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Clipping

Visions Of Bodies Being Burned

    In the horror genre, sequels are perfunctory. As the insufferable film bro Randy explains in Scream 2, “There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to create a successful sequel. Number one: the body count is always bigger. Number two: the death scenes are always much more elaborate—more blood, more gore. Carnage candy. And number three: never, ever, under any circumstances, assume the killer is dead.” Last Halloween, Los Angeles experimental rap mainstays Clipping ended their three-year silence with the horrorcore-inspired album There Existed an Addiction to Blood. This October, rapper Daveed Diggs, and producers Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson return with an even higher body count, more elaborate kills, and monsters that just won’t stay dead.

    Visions of Bodies Being Burned is less a sequel than it is the second half of a planned diptych. It turns out, Clipping took to the thematic material of horrorcore like vampires to grave soil. Before the release of There Existed an Addiction to Blood, Clipping and Sub Pop Records divided the material up into two albums, designed to be released only months apart. However, a global pandemic and multiple canceled tours pushed the release of the project’s “part two” until the following Halloween season.

    Visions of Bodies Being Burned contains sixteen more scary stories disguised as rap songs, incorporating as much influence from Ernest Dickerson, Clive Barker, and Shirley Jackson as it does from Three 6 Mafia, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and Brotha Lynch Hung. Clipping’s angular, shattered interpretations of existing musical styles are always deferential, driven by fandom for the object of study rather than disdain for it. Clipping reimagine horrorcore—the purposely absurdist hip-hop subgenre that flourished in the 1990s—the way Jordan Peele does horror cinema: by twisting beloved tropes to make explicit their own radical politics of monstrosity, fear, and the uncanny.

    The album features a host of collaborators: Inglewood’s Cam & China, fellow noise-rap pioneers Ho99o9, Tortoise guitar genius Jeff Parker, and experimental LA drummer Ted Byrnes. The final track, “Secret Piece,” is a performance of a Yoko Ono text score from 1953 that instructs the players to “Decide on one note that you want to play/Play it with the following accompaniment: the woods from 5am to 8am in summer,” and features nearly all of the musicians who appeared on both albums.

    Since their last album, Daveed Diggs—the group’s Tony and Grammy Award-winning rapper—has starred in the TNT science fiction series, Snowpiercer, voiced a character in Pixar’s Soul, and portrayed Frederick Douglass in Showtime’s The Good Lord Bird. Writer Rivers Solomon’s novella based on Clipping’s Hugo-nominated song “The Deep” has been nominated for the Nebula, Hugo, and Locus Awards, and won the Lambda Literary Award for best LGBTQ SF/Fantasy/Horror novel. Clipping’s song “Chapter 319”—a tribute to George Floyd (AKA Big Floyd) the former DJ-Screw affiliated rapper who was murdered by police officers in May of 2020—was released on Bandcamp on June 19th and raised over $20,000 for racial justice charities. A clip of the song also became a popular meme on TikTok, generating over 50,000 videos in which teenagers rapped the song’s lyrics (“Donald Trump is a white supremacist, full stop…”) directly into the frowning faces of their conservative parents. The band also contributed a Skinny Puppy-esque rework of J-Kwon’s “Tipsy” to Save Stereogum: An ‘00s Covers Comp.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Loser edition on gold vinyl.

    L7

    Smell The Magic - 30th Anniversary Edition

      This 30th-anniversary edition of the ‘90s underground rock classic Smell the Magic includes all 9 songs from the album, remastered and available together on vinyl for the first time ever! A multitude of rock music scenes populated the expanse of Los Angeles in 1989: hardcore punk, industrial goth, roots rock, and Sunset Strip hair metal, to name a few. L7 fit into none of them, creating their own unique blend of punk and hard, hooky rock loaded with humor and cultural commentary. Originally released in 1990, Smell the Magic is a a landmark of '90s feminist rock.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Indies-only Loser edition on neon orange vinyl.

      Mudhoney

      Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge

        'Whether it was Conrad Uno's production, the addition of more instruments to the Mudhoney arsenal (notably, Mark Arm adds organ, as can be enjoyably heard on "Who You Drivin' Now," among other numbers), a slew of brilliant songs, or a combination of the above, Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge found Mudhoney coming into their own album-wise. "Let It Slide," the album's lead single, fuses everything from surf rock drumming from Dan Peters to a delicious vocal whine on the verses from Arm into a hotwired classic. It's not so much grunge as speed-freak energy, and all the better for it given the caricatures of Sub Pop's sound that would soon take over the airwaves.'

        Mudhoney

        Mudhoney

          Mudhoney's first album proper, released in 1989 and produced by Jack Endino. 'Endino's production lives up to his reputation for rough, thick recording, but he's left just enough for the songs to breathe, whether it's the audible handclaps on "This Gift" or the quirky guitar riff leading into Dan Peters' rollicking drum rolls on "You Got It." "When Tomorrow Hits" is easily the sleeper hit of the record; later memorably covered by Sonic Boom in the dying days of Spacemen 3, its slow, dreamily threatening build shows off the band's ability for subtlety amidst the volume. "Flat out Fucked" about sums up the whole ethos of the album — careening pace, compressed feedback roar, and Mark Arm's desperate but never self-important singing resulting in neo-garage rock anti-anthems.'

          Bully

          Sugaregg

            A very old saying goes that no one saves us but ourselves. Recognizing and breaking free from the patterns impeding our forward progress can be transformative — just ask Bully’s Alicia Bognanno. Indeed, the third Bully album, SUGAREGG, may not ever have come to fruition had Bognanno not navigated every kind of upheaval imaginable and completely overhauled her working process along the way.

            “There was change that needed to happen and it happened on this record,” she says. “Derailing my ego and insecurities allowed me to give these songs the attention they deserved.”

            SUGAREGG roars from the speakers and jumpstarts both heart and mind. Like My Bloody Valentine after three double espressos, opener “Add It On” zooms heavenward within seconds, epitomizing Bognanno’s newfound clarity of purpose, while the bass-driven melodies and propulsive beats of “Where to Start” and “Let You” are the musical equivalents of the sun piercing through a perpetually cloudy sky.

            On songs like the strident “Every Tradition” and “Not Ashamed,” Bognanno doesn’t shy away from addressing “how I feel as a human holds up against what society expects or assumes of me as a woman, and what it feels like to naturally challenge

            But amongst the more dense topics, there’s also a lightheartedness that was lacking on Bully’s last album, 2017’s Losing. Pointing to “Where to Start,” “You” and “Let You,” Bognanno says “there are more songs about erratic, dysfunctional love in an upbeat way, like, ‘I’m going down and that’s the only way I want to go because the momentary joy is worth it.’”

            The artist admits that finding the proper treatment for bipolar 2 disorder radically altered her mindset, freeing her from a cycle of paranoia and insecurity about her work. “Being able to finally navigate that opened the door for me to write about it,” she says, pointing to the sweet, swirly “Like Fire” and slower, more contemplative songs such as “Prism” and “Come Down” as having been born of this new headspace. Even small changes like listening to music instead of the news first thing in the morning “made me want to write and bring that pleasure to other people.”

            An unexpected foray into the film world also helped set the table for Sugaregg when Bognanno was asked to write songs for the 2019 movie Her Smell, starring Elisabeth Moss as the frontwoman of the fictional rock band Something She. “It got me motivated to play music again after the last album,” she says. “I loved reading the script and trying to think, what music would the character write? People asked if I’d play those songs with Bully but the whole point was for them to not be Bully songs. It was nice to get my head out of my own ass for a second and work on a project for someone else,” she says with a laugh.

            A highly accomplished engineer who ran the boards herself on the first two Bully albums, Bognanno was ready to be free “from the weight of feeling like I had to prove to the world I was capable of engineering a record, and wanted to be content knowing for myself what I can do without needing the approval of others to validate that.”

            So for SUGAREGG, she yielded recording and mixing responsibilities to outside collaborators for the first time and trekked to the remote Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, Minn., an unexpected return to her home state. Behind the console was John Congleton, a Grammy-winner who has worked with everyone from St. Vincent and Sleater-Kinney to The War on Drugs and Modest Mouse. “Naturally, I still had reservations, but John was sensitive to where I was coming from,” Bognanno says. “He was very respectful that I’d never worked with a producer before.”

            The studio’s rich history (classics such as Nirvana’s In Utero, PJ Harvey’s Rid of Me and Superchunk’s Foolish were recorded there) and woodsy setting quickly put Bognanno’s mind at ease. Being able to bring her dog Mezzi along for the trip didn’t hurt either. “I had never tracked a record in the summer, so waking up and going outside with her before we started each day was a great way to refresh,” she says.

            SUGAREGG features additional contributions from longtime touring drummer Wesley Mitchell and bassist Zach Dawes, renowned for his work on recent albums by Sharon Van Etten and Lana Del Rey. Dawes and Bognanno met at Pachyderm to work on parts just two days before tracking, “but it ended up being so much less stressful than I had expected and I loved it,” she see says. “Zach wanted to be there to help and make my vision happen.”

            With 14 songs on tape, Bognanno and friends left Pachyderm thinking SUGAREGG was done. But once back home in Nashville, she realized there was more to be written, and spent the next five months doing exactly that. Moving to Palace Studios in Toronto with Graham Walsh (Alvvays, METZ, !!!), Bognanno and Mitchell recorded “Where to Start” and “Let You,” which proved to be two of the new album’s key tracks.

            Ultimately, SUGAREGG is a testament that profound change can yield profound results — in this case, the most expressive and powerful music of Bognanno’s career. “This is me longing to see the bigger picture, motivated and eager for contentment in the best way,” she says. “I hope the happy go lucky / fuck-it-all attitude shines through some of these songs because I really did feel like I was reentering a place I hadn’t been to in a while and was excited to be back there.”

            FORMAT INFORMATION

            Coloured LP Info: Transparent red Loser edition.

            Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

            Washed Out

            Purple Noon

              Washed Out is Atlanta-based producer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Ernest Greene. Over three enchanting, critically-lauded albums and an EP, his music has proved both transportive and visual, each release inviting listeners into immersive, self-contained universes. With Purple Noon, his fourth album, and his return to Sub Pop, he delivers the most accessible Washed Out creation to date.

              Life of Leisure, Washed Out’s 2009 debut EP, set the bar for the Chillwave era, shimmering in a warm haze of off-the-cuff Polaroids and pre-IG filters. Within and Without, his 2011 full-length debut on Sub Pop, morphed into nocturnal, icy synth-pop and embraced provocative imagery. 2013’s Paracosm was Greene’s take on psychedelia, with a full live band and kaleidoscopic light show, and saw him playing to the largest audiences of his career. The sample-heavy Mister Mellow (2017, Stone’s Throw) delivered a 360 audio/visual experience, with cut-n-paste and hand-drawn animation to match the hip-hop influences throughout the album. With each release, Greene has approached his evolving project with meticulous detail and a steadfast vision.

              For Purple Noon, Greene again wrote, recorded, and produced the entirety of the album, with mixing handled by frequent collaborator Ben H. Allen (Paracosm, Within and Without). Production of the album followed a brief stint of writing for other artists (most notably Sudan Archives) which enabled Greene to explore genres like R&B and modern pop. These brighter, more robust sounds made their way into the songs of Purple Noon and mark a new chapter for Greene as a producer and songwriter. The vocals are front and center, tempos are slower, beats bolder, and there’s a more comprehensive depth of dynamics. One can hear the luxuriousness of Sade, the sonic bombast of Phil Collins, and the lush atmosphere of the great Balearic beat classics. Mediterranean coastlines inspired Purple Noon, and Greene pays tribute to the region’s distinct island culture - all rugged elegance and old-world charm - and uses it as a backdrop to tell stories of passion, love, and loss (Purple Noon’s title comes from the 1960 film directed by Rene Clement and based on the novel The Talented Mister Ripley by Patricia Highsmith). Much like romantic Hollywood epics, the melodrama throughout is strong: a serendipitous first meeting in “Too Late”; a passionate love affair in “Paralyzed”; disintegration of a relationship in “Time to Walk Away”; a reunion with a lost love in “Game of Chance.” Purple Noon adds a layer of emotional intensity to the escapism of Washed Out’s oeuvre, taking the music to dazzling new heights.

              FORMAT INFORMATION

              Coloured LP Info: Loser Edition purple coloured vinyl available to independent retailers.

              Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

              Sideways To New Italy

                After years spent looking out at landscapes and loved ones and an increasingly unstable world, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have turned their gaze inward, to their individual pasts and the places that inform them, on their second full-length, Sideways to New Italy.

                Led by singer-songwriter-guitarists Tom Russo, Joe White and Fran Keaney, the guitar-pop five-piece returned home to Australia after the relentless touring schedule that came following their critically regarded 2018 debut Hope Downs. Feeling the literal and metaphorical ground under their feet had shifted, the band began grasping for something reliable. For Keaney, that translated into writing "pure romantic fiction" and consciously avoiding the temptation of angsty break-up songs, while Russo looked north to a "bizarre place" that captured the feeling of manufacturing a sense of home when his own had disappeared.

                The New Italy of the new album’s title is a village near New South Wales’ Northern Rivers – the area drummer Marcel Tussie is from. A blink-and-you'll-miss-it pit-stop of a place with fewer than 200 residents, it was founded by Venetian immigrants in the late-1800s and now serves as something of a living monument to Italians' contribution to Australia, with replica Roman statues dotted like alien souvenirs on the otherwise rural landscape. The parallels to the way the band attempted to maintain connections and create familiarity during their disorienting time on the road was apparent to Russo. "These are the expressions of people trying to find a home somewhere alien: trying to create a utopia in a turbulent and imperfect world."

                The record's geographic identity emerged from the band losing their grip on their own, whether that was through the pressure of touring, the dissolution of relationships, a frustrating distance from their daily lives – or some combination of all three – that came from being slingshotted all over the world, playing sold-out headline tours and festivals including Coachella, Governors Ball, Primavera Sound, All Points East, and Pitchfork Music Festival.

                The notion of crafting, in Russo’s words, “a utopia of where your heart’s from,” permeates Sideways to New Italy, in which early attempts at writing big, high-concept songs about The State of the World were abandoned in favor of love songs, and familiar voices and characters filter in and out, grounding the band's stories in their personal histories. There’s something comforting, too, in knowing the next time they’re buffeted from stage to stage around the world, they’ll be taking the voices of their loved ones with them, building a new totem of home no matter where they end up.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Coloured LP Info: Loser edition sky blue vinyl.

                Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

                Live At KEXP

                  Ultra limited 4 track 12" of tracks recorded live at KXEP.

                  We don't have many, so order pronto!!

                  Man Man

                  Dream Hunting In The Valley Of In-Between

                    Honus Honus (aka Ryan Kattner) has devoted his career to exploring the uncertainty between life’s extremes, beauty and ugliness, order and chaos. The songs on ‘Dream Hunting In The Valley Of The In-Between’, Man Man’s first album in over six years and their Sub Pop debut, are as intimate, soulful and timeless as they are audaciously inventive and daring, resulting in his best Man Man album to date.

                    The 17-track effort, featuring ‘Cloud Nein’, ‘Future Peg’, ‘On the Mend’, ‘Sheela’ and ‘Animal Attraction’, was produced by Cyrus Ghahremani, mixed by S. Husky Höskulds (Norah Jones, Tom Waits, Mike Patton, Solomon Burke, Bettye LaVette, Allen Toussaint) and mastered by Dave Cooley (Blood Orange, M83, DIIV, Paramore, Snail Mail, clipping).

                    ‘Dream Hunting In The Valley Of The In-Between’ also includes guest vocals from Steady Holiday’s Dre Babinski on ‘Future Peg’ and ‘If Only’ and Rebecca Black (singer of the viral pop hit ‘Friday’) on ‘On the Mend’ and ‘Lonely Beuys’.

                    The album follows the release of ‘Beached’ and ‘Witch’, Man Man’s contributions to Vol. 4 of the Sub Pop Singles Club in 2019.

                    Moaning

                    Uneasy Laughter

                      What happens when an abrasive rock trio trades guitars for synths, cranks up the beats and leans into the everyday anxieties of simply being a functioning human in the 21st century? The answer is Uneasy Laughter, the sensational second Sub Pop release from Los Angeles-based Moaning.

                      Vocalist/guitarist Sean Solomon, bassist/keyboardist Pascal Stevenson and drummer Andrew MacKelvie have been friends and co-conspirators amid the fertile L.A. DIY scene for more than a decade. They are also immersed in other creative pursuits — Solomon is a noted illustrator, art director and animator, while Stevenson and MacKelvie have played or worked behind the boards with acts such as Cherry Glazerr, Sasami and Surf Curse. On Uneasy Laughter, they’ve tackled challenges both personal and universal the only way they know how: by talking about how they’re feeling and channeling those emotions directly into their music.

                      “We’ve known each other forever and we’re really comfortable trying to express where we’re at. A lot of bands aren’t so close,” says MacKelvie. Adds Solomon, who celebrated a year of sobriety during the Uneasy Laughter sessions, “Men are conditioned not to be vulnerable or admit they’re wrong. But I wanted to talk openly about my feelings and mistakes I’ve made.”

                      Moaning’s 2018’s self-titled Sub Pop debut featured songs mostly written in practice or brought in already complete by individual band members. It garnered acclaim from Pitchfork, Stereogum and Los Angeles Times, who observed, “Moaning craft anxious music for an increasingly nervous local scene.” But Uneasy Laughter is a collaborative breakthrough which significantly brightens Moaning’s once claustrophobic sound, again abetted by producer/engineer Alex Newport (At The Drive-In, Bloc Party, Melvins). The trio points to first single “Ego,” which features a costume-heavy video directed by Ambar Navarro, as an embodiment of this evolution.

                      Solomon admits Uneasy Laughter could have gone in quite another direction had he not gotten sober and educated himself on such core subjects as gender and mental health. “I did a lot of reading in the tour van — authors like bell hooks, Mark Fisher, and Alain de Botton, all really inspired me. I don’t want to be the person who influences young people to go get high and become cliche tragic artists,” he says. “What I’d rather convey to people is that they’re not alone in what they think and how they feel. ‘Ego’ specifically and the album overall is about those themes — letting go of your bullshit so you can help other people and be present.”

                      “We want to be part of a community,” he adds. “I wrote online about being sober for a year, and I had kids from all over writing and asking for advice. One of them said, ‘For the first time I can remember, I didn’t drink last night.’ I thought, for once, maybe we did something besides sell a record. That’s a win. That’s incredibly exciting.”



                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      Indies Exclusive LP Info: Loser Edition on white vinyl.

                      Indies Exclusive LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                      CD Info: Digipack with spot-gloss and custom dust sleeve.

                      The Homesick

                      The Big Exercise

                        The Big Exercise, the second album by Dutch band The Homesick, and their first for Sub Pop, finds the group keenly second-guessing their core chemistry as a live unit, imbuing their angular post-punk workouts with baroque elements such as piano, acoustic guitar, percussion, and even clarinet. “It’s the opposite of trying to translate recorded music to the stage,” guitarist Elias Elgersma comments. “We were already playing these songs live for quite some time, so for this album, we wanted to unlock the potential of these songs further in the studio.” Opening track “What’s In Store” was in part inspired by bassist Jaap Van der Velde’s unprompted deep dive into the world of national anthems, making his own attempt to conjure a similarly timeless melody. The song seamlessly bleeds into the chivalrous prance of “Children’s Day” and the fragmented “Pawing,” righteously encouraging Erik Woudwijk’s nimble, cerebral drumming to become the band’s driving force.

                        The headstrong wanderlust of The Big Exercise is fitting, given The Homesick’s exodus as a small-town Dutch band ready to trot the world. Contrary to the quest for belonging, roots, and provenance found on their debut album, Youth Hunt, the band’s creative trajectory is now dictated by a sense of otherness and imagination. The sharp contrasts are ever-present; the music’s new sonorous depth is underpinned by wry meditations on family ties, alternate realities, and commonplace encounters. As the band’s chief lyricists, Elgersma and Van der Velde deliberately keep each other in the dark, allowing the syntax of words and music to entangle in surprising – sometimes delightfully absurd – ways. “I Celebrate My Fantasy,” for example, summons a mirage of creeping pianos, sylvan clarinet flourishes and cartoonish sprawls with mock-paranoia, as Elgersma documents a macabre vision he had during a mild case of sleep paralysis. True to the band’s method of holding the more mundane, fleeting moments under a magnifying glass, closing track “Male Bonding” pulls a wide range of movements out of the top hat: the album’s rare heavy burst is promptly mediated by almost medieval-sounding prog rock-flirtations. The Homesick have made a record impregnated with impressions that still fit neatly under the pop umbrella. The album title’s nod to Scott Walker - “the big exercise” is a phrase pulled from a passage in Walker’s biography, Deep Shade of Blue - isn’t an aberration either: straddling pop sonority and the cacophonous fringes is something well worth aspiring.

                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                        Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive loser edition on yellow vinyl.

                        Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                        Wolf Parade - Dan Boeckner, Spencer Krug, and Arlen Thompson are releasing Thin Mind, the group’s fifth album for Sub Pop. Thin Mind has sci-fi, post-apocalyptic and dystopian narratives interwoven throughout. These themes emerged while working at Risque Disque, which Boeckner jokingly describes as a Dutchman’s failed utopia, a problematic structure with a post-apocalyptic vibe: the studio is housed in a stone barn hand-built by the Dutchman in the middle of the woods, using local materials and based on his memory of a building he loved growing up in the Netherlands. Thin Mind finds the core members of Wolf Parade working as a trio, as they did on past albums Apologies to the Queen Mary and At Mount Zoomer, with songwriting duties evenly split between singers Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug. The album includes the singles “Forest Green,” “Julia, Take Your Man Home,” and “Against the Day,” the latter of which features a rare, co-vocal performance from Boeckner and Krug.

                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                        Indies Exclusive LP Info: Loser edition coloured vinyl.

                        Indies Exclusive LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                        Omni

                        Networker

                          Enter Networker, the new album by Omni and first with indie giant Sub Pop Records. Their sound is still defined by sparse drums, locked-in bass, blistering guitar, and nonchalant, yet assured vocals, but from the first notes of "Sincerely Yours" you'll immediately notice that Networker sounds much cleaner and more "HI-FI" than their prior two albums, Deluxe (2016) and Multi-task (2017). The departure in fidelity suits the new record and allows the listener to enjoy the nuances of their meticulous arrangements. Don't worry, the riffs of Gang of Four and Wire are still present, but the production is more lush and the harmony is even more expansive.

                          Despite nods to the sounds of the ’70s and ’80s what comes through is a record fully rooted in the here and now. Thematically, this is apparent on the title track "Networker" taking a candid snapshot of the “digital you” aspect of life in the age of the internet. The otherwise fun romp “Skeleton Key” also acknowledges the “direct message and obsessive” side of social media with lines like “if you don't like what you see, the pretty face on the screen, scroll on by...”  Networker was written half between tours and half during recording sessions. The band, Philip Frobos on bass/vocals and Frankie Broyles on guitars/drums/keys, returned with longtime collaborator Nathaniel Higgins to the studio in South Georgia where they also recorded Multi-task and most recent single "Delicacy." In this case, the “studio” is a cabin near Vienna, GA (pronounced Vye-anna) that was built by Frankie Broyles’ great-grandparents in the 1940s. The band completed four sessions between November 2018 and April 2019.

                          Omni hit their stride in the cabin with songs such as "Moat,” which cruises along at a nice mid-tempo clip with sounds that are maybe piano or maybe the “behind the bridge” strings of a Jaguar a la Sonic Youth or This Heat. "Blunt Force" provides a nice contrast to some of the more upbeat cuts, getting jazzy with it’s less traditional arrangement and psychedelic outro. Overall, Networker is simultaneously fun, catchy, and contains some truly impressive musicianship. This combo is especially hard to pull off as bands that are great players often don’t have great or memorable songs. Omni and Nathaniel Higgins have done a stellar job of reigning in their diverse influences into a cohesive record by curating their sounds into a tight package that leaves you just on the cusp of understanding where the band is coming from, while still feeling like you’re hearing something totally fresh. While their earlier records had more of a “post-punk” sound, Networker is an amalgamation of the best sounds of the ’70s and ’80s, all arranged with (mostly) guitars, bass, and drums for our contemporary age, and it really works! There are hooks everywhere, vocal and instrumental, that will leave you humming along, even during the first listen. As Philip Frobos says in “Present Tense,” “guess who’s on my mind right now?” Well, Omni’s on mine and will be on yours soon.


                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          says: Omni's sound has been gradually gathering momentum since their superb 2016 LP 'Deluxe' (almost definitely since before then, but 2016 was my entry point). What we've ended up with is a brilliantly confident and swaggering combination of technically superb guitar riffage and off-piste rhythmic hooks all coated in those relaxed vox, delievered perfectly but with the minimum of fuss. Effortlessly cool.

                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                          Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive 'Loser' edition ocean blue vinyl.

                          Corridor

                          Junior

                            Corridor are a group from Montreal and their Sub Pop debut, ‘Junior’, was made just yesterday. The rock & roll band had barely inked their record deal when they surfed into studio, racing against time to make the most dazzling, immediate and inventive album of their young career: 39 minutes of darting and dodging guitars, spiralling vocal harmonies and the complicated, goldenrod nostalgia of a Sunday mid-afternoon.

                            ‘Junior’ is the band’s third full-length and their third recorded with their friend, producer (and occasional roommate) Emmanuel Ethier. However 2015’s ‘Le Voyage Éternel’ and 2017’s ‘Supermercado’ were made languorously, their songs taking shape across whole seasons. This time Dominic Berthiaume (vocals/bass), Julian Perreault (guitar), Jonathan Robert (vocals/guitar/synths) and Julien Bakvis (drums) permitted themselves no such indulgence.

                            Singers, two guitars, bass, drums: the timelessness of the setup underpins the timelessness of the sound, a rock & roll borrowing from each of the past six decades - punk and pop, psych and jangle, daydream and swoon. This is music that’s muscular, exciting and full of love, its riffs a kind of medicine.

                            Whereas Corridor’s past work could sometimes seem overstuffed, twenty ideas to the same song, the new work is hypnotic, distilled. “Part of the beauty of the thing is that we didn’t have time to think about it,” says Berthiaume. Six of ‘Junior’s 10 tracks were conceived during a single weekend. The words to ‘Bang’ were written on the eve of the sessions, as Robert began to panic: “Je payerai tôt ou tard,” he sings: I’ll pay, sooner or later. Fewer jams, fewer overdubs - no fortnight in the countryside secluding themselves in a chalet. Even the artwork came in the nick of time: in spite of other, meticulous, masterpieces, Robert’s “shitty last-minute collage” (of an egg saying hello) was the one his bandmates went for.

                            Sub Pop have never before, in their 33-year history, signed a Francophone act. Maybe the band’s magic springs from their ingenious hooks, their topaztinted vision. Maybe it’s the panache of Québec’s insurgent underground scene, or the camaraderie of Robert and Berthiaume, who have played together since they were 14. Maybe it’s their name - a hallway crossed with a toreador. Probably it’s all of these and none of them: ‘Junior’ is a joy, a hasty miracle, because it’s so much damn fun to listen to.

                            Mudhoney

                            Morning In America

                              Morning in America consists of 7 songs that were recorded during the sessions for Mudhoney’s 2018 album, Digital Garbage (“…an astute, politically relevant and commendably fired-up garage punk belter of an LP,” – The Quietus). The tracks include "Let's Kill Yourself Live Again" (an alternate version of the Digital Garbage stand-out “Kill Yourself Live,” and the bonus track for the Japanese CD version of that album), "One Bad Actor" (a new version of Mudhoney’s track on the limited-edition, and now very sold-out, SPF30 split 7” single w Hot Snakes), album outtakes “Snake Oil Charmer,” “Morning in America” and “Creeps Are Everywhere,” plus "Ensam I Natt" (“So Lonely Tonight,” a Leather Nun cover) and "Vortex of Lies" from a very limited EU tour 7". The songs were mixed at Johnny Sangster’s studio Crackle & Pop!


                              FORMAT INFORMATION

                              Coloured LP Info: Limited, indies exclusive loser edition, silver vinyl.

                              Frankie Cosmos

                              Close It Quietly

                                Close It Quietly is a continual reframing of the known. It’s like giving yourself a haircut or rearranging your room. You know your hair. You know your room. Here’s the same hair, the same room, seen again as something new. Close It Quietly takes the trademark Frankie Cosmos micro-universe and upends it, spilling outwards into a swirl of referentiality that’s a marked departure from earlier releases, imagining and reimagining motifs and sounds throughout the album. The band’s fourth studio release is a manifestation of their collaborative spirit: Greta Kline and longtime bandmates Lauren Martin (synth), Luke Pyenson (drums), and Alex Bailey (bass) luxuriated in studio time with Gabe Wax, who engineered and co-produced the record with the band. Recording close to home— at Brooklyn’s Figure 8 Studios— grounded the band, and their process was enriched by working closely with Wax, whose intuition and attention to detail made the familiar unfamiliar and allowed the band to reshape their own contexts. On opener “Moonsea,” an unaccompanied Greta begins, “The world is crumbling and I don’t have much to say.” Take that as a wink and a metonym for the whole album, as her signature vocals are joined by Alex’s ascending bassline and Lauren’s eddying synths, invoking a loungey take on Broadcast or Stereolab’s space-disco experimental pop. There’s much more than “not much” to say here, and it's augmented and expanded by experimentation with synth patches, textures, and other recording nuances courtesy of Wax. As the lineup has solidified into the most permanent expression of full-band Frankie Cosmos, the bandmates have felt more comfortable deviating from their default instruments and contributing bigger-picture ideas to continue pushing the sound forward.

                                The band’s closeness and aesthetic consistency freed its members to take more risks, notes Luke: "Everything will sound like Frankie Cosmos because Greta has such a distinct voice (literally and figuratively). We have so much latitude to experiment with the instrumental music, and this time around we really took advantage of that." Without losing any intimacy of prior albums, Close it Quietly is different, is outer. The album functions as a benign doppelganger, a shadow self of past releases; where other Frankie Cosmos records shine brightest looking inward, Close it Quietly refracts the self into the world, and vice versa, miraculously echoing Thoreau’s assertion that “when I reflect, I find that there is other than me.” Reflection--and refraction--isn’t tidy. “Flowers don’t grow/in an organized way/why should I?” Greta sings on “A Joke.” Growth isn’t linear. Change happens in circles. While recording the album, Alex says, “I closed my eyes a lot.” Stand in the sun, listen to Close it Quietly, and do the same.


                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                says: Frankie Cosmos deliver a whimsical but meaningful journey through indie-pop, jangling and melodic but with a beating heart of seriously solid songwriting and a stunning musicality. Encompassing aspects of late-90's grunge and shimmering pop-punk, 'Close It Quietly' will be on the player for some time to come. Lovely stuff.

                                FORMAT INFORMATION

                                Coloured LP Info: Opaque yellow vinyl.

                                METZ

                                Automat

                                  METZ, the widely-adored and delightfully noisy 3-piece punk band from Toronto (ON, Canada), have been laying waste to stages around the globe for over 10 years. During that tumultuous chunk of time METZ, comprised of Alex Edkins, Hayden Menzies, and Chris Slorach, have cemented their reputation as one of the planet's most exhilarating live acts and trusted providers of bombastic outsider rock. Along the way, they’ve earned enthusiastic support from The New Yorker, Mojo, NPR, The New York Times, KEXP, Pitchfork, Stereogum, The AV Club, Q, Uncut, Exclaim, and a bunch of others. Referring to the trio's tireless tour regime and unquenchable thirst to bring their music to the people, John Reis (Hot Snakes, RFTC, Drive Like Jehu) once said, “your ambition is really unflattering, chill out.”

                                  They did not listen. Instead, their love of the road and passion to create uncompromising and challenging music remains unwavering and has only grown over time. Their recorded output to date, a cornucopia of pop-inflected noise punk and damaged fuzz anthems, includes 3 critically-acclaimed LPs with Sub Pop, as well as a plethora of limited-edition releases, collaborations, covers, and rarities. Which brings us to Automat, a collection of non-album singles, B-sides, and rarities dating back to 2009, available on LP for the first time, and including the band's long out-of-print early (pre-Sub Pop) recordings.

                                  Included here are the band’s first three 7” singles, recorded 2009-2010 and originally released by We Are Busy Bodies Records; a demo version of “Wet Blanket,” the explosive single from 2012’s METZ; two tracks from the limited-edition bonus single that accompanied preorders of METZ; “Can’t Understand,” originally released in 2013 by [adult swim]; and both tracks from the band’s 2015 single on Three One G.

                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  says: Clashing, rawkous punk-rock guitars and huge percussion meet noise-rock production and hardcore screaming in a clattering maelstrom of fiery chord changes and snarling vitriol. Absolutely insane, and unfathomably packed with huge swathes of razor-sharp distortion and heft.

                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                  Coloured LP Info: Loser edition on clear vinyl. Comes with bonus 7".

                                  Preservation Hall Jazz Band

                                  So It Is

                                  At a moment when musical streams are crossing with unprecedented frequency, it’s crucial to remember that throughout its history, New Orleans has been the point at which sounds and cultures from around the world converge, mingle and resurface, transformed by the Crescent City’s inimitable spirit and joie de vivre. Nowhere is that idea more vividly embodied than in the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, which has held the torch of New Orleans music aloft for more than 50 years, all the while carrying it enthusiastically forward as a reminder that the history they were founded to preserve is a vibrantly living history.

                                  ‘So It Is’ (2017) finds the classic Preservation Hall Jazz Band sound invigorated by a number of fresh influences, not least among them the band’s 2015 life-changing trip to Cuba. A visit to the island, so integral to the evolution of jazz and New Orleans culture in general, had long been in the works when President Obama’s diplomatic opening suddenly allowed for a more extensive journey than had originally seemed possible. Producer David Sitek, a founder of art rock innovators TV On The Radio who has helmed projects by Kelis, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Santigold among others, offered both a keen modern perspective and a profound respect for the band’s storied history.

                                  Preservation Hall Jazz Band

                                  That's It!

                                    At a moment when musical streams are crossing with unprecedented frequency, it’s crucial to remember that throughout its history, New Orleans has been the point at which sounds and cultures from around the world converge, mingle and resurface, transformed by the Crescent City’s inimitable spirit and joie de vivre. Nowhere is that idea more vividly embodied than in the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, which has held the torch of New Orleans music aloft for more than 50 years, all the while carrying it enthusiastically forward as a reminder that the history they were founded to preserve is a vibrantly living history.

                                    Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s ‘That’s It!’ (2013) is an eclectic album that draws on the collective experience of players nurtured in the New Orleans tradition but determined to build something fresh and exciting on that foundation. It marks an important milestone in PHJB Creative Director Ben Jaffe’s crusade to carry forward the Hall’s original mission while making it relevant to today’s audiences. For his part, co-producer Jim James (My Morning Jacket) is convinced that the PHJB has a future as vibrant as its past: “The music will speak forever,” he says. “Will people stop listening to Beethoven? Will people stop listening to Bob Dylan? Will people stop listening to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band?”

                                    Kyle Craft & Showboat Honey

                                    Showboat Honey

                                      Kyle Craft and his now solidified backing band, dubbed Showboat Honey, reflect the sturm und drang of life with their self-titled album, the contemplative yet restless ‘Showboat Honey’. “This is basically an album centered around bad luck and good fortune hitting at the same time,” Craft explains “Then, out of nowhere, I find love. Everything went to shit except that. I guess that’s how life works.”

                                      The sticky-sweet title of the album is lifted from the brightly choral ‘Buzzkill Caterwaul’: “I wanted to make something that sounded like a raucous collision of Leon Russell and Patti Smith,” he says, “But ‘Buzzkill Caterwaul’ was the only tune that ended up showcasing that vision.” Though aesthetics veer from song to song, ‘Showboat Honey’s steadfast formula remains the same. Drummer Haven Mutlz holds down the machine with a 60s/70s fast-molasses groove that locks in with the slinky rolling bass of Billy Slater. When Kevin Clark isn’t bouncing across the piano, his mellotron strings swell in and out of frame. Jack of all trades Ben Steinmetz’s organ parts well up from the deep of the songs, while lead guitarist Jeremy Kale’s solos rip through them like electricity. On top of it all, sits the tongue-in-cheek phantasmagoria created by Craft’s lyrics, in which perspectives shift to imbue life into a cast of intriguing, mysterious characters, à la Bob Dylan. (“There is not a single thing in my life that has affected me more than the first time I heard Dylan,” says Craft. “It immediately changed my life.”)

                                      Craft started writing about as soon as he could play the guitar at the age of 15. He grew up in the isolated Mississippi River town of Vidalia, Louisiana where his chops weren’t honed in a woodshed but rather an old, dingy meat freezer that was out of commission. After years of touring, two albums with Sub Pop Records and solidifying the band, he’s grown into a prodigious songwriter, to say the least. The band recorded ‘Showboat Honey’ - co- produced by Craft, Clark and Slater - at their own Moonbase Studios in Portland over 2018. “We approached this record differently for sure,” Craft says. “I’d make a demo, and after putting the songs together, shoot it to the band for ideas.” Kyle and the members of Showboat Honey worked at such a feverish wine-fuelled pace that they actually ended up with two completely different albums. At the end of the day, they decided to combine the two into what is now ‘Showboat Honey'.

                                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                                      Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive loser edition on clear and blue translucent vinyl with red spots.

                                      Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                      Minor Poet

                                      The Good News

                                        After spending years writing and recording music by himself in various bedrooms and basements, Andrew Carter hit his stride with the debut Minor Poet album, And How!. Made on a creative whim with no outside expectations, the eleven-song collection combined Carter’s love of carefully-crafted pop with a loose, fun, off-the-cuff recording aesthetic. The album was released in 2017 and developed a small but loving fan base, and Minor Poet has grown from a passion project into a cross-country touring band with write-ups in publications such as American Songwriter, Magnet, The Wild Honey Pie, Impose, and more.

                                        Minor Poet’s second record, The Good News, is a six-song collection that expands the boundaries of what constitutes the band’s sound. In just twenty-two minutes, the songs take apart the standard formulas of guitar-based rock and infuse them with vibrance and energy. The Good News was made over four days at Montrose Recording, in Minor Poet’s hometown of Richmond, VA. In the past, Carter played all the instruments and handled all the production, but he knew he that he had to reach outside himself to do justice to these songs

                                        “I couldn’t capture the sounds I heard in my head,” Carter explains. “I wanted something that was vast and expansive but that at the same time could hit you immediately in the gut.” Paying homage to the “wall of sound” techniques made famous by Brian Wilson and Phil Spector, Carter and co-producer Adrian Olsen (Natalie Prass, Foxygen) overdubbed layer after layer of Carter playing an array of guitars, pianos, organs, synths, and percussion, as well as singing all the harmonies.

                                        The members of Minor Poet’s touring band were brought in to perform the core rhythm section, and local musicians stopped by to add crucial flourishes. At the center of everything is Carter’s voice, singing lyrics that seamlessly mix allusions to religion, mythology, art, and philosophy as he questions himself, his place in the world around him, what he owes to his relationships, and, in turn, what he needs to ask of others in order to stay healthy.

                                        Tabula Rasa is a concept that argues that humans are born blank slates, shaped through experience and environment. The last two years couldn’t have felt more applicable for Carter, who started out as a fresh face with little-to-no experience in the music industry and slowly grew into himself as a stage performer and bandleader through both good and bad times. During this period he began to come to terms with lifelong struggles, such as the depression that permeates “Tropic of Cancer” and the social anxiety that runs through “Museum District.”

                                        Rather than be one-dimensional, however, Carter dives deeper into himself and his motivations, such as in “Reverse Medusa” when he sings, “Hide my love in poetic half-truths/never was one to dwell on my issues.” Carter’s ability to balance emotional honesty with a tongue-in-cheek self awareness adds to the richness and originality of the music. Short but memorable, catchy yet meaningful, The Good News is another promising step forward for Minor Poet. 


                                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                                        Coloured Mini LP Info: Indies exclusive loser edition, clear w/ red and blue hi-melt.

                                        The Gotobeds

                                        Debt Begins At 30

                                          Give me a minute or three to extol the virtues of The Gotobeds, the modern rock and roll sensation that has always sounded like they love to play. Never maligned by having the world’s weight on their backs, The Gotobeds - Cary, TFP, Eli and Gavin - return to the fray with their third full lengther, ‘Debt Begins at 30’. The esprit de corps and anxiety-free joy that permeates their other LPs and EPs remains intact. The octane is high-test, the engine still has knocks and pings and the battery is overcharged. The Gotobeds - as Pittsburgh as it gets, the folk music of the Steel City - have more tar for us to swallow.

                                          ‘Debt Begins At 30’ is an old-fashioned blast furnace and the liquid iron flows. ‘Debt Begins At 30’ is not ‘pub sop’ in any way or shape. Though I never considered The Gotobeds a band that needed assistance from their peers, ‘Debt Begins At 30’ features outside contributors on every track. The album’s first single, ‘Calquer The Hound’, includes local buddy Evan Richards, and Rob Henry of Kim Phuc. ‘Calquer The Hound’ has euphony, a sly bridge, plenty of trademark bash, and a spacey outro. It’s a sanguine album opener, more Al Oliver than Starling Marte. On ‘Twin Cities’, the lads tap Tracy Wilson, formerly of Dahlia Seed and currently of Positive NO!, to share the vox, and the result is an exuberant pop song proving The Gotobeds benefit from women ruling the scene.

                                          "Twin Cities" is more Dakota Staton than Don Caballero. ‘Debt Begins At 30’, the title trackular, includes the wizardry of Mike Seamans and legend Bob Weston. It’s a brooding romp with tribal beats and slash-and-burn guitar, more Rocky Bleier than Le’Veon Bell. Unsurprisingly, The Gotobeds called partners-in-rock-crime Protomartyr a coupla times, with Joe Casey bolstering ‘Slang Words’ and hook-fiend Greg Ahee shredding on ‘On Loan’. ‘Slang Words’ is a savory wrecking ball with a crunching bite, more of a soft shell crab sandwich from Wholey’s Market than a 4am slop feast at Primanti Brothers. ‘On Loan’ is an anthemic janglefest with high-arcing fret work, more Karl Hendricks (rest his soul) than ‘Weird Paul’ Petroskey. Silkworm guitarist Tim Midyett is tapped on ‘Parallel’, a grand song that enters a world of whimsy, melodic and uncomplicated, more Jaromir Jagr than Sidney Crosby.

                                          The likes of 12XU label boss Gerard Cosloy, Tre Orsi’s Matt Barnhart, the wonderful Victoria Ruiz of Downtown Boys, Pittsburgh wordsmiths Jason Baldinger and Scott MacIntyre, and yours truly strut stuff on other tracks. In my case, I just scream “dross” on ‘Dross’ several times. Good judgment on the part of The Gotobeds to know that’s the best I can do, more Max Moroff than Andrew McCutchen. Anyways, The Gotobeds have quickly reached the veteran stage, but, based upon ‘Debt Begins At 30’, their best days are ahead of them. It’s a pleasure to be associated with such an excellent band.”

                                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                                          Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive 'loser' edition LP

                                          The phantom zone, the parallax, the upside down—there is a rich cultural history of exploring in-between places. Through her latest, Titanic Rising, Weyes Blood, a.k.a. Natalie Mering, has designed her own universe to soulfully navigate life’s mysteries. Maneuvering through a space-time continuum, she plays the role of melodic, sometimes melancholic, anthropologist. Tellingly, Mering classifies Titanic Rising – which was written and recorded during the first half of 2018, after three albums and years of touring - as the Kinks meet WWII or Bob Seger meets Enya. The latter captures the album’s willful expansiveness (“You can tell there’s not a guy pulling the strings in Enya’s studio,” she notes, admiringly). The former relays her imperative to connect with listeners. “The clarity of Bob Seger is unmistakable. I’m a big fan of conversational songwriting,” she adds. “I just try to do that in a way that uses abstract imagery as well.” The Weyes Blood frontwoman grew up singing in gospel and madrigal choirs. (Listen closely to Titanic Rising, and you’ll also hear the jazz of Hoagy Carmichael mingle with the artful mysticism of Alejandro Jodorowsky and the monomyth of scholar Joseph Campbell.) “Something to Believe,” a confessional that makes judicious use of the slide guitar, touches on that cosmological upbringing. “Belief is something all humans need. Shared myths are part of our psychology and survival,” she says. “Now we have a weird mishmash of capitalism and movies and science. There have been moments where I felt very existential and lost.” As a kid, she filled that void with Titanic. (Yes, the movie.) “It was engineered for little girls and had its own mythology,” she explains. Mering also noticed that the blockbuster romance actually offered a story about loss born of man’s hubris. “It’s so symbolic that The Titanic would crash into an iceberg, and now that iceberg is melting, sinking civilization.” Today, this hubris also extends to the relentless adoption of technology, at the expense of both happiness and attention spans. But Weyes Blood isn’t one to stew. Her observations play out in an ethereal saunter: far more meditative than cynical. To Mering, listening and thinking are concurrent experiences. “There are complicated influences mixed in with more relatable nostalgic melodies,” she says. “In my mind my music feels so big, a true production. I’m not a huge, popular artist, but I feel like one when I’m in the studio. But it’s never taking away from the music. I’m just making a bigger space for myself.”

                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                          says: A classy drift from psych-tinged folk to warm, honeyed West Coast soft rock; gorgeous early-70's singer-songwriter territory with the occasional whiff of Karen Carpenter, and all the melancholic sweep and drama you might expect. A surprising and beautiful return.

                                          The story of Seattle's rise to global rock supremacy in the late '80s and early '90s begins with Green River. Made up of Jeff Ament (bass), Mark Arm (guitar/vocals), Bruce Fairweather (guitar), Stone Gossard (guitar), and Alex Shumway (drums), the quintet put out three 12”s and a 7” single during its brief existence. Green River's influence on Seattle's music scene spread far and wide thanks to the members' dispersion into bands including Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, and Love Battery, as well as the punk-glam-sludge-rock songs they left behind.  "By '83, '84, there was definitely a movement that was happening within hardcore, like Black Flag slowing down for My War," says Arm. "The Replacements and Butthole Surfers were rearing their heads, and they're very different bands, but they're not hardcore—the Replacements are pretty much straight-up rock, and Butthole Surfers were God knows what. Sonic Youth's Bad Moon Rising was around, and a lot of really interesting post-hardcore things were happening."

                                          Green River, which formed in 1984, was part of that evolution, with a sound that straddled a lot of different genres—blues, punk, bloozy straight-ahead rock. The mini-LP Dry As A Bone, which came out in 1987, and the band's lone full-length Rehab Doll, which came out in 1988, were released as a single CD with a few bonus cuts, including their sneering cover of David Bowie's "Queen Bitch" and their marauding version of Dead Boys' "Ain't Nothin' to Do," in 1990—but they've been unavailable on vinyl for years. Now, these slices of Seattle music history are not only back in print, they're accompanied by items from the vaults that had been forgotten about for decades.  Dry As A Bone was recorded at Jack Endino's Reciprocal Recording in 1986, and it shows the band in furious form, with Arm's yowl battling Fairweather and Gossard's ferocious guitar playing on "This Town" and "Unwind" opening as a slow bluesy grind then jump-starting itself into a hyperactive chase. The deluxe edition includes Green River's cuts from the crucial Seattle-scene compilation Deep Six, as well as long-lost songs that were recorded to the now-archaic format Betamax.Rehab Doll, recorded largely at Seattle's Steve Lawson Studios., bridges the gap between the taut, punky energy of Dry As a Bone and the bigger drums and thicker riffs that were coming to dominate rock in the late '80s. This new edition of Rehab Doll includes a version of “Swallow My Pride” recorded to 8-track at Endino's Reciprocal Recording, which features a more accurate depiction of how the band sounded when they played live. "When I listen to these mixes, I think, 'This is how we actually sounded—this is the kind of energy we had,'" says Shumway.

                                          Green River's place in American music history is without question, but these recordings paint a more complete picture of the band—and of rock in the mid- to late-'80s, when punk's faster-and-louder ideals had begun shape-shifting into other ideas. 


                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                          says: There could be few pre-supergroups more influential in the Seattle sound than Green River, and of these two reissues, 'Dry As A Bone' is the most snarling punky outing, including the rock pomp of 'Baby Takes' and the punk snarl of the superb 'Bleeding Sheep'. Totally essential.

                                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                                          2xColoured LP Info: Loser edition.

                                          2xColoured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                          Iron & Wine

                                          Our Endless Numbered Days - Deluxe Reissue

                                            Sam Beam, aka Iron & Wine, released "Our Endless Numbered Days", his second in March of 2004. It followed his hushed, literate, intimate, melodic, 2002 debut album, "The Creek Drank the Cradle", a quiet treasure which, with its unaffected candor and depth, found fans all over. "Our Endless Numbered Days" was recorded both at Sam’s Miami home and in Chicago’s Engine Studios with Brian Deck (Red Red Meat, Modest Mouse, Ugly Casanova, etc.) On it, Sam is aided and abetted by his then touring and recording conspirators: his sister Sarah Beam, Patrick McKinney, Jeff McGriff, EJ Holowicki, and Jonathon Bradley. Listening to "Our Endless Numbered Days" makes plain Sam’s deft touch with words and melody; one that allows him to turn out stories about love, loss, faith, or the lack of it that are at once personal and universal, set to music that is sweetly haunting and timeless.

                                            This reissue features the original album, plus eight previously unreleased demo versions and a 12-page booklet with an essay about the album by Amanda Petrusich.

                                            Flight Of The Conchords

                                            Live In London

                                              In October of 2018, ten years after the launch of their hit HBO series, musical comedians Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement returned to HBO for the all-new comedy special. Live in London was taped before a live audience at the Eventim Apollo and featured the Conchords performing songs from the sold-out UK and Ireland edition of “Flight of the Conchords Sing Flight of the Conchords Tour.” 


                                              Perfect Son

                                              Cast

                                                Sometime in 2016, just as the Polish singer and producer Tobiasz Biliński began to find success through the dim and fractured electropop of Coldair, he knew it was time for a radical change. The songs on The Provider, Coldair’s much-lauded second album, had been an exorcism of sorts. Laced with songs about early death, chronic disappointment, and clouded minds, the record was, as he puts it now, his earnest attempt to “get all this old shit out.” That mission accomplished, he needed something new, a restart—the unabashedly radiant and unapologetically complex pop of Perfect Son, delivered in 10 perfect shots on Biliński’s Sub Pop debut, Cast.  In the past, Biliński’s music has flirted with and explored the darkness, first in a sort of Transatlantic freak-folk and then with the gothic refractions of Coldair.

                                                But on Cast, Perfect Son steps boldly into the light without sloughing off emotional weight or depth. With powerful, sweeping production that recalls the best pop beats of Matthew Dear and arcing melodies that conjure the majesty of Shearwater, Perfect Son animates sensations of lust, belonging, and newfound trust with tumescent electronic arrangements that threaten the safety of any sound system. Biliński sings about falls throughout Cast, but also about picking yourself back up, about pressing on despite or perhaps because of the bruises. In the process, he is lifted by music that feels unabashedly motivational, built to remind us that the best times are hopefully to come.   Perfect Son, it should be said, is Sub Pop’s first Polish artist, the result of an extended interest in Biliński’s work and the country itself from label co-founder Jonathan Poneman.

                                                Several years ago, Biliński applied to play at South by Southwest as Coldair.  Poneman saw his performance, and was impressed. The two stayed in touch, with Poneman eventually signing Coldair to a publishing deal. “I bugged him about releasing my stuff constantly,” Biliński admits with a laugh. “And I guess he admired my persistence.” When Cast was finally finished, Poneman didn’t need more convincing. These songs, after all, are magnetic, with the searching harmonies and deep drums of “Promises” and the rhythmic intricacy and serial synths of “Wax” pulling you close on first listen and holding you there for the foreseeable future. These songs and this story are about the power of human perseverance and deliberate reinvention, of knowing that you can confront and come to terms with the darkest angels of your being. Cast is a testament to the possibilities of the future, brilliantly disguised as 10 grandiose and undeniable pop anthems.


                                                FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive coloured loser edition.

                                                Near the end of Reagan's first term, the Western Massachusetts Hardcore scene coughed up an insanely shaped chunk called Dinosaur. Comprised of WMHC vets, the trio was a miasmic tornado of guitar noise, bad attitude and near-subliminal pop-based-shape-shifting. Through their existence, Dinosaur (amended to Dinosaur Jr. for legal reasons) defined a very specific, very aggressive set of oblique song-based responses to what was going on. Their one constant was the scalp-fryingly loud guitar and deeply buried vocals of J Mascis.

                                                A couple of years before they ended their reign, J cut a solo album called Martin + Me. Recorded live and acoustic, the record allowed the bones of J's songs to be totally visible for the first time. Fans were surprised to hear how melodically elegant these compositions were, even if J still seemed interested in swallowing some of the words that most folks would have sung. Since then, through the reformation of the original Dinosaur Jr lineup in 2005, J has recorded solo albums now and then. And those album, Sings + Chant for AMMA (2005), Several Shades of Why (2011) and Tied to a Star (2014) had all delivered incredible sets of songs presented with a minimum of bombast and a surfeit of cool. Like its predecessors, Elastic Days was recorded at J's own Bisquiteen studio. Mascis does almost all his own stunts, although Ken Miauri (who also appeared on Tied to a Star) plays keyboards and there are a few guest vocal spots. These include old mates Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession), and Mark Mulcahy (Miracle Legion, etc.), as well as the newly added voice of Zoë Randell (Luluc)  among others. But the show is mostly J's and J's alone. He laughs when I tell him I'm surprised by how melodic his vocals seem to have gotten. Asked if that was intentional, he says, “No. I took some singing lessons and do vocal warm-ups now, but that was mostly just to keep from blowing out my vocal cords when Dino started touring again. The biggest difference with this record might have to do with the drums. I'd just got a new drum set I was really excited about. I don't have too many drum outlets at the moment, so I played a lot more drums than I'd originally planned. I just kept playing. [laughs] I'd play the acoustic guitar parts then head right to the drums.”

                                                There is plenty of drumming on the dozen songs on Elastic Days. But for those expecting the hallucinatory overload of Dinosaur Jr's live attack, the gentleness of the approach here will draw easy comparisons to Neil Young's binary approach to working solo versus working with Crazy Horse. This is a lazy man's shorthand, but it still rings true. Elastic Days brims with great moments. Epic hooks that snare you in surprisingly subtle ways, guitar textures that slide against each other like old lovers, and structures that range from a neo-power-ballad (“Web So Dense”) to jazzily-canted West Coasty post-psych (“Give It Off”) to a track that subliminally recalls the keyboard approach of Scott Thurston-era Stooges (“Drop Me”). The album plays out with a combination of holism and variety that is certain to set many brains ablaze. J says he'll be taking this album on the road later in the year. He'll be playing by himself, but unlike other solo tours he says he'll be standing up this time. “I used to just sit down and build a little fort around myself -- amps, music stands, drinks stands, all that stuff. But I just realized it sounds better if the amps are higher up because I'm so used to playing with stacks. So I'll stand this time.” I ask if it's not pretty weird to stand alone on a big stage. “Yeah,” he says. “But it's weird sitting down too.” Ha. Good point. One needs to be elastic. In all things. - Byron Coley


                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                says: One of the more tender outings from J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr fame, 'Elastic Days' beautifully encompasses a wide variety of J Mascis' leanings including folk, Americana and classic rock to brilliant effect. Heart-wrenching in places but ultimately optimistic, this is yet another display of how versatile and talented this man is. Superb.

                                                The Helio Sequence

                                                Keep Your Eyes Ahead (10th Anniversary Deluxe Reissue)

                                                  This reissue celebrates the tenth anniversary of The Helio Sequence’s landmark album Keep Your Eyes Ahead with a full remaster of the original album, plus a second album of demos, alternate versions, and outtakes from the same era.After 3 albums and ten years of touring and recording, The Helio Sequence (Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel) recorded their most dynamic, extraordinary album, Keep Your Eyes Ahead. Keep Your Eyes Ahead married the Portland duo’s signature layered keyboards and impossibly big guitars with crisp songwriting and a relatively minimalist approach. The finger picking on “Shed Your Love” is backed by exquisite strings and ambient noise, but Summers’s serene, self-assured delivery remains front and center. While songs from the band’s early releases spanned up to 7 minutes, even the longest, lushest, catchiest track on Keep Your Eyes Ahead (fiery anthem “Hallelujah”) clocks in at 4 and a half minutes, evidence of just how refined their craft had become. Vocals were recorded spontaneously in bedroom closets and living rooms, which may explain the haunting urgency you hear in Brandon’s voice, especially on the driving title track.

                                                  Produced by the band, Keep Your Eyes Ahead confirms in The Helio Sequence an energy and a range that continues to defy narrow categorization. Unapologetic pop and folk meld seamlessly to create songs that are bigger, more epic and polished than anything they’ve ever done. Keep Your Eyes Ahead is the sound of a band and a decade-old partnership that’s been invigorated. And that’s exactly how the songs will make you feel: invigorated.
                                                   


                                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                  2xColoured LP Info: LOSER edition on blue vinyl.

                                                  2xColoured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                  Since the late '80s, Mudhoney – the Seattle-based foursome whose muck-crusted version of rock, shot through with caustic wit and battened down by a ferocious low end – has been a high-pH tonic against the ludicrous and the insipid. Thirty years later, the world is experiencing a particularly high-water moment for both those ideals. But just in time, vocalist Mark Arm, guitarist Steve Turner, bassist Guy Maddison, and drummer Dan Peters are back with Digital Garbage, a barbed-wire-trimmed collection of sonic brickbats. Arm's raw yawp and his bandmates' long-honed chemistry make Digital Garbage an ideal release valve for the 2018 pressure cooker. "My sense of humor is dark, and these are dark times," says Arm. "I suppose it’s only getting darker."
                                                  Digital Garbage opens with the swaggering "Nerve Attack," which can be heard as a nod both to modern-life anxiety and the ever-increasing threat of warfare. The album's title comes from the outro of "Kill Yourself Live," which segues from a revved-up Arm organ solo into a bleak look at the way notoriety goes viral. Arm says: "people really seem to find validation in the likes—and then there's Facebook Live, where people have streamed torture and murder, or, in the case of Philando Castile, getting murdered by a cop. In the course of writing that song, I thought about how, once you put something out there online, you can’t wipe it away. It’s always going to be there—even if no one digs it up, it’s still out there floating somewhere.“ Appropriately enough, bits of recent news events float through the record: “Please Mr. Gunman," on which Arm bellows "We'd rather die in church!" over his bandmates' careening charge, was inspired by a TV-news bubblehead's response to a 2017 church shooting, while the ominous refrain that opens the submerged-blues of "Next Mass Extinction" calls back to last summer's clashes in Charlottesville. Mudhoney's core sound—steadily pounding drums, swamp-thing bass, squalling guitar wobble, Arm's hazardous-chemical voice—remains on Digital Garbage, which the band recorded with longtime collaborator (and Digital Garbage pianist) Johnny Sangster at the Seattle studio Litho. The anti-religiosity shimmy "21st Century Pharisees" builds its case with Maddison's woozy synths, which Arm says “add a really nice touch to the proceedings.” Digital Garbage closes with "Oh Yeah," a brief celebration of skateboarding, surfing, biking, and the joy provided by these escape valves. "I would’ve really just loved to write songs about just hanging out on the beach, and going on a nice vacation," says Arm. "But, you know, that probably doesn’t make for great rock.“ Mudhoney, however, know what does make great rock—and the riffs and fury of Digital Garbage will stand the test of time, even if the particulars fade away. "I've tried to keep things somewhat universal, so that this album doesn’t just seem like of this time—hopefully some of this stuff will go away," Arm laughs. "You don’t want to say in the future, 'Hey, those lyrics are still relevant. Great!'”


                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                  says: Mudhoney, one of the pivotal grunge forces of the late 90's return with their most propulsive outing yet. Tackling heavy political issues and societal ills with their unmistakable thrashing drive and distinctly melodic swagger. It's a punky blast rarely seen nowadays and perfectly brings the loose grungy sound into the modern day. Awesome.

                                                  In 2018, Low will turn twenty-five. Since 1993, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker—the married couple whose heaven-and-earth harmonies have always held the band’s center—have pioneered a subgenre, shrugged off its strictures, recorded a Christmas classic, become a magnetic onstage force, and emerged as one of music’s most steadfast and vital vehicles for pulling light from our darkest emotional recesses. But Low will not commemorate its first quarter-century with mawkish nostalgia or safe runs through songbook favorites. Instead, in faithfully defiant fashion, Low will release its most brazen, abrasive (and, paradoxically, most empowering) album ever: Double Negative, an unflinching eleven-song quest through snarling static and shattering beats that somehow culminates in the brightest pop song of Low’s career.

                                                  To make Double Negative, Low reenlisted B.J. Burton, the quietly energetic and adventurous producer who has made records with James Blake, Sylvan Esso, and The Tallest Man on Earth in recent years while working as one of the go-to figures at Bon Iver’s home studio, April Base. Burton recorded Low’s last album, 2015’s Ones and Sixes, at April Base, adding might to many of its beats and squelch and frisson beneath many of its melodies.

                                                  This time, though, Sparhawk, Parker, and bassist Steve Garrington knew they wanted to go further with Burton and his palette of sounds, to see what someone who is, as Sparhawk puts it, “a hip-hop guy” could truly do to their music. Rather than obsessively write and rehearse at home in Duluth, Minnesota, they would often head southeast to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, arriving with sketches and ideas that they would work on for days with Burton. Band and producer became collaborative cowriters, building the pieces up and breaking them down and building them again until their purpose and force felt clear. As the world outside seemed to slide deeper into instability, Low repeated this process for the better part of two years, pondering the results during tours and breaks at home. They considered not only how the fragments fit together but also how, in the United States of 2018, they functioned as statements and salves.

                                                  Double Negative is, indeed, a record perfectly and painfully suited for our time. Loud and contentious and commanding, Low fights for the world by fighting against it. It begins in pure bedlam, with a beat built from a loop of ruptured noise waging war against the paired voices of Sparhawk and Parker the moment they begin to sing during the massive “Quorum.” For forty minutes, they indulge the battle, trying to be heard amid the noisy grain, sometimes winning and sometimes being tossed toward oblivion. In spite of the mounting noise, Sparhawk and Parker still sing. Or maybe they sing because of the noise. For Low, has there ever really been a difference?

                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                  says: Never one to shy away from a new direction, the ridiculously superb Low return with their most shadowy electronic affair yet. Bathed in distortion and rich, saturated ambience, it's a testament to their skill as songwriters and their overwhelmingly familiar 'Sound' that this still comes across as one of the best releases of their career. Mindblowing stuff.

                                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                  LP Info: Gatefold digipak with embossed cover.

                                                  LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                  CD Info: Embossed jacket with custom dust sleeve.

                                                  CD includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                  Iron & Wine follow up their 2018 Grammy-nominated full-length Beast Epic with Weed Garden, a collection of material that began about three years ago. The six-song EP features songs that were part of the writing phase for Beast Epic, but went unfinished. They were part of a larger narrative for principal songwriter Sam Beam, who ran out of time to get them where they needed to be for inclusion on Beast Epic. Weed Garden also includes the fan favorite “Waves of Galveston.”

                                                  While on tour last fall, the final pieces of material took shape and a sense of urgency prevailed in bringing these characters full circle. To resolution. To completion. In January, Beam and company hunkered down in Chicago at The Loft recording studio to capture these six songs.  No more, no less.
                                                  Weed Garden joins the good company of previous Iron & Wine EP’s – The Sea and Rhythm, Woman King, In the Reins – and in 2018’s attention-span challenged world that's not a bad thing.


                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                  says: If you've heard Iron & Wine before, you'll be well aware of Mr. Beam's capability for weaving a rich acousticana tapestry, and 'Weed Garden' is exactly that, beautifully played organic instrumentation with a strong melodic sensibility, relaxing and transportative. (Iron &) Wine-not give it a go.

                                                  Mass Gothic

                                                  I've Tortured You Enough

                                                    I've Tortured You Long Enough is the tongue-in-cheek title of Mass Gothic's second album. Husband/wife duo Noel Heroux and Jessica Zambri have always dipped in and out of each other's creative spaces, advising on their respective outputs and supporting one another. But, until this record, they had never completely committed to doing an entire album as a duo, sharing an equal load. The result is a record packed with the tension, chaos and beauty of a fluid and cathartic two-way conversation. In a universe that increasingly threatens our abilities to communicate and coexist, their creative union isn't just inspired but important.

                                                    When Heroux put out Mass Gothic’s 2016 debut, following the end of his prior band, Hooray for Earth, he did so as a solo entity. Plagued by insecurities and anxieties, Heroux wasn't ready to deal with putting his trust and confidence into another shared project. So what changed? He can't exactly pinpoint when the phrase “I've tortured you long enough” came to him, but it became a mantra, almost a premonition. He had tortured his own psyche long enough, and was particularly in need of forcing himself out of his comfort zone and letting go of that prior stubbornness. And the phrase has a broader application, too. “It covers so many bases but it's taken on extra meaning in the past couple of years when everybody is at each other's throats, frustrated and confused all the time,” Heroux explains.

                                                    Heroux and Zambri wrote I’ve Tortured You Long Enough while bouncing around the country without a place to call home. From working in a rented cabin in upstate New York, to living out of a car with a duffel bag of clothes, to crashing with their co-producer Josh Ascalon in LA, to ditching a mixed version of the album and rerecording the whole thing, the band worked tirelessly while their lives were totally in flux. “Maybe we wouldn't have been able to do it if we were anchored at home. We were forced into it. Jess was trying to open me up and if we could have just sat on a couch and thrown on the TV it probably wouldn't have worked.” The album was ultimately recorded in Brooklyn with Rick Kwan, and Chris Coady mixed the record and Heba Kadry mastered it.

                                                    The final product recalls the frantic energy of Animal Collective and the celestial torch-bearing of Bat for Lashes, and reveals a remarkable arc. It begins from a place of uncertainty, disquiet, and self-doubt, and concludes with the comfort in knowing that you can be both independent and successful in a relationship.

                                                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                    Coloured LP Info: Mint coloured Loser edition Vinyl!!

                                                    Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                    Cullen Omori

                                                    The Diet

                                                      Cullen Omori’s path to his second album ‘The Diet’ wasn’t an easy one. After the release of his first album, ‘New Misery’, he had to deal with busted vans, crashed cars, mangled relationships and other trials that can leave one feeling like the world is playing a cosmic joke. From the guitar that drops out of the sky on the opening track ‘Four Years’ all the way through the fade-out of kaleidoscopic closer ‘A Real You’, ‘The Diet’ is a powerful modern indie rock album that is buoyed by warped, analogue pedals / transistors and tailor-made guitar tones. Omori’s winsome vocals crisscross 70’s art rock and classic songwriting all within the span of 40 minutes.

                                                      Omori crafted ‘The Diet’ as a series of what can loosely be defined as love songs that metaphorically channel the frustrations and ruptures of his turbulent 2016-2017 into unforgettable compositions with abstract yet sharply rendered lyrics. Omori’s version of the love song medium goes far beyond the la-la-love-you template: “Only a few deal with loving or falling out of love with an actual, physical person,” says Omori. “Then there are, like, love songs to my antidepressants or whatever I thought my life would be like at 27.”

                                                      After relocating from Chicago to Los Angeles in 2016, Omori re-examined his whole artistic process. “Whereas on ‘New Misery’ I was locked in a room with a producer for a month tinkering away, this time around I wanted the sessions to be a revolving door of musicians: different people, different aesthetics. I pushed against my inner nature by actively pursuing collaborators.”

                                                      ‘The Diet’ was recorded at Velveteen Laboratory with Taylor Locke, whose talents wound up being well-suited to the intricacies of the songs that would become ‘The Diet’. “He can sing, he is a multi-instrumentalist. On top of that, he is also a producer. Working with him really lent itself to my process of songwriting,” says Omori.

                                                      ‘The Diet’ represents a new chapter for the former Smith Westerns member, one in which he stretches out his songwriting chops and uses his life experience to craft loose-limbed, hook-filled songs that combine pop appeal with finely sutured lyrics. “I spent my early 20’s saddled with the ill-conceived, romantic notion that the best songs are written through suffering. The process of trying out a completely different persona and approach in ‘New Misery’, and then facing my negative experiences and the shortcomings of that persona, clarified where I wanted my music to go. While making ‘The Diet’, my songs were constantly presenting themselves to me, and when I got a chance to listen back and read my song journals I saw what a truly beneficial and cathartic event had taken place.” ‘The Diet’s collection of 12 songs has Omori well on his way.

                                                      Deaf Wish

                                                      Lithium Zion

                                                        There’s an inherent flaw in the perennially alternating “rock is back” and “rock is dead” arguments: they are based on the idea that rock music is a logic-based choice a person consciously chooses to make. Contrary to the critics who are looking to suss out cultural trends and movements, the decision to play loud, distorted, unabashed guitar-rock isn’t a strategic move but a higher calling (or curse, depending on one’s point of view). Some might say the pursuit of rocking out via deafening amplifiers, crusty drums and a beer-battered PA is a spiritual one, an affliction that either strikes or doesn’t. Few groups today embody this sentiment like Melbourne’s aptly-named Deaf Wish.

                                                        They’re more likely to ask a fellow musician what they do for their “real” job (for one, guitarist Jensen Tjhung works as a builder) than talk shop about publicists, ticket counts and online promotions. They’re a grisly rock group and they’ve already signed to Sub Pop, which is to say they’ve already succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, so anything that comes after (performing in strange new cities, meeting like-minded souls, maybe even selling a t-shirt or two) is a bonus. And if they come to your town, you would be wise to clear your calendar.

                                                        Lithium Zion is their fifth full-length album (and second for Sub Pop following 2015’s Pain), and, while it’s a rare case that a group’s fifth album is their best, it may in fact be Deaf Wish’s finest. Their previous albums were recorded in makeshift studios - a wise choice for capturing the hazardous riffing, chemically-stained vocals and fiery rhythms conjured by a group such as this - but this step toward a slightly more professional sound only enhances their power. The record opens with “Easy”, a languid rocker in the rich Australian tradition of groups like X and The Scientists. From there it’s onto “FFS”, a moody downhill rocker sung by guitarist Sarah Hardiman that confirms Deaf Wish’s relation to fellow Sub Pop employees like feedtime and Hot Snakes. “The Rat Is Back” is tense and epic; “Hitachi Jackhammer” pays a brief and noisy tribute to Hitachi’s second most notable device (you’d be forgiven for assuming this song is about vibrators). Lithium Zion is a veritable buffet of garage-punk energy, post-punk pathos, sardonic wit and the fearlessness that comes with Aussie rock, a natural consequence for anyone living on a continent teeming with grapefruit-sized spiders and man-eating mosquito swarms.

                                                        As has always been the case, the whole group shares vocal duties, even drummer Daniel Twomey (you know the band is slightly unhinged if they’re letting the drummer sing). Hardiman and Tjhung are as ragged and hairy as ever, chugging along as though krautrock was trying to speed past the late ‘70s but got caught in the sticky grasp of punk. Such is the way of Deaf Wish, a group destined to write songs that are simultaneously stupid and sublime, vulnerable and ferocious, and play them with the unbridled intensity they demand. Anyone serving a life sentence to rock will surely concur.

                                                        "We spray our hair into submission, upright to attention. Marching to no orders, imagination has no borders. Well lucky that."  

                                                        “Me and Jasper,” from Luluc’s third album Sculptor, is a confident challenge to small-town insularity, lilting yet vigilant, and championed by a defiant guitar solo from the band’s friend J Mascis. It’s a reflection on a common pitfall of adolescence: limitless possibility battling constant obstruction. “My own experiences as a teen were often fraught” says songwriter and vocalist Zoe Randell. “The small town I grew up in provided a great study in gossip, scandal, character assassination, and the willingness of people to go along with it.” It’s a song about fighting for agency on an album that is in many ways about volition, potential, and how people can navigate difficulties and opportunities to create different paths.  

                                                        Sculptor can be consumed loud, because while Luluc's music is at times masterful in it’s minimalism, it is anything but quiet in impact. There’s a turning point people experience when hearing Luluc. Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney says “it’s music that, once you hear it, you can’t live without it.” The National’s Matt Berninger said that for months, Passerby was “the only album I wanted to listen to.” “What first hits is that voice,” writes Peter Blackstock (No Depression), “a peaceful serenity that reaches deep into the heart.” When NPR’s Bob Boilen named 2014’s Passerby his album of the year, he wrote: “I've listened to this record by Australia's Luluc more than any other this year. These songs feel like they've always been.” Legendary producer Joe Boyd, who discovered Nick Drake, told BBC radio he exclaimed “Who the hell is this?!” when he first heard Luluc’s debut, Dear Hamlyn.

                                                         That gripping quality pulses through Sculptor. Randell writes with more experimentation and possibility. “Broadly speaking, with these new songs I was interested in the difficulties that life can throw at us - what we can do with them, how they can shape us, and what say we have,” she explains. Sonically, the band have broadened their palette. Multi-instrumentalist, singer, and producer Steve Hassett mastered a spectrum of instruments to fully realize the album’s expansive and daring vision. Randell and Hassett did nearly all of the writing, recording, and producing themselves, but their vision is far from insular. In addition to Mascis, Sculptor features contributions from Aaron Dessner (The National, and producer of Passerby), Jim White of Dirty Three, Matt Eccles, and Dave Nelson. Recording took place in Luluc’s new Brooklyn studio, which they built themselves.  

                                                        That everyone has control of their own story is at the core of Sculptor. For Hassett, it’s illuminated by the last line of the album: “The most beautiful, serene sculpture my hands could make, could trace, could break.” “All of the songs are playing with those ideas,” he says. “Life is something you get, and you can get sidetracked for years and even destroy it, or you can remember that you've got some control over your life.” But listeners of Sculptor may yield some of that control, even if for a short time, to the mastery of the music itself.

                                                        Yuno – aka 27-year-old Carlton Joseph Moodie – is in a New York state of mind. He was born there in the Bronx, but from the age of nine months spent his entire life in Florida, and particularly Jacksonville. He's dreamed of returning to New York to live ever since. New York is what inspires his creative streak, even though he's only visited the big city four times. “I plan to move here one day,” he says defiantly, from a cafe in New York. The exotic lure of bright lights, brighter city, is one of the most relatable of tales, and it certainly makes a lot of sense once you've wrapped your ears around Moodie – Yuno's first EP, released via Sub Pop. Moodie is such a New York record. It veers from Tame Impala psych-pop to wonky Vampire Weekend college rock via backpacker hip-hop and, well, Len's “Steal My Sunshine.” It's a collection of songs that chimes with pop's increasing lack of concern for genre. It's the opposite of tribal, as multi-cultural and diverse as a ride on the New York City subway, across all five boroughs. It can't be attributed to one particular origin of sound or vision.  Yuno writes all his music alone at home, self-producing and engineering, playing all the instruments. “I don't really go anywhere in Jacksonville,” he says, drowsily. “I don't drive. I spend a lot of time in my bedroom.” The six-song collection thus sounds like a collage of bedroom posters. “So Slow,” for instance, would be a Washed Out flyer sat next to a piece of Kid Cudi artwork, whereas “Why For” with its squealing Wavves guitars would probably be represented by a big weed sticker or some Sleigh Bells ticket stubs. It's deeply creative and visual.

                                                        Sub Pop found Yuno via Ish Butler of Shabazz Palaces, who A&Rs for the label. He stumbled on Yuno on Soundcloud and kept a keen eye on him. Like Ish, Yuno is encouraged by the genre-bending age we're in, citing Lil Uzi Vert and Young Thug as sources of influence. The EP's title clearly relates to his surname, but it's also channeling the emotional variety of the tracks. “It covers all the different feelings you have at the end of a relationship,” he notes. “Sometimes you're really happy to be moving on, other times you're really upset to see something go.”  New York, however, was the major muse. “Being here really changed things for me,” he says. “It feels like my pace here. All these things are in one place in New York. There's so much to experience.” Moodie is written from the perspective of being back in Jacksonville, missing the Big Apple. And while it plays out like longing, it's not all doom and gloom. Yuno's major hope is to make music that fills people with happiness. “That will make me happy,” he says, with a light laugh.

                                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                                        says: Genre bending pop collages that meld left field hip hop beats with mellow guitars and reverbed vocals that bring to mind the likes of the debut Panda Bear album and early Grizzly Bear.

                                                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                        Coloured LP Info: Loser edition white vinyl.

                                                        It's rare that a band's debut album sounds as confident and self-assured as Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever's Hope Downs. To say that the first full-length from the Melbourne quintet improves on their buzz-building EPs from the last few years would be an understatement: the promise those early releases hinted at is fully realized here, with ten songs of urgent, passionate guitar pop that elicit warm memories of bands past, from the Go-Betweens' jangle to the charmingly lo-fi trappings of New Zealand's Flying Nun label. But don't mistake Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever for nostalgists: Hope Downs is the sound of a band finding its own collective voice.

                                                        The hard-hitting debut album is a testament to Rolling Blackouts C.F.’s tight-knit and hard-working bonafides. Prior to forming the band in 2013, singers/guitarists Fran Keaney, Tom Russo, and Joe White had played together in various garage bands, dating back to high school. When Rolling Blackouts C.F. started, with Joe Russo [Tom’s brother] on bass, Marcel [Tussie, Joe White's then-housemate] on drums, the chemistry was immediate. After a split EP with You Yangs (another Russo brother's band), released in the form of a frisbee, they self-released Talk Tight in 2015, which Sydney-based record label Ivy League gave a wider release the following year. Talk Tight garnered plaudits from critics, including legendary rock scribe Robert Christgau. In 2017, Sub Pop released The French Press EP, bringing the band's chugging and tuneful non-linear indie rock to the rest of the world as they settled into their sound with remarkable ease.

                                                        Hope Downs was largely written over the past year in the band's Melbourne rehearsal room where their previous releases were also written and recorded. The band's core trio of songwriters hunkered down and wrote as the chaos of the world outside unavoidably seeped into the songwriting process. "We were feeling like we were in a moment where the sands were shifting and the world was getting a lot weirder. There was a general sense that things were coming apart at the seams and people around us were too,” Russo explains. The album title, taken from the name of a vast open cut mine in the middle of Australia, refers to the feeling of “standing at the edge of the void of the big unknown, and finding something to hold on to.”

                                                        With the help of engineer/producer Liam Judson and his portable setup, the band recorded Hope Downs live, and co-produced ten guitar pop gems over the course of two weeks in Northern New South Wales during the winter of 2017. Hope Downs possesses a robust full-band sound that's all the more impressive considering the band's avoidance of traditional recording studios. If you loved Talk Tight and The French Press, you certainly won't be disappointed here—but you might also be surprised at how the band’s sound has grown. There's a richness and weight to these songs that was previously only hinted at, from the skyscraping chorus of “Sister's Jeans” to the thrilling climax of album closer “The Hammer.”

                                                        Hope Downs is as much about the people that populate the world around us—their stories, perspectives, and hopes in the face of disillusionment—as it is about the state of things at large. It's a record that focuses on finding the bright spots at a time when cynicism all too often feels like the natural state. Rolling Blackouts C.F. are here to remind us to keep our feet on the ground—and Hope Downs is as delicious a taste of terra firma as you're going to get from a rock band right now.

                                                        Jeremy Enigk

                                                        Return Of The Frog Queen

                                                          Jeremy Enigk performed with legendary indie rock band Sunny Day Real Estate from 1993 to 2000. He was their singer, songwriter, and one of their guitarists. In 1996, following Sunny Day Real Estate’s first breakup (which lasted from 1995 to 1997), Enigk released his first solo album, Return of the Frog Queen.

                                                          Return of the Frog Queen represents a major shift from the sound of Sunny Day Real Estate. The album features a 21-piece orchestra backing Enigk as he performs striking, dramatic, chamber-pop compositions that demonstrate the full breadth of Enigk’s talents as a singer, musician, and songwriter. The album was produced by Greg Williamson, who also produced Sunny Day Real Estate’s 1998 comeback album, How it Feels to Be Something On.

                                                          Return of the Frog Queen has been out of print since its original 1996 pressing. This reissue includes the original album, remastered in 2018, plus digital bonus tracks from Enigk’s 1996 live session on Seattle radio station The End.

                                                          Forth Wanderers

                                                          Forth Wanderers

                                                            Forth Wanderers employ a tin-can-telephone style of composition which they use even when living in the same area code. Since first collaborating in 2013 as Montclair, New Jersey high schoolers, guitarist and songwriter Ben Guterl and vocalist Ava Trilling have passed songs back and forth like pen pals. Guterl will devise an instrumental skeleton before sending it to vocalist Ava Trilling who pens the lyrics based off the melody. The duo then gather alongside guitarist Duke Greene, bassist Noah Schifrin, and drummer Zach Lorelli to expand upon the demo. It’s a patient and practiced writing system that has carried the quintet through two EPs (2013’s Mahogany and 2016’s Slop) and one LP (2014’s Tough Love). Forth Wanderers, the group’s sophomore record and Sub Pop debut, is the groups’ most comprehensive and assured statement yet.

                                                            Now living in Ohio and New York respectively, Guterl and Trilling have evolved their separate but collaborative writing process. “The only way I can really write is by myself in my room with a notebook, listening to the song over and over again,” Trilling says. “I’ve never sat down to write a story, I write the song as it unfolds.” Since her lyrics are often embedded with intimate truths from her life, the private writing experience often leads to intense self-reflection.

                                                            On Forth Wanderers these introspections include meditations on relationships, discovery, and finding oneself adrift. Despite the inherent heaviness of those themes, Forth Wanderers feels joyous, a rock record bursting with heart. Take “Not for Me,” a romping track about “the ambivalence of love.” Trilling’s confession of “I can’t feel the earth beneath my feet/Flowers bloom but not for me” resists feeling like a dreary, pitying complaint; instead, as her bandmates bolster her melancholy with interlocking harmonic intricacies, she soars with self-actualization. Opener “Nevermine,” is a surge of confidence inspired by an ex-lover who is still captivated by her image. “I don’t think I know who you are anymore/And I think I knew who I was before,” she jabs with relish. On “Ages Ago” Trilling paints the image of a constantly-shifting enigmatic lover. “I wasn’t sure who they were, they changed constantly (hence the metaphor describing the “grey coat” and cutting their hair just to “stay afloat”),” she says. “I wasn’t going to wait any longer to find out.”

                                                            Recorded over five days by friend and audio engineer Cameron Konner at his Philadelphia home studio, Forth Wanderers amplifies the heartfelt sentiments of their earlier works into massive anthems. Guterl and Greene’s guitars have never sounded sharper, Schifrin and Lorelli’s terse rhythm section is restless, and Trilling sounds more self-assured than ever. These are exuberant, profound songs driven by tightly bound melodies and a loving attention to detail.

                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                            says: Encompassing the spirit of languid college-rock, laid back and full of mellow guitar strums and cleverly penned rhythmic flourishes and those stunning harmonies make this an enthralling and rewarding whole. A superb debut.

                                                            When asked to describe the title track from his new record, Kyle Thomas—aka King Tuff—takes a deep breath. “It’s a song about hitting rock bottom,” he says. “I didn't even know what I wanted to do anymore, but I still had this urge, like there was this possibility of something else I could be doing… and then I just followed that possibility. To me, that’s what songwriting, and art in general, is about. You’re chasing something. ‘The Other’ is basically where songs come from. It’s the hidden world. It’s the invisible hand that guides you whenever you make something. It’s the thing I had to rediscover to bring me back to making music again in a way that felt true and good.” After years of non-stop touring, culminating in a particularly arduous stint in support of 2014’s Black Moon Spell, Thomas found himself back in Los Angeles experiencing the flipside of the ultimate rock and roll cliche. “I had literally been on tour for years,” recalls Thomas. “It was exhausting, physically and mentally. I’m essentially playing this character of King Tuff, this crazy party monster, and I don’t even drink or do drugs. It had become a weird persona, which people seemed to want from me, but it was no longer me. I just felt like it had gotten away from me.” The ten tracks that make up The Other represent a kind of psychic evolution for King Tuff. No less hooky than previous records, the new songs ditch the goofy rock-and-roll bacchanalia narratives of earlier records in favor of expansive arrangements, a diversity of instrumentation, and lyrics that straddle the fence between painful ruminations and a childlike, creative energy untarnished by cynicism. The soulful and cosmic new direction is apparent from the album’s first moments: introduced by the gentle ringing of a chime, acoustic guitar, and warm organ tones, “The Other” is a narrative of redemption born of creativity. As Thomas sings about being stuck in traffic, directionless, with no particular reason to be alive, he hears the call of “the other,” a kind of siren song that, instead of leading towards destruction, draws the narrator towards a creative rebirth. Elsewhere, tracks like “Thru the Cracks” and “Psycho Star” balance psychedelia with day-glo pop hooks. “The universe is probably an illusion, but isn’t it so beautifully bizarre?” he asks on “Psycho Star,” providing one of the record’s central tenets. At a time when everything in the world feels so deeply spoiled and the concept of making meaning out of the void seems both pointless and impossible, why not try? Thomas self-produced the record, as he did his 2007 debut, Was Dead, but on a far grander scale. He recorded it at The Pine Room, the home studio Thomas built to work on the record, and playing every instrument aside from drums and saxophone. He pulled Shawn Everett (War On Drugs, Alabama Shakes) in to assist with the mixing process. While it would be easy to think of The Other as a kind of reinvention for King Tuff, Thomas views the entire experience of the record as a kind of reset that’s not totally removed from what he’s done in the past. “I can’t help but sound like me,” he says. “It’s just that this time I let the songs lead me where they wanted to go, instead of trying to push them into a certain zone. King Tuff was always just supposed to be me. When I started doing this as a teenager, it was whatever I wanted it to be. King Tuff was never supposed to be just one thing. It was supposed to be everything.”

                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                            says: A bleak but unbelievably addictive journey into the mind of King Tuff, through the euphoric highs and crushing lows, acoustic balladry and stoned musings. Simmering, heartfelt and absolutely worth every minute. Think the honest acoustic innocence of Daniel Johnston with Jeff Tweedy's perfectly emotive production, and you're somewhere close.

                                                            New York-native songwriter Greta Kline has shared a bounty of her innermost thoughts and experiences via the massive number of songs she has released since 2011. Like many of her peers, Kline’s prolific output was initially born from the ease of bedroom recording and self-releasing offered by digital technology and the internet. But, as she’s grown as a writer and performer, devising more complex albums and playing to larger audiences, Kline has begun to make her mark on modern independent music. Her newest record, Vessel, is the 52nd release from Kline and the third studio album by her indie pop outfit Frankie Cosmos. On it, Kline explores all of the changes that have come in her life as a result of the music she has shared with the world, as well as the parts of her life that have remained irrevocable.

                                                             Frankie Cosmos has taken several different shapes since their first full-band album, 2014’s Zentropy, erupted in New York’s DIY music scene. For Vessel the band’s lineup comprises multi-instrumentalists David Maine, Lauren Martin, Luke Pyenson, and Kline. The album’s 18 tracks employ a range of instrumentations and recording methods not found on the band’s prior albums, while maintaining the succinctly sincere nature of Kline’s songwriting. The album’s opening track, “Caramelize,” serves as the thematic overture for Vessel, alluding to topics like dependency, growth, and love, which reemerge throughout the record. Although many of the scenarios and personalities written about on Vessel are familiar territory for Frankie Cosmos, Kline brings a freshly nuanced point of view, and a desire to constantly question the latent meaning of her experiences. Kline’s dissonant lyrics pair with the band’s driving, jangly grooves to create striking moments of musical chemistry.
                                                            Vessel’s 34-minute run time is exactly double the length of Frankie Cosmos’ breakout record, Zentropy, and it is an enormous leap forward. Typically, albums by artists at a similar stage in their careers are written with the weight of knowing that someone is on the other end listening. Yet, despite being fully aware of their ever-growing audience, Kline and band have written Vessel with a clarity not muddled by the fear of anyone’s expectations. Vessel’s unique sensibility, esoteric narratives, and reveling energy lace it comfortably in Kline’s ongoing musical auto-biography.

                                                             Vessel was recorded in Binghamton, New York with Hunter Davidsohn, the producer and engineer who helped craft Zentropy and Next Thing, and at Gravesend Recordings in Brooklyn with Carlos Hernandez and Julian Fader. It features contributions from Alex Bailey (formerly of Warehouse, and now part of the live configuration of Frankie Cosmos), Vishal Narang (of Airhead DC), and singer/songwriter Anna McClellan, all of whom have played on bills with Frankie Cosmos and collaborated on-stage with the band. The final mixes were done by Davidsohn, and the album was mastered by Josh Bonati. 


                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                            says: Inventive chord progressions, hummable choruses and an innate understanding of melody, Kline is amongst the most bafflingly capable and intensely talented songwriters out there. Highly recommended.

                                                            Hot Snakes

                                                            Jericho Sirens

                                                              After a 14-year hiatus from the studio, Hot Snakes have triumphantly kicked down the door back into our lives with their new album, Jericho Sirens. And amid the mania of non-stop political rhetoric, doom-and-gloom prognostications and omnipresent technology, it’s not a moment too soon.

                                                               Hot Snakes formed in 2000, after the release of their first record, Automatic Midnight. They were John Reis, Jason Kourkounis, Rick Froberg and Gar Wood. The band’s sound represented a return to the unrealized past of its members. This time, their musics would be direct, undraped and rock ‘n’ roll while still maintaining the dense and turbulent character of the members’ previous work. That year, Hot Snakes found their live sound and established themselves as primo, down-stroke warlords. They followed with a pair of great albums – 2002’s Suicide Invoice, with drummer Jason Kourkounis, and 2004’s Audit in Progress, with Mario Rubalcaba on drums – that broadened the band’s sound while pleasing many a fan. However, the band eventually spiraled downward into a mid-life punk crisis, and by 2005 they had stopped performing.

                                                              BUT! 2011 saw the return of Hot Snakes, with a string of festival shows. Both drummers performed with the band on the songs which they recorded, and the group discussed writing new material. After an additional 6 years of discussions, Hot Snakes returned to the studio in 2017 to commence recording, and the results are, finally, revealed in Jericho Sirens.

                                                              Musically, Jericho Sirens incorporates the most extreme fringes of the Hot Snakes sound (the vein-bulging, 78-second “Why Don’t It Sink In?” the pounding downstrokes of “Having Another?”), while staying true to longstanding influences such as the Wipers, Dead Moon and Suicide on propulsive tracks such as “Six Wave Hold-Down,” one of the first written for the project during a New Year’s Eve 2017 session in Philadelphia. Other moments like the choruses of “Jericho Sirens” and “Psychoactive” nod to classic-rock titans such as AC/DC and Ozzy Osbourne, with Froberg admitting, “I’m as much a hesher as I am anything else, that’s for sure.” For Reis, reactivating his creative partnership with Froberg was one of the most rewarding aspects of the process: “Our perspectives are similar. Our tastes are similar. We work really well together. And what more is there to say? Rick totally outdid himself on this record, vocally and lyrically.”

                                                              Jericho Sirens was recorded in short bursts over the past year in Philadelphia and San Diego, with assistance from longtime bassist Gar Wood. Kourkounis and Rubalcaba, both of whom drummed on prior Hot Snakes releases but never on the same one, contributed throughout.


                                                              Kyle Craft

                                                              Full Circle Nightmare

                                                                Ever since his debut album Dolls of Highland was released on Sub Pop in 2016, Kyle Craft has been a critic's dream. Based in Portland, he serves up all the observational, storytelling talent with none of the attitude that so often comes with male singer-songwriter territory. “I've found my place,” he says. “I'm not one of those people that approaches music for anyone other than myself. My favorite part about music is when it's just me and a notebook.” Speaking of, his second forthcoming album Full Circle Nightmare is entirely autobiographical. Sonically, thematically, lyrically, it's a huge leap forward from his 2016 release.

                                                                 The title Full Circle Nightmare refers to a moment where Craft saw his life for what it is and told himself to be satisfied. “But that's nightmarish to me,” he laughs. He described his debut record as: “like walking down this long hall of bizarre characters and surreal experiences, moving through the spider web of love and loss.” This album is when you get to the end of that hallway, turn around and see all the stuff you've been through, then walk through the door, close it and start a new chapter in an even crazier hallway. A straight-up rollicking rock'n'roll album, it traverses all the different nuances of the genre; from the bluegrass twang of 'Exile Rag,’ to the gothic style of 'Gold Calf Moan,' it's a timeless piece that could exist in any of the past five decades.
                                                                In terms of contemporary peers, Craft likes to stay in his own lane. He's an old soul who sticks to his tried and tested influences. Social media is not his game - it's just not interesting to him. He's not fussed about preaching his politics or discussing the status quo either. “I don't really like writing a time piece. I don't wanna get trapped in the 'Donald Trump era of Kyle Craft,' you know? I'm a very off-the-grid sort of person. As much as I am traveling across this giant place sometimes I just feel so outside of it. Also, I'm not necessarily a stand-up citizen so it's hard for me to say: here's Kyle Craft's America, ladies and gentlemen.”

                                                                The ironic thing is that Full Circle Nightmare sounds exactly like Kyle Craft's America. That is what he's built for us: the story of one man's trials and tribulations to find his passion and voice for art and creativity in this vast opportunistic country. Where did he find it? Among the historic riches of America's most honest sounds.


                                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                says: Sliding guitars, tinkling pianos and the percussive sound of saloon doors opening in a hurry, tastefully hinting at classic Americana anthems, but tempering them with a melodic and progressive sensibility rarely heard in classic country rock.

                                                                Hot Snakes

                                                                Suicide Invoice

                                                                  Suicide Invoice is Hot Snakes' second album, and was originally released in 2002. It was recorded at San Diego’s Drag Racist Studios in 2002 with engineer Ben Moore. The album exhibits Hot Snakes’ slightly larger palate in mood and dissonance. People enjoyed the shows and listening to the recorded music. But, strain from controversy and fame would reveal cracks in the seemingly impenetrable hide of Hot Snakes. A year after the album’s release, drummer Jason Kourkounis left to focus on other music.





                                                                  The Afghan Whigs

                                                                  Up In It - Vinyl Reissue

                                                                    ‘Up In It’ is The Afghan Whigs’ second full length and their Sub Pop debut. The 1990 album, recorded by legendary producer Jack Endino, was critically acclaimed and garnered strong college radio airplay. It has been out of print on vinyl for over 25 years.

                                                                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                    Coloured LP Info: Loser Edition coloured vinyl format only available to independent retailers. 180g vinyl with a digital download card.

                                                                    The Afghan Whigs

                                                                    Uptown Avondale - Vinyl Reissue

                                                                      ‘Uptown Avondale’, released shortly after ‘Congregation’, features The Afghan Whigs paying tribute to their soul music influences by performing covers of Stax and Motown classics. This LP pressing is the first time ‘Uptown Avondale’ has been fully released on vinyl (its only previous vinyl pressing was a short European run in 1992).

                                                                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                      Coloured LP Info: Loser Edition coloured vinyl format only available to independent retailers. 180g vinyl with a digital download card.

                                                                      In rock - as in life - change is unavoidable, often painful, but ultimately necessary, and Alicia Bognanno and her band Bully have dealt with a lot of it since their debut record Feels Like hit in 2015. Now with a new label and another couple years worth of life experience, the 12 new songs on Losing feel like perfect anthems for a generation still learning to harness the power of resistance.

                                                                      With a vocal style that is as pretty as it is powerful, and emotionally resonant lyrics, Alicia channels the loss of innocence and reveals a raw honesty in songs that are distinctly hers. I love Bully the way I love Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr and the Breeders. Their sound takes me back to the stripped down and thoughtfully engineered songs that haunt me long after they’re gone and never get old. Another good reason to be with Sub Pop, who have always been associated with music that is built to last. I feel like all my best work has been born of heartbreak and upheaval; maybe most musicians feel that way.

                                                                      “The title of the record –Losing – kind of says it all,” Alicia says. “After being on the road so long and coming back to Nashville we all had a lot of changes going on in our personal lives that we were trying to deal with / adjust to and that was really the motivation for this one.” “Feel the Same” is about being stuck in the claustrophobia of a manic state of mind. It’s Alicia’s favorite song to scream.

                                                                      “Seeing It,” she says, is about the unique anxiety and vigilance about personal safety that comes with being a woman: “Such a blurring place to be / stuck in your own body.” Lately Alicia has been lending her voice as an advocate for gun control, women's rights and speaking out in support of animal rights. In some ways my generation were in a bubble in the 90s; I never gave any thought to what Bill Clinton was up to, for instance – but in 2017, Losing sounds like a personal and necessary call to arms to me; we need rock n roll now more than ever.

                                                                      The soaring choruses, rousing anthems, sprawling guitars and chaotic keys that make up Wolf Parade are on proud display over the course of Cry Cry Cry, the band’s thunderous first album in seven years.

                                                                      That unique combination of sounds and influences, spearheaded by electric co-frontmen Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner—a complex yet relatable, energetic brew of glam, prog, synth-rock, and satisfying discomfort—helped define 2000s indie rock with three critically celebrated albums, and propelled a growing Wolf Parade fandom even after the band went on a then-indefinite hiatus in 2010.

                                                                      The album is their first to be produced by Pacific Northwest legend John Goodmanson (Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney, Unwound) at Robert Lang Studios outside of Seattle, and is accompanied by a renewed focus and the creativity of a band that took their time getting exactly where they needed to be. It’s also a homecoming to Sub Pop, which released all three of the band’s previous albums.

                                                                      “The band itself is almost a fifth member of the band, something more or at least different than the sum of its parts,” says Krug. “We don't know who or what is responsible for our sound, it's just something that naturally and consistently comes from this particular combo of musicians.”

                                                                      “Once we got back together, I was playing guitar, writing and singing in a way that I only do while I'm in Wolf Parade,” says Dan Boeckner, who shares primary lyrical and singing duties with Spencer. “It’s just something that I can't access without the other three people in the room.”

                                                                      In the time apart, the band scattered geographically and focused on family and other work--Spencer on his solo project Moonface, Dan on his bands Handsome Furs, Operators, and Divine Fits (with Spoon’s Britt Daniel), and Dante De Caro on records with Carey Mercer’s Frog Eyes and Blackout Beach. And that time allowed for an even stronger, tighter band to emerge.

                                                                      Eventually, Spencer, Dante, and Arlen found themselves all back living on remote Vancouver Island, accompanied by a population density less than that of Alaska, and the tranquility that leads to creative emanations like a government-sponsored bathtub race. With Dan on the same coast in Northern California, discussions began about picking things up where they left off.

                                                                      “All of our albums are always a reaction to our last one,” says Arlen. “Expo 86 (2010) was about as sparse as we get, which is usually still pretty dense, and this time we wanted to make the palette a little larger.” Adds Dante, “Expo was a real rock record. We just sort of banged it out, which was kind of the point.” Cry Cry Cry, on the other hand, is more deliberate in its arrangements and embrace of the studio process. “If a part was going on for too long it would get lopped, you know?” says Dan. “That being said, there are two very long songs on the record and I don't think it would be a Wolf Parade record if it didn't have some kind of prog epic.”

                                                                      “I think we're actually a better band than we were when we stopped playing music together,” says Arlen. “A little bit more life experience for everybody, and people having made a bunch of records on their own.”

                                                                      The result of this new consciousness is songs like “Valley Boy,” a Bowie-inflected anthem for which Spencer wrote lyrics after Leonard Cohen died the day before the 2016 election (“The radio’s been playing all your songs, talking about the way you slipped away up the stairs, did you know that it was all gonna go wrong?”). “You’re Dreaming,” also influenced by the election and the spinning shock that followed, is driving, urgent power pop that draws from artists like Tom Petty and what Dan calls one of his “default languages” for writing music. The swirly, synth-heavy crescendo of “Artificial Life” takes on the struggle of artists and at-risk communities (“If the flood should ever come, we’ll be last in the lifeboat”).

                                                                      The album carries a sense of uprising that is not unrelated to Wolf Parade’s renewed determination to drive the band forward in uncertain times. Welcome to Cry Cry Cry.

                                                                      All right
                                                                      Let’s fight
                                                                      Let’s rage against the night

                                                                      - “Lazarus Online” (Spencer Krug)

                                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                      says: Poppy, snarling odes to love and life, filtered through Wolf Parade's unmistakable style. In parts minimalistic before launching into roaring rock anthems. Undoubtedly brilliant, and finally out!

                                                                       Since releasing their self-titled debut record in 2012, which The New Yorker called, “One of the year’s best albums…a punishing, noisy, exhilarating thing,” the Toronto-based 3-piece METZ have garnered international acclaim as one of the most electrifying and forceful live acts, touring widely and extensively, playing hundreds of shows each year around the world.

                                                                      Now, Alex Edkins (guitar, vocals), along with Hayden Menzies (drums), and Chris Slorach (bass) unleash their highly-anticipated third full-length album, Strange Peace, an emphatic but artful hammer swing to the status quo.

                                                                      "The best punk isn't an assault as much as it's a challenge — to what's normal, to what's comfortable, or simply to what's expected. Teetering on the edge of perpetual implosion,” NPR wrote in their glowing review of METZ’s 2015 second album, II.

                                                                      Strange Peace was recorded in Chicago, live off the floor to tape with Steve Albini. The result is a distinct artistic maturation into new and alarming territory, frantically pushing past where the band has gone before, while capturing the notorious intensity of their live show. The trio continued to assemble the album (including home recordings, additional instrumentation) in their hometown, adding the finishing touches with longtime collaborator, engineer and mixer, Graham Walsh.  

                                                                      Strange Peace isn’t merely a collection of eleven uninhibited and urgent songs. It’s also a kind of sonic venting, a truculent social commentary that bludgeons and provokes, excites and unsettles. With all the pleasurable tension and anxiety of a fever dream, Strange Peace is equal parts challenging and accessible. It is this implausible balancing act, moving from one end of the musical spectrum to the other, that only a band of METZ’s power and capacity can maintain: discordant and melodic, powerful and controlled, meticulous and instinctive, subtle and complex, precise and reckless, wholehearted and merciless, brutal and optimistic, terrifying and fun.

                                                                      “Their whiplash of distortion is made with precision, a contained chaos. But you would never talk about them like that. Because METZ are not something you study or analyze,” wrote Liisa Ladouceur in Exclaim! “They are something you feel: a transfer of energy, pure and simple.” In other words: to feel something, fiercely and intensely, but together, not alone.

                                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                      says: Rawkous, punky snarling rock, infused with the energy of political upheaval, and produced with a fine-tuned and perfect balance between melodicism and raw lo-fi energy. A fist-pumper to the end. Turn it up and get going!

                                                                      Chad VanGaalen

                                                                      Light Information

                                                                        Nobody cared about their old heads, because the new ones work just fine now, don't they?.... they have the same size mouth and eyes.

                                                                        The song “Old Heads” is a sci-fi space anthem to technology that constantly replaces itself, proving both necessary and unnecessary at the same time. It’s also a jangly pop gem, a trip through the fantastical that is ultimately warm and relatable. 

                                                                        For an album that’s about “not feeling comfortable with really anything,” as VanGaalen says, Light Information is nonetheless a vivid, welcoming journey through future worlds and relentless memories. The rich soundscapes and sometimes jarring imagery could only come from the mind of a creative polymath--an accomplished visual artist, animator, director, and producer, VanGaalen has scored television shows, designed puppet characters for Adult Swim, directed videos for Shabazz Palaces, Strand of Oaks, METZ, Dan Deacon, and The Head and the Heart, and produced records for Women, Alvvays, and others.

                                                                        While alienation has always been a theme of VanGaalen’s music, Light Information draws on a new kind of wisdom--and anxiety--gained as he watches his kids growing up. “Being a parent has given me a sort of alternate perspective, worrying about exposure to a new type of consciousness that's happening through the internet,” he says. Throughout the dark-wave reverb of Light Information are stories of paranoia, disembodiment, and isolation--but there’s also playfulness, empathy, and intimacy.

                                                                        The product of six years’ work, going back even before 2014’s Shrink Dust, Light Information emerged from the experimental instruments that fill VanGaalen’s Calgary garage studio. As always, VanGaalen wrote, played, and produced all of the music on Light Information (save Ryan Bourne’s bass part on “Mystery Elementals” and vocals on “Static Shape” from his young daughters Ezzy and Pip), and designed the cover art.

                                                                        Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

                                                                        Talk Tight

                                                                        Talk Tight is Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever’s first release, and it was originally released on CD in March of 2016 on Ivy League Records in the band’s home country of Australia. Talk Tight – a mini-album, or extended EP, if you will – garnered the band critical acclaim in their home country and in the US, where Pitchfork gave the record an 8.0 and described it like so:
                                                                        Seven rip-roaring tracks that move by their own logic, any one of which could be a single and all of which leave you wanting more in the best way possible... Listening to these seven tunes, you can easily trace a national lineage: the relentlessness of Radio Birdman, the pop literacy of the Go-Betweens, the rambunctious energy of the Easybeats, and the belief—shared with Courtney Barnett—that guitars are not just crucial to the message but might very well be the message themselves.

                                                                        This release is the first time Talk Tight has been available worldwide, and the first time it is available on vinyl anywhere. The band released their Sub Pop debut, The French Press EP, in March of 2017, and they are currently working on their first full-length album.

                                                                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                        LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                                        "Quazarz Vs The Jealous Machines" is one of two new albums by interstellar hip hop enigma Shabazz Palaces - aka Ishmael Butler (who, in another galaxy, performs in Digable Planets) - and Tendai Maraire. "Quazarz Vs The Jealous Machines" and its simultaneously released companion "Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star" were both produced by Knife Knights (i.b e.b.) and mixed by Blood. We've loved Shabazz Palaces here at Piccadilly ever since Michael Riley would burst into the shop at the start of a weekend shift exclaiming - "WAT A SATADEE MAARNIN!!" - instructing us of the delights of this cosmic-rap poster boy. Occupying the same interstellar recesses as Dean Blunt / Hype Williams, Earl Sweatshirt and, (tenuously) to perhaps Ratking; this is the true new school folks, abandoning hip-hop and rap's tried traditions, ditching all that's come before it for something completely new and invigorating, more in common with Burnt Friedman and Mark Ernestus than the ghosts of rap music's past. Still gritty and streetwise, but unfathomably futuristic and wrapped in celestial space dust, the album works as a whole journey, beautifully sequenced and elegantly constructed. Essential music for the right now. Recommended.

                                                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                        says: Crisp futuristic hip-hop beats, clicking trap snares and stellar production make this duo of outings a forward-facing and revolutionary take on the ol' hip-hop game. Part 'hop, part 'tron and fully embracing the future, this is but one half of todays hip-hop revolution.

                                                                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                        Coloured LP Info: Loser Edition LP available to independent retailers
                                                                        pressed on silver vinyl.

                                                                        Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                                        “Divination/Cleromancy/Comes the card that I refused to see” – The Afghan Whigs, “Oriole”  

                                                                        “Cleromancy” isn’t a word one normally finds in rock lyrics. Then again, In Spades – the new album by The Afghan Whigs, from which the new song “Oriole” hails – is defined only by its own mystical inner logic. The term means to divine, in a supernatural manner, a prediction of destiny from the random casting of lots: the throwing of dice, picking a card from a deck. From its evocative cover art to the troubled spirits haunting its halls, In Spades casts a spell that challenges the listener to unpack its dark metaphors and spectral imagery.  

                                                                        On the one hand, In Spades is as quintessentially Afghan Whigs as anything the group has ever done – fulfilling its original mandate to explore the missing link between howling Midwestern punk like Die Kreuzen and Hüsker Dü, The Temptations’ psychedelic soul symphonies, and the expansive hard-rock tapestries of Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd. At the same time, this new record continues to push beyond anything in the Whigs’ previous repertoire – another trademark, along with the explosive group dynamic captured on the recording.  

                                                                        Indeed, the chemistry of the lineup – Dulli, guitarists Dave Rosser and Jon Skibic, drummer Patrick Keeler, multi-instrumentalist Rick Nelson, and Whigs co-founder/bassist John Curley – set the tone for In Spades’ creation. When it came to follow up the band’s triumphant return to recording – Do To the Beast (Sub Pop 2014), which was the band’s first ever Top 40 album, – the die was cast. “This is the first time since Black Love [the Whigs’ 1996 noir masterpiece] that we’ve done a full-blown band album,” Dulli says.  

                                                                        The joys, sorrows, and upheavals of innocence and experience echo throughout In Spades: it powerfully documents where The Afghan Whigs have been, and where they might go next. For Dulli and Curley, it’s a journey that, since their origins as one of the first Sub Pop acts to be signed from outside the label’s Pacific Northwest base, has spanned decades. Dulli notes they were barely in their twenties when they first started the band, and yet here they are, fulfilling dreams long held and frequently realized. “Having a break from the Whigs helped me remember what made it so rewarding,” Curley says. “Over the course of a lifetime, there are constants, and there’s also change. You see who’s dropped off the vine – who’s going in reverse, and who’s still by your side. It’s interesting to see where life takes you, and where it doesn’t. That’s the journey and it hasn’t stopped.”

                                                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                        says: Encompassing aspects of stoner, psych and indie-rock, Afghan Whigs have always veered towards the art-rock end of the spectrum, but this is their most direct and cohesive offering yet. Heavy but highly melodic, full of anthemic highs and measured restraint. A brilliantly formed tornado of rock and/or roll.

                                                                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                        Coloured LP Info: Indies exclusive, Loser Edition white vinyl.

                                                                        Seattle MC Porter Ray comes correct on his Sub Pop debut with a mesemeric and multi-layered set of spectral, sub-driven hip hop. "Watercolor" is a snapshot of Porter’s life and the lives of his friends growing up in Seattle. The album captures a specific time period, before things began rapidly changing around their neighborhoods, and it delves into the experiences that shaped Porter, the situations he and his friends survived, and how they overcame the adversity they faced. Porter’s influences – including hip-hop classics like Nas’s Illmatic, Common’s Be, and Mos Def & Talib Kweli’s ...Are Black Star – shine through in both the beats and production, and his deeply personal lyrics. Porter was born and raised in and around Seattle’s Central District/Capitol Hill/Columbia City/Beacon Hill neighborhoods. He wrote short stories and poetry before he began writing rhymes in middle school and early high school, and started recording music towards the end of high school. "Watercolor" follows a string of acclaimed, self-released mixtapes -- Electric Rain, Nightfall, Fundamentals, BLK GLD, WHT GLD, RSE GLD -- all of which have been available as free downloads via Bandcamp. Featuring world beating singles “Sacred Geometry”, “Lightro [Looking for the Light]”, “Arithmetic” and "Bulletproof Windows", the album also includes performances from Jus Moni, Debra Sullivan, and Chimurenga Renaissance. "Watercolor" was recorded in various studios in Seattle, mostly mixed by Erik Blood (Shabazz Palaces, THEESatisfaction, Tacocat), with a few songs co-mixed by Vitamin D (Macklemore, Abstract Rude, Black Sheep). Watercolor was produced by B Roc, with additional songs produced by DJ El Grande, KMTK, and Tele Fresco.

                                                                        Rolling Blackouts C.F.

                                                                        The French Press

                                                                        In early 2016, the release of ‘Talk Tight’ put Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever on the map with glowing reviews from SPIN, Stereogum and Pitchfork, praising them as stand outs even among the fertile landscape of Melbourne music. Chock full of snappy riffs, spritely drumming and quick-witted wordplay, ‘Talk Tight’ was praised by Pitchfork “for the precision of their melodies, the streamlined sophistication of their arrangements, and the undercurrent of melancholy that motivates every note.”

                                                                        The band was born from late night jam sessions in singer / guitarist Fran Keaney’s bedroom and honed in the thrumming confines of Melbourne’s live music venues. Sharing tastes and songwriting duties, cousins Joe White and Fran Keaney, brothers Tom and Joe Russo and drummer Marcel Tussie started out with softer, melody-focused songs. The more shows they played, the more those driving rhythms that now trademark their songs emerged. Since then, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever rode that wave from strength to strength. Touring around the country on headline bills and festival slots all the way to BIGSOUND, the entrenched themselves with their thrilling live shows while prepping their next release.

                                                                        ‘The French Press’ levels up on everything that made ‘Talk Tight’ such an immediate draw. Multi-tracked melodies which curl around one another, charging drums and addictive basslines converge to give each track its driving momentum. Honed through their live shows, this relentless energy carries the record through new chapters in the band’s Australian storybook. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever’s songs have always had all the page-turning qualities of a good yarn and ‘The French Press’ is no different. Somewhere between impressionists and fabulists, lyricists Fran Keaney, Tom Russo and Joe White often start with something rooted in real life - the melancholy of travel on ‘French Press’, having a hopeless crush on ‘Julie’s Place’ - before building them into clever, quick vignettes. The result is lines blurred between fiction and reality - vibrant stories which get closer at a particular truth than either could alone.

                                                                        Blending critical insight and literate love songs, ‘The French Press’ cements Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever as one of Australia’s smartest working bands.

                                                                        ‘Live In Paris’ is the first official record of Sleater-Kinney’s famously blistering stage performance.

                                                                        The thirteen track album, which features Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker, Janet Weiss and touring member Katie Harkin, was captured on March 20th, 2015 at the Paris’s historic La Cigale venue during the band’s sold out international tour in support of their acclaimed eighth album, 2015’s ‘No Cities To Love’.

                                                                        ‘Live In Paris’ includes songs from nearly every Sleater-Kinney album, including ‘No Cities To Love’, ‘The Woods’, ‘One Beat’, ‘The Hot Rock’, ‘Dig Me Out’ and ‘Call The Doctor’.

                                                                        The recording was mixed by John Goodmanson at Avast and mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound.

                                                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                        says: I know live records can sometimes get a bit of a tough rap, but this one has none of that shaky sound or hefty interval nonsense associated with it, it sound like their trademark technical melodic indie fare but with the overwhelming energy and vibes of a live show. If you like Sleater-Kinney, it's an essential, only slightly more essential that if you simply like a good old-fashioned rock-out.

                                                                        ‘Hidden Driver’, the opening track of LVL UP’s third album and Sub Pop debut ‘Return To Love’, never stops moving. What starts with unassuming guitars and vocals adds new lines, depths and intensity, until its unrestrained, triumphant finish. “God is peeking, softly speaking,” repeats the chorus, working through the relationship between spirituality and creative inspiration and introducing a band that is always pushing further.

                                                                        LVL UP - guitarists Mike Caridi and Dave Benton, bassist Nick Corbo and drummer Greg Rutkin - are a true collaboration, a band that takes the stylistically distinct ideas of four members and brings them together into something new. Caridi, Benton and Corbo write and sing equally, bringing their work to the group to be fully realized, resulting in an album built on different perspectives but a common drive. “We have very different inspirations across the board,” says Benton, noting his own admiration for the writer and documentarian Astra Taylor, Corbo’s interest in the mystical and the occult and Caridi’s attention to personal storytelling. The music itself grows from a shared melodic and experimental sensibility, as well as a nod to iconic influences like Neutral Milk Hotel and Mount Eerie.

                                                                        LVL UP were formed in 2011 at SUNY Purchase as a recording project between Caridi, Benton and their friend Ben Smith, with the original intention of releasing a split cassette with Corbo’s then-solo material. They instead released that album, ‘Space Brothers’, as one band and Rutkin joined shortly afterwards for the group’s first show. Smith left the band for personal reasons just before the release of second album, ‘Hoodwink’d’, a joint release on Caridi and Benton’s labels Double Double Whammy and Exploding In Sound. Double Double Whammy also put out records from other artists in the tight-knit community that launched the band.

                                                                        Also part of that university community was ‘Return To Love’s producer Mike Ditrio, who mixed LVL UP’s previous records and “was basically a fifth member of the band,” says Corbo. “He played a huge role in developing the sound, without butting in too much. He also navigated our personal dynamic really nicely.”

                                                                        Hailing from São Paulo, one of the world's hottest cities (in both temperature and abundance of beautiful people), CSS's debut album "Cansei de Ser Sexy" (Portuguese for 'Tired of Being Sexy') is a total assault on the senses. After every turn is another track filled with things that make you go 'mmmm', where sex-crazed lyrics ride over crunchy guitar riffs and hip-shaking beats. A revelation live (gig of the year when they toured around the albums release in 2006, for the lucky Piccadilly Records staff who blagged their way in), sounding like The Slits seen through the kaleidoscopic eyes of The DFA.

                                                                        The invocation of classic west coast psychedelia that permeates Morgan Delt's Sub Pop debut LP feels like a continuous sunrise, never concealing its influences yet perfectly putting its songs through a gauzy lens that blurs and obscures. Is such a thing even possible after witnessing umpteen reverb-jockeys creating their own take on the genre? Can anything truly different be done in the realm of being both original and reverent, wearing favorite records and artists' moves on one's sleeve? Definitely the case with our man here. After releasing a 6-song cassette in 2013 followed by a full length for the Trouble In Mind label, the California native now fine-tunes his sound world outwardly rather than honing in on a specific trajectory, allowing all of said influences to coexist together in a unique yet undoubtedly Californian vision.

                                                                        The resulting 10-song collection, performed entirely by Delt, recorded in his Topanga Canyon studio, and mastered by JJ Golden, is a home-fi construction with a more subtle, brain-tickling character than its predecessor, and somewhat reflects a realist take on the flower power fantasy of 1967. Doused in echo and haze, slow chords lap in like Pacific waves, flanked by gentle whispers of multi-tracked, cooing vox, phased guitars and fuzz that calmly surrounds the listener's head less than it jabs at the cortex.

                                                                        The great thing about Delt's approach to such history is (and sorry to sound harsh) that unlike too many of his so-called L.A. psych-rock peers, there's no costume involved, no application of a conjured identity to match a specific image. He's no psychedelic Civil War re-enactor, so to speak. It's subtle and tactful revisionism without using psychedelia as a crutch/easy marketing tool and letting the sounds come out and make their own case.

                                                                        It takes a creative mind to make psychedelic rock music – tablas, drones, hallucinatory vocal effects, and all – without slipping into cliché, but Delt can transport what would normally be a dark-n-druggy blanket into a much more optimistic and friendly listening experience. Despite his voice being channelled through hallucinatory effects, it's warm and inviting, projecting a sense of hope (particularly in “Some Sunsick Day,” which evokes the hopeful “We'll Meet Again” as the world explodes at the end of Dr. Strangelove, later covered by the Byrds). It's more or less just an invite to watch the sun rise too. -Brian Turner, WFMU

                                                                        STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                        says: Hazy Late-60's tinged psych on the newest LP from hippie music maestro Morgan Delt. Swirling whirs of analogue synths, torn speaker-fabric fuzz and twangy guitars intersperse with sunny blissed-out guitar and delayed falsetto vocals. Mellow, warming summer feels. Lovely.

                                                                        says: I loved Morgan's debut but this ups his game tenfold! Still with that fuzzy, warm, home-made feel, but so much deeper and better and with stronger songs all round, this is the perfect soundtrack for your hazy Indian Summer.

                                                                        Sunny Day Real Estate

                                                                        How It Feels To Be Something

                                                                          Sunny Day Real Estate’s third album, ‘How It Feels To Be Something On’, is now back in print on vinyl after more than a decade of fetching high prices on the collector’s market. To date the album has sold over 11,000 copies. In 1997, Sub Pop approached Sunny Day Real Estate’s members for help in compiling a rarities album. Because there were so few usable tracks, band founders Jeremy Enigk and Dan Hoerner agreed to get together and write some new material to augment the archival songs but they wound up crafting an entire new album in a matter of days. Without bass player Nate Mendel, who remains with Foo Fighters to this day, Sunny Day Real Estate reunited to record ‘How It Feels To Be Something On’, which Sub Pop released in 1998. After 2000’s ‘The Rising Tide’ the band split, though Enigk, drummer William Goldsmith and Mendel did reconvene to record an album under the name The Fire Theft in 2003 and Sunny Day Real Estate reunited for a series of shows in 2010.

                                                                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                          Indies Exclusive LP Info: Loser Edition Coloured Vinyl LP.


                                                                          Indies Exclusive LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                                          Sometimes you have to rip it up and start again. It was a tough call for Dee Dee. Dum Dum Girls was her guise for most of a decade, an outlet through which she’s crafted a resonant, instantly identifiable body of work. Over the course of three albums, four EPs and an array of singles, Dum Dum Girls morphed from the girl-group-gone-bad moves of their 2010 debut, ‘I Will Be’, to the plush noir-pop of 2014’s ‘Too True’, a dark heart burning bright but as her music evolve she found that for many she would be forever refracted through the prism of Dum Dum Girls’ early work: retro-leaning female harmonies, a backdrop of lo-fi, fuzzed up guitars.

                                                                          In 2015 she decided to shed her skin, ditching Dee Dee for Kristin, her real name and adding Kontrol. It was a spontaneous idea that resonated. The challenge was to start fresh, go further back into her relationship to music. Sweep all her loves together into one genreless experience. “The first music I felt was mine was classic 80s pop and 90s R&B, from Tiffany, Janet Jackson and Madonna to TLC, SWV, and Aaliyah,” she says. “But for years I was hellbent on the rock ‘n’ roll thing, revering Joan Jett, Patti Smith, Chrissie Hynde,” - a rebellion against her classical vocal training - “but I was like, fuck it, I’m just going to try it all. I’m going to pretend I’m Kate Bush covering Mariah.”

                                                                          Refocused and inspired, Kristin wrote 62 songs, whittled the list to ten for ‘XCommunicate’ and finished the album with the help of new producers Kurt Feldman (who had produced her ‘On Christmas’ single a few years back) and Andrew Miller (who played guitar on the first Dum Dum Girls album and had joined the band in its last incarnation).

                                                                          Arguably the biggest shift, beyond the music itself, is that as Kristin Kontrol she tells her stories using a sonic palette splashed with bold pop melodies, her vocals showcasing a range hitherto unexplored on record. The songs that emerge from Kristin’s universe - a menagerie of new wave and R&B, European synth pop and experimental disco - are both familiar and unique, using genre rather than adhering to it, with a distinct nod to the present. It may be a leap into the unknown, but “little risk means little reward,” as Karen O once counselled her. “I feel free. I kind of excommunicated myself. Even if I have to rebuild my whole career, I’d rather work hard than feel stagnant. I feel excited again, and that's priceless.”

                                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                          says: I was born in the early 80's, It was a time (allegedly) when cheesy synth washes and digital synthesis was at it's peak. I was unfamiliar with the musical trends of the time, I was unemployed and partially useless. I was heavily reliant on others. What I should have been doing instead of lolling about at my parents gaff was getting a head-start on what would, 30 years later become my go-to cheer-up genre of choice. Gated synths and reverse-reverbed drums are in abundance, they use a LOT of chorus. They're not afraid of chorus' (chorii?) and verses. Feel-good retro synth-pop with a modern twist. Thoroughly surprised me this one, but i'm glad it did.

                                                                          Arbor Labor Union was born from a peach tree in Georgia in the American south. They play psychedelic, repetitious, and joyful rock and roll music. In 2014 they released the album Sings for You Now under the name Pinecones. In 2016 they decided to change their name in order to form a more perfect union. A union of sound and vision. With this, they had a new album, a masterpiece of modern guitar music entitled simply I Hear You.

                                                                          I Hear You was crafted through the ancient process of collaboration. All four members brought their love to one another and turned it into song. The album plays like a freedom chant. You can hear laughter in their music. You can see the joy among them. In every known photo of the band they appear to be smiling. All that is left to do is listen. Listen to this album dedicated to listeners. And, should your response also be “I hear you,” the band replies, “affirmative, loud and clear.”

                                                                          I Hear You was recorded and produced by Randall Dunn (Earth, Sunn0))), Thurston Moore, Black Mountain) and Arbor Labor Union in the fall of 2015 at Avast Studio in Seattle, WA. The album was mastered by Jason Ward at Chicago Mastering. 

                                                                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                          2xIndies Exclusive LP Info: Indies exclusive "Loser" edition, coloured vinyl & mp3 coupon plus an etching on Side D.

                                                                          2xIndies Exclusive LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                                          Mike & The Melvins

                                                                          Three Men And A Baby

                                                                          ‘Three Men And A Baby’ is the new album by Mike (Kunka, bassist / vocalist of godheadSilo) and The Melvins.

                                                                          In 1998, Mike and his friends The Melvins - who at that time were King Buzzo (guitar / bass / vocals), Dale Crover (drums / vocals) and Kevin Rutmanis (bass / vocals) - started making a record at Tim (The Champs) Green’s Louder Studios. Complications occurred and the incomplete recording sat until 2015, when everyone reconvened and finished the damn thing at Sound Of Sirens in LA with Toshi Kasai.

                                                                          The results are worth the wait. Mike’s signature bass crunch and vocals are all over it and The Melvins are in fine form. The album has everything from hefty noise rock churn to a Public Image Ltd. song to cough syrup blues to deconstructed black metal.

                                                                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                          CD Info: CD in three-panel gatefold digipak with custom dust
                                                                          sleeve

                                                                          Former Smith Western frontman Cullen Omori releases his debut long player, ‘New Misery’, through Sub Pop Records.

                                                                          The album, which features the highlights ‘Cinnamon’ and ‘Sour Silk’, was recorded by Shane Stoneback (Sleigh Bells, Fucked Up, Vampire Weekend) at the now defunct Treefort Studios and was mastered by Emily Lazar (Sia, HAIM, Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire, Bjork) at The Lodge.

                                                                          In early 2014 Omori began working on the solo material that has now fully materialized as ‘New Misery’, a collection of 11 songs building upon his own musical past while reaching towards the future of what guitar rock could be. His songs marry dark yet blissful pop with vocal melodies and hooks that are at once immediate yet demand to be heard again and again.

                                                                          Along with Omori, ‘New Misery’ features additional bass and keyboards from Ryan Mattos, drums from Loren Humphrey and James Richardson on guitar. Unlike the more distributed roles within the Smith Westerns, Omori wrote, played and oversaw nearly every part of the new album, beginning a true new chapter of his long-term creative growth.

                                                                          Cullen Omori knows it’s a false cliché to say there are no second acts in American lives but after the 2014 breakup of his acclaimed band the Smith Westerns living that cliché was his greatest fear. His solo debut is a direct challenge to that anxiety: an album that goes beyond the glam punch of the Smith Westerns to new sounds, new sources of inspiration and greater self-awareness.

                                                                          Heron Oblivion

                                                                          Heron Oblivion

                                                                          Heron Oblivion are Meg Baird (Espers), Noel Von Harmonson (Comets On Fire, Six Organs Of Admittance, Sic Alps, The Lowdown), Ethan Miller (Comets On Fire, Howlin’ Rain, Feral Ohms), and Charlie Saufley (Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound).

                                                                          Listening to Heron Oblivion’s album feels like sitting in a lovely meadow in the shadow of a dam that’s going to burst any moment.

                                                                          Members of this new San Francisco combo have put in time in both raging and relatively tranquil psychedelic sound units. This is the premise and the synergy behind this very unique and special new album.

                                                                          The group first properly gigged in April of 2014 opening for War On Drugs. They finished the record independently then inked a deal with Sub Pop in early 2015. Most recently they toured the West Coast with Kurt Vile and Cass McCombs.

                                                                          ‘Heron Oblivion’ was recorded at The Mansion in San Francisco by Eric Bauer.

                                                                          “Expressive guitar lines laced with feedback sprawl out again and again without trailing away too far. Meg Baird’s serene voice harkens back to ’60s folk singers, subdued in a way that lends special gravity without being bombastic. Frankly, the group sounds exactly like what psychedelic rock should sound like” - Stereogum

                                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                          says: In parts, Heron Oblivion perfectly juxtapose eastern influenced guitar stanzas with almost ghostly and ethereal vocal lines. Elsewhere, fuzzy minor-key pop with soaring melody lines. Think Sonic Youth meets Low via Grails. Unsettling and clangy, acerbic but impeccable. Low-fi beauty at it's best.

                                                                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                          Indies Exclusive LP Info: Loser Edition clear vinyl with a white swirl.

                                                                          Indies Exclusive LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                                          After nearly ten years as the creative force behind much-loved New York rock outfit Hooray For Earth, Noel Heroux had lost his way. “I was constantly cutting corners and phoning everything in,” he says. “I was super depressed. I was creatively frustrated. I was emotionally unavailable to the people I really, really wanted to be there for - and no matter how much I cared, I just couldn’t change. But when I realized that I needed to the end the band and just try again, my head cleared and the clouds parted. I’d been derailed somehow,” he adds

                                                                          “So I allowed myself to return to the beginning.”

                                                                          This year marks the release of ‘Mass Gothic’, the Massachusetts-bred, New Yorkbased singer / songwriter’s self-titled Sub Pop debut. Written and recorded at home over four months during the winter of 2013 - 2014, it’s a stunning reminder of not just Heroux’s own remarkable talents as singer and songwriter but how unbridled creativity can sound and feel: before Hooray For Earth had quickly become a fullyfunctioning band it began as a solo project. Not pressure or compromises, just Heroux, a four-track and an irrepressible urge to “jot down all of the noise and music floating around in my head” and make it available to other people. “All I wanted to do was whatever I do when I’m alone and I’m unconcerned with what anyone else wants or expects,” he says. “I did my best to let go, and what came out was pure, uncut. It reminded me of the first few times I made music, when I was a young kid. I didn’t set any rules and I had zero expectations.”

                                                                          The result is an expansive, often exhilarating set of guitar-driven pop that required very little editing when it was done. Additional mixing was provided by Chris Coady (Beach House, TV On The Radio) with mastering done by Greg Calbi (Father John Misty, Tame Impala) at Sterling Sound. The album was engineered by Wall at Tastefully Loud and mastered by Eric Boulanger at The Bakery in Los Angeles.

                                                                          From the iridescent doo-wop of ‘Every Night You’ve Got to Save Me’ to the skyward crescendo of ‘Mind Is Probably’ to the falsetto-streaked clatter of ‘Want To, Bad’, it’s a radiant retelling of Heroux’s starting over, with ‘Nice Night’ as its cathartic, electrifying centrepiece.

                                                                          “A lot of these songs are more or less a really dramatic, loud apology / thank you note,” he says, referencing his partner, collaborator and future tour mate, Jessica. “It didn’t matter where any of the sounds came from. I just cared that it sounded big and heavy, and that it was moving when it was done. It’s a clean slate entirely - and I’m so relieved.”

                                                                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                          Indies Exclusive LP Info: Loser edition pressed on banana yellow vinyl.

                                                                          Low’s Alan Sparhawk had this offer about the new album: “In our 20+ years of writing songs, I've learned that no matter how escapist, divergent, or even transcendent the creative process feels, the result is more beholden to what is going on at the moment. It's hard to admit that one is so influenced by what is in front of us. Doesn't it come from something magical and far away? No, it comes from here. It comes from now. I'm not going to tell you what this record is about because I have too much respect for that moment when you come to know it for yourself.

                                                                          “I will, however, tell you about how we made it. BJ contacted us a few years ago and invited us out to the studio where he works with Justin, Lizzo, and other artists. The studio is close to our home in Duluth, so it seemed tempting. Months later, I worked with BJ, producing the recent record by Trampled by Turtles. We got along and seemed to have similar curiosity about the possibilities for Low, so time was booked and songs finished. We tracked under the soft glow of laser discs playing lost classics like Point Break and Speed. Glenn Kotche from Wilco was there one day working on another record, so we had him in to play hand-percussion on a couple songs. Working 2 or 3 days at a time, leaving it with BJ, then back again for more, we don't have the time or money to second-guess or pick from a pool of possibilities. This is the whole thought - the untamed truth. This is now. This is everything.”

                                                                          STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                          says: A more rhythmical undercarriage brings a more dynamic sound to this exceptional band.

                                                                          Seattle duo Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White return as THEESatisfaction with ‘EarthEE’, the follow up to their acclaimed 2012 debut ‘awE naturalE’.

                                                                          The album, led by highlights ‘Recognition’, ‘Nature’s Candy’ and the title track, was recorded in Seattle and Brooklyn and features guest appearances from Shabazz Palaces' Ishmael Butler, Meshell Ndegeocello, Porter Ray and Taylor Brown. The set features Stas and Cat rapping and singing over sublime soul-jazz, SA-RA style wonkiness and spacious psych-funk textures, creating a seductive album that draws you in.

                                                                          ‘EarthEE’ was produced by THEESatisfaction and Erik Blood, mixed by Blood at Protect And Exalt Studios: A Black Space and mastered by Adam Straney at BreakPoint Mastering in Seattle.

                                                                          Sleater-Kinney

                                                                          One Beat - 2014 Remastered Edition

                                                                            “Sleater-Kinney is America's best rock band” - Greil Marcus, Time (2001)

                                                                            Sleater-Kinney is an acclaimed American rock band that formed in Olympia, Washington in 1994.

                                                                            The band's core lineup consists of Corin Tucker (vocals and guitar), Carrie Brownstein (guitar and vocals), and Janet Weiss (drums).

                                                                            Sleater-Kinney were known for their feminist, left-leaning politics, and were an integral part of the riot grrrl and indie rock scenes in the Pacific Northwest.

                                                                            ‘One Beat’ is the sixth studio album from Sleater-Kinney, originally released on August 20, 2002 by Kill Rock Stars.

                                                                            It was produced by John Goodmanson and recorded between March and April 2002 at Jackpot! Studio in Portland, Oregon.

                                                                            The album peaked at number 107 in the United States on the Billboard 200 and entered the Billboard Top Independent Albums at number five.

                                                                            "[Sleater-Kinney’s] sharpest statement yet" - Caryn Ganz, SPIN (#12 in SPIN’s Albums Of The Year 2002).

                                                                            “Years at the top haven't dulled their willingness to take risks, and that's just what they do, spectacularly, on ‘One Beat’” - Brendan Reid, Pitchfork (9.1). · The album has been freshly remastered by Greg Calbi for this release.

                                                                            FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                            LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                                            Sleater-Kinney

                                                                            The Hot Rock - 2014 Remastered Edition

                                                                              'Sleater-Kinney is America's best rock band' - Greil Marcus, Time (2001)

                                                                              Sleater-Kinney is an acclaimed American rock band that formed in Olympia, Washington in 1994.

                                                                              The band's core lineup consists of Corin Tucker (vocals and guitar), Carrie Brownstein (guitar and vocals), and Janet Weiss (drums).

                                                                              Sleater-Kinney were known for their feminist, left-leaning politics, and were an integral part of the riot grrrl and indie rock scenes in the Pacific Northwest.

                                                                              ‘The Hot Rock’ is the fourth studio album by Sleater-Kinney, originally released on February 23, 1999 by Kill Rock Stars.

                                                                              It was produced by Roger Moutenot and recorded at Avast studio in Seattle, Washington in July 1998.

                                                                              ‘The Hot Rock’ reached number 181 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and number 12 on the Heatseekers Albums chart, becoming the first Sleater- Kinney album to enter the charts.

                                                                              ‘The Hot Rock’ appeared at number 23 in The Village Voice's ‘Pazz & Jop’ critics' poll for 1999.

                                                                              Similarly, Spin placed The Hot Rock at number 18 in its list of 'The Top 20 Albums of 1999'.

                                                                              In 2002, Rolling Stone ranked the album at number 17 on its list of 'Women in Rock: The 50 Essential Albums'.

                                                                              “The expansive new sound gives Sleater-Kinney room to experiment with their Husker Du-style storytelling... They've earned the right to keep reinventing themselves” - Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone.

                                                                              “Tucker explores what her voice can do when it's not in overdrive, stretching vowels like a religious supplicant or spewing prosody like Patti Smith. At the same time, Brownstein blossoms as a singer herself [...] braiding lines with Tucker so artfully the result sounds like the voicings of a single restless mind” - Will Hermes, Entertainment Weekly (Grade A).

                                                                              The album has been freshly remastered by Greg Calbi for this release.

                                                                              Sleater-Kinney

                                                                              Call The Doctor - 2014 Remastered Edition

                                                                                “Sleater-Kinney is America's best rock band” - Greil Marcus, Time (2001)

                                                                                Sleater-Kinney is an acclaimed American rock band that formed in Olympia, Washington in 1994.

                                                                                The band's core lineup consists of Corin Tucker (vocals and guitar), Carrie Brownstein (guitar and vocals), and Janet Weiss (drums).

                                                                                Sleater-Kinney were known for their feminist, left-leaning politics, and were an integral part of the riot grrrl and indie rock scenes in the Pacific Northwest.

                                                                                ‘Call The Doctor’ is Sleater-Kinney’s second studio album. It was produced by John Goodmanson and released on March 25, 1996 by Chainsaw Records.

                                                                                The album is often considered to be Sleater-Kinney's first proper album because Tucker and co-vocalist and guitarist Carrie Brownstein left their previous bands, Heavens to Betsy and Excuse 17, at the time of its recording.

                                                                                The line-up featured Corin Tucker (vocals, guitar), Carrie Brownstein (guitar, vocals) and Lora Macfarlane (drums, vocals).

                                                                                ‘Call the Doctor’ appeared at number three in The Village Voice's ‘Pazz & Jop’ critics' poll for 1996.

                                                                                In 2010, the album was ranked number 49 in the list of the 100 greatest albums of the nineties by the editors of Rolling Stone.

                                                                                “Trades sex-worker role-playing, doll parts, gender-bending, and other common female-rock tropes for stories of everyday struggle [...] Sleater-Kinney proves that punk still offers new ways to say no" - Johnny Ray Huston, SPIN

                                                                                The album has been freshly remastered by Greg Calbi for this release.

                                                                                FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                                LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                                                Sleater-Kinney

                                                                                Sleater-Kinney - 2014 Remastered Edition

                                                                                  “Sleater-Kinney is America's best rock band” - Greil Marcus, Time (2001)

                                                                                  Sleater-Kinney is an acclaimed American rock band that formed in Olympia, Washington in 1994.

                                                                                  The band's core lineup consists of Corin Tucker (vocals and guitar), Carrie Brownstein (guitar and vocals), and Janet Weiss (drums).

                                                                                  Sleater-Kinney were known for their feminist, left-leaning politics, and were an integral part of the riot grrrl and indie rock scenes in the Pacific Northwest.

                                                                                  ‘Sleater-Kinney’ is the first effort from the group, recorded by Nick Carrol at 486 Victoria Street in Melbourne, Australia, and produced by Tim Green and the band at the Red House in Olympia, Washington.

                                                                                  The album was originally released in 1995 by the independent queercore record label Chainsaw Records.

                                                                                  The line-up featured Corin Tucker (vocals, guitar), Carrie Brownstein (guitar, vocals) and Lora Macfarlane (drums).

                                                                                  “While their same-sex one-on-ones aren't exactly odes to joy, they convey a depth of feeling that could pass for passion” - Robert Christgau, Consumer Guide (Grade: A-).

                                                                                  The album has been freshly remastered by Greg Calbi for this release.

                                                                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                                  LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                                                                                  J Mascis’ Tied to a Star, the follow up to his acclaimed Sub Pop debut 'Several Shades of Why'. The album, led by the songs “Every Morning” and “Wide Awake,” was recorded and produced by Mascis and mixed by John Agnello at Bisquiteen in Amherst, MA.

                                                                                  'Tied to a Star' also features guest appearances from musicians Ken Maiuri (Young@Heart Chorus), Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession), Mark Mulcahy (Miracle Legion) and Chan Marshall (Cat Power).

                                                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                  says: J seems to write prettier songs the older he gets. This is another gorgeous, mellow, mainly acoustic record, but with his trademark, sweetly melodic electric lead runs, occasionally making an appearance.

                                                                                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                                  Ltd LP Info: Just found 1 copy of this!! Exclusive pink vinyl available to independent
                                                                                  retailers.

                                                                                  “Sanity, a visage of my wealth
                                                                                  Lost but always found before the idols that I’ve knelt
                                                                                  Strategy, the only way to cry
                                                                                  Keep it do or die and always think in terms of I
                                                                                  Reverie, some legend futures past
                                                                                  Revelry, instead for it renders hella fast
                                                                                  Capitol, a sound that’s on the rise
                                                                                  It’s slaking unrealized until essence has been razed
                                                                                  Sepulcher, a stage enlived by ghosts
                                                                                  Floating off with bags of the blood encrusted dough.”

                                                                                  - “They Come In Gold” (from “The Phasing Shift” suite)

                                                                                  Herein bumps and soars 'Lese Majesty', the new sonic action of Shabazz Palaces. Honed and primal, chromed and primo. A unique and glorified offering into our ever-uniforming musical soundscape. 'Lese Majesty' is a beatific war cry, born of a spell, acknowledging that sophistication and the instinctual are not at odds; Indeed an undoing of the lie of their disparate natures.

                                                                                  'Lese Majesty' is not a launching pad for the group’s fan base increasing propaganda. It is a series of astral suites, recorded happenings, shared. A dare to dive deep into Shabazz Palaces sounds, vibrations unfettered. A dope-hex thrown from the compartments that have artificially contained us all and hindered our sublime collusion.

                                                                                  These reveries were sent to Palaceer Lazaro and Fly Guy ‘Dai in the year of gun beat battles in excess; In a succession of days, whilst walking in dreams and in varied transcendental states….(every minute of every day is filled with observation and composition. In action). Songs are committed and gathered by robots at Protect and Exalt Labs, a Black Space in Seattle, Washington.

                                                                                  Chad VanGaalen

                                                                                  I Want You Back

                                                                                    THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2014 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

                                                                                    This Record Store Day exclusive features four new tracks from Calgary artist Chad VanGaalen's vault of unheard music.

                                                                                    None of these tracks appear on Chad's upcoming Sub Pop album, ‘Shrink Dust’ (out in April on Sub Pop).

                                                                                    Cover art by Chad himself.

                                                                                    Limited to 250 copies for the UK and Ireland.

                                                                                    Obits are a four-piece band who currently live in Brooklyn, NY, and whose music is probably considered an occupant of the rock music genre, specifically in the areas of garage, punk, surf, surf-punk, and garage-punk.

                                                                                    On this new album, ‘Bed & Bugs’, they’ve also covered a song (‘Besetchet’) from Volume 23 of the excellent ‘Ethiopiques’ series. So much for tidy categorization. · This is the third full length album by Obits, following their 2011 album ‘Moody, Standard And Poor’, which itself followed their 2009 album ‘I Blame You’.

                                                                                    ‘Bed & Bugs’ was recorded by Nikhil Ranade, Eli Janney and Geoff Sanoff.

                                                                                    The discerning listener may well note more than a passing similarity to such bands as Hot Snakes, Edsel, Drive Like Jehu, Girls Against Boys, Pitchfork, and possibly Television or the Wipers. This is un-coincidental - with the exception of those last two, Obits share members with all of those bands.

                                                                                    His Electro Blue Voice

                                                                                    Ruthless Sperm

                                                                                    Ruthless Sperm. What’s in a name? A whole hell of a lot, actually. Sperm can ruin everything. Persistent little shits that fight their way to the prize. If just one soldier gets ahold of its egg of choice, things will break apart, bubble and mutate. A microscopic violence that leads to thirty plus pounds of sludge and flesh. Still, beauty tends to be the outcome after all this splashy mess and most parties find a happy, rewarding ending. Most parties. To the unfortunate others, the outcome can be more terrifying than anything dreamed up in a Polanski flick.

                                                                                    Italy’s His Electro Blue Voice follows a similar path to creation. Once the choice is made, it’s guaranteed the trip will be violent and unrelenting. Only the band doesn’t tell you up front which crooked path is gonna lead you to the finish line (at first, they may not even know). But whether it’s slathered in a thick glaze of neo-gothic guitar, an unexpected electronic pulse or leveled under a death trip full of panic inducing terror shrieks, His Electro Blue Voice have become masters at building soundscapes that leave brave listeners spent, soiled and with nothing positive on their mind.

                                                                                    On Ruthless Sperm – His Electro Blue Voice’s debut full-length, after a string of collectible singles/EPs and an appearance on the Sub Pop 1000 compilation – they set their trajectories on a Kraut-driven rhythm; a haunting, cinematic wash or a mechanically-sound industrial thump. Thirty-plus minutes of shock-horror blasts, blaring cyber-synth attacks and that gloriously-repetitive Stoogeoid-meets-Killing Joke throb. The end result is a platter that’s as direct as it is deadly. Yet for all the bombast and bummer, His Electro Blue Voice still bring forth euphoric hooks and shards of shoegaze, if only to leave them strewn about within the mechanical wreckage. You can almost hear the sounds of the early 4AD roster in the grooves, left teetering between warped indie sensibility and creepy-crawl madness. Crazy sounding, but damned if it doesn’t stick in your head.

                                                                                    Ruthless Sperm by His Electro Blue Voice: subtle as a construction site and precise like a leather gloved killer. This is the apocalypse. This is end times. Thankfully we get a decent soundtrack to go with it.

                                                                                    With An Object, their fourth full-length album, No Age has forgone the straight and narrow route, landing in a strange and unexpected place, feet planted in fresh, fertile soil. This new LP finds drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt exploding from behind his kit, landing percussive blows with amplified contact mics, 4-string bass guitars, and prepared speakers, as well as traditional forms of lumber and metal. Meanwhile, guitarist Randy Randall corrals his previously lush, spastic, sprawling arrangements into taught, refined, rats’ nests. Lyrically Spunt challenges space, fracturing ideological forms and complacency, creating a striking new perspective that reveals thematic preoccupations with structural ruptures and temporal limits.

                                                                                    As the title An Object suggests, these eleven tracks are meant to be grasped, not simply heard. Whether in the fine grit of Randall’s sandpaper guitar scrapes on “Defector/ed,” or Spunt’s percussive stomp and crack on “Circling with Dizzy” and “An Impression,” these are songs that pivot on the sheer materiality of music-making, incorporating the process every step of the way. Still, this is hardly a work of avant garde noise music. These songs are hummable, political, recognizably rooted in underground rock, and informed by an understanding of sound as a material to be shaped, handled, and worked over. It is an aesthetic in which the relationships between guitar, percussion, and vocals—as well as those between rhythm and melody—become relationships between things.

                                                                                    These relationships are built into An Object at every level. In collaboration with friend and Grammy-nominated designer Brian Roettinger (5 EP‘s, Nouns, Losing Feeling, Everything In Between), the band prepared and assembled the physical packaging of An Object, including jackets, inserts, and labels, fusing the roles of manufacturer, artist, and musician into one. It is this sense of the total work of art that underlines An Object as the culmination of two years of touring, writing, and performing, finding No Age moving into new terrain at the height of their powers.

                                                                                    An Object was recorded by longtime No Age collaborator Facundo Bermudez and No Age at Gaucho’s Electronics in Los Angeles.

                                                                                    The name is Daughn Gibson - rhymes with Jaughn, or Raughn.

                                                                                    He first entered the daydreams of the general public in 2012 with his acclaimed debut, All Hell. Armed with modern technology and a pile of thrift-store records, Daughn shook the ghosts out of scratchy Christian folk records and baptized them as fierce Americana with his booming baritone voice.

                                                                                    It's on Daughn's second album and Sub Pop debut, Me Moan, that he truly reveals himself to the world. If All Hell was a gritty black-and-white movie, Me Moan is a widescreen IMAX 3D extravaganza. While the roots of All Hell’s sample-based music remain, these songs are performed live, lushly detailed and richly orchestrated. Live drums, guitars (by John Baizley of Baroness and Jim Elkington of Brokeback), pedal steel, horns, house strings, bagpipes and organs appear on this record,

                                                                                    Like Cormac McCarthy or Robert Altman, Daughn Gibson is a uniquely American artist who throws his soul into his work, free of compromise, possessed by unique vision and so damn intense that he constantly teeters on spontaneous combustion. It's not out of line to consider Me Moan as his Blood Meridian; his Nashville. All that's left is for you to let Daughn in.

                                                                                    Survival Knife

                                                                                    Traces Of Me

                                                                                    Survival Knife hail from Olympia, WA, and this is their first release (if you don’t count a soundboard recording of their first show that has been gathering praise all over the internet).

                                                                                    The band, which features two of the three founding members of Northwest legends Unwound, pull together elements of Drive Like Jehu / Hot Snakes, Black Flag’s mid-period mathematical lurch, King Crimson and, of course, Unwound, for a taut and catchy post-hardcore crunch.

                                                                                    Since their live debut in March 2012, they have shared stages with the likes of METZ, Bitch Magnet, Kinski and Hungry Ghost.

                                                                                    When Jaill nonchalantly stepped into the room with 2010’s ‘That’s How We Burn’, the group had already turned out a small catalogue of selfrecorded and self-released albums and EPs.

                                                                                    SPIN said of ‘That’s How We Burn’, “What elevates their [Sub Pop] debut beyond your average tweepunk rager is the gentle psych dabblings: extra delay on a guitar solo, an errant ‘ooh-ahh-ooh,’ a dubby Panda Bear flourish, and the swirling noise that murmurs through the background.”

                                                                                    Recorded throughout 2011 in Kircher’s crummy, poorly lit basement, with minimal gear and a control room of thrift store afghans, and mixed at NY’s Rare Book Room by Nicolas Vernhes.

                                                                                    Milwaukee-based psych-pop three-piece confronting a malfunctioning universe with an inventive, lean 11-song album.

                                                                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                    says: Jaill have stuck with their jangly 90's anti-anthems since their last release but this time round, it all feels more confident and honed. Each track is a winner in it's own right!

                                                                                    Memoryhouse formed some five years ago in the depths of Southern Ontario, Canada, in a mid-size town called Guelph as a collaborative project meant to serve as an artistic outlet for composer Evan Abeele and photographer Denise Nouvion. Evan, a dedicated student of classical music and a pop-music encyclopaedist, intended Memoryhouse to be a multimedia art project, pairing his instrumental compositions with Denise’s photographs and short films. Testing ways to blur the boundaries between genres, to weave a synthesis of music and photography, they experimented with themes, lyrics and multiple layers of instrumentation. Nouvion’s soft, ethereal voice anchored the frozen textures of Abeeleâ's compositions with frank sentimentality—a unique approach towards humanizing the electro-pop compositions they were creating.

                                                                                    The new album is called 'The Slideshow Effect' and its title speaks to what hasn’t changed for Memoryhouse: their continuing interest in the synthesis of the aural and the visual. It refers to the photographic/cinematic technique of zooming and panning to animate still images, often used in documentary film making to give movement to archival photographs. The 10-track album, produced by Abeele, with assistance from friend, collaborator, and occasional Memoryhouse bassist Barzin Hassani Rad, finds Memoryhouse heading toward a new clarity in composition as well as sound; a more organic direction for artists who are, in their own words, transitioning from a “bedroom recording project” into a fully realized band. Nouvion’s voice has never been more present than on the new album, which finds her stepping away from Memoryhouse’s past reverbed sound in favour of a more upfront, and intimate vocal approach.

                                                                                    They half-seriously refer to their new sound as “Taylor Swift with Built to Spill as her backing band.”

                                                                                    The fifth album from Greg (Afghan Whigs / Gutter Twins) Dulli’s Twilight Singers collective, and the group’s first in five years.

                                                                                    The Twilight Singers’ previous release, the acclaimed confessional opus "Powder Burns", came out in 2006.

                                                                                    "Dynamite Steps" is clearly the next chapter, a whole new level of catharsis and progress, evocatively cramming all the highs and lows of the maverick singer-songwriter’s past half-decade into unexpected sonic trapdoors.

                                                                                    'Shot on location' at various locales significant to Dulli’s life, you can hear the sense of place emanating up from the grooves of "Dynamite Steps". Here, the weary nighttime decadence of New Orleans rubs up against the oppressive sunshine of Los Angeles and the desolation of Joshua Tree’s desert vistas.

                                                                                    "Dynamite Steps" explores the thin line between life and death, mortality and immortality, resignation and celebration—that mythical moment when your life flashes before your eyes, drawn out here over the course of eleven songs.

                                                                                    The album’s forty-three minutes prove an unflinching odyssey through the dark side, but one that’s ultimately redemptive in its scope and power.

                                                                                    Various guests contribute to the new album, including: Ani DiFranco, Joseph Arthur, Petra Haden, Carina Round, Nick McCabe (The Verve) and Mark Lanegan.

                                                                                    Jaill

                                                                                    That's How We Burn

                                                                                      Recalling the glory of 90s lo-fi, these songs possess a sinewy tension honed from years of basement shows, and gritty rock sense born of  enduring cold Midwest winter months.

                                                                                      Vincent Kircher, Austin Dutmer, Andrew Harris and Ryan Adams are a  somewhat sneaky, rarely sleazy group of guys from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Together, they are Jaill, a self-described psych-pop combo who play with undeniable guts.

                                                                                      Recorded at the Mystery Room studio with Justin Perkins, the new Jaill album "That’s How We Burn" finds the band wrapping its head and arms more solidly around a sound they’ve been building up for nearly a decade, their Wisconsin sensibilities lending to a laid-back but creatively effortless brand of pop, with bright guitars and amped-up energy skipping like a stone over Kircher’s dense lyrics, only to sink into momentary mellow moments.

                                                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                      says: New on Sub Pop, Jaill marry a 90s indie-slacker style approach with some wonderful psyche-pop melodies.

                                                                                      Nirvana

                                                                                      Bleach - Deluxe Edition

                                                                                        This deluxe edition of this classic is available again!

                                                                                        Marking the 20th anniversary of its release, Nirvana's "Bleach" gets a deluxe reissue: remastered and including a never-before-released live performance.
                                                                                        Originally recorded over three sessions with producer Jack Endino at Seattle's Reciprocal Recording Studios in December 1988 and January 1989, Bleach was released in June89 and remains unequivocally/unsurprisingly Sub Pop's very favourite Nirvana full-length. This 20th Anniversary Edition has been re-mastered from the original tapes at Sterling Sound in a session overseen by producer Jack Endino.

                                                                                        This edition will include an unreleased live recording of a complete February 9th, 1990 show at the Pine Street Theatre in Portland, Oregon. The show features performances of "Love Buzz," "About a Girl" and a cover of The Vaselines' song "Molly's Lips" and has been re-mixed from the original tapes by Endino.

                                                                                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                                        2xCD Info: The CD version also includes a 48 page booklet which includes candid photos of the band not previously released to the public.

                                                                                        Mark Lanegan

                                                                                        Whiskey For The Holy Ghost

                                                                                          ‘Whiskey For The Holy Ghost’ is the second solo album from Mark Lanegan, originally released in 1994.

                                                                                          The album builds upon the roots-music foundation Lanegan established with his debut ‘The Winding Sheet’.

                                                                                          Released during the grunge explosion of the early 1990s, ‘Whiskey For The Holy Ghost’ showcases Lanegan’s growing maturity as a songwriter and vocalist. Lyrically, Lanegan continues to delve into the darker side of the human experience on songs like ‘Borracho’ and the biblical ‘Pendulum’.

                                                                                          Dan Peters of Mudhoney guests on the album, playing drums on the songs ‘Borracho’ and ‘House A Home’.

                                                                                          FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                                          2xLP Info: Black double vinyl in a gatefold jacket with custom
                                                                                          dust sleeves and digital download coupon.

                                                                                          Mark Lanegan

                                                                                          Winding Sheet

                                                                                            ‘The Winding Sheet’ is Mark Lanegan’s 1990 solo debut. It showcases his adept skills as a lyricist and his deep, soulful voice.

                                                                                            Highlights include ‘Mockingbirds’, ‘Ugly Sunday’ and the haunting ‘Wild Flowers’.

                                                                                            The late Kurt Cobain lends vocals to ‘Down In The Dark’ and for the folk classic ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night’ Cobain contributes guitar and vocals and Krist Novoselic plays bass. Nirvana would later also cover ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night’ on their ‘Unplugged’ album.

                                                                                            ‘The Winding Sheet’ was produced by Jack Endino, Lanegan and Mike Johnson.

                                                                                            Mark Lanegan

                                                                                            Scraps At Midnight

                                                                                              ‘Scraps At Midnight’ is the third solo album by Mark Lanegan. It was produced by Mark Lanegan and longtime collaborator Mike Johnson. ‘Scraps At Midnight’ could arguably be considered the final instalment of a trilogy of albums (preceded by ‘The Winding Sheet’ and ‘Whiskey For The Holy Ghost’) which feature the songwriter’s interpretation of American roots music set to troubling lyrics that explore themes of loss, sin and redemption.

                                                                                              Hot Hot Heat

                                                                                              No Not Now

                                                                                              Ace angular, new wave / punk, taken from their "Make Up The Breakdown" album.

                                                                                              FORMAT INFORMATION

                                                                                              CDS Info: The CD single includes "This Town (Live)" and "5 Times Out Of 100".

                                                                                              The Catheters

                                                                                              Static Delusions And Stone Still Days

                                                                                              The Catheters bring real energy back to a genre all too often plagued by bands simply going through the motions. For fans of The Dwarves, Dead Boys, Murder City Devils & The Germs...

                                                                                              The Catheters

                                                                                              3000 Ways

                                                                                              Currently creating a bit of a fuss Stateside, this Seattle band merge Mudhoney, The Stooges and Sabbath with good old punk rock!

                                                                                              The Shins

                                                                                              Oh, Inverted World

                                                                                              The Shins carry the indie rock torch with their own subtle orchestral stamp. Think the pop side of Built To Spill or a more out-there Beachwod Sparks. Perfect pop sounds with an edge of weirdness.


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