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Hop Along has had multiple lives. First conceptualized as a freak-folk solo act by Frances Quinlan, it progressed towards a fuller sound with the addition of Mark Quinlan on drums, Tyler Long on bass and Joe Reinhart (Algernon Cadwallader, Dogs on Acid) on guitar. Emerging as one of music’s most unique songwriters, the captivating vignettes Frances has weaved tell vivid stories of desperation and weary awakening. Her powerful voice is a spellbinding entity all it’s own, celebratory and raw, and one that can’t be shaken away. Their new album, Painted Shut, (out on May 5, 2015 via Saddle Creek) is their 2nd full-length (preceded by Get Disowned in 2012). However, this release marks their first time creating as a full-formed entity, arranging everything as a group. It was co-produced, recorded and mixed by John Agnello (Kurt Vile, Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, etc.) in the great cities of Philadelphia and Brooklyn, and incidentally finished in the shortest span of time the band has ever made anything.

Like their debut, Painted Shut is a series of accounts, a procession of fleeting and repeating characters. However, it diverges from its predecessor in its close-up, controlled approach (most of the album features the band recording live), and more focused portraiture. Whereas Get Disowned calls forth a dreamy collage of protagonists in a tone that’s often anthemic and surreal, Painted Shut is a grounded, less merciful image of many struggling adults (and children) in a severe landscape.

Bright Eyes

A Christmas Album

    Originally released in 2002 as a Saddle Creek online store exclusive (with all proceeds benefitting the Nebraska AIDS project) Bright Eyes’ A Christmas Album finally gets its first widespread commercial release.

    The New York Times called the release ‘the saddest, sweetest holiday recording you’ll hear all season’ A Christmas Album features eleven traditional Christmas songs performed and arranged by Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst and Azure Ray’s Maria Taylor along with help from… Jake Bellows (Neva Dinova), Gretta Cohn (Cursive), Armand Constanzo, Denver Dalley (Desparecidos), Stefanie Drootin-Senseny (The Good Life, Big Harp), Orenda Fink (Azure Ray), Neely Jenkins (Tilly and The Wall), Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes) and more.


    LP Info: 180g white vinyl.

    LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    Hop Along

    Back Your Head Off, Dog

      Written over the course of 2016 and 2017 and recorded in the summer of the latter year by Frances Quinlan (songwriter/vocalist/rhythm guitar), Tyler Long (bass), Joe Reinhart (guitar), and Mark Quinlan (drums), the album addresses disappointment, particularly in man's misuse of power, and relates accounts from the periphery -- one's attempts to retreat from the lengthening shadows of tyrants, both historical and everyday. It considers what it’s like to cast off longheld and misguided perceptions, yet without the assurance of knowing what new ones will replace them. Much like on Hop Along’s first and second records, Get Disowned and Painted Shut, Quinlan seeks in real time to work through these issues.

      Throughout the album, one gets the sense that Quinlan is wandering in the thicket of a forest—a state of being that will feel familiar to long time listeners—and on this outing, she hasn’t left a trail of breadcrumbs behind her. The album’s artwork, which Quinlan painted herself, invites the listener into that forest, as well. “There is a terror in getting lost,” she says, “the woods are at the same time beautiful and horrifying.” This curious wandering gives the album, both lyrically and musically, a heightened dimensionality.

      Bark Your Head O, Dog is, without question, Hop Along’s most dynamic and textured record yet. Self-produced and recorded at The Headroom in Philadelphia by Reinhart and Kyle Pulley, Bark Your Head O, Dog features the familiar sounds that have always made the band allergic to genre: grunge, folk, punk, and power pop all appear, with inspiration from ELO to Elvis Costello to ‘70s girl group vocal arrangements. This time around, they’ve added strings, more intricate rhythms, lush harmonies (featuring Thin Lips’ Chrissy Tashjian), along with a momentary visit with a vocoder. In more than one place, Mark Quinlan drums like he’s at a disco with Built to Spill.

      Most significantly, Bark Your Head O, Dog shows the band at its strongest and most cohesive. Hop Along (which originally began as Quinlan’s solo project under the moniker Hop Along, Queen Ansleis) has never sounded so deliberate, so balanced. “So strange to be shaped by such strange men” is a line that repeats on more than one song on the album. “I’ve been thinking about that a lot. That I just deferred to men throughout my life,” Quinlan says. “But by thinking you’re powerless, you’re really robbing yourself. I’m at a point in my life where I’m saying instead, ‘Well, what can I do?’”

      Stef Chura


        Stef Chura’s debut studio album, Messes, is born of her years of experience playing around the Michigan underground, setting up DIY shows in the area, and moving around the state. “Right when it starts to feel like home/It's time to go," she sings on its opening cut, 'Slow Motion', a twisty, dim-lit guitar pop song where she curls and stretches every word. There are worlds of emotion in the ways Chura pronounces phrases with twang and grit, alternatingly full of despair, playfulness, and abandon. Chura calls her music “emotional collage,” eschewing start-to-finish storylines in favour of writing intuitively about feelings, drawing from experiences and references related to a certain sentiment.

        Originally from Alpena, Michigan, Chura moved to the Ypsilanti area in 2009, where she began playing shows before ultimately moving to Detroit in 2012. Chura has been home-recording and self-releasing her songs for six years, playing bass in friends’ bands as well. With a trove of demos and 4-track home recordings, some of which she’d released on small runs of cassettes over the years, Chura says she wasn’t sure what to do with her life before heading into the studio. “One of my best friends passed away and I thought, what do I have to do before I die? I have to at least make one record.”

        She recorded the entire album with Fred Thomas (Saturday Looks Good To Me) throughout 2015. Thomas plays bass on most of the record, and a bit of guitar and drums. Drummer Ryan Clancy of Jamaican Queens and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. adds the bulk of the drums. Through intricate guitar work and warm, textured production, Messes finds her trying to make sense of life’s ups and downs. “It’s about emotional mess, not physical mess,” Chura says. “The title track is about knowing that you are going to do something the wrong way, but you’re doing it anyway because you want that experience. I’ve had to do a lot of things the wrong way in order to figure out how to live my life.”


        YMCA Pool

          The fourth release in the Saddle Creek Document series, where they aim to highlight artists and music scenes from around the world that they’ve fallen in love with, but aren’t necessarily already part of the Saddle Creek family, is the YMCA Pool 7-inch from Boston’s Palehound.

          Led by fierce vocalist and prolific creative force Ellen Kempner, Palehound formed in 2014 and has since taken their plainspoken, techniqueheavy indie rock from the basements of Boston to festivals around the world.

          Kempner described the origin of the tracks found on YMCA Pool in saying, "I've had these songs laying around forever and could never really find a place for them on a record. After we toured with Bully, Alicia Bognanno offered to record some stuff for me at her house in Nashville, which seemed like a great opportunity. We spent two days hiding from the heat in her house recording... and also at Dave and Buster's. I love Alicia she is truly the best."

          Young Jesus

          Young Jesus

            Young Jesus, an indie rock quartet from Los Angeles, looks to communicate the tensions between proximity and distance, chaos and order. On their upcoming record S/T, to be released by Saddle Creek, the band focuses on seemingly small moments in everyday life: phone calls with Mom, landscapes along the highway, crows in a tree. Yet with time these strange intimacies add up to a life. A life full of anxiety, confusion, sadness, joy, boredom, and ultimately wonder.

            Young Jesus mixes the emotional intensity of bands like Slint, Pile, and Built To Spill with the quiet contemplation of Yo La Tengo, Mogwai, and Laughing Stock-era Talk Talk. They give themselves to moments of aggression and volume, balanced alongside near-silence.

            Influenced by the writings of Donna Haraway, Timothy Morton, Wang An-Shih, Wang Wei, Joy Williams, and Marilynne Robinson, singer/songwriter John Rossiter hopes for a making-do with what we have, a sometimes wide-eyed learning process. Life may be too massive to grasp, but that does not mean we should shy away from it. Rather, Young Jesus tries to look toward the complexity and imperfection. “As ever, the questions Rossiter and co. raise are too big to expect any sort of clear answer, but Young Jesus offer a model of coping, a way to remain hopeful and human within their jaws” (Various Small Flames).

            Rossiter states, “the ethos is to push each other to express things that are not common-- like ideas of love and trust within friendships-- through being extremely vulnerable and making mistakes. Hopefully those mistakes become framed as an important and necessary part of process. It's about communication between four people. Hopefully it is the sound of four very good friends who want to let other people into that space.” These may be small things, but observed with thought and care they come to make the world of Young Jesus


            LP includes MP3 Download Code.

            Bright Eyes

            A Christmas Album

              Originally issued in 2002 as a Saddle Creek store exclusive, the aptly titled Christmas Album begins with a piano, flute, ambient noise, and musical saw-driven version of "Away in a Manger," which will help weed out your basic yule jam fans who were just drawn in by the generic name, from the Bright Eyes/Conor Oberst disciples who know that the warmth of the holiday season is trumped only by its potential for melancholy. What follows is a sort of half-comforting, half-sad jamboree with Oberst and a small army of friends at his house playing through Christmas standards like "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," and "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem," the latter of which, when delivered with Oberst's trademark tremble, sounds more like a lament from a filthy, near-suicidal pauper locked outside of the city's walls than it does a hymn of ecclesiastical joy. That said, the fragile, homespun, and largely insular vibe that permeates much of the album, provides a nice bit of contrast to other, less sonically humble seasonal offerings, and oddly enough, is probably more aligned with the true spirit of the season.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Barry says: It's a familiar thing, isn't it. Band brings out Christmas album near Christmas, it's full of your old favourite classics, recreated without straying too far from the feel of the OG, but with your favourite artists voice. Yeah, this isn't that. Hauntingly melancholic, beautifully meditative and a welcome change from the standard Christmas fare.

              The Mynabirds

              Be Here Now

                The Mynabirds' new album, BE HERE NOW, is a collection of 9 songs written and recorded in just 2 weeks in January 2017 following the Inauguration and the Women’s March. Singer Laura Burhenn worked with producer Patrick Damphier in his Nashville studio (which he was being evicted as the neighbourhood began to gentrify, old warehouses turning to tech offices and luxury condos) to document the news and peoples’ intense emotional responses to it all in real time. No stranger to politics in her song writing, Laura aimed to speak from the voice of the collective consciousness in a work of “Emotional Journalism,” singing the heartbreak, anger, exhaustion and resolute hope she witnessed during the Muslim travel ban, the final stand at Standing Rock, and every other news story that rattled America in that period. The album vacillates in style and feel to reflect a frayed nation, featuring a Burundian refugee choir on one song, and a cacophony of dissonant saxophones in a new national anthem on another. It is the last recording made in that space.

                American singer-songwriter Laura Burhenn is a shape-shifter who can’t sit still. Since 2010 she’s worked under the moniker The Mynabirds, releasing three critically acclaimed and stylistically different albums on Saddle Creek: What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood (2010) and GENERALS (2012), both produced by Richard Swift, and Lovers Know (2015). She has also toured as a member of the Postal Service (2013) and Bright Eyes (2011), helped found Omaha Girls Rock (a non-profit helping young girls find their voices), and in 2013 gave a TED talk based on her “New Revolutionists” portrait project, exploring what it means to be a revolutionary woman in this day and age. Before The Mynabirds, Laura was a member of DC indie band Georgie James with Q And Not U’s John Davis, and also put out two self-produced solo albums on the label she founded herself, Laboratory Records.

                The trails that Brooklyn’s Big Thief -- Adrianne Lenker (guitar, vocals), Buck Meek (guitar), Max Oleartchik (bass), and James Krivchenia (drums) -- take us down on Capacity, the band’s highly anticipated second record out 6/9 on Saddle Creek, are overgrown with the wilderness of pumping souls. After last year’s stunning Masterpiece, Capacity was recorded in a snowy winter nest in upstate New York at Outlier Studio with producer Andrew Sarlo. The album jumps right into lives marked up and nipped in surprisingly swift fashion. They are peopled and unpeopled, spooked and soothed, regenerating back into a state where they can once again be vulnerable. Lenker’s songs introduce us to a gallery of multifacted women and deal with the complicated matters of identity — at once dangerous and curious, though never unbelievable. Lenker shows us the gentle side of being ripped open. Tricked into love, done in and then witnessing the second act of pulling oneself back together to prepare for it to all happen again, but this time to a sturdier soul, one who is going to take the punches better than ever before and deal some jabs and roundhouses of their own. The album is thick with raw, un-doctored beauty: most of the songs on Capacity were played for the first time in the studio and were recorded the same day. “There is a darker darkness and a lighter light on this album,” Lenker explains. “The songs search for a deeper level of self-acceptance, to embrace the world within and without. I think Masterpiece began that process, as a reaction from inside the pain, whereas I feel Capacity examines the pain from the outside.”

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Laura says: Following on from their aptly titled debut "Masterpiece", this Brooklyn four piece once again bring us a stunning collection of heartfelt songs. It's a beautiful album, at times sounding quite stripped back, with gently strummed guitars over crisp drum patterns, but it's the gentle intensity of Adrianne's vocals that really sets it apart.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Coloured LP Info: Just managed to get a couple more of these, but you're gonna have to be quick if you want one!

                LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                Wilder Maker

                New Streets

                  Welcome to our new series, Document, where we aim to highlight artists and music scenes from around the world that we’ve fallen in love with, but aren’t necessarily already part of the Saddle Creek family. Our second release in the series is the New Streets 7-inch from Brooklyn’s Wilder Maker. Urban pastorals unfold in the music of Gabriel Birnbaum, the multi-instrumentalist, singer and writer behind the songs of Brooklyn’s Wilder Maker. Wilder Maker’s songs keenly observe landscapes of desire and abandon,_lled with colorful characters and street revelations, in a musical setting as boldly diverse as their NYC home base.

                  Land of Talk - the Montreal-based band led by Elizabeth Powell - has announced its first new album in seven years, Life After Youth. Produced and mixed by John Agnello (Kurt Vile, Sonic Youth) and Jace Lasek (Besnard Lakes), and featuring Sharon Van Etten, Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth), Sal Maida (Roxy Music/Sparks), and The Besnard Lakes, the album is a collection of songs that sees Powell in the finest voice of her career, and reuniting with original Land of Talk drummer Bucky Wheaton.

                  Since forming Land of Talk in 2006, the one certainty in Powell’s life has been uncertainty, as her band has gone from being one of Montreal’s most brash, buzzy indie rock acts to one of its most elusive and enigmatic. After recording Land of Talk’s debut EP, Applause Cheer Boo Hiss, she lost her drummer. After releasing Land of Talk’s first full-length record produced by Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Some Are Lakes (2008), she lost her voice. And after the release of the “breakthrough” (SPIN) Cloak and Cipher LP (2010), Powell lost her will.

                  Powell knew she needed a break from the album/tour/album/tour cycle after Cloak and Cipher’s release —she just didn’t plan on it becoming a full-blown hiatus. In 2011, she left Montreal behind and retreated to her grandparents’ cottage near Lake Couchiching, ON to write only to see all her work lost when her laptop irreparably crashed, taking all her demos down with it. The combination of post-tour fatigue and the demoralizing loss of her new material brought her to a dead stop.

                  It wasn’t until years later that Powell reunited with Wheaton, who emailed her out of the blue after falling out of contact for several years, and together began woodshedding new songs in Toronto at Broken Social Scene/Do Make Say Think bassist Charles Spearin’s home jam space, and then booking time at Montreal’s Breakglass Studios with Lacek, who recorded the first Land of Talk EP (and, for this new record, shared bass duties with wife/bandmate Olga “Oggie” Goreas).

                  The story of Life After Youth resembles one of those Raiders of the Lost Ark maps with the red routing lines bouncing back and forth into a blur—“which is kind of like what my brain is like,” Powell says with a laugh. But from that mental and geographic scramble, a work of great focus and clarity has emerged. To paraphrase the late David Bowie, it’s been seven years, and Powell’s brain hurt a lot. But she stands today as the patient-zero case study for Life After Youth’s therapeutic powers.



                    Welcome to Saddle Creeks new series, Document, where they aim to highlight artists and music scenes from around the world that they’ve fallen in love with, but aren’t necessarily already part of the Saddle Creek family. The inaugural release in the series is the Kismet 7-inch from Seattle’s own, Posse.

                    Posse is Sacha Maxim, Paul Wittmann-Todd & Jon Salzman. Their songs are blankets designed with soft colors and graceful edges, made to lay over pits of anger and disappointment. They leap from mercurial, spacious leads to malevolent cross-eyed solos. The rhythm guitar drifts and phases while the bass tiptoes atop the drums.

                    Bright Eyes

                    I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning - Remastered

                    Containing what are undeniably his finest songs to date, I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, two separate albums simultaneously released on January 25th, 2005, provide unequivocal proof that 24 year-old Oberst belongs to the lineage of great American songwriters.These albums are a soundly articulated slice of modern American life rolled into two very different records.

                    I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning,is a country-tinged melange of Conor's finest acoustic songs, featuring guest vocal appearances from Emmylou Harris and Jim James (My Morning Jacket), whereas Digital Ash in a Digital Urn is a more produced, band-centric album featuring cameo appearances by Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

                    The new songs are bursting with all of the rough edges and heartfelt poetry for which Bright Eyes records have earned their acclaim, while exposing a glorious new level of depth and texture to the writing and delivery. Recorded back-to-back, the albums work in tandem to elucidate both sides of Conor's recent creative output.

                    Bright Eyes

                    LIFTED Or The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear To The Ground - Remastered

                    Inherent in youth is a kinetic energy, vitality and passion that has the potential to move masses. Every new generation picks a voice that will offer them something to identify with - something to prove to them that the crazy things they're feeling, and the anger that they're having, and the disillusionment that's plaguing them is normal. Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst is that voice.

                    Born 1980 in Omaha, and recording since he was 13, Conor Oberst owns a voice that quakes with the tumultuous energy that only youth can produce. Oberst's incredible ability to tell stories with his songs and paint intricate pictures with his words is reminiscent, without being derivative, of mid-period Dylan. And his gift for composing and delivering those songs is pure poetry. As the mastermind behind the acclaimed Bright Eyes collective, Oberst's genius is found in a pretense-free, orchestral approach to songwriting. His most recent, most musically vigorous and rockin' project, Desaparecidos, toured the nation and released Read Music/Speak Spanish to enormous amounts of critical acclaim.

                    LIFTED or The Story Is In the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground, is the latest, most significant release from Oberst and the notable cast of Bright Eyes players. Oberst's mainstay production team of Mike Mogis and Andy Lemaster (Now It's Overhead) lend performances on the record along with other noteworthy Omaha musicians including Todd and Clark Baechle (The Faint), Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor (Azure Ray), Matt Maginn and Clint Schnase (Cursive), and Jiha Lee (The Good Life).

                    The Bright Eyes tour in spring of 2002 saw Oberst take the stage in a powder blue suit, surrounded by six beautiful female musicians, his sense of bona fide showmanship entrancing his audience. At his two sold-out Bowery Ballroom performances in New York City, you could have heard a pin drop between songs as hundreds of fans and new converts fell under his delicate spell - proof of Oberst's virtuosity as the consummate performer.

                    Bright Eyes

                    The Studio Albums 2000-2011 Box Set

                      Albums Include:
                      Fevers and Mirrors 2xLP (Gatefold - Maroon Vinyl)
                      LIFTED or The Story is in The Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground 2xLP (Gatefold - Black & Yellow Swirl Vinyl)
                      I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning (Light Yellow Vinyl)
                      Digital Ash in a Digital Urn 2xLP w/ D-Side etching (Gatefold - Light Blue Vinyl)
                      Cassadaga 2xLP (Gatefold - Clear Vinyl)
                      The People’s Key (Orange Swirl Vinyl)

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      LP Box Set Info: VINYL BOX SET EXCLUSIVES:
                      • Limited Edition of 5000 Worldwide
                      • COLOURED VINYL (Coloured vinyl is exclusive to this box set. BLACK vinyl reissues available in November, details below.)
                      • Foil stamped linen wrapped box
                      • Twelve 8x10 photo prints by Butch Hogan
                      • Essay by Nathaniel Krenkel

                      FREE SHIPPING This item has FREE UK shipping!

                      CD Box Set Info: CD BOX SET EXCLUSIVES:

                      Limited Edition of 1000

                      6 Cd’s Housed in foil stamped lined coated board slip case

                      Big Thief


                        Following on from their wonderful "Masterpiece" album, Big Thief return with this 7" featuring new track "Dandelion", backed with a new version of the album's title track.

                        Premium is the glistening debut album from New York-based Sam Evian. Sam describes the album as; “an analogue dream in a digital world.” Like flowing water, its cool surface entices and refreshes - then reveals hidden emotional depths. The sound of Premium recalls a sunbaked cassette of Pet Sounds or All Things Must Pass, composed with glowing guitar chords, aching pedal steel, Wurlitzers and iconic 20th-century synths. Inspired by the soulful classic sounds of Jackson Browne, Shuggie Otis, Sly and the Family Stone and The Band, as well as contemporary influences such as Cass McCombs, Broadcast, Cate Le Bon, and Chris Cohen, this is music meant for a close-up experience; spacious, dreamy, fun, and disarmingly open and honest.

                        The music came together quickly when Sam found himself in what he calls, “a premium set of circumstances.” An engineer and producer as well as in-demand guitarist, Sam befriended the founders of Brooklyn’s Figure 8 Studio, Eli Crews and the enigmatic and inspiring Shahzad Ismaily. After helping them to build and wire the studio, Sam explains how he found himself at the centre of a musical community; “I was surrounded by endlessly talented and fun musicians in a beautiful recording environment that I helped build. I felt confident and happy, so the music came together easily.”

                        That musical community included the group that recorded Premium. The album’s nine songs reflect the casual, relaxed atmosphere Sam created for himself at Figure 8, gathering his friends to record in o¬ff hours, capturing moments of o¬ffhand inspiration and laughter. There was Austin Vaughn on drums (Here We Go Magic, Luke Temple), a long-time friend from North Carolina School of the Arts, and Brian Betancourt on bass (Hospitality, Here We Go Magic, Luke Temple). They were joined by Michael Coleman on keys, a prolific player and producer, as well as being Figure 8’s studio manager. Pedal steel was provided by Dan Iead (Cass McCombs), and recorded at New York’s legendary Magic Shop studios in the days just before it closed. The tracks were some of the very last recordings in the room that had witnessed sessions by David Bowie, the Ramones, Blondie, Real Estate, Kurt Vile and generations of others. Other guest performers include vocalists Cassandra Jenkins and Hannah Cohen, Shahzad Ismaily, Eddie Barbash (the saxophonist on the Colbert show) and Steve Marion (aka Delicate Steve)

                        Big Thief's music, rooted in the songs of Adrianne Lenker, paints in vivid tones "the process of harnessing pain, loss, and love, while simultaneously letting go, looking into your own eyes through someone else's, and being okay with the inevitability of death," says Adrianne.

                        Masterpiece, Big Thief's debut album, is filled with characters and visceral narratives, songs that pivot in the space of a few words. Adrianne's voice and guitar playing speak of rich emotional territory with grace and insight. In her words, the record tracks "the masterpiece of existence, which is always folding into itself, people attempting to connect, to both shake themselves awake and to shake o¬ the numbness of certain points in their life. The interpretations might be impressionistic or surrealistic, but they're grounded in simple things.”

                        Adrianne met her longtime musical partner, guitarist and singer, Buck Meek, in Brooklyn a few years ago, and they quickly formed a creative bond tempered by the experience of traveling and performing for months on end in old dive bars, yards, barns, and basements together. They recorded a pair of duo albums (A-Sides and B-Sides), and Adrianne showcased her songs on a solo album, Hours Were The Birds.

                        Now, as a full rock and roll band, with Buck on guitar, Max Oleartchik on bass, and James Krivchenia on drums, they bring a steady wildness, giving the songs an even deeper layer of nostalgia. "These guys feel like a pack of wolves at my back," says Adrianne, "they make the songs howl and bark with a fierce tenderness that gives me courage."
                        After spending last July in an old house that they turned into a studio on Lake Champlain with producer Andrew Sarlo, the resulting collection soars on what Big Thief fan Sharon Van Etten calls "...a real journey, with intelligent stories and twist-and-turn melodies.

                        STAFF COMMENTS

                        Laura says: It's no surprise that Sharon Van Etten is a fan of Big Thief. Adrianne Lenker has a similar narrative style to her songwriting and there's a perfect balance of fragility and power in both the vocals and instrumentation that also brings to mind Van Etten. Great!

                        The Good Life

                        Everybody Is Coming Down

                          Omaha, NE’s The Good Life returns this summer with their rst album in eight years, Everybody’s Coming Down. Call it a soundtrack to Man’s 21st century existential angst, the album poses cosmic queries, contem -plates regrets, questions self-worth, and examines the possibility of living in the moment, when memories are all that we truly take with us. And in some ways, that’s the sweet spot front man and lyricist Tim Kasher inhabits: trying to make sense of this world of ours, and how and why we navigate it the way we do. Everybody’s Coming Down moves in a new direction musically and, in contrast to The Good Life’s earlier releases, is very much a rock record. It is also the rst that truly embodies the band as a whole, more so than any previous album. In blending elements of drummer Roger L.

                          Lewis’s love of classic rock, multi-instrumen-talist Ryan Fox’s chaotic approach to melody, Stefanie Drootin-Senseney’s propulsive, tuneful bass parts and colorful vocal arrangements, and Kasher’s deft, complementary song writing, the band sparked a vibrant evolution in sound. The gentler, folk-driven pop/rock for which the band is beloved remains (sonic sister album bookends “7 In The Morning” and “Midnight Is Upon Us;” “The Troubadour’s Green Room”), but it is now mixed amongst guitars lines that unspool in a blaze across songs that hit harder and more viscerally (“Every -body,” “Holy Shit”), as well as moments of distorted psychedelia and moody ambience (“Flotsam Locked Into A Groove,” “Diving Bell,” “How Small We Are”).

                          Kasher began writing songs for a new album in October 2013, and the quartet – balancing their busy lives and multiple projects – reconvened from July to December 2014 to nish writing what became Everybody’s Coming Down. With the help of Ben Brodin in Omaha’s ARC Studios, The Good Life started recording in January of this year and nished the album in their respective homes. The band then turned to John Congle - ton (St. Vincent, Baroness, Angel Olsen, Cloud Nothings) to mix the album at his Elmwood Recording in Dallas, TX, looking to his experienced hand and uninhibited style to maintain and further realize the album’s untem - pered, vital sound. And vital it is: Everybody’s Coming Down might not crack the ever-elusive code to our universal wonderings, but it’ll make you think, illuminate a new or alternative perspective, perhaps salve a lonely ache of isolation. Because we are, ultimately, all in this together – forever coming down

                          The Mynabirds

                          Lovers Know

                            After touring the world as a member of the Postal Service in 2013, Laura Burhenn (The Mynabirds) took a year to get lost. She drove across the US twice, toured South Africa solo, made her first appearance in London (also solo), and trekked all over Europe with William Faulkner’s words ringing in her ears: “You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” Finally she found herself in Los Angeles with a suitcase of songs to fill a whole new album. Lovers Know, The Mynabirds’ third full-length release, was produced by Bradley Hanan Carter (Black English) and recorded over a yearlong period in Los Angeles, Joshua Tree, Nashville, and Auckland, New Zealand.

                            It’s definitely new territory for Burhenn, forging into 80s, 90s and futuristic soundscapes, recalling Kate Bush, Sinead O’Connor, The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine and even 90s hip hop and R&B. The album may be loaded with a fresh palette of new sounds (swarms of synths, gauzy electric guitars, and electronic drums), but her brooding, unmistakable voice leads the way. Lyrically this is her most personal and confessional work to date, and also her most accessible. Whereas her last album, GENERALS, watched from a wide angle to understand the world at a distance, Lovers Know pulls in close.

                            “There’s something about wandering the world over,” Laura says, “that makes you realize how similar we all are – everyone searching for something, so often the same thing: love. It may sound trite, but it’s true. Love – or the lack of it – is the thing we all have in common. It can destroy us. It can break us open and let the light in. And it’s also the thing that can make us sing.” Burhenn has released two previous albums as The Mynabirds on Saddle Creek, What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood (2010) and GENERALS (2012), both of which were produced by Richard Swift and met by critical acclaim.

                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                            2xLtd LP Info: Double vinyl with etched 4th side.

                            Cursive release an expanded, deluxe reissue of their 2003 breakthrough album The Ugly Organ via Saddle Creek. This deluxe remastered edition is available on double CD and 180g double vinyl, with eight additional tracks on the accompanying disc. These tracks – written during the same sessions as and originally intended for The Ugly Organ – were previously found across the band’s 8 Teeth To Eat You split with Eastern Youth, their ‘Art Is Hard’ and ‘The Recluse’ singles, and the Saddle Creek 50 compilation.

                            The packaging for both The Ugly Organ (Deluxe Edition) [Remastered] 2xCD and 2xLP includes a booklet with extensive liner notes comprised of rare photos, original artwork drafts, handwritten lyrics, a list of all tour dates from the era, and an introduction written by Kyle Ryan of The AV Club. 

                            From the maniacal opening notes and carnival barker howl that launch the album, The Ugly Organ wasted no time searing itself into a listener’s ears and quickly established Cursive as a musical force with which to be reckoned. The album arrived three years after the underground success of their 2000 LP Cursive’s Domestica, which introduced frontman Tim Kasher’s particularly confessional and conceptual songwriting style, and saw him delving even further into and refining that craft. A self-aware examination of artistic constraints (or lack thereof), relationships, sex, and the intersection of all three, The Ugly Organ wowed critics and audiences alike with its cerebral, cathartic blend of songs that are alternately hushed and restrained, riotous and dissonant. Fiercely intelligent and cohesive – the liner notes laid the songs out like a play, complete with stage directions – across its diverse sonic landscape, the album landed Cursive on the Sunday Arts & Leisure section cover of The New York Times (which also called it “a marvelous collection of riddles and left turns, conceived as a single piece of musical theater”) and earned accolades from Rolling Stone (“a brilliant leap forward”), Entertainment Weekly, Billboard, Alternative Press (★★★★★), MAGNET (“The best punk record you’ll hear all year”), Esquire, and SPIN, among many others, as well as a place on numerous year-end best lists.

                            The Ugly Organ feels as vibrant and vital today as it did upon release more than 10 years ago. A landmark album, it not only catapulted the Omaha, NE-based band from the simmering indie underground to the forefront of a genre, and was the second Saddle Creek album to break the 100,000 sold mark, but also served to inspire a host of young bands in its wake.

                            Cursive has also announced a new run of tour dates early next year, beginning February 10th in Salt Lake City and wrapping up on March 21st with a hometown show in Omaha. The tour also includes a show at The Echoplex in Los Angeles, CA on February 20th and two nights at the Bowery Ballroom in New York, NY on March 10th and 11th. Each night’s setlist will feature songs culled from across the band’s seven albums – including their most recent, 2012’s I Am Gemini – in addition to drawing heavily from The Ugly Organ. A cellist will also accompany the band throughout the tour to perform on all The Ugly Organ-era songs. A current itinerary is below.

                            Kludge idiosyncratically captures life as it exists in our weird almost future world of flying robots, cancer from food, cell phone wire taps, metadata, $7.25ish minimum wage and $15.50 an hour endless choice buffets. Yet, the album possesses that inherent sense of timelessness that exists in all great music. Thanks to its combination of addictively fetching rock ‘n’ roll and Daniel Pujol’s lyrical brilliance, the end result proves yet again that Daniel Pujol is, first and foremost, a songwriter.

                            Examining well-worn subjects like love, death, authenticity, identity, alienation and society, Pujol applies a filter completely his own and brings these ideas to a place they’ve never existed before. His words examine the world with his signature brand of skepticism, humor, idealism, and an unmistakable earnestness and sincerity. Lead single “Circles” perfectly illustrates this with lines like “Show me that your sacred heart’s the human kindness kind / Show me more than 3D printers drawing skulls and knives / Show me more than kleptocratic demagogue control/Show me that you ain’t a lizard, show you’ve got a soul.”

                            Rural Alberta Advantage


                            After a breakthrough 2009 that saw them earn comparisons to Arcade Fire and Neutral Milk Hotel, capture SXSW buzz playing on a bill with Grizzly Bear, sell out a tour, sign to Saddle Creek, and score a ‘Breaking Out’ featuring in Spin Magazine, The Rural Alberta Advantage are poised to explode in 2011 with the "Departing".

                            With The Rural Alberta Advantage’s new album, the band further refines the exuberant guitar work; everything-on-the-table singing; songwriting full of conviction and detail; and majestic, keyboard-sprinkled arrangements that have won them so many fans. "Departing" strings together themes of small towns, Canadian fall and winter, breakup, and redemption and serves as a companion piece to their beloved debut album "Hometowns". Highlights include the affecting "North Star", the stark regret of "Tornado", and the storming, percussive surge of "Stamp", all of which vividly set the scene.

                            The group consists of singer/guitarist Nils Edenloff, also the chief writer in the group; Paul Banwatt, whose raucous percussion pushes the songs into overdrive; and multi-instrumental Amy Cole, who provides keys, percussion, and backing vocals. Edenloff grew up in rural Fort McMurray, Alberta, and draws on his experiences there in his songwriting.

                            Rural Alberta Advantage

                            Drain The Blood

                            “Drain the Blood” is the first single from the band’s album “Hometowns” and includes the B-side cover of “Eye of the Tiger”. The Rural Alberta Advantage was born out of singer/songwriter Nils Edenloff’s exodus from the province that inspired the band’s name and many of the songs from their enthralling debut album, “Hometowns”. To cope with the homesickness and isolation of his move from Edmonton to Toronto, the shy songwriter penned a series of odes to his former home, celebrating the country’s wild rose, the purple skies and the “deathbridge in Lethbridge”.

                            Two Gallants

                            Two Gallants

                            The eagerly anticipated follow up to 2006's "What The Toll Tells" is here. Two Gallants feel that this album so perfectly captures their sound that they could only name it "Two Gallants". Touring schedules that would break many lesser bands have helped the duo refine and hone their sound. Recorded by Alex Newport (At the Drive-In, The Locust) in Two Gallants home town of San Francisco, the bands electric side is in full effect after the well received "Scenery Of Farewell" EP from earlier in 2007.

                            The 12 tracks that make up "Places" are pure pop bliss that look towards the future but are undeniably rooted in music from generations past. "Places" is fresh, but also timeless, distinguishing Georgie James from their indie rock counterparts and setting the stage for a series of artistic triumphs. Comprising John Davis (formerly of Q and Not U) and Laura Burhenn and mixing up evocative production, inventive songwriting and multi-part harmonies with the duo's passion for 60s and 70s pop music such as The Kinks, Richard and Linda Thompson, The Jam, Simon & Garfunkel and "Shake Some Action"-era Flamin' Groovies. John switches between drums, bass and guitars, whilst Laura takes turns at the Wurlitzer and the piano.

                            Known for their aggressive, electric live shows, Two Gallants have fostered a dual musical personality by occasionally recording and playing songs with a more stripped down sound. Following on from 2006's acclaimed "What The Toll Tells", the duo showcase this different side to their music on "The Scenery Of Farewell", a five track mini-LP. Since the bands extensive touring schedule left little time for proper rehearsals, some of these songs, that were always meant for an album, evolved in such places as sound checks and radio show appearances, where it was more conducive for them to be performed. This release will be followed by a full-length album by Two Gallants in September 2007.

                            "Noise Floor" collects selected Bright Eyes singles, one-offs, unreleased tracks, collaborations and covers recorded between 1998 and 2005. Variously recorded to cassette four-track, minidisc, reel-to-reel tape machine, ADAT and computer, these songs trace Bright Eyes' evolution from basement project to band of international repute. Many of these gems previously lost to out-of-print obscurity are hereby resurrected.

                            Azure Ray

                            The Drinks We Drank Last Night

                            Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor are Azure Ray. "The Drinks We Drank Last Night" is taken from their forthcoming third album "Hold On Love" which was built taking the ethereal aspects of Azure Ray's past work and mixing them with a more upbeat and enlivened technique. Both formats also include "The Love Of Two" and "We Are Mice (Bleed Version)".

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