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RIBBON MUSIC

John Maus

Songs (Reissue)

Better known as a core member of Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti and keyboard player with Animal Collective's Panda Bear, John Maus is a musician with a distinctive sound of his own. This is his debut release, his life work, which was written and recorded at home over the last five years.

'Songs' is a twisted baroque pop record that brings to mind early 80's hits and coming-of-age movie soundtracks. Almost entirely electronic, Maus' sound is created from synthesisers, drum machine, bass and his remarkable vocals, which are pitched somewhere between Ian Curtis, Calvin Johnson and David Bowie.

The record is a manic lo-fi masterpiece, which blurs addictive melodies, emotive lyrics and dreamy soundscapes to memorable effect. Permeated by feelings of intense nostalgia, with this album Maus has created a testimony to lost romance and to longing.

FORMAT INFORMATION

Coloured LP Info: Red coloured vinyl.

John Maus

We Must Become The Pitless Censors Of Ourselves (Reissue)

John Maus lives in his birthplace of Austin, Minnesota. Whilst working towards his PhD in Political Science he also composes music that taps into melancholic fantasy and affirms that we are all truly alive. Questing synthesisers, tensely strung bass lines and chasing drum machines providing the perfect backdrop for John's deeply resonant reverb-drenched vocal. Born in the decade of synth pop and sharing his birthday with George Frideric Handel, John started making music when Nirvana posters went up on every teenager’s wall. It’s this curious conflux of influences that partially helps to describe John’s music. It’s a world where the Germs jam with Jerry Goldsmith, Cabaret Voltaire relocate to Eternia and Josquin des Prez writes a new score for RoboCop. The confrontation of punk, the fleeting poignancy of 80’s movie soundtracks, the insistent pulse of Moroder and the spirituality of Medieval and Baroque music all find salvation in John Maus.

After a spell working alongside Ariel Pink (whom Maus met whilst studying at Cal Arts in Los Angeles) and Gary War in Haunted Graffiti, 2006 saw the release of John’s debut album proper through Upset The Rhythm. It was a record permeated with aching memories; a perfect testimony to lost romance and longing. It’s awe-inspired follow-up ‘Love Is Real’ (released on UTR, 2007) proved a more cohesive listen in terms of focus and emotional depth. Like an apocalyptic journey through the nostalgic streets of a common hometown, deep into the recesses of the human heart, ‘Love Is Real’ still stands out as an impressive whole. Both albums made an impact which grew and grew during some quieter academic years for Maus in the Hawaiian heat, before he returned last year to the heavy snows of the Midwest to finish album number three, ‘We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves’.

‘We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves’ breaks new ground for Maus. The shirt pulling and air punching of his impassioned live performance is finally captured in all its frenzied appeal alongside a tender inner space. After stretching muscles with opener ‘Streetlight’, arpeggiators bubble up to new levels with ‘Quantum Leap’, a song full of dead zones, glancing slaps and oscillating solos. “Heart to heart, mind to mind, we are the ones who seem to travel through time,” intones Maus resolutely through the mist. John’s lyrics are as likely to touch upon themes of Cronenberg gore just as much as the musings of Jacques Rancière. It’s this no-brow approach that makes things interesting, casting Maus as a savant and allowing his music to startle us in ways whereby we open up to the unimaginable.

John’s preoccupation with truth, love and eternity are perfectly suited to this treatment as seen with “And The Rain’ and the softly cascading ‘Keep Pushing On’ .The songs are devastatingly catchy, saturated with keyboards and overflowing with Maus’ allegorical summons. The hypnotic fugue ‘We Can Break Through’ treads new territories into minimalism for Maus, seeing the phrase “Break through this” repeated almost like a mind control procedure scored by Bach and Suicide.

‘Pitiless Censors’ as an album displays a more delicate touch than its predecessors. ‘Hey Moon’ is John’s first duet, performed with Molly Nilsson, who originally wrote the song. It’s a serene and elegiac song, which subtly weaves an impression of nocturnal loneliness and romantic dreams. Closing track ‘Believer’ is equally evocative with its bells, choral soaring and echoing sentiment. Of course, a John Maus album wouldn’t be a John Maus album without the same anthemic genius and dark humour that we’ve seen previously with songs like ‘Maniac’ and ‘Rights For Gays’ and this new album finds its succour in ‘Cop Killer’. The eerie waltz-time offspring of Body Count’s controversial 90’s protest track, ‘Cop Killer’ is dystopian, bleak and ridiculous and in short, classic Maus.

Unlike the last two albums, Pitiless Censors looks towards the future in all its absurdity. It’s a record where promise takes the lead for the first time, providing a counterpoint to John’s default existential calling. The cover of Pitiless Censors depicts an airbrushed lighthouse, thrashed by wave after wave, bringing to mind Beckett’s quote "Unfathomable mind: now beacon, now sea." The everyday realm where our lives seem both familiar and equally strange is where John Maus resides. His surreal touch is disarming, opening our eyes to the reality outside the four walls. Perhaps we’re all like “the human being who finds himself in the locker” in ‘Head For The Country’ in that if we surprise ourselves and open the door we can let the light in despite the storm.


FORMAT INFORMATION

Coloured LP Info: Lime green coloured vinyl.

John Maus

Love Is Real (Reissue)

    John Maus lives and works in Austin, Minnesota. Although first drawn to our attention as a core member of Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti and keyboard player with Animal Collective's Panda Bear, Maus has proved himself to be an extraordinary musician with a distinctive sound in his own right. His second album "Love Is Real" is an apocalyptic journey through the nostalgic streets of our home towns deep into the recesses of the human heart. It is a map of self discovery, rejection and escapism captured across 14 songs of melancholic baroque pop music. Similar in style to his 2006 debut "Songs", the album is a mixture of exploratory synthesiser theatrics, tensely-strung bass lines and insistent drum machine clicks and pops, all set off by John's deeply resonant reverb-drenched vocal. "Love Is Real" is a more reflective and realised effort than "Songs" however, focusing its attentions on impulsive song writing and inspired musicianship, replacing the reminiscent feel of the first record with genuine poignancy.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Pink vinyl edition.

    Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

    A Man Alive

    Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, the San Francisco-based band fronted by singer and songwriter Thao Nguyen, release their fourth album, ‘A Man Alive’, via Ribbon Music.

    Following the critical success of ‘We The Common’ (2013) - largely inspired by Thao’s volunteer work with the California Coalition for Women’s Prisoners and featuring a duet with Joanna Newsom - ‘A Man Alive’ is an evolution in both subject matter and sound. Thao says: “I wanted ‘A Man Alive’ to be beat and bass-driven - rather than guitar-based - extending and elaborating upon the hip hop influences of the previous record. ‘A Man Alive’ is more instrumental, more riff and loop-centric, and has more manipulated sounds.”

    Mostly recorded at Tiny Telephone Studios in San Francisco, ‘A Man Alive’ was produced by Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards. The songs are often punctuated by handclaps, singalong choruses and ass-shaking beats. While these songs come from a deeply personal origin, they have such an accessible quality that it is easy to imagine an engaged and participatory live audience.

    The album presents a fiercely original group sound that is rife with experimentation and playfulness. It demonstrates Thao’s development as a songwriter and it achieves that most elusive quality in music - to create an album of songs that are dark yet buoyant, tragic yet redemptive, personal yet inclusive.

    Lead singer of The Walkmen releases debut album ‘Black Hours’ on Ribbon Music.

    In its orchestrated rhythms, dynamic vocals and generous production, ‘Black Hours’ speaks from one booming voice. Inaugurating a new chapter in an already remarkable career from The Walkmen frontman, the album brings Leithauser full circle and then some, from lonely midwinter piano-and-vocals sessions to a loud, live rock ‘n’ roll group and back again.

    Performers on the album include Rostam Batmanglij (Vampire Weekend), Paul Maroon (The Walkmen), Morgan Henderson (Fleet Foxes), Richard Swift (The Shins / solo), Amber Coffman (Dirty Projectors).

    Ribbon Music release the long-awaited second album from Baltimore’s Lower Dens, ‘Nootropics’.

    The band released their beguiling debut album ‘Twin-Hand Movement’ in July 2010. ‘Nootropics’ is the next step, with its sleek, metronomic pulse and vast meticulous vision.

    “Lower Dens make music that seems to seep in through your pores. Music to be immersed in” - Clash

    “Slow burn charms from a brainy band” - The Independent

    “Lower Dens know when to hold back and when to push forward, how to manipulate the dynamics of a rhythm for maximum effect” - Drowned in Sound

    Black Dice

    Mr Impossible - Screen Printed Edition

      Special edition vinyl in hand screen printed sleeve. Exclusive to independent stores. 350 copies only!

      ‘Mr Impossible’ is the sixth full length album from New York Noise vets Black Dice.

      This record is irreverent and aggressive - for fans of speedy, industrial-tinged electronic experiments.

      Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox says "I feel like the wisest things I've learned about being in a band I learned by watching them."


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