      Titus Andronicus

                                                                                      An Obelisk

                                                                                        Obelisk is the sixth album from Titus Andronicus, which finds the band under stewardship of producer and legendary rocker Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü, Sugar). This trans-generational meeting of the minds has yielded the most immediate and unadorned Titus Andronicus record to date. Clocking in at 38 minutes, it is also the shortest. Recorded over six days at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio studio in Chicago, An Obelisk presents the sound of Titus Andronicus, rock band, at its most irreducible, as monolithic as the album’s titular monument.

                                                                                        Titus Andronicus is led by singer-songwriter Patrick Stickles, now flanked by longtime guitarist Liam Betson and the indomitable rhythm section of R.J. Gordon on bass and Chris Wilson on drums. An Obelisk is the first record to showcase this lineup from tip to tail, each track bearing distinctive fingerprints of each musician, their particular chemistry honed through extensive touring and rigorous rehearsals. Excepting the background vocals of Ralph Darden (Ted Leo and the Pharmacists), no outside musicians were utilized, leaving ample room for the pummeling drums and slashing guitars to thrive under the notoriously economical hand of Mould. “Bob Mould is quite the role model to a guy like me,” Stickles confesses. “He has conducted his 40-year career with a remarkable level of integrity and loyalty to his own internal compass. He has often zigged when he was expected to zag, but the consistent excellence of his output has earned him the unconditional trust of his audience. What more could you want than that? What better way, for a guy like me, to learn to actualize such a vision than to get into the man’s workplace and do as he tells me to do?”

                                                                                        Tempting as it may be to label An Obelisk a “back to basics” effort, this is not a return to the band’s roots—this is an excavation of the dirt beneath those roots. An Obelisk also functions as a companion to A Productive Cough. Together, these records present a panoramic view of Titus Andronicus’ musical interests. An Obelisk has all the trappings of a classic punk album, though, to hear Stickles tell it, it is moreso an album about punk. “In a universe devoid of higher meaning, it is our responsibility to impose our own meaning upon it and to afford others the space to do the same. The true ‘punk’ must be constantly assessing and reassessing their own values and belief systems, lest they fall into the trap of merely pulling their identity off of the rack, in the manner of the snobs and meatheads they claim to oppose.” “The way in which an obelisk narrows as it reaches skyward reminds me of the way in which our system seems to consolidate power onto a smaller and smaller base over time,” Stickles concludes. “Whenever, wherever the sun shines, an obelisk casts a long shadow—An Obelisk is the story of one individual’s attempt to find a place for himself in that darkness.” 

                                                                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                        Barry says: Mixing the rawkous, booze-addled punk drawl of the Pogues with more modern distortion and dynamic activity was never going to be an easy task, but with legendary musician and producer Bob Mould at the helm, it was never going to be anything but exceptional. Heavy but reassuringly sludgy, 'An Obelisk' is a superb mix of all the influences that make modern punk so great. Top stuff.

                                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                                        Just Like Ringing A Bell
                                                                                        Troubleman Unlimited
                                                                                        (I Blame) Society
                                                                                        My Body And Me
                                                                                        Hey Ma
                                                                                        Beneath The Boot
                                                                                        On The Street
                                                                                        Within The Gravitron
                                                                                        The Lion Inside
                                                                                        Tumult Around The World

                                                                                        Reigning Sound

                                                                                        Abdication... For Your Love

                                                                                          Reigning Sound frontman Greg Cartwright found himself unable to refuse—despite his band’s tenuous existence at the time. “Several line-up changes had ensued after the original Memphis quartet disbanded, and I found myself considering the possibility of shedding the Reigning Sound moniker,” muses Cartwright. “I had decided to take a break to work on production for other people and write songs for The Parting Gifts, my upcoming collaboration with Coco Hames.” But now, Reigning Sound had an offer on the table, and there was no band. Besides Cartwright, the one constant of Reigning Sound’s previous three years was keyboardist Dave Amels, who was moonlighting in The Jay Vons, the Brooklyn soul combo formed by Long Island natives Michael Catanese, Benny Trokan, and Mikey Post.

                                                                                          Sometimes Amels would even pull double duty at gigs where Reigning Sound and The Jay Vons shared a bill. When The Parting Gifts released their outstanding album Strychnine Dandelion in 2010, The Jay Vons opened shows for them on a brief tour. A few months later, Scion came knocking. Around the same time, Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, who provided guitar for the Parting Gifts record, had just moved to Nashville and was busy putting the final touches on a private studio. “Dan was eager to do some work in the new studio in preparation for an upcoming session with Dr. John, and he offered us some studio time as well as his production assistance. Tentative arrangements with Nashville players evaporated one after another due to prior engagements or last-minute snafus. 

                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                          1. A Lyin’ Girl
                                                                                          2. Everything I Do Is Wrong
                                                                                          3. Shaw
                                                                                          4. Call Me #1.
                                                                                          5. Eve
                                                                                          6. Watching My Baby
                                                                                          7. Can’t Hold On 
                                                                                          8. Not Far Away…. 

                                                                                          The Mountain Goats

                                                                                          In League With Dragons

                                                                                            The Mountain Goats are John Darnielle, Peter Hughes, Jon Wurster, And Matt Douglas. They have been making music together as a quartet for several years. Three of them live in North Carolina and one has moved back to Rochester.

                                                                                            Their songs often seek out dark lairs within which terrible monsters dwell, but their mission is to retrieve the treasure from the dark lair & persuade the terrible monsters inside to seek out the path of redemption. As Axl Rose once memorably asked, in the song “Terrible Monster”: “What’s so terrible about monsters, anyway?” This is the question The Mountain Goats have been doggedly pursuing since 1991. They will never leave off this quest until every option has been exhausted. Thank You.


                                                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                            Barry says: As far as concept albums about gaming, i'm all in, and this one is lovely. It's a strange but perfectly formed beast, with smooth scales interspersed with fiery outbursts. Another wonderfully formed outing from The Mountain Goats.

                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                            SIDE A
                                                                                            Done Bleeding
                                                                                            Younger
                                                                                            Passaic 1975

                                                                                            SIDE B
                                                                                            Clemency For The Wizard King
                                                                                            Possum By Night
                                                                                            In League With Dragons

                                                                                            SIDE C
                                                                                            7. Doc Gooden
                                                                                            8. Going Invisible 2
                                                                                            9. Waylon Jennings Live!

                                                                                            SIDE D
                                                                                            10. Cadaver Sniffing Dog
                                                                                            11. An Antidote For Strychnine
                                                                                            12. Sicilian Crest

                                                                                            Eno Williams, frontwoman of Ibibio Sound Machine, uses both English and the Nigerian language from which her band’s name is derived for the dazzling new album. Long lauded for jubilant, explosive live shows, Ibibio Sound Machine fully capture that energy on "Doko Mien", the followup to "Uyai". By pulsing the mystic shapes of Williams’ lines through further inventive, glittering collages of genre, Ibibio Sound Machine crack apart the horizon separating cultures, between nature and technology, between joy and pain, between tradition and future. That propensity for duality and paradox seems common in people whose lives span continents. Williams was born in the UK, but grew up in Nigeria, always steeped in her family heritage. She obsessed over West African electronic music, highlife, and the like, but was equally empowered by Western genres such as post-punk, disco, and funk.

                                                                                            The traditional Ibibio folk tale bobs over the waves of tuned percussion, chunky synth, and pinprick highlife-esque guitar, while Jose Joyette’s drums and Derrick McIntyre’s bass funk groove bring everyone to the dance floor. 'These stories won’t be forgotten. Feel the music: it speaks to everybody,' Williams says. 'We can travel back in time together, while convening on a futuristic, present tense. We hope that we can give people that reason to wake up, that one song to sing and dance and be happy.'

                                                                                            On their new album, Ibibio Sound Machine provide the perfect companion, ready to digest as much as possible and then further unfurl beauty and hope. They remember and honor the past and charge forward toward the future, all while intensely expanding the present.


                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                            SIDE A
                                                                                            I Need You To Be Sweet Like Sugar (Nnge Nte Suka)
                                                                                            Wanna Come Down
                                                                                            Tell Me (Doko Mien)
                                                                                            I Know That You’re Thinking About Me
                                                                                            I Will Run

                                                                                            SIDE B
                                                                                            Just Go Forward (Ka I So)
                                                                                            She Work Very Hard
                                                                                            Nyak Mien, Kuka
                                                                                            Guess We Found A Way

                                                                                            On It’s Real, the group’s second album, Ex Hex’s commitment to larger-than-life riffs and unforgettable hooks remains intact, but the garage-y, post-punk approach that defined their debut album Rips has grown in scale and ambition. What started as a reaction to the blown-out aesthetic of Rips would test the sonic limits of the power trio and lead the band on a quest for a more immersive and three-dimensional sound. Vocal harmonies are layered ten tracks deep, solos shimmer and modulate atop heaving power chords, and the codas linger and stretch toward new frontiers of sound. On first listen, you might think you’ve unearthed a long-lost LP carved from the space where crunch-minded art rock and glitter-covered hard rock converge, an event horizon at the intersection of towering choruses and swaggering guitars.

                                                                                            Ex Hex were already one of America’s best guitar bands—but on It’s Real, their musical savvy has thrillingly combined with anything-goes curiosity, studio experimentation, and a dedication to refinement, resulting in an album that’s ready to be played at maximum volume.

                                                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                            Barry says: Ex hex return with their most incendiary offering yet. Blazing hooks and huge rock choruses, encompassing that huge 70's rock sound with all of the best pomp and stadium grandiosity chucked in for good measure. TURN IT UP

                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                            SIDE A
                                                                                            Tough Enough
                                                                                            Rainbow Shiner
                                                                                            Good Times
                                                                                            Want It To Be True
                                                                                            Diamond Drive

                                                                                            SIDE B
                                                                                            No Reflection
                                                                                            Another Dimension
                                                                                            Cosmic Cave
                                                                                            Radiate
                                                                                            Talk To Me

                                                                                            Telekinesis

                                                                                            Effluxion

                                                                                              If Michael Benjamin Lerner has given us nothing more than an opportunity to nudge the word “effluxion” into the common vernacular, it is still a crowning cultural achievement. But he has given us much more than that. The fifth fulllength album he’s recorded as Telekinesis is perfect, unfussy power pop— romantic and hopeful and skittish and fresh and familiar, with hooks in all the
                                                                                              right places. He called the album Effluxion because he too found the word a little alien when he first heard it in passing, but it also captured the spirit in which the album was made. After Lerner largely traded guitars and drums for moodier synthesizers and drum machines on 2015’s Ad Infinitum—more OMD than GBV—Scottish indie-pop gods Teenage Fanclub invited Lerner on board as a touring member in 2017.

                                                                                              In addition to this being genie-lamp wish fulfillment for a devoted acolyte, playing those songs every night with his heroes brought him back to known pleasures. Effluxion is a back-to-basics album—not just in its reaffirmation of the sound and style that made Lerner an indie wunderkind a decade ago at age 22, but in the way it was created. Using the same now-discontinued MacBook microphone he used to record his earliest tracks, he holed up in the basement of his West Seattle home and put the album together piece by piece over the past two years, playing every instrument. While previous albums had former Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla—who discovered and championed Telekinesis’ demos—and Spoon’s Jim Eno serving as producers and sounding boards and sidemen and general voices of authority and experience, Lerner wanted to do this one entirely on his own. 

                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                              1. Effluxion
                                                                                              2. Cut The Quick
                                                                                              3. Like Nothing
                                                                                              4. Running Like A River
                                                                                              5. Set A Course. SIDE B 
                                                                                              6. How Do I Get Rid Of Sunlight?
                                                                                              7. Suburban Streetlight Drunk
                                                                                              8. Feel It In Your Bones
                                                                                              9. A Place In The Sun
                                                                                              10. Out For Blood.

                                                                                              The cliché that circulated after the 2016 election foretold a new artistic golden age: Artists would transform their anger and anxiety into era-defining works of dissent in the face of authoritarianism.
                                                                                              Yet Bob Mould calls his new album Sunshine Rock.
                                                                                              It’s not because Mould—whose face belongs on the Mount Rushmore of alternative music—likes the current administration. His decision to “write to the sunshine,” as he describes it, comes from a more personal place – a place found in Berlin, Germany, where he’s spent the majority of the last three years. Here Mould would draw inspiration from the new environments.
                                                                                              “Almost four years ago, I made plans for an extended break,” Mould explains. “I started spending time in Berlin in 2015, found an apartment in 2016, and became a resident in 2017. My time in Berlin has been a life changing experience. The winter days are long and dark, but when the sun comes back, all spirits lift.”
                                                                                              These three years in Berlin would quite literally shed new light on Mould’s everyday mindset.

                                                                                              “To go from [2011 autobiography] See a Little Light to the last three albums, two of which were informed by loss of each parent, respectively, at some point I had to put a Post-It note on my work station and say, ‘Try to think about good things.’ Otherwise I could really go down a long, dark hole,” he says. “I’m trying to keep things brighter these days as a way to stay alive.”

                                                                                              That makes Sunshine Rock as logical a product of the current climate as any rage-fuelled agit-rock. Variations on the word “sun” appear 27 times in five different songs over the course of the album’s 37 minutes. To hear Mould tell it, the theme developed early.
                                                                                              “Sunshine Rock is one hell of a way to wrap up the busiest decade of my career,” he shares. “The autobiography, the Disney Hall tribute show, reissues of several albums from my catalogue, three current rock band albums, several world tours, and now this new album — I’m humbled and grateful to still be making new music while celebrating my lifetime songbook.”

                                                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                              Barry says: The aptly titled Sunshine Rock is indeed another side to Mould, eschewing the dark undertones of his previous work, focusing on the more optimistic pop spirit that has always provided the counterfoil to his trademark gloom. Major-key resolutions to slowly-grown unease lifts the mood once again into shining summer haze. Exactly as accomplished as you'd expect from Mould, but a good deal more optimistic. Lovely.

                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                              01 Sunshine Rock
                                                                                              02 What Do You Want Me To Do
                                                                                              03 Sunny Love Song
                                                                                              04 Thirty Dozen Roses
                                                                                              05 The Final Years
                                                                                              06 Irrational Poison
                                                                                              07 I Fought
                                                                                              08 Sin King
                                                                                              09 Lost Faith
                                                                                              10 Camp Sunshine
                                                                                              11 Send Me A Postcard
                                                                                              12 Western Sunset

                                                                                              Neutral Milk Hotel

                                                                                              In The Aeroplane Over The Sea

                                                                                                Neutral Milk Hotel is Elephant 6 co-founder Jeff Mangum, Julian Koster (of Music Tapes), Scott Spillane (of the Gerbils) and Jeremy Barnes (of Beirut, A Hawk and a Hacksaw). In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is one of the best-selling Merge titles of all time. In addition, annually, the album charts among the top vinyl titles sold industry wide in the USA. Originally released in 1998, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea was named Best Album of the ‘90s by Magnet Magazine. Album rated 10.0 via Pitchfork at reissue (2005). 

                                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                1. The King Of Carrot Flowers Pt. One
                                                                                                2. The King Of Carrot Flowers Pts. Two &Three
                                                                                                3. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
                                                                                                4. Two-Headed Boy
                                                                                                5. The Fool Holland
                                                                                                6. 1945 Communist Daughter
                                                                                                7. Oh Comely
                                                                                                8. Ghost, [untitled Track]
                                                                                                9. Two-Headed Boy Pt. Two

                                                                                                Titus Andronicus

                                                                                                A Productive Cough

                                                                                                  Since debuting in 2008, Titus Andronicus [hereafter +@] has been conditioning faithful listeners to expect only the unexpected. With A Productive Cough, +@ has executed the most shocking departure yet—but only if, as ever mercurial singer-songwriter Patrick Stickles insists, “you haven’t been paying attention.” In a move that may infuriate the black-denim-and-PBR set, A Productive Cough sets aside leadfooted punk anthems in favor of a subtler, more spacious approach that pushes Stickles’ soul-baring songwriting to the fore, creating an intimacy between artist and audience with which previous +@ efforts had only flirted. “[+@] records have always had their fair share of ballads,” Stickles explains, “but they were always buried amidst a lot of screaming. Now, they are the cornerstones. Punk rock is nice, but it is but one tool in the toolbox from which I pull to achieve my artistic purpose, and that purpose has always been communication and validation. This time, perhaps I can more effectively talk to the people if I am not so busy yelling at them.” The mission of A Productive Cough is apparent from the first bars of opening track “Number One (In New York).” As a tableau of piano and dulcet horns unfolds, Stickles unleashes a breathless and unceasing 64-bar verse with subject matter as sprawling as the kitchen-sink arrangement, which grows to include sparkling guitars, twinkling bells, and uplifting choral vocals as Stickles searches desperately for the strength to carry on through an increasingly violent and frightening world. 

                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                  SIDE A - Number One (In New York), Real Talk, Above The Bodega (Local Business).

                                                                                                  Side B - Crass Tattoo, Home Alone, Mass Transit Madness (Goin’ Loco’).

                                                                                                  CD & 7” Includes The Additional Track (I’m) Like A Rolling Stone. 

                                                                                                  Superchunk

                                                                                                  Superchunk

                                                                                                    When I listen to our first album now, other than cringing at some clams and the vocals and the juvenile attitude of the whole thing... what was I angry about? You'll have to ask 21-year-old me because in my memory, we were having fun. I hear the accumulation of our influences, which I suppose is normal for a first album—weaving all the things you loved up to that point into your own first thing.

                                                                                                    The Buzzcocks, Husker Du, Dinosaur Jr, and Sonic Youth are all right there and what we were listening to. I was living in NYC finishing school when we made this record, so rehearsals and recording were all rushed. I'm surprised we knew this many songs well enough to record them. Twenty-seven years later, we still play at least three or four of these songs live occasionally (one of them all the time...), which says something good about a few of the songs, anyway! We got so much better as a band, and as songwriters, that it's hard to even see this as any kind of template for what Superchunk would eventually be, but it's definitely where we were at in 1989/90, Mac McCaughan. 

                                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                    1 Sick To Move
                                                                                                    2 My Noise
                                                                                                    3 Let It Go
                                                                                                    4 Swinging
                                                                                                    5 Slow
                                                                                                    6 Slack Motherfucker
                                                                                                    7 Binding
                                                                                                    8 Down The Hall
                                                                                                    9 Half A Life
                                                                                                    10 Not Tomorrow

                                                                                                    A Giant Dog

                                                                                                    Toy

                                                                                                      Toy, the fourth LP from A Giant Dog and their second for Merge, shows the Austin quintet at the height of their powers. A solid year of road-dogging and woodshedding has made the band tighter than ever, the charging dynamo of Andrew Cashen and Andy Bauer's guitars in lockstep with the primal chug of the rhythm section Graham Low on bass and the recorded debut of Daniel Blanchard on drums. Singer Sabrina Ellis turns in another masterful performance, in equal parts brash, defiant, vulnerable, and raw.

                                                                                                      Lyrically, Sabrina and Andrew have a gift for making their personal frustrations and fuck-ups, fears, lusts, and addictions feel universal. While they have always given voice to the weirdos and creeps—showing that their peccadilloes and peculiarities are much more deep-seated and widespread they dig even deeper on Toy. “I feel I’ve revealed more in this album than ever before,” Sabrina confesses. Still, the band doesn’t sacrifice an ounce of catchiness or charm when tackling issues like aging, agency, and mortality. For proof, just look at “Photograph,” the sweetest love song about physical longing and enduring devotion to one’s lover, even as their body succumbs to the ravages of time.

                                                                                                      The band recorded Toy with Grammy-winning engineer Stuart Sikes (Loretta Lynn, Cat Power, The White Stripes, Reigning Sound), and singer/songwriter/guitarist/wildman Cashen produced it. "Andrew as producer makes a lot of sense," Sabrina says. "He composes the songs and knows better than anyone what they should sound like in the end. With him at the helm, we've arrived at a raw, truthful, risky, and rangey album." Toy is also sonically huge, pulling from a range of influence s as diverse as Tinariwen and Thin Lizzy. 

                                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                      1. Get Away
                                                                                                      2. Fake Plastic Trees
                                                                                                      3. Bendover
                                                                                                      4. Toy Gun
                                                                                                      5. Lucky Ponderosa
                                                                                                      6. Photograph
                                                                                                      7. Roller Coaster 
                                                                                                      8. Angst In My Pants
                                                                                                      9. Tongue Tied
                                                                                                      10. Hero For The Weekend
                                                                                                      11. Making Movies
                                                                                                      12. Night Terror
                                                                                                      13. Survive.

                                                                                                      It's a Myth is Sneaks' 2nd album. With little more than a bass, drum machine, and deadpan vocals, Sneaks, a.k.a. Eva Moolchan, makes minimalist music that takes up space - something she herself has made a point of doing in the male-heavy Washington, D.C., DIY punk scene that has been her home. Moolchan's compelling songwriting, along with the fervid energy of her shows, prompted breakout D.C. label Sister Polygon to release her 2015 debut Gymnastics, which Merge reissued in September 2016.

                                                                                                      It's a Myth builds on Sneaks' playfully stark approach to post-punk, which, as her hometown City Paper described it, causes listeners to go "from curious to provoked to hungry." Hungry, in part, because the new album clocks in at just 18 minutes of 10 taut, captivating tracks (but still a feast compared to Gymnastics' 14 minutes). It also adds Jonah Takagi and Ex Hex/Helium frontwoman Mary Timony, who recorded the album at Timony's D.C. studio. "She's got art in her brain," Timony has said of Moolchan. "Her brain is making beautiful stuff." Though it flows from influences like Pylon and Bush Tetras, much of that beautiful stuff is hard to categorize or compare to anything else. It’s herkyjerky and fluid all at once, childlike and yet deeply perceptive.

                                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                      Inside Edition,
                                                                                                      Look Like That,
                                                                                                      Not My Combination,
                                                                                                      Hair Slick Back,
                                                                                                      Devo, PBNJ,
                                                                                                      Act Out,
                                                                                                      Daffodils,
                                                                                                      With A Cherry On Top,
                                                                                                      Future.

                                                                                                      The writing of the songs that became Heart Like a Levee started in a hotel room in Washington DC in January of 2015 during a powerful storm that darkened the East Coast. At that time I was feeling - more acutely than I had ever felt before - wrenched apart by my responsibilities to my family and to my music. Forgetting, momentarily, that for me, each exists only with the other. How could I forget? Though maybe my lapse was reasonable: I had just quit my job, the most recent and last, in a series of dead-end gigs stretching back 20 years, with the vow that my children would understand their father as a man in love with his world and the inventor of his own days. They would be rare in that regard. And then - driven by monthly bills and pure fear - I left for another tour, carrying a load of guilt that I could just barely lift. But in that snowy hotel room I found the refrain that became my compass: I was a dreamer, babe, when I set out on the road; but did I say I could find my way home? M.C. Taylor.

                                                                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                      Barry says: Optimism clearly doesn't come too easily to M.C Taylor, but you might just be mistaken for thinking that he's made his peace with the world from this shining and cautiously cheery suite of lovelorn sonnets. Perfectly produced and heartfelt country-tinged acoustic odes, and minor-key stripped back melodies. Stunning.

                                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                      Biloxi
                                                                                                      Tell Her I’m Just Dancing
                                                                                                      Heart Like A Levee
                                                                                                      Like A Mirror Loves A Hammer
                                                                                                      Smoky’s Song
                                                                                                      Cracked Windshield
                                                                                                      As The Crow Flies
                                                                                                      Happy Day (Sister My Sister)
                                                                                                      Say It Like You Mean It
                                                                                                      Ace Of Cups
                                                                                                      Highland Grace

                                                                                                      Vestapol (Deluxe Bonus):
                                                                                                      SIDE A
                                                                                                      Blackeyed Boy
                                                                                                      After The Colors
                                                                                                      Together’s Just A Word
                                                                                                      Living Above The Waterline
                                                                                                      Strawberry Girl Reel
                                                                                                      SIDE B
                                                                                                      Little Rain
                                                                                                      John The Gun
                                                                                                      Vestapol (Is Where I’m Bound)

                                                                                                      When it came time to make Ad Infinitum, the fourth Telekinesis album, drummer/songwriter/principal architect Michael Lerner found himself in a predicament. In just under five years, he had released three fantastic records - Telekinesis! (2009), 12 Desperate Straight Lines (2011), and Dormarion (2013) - each more ambitious than the last. He had toured all over the world, shared stages with great bands, and enthralled fans of his infectious, ebullient power pop. Newly married and happily ensconced in the home studio he’d assembled in his West Seattle basement, Lerner found himself asking the question that has haunted modestly successful bands down the ages: What do you do after the rock and roll dreams you had when you were 19 have come true? “I went down to the basement,” Lerner recalls, “and started playing the same chords I always play… I just felt like I’d exhausted everything I knew. I was not excited at all. I just could not make another power-pop album.” While many artists have made fruitful use of vintage sounds and production techniques in recent years, Ad Infinitum is a different animal. It feels less like a time capsule and more like a time machine. In the movie version of the story, Lerner would stumble on his way down the stairs, hit his head, and wake up in 1983, and the only way he could get back to the present day would be to make a record using available instruments. Then he’d wake in 2015 to discover he’d been in his basement studio all along. And the record he’d made in that strange dream state would turn out to be Ad Infinitum, the most ambitious and assured Telekinesis release to date. 

                                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                      1. Falling (In Dreams)
                                                                                                      2. Sylvia
                                                                                                      3. In A Future World
                                                                                                      4. Courtesy Phone
                                                                                                      5. Sleep In
                                                                                                      6. Edgewood
                                                                                                      7. It’s Not Yr Fault
                                                                                                      8. Farmers Road
                                                                                                      9. Ad Infinitum Pt. 1
                                                                                                      10. Ad Infinitum Pt. 2

                                                                                                      On May 4, Mikal Cronin will return with MCIII. Marked by the lush arrangements, stunning melodies, and deeply personal lyrical work for which Cronin is now known, the album is also a deliberate attempt to simply “go big.”

                                                                                                      As he did on his self-titled 2011 debut and 2013’s MCII, Cronin arranged and played nearly all of the record himself, including the tzouras, a traditional Greek string instrument he heard and subsequently bought while on tour in Athens. There’s French horn, saxophone, and trumpet. There are mood-altering crescendos and heartbreaking turns-of-phrase, guitars both gorgeous and pugnacious. No longer satisfied with the sound of “just one string player,” Cronin arranged parts for a full string quartet instead.

                                                                                                      Portastatic

                                                                                                      The Summer Of The Shark (Reissue)

                                                                                                        First time pressed to vinyl, LP includes coupon for full album download, LP pressed to white vinyl.

                                                                                                        Portastatic's The Summer of the Shark will be available for the first time on vinyl as part of a monthly series of reissues to mark the 25th anniversary of Merge Records.

                                                                                                        Mac McCaughan, co-founder of Merge Records and frontman of the band Superchunk, began recording solo albums under the name Portastatic in the early 90's.

                                                                                                        Beginning with this album, Portastatic evolved from a lo-fi side project to become McCaughan's main focus throughout Superchunk's long hiatus in the early '00s. McCaughan wrote the songs on The Summer of the Shark in 2001 while Superchunk was on tour in support of Here's to Shutting Up, which was released mere days after the September 11 attacks and would be the band's last studio album for nine years.

                                                                                                        The resulting batch of songs was the last Portastatic album recorded almost entirely at home; it was also the most emotionally resonant, and musically compact collection to date. Recorded at McCaughan's home studio in Chapel Hill, The Summer of the Shark included contributions from Janet Weiss (Wild Flag, Quasi, Sleater-Kinney), Tony Crow (Lambchop), Margaret White (Versus, Matt Pond PA), Matthew McCaughan (Bon Iver, Hiss Golden Messenger), Aaron Oliva, and John Plymale.

                                                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                        1. Oh Come Down
                                                                                                        2. In The Lines
                                                                                                        3. Windy Village
                                                                                                        4. Through A Rainy Lens
                                                                                                        5. Don’t Disappear
                                                                                                        6. Swimming Through Tires
                                                                                                        7. Chesapeake
                                                                                                        8. Noisy Night
                                                                                                        9. Clay Cakes
                                                                                                        10. Drill Me
                                                                                                        11. Paratrooper
                                                                                                        12. Hey Salty

                                                                                                        Ex Hex

                                                                                                        Rips

                                                                                                          Ex Hex is a power trio hailing from Washington, DC. With Wild Flag on hiatus, Mary Timony (Autoclave, Helium) needed a new outlet, so she retreated to her basement and started writing. To her surprise, the songs came easily and the hooks practically wrote themselves. Mary found Laura Harris and they hit it off immediately. The pair played together for a couple of months in a tiny carpet-lined practice space shared with half a dozen hardcore bands and what appeared to be the better part of a BC Rich Mockingbird. In walked Betsy Wright from the wilds of Virginia. She and Mary have similar tendencies, both defaulting to denim and The Voidoids. Betsy is a performer and an ace piano player, and before long, she was slinging a cherry SG as the third member of Ex Hex.

                                                                                                          The group played a handful of shows and a couple of months later, in the spring of 2014, headed into the studio. Working furiously, they recorded over the span of two weeks in North Carolina with Mitch Easter (Let's Active) and in the basement of Mary's home with frequent collaborator Jonah Takagi. What results is Ex Hex 'Rips', twelve songs about underdogs, guys stealing your wallet, schoolyard brawls, and getting bent. The record happens pretty quickly, so don't blink.

                                                                                                          “a fun-as-hell supercharged take on Ramones punk and Cheap Trick power-pop, direct and catchy beyond belief” - STEREOGUM.
                                                                                                          “While the song’s reminiscent of Wild Flag’s rollicking material, it simultaneously holds its own as a sizzling and energetic little rocker.“ - CONSEQUENCE OF SOUND, on “Don’t Wanna Lose”.

                                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                          1. Don’t Wanna Lose
                                                                                                          2. Beast
                                                                                                          3. Waste Your Time
                                                                                                          4. You Fell Apart
                                                                                                          5. How You Got That Girl
                                                                                                          6. Waterfall
                                                                                                          7. Hot And Cold
                                                                                                          8. Radio On
                                                                                                          9. New Kid
                                                                                                          10. War Paint
                                                                                                          11. Everywhere
                                                                                                          12. Outro

                                                                                                          Spin magazine described Buckner as “equal parts Bay Area bohemian and dust bowl traditionalist” and named Bloomed one of its best albums of 1994, while Pitchfork wrote, “It’s a traditional outsider-country record in the lineage of Townes Van Zandt. Buckner’s voice is all honey and oak, his guitar style elaborately twanging, his constant subject matter heartache.” Richard Buckner provides some background on the album: Bloomed was originally (erroneously?) released on an unnamable German label in 1994. I was living in San Francisco at the time, having just moved out of a residential hotel and into the 1906 hilltop prefab that adorns the cover. At the time, I was heading a band called The Doubters. We were playing high profile events such as The Covered Wagon Saloon’s Musical Barstools, but weren’t making much headway. We had been turned down consistently every year by SXSW, but I was somehow finagled in as an unannounced guest onto an already unofficial SXSW showcase created by Butch Hancock at his gallery in downtown Austin. There, I met up again with Lloyd Maines, who agreed to produce my first record. Maines and I met in Lubbock, TX, a few months later, where we worked with Lubbock musicians in a small recording studio walled in wooden shingles Sharpied with bible passages from various church groups that also enjoyed working there. It was 112°F the morning I arrived under the suspicious (Californians are merely B-grade yankees) gaze of downtown’s Buddy Holly statue. That first night there, it hailed so hard that heaven’s angry pellets were storming in under my motel door. It only let up for a few moments that first night, allowing me to run across the street to get a butter burger and fries to go. We finished four days later and I flew back to San Francisco, dismembered the band, and embarked on a tour that would last about 20 years (or a few days, if you count what I actually remember). Nothing’s changed. I’m still dodging the sky and busking to strangers.

                                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                          1. Blue And Wonder
                                                                                                          2. Rainsquall
                                                                                                          3. 22
                                                                                                          4. Mud
                                                                                                          5. Six Years
                                                                                                          6. This Is Where
                                                                                                          7. Gauzy Dress In The Sun
                                                                                                          8. Daisychain
                                                                                                          9. Desire
                                                                                                          10. Up North
                                                                                                          11. Surprise, AZ
                                                                                                          12. Cradle To The Angel

                                                                                                          Bonus Track Info:
                                                                                                          1. The Last Ride
                                                                                                          2. Settled Down
                                                                                                          3. The Worst Way
                                                                                                          4. Emma
                                                                                                          5. Hutchinson - Recorded In 1995 At Black Eyed Pig In San Francisco By Kyle Statham
                                                                                                          6. Surprise, AZ - Recorded In 1996 At World Café
                                                                                                          7. Blue And Wonder - Recorded In 1997 At KCRW
                                                                                                          8. Still Lookin' For You-Townes Van Zandt - Recorded In 1997 At World Café
                                                                                                          9. Up North
                                                                                                          10. Six Years
                                                                                                          11. Gauzy Dress In The Sun - Recorded Live At The Starry Plough

                                                                                                          Vertical Scratchers is John Schmersal (ex-Brainiac/Enon, live Caribou, and Crooks on Tape) and Christian Beaulieu (ex-Triclops!/Anywhere). Their debut album is 'Daughter of Everything'. Simplicity was the inspiration: get in the van, rehearse in the van, tour in the van, stay mobile. “I have played in a lot of bands with complicated set-ups and implemented technologies,” says John. “I also do a lot of recording and editing on computers, so part of the desire for simplicity was about wanting things to be as organic and in real time as possible.” This impulse to keep things moving is reflected in the songs themselves. Most Vertical Scratchers songs clock in under the two-minute mark but often go in twice as many directions as your average-length song. Pop deception. Think the Kinks with a Buzzcocks brevity. Daughter of Everything was recorded live in Los Angeles at The Smell in September of 2012. The special guest appearance lead vocal from Robert Pollard was recorded at Waterloo Sound in Ohio by Todd Tobias.

                                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                          1. Wait No Longer
                                                                                                          2. Turn Me Out
                                                                                                          3. Memory Shards
                                                                                                          4. Pretend U Are Free
                                                                                                          5. Way Out
                                                                                                          6. Chambermaids
                                                                                                          7. U Dug Us All
                                                                                                          8. Kingdom Come
                                                                                                          9. Someone
                                                                                                          10. Run Around
                                                                                                          11. These Plains
                                                                                                          12. Get Along Like U
                                                                                                          13. My Only Want
                                                                                                          14. Rainbows
                                                                                                          15. The End

                                                                                                          Friends and fans of The Love Language songwriter and frontman Stuart McLamb have learned to expect a lot, but rarely in a timely manner. Completing a triumvirate of spiritual transmissions spent lost (2009’s The Love Language) and found (2010’s Libraries), 2013’s Ruby Red exorcises the transient brilliance fostered by McLamb within the sheetrock walls of the album’s namesake artist space. Featuring over twenty musicians and straddling several time zones, The Love Language’s lone puppeteer borrowed heavier equipment, and held on to it longer. Initiated in a windowless unit at the fabled Ruby Red, several failed attempts and false starts at a songwriting spree landed McLamb and his engineer/case worker/boxing coach BJ Burton in Black Mountain, North Carolina, consuming every square inch of a carpeted bungalow located a few acres too close to their skittish neighbors. Soon after, Burton’s relocation to Minneapolis effectively thrust McLamb from their shared nest, helping Ruby Red discover its inherent propensity for flight. Ruby Red produces new standards for the Carolina pop songbook, finding The Love Language as an extroverted community art project made by responsible citizens of a loosely packed scene who know that McLamb will match whatever they contribute. The heartbreak is over. Now we’re getting somewhere.

                                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                          1. Calm Down
                                                                                                          2. Kids
                                                                                                          3. Hi Life
                                                                                                          4. First Shot
                                                                                                          5. Golden Age
                                                                                                          6. For Izzy
                                                                                                          7. Faithbreaker
                                                                                                          8. On Our Heels
                                                                                                          9. Knots
                                                                                                          10. Pilot Light

                                                                                                          Stephin Merritt and Gonson deliver their lines with vim and vigor, particularly on “How Very Strange,” a mean-spirited look back at the implausibility of a relationship, batting lines back and forth—it could be a sequel to the Magnetic Fields’ “Yeah! Oh, Yeah!” (sample lyric: “I put a little heroin / In everything you took in”). Another top track is “Drink Nothing But Champagne,” in which Merritt gives his best impressions of David Bowie and Aleister Crowley, as he sings, “Children, drink nothing but champagne / It makes life shorter / Than drinking water” (and water’s mostly piss!). Merritt’s ode to double suicide, “Let’s Go to Sleep (And Never Come Back),” makes it sound like an adventure, while “Keep Your Children in a Coma” offers these words of wisdom: “You can’t let them go to school / For fear of bullying little beasts / And you can’t take them to church / For fear of priests.” His lyrics veer into territories few have the audacity to touch. There are fewer zombies and aliens on Partygoing than on the prior two albums, though there are plenty of songs about aging, death, heartbreak, rejection and austerity.

                                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                          1. A Drink Is Just The Thing
                                                                                                          2. Sadder Than The Moon
                                                                                                          3. Let’s Go To Sleep (And Never Come Back)
                                                                                                          4. Satan, Your Way Is A Hard One
                                                                                                          5. A New Kind Of Town
                                                                                                          6. All I Care About Is You
                                                                                                          7. Living, Loving, Partygoing
                                                                                                          8. Keep Your Children In A Coma
                                                                                                          9. How Very Strange
                                                                                                          10. Love Is A Luxury I Can No Longer Afford
                                                                                                          11. Digging My Own Grave
                                                                                                          12. Drink Nothing But Champagne
                                                                                                          13. When Evening Falls On Tinseltown

                                                                                                          Following their 2010 album Work, Adam, Bebban, Ted, Carl, and Eric headed out on their most successful tour ever and then returned home to their own pursuits. Families were expanded, side projects were launched, and homes outside of Stockholm were explored. When the time came to work on another Shout Out Louds record they wanted to return to the playful spirit that first brought them together ten years ago. Instead of “work,” they wanted to dance! Rather than rehearsing and then recording in the studio as they’d always done, everyone felt free to write and work on their own parts individually as Optica was taking shape. Also, the band worked with a string composer to achieve lush arrangements described by Carl as “Disney on drugs” and by Adam as “like warm mayonnaise.” Shout Out Louds took their time with these songs, recording for about 1.5 years in a small Stockholm studio and producing themselves for the first time with help from Johannes Berglund. A theme emerged and Optica was born, an album celebrating color and light from a band confident in its sound.

                                                                                                          “The forthcoming album is stacked full of the usual anthemic qualities we’ve come to expect from the group, whilst the quality of songwriting and production takes another bold step towards eternal greatness.” The Line of Best Fit

                                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                          1. Sugar
                                                                                                          2. Illusions
                                                                                                          3. Blue Ice
                                                                                                          4. 14th Of July
                                                                                                          5. Burn
                                                                                                          6. Walking In Your Footsteps
                                                                                                          7. Glasgow
                                                                                                          8. Where You Come In
                                                                                                          9. Hermila
                                                                                                          10. Chasing The Sinking Sun
                                                                                                          11. Circles
                                                                                                          12. Destroy

                                                                                                          NOTE: Track 11 Is Not Included On The Physical LP, But It Is Included As Track 11 (of The Full 12 Tracks) On The MP3 Coupon.


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                                                                                                          RT @VinylRevivalMcr: 2 spare tickets for @PiccadillyRecs end of year booklet launch party tonight @nightanddaycafe. Live sets from @michael
                                                                                                          Fri 2nd - 1:42
                                                                                                          Yes, our End of Year Charts have been revealed today but it’s still New Music Friday 🙌 Here’s a small selection of… https://t.co/ouUwKzowdc
                                                                                                          Fri 2nd - 1:21
                                                                                                          We love it Michael. Can’t wait for tonight! Get the album here https://t.co/pOy3FdQcvq Last tickets for tonight… https://t.co/fV1ueCWJLm
                                                                                                          Fri 2nd - 1:12
                                                                                                          RT @markbrownstudio: Interesting behind the scenes info from the @PiccadillyRecs review - No.1 album winner @michaelheadtreb sent in handwr…
                                                                                                          Fri 2nd - 1:04
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