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SUB POP

J.R.C.G.

Grim Iconic...(Sadistic Mantra)

    To experience Justin R. Cruz Gallego’s pulverizing Sub Pop debut is to get burned down to ashes and burst forth, born anew. Grim Iconic...(Sadistic Mantra), the Tacoma-based artist’s second album, is driven by opposing forces: noisy abstractions and tightly structured beats, anguish and dissolution at the outside world and empowerment within, apathy and catharsis. Grim Iconic...(Sadistic Mantra) weds scouring electronics to hooky songs and Gallego’s powerful drumming in a way that feels visceral and new.

    It’s his most personal statement to date, at once playful and intent, driven and combustible, total fucking chaos mixed into glints of broken-glass beauty. Born in Tucson, Arizona, Gallego experienced culture shock as a child after relocating to the frigid climes of the Pacific Northwest.

    He found solace in the Seattle punk scene centered around Iron Lung Records and has since remained a fixture in the underground community. “I see this record as first and foremost a musical statement,” Gallego says. “I grew up in punk and DIY subcultures, but before that I had Latin music playing in the background through my childhood and every phase of adolescence. It was surprisingly natural to incorporate. I realized I wanted to go deeper into these rhythms. I wanted to make a record that felt as experimental as much as it felt from the perspective of a Latino. When I got a glimmer of that possibility, it felt exciting.”

    Lead single “Dogear” is a face-melting party starter that sounds like someone forced Talking Heads and Rudimentary Peni to share a practice space. “I wanted a song that felt playful in the way it attempted to be dissonant without taking itself too seriously,” Gallego says. “Cholla Beat” is even more ambitious, an anthemic mix of WAR and Wire led by unruly synthesizers spiraling down a labyrinth of production. Gallego’s influences for the album are vast, ranging from British documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis to electric Miles Davis to audio miscreants like Demdike Stare and Oneohtrix Point Never. But it’s Gallego’s assured sonic vision that resounds the loudest. And, while J.R.C.G. is a solo project, conceived and executed primarily in Gallego’s home studio, he found strength in opening the project to others, starting with Seth Manchester as co-producer. Manchester’s penchant for bone-rattling frequencies, as seen in his production work with The Body, Battles, and Mdou Moctar, made him a natural fit for Gallego.

    Together, they retained the intimacy of Gallego’s home recordings while taking advantage of the hi-fi stylings of his Machines With Magnets Studio in Rhode Island. The closing song, “World i,” offers a glimpse into the live experience of Grim Iconic...(Sadistic Mantra), with upwards of seven band members blasting off. The album features a fascinating mix of supporting players, many of whom cycle through J.R.C.G.’s live lineup: Morgan Henderson (The Blood Brothers, Fleet Foxes), Jason Clackley (Dreamdecay, The Exquisites), Jon Scheid (Dreamdecay, U Sco), Erica Miller (Casual Hex, Big Bite), Veronica Dye (Terminator) Phil Cleary (U Sco), and Alex Gaziano (Dreamdecay, Kidcrash, Science Amplification).

    Taken as a whole, G.I.S.M. is a whirlwind of sound, pummeling, and cleansing. It’s a sweaty, thrilling aural adventure and, like a great basement show, it’ll leave you breathless, exhausted, and wanting to repeat it all over again. As any good mantra should.

    TRACK LISTING

    1.Grim Iconic
    2.34
    3.Dogear
    4.Drummy
    5.Liv
    6.Party People (Heaven)
    7.Junk Corrido
    8.Cholla Beat
    9.World I 

    Girl And Girl

    Call A Doctor

      In one sense, it’s easy for artists—songwriters, specifically—to express their feelings in their work. After all, that’s what the lyrics are for! But it’s much harder to convey emotional energy in how you play, slash at the guitar, and the structure of the music itself. That’s precisely why Girl and Girl’s Sub Pop debut, Call A Doctor, feels like such a vital, electrifying shock to the senses. Not since the early work of Car Seat Headrest or Conor Oberst’s widescreen emotional brutality as Bright Eyes has indie rock managed to come across as this intimate and grandiose, as the Australian quartet led by Kai James lay a lifetime’s worth of woes—mental health, the human race’s planned obsolescence if you’ve been living on this cursed rock you know what we’re getting at—across a canvas of indie rock that feels both timeless and in-the-moment.

      An audacious and aggressively tuneful blast of a record, Call A Doctor is an unforgettable first bow from Girl and Girl, whose origins lie in James and guitarist Jayden Williams jamming in his mother’s garage in the afternoon after school. One afternoon, James’ Aunty Liss headed down to their practice space after walking her dog and asked if she could sit in on drums. “It sounded really great,” James recalls. “We begged her to stay, and she said, ‘I’ll stay until you find another drummer.’ We wore her down, and she eventually became a permanent member.”

      After bassist Fraser Bell joined to round things out, Girl and Girl hit the road and began to make a name for themselves beyond the Australian bush, eventually signing to Sub Pop off the strength of word of mouth. Call A Doctor came together quickly soon after, largely recorded in marathon sessions in a two-story industrial complex over the course of two weeks. “That added to the intensity of the album,” James says about the frenzied creative process overseen by producer Burke Reid. “I can hear the stress in the record, which is good because that’s what it’s about—being tense, tied up, and in your own head.”

      Call A Doctor’s eleven songs—spanning sweeping guitar epics and wry acoustic shuffles to spiky punk maneuvers and the type of raw, adoringly unvarnished indie-pop associated with legendary PacNW label K Records—are literally plucked from James’ personal history, as he reworked older recordings with newer lyrics reflecting his past struggles as well as new anxieties that emerged prior to the album’s recording. "I've struggled with mental health for a lot of my life," he explains, “and I went through a particularly difficult patch when we were making the album; the band had started to get some attention, and I felt an enormous amount of pressure to live up to it.”

      “This record is about an individual who’s too far in their head, trying to get out,” James continues while discussing Call A Doctor’s overall outlook—specifically the snapshot it offers of its creator. But even though this record deals with uneasy topics we all know well from within ourselves, it’s important to emphasize how teeming with life Girl and Girl’s music is. There’s a brazen, bold sense of humor to this stuff, an undeniable brightness to the darkness that makes it impossible not to be drawn in as a listener. Feeling down never sounded so goddamn good.

      TRACK LISTING

      Intro
      Call A Doctor
      Hello
      Maple Jean And The Anthropocene
      Oh Boy!
      Suffocate
      Mother
      You’ll Be Alright
      Comfortable Friends
      Our Love (Ours Only)
      Outro

      Amen Dunes

      Death Jokes

        With 'Death Jokes', for the first time since the project's incarnation in 2006, the spiritual reflections and meditations of Amen Dunes are turned away from himself, and out sharply towards the world. The album is also a drastic turn musically and thematically, rooted in the electronic music of raves and of rap music he grew up with but never imagined himself able to make, playing like a scathing electronic essay on America’s culture of violence, dominance, and destructive individualism.

        The work on 'Death Jokes' began just weeks before the first word of the pandemic came in the winter of 2019; it was completed three years later as we began to emerge from the worst. The album's meaning morphed as the pandemic went on, first a reflection on our attachment to form, and to ourselves, and then shifting into a solemn indictment of our culture’s blind spots as we misjudge and attack, veiled self-centeredness and self-importance masquerading as morality.


        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: Amen Dunes is without a doubt entering his purple patch here, with the brilliant 'Death Jokes' taking all of the woozy songwriting and soaring melodicism of his early work but rendering it in bold brushes of echoic 80's electronica and jagged, blended electronic fragments.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Death Jokes
        2. Ian
        3. Joyrider
        4. What I Want
        5. Rugby Child
        6. Boys
        7. Exodus
        8. Predator
        9. Solo Tape
        10. Purple Land
        11. I Don’t Mind
        12. Mary Anne
        13. Round The World
        14. Poor Cops 

        Corridor

        Mimi

          You get older, you have a family, and you start to slow down—that’s how things are supposed to go, right? Not for Montreal band Corridor, who have returned on their fourth album, Mimi, with a sound and style that’s more widescreen and expansive than anything that’s preceded it. The follow-up to 2019’s Junior is a huge step forward for the band, as the members themselves have undergone the type of personal changes that accompany the passage of time; even as these eight songs reflect a newfound and contemplative maturity, however, Corridor are branching out more than ever with richly detailed music, resulting in a record that feels like a fresh break for a band that’s already established themselves as forward-thinkers.

          Mimi immediately recalls the best of the best when it comes to indie rock—Deerhunter’s silvery atmospherics immediately come to mind, as well as the spiky effervescence of classic post-punk—but despite these easy comparisons, Corridor remain impossible to pin down from song to song, which makes Mimi all the more thrilling as a listen.

          “The goal was to work differently, which is the goal we have every time we work on a new album—to build something in a new way,” Robert explains. “This time, we took our time.” And so in the summer of 2020, Corridor’s members—Robert, vocalist/bassist Dominic Berthiaume, drummer Julien Bakvis, and multi-instrumentalist Samuel Gougoux—holed away in a cottage to engage in the sort of creative experimentation that would lead to Mimi’s ultimate creation.

          Corridor tinkered with the songs’ raw parts digitally and remotely over the next few years, with co-producer Joojoo Ashworth (Dummy, Automatic) lending their own specific talents in the theoretical booth. The process was a byproduct of not having access to their rehearsal space due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also a result of the four-piece leaning harder into incorporating electronic textures than on previous records.

          “For a long time, we identified as a guitar-oriented band, and the goal of making this whole record was trying to get away from that,” Berthiaume states. Berthiaume also describes Mimi as a record about “getting older” and “figuring out new parts of life”—but despite any claims of transitional growing pains from the band, Mimi is a record bursting with new energy and life, a vibrance that’s owed in no small part to Gougoux joining the band full-time after pitching in on live performances in the past.

          “I come more from a background of electronic music, so it was nice to involve that with the band more,” he explains, and Mimi contains a distinct rhythmic pulse reminiscent of classic era-post-punk’s own melding of dance and rock textures. Over bright, chiming guitars and ascending synths, Robert addresses his looming mortality on “Mourir Demain”: “I wrote it when my girlfriend and I were shopping for life insurance,” he laughs. With our little daughter growing up, we also considered making our will. I said to myself, ‘Oh shit, from now on I’m slowly starting to plan my death.”

          Don’t mistake this as music about dead ends, though, as Mimi embraces and champions unfettered creativity while paving a way for Corridor’s own bright future. “We just focused on making a record that sounded the way we wanted,” Gougoux exclaims while discussing the band’s aims. “There were no limitations when it came to what was possible.”



          TRACK LISTING

          Phase IV
          Mon Argent
          Jump Cut
          Caméra
          Chenil
          Porte Ouverte
          Mourir Demain
          Pellicule

          Clipping / Cooling Prongs

          Tipsy / Midnight

            This new split single by Clipping and Cooling Prongs features Clipping’s noise-infused remake of J-Kwon’s 2004 hit “Tipsy” on the A side, and a harrowing ambient noise track by Cooling Prongs on the B side.

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Clipping - Tipsy
            2. Cooling Prongs - Midnight

            Pissed Jeans

            Half Divorced

              Pissed Jeans has never been a band that goes halfway—they’re known for their feral vocals, biting lyrics, buzzsaw guitars, and unhinged live shows, and their sixth album, Half-Divorced is no exception. These songs skewer the tension between youthful optimism and the sobering realities of adulthood, and when viewed through frontman Matt Korvette’s scowl, everything takes on a level of violent absurdity.

              Pissed Jeans’ notorious acerbic sense of humor remains sharper than ever as they dismember some of the joys that contemporary adult life has to offer, from helicopter parents to stolen catalytic converters to being $62,000 in debt. On “Seatbelt Alarm Silencer,” Korvette growls, “Call it a death drive but that ain’t fair / Drive implies I’m headed somewhere.”

              Korvette, Brad Fry (guitar), Randy Huth (bass), and Sean McGuinness (drums) weren’t in any rush to finish Half-Divorced, which was recorded by Don Godwin at Tonal Park in Takoma Park, Maryland. “We’re not the kind of band that bangs out a new record every two years,” Korvette said. “Pissed Jeans is truly like an art project for us, which is what makes it so fun.” This lack of restraint rages within the songs that unexpectedly veer into classic hardcore punk territory—often coming in at under two minutes long and erupting like the “butane tank explosion” Korvette sings about in “Junktime.”

              In the last song, “Moving On,” Korvette sneers, “Cheesing into my camera phone / Pretending that I’m not alone / Life’s the first thing that we all postpone.” One gets the sense that Pissed Jeans refuses to “postpone” life in quite the same way—life, like art, is something that happens now, not later.
              -Chelsea Hodson.

              TRACK LISTING

              Killing All The Wrong People
              Anti-Sapio
              Helicopter Parent
              Cling To A Poisoned Dream
              Sixty-Two Thousand Dollars In Debt
              Everywhere Is Bad
              Junktime
              Alive With Hate
              Seatbelt Alarm Silencer
              (Stolen) Catalytic Converter
              Monsters
              Moving On

              The Shins

              Chutes Too Narrow - 20th Anniversary Remaster

                This 2023 edition of The Shins’s beloved second album, Chutes Too Narrow, celebrates the album’s 20th anniversary with a fresh remaster by Adam Ayan, supervised by band leader James Mercer, and lovely new packaging for the vinyl. Following The Shins’s breakout 2001 debut, Oh, Inverted World, singer/songwriter/guitarist James Mercer and drummer Jesse Sandoval moved from Albuquerque to Portland, OR and bassist Neal Langford was replaced with Dave Hernandez (ex-Scared Of Chaka), who played bass on the stand-out track from the first record, “New Slang.” Chutes Too Narrow, their heavily anticipated follow-up, was recorded in James’ basement home studio, with later mixing assistance from Phil Ek (Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, David Cross, Les Savy Fav, etc.). And, with 10 songs, clocking in at just over 30 minutes, Chutes Too Narrow is a brief yet entirely scintillating glimpse at chiming, reflective and perfectly skewed pop innovation. It was released to widespread acclaim in 2003, garnering Pitchfork’s Best New Music, four stars from Rolling Stone, and raves from the New York Times, MOJO, the Village Voice, SPIN, and tons more. It subsequently made best-of-the-decade lists from The AV Club, NME, Paste, Pitchfork, and Uncut.

                TRACK LISTING

                Kissing The Lipless
                Mine's Not A High Horse
                So Says I
                Young Pilgrims
                Saint Simon
                Fighting In A Sack
                Pink Bullets
                Turn A Square
                Gone For Good
                Those To Come 

                Mudhoney

                Superfuzz Bigmuff - 35th Anniversary Edition

                  In 1988 Mudhoney released their debut 7” single, “Touch Me I’m Sick,” and it rapidly became the defining anthem of the Seattle scene that, shortly thereafter, took the world by storm. Punk? Garage? G****e? Who cares when it rips this much! The B side, “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More,” ain’t no slouch, either.

                  Later in 1988, the band followed up with Superfuzz Bigmuff, a six-song EP so overflowing with chaotic rock energy it warped thousands of minds, and inspired countless guitarists to immediately search for the titular fuzz pedals.

                  In the words of Dynamite Hemmorage’s Jay Hinman: “My feeling—and I know I’m not alone in this one—is that for all the play and worldwide attention several Seattle-area bands got during the 1988-92 period, at the end of the day (and even at the time), there was Mudhoney—and then there was everybody else. To me, you, and most everyone who was paying close attention to underground rock music during those years, Mudhoney still sound like the undisputed kingpins of roaring, surging, fuzzed-out, punk rock music. These first recordings were so life-affirming upon their release, connecting everything great about the sixties (biker movies, fuzzboxes, old guitars, three-minute songs) with the frothing, punk rock of the early ‘80s, that a whole new ‘style’ of music was born. They called it grunge, but to me it was amped-up, clear-the-room, ramalama rock that exploded like Nagasaki live, and it was about as joyous and as fun a noise as anyone’d heard in years.”

                  These 2023 colored-vinyl editions of the two releases celebrate the 35th anniversary of Mudhoney’s opening salvos, and we couldn’t be more excited to have them back in print.



                  TRACK LISTING

                  Need
                  Chain That Door
                  Mud Ride
                  No One Has
                  If I Think
                  In ‘N’ Out Of Grace

                  Mudhoney

                  Touch Me I'm Sick - 2023 Reissue

                    In 1988 Mudhoney released their debut 7” single, “Touch Me I’m Sick,” and it rapidly became the defining anthem of the Seattle scene that, shortly thereafter, took the world by storm. Punk? Garage? G****e? Who cares when it rips this much! The B side, “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More,” ain’t no slouch, either.

                    Later in 1988, the band followed up with Superfuzz Bigmuff, a six-song EP so overflowing with chaotic rock energy it warped thousands of minds, and inspired countless guitarists to immediately search for the titular fuzz pedals.

                    TRACK LISTING

                    Touch Me I’m Sick
                    Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More

                    Chai

                    Chai

                      The Japanese band CHAI cast a spell on the world in 2017 with their debut album, PINK, a collection of songs that introduced their singular brand of playful pop. The enthusiastically feminist follow-up, PUNK, raked in accolades from the music press and fellow artists. That led to WINK, which CHAI made via remote Zoom sessions, a limitation that became a strength by allowing MANA (lead vocals and keys), KANA (guitar), YUNA (drums), and YUUKI (bassist-lyricist) to collaborate with artists abroad to create a work that found catharsis in their international community.

                      Unlike WINK, the band’s new self-titled album finds CHAI returning to their roots, drawing inspiration from their Japanese heritage and the music that raised them. “Everything reflected in the lyrics expresses our experience as Japanese women,” MANA says. CHAI’s ethos is one of inclusion, and lead single “We The Female!” – recorded live to honor the band’s riotous performances – beckons listeners into the mission. “We are human and were born as female, but we have both female and male aspects in each of our souls, each with our own sense of balance,” CHAI said in an accompanying statement. “We can’t just label ourselves into clear-cut, simple categories anymore! I’m not anyone else but just ‘me,’ and you are no one else but just ‘you.’ This song celebrates that with a roar!”

                      During their post-pandemic touring, performing for enormous crowds in cities like Santiago, Buenos Aires, and São Paulo made CHAI realize they had unlocked a global audience. CHAI wrote the new record on the road, finding time to record in the days between shows at Stones Throw Studio in LA, Ometusco Sound Machine in Mexico City, and Grand Street in New York. As they realized their liberatory, empowering message applied to people outside of Japan, CHAI considered what facets of their upbringing might resonate with audiences outside of their home country.

                      On CHAI, the band draws directly from city pop, a Tokyo-born sound popularized in the ‘70s and ‘80s. City pop was a Japanese take on Western lounge music, borrowing from jazz, boogie, funk, and yacht rock to create a sound that straddled two cultures. While city pop has recently found a US audience via TikTok and YouTube, CHAI grew up on the genre. For production, they tapped previous collaborator Ryu Takahashi, who shared their love of city pop, eurobeat, and the melodies of J-pop artists like Maria Takeuchi. “They wanted to dig into their Japanese identity, not in a traditional sense, but in this filtered Western way,” Takahashi says. Working well-equipped studios allowed them to experiment with aesthetics as-yet-unheard on a CHAI album. For example, at Stones Throw Studio, CHAI recorded “GAME” with the sole intention of writing something listeners will recognize as new wave, riding on a house synth line and minimalist production that recalls the eurobeat influences most recently associated with Robyn’s Honey. “GAME” might be the perfect distillation of CHAI’s ethic, as it urges listeners to keep moving through this life with joy and passion. Per MANA: “It’s not about winning or losing as competition, but about what you need to do, personally, to feel you’ve won.”

                      TRACK LISTING

                      MATCHA
                      From 1992
                      PARA PARA
                      GAME
                      We The Female!
                      NEO KAWAII, K?
                      I Can't Organizeeee
                      Driving22
                      LIKE, I NEED
                      KARAOKE

                      Bully

                      Lucky For You

                        Lucky For You is Bully’s most close-to-the-bone album yet. It’s an album that’s searing and unmistakably marked by its creator’s experiences, while still retaining the massive sound that Alicia Bognanno has become known for over the last decade. Her fourth album draws from personal pain and the universal struggle that is existing, learning, and moving on—and it’s all soundtracked by Bognanno’s rock-solid melodic sensibilities and a widescreen sound that’s impossible to pin down when it comes to the textures explored.

                        These ten songs are simply the most irresistible Bognanno’s put to tape yet, making Lucky For You her greatest triumph to date in a career already packed with them. Work on Lucky For You began last year, when Bognanno brought some in-progress demos to producer J.T. Daly in his Nashville studio to see if they could strike creative kismet. “Authenticity is always on my mind, without even knowing it,” she explains while discussing their recording process together. “It was great with J.T., because I could tell he was a genuine fan who wanted to emphasize what’s actually good about my writing instead of changing it. I could tell how much he cared about the project, and it meant alot to me.” The album came together over the course of seven months, the longest gestation process for a Bully record to date, but that time allowed inspiration to emerge in new ways.

                        The result is a kaleidoscopic rock record spanning punk’s grit, the crunchy bliss of shoegaze, explosive Britpop, and the type of classic anthems Bully has been known for. Lucky For You’s thematic focus zooms in on grief and loss: The record is largely inspired by Bognanno’s dog and best friend Mezzi passing away, at a time when her life already felt as if in metamorphosis. The oceanic first single “Days Move Slow” was written shortly after Mezzi’s passing, reflecting the persistence of Bognanno’s incisive wit in the face of adversity. “There was nothing I could do except sit down and write it, and it felt so good.” And then there’s the passionate opening track “All I Do,” which kicks in the door with huge riffs atop her lyrical reflections on three years of sobriety.

                        "Once I stopped drinking, I felt like I was still haunted by mistakes and things that had happened when I was drinking, and it’s still taking me a long time to forget about that while existing in this house. How do I shed the skin from a path I’ve moved on from?” In that vein, Lucky For You is a document of perseverance in the face of the big and the small stuff. “I’m so overly emotional and sensitive, it’s a blessing and a curse” she says with a laugh, but there’s no downside to her expressions of vulnerability on this record; it’s the latest bit of evidence that nothing can hold Bognanno back.

                        TRACK LISTING

                        1. All I Do
                        2. Days Move Slow
                        3. A Wonderful Life
                        4. Hard To Love
                        5. Change Your Mind
                        6. How Will I Know
                        7. A Love Profound
                        8. Lose You (feat. Soccer Mommy)
                        9. Ms. America
                        10. All This Noise

                        Lael Neale

                        Star Eaters Delight

                          Lael Neale still has a flip phone and there were no screens involved in the creation of her new record Star Eaters Delight. The album is her second for Sub Pop and reveals an expansion of her sonic collaboration with producer and accompanist Guy Blakeslee. In April of 2020, in the wake of transformations both personal and global, Lael moved from Los Angeles back to her family’s farm in rural Virginia. Looking at the world from a distance and getting in tune with her own rhythms, she wrote and recorded steadily for two dreamlike years, driven by a need to make order out of chaos. Forged in isolation, Star Eaters Delight is a vehicle for returning, not just to civilization, but to celebration. She says, “Acquainted with Night (recorded in 2019, and released in 2021), was focused inward, amidst the loud and bright Los Angeles surrounding me. It was an attempt to create spaciousness and quiet reverie within. When I moved back to the farm, I found that the unbroken silences compelled me to break them with sound. This album is more external. It is me reaching back out to the world, wanting to feel connected, to wake up, to come together again.” Album opener and lead single “I Am The River” melts the ice with a dynamic explosion of minimalist transcendental pop clearly descended from the Velvet Underground’s branch of modern music’s family tree.

                          Blakeslee’s spare yet cinematic arrangements create an ambient space in which Neale’s clear and unaffected voice can explore familiar themes in an unexpected way. Subtle but potent references to Shakespeare, Emerson and the Bible (which she hasn’t read) swirl together with deeply personal musings and touches of wry humor, always more optimistic than cynical. While this is a record about polarities- country vs. city, humanity vs. technology, solitude vs. relationship - the deeper intention is to heal; to come to terms with our differences and put the broken pieces back together again. Lael’s affinity with the Transcendentalists has to do with her quest to hold onto sovereignty over her own mind. In a time when our devices are constantly flooding us with information, opinions and propaganda, Lael is intentional about what she takes in - hence the flip phone and the cassette recorder. Neale identifies as a minimalist “not because I don’t like things, but because I value freedom more.”

                          TRACK LISTING

                          I Am The River
                          If I Had No Wings
                          Faster Than The Medicine
                          In Verona
                          Must Be Tears
                          No Holds Barred
                          Return To Me Now
                          Lead Me Blind

                          Mudhoney

                          Plastic Eternity

                            The world is filling up with trash. Humanity remains addicted to pollution. People are downing horse dewormer because some goober on television told them it cured COVID. The apocalypse is stupider than anyone could’ve predicted.

                            Fortunately, the absurdities of modern life have always been prime subject matter for Seattle-based foursome Mudhoney, and the band take aim at all of them with typical barbed humor and muck-encrusted riffs on on 11th studio album, Plastic Eternity, which was recorded over nine days at Crackle & Pop! in Seattle with longtime producer Johnny Sangster.

                            From taking on climate change from the perspective of the climate if the climate tried to play guitar like Jimi Hendrix (“Cry Me An Atmospheric River”) to a driving rock and roll song about taking drugs meant for livestock (“Here Comes the Flood”) to a classic punk attack on treating humans like livestock (“Human Stock Capital”), Plastic Eternity is a run through all the proto-genres of guitar rock with a keen eye on the inanities of the world in the 2020’s. It also contains a genuine love song in closing track “Little Dogs,” an ode to the simple joys of hanging out with tiny canines.

                            Mudhoney (vocalist Mark Arm, guitarist Steve Turner, bassist Guy Maddison, and drummer Dan Peters) remain the ur underground group, their gnarly primordial punk stew and Arm’s sharply funny lyrics as potent a combination as they’ve been since the band’s formation in the late 1980s. When asked why they continue making records nearly four decades after forming, Arm’s answer is simple.

                            “We like each other, and we like being in a band together,” says Arm. “Some people have poker night or whatever the fuck, and they have the excuse to get together with their friends. For us, this [band] is that. This is what we do.”

                            STAFF COMMENTS

                            Barry says: You know you're in safe hands with Mudhoney, and on their 11th LP in 35 storied years, they've not lost any of the grungy grit and political drive that made them so popular in the first place. Aiming their sights at all manner of recent events has meant there's little shortage of material, and Mudhoney manage to tackle it all with wit and aplomb. Brilliant.

                            TRACK LISTING

                            Souvenir Of My Trip
                            Almost Everything
                            Cascades Of Crap
                            Flush The Fascists
                            Move Under
                            Severed Dreams In The Sleeper Cell
                            Here Comes The Flood
                            Human Stock Capital
                            Tom Herman's Hermits
                            One Or Two
                            Cry Me An Atmospheric River
                            Plasticity
                            Little Dogs

                            Quasi

                            Breaking The Balls Of History

                              Breaking the Balls of History is Quasi’s tenth record, landing ten years after their last record.

                              Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss have become Pacific Northwest icons, and Quasi has always felt so steadfast— their enduring friendship so generative, their energy infinite, each album more raucous and catchy and ferocious and funny than the last. But we were wrong to ever take Quasi for granted. For a while, they thought 2013’s intricate Mole City might be their last record. They’d go out on a great one and move on. Then in August 2019 a car smashed into Janet’s and broke both legs and her collarbone. Then a deadly virus collided with all of us, and no one knew when or if live music as we knew it—the touring, the communal crowds, the sonic church of the dark club—would ever happen again. And with the obliterated normal came an unexpected gift: uninterrupted time, hours every day, to make art. Quasi couldn’t go on the road, so they got an idea: they would act as if they were on tour and play together every single day. Each afternoon, Sam and Janet bunkered down in their tiny practice space and channeled the bewilderment and absurdity of this alien new world into songs. Janet’s strength returned and rose to athlete-level stamina The incredible result of those sessions is Breaking the Balls of History, recorded in five days and produced by John Goodmanson at the legendary Robert Lang Studios in Shoreline, WA. Here are two artists at their prime, each a human library of musical knowledge and experience, entirely distinctive in their songcraft and sound. In Quasi-form, the band becomes alchemically even greater than the sum of its parts: Janet’s galloping drums and Sam’s punk-symphonic Rocksichord and their intertwining vocals make something gigantic, anthemic. In the thick of a cataclysmic social and political moment, they’ve crafted exquisitely melodic songs that glitter with rage and wild humor and intelligence, driven by a big bruised pounding heart.

                              While it reflects the darkness of our time, Breaking the Balls of History surges with energy and pleasure and joy. “It felt so life-affirming. I can hear in the music how happy I am to be there and to be playing at that level again,” Janet said. “I get to exist.” Sam and Janet have lived through enough to understand that nothing is permanent, and that when your faith in humanity sinks, you turn to the life force of what you can rely on: the people you trust, the community that claims you, and what you can create. You can’t control the time. But you can make a record of a time. And luckily for us, Quasi has again.

                              TRACK LISTING

                              Last Long Laugh
                              Back In Your Tree
                              Queen Of Ears
                              Gravity
                              Shitty Is Pretty
                              Riots & Jokes
                              Breaking The Balls Of History
                              Doomscrollers
                              Inbetweenness
                              Nowheresville
                              Rotten Wrock
                              The Losers Win

                              King Tuff

                              Smalltown Stardust

                                There are times in our life when we feel magic in the air. When new love arrives, or we find ourselves lost in a moment of creation with others who share our vision. A sense that: this is who I want to be. This is what I want to share. It’s a fleeting feeling and one that Kyle Thomas, the singer-songwriter who records and performs as King Tuff, found himself longing for in the spring of 2020.

                                But knowing he couldn’t simply recreate this time in his life at will, Thomas—who hails from Brattleboro, Vermont—set out to write a love letter to those cherished moments of inspiration and to the small town that formed him. The one where he first nurtured his songwriting impulses, bouncing ideas off other like-minded artists. The kind of place where the changing of the seasons always delivered a sense of perspective and fresh artistic inspiration. Where he felt a deeper connection with nature and sense of community that had once been so close at hand. And so, Thomas seized upon his memories, creating what he calls “an album about love and nature and youth.”

                                The result is Smalltown Stardust, a spiritual, tender and ultimately joyous record that might come as a shock to those with only a passing knowledge of the artist’s back catalog. On Smalltown Stardust, Thomas takes us on his journey to a place where past and present collide, where he can be a dreamer in love with all that he sees. References to his Brattleboro upbringing abound, but at the core of Smalltown Stardust is Thomas’s desire to commune with nature on a spiritual level. Images of the natural world, from blizzards to green mountains to cloudy days, fill the songs. “I consider nature to be my religion,” he explains, and Smalltown Stardust is nothing if not a spiritual exploration.

                                While so much of Smalltown Stardust invokes idealized traces and places of Thomas’s past, the album’s recording process made his communal vision a reality. Thomas’s Los Angeles home in 2020 formed a micro-scene of sorts, with housemates Meg Duffy (Hand Habits) and Sasami Ashworth recording their own heralded albums (2021’s Fun House and 2022’s Squeeze, respectively) at the same time. A shared spirit dominated an era spent largely on the premises, with Thomas serving as engineer and contributor to both records, and Ashworth working as co-producer on Smalltown Stardust. Ashworth’s contributions are vital to the album: she co-wrote a majority of the record and contributed vocals, arrangements, and instrumentation to each song.

                                In the end, Smalltown Stardust is not merely a nostalgia trip. Thomas not only conjured a special time in his life, he found new inspiration, surrounded by collaborators and a sense of love and wonder for nature. If the first King Tuff record was content to merely state Thomas was no longer dead, Smalltown Stardust is a paean to what that life means. A statement of belief and a hymnal to the magic still to behold all around us.

                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                Barry says: Smalltown Stardust is at it's heart an exploration of psychedelia but it's so joyously presented, effortlessly lurching from 60s psych to folky minimalism, via clashing garage rock. There are snippets of uplifting synths and pristine production but it never sounds less that thoroughly organic and wholly absorbing.

                                TRACK LISTING

                                Love Letters To Plants
                                How I Love
                                A Meditation
                                Portrait Of God
                                Smalltown Stardust
                                Pebbles In A Stream
                                Tell Me
                                Rock River
                                The Bandits Of Blue Sky
                                Always Find Me
                                The Wheel

                                Hot Hot Heat

                                Make Up The Breakdown - 2022 Reissue

                                  Hot Hot Heat’s classic debut album, filled with smart, energetic, dance-punk hits, returns to vinyl with this fully remastered LP edition. AllMusic called the album “an addictive, densely packed pop gem that ranks among 2002’s best albums,” and Pitchfork agreed, including it on their list of the best albums of 2002. Following closely on the heels of their critically-acclaimed Knock Knock Knock EP, Make Up the Breakdown is Hot Hot Heat's first full-length, recorded with Jack Endino at Vancouver, BC’s Mushroom Studios (with engineering help from Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie). SPIN Magazine had this to say about Knock Knock Knock: “Some retro new wavers hang themselves on their own skinny ties. While their peers lip-sych to Cure 45s, these Canucks take subtler cues from early-‘80s synth disco. It’s not new-wave worship, it’s the sound of punk teaching itself to dance.” Make Up the Breakdown delivered on the promise hinted at on the EP. Hot Hot Heat (along with peers like Radio 4 and The Rapture) blended angular post-punk twitch with danceable pop, effectively (and finally) persuading white dopes on punk to get on the good foot in the early 2000s.


                                  TRACK LISTING

                                  Naked In The City Again          
                                  No, Not Now              
                                  Get In Or Get Out         
                                  Bandages     
                                  Oh, Goddamnit              
                                  Aveda (Remastered)                 
                                  This Town (Remastered)                         
                                  Talk To Me, Dance With Me                        
                                  Save Us S.O.S.                
                                  In Cairo            
                                  Apt. 101            
                                  Move On

                                  Weyes Blood

                                  And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow

                                    Long-awaited follow-up to Weyes Blood’s 2019 breakthrough album Titanic Rising.  And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow was co-produced by Weyes Blood and Jonathan Rado, with engineering by Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief), and additional instrumentation by Meg Duffy (Hand Habits) and Mary Lattimore. 

                                    Technological agitation. Narcissism fatigue. A galaxy of isolation. These are the new norms keeping Weyes Blood (aka Natalie Mering) up at night and the themes at the heart of her latest release, And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow.  The celestial-influenced folk album is her follow-up to the acclaimed Titanic Rising. (Pitchfork, NPR, and The Guardian admiringly named it one of 2019’s best.) While Titanic Rising was an observation of doom to come, And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow is about being in the thick of it: a search for an escape hatch to liberate us from algorithms and ideological chaos. “We’re in a fully functional shit show,” Mering says. “My heart is a glow stick that’s been cracked, lighting up my chest in an explosion of earnestness.” And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow opens with the wistful, winsome “It's Not Just Me, It's Everybody,” a song about the interconnectivity of all beings, despite the fraying of society around us. “I was asking a lot of questions while writing these songs. Hyper-isolation kept coming up,” Mering says. “Our culture relies less and less on people. Something is off, and even though the feeling appears differently for each individual, it is universal.” Other tracks follow in kind. The lullaby-like “Grapevine” chronicles the splintering of a human connection. The otherworldly dirge “God Turn Me into a Flower” serves as allegory about our collective hubris. “The Worst Is Done” is an ominous warning, set against a deceivingly breezy pop melody. “Chaos is natural. But so is negentropy, or the tendency for things to fall into order,” she says. “These songs may not be manifestos or solutions, but I know they shed light on the meaning of our contemporary disillusionment.” 

                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                    Barry says: The wonderful Weyes Blood returns for her most expansive and musically accomplished outing yet. Hazy, mid-century Americana meets smoky lounge bars and wistful folk music in a stunningly evocative and quintessentially Weyes Blood work. From strength to strength (including a stint as JOMF's bass player no less!), Mering pulls out all the stops for 'And In The Darkness', and it's come out a treat.

                                    TRACK LISTING

                                    It's Not Just Me, It's Everybody
                                    Children Of The Empire
                                    Grapevine
                                    God Turn Me Into A Flower
                                    Hearts Aglow
                                    And In The Darkness
                                    Twin Flame    
                                    In Holy Flux
                                    The Worst Is Done
                                    A Given Thing

                                    Frankie Cosmos

                                    Inner World Peace

                                      Several things happened before a warm day when I met the four members of Frankie Cosmos in a Brooklyn studio to begin making their album. Greta Kline spent a few years living with her family and writing a mere 100 songs, turning her empathy anywhere from the navel to the moon, rendering it all warm, close and reflexively humorous. In music, everyone loves a teen sensation, but Kline has never been more fascinating than now, a decade into being one of the most prolific songwriters of her generation. She’s lodged in my mind amongst authors, other observational alchemists like Rachel Cusk or Sheila Heti, but she’s funnier, which is a charm endemic to musicians.

                                      Meanwhile Frankie Cosmos, a rare, dwindling democratic entity called a band, had been on pandemic hiatus with no idea if they’d continue. In the openness of that uncertainty they met up, planning to hang out and play music together for the first time in nearly 500 days. There, whittling down the multitude of music to work with, they created Inner World Peace, a collection of Greta’s songs changed and sculpted by their time together. While Kline’s musical taste at the time was leaning toward aughts indie rock she’d loved as a teenager, keyboardist Lauren Martin and drummer Luke Pyenson cite “droning, meditation, repetition, clarity and intentionality,” as well as “‘70s folk and pop” as a reference for how they approached their parts. Bassist/guitarist Alex Bailey says that at the time he referred to it as their “ambient” or “psych” album. Somewhere between those textural elements and Kline’s penchant for concise pop, Inner World Peace finds its balance.

                                      The first order of business upon setting up camp in Brooklyn’s Figure 8 studios was to project giant colorful slides the band had made for each track. Co-producing with Nate Mendelsohn, my Shitty Hits Recording partner, we aimed for FC’s aesthetic idiosyncrasies to shine. The mood board for “Magnetic Personality” has a neon green and black checkerboard, a screen capture of the game Street Fighter with “K.O.” in fat red letters, and a cover of Mad Magazine that says “Spy Vs. Spy! The Top Secret Files.” On tracks like “F.O.O.F.” (Freak Out On Friday), “Fragments” and “Aftershook,” the group are at their most psychedelic and playful, interjecting fuzz solos, bits of percussion, and other sonically adventurous ear candy. An internal logic strengthens everything, and in their proggiest moments, Frankie Cosmos are simply a one-take band who don’t miss. When on Inner World Peace they sound wildly, freshly different, it may just be that they’re coming deeper into their own.

                                      Inner World Peace excels in passing on the emotions it holds. When in the towering “Empty Head” Kline sings of wanting to let thoughts slide away, her voice is buoyed on a bed of synths and harmonium as tranquility abounds. When her thoughts become hurried and full of desire, so does the band, and she leaps from word to word as if unable to contain them all. As a group, they carry it all deftly, and with constant regard for Kline’s point of view.

                                      Says Greta, “To me, the album is about perception. It’s about the question of “who am I?” and whether or not the answer matters. It’s about quantum time, the possibilities of invisible worlds. The album is about finding myself floating in a new context. A teenager again, living with my parents. An adult, choosing to live with my family in an act of love. Time propelled us forward, aged us, and also froze. If you don’t leave the house, who are you to the world? Can you take the person you discover there out with you?”

                                      - Katie Von Schleicher

                                      TRACK LISTING

                                      Abigail
                                      Aftershook
                                      Fruit Stand
                                      Magnetic Personality
                                      Wayne
                                      Sky Magnet
                                      A Work Call
                                      Empty Head
                                      Fragments
                                      Prolonging Babyhood
                                      One Year Stand
                                      F.O.O.F.
                                      Street View
                                      Spare The Guitar
                                      Heed The Call

                                      Built To Spill

                                      When The Wind Forgets Your Name

                                        Since its inception in 1992, Built to Spill founder Doug Martsch intended his beloved band to be a collaborative project, an ever-evolving group of incredible musicians making music and playing live together. “I wanted to switch the line-up for many reasons. Each time we finish a record I want the next one to sound totally different. It’s fun to play with people who bring in new styles and ideas,” says Martsch. “And it’s nice to be in a band with people who aren’t sick of me yet.”

                                        Following several albums and EPs on Pacific Northwest independent labels, including the unmistakably canonical indie rock classic, There’s Nothing Wrong With Love, released on Sub Pop offshoot Up Records in 1994, Martsch signed with Warner Brothers from 1995 to 2016. He and his rotating cast of cohorts recorded six more, inarguably great albums during that time – Perfect From Now On, Keep It Like a Secret, Ancient Melodies of the Future, You In Reverse, Untethered Moon, There Is No Enemy. There was also a live album, and a solo record, Now You Know. While the band’s impeccable recorded catalogue is the entry point, Built to Spill live is an essential FORCE of its own: heavy, psychedelic, melodic and visceral tunes blaring from amps that sound as if they’re powered by Mack trucks.

                                        Now in 2022, Built to Spill returns with When the Wind Forgets Your Name, Martsch’s unbelievably great new album (and also his eighth full-length)... with a fresh new label. “I’m psyched: I’ve wanted to be on Sub Pop since I was a teenager. And I think I’m the first fifty year-old they’ve ever signed.” (The rumours' are true, we love quinquagenarians…)


                                        TRACK LISTING

                                        1. Gonna Lose
                                        2. Fool’s Gold
                                        3. Understood
                                        4. Elements
                                        5. Rock Steady
                                        6. Spiderweb
                                        7. Never Alright
                                        8. Alright
                                        9. Comes A Day

                                        Bret McKenzie

                                        Songs Without Jokes

                                          Solo debut by Bret McKenzie, one half of New Zealand’s most popular comedy folk duo, Flight of the Conchords.

                                          ‘Songs Without Jokes’ harkens back to the greats of the 1970s singer- songwriter era, with songs reminiscent of the finest work of Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, and even a touch of Elvis Costello.

                                          The Conchords landed McKenzie and Jemaine Clement a hit HBO TV show, a BBC Radio series, chart-topping records, world tours, a Best Comedy Album Grammy, and a 2018 ‘reunion’ special. McKenzie transitioned to Hollywood, writing songs for 2011’s ‘The Muppets’ (winning a Best Original Song Oscar for ‘Man or Muppet’), 2014’s ‘Muppets Most Wanted’, and films in the ‘Pirates!’ and ‘Dora’ canons.

                                          While he enjoyed and excelled at the work, he wondered where his songs might go if set free of all that plot-bound specificity. And so, while in Los Angeles a few years back, recording movie music with a crack assemblage of legendary session musicians, McKenzie started playing around with a tune or two he had written simply as songs - songs without any external direction, songs without plot-pushing concerns, songs without jokes.

                                          The results reveal McKenzie’s talents on multiple instruments (he’s a veteran of several non-comedy bands in New Zealand back in the day, most notably the reggae-based fusion group The Black Seeds), and his affinity for wry, literate artists like Harry Nilsson, Steely Dan, Randy Newman and Dire Straits.

                                          While the album may be free of traditional punch lines, it doesn’t lack a sense of humour. It showcases a new stage of McKenzie’s career, to be sure, but one that isn’t so far removed from his past work and true artistic self. Like Jim Henson before him, who made a career of blending the silly with the sincere and the playful with the profound, McKenzie also aims to connect rainbows to the ridiculous.

                                          TRACK LISTING

                                          This World
                                          If You Wanna Go
                                          Dave’s Place
                                          Here For You
                                          That’s L.A
                                          Up In Smoke
                                          Carry On
                                          A Little Tune
                                          America Goodbye
                                          Tomorrow Today
                                          Crazy Times

                                          Kiwi Jr.

                                          Chopper

                                            Smash cut to Kiwi Jr.’s third album, Chopper, overseen by trusted pilot Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs) on storied Sub Pop Records. Turning nocturnal with necks mock turtle, our Local Kiwi Jr. takes neon flight off the digital cliff - like The Monkees starring in Blade Runner; like Michael Mann directs Encino Man. Ten songs with synth shimmer, zen gongs with yard strimmer. The signs along the highway read “LESS BAR, MORE NOIR AHEAD.” Ah, those late summer, Joe Strummer, Home on the Range Rover Blues. There's a melancholy to all forms of flight, and the view out the Chopper is as hazy as it gets: mission-oriented, both stealth and self-realized. This album is decidedly (yet almost secretly) anti-patio-sunscreen-Beach Boys bachelor cruise sing-a-long. Sure, these songs let a little light through the blinds, but they sting insomnia, corrupt mayors, Kennedy Curses, sex tapes, and deer rifles. Chopper is the bird's eye view of the big event - a real nighttime character of oil stain, film grain, search light, night flight. It is muscular and fragile; loud yet quiet: both an observer and somehow the observed spectacle itself. What was slack in the slacker phase, got tauter, with lacquer glaze. Slick gloss, rightened wrongs; murdered boss, promoted pawns. With Boeckner transmitting high-voltage shocks upon every reach for a familiar instrument, Kiwi Jr. expands the palette with string machine song, synthesizered oblong, and Dentyne Classic Menthol vocals from area soprano Dorothea Paas (US Girls, Badge Epoch Ensemble) like the missing piece all along. Kiwi Jr. brings the Chopper to a new space, demilitarizing the technology just like flasks, aviators, and cargo shorts. Graceful in the air above, but when the Chopper lands, there's chaos on the ground. Kiwi Jr. shout, “Look Out!” When it gets close, it'll blow the hat right off of your head.

                                            Hold onto your hats, Babies.

                                            Kiwi Jr. is Jeremy Gaudet vocals and guitar, Brian Murphy guitar, Mike Walker bass, Brohan Moore drums, and everybody played a little bit of keyboard.

                                            TRACK LISTING

                                            Unspeakable Things
                                            Parasite II
                                            Clerical Sleep
                                            Night Vision
                                            The Extra Sees The Film
                                            Contract Killers
                                            The Sound Of Music
                                            Downtown Area Blues
                                            Kennedy Curse
                                            The Masked Singer

                                            Charlie Gabriel

                                            '89

                                              “I’ve been playing since I was 11 years old,” says Charlie Gabriel, the most senior member of the legendary Preservation Hall Band, “I never did anything in my life but play music. I’ve been blessed with that gift that God gave me, and I’ve tried to nurse it the best way I knew how.” While he’s faced plenty of challenges nursing that gift for more than 78 years, none likely rank with last winter’s passing of his brother and last living sibling, Leonard, lost to COVID-19. For the first time ever, Gabriel put down his horn, filling his days and weeks instead with dark reflection, a stubborn despondency broken now and then by regular chess matches in the studio kitchen of Hall leader Ben Jaffe, working overtime to bring his friend some light. One such afternoon also included Joshua Starkman, sitting off in a corner playing his guitar and half-watching the chess from a distance. When Charlie returned the next day, he brought his saxophone. “I was just inspired to try it, to play again. It had been a long time, and a guitar makes me feel free. I do love the sound of a piano, but it takes up a lot of a space, keeps me kind of boxed in.”

                                              That day was to be the first session for 89, almost entirely the work of Gabriel, Jaffe and Starkman, recorded mostly right there, in the kitchen, by Matt Aguiluz. Charlie Gabriel’s first professional gig dates to 1943, sitting in for his father in New Orleans’ Eureka Brass Band. As a teenager living in Detroit, Charlie played with Lionel Hampton, whose band then included a young Charles Mingus, later spending nine years with a group led by Cab Calloway drummer J.C. Heard. While he’s also fronted a bebop quintet, played and/or toured with Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennet, Aretha Franklin and many more, this is the first time his name appears on the front of a record, as a bandleader.

                                              Since 2006, Gabriel has been a member of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, featuring prominently on That’s It, So It Is, and Tuba to Cuba. 89 was different, and not simply due to a smaller ensemble. “We had no particular plan, or any particular insight on what we were gonna do. But we were enjoying what we were doing, jamming, having a musical conversation,” Charlie says, further musing, “Musical conversations cancel out complications.” 89 includes six standards and three newer pieces on which Gabriel is a writer: “Yellow Moon,” “The Darker It Gets” and “I Get Jealous.” The record also marks Charlie’s return to his first instrument, clarinet, on many of the tracks. “The clarinet is the mother of the saxophone,” he says. “I started playing clarinet early in life, and this [taught me] the saxophone.”

                                              Finally, 89 includes three tracks of Charlie singing. “I always sung, but it wasn’t my forte to become a singer,” he says. “The truth is, people often develop a real relationship with a song once they hear the words. Sometimes I enjoy singing them.”

                                              TRACK LISTING

                                              Memories Of You
                                              Chelsea Bridge
                                              I'm Confessin'
                                              The Darker It Gets
                                              Stardust
                                              Three Little Words
                                              Yellow Moon
                                              I Get Jealous

                                              Naima Bock

                                              Giant Palm

                                                The roots of Naima Bock’s music are far reaching. Born in Glastonbury to a Brazilian father and a Greek mother, Naima spent her early childhood in Brazil before eventually returning to England and various homes in South-East London. This heritage combines with more recent pursuits in Naima’s music. From the Brazilian standards that the family listened to while driving to the beach, to the European folk traditions she tapped into on her own, and the pursuits that interest her today – studies in archaeology, work as a gardener, and walking the world’s great trails – Naima’s music draws from family, the earth and music handed down through generations.

                                                Naima’s debut album Giant Palm is undoubtedly infused with the Brazilian music of her youth and regular family visits. She found inspiration in “the percussion, the melodies, chords - and particularly the poetic juxtaposition of tragedy and beauty held within the lyrics.” By the age of 15 Naima was embedded in the music scene of South-East London, eventually forming Goat Girl with school friends and touring the world. After six years playing bass in Goat Girl, Naima left the band to try something new. She set up a gardening company and started a degree at University College London in archeology because, as she jokes, “I liked being near the ground.” During this time she wrote music, played guitar, learned violin, worked with ever-shifting South-London collective Broadside Hacks, and met producer and arranger Joel Burton through Memorials of Distinction label head Josh Cohen. Joel’s burgeoning interest in Western classical music, global folk music, experience in large scale arrangement and orchestration informed the collaborative process that eventually culminated in Giant Palm.

                                                Recorded with the help of over 30 musicians (including Josh Cohen on synth/electronics) by Dan Carey of Speedy Wunderground at his studio space in Streatham, South-East London, and engineered by Syd Kemp, the songs on Giant Palm represent a snapshot of a specific feeling, of brief moments in Naima’s life that make up a larger whole. The expansive yet delicate arrangements highlight Naima’s love for the collectivist values of traditional folk music, in which songs belong to everyone, and singing can take on countless forms without the need to exactly replicate something. “All the other representations that I’d had of singing felt so unattainable” she recalls. Giant Palm finds Naima bucking these expectations to let her unique voice and sense of communal creativity flourish. 


                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                Giant Palm
                                                Toll
                                                Every Morning
                                                Dim Dum
                                                Working
                                                Natural
                                                Campervan
                                                Enter The House
                                                Instrumental 
                                                O Morro

                                                Σtella

                                                Up And Away

                                                  Σtella makes her Sub Pop debut with the mesmerizing Up and Away, an old-school pop paean to the pangs and raptures of love. From the Greek folk-inflected get-go, we’re swept up in Σtella’s world – and it’s quite the captivating place to be.

                                                  The singer-songwriter joined forces with artist and producer Tom Calvert (aka Redinho), and it was a match made in Athens; the results are heavenly. Tom caught one of Σtella’s gigs on a visit to the city. He reached out, they started hanging out, and the pair soon clicked creatively. Both mention chemistry when asked about their collaboration and it’s clear, from what we hear, they had it in spades. The meld is seamless. Σtella’s songs have always riffed on American and Greek mid-century pop but Up and Away doubles down on the vintage aesthetic. Tom says he styled the record “as if it was a rare gem from the ’60s found in a box of records in Athens,” and Σtella notes she was ready for a more “deeply Greek touch – it felt comfortable and right, smoothly fusing with the pop.” The bouzouki appears on a full five tracks played by Christos Skondras who, she says, “was brilliant at improvising,” while Sofia Labropoulou on the kanun “brought an insane amount of dreaminess to the last two songs. Having these amazing musicians play for Up and Away – I couldn’t be more grateful.”

                                                  While not exclusively a confessional artist, Σtella is always intimate – when she sings, it’s personal. She writes “about things I feel passion for. Stories about me, about others, about all that’s there in love and war.” Σtella was “in a very emotional state at the time, which came through in the lyrics and vocals.” And it’s true, her honeyed voice – layered in those unmistakable harmonies of hers – thrillingly runs the gamut from tender to terse, by turns bracing and smitten, aching and forlorn. But it’s the lyrics that feel key. Across her output, Σtella has proven herself a strong storyteller, and Up and Away is no exception (the guise of the medieval bard she assumes on the cover is telling).

                                                  Past releases have been studded with gem-like vignettes – a diverse array of stories set tightly together to form non-linear narratives unified by emotion. Her latest feels singular in that it seems to trace a longer-form tale across songs, with each track escalating the record’s erotic arc. By the end of the album, Up and Away’s core concerns are clear: the conflicting and conflicted emotions inherent in love, that live on in ways we can’t always understand or control. Love is like this record: when it’s over, you still feel it for time to come.

                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                  Up And Away
                                                  Nomad
                                                  Manéros
                                                  Charmed
                                                  Another Nation
                                                  Black And White
                                                  Titanic
                                                  The Truth Is
                                                  Who Cares
                                                  Is It Over

                                                  Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever return in 2022 with Endless Rooms, the Melbourne quintet's third album proper. Described by the band – comprised of Fran Keaney, Joe White, Marcel Tussie and brothers Tom Russo and Joe Russo – as them "Doing what we do best: chasing down songs in a room together", Endless Rooms stands as a testament to the collaborative spirit and live power of RBCF.

                                                  While initial ideas were traded online during long spells spent separated by lockdowns, the album was truly born during small windows of freedom in which the band would decamp to a mud-brick house in the bush around 2hrs north of Melbourne built by the extended Russo family in the 1970s.

                                                  There, its 12 tracks took shape, informed to such an extent by the acoustics and ambience of the rambling lakeside house that they decided to record the album there. The house also features on the album cover. For the first time, the band self-produced the record (alongside engineer, collaborator and old friend, Matt Duffy), creating their most naturalistic and expansive document yet. The result is a collection of songs permeated by the spirit of the place; punctuated by field recordings of rain, fire, birds, and wind.

                                                  "It's almost an anti-concept album," say the band. "The ‘endless rooms’ of the title reflects our love of creating worlds in our songs. We treat each of them as a bare room to be built up with infinite possibilities."

                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                  Barry says: Aaah, there's nothing quite as satisfying as a new RCBF album. Their latest definitely sounds like them, with the roaring angular guitar lines and post-punk vocal sneer but is somehow softened into a more crepuscular, thoughtful selection of pieces. It's by no means a mellow record, but their usual drive is tempered a little, and all the better for it. A lovely record.

                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                  Pearl Like You
                                                  Tidal River
                                                  The Way It Shatters
                                                  Caught Low
                                                  My Echo
                                                  Dive Deep
                                                  Open Up Your Window
                                                  Blue Eye Lake
                                                  Saw You At The Eastern Beach
                                                  Vanishing Dots
                                                  Endless Rooms
                                                  Bounce Off The Bottom

                                                  Weird Nightmare

                                                  Weird Nightmare

                                                    If you’re looking for a raw, sugary blast of distorted pop, look no further than Weird Nightmare. The debut album from METZ guitarist and vocalist Alex Edkins contains all of his main band’s bite with an unexpected, yet totally satisfying, sweetness. Imagine The Amps covering Big Star, or the gloriously hissy miniature epics of classic-era Guided by Voices combined with the bombast of Copper Blue- era Sugar—just tons of red-line distortion cut with the type of tunecraft that thrills the moment it hits your ears. 

                                                    These ten songs showcase a new side of Edkins’ already-established songwriting, but even though the bulk of Weird Nightmare was recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic some of its tunes date back to 2013 in demo form. “Hooks and melody have always been a big part of my writing, but they really became the main focus this time” he explains. “It was about doing what felt natural.” 

                                                    To be clear: Weird Nightmare is not a “pandemic album,” but an album—some of which had been gestating for quite a while—that just so happened to be recorded during the pandemic. “I had always planned on finishing these songs, but being unable to tour with METZ, and forced to lock down, really gave me a push.” After days spent homeschooling his son, Edkins would drive to the METZ rehearsal room and tinker deep into the night on these songs’ deceptively simple structures and rich, static-laden textures. “It was a godsend for me,” he states about the creative process. “The hours would disappear and I would get lost in the music and record. It was a beautiful escape.”

                                                    Weird Nightmare is, in its own way, a study in extremes: Edkins’ melodic instincts and penchant for dissonance are both turned up to the max throughout, the latter reflecting not only the barn-burning tendencies of METZ, but Alex’s own sonic predilections. “It doesn’t sound right to my ears until it’s pushed over the edge.” He also cites other artists who are masterful at mixing the sublime and the punishing—Kim Deal and Scout Niblett among them—as influences on his own songwriting. “My favorite songs are the simple ones,” he explains. “I’ve never been attracted to virtuosity or technicality. Certain songs have the power to lift your spirits like nothing else can. I wanted to create that type of song.” 

                                                    A few guests pitch in on Weird Nightmare: Canadian alt-pop genius Chad VanGaalen adds his unmistakable touch to the ever-escalating “Oh No,” while Alicia Bognanno of Bully lends her distinctive pipes to the thrashing “Wrecked,” a collaboration that effectively saved the song. “I almost didn’t put it on the album because I thought it was missing something,” Edkins explains. “I sent it to Alicia and she lifted it way up.” 

                                                    And taking risks and reaching out of Edkins’ comfort zone was the name of the game when it came to making Weird Nightmare. “I found myself doing new things I didn’t have the guts to do before, recording everything by myself and trusting all of my musical instincts,” he states. “I think when music manifests quickly, a certain amount of honesty automatically comes along with it. When it is a purely instinctual creation, there is no opportunity to obscure the truth.”

                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                    Searching For You
                                                    Nibs
                                                    Lusitania
                                                    Wrecked (feat. Bully)
                                                    Sunday Driver
                                                    Darkroom
                                                    Dream
                                                    Zebra Dance
                                                    Oh No (feat. Chad VanGaalen)
                                                    Holding Out

                                                    Suki Waterhouse

                                                    I Can't Let Go

                                                      Nowadays, voice memos, videos, and pictures chronicle our lives in real-time. We trace where we’ve been and reveal where we’re going. However, Suki Waterhouse catalogs the most intimate, formative, and significant moments of her life through songs. You might recognize her name or her work as singer, songwriter, actress but you’ll really get to know the multi-faceted artist through her music. Memories of unrequited love, fits of longing, instances of anxiety, and unfiltered snapshots interlock like puzzle pieces into a mosaic of well-worn country, ‘90s-style alternative, and unassuming pop.

                                                      She writes the kind of tunes meant to be grafted onto dusty old vinyl from your favorite vintage record store, yet perfect for a sun-soaked festival stage. Her first album for Sub Pop, I Can’t Let Go, is a testament to her powers as a singer and songwriter. In Suki’s words: “The album is called I Can’t Let Go because for years it felt like I was wearing heavy moments on my sleeve and it just didn’t make sense to do so anymore. There’s so much that I’ve never spoken about. Writing music has always been where it felt safe to do so. Every song for the record was a necessity. In many ways, I’ve been observing my life as an outsider, even when I’ve been on the inside. It’s like I was a visitor watching things happen.”

                                                      Growing up in London, Suki gravitated towards music’s magnetic pull. She listened to the likes of Alanis Morissette and Fiona Apple, and Oasis held a special place in her heart. She initially teased out this facet of her creativity with a series of singles, generating nearly 20 million total streams independently.

                                                      Nylon hailed her debut track, “Brutally,” as “what a Lana Del Rey deep cut mixed with Joni Mitchell’s ‘Both Sides, Now’ would sound like.” In addition to raves from Garage, Vice and Lemonade Magazine, DUJOR put it best: “Suki Waterhouse’s music has swagger.”

                                                      Suki is constantly consuming artists of all stripes, and, in the lead-up to making I Can’t Let Go, she was particularly drawn to the work of Sharon Van Etten, Valerie June, Garbage, Frazey Ford, Lou Doillon, and Lucinda Williams. After falling in love with Hiss Golden Messenger’s Terms of Surrender, she reached out to its producer Brad Cook (Bon Iver, War On Drugs, Snail Mail, Waxahatchee) to help define the sound of I Can’t Let Go.

                                                      On I Can’t Let Go, Suki not only catalogs her life up to this point, but she also fulfills a lifelong ambition. “When I’ve been stuck or feel out of touch with a sense of inner meaning and outer purpose, I’ve found both through searching my memories and finding those events buried in the shadowy areas of the psyche where they were ignored,” she says. “So many times of change in my life have required return visits—especially at the transitions through to the next stages. The album is an exploration of those moments when there is nothing left to lose. What is left and can’t be thrown away is the self.”

                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                      Moves
                                                      The Devil I Know
                                                      Melrose Meltdown
                                                      Put Me Through It
                                                      My Mind
                                                      Bullshit On The Internet
                                                      Wild Side
                                                      On Your Thumb
                                                      Slip
                                                      Blessed

                                                      Guerilla Toss

                                                      Famously Alive

                                                        Dig deep enough inside yourself -- start treating your body as your sanctuary rather than your enemy -- and eventually you'll find yourself blooming right back out into the sun. That's the transformation Guerilla Toss trace on their newest album Famously Alive, their effervescent Sub Pop debut. After a decade sprinkling glitter into grit, building a reputation as one of the most ferociously creative art-rock groups working, the upstate New York band have eased fully into their light. This is Guerilla Toss at their most luminescent -- awake, alive, and extending an open invitation to anyone who wants to soak it all up beside them.

                                                        Singer and lyricist Kassie Carlson, multi-instrumentalist Peter Negroponte and guitarist Arian Shafiee wrote Famously Alive at home in the Catskills during the pervading quiet of the pandemic year. The uncertainty of COVID-19 lockdowns and the total disruption of routine forced Carlson to negotiate with herself in new and challenging ways. "You have to be with yourself all the time during the pandemic," she says. "I had to figure out a way to manage my anxiety. The pandemic was hard, but it helped me get comfortable inside my own body. My peace of mind came out of being thrust into the deepest shit. This album is all about being happy, being alive, and strength. It’s meant to inspire people."

                                                        The album's title derives from a poem written by a close friend of the band, Jonny Tatelman, who supported Carlson through the early stages of her recovery from opiate addiction. The poem comprises the entirety of the lyrics to the title track, an exuberant ode to loving your own survival and charting a course into unconditional self-acceptance. "The song 'Famously Alive' is about living with purpose and excitement whether you’re famous or not, accepting your strangeness and thriving even if your successes look different than other people’s," notes Carlson. Negroponte adds. "I also like to think of it as a way to describe living through something traumatic and coming out of it a stronger, wiser person."

                                                        Throughout the record, Guerilla Toss meet themselves with curiosity, generosity, and acceptance even for the harder parts of being alive. Together with guitarist Arian Shafiee, Carlson and Negroponte cultivated a sound that spliced together psychedelic texturing and Krautrock syncopation with the gloss and glow of contemporary pop music. Carlson’s voice, its range now broadened by a recent venture into formal training, puts playful, searching vocal melodies and lyrics about reaching for yourself and holding fast in your own love atop ripples of Auto-Tune.

                                                        Famously Alive finds Guerilla Toss coming into the fullness of their power, celebrating their prismatic idiosyncrasies from a place of optimism and abundance. It is a joyous album, equal parts bizarre, accessible, and fun.

                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                        1. Cannibal Capital
                                                        2. Famously Alive
                                                        3. Live Exponential
                                                        4. Mermaid Airplane
                                                        5. Wild Fantasy
                                                        6. Pyramid Humm
                                                        7. Excitable Girls
                                                        8. I Got Spirit
                                                        9. Happy Me
                                                        10. Heathen In Me

                                                        Bria

                                                        Cuntry Covers Vol. 1

                                                          Bria is an intimate and incisive labour of love from multi-instrumentalists Bria Salmena and Duncan Hay Jennings. Catapulted by a deep sense of dread and confusion in the depths of 2020, Salmena decided to forgo writing her own music. “I wanted to listen for what might reflect my life back to me,” she says, “six tracks that could be my mirror.” The result is a pointillistic knockout of an EP that weaves a landscape both luscious and a little rogue; showing us exactly what good songs can do.

                                                          Bria’s internal turbulence seemed to mirror last year’s external instability. When Jennings and back-up singer Jaime McCuaig moved to The Outside Inn, a hobby farm in Hockley Hills, Ontario, Bria soon joined. The farm’s living-room-turned-studio proved an ideal setting for the long-time friends to compile a record of handpicked country covers. They went searching for songs that could speak to our everyday loneliness; outside and in. Cuntry Covers Vol. 1 houses it all: well-worn favourites and lesser-known gems. The record opens with “Green Rocky Road,” as performed by Greenwich Village legend Karen Dalton. Jennings’ twangy guitar carries Bria’s original inflection and richly textured vocals, complete with dreamy overlay. “Dreaming My Dreams With You,” a rendition of the Waylon Jennings hit, is followed by John Cale’s “Buffalo Ballet,” a lyrical journey through Abilene, Texas, the endpoint of the Chisholm Trail. Engineered and mixed by Jennings, each song brings desire and sexuality front and centre, with all the swagger you’d expect  – and more.

                                                          Bria hopes the record will be understood as a small contribution to the subversion of a genre with deep patriarchal roots. Mistress Mary’s “I Don’t Wanna Love Ya Now,” from the 1969 album Housewife, served as the original inspiration. “It was the first song Duncan and I worked on,” Bria notes. “It definitely set the tone for the other tracks we picked.” Bria’s voice – described as wavering between “sultry and howitzer” – shines on “Fruits Of My Labour,” written and performed by country great, Lucinda Williams. The Walker Brothers’ “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” is a harmonic (and hypnotic) standout. A musical explorer who moves fluidly between styles, Bria doesn’t consider herself a country artist: “I feel as though I’m a visitor here, paying respect to a style that has informed a part of my musical identity. Country music, as much as any other art form, should be an arena for representation, expression and provocation. I have a ton of reverence for artists who came before me and challenged the primarily white-heterosexual status quo.”

                                                          Salmena and Jennings have toured for years as members of Toronto four-piece FRIGS, whose 2018 debut Basic Behaviour was long-listed for the Polaris Music Prize. Making a mark in diverse genres from country to punk, both play as permanent members of Orville Peck’s band. Cuntry Covers was recorded on the territories of the Anishnaabe, the Haudenosaunee, the Wendat and the Mississaugas of the Credit. The release also features contributions from FRIGS drummer Kris Bowering and vocals by Ali Jennings. Bria's first release is a gorgeous debut, a homage to the songs that brought solace and relief in the stillness of last year. - Zoe Imani Sharpe


                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                          Green Rocky Road
                                                          Dreaming My Dreams With You
                                                          Buffalo Ballet
                                                          Fruits Of My Labour
                                                          The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore
                                                          I Don't Wanna Love Ya Now

                                                          Aeon Station

                                                          Observatory

                                                            Aeon Station’s ‘Observatory’ is an epic statement more than a decade in the making, with miles of timeless melodies and the kind of overpowering songwriting that will reaffirm your belief in life itself.

                                                            Band leader Kevin Whelan co-founded and was a key songwriter for New Jersey indie-rock legends The Wrens. The Wrens’ landmark 2003 album, ‘The Meadowlands’, received a 9.5 Pitchfork review and made Pitchfork’s Albums Of The Year list. Since that album, fans and press have been eagerly awaiting new material from The Wrens members.

                                                            Whelan’s scope of musical vision on ‘Observatory’ is wide open and free with possibilities - at once recalling the reflective wisdom of Bruce Springsteen, Broken Social Scene’s huge anthemic burn, and the Wrens’ own pulsing-with-life take on rock music. Above all, this is music not only for dreamers but for those who realize and appreciate the enormity of every moment. “It’s about never letting go about those dreams and your passion,” he states. “The album starts from a place of realizing that everything is temporary, what we love eventually changes or leaves us, and regardless we continue to search and find our way back home.”

                                                            If you’ve ever caught air in your lungs or felt your heart beating in your chest, there’s no doubt that you’ll find some level of connection with ‘Observatory’’s openhearted, instantly classic-sounding rock.

                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                            Hold On
                                                            Leaves
                                                            Fade
                                                            Everything At Once
                                                            Move
                                                            Queens
                                                            Empty Rooms
                                                            Air
                                                            Better Love
                                                            Alpine Drive

                                                            Shannon Lay

                                                            Geist

                                                              Geist feels like a window - or a mirror - into possibilities of the self and beyond. Shannon Lay’s new album is tender intensity, placeless and ethereal.  It exists in the chasms of the present -- a world populated by shadow selves, spiritual awakenings, déjà vu, and past lives. “Something sleeps inside us,” Lay insists on the opening track, and that’s the guiding philosophy throughout. A winding, golden, delicate thread of intuition that explores the unknown, the possibility. Its title, Geist, the German word for spirit, is rife with an otherworldly presence, the suggestion of another. The promise that you are never alone. Lay tracked vocals and guitar at Jarvis Tavinere of Woods’s studio, then sent the songs out to multi-instrumentalists Ben Boye (Bonnie Prince Billy, Ty Segall) in Los Angeles and Devin Hoff (Sharon Van Etten, Cibo Matto) in New York; trusting their musical instincts and intuition. She then sent those recordings to Sofia Arreguin (Wand) and Aaron Otheim (Heatwarmer, Mega Bog) for additional keys, while Ty Segall contributed a guitar solo on “Shores.” As a whole, Geist is both esoteric and accessible. Songs range from a concise, pared-back cover of Syd Barrett’s tilt-a-whirl-esque “Late Night,” to the meditative Dune-inspired "Rare to Wake,” to the mostly a-cappella  “Awaken and Allow,” which channels Lay’s deep Irish roots, a moment of reflection, before a drop happens -- its intensity mirroring the anticipation and anxiety that come with taking the first step to accepting change for yourself. And the title track “Geist,” a song about the power living in all of us, is a love song to the possibility of healing, an ode to falling into the arms of what you’re becoming. It’s a glimpse into the parts of yourself you have yet to meet. But you can, if you want to.


                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                              Rare To Wake
                                                              A Thread To Find
                                                              Sure
                                                              Shores
                                                              Awaken And Allow
                                                              Geist
                                                              Untitled
                                                              Late Night
                                                              Time's Arrow
                                                              July

                                                              Low

                                                              Hey What

                                                                Focusing on their craft, staying out of the fray, and holding fast their faith to find new ways to express the discord and delight of being alive, to turn the duality of existence into hymns we can share, Low present HEY WHAT. These ten pieces—each built around their own instantaneous, undeniable hook—are turbocharged by the vivid textures that surround them. The ineffable, familiar harmonies of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker break through the chaos like a life raft. Layers of distorted sound accrete with each new verse - building, breaking, colossal then restrained, a solemn vow only whispered. There will be time to unravel and attribute meaning to the music and art of these times, but the creative moment looks FORWARD, with teeth.

                                                                HEY WHAT is Low's thirteenth full-length release in twenty-seven years, and their third with producer BJ Burton.

                                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                Barry says: 'Hey What' follows on nicely from 'Double Negative', continuing the dedication to avant-noise drone tempered with the majestic vocal accompaniment of Parker and Sparhawk. This time they move the sound forwards with a clever and unique mixture of that shadowy drone and the more pop-focused melodies of their early work. Stunning.

                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                White Horses
                                                                I Can Wait
                                                                All Night
                                                                Disappearing
                                                                Hey
                                                                Days Like These
                                                                There's A Comma After Still
                                                                Don't Walk Away
                                                                More
                                                                The Price You Pay (It Must Be Wearing Off)

                                                                Bob's Burgers

                                                                The Bob’s Burgers Music Album Vol. 2

                                                                  The second volume of music from the hit Fox TV show ‘Bob’s Burgers’. The Emmywinning, top-rated show was named one of the 60 Greatest TV Cartoons of All Time by TV Guide.

                                                                  In addition to the show’s cast, the album features high-profile guests including Adam Driver, Tiffany Haddish, Jenny Slate, Daveed Diggs, Max Greenfield, Toddrick Hall, Aparna Nancherla and Matt Berninger (of the National).

                                                                  The ‘Bob’s Burgers’ audience is wide-ranging: strong performance with 15-25 year olds, median viewing age of 37, 35 share among males 35-54 and a 16 share of females in the same group.bCampaign will include promotion from the cast and show production team.
                                                                  ‘The Bob’s Burgers Music Album Vol. 2’ includes nearly every single musical morsel from Seasons 7 through 9.

                                                                  This 90-song smorgasbord will feature the Belcher family - Bob (H. Jon Benjamin), Linda (John Roberts), Tina (Dan Mintz), Gene (Eugene Mirman) and Louise (Kristen Schaal) - as well as the show’s numerous recurring and special guests.

                                                                  For fans of the show, enjoying the music of Bob’s Burgers on its own is both an irresistible to-go bag and ultimately a world unto itself. Lose yourself in the strangely epic disco celebration ‘Hot Pants Rain Dance’, sing along with the musical theatre gem ‘The Wedding Is My Warzone’, or do whatever you’re gonna do to ‘Sexy Little Tiger’ but don’t miss ‘The Bob’s Burgers Music Album Vol. 2’.


                                                                  The Shins

                                                                  Oh, Inverted World - 20th Anniversary Edition

                                                                    Oh, Inverted World, the earth-shattering, indie-rock-redefining 2001 debut album by The Shins, is presented here in its finest form, dressed up all nice for its 20th birthday. The classic tunes get new life by way of a full remastering job under band leader James Mercer’s watchful eye, the art is given a little extra zest via a die-cut jacket and a classy inner sleeve, and the package is rounded off with a big ol’ booklet with vintage photos, handwritten lyrics, and more.

                                                                    The music, of course, is obviously essential. Aside from a friendly reminder that this is the album with the smash hit “New Slang,” as heard in the hit movie Garden State, we just need to note that the remastering job truly makes this the album James Mercer always wanted it to be. Never quite satisfied with the sonics of the original, Mercer took the 20th anniversary of the album as his opportunity to finally set the (literal!) record straight. And the results sound stellar: great for new fans, and well worth the attention of those already on board!

                                                                    For old times’ sake, here’s what we had to say about this record back when it came out: Hailing from Albuquerque, NM, The Shins sprung from the ashes of Flake/Flake Music in 1997 (though those previous incarnations date back nearly a decade) – same members, different instruments, different approach. Counterpoint guitars have given way to a single guitar pitted against calculated keyboard passages; swarming indie rock machinations led to pop-based melodic endeavors (who knew?).

                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                    Caring Is Creepy
                                                                    One By One All Day
                                                                    Weird Divide
                                                                    Know Your Onion!
                                                                    Girl Inform Me
                                                                    New Slang
                                                                    The Celibate Life
                                                                    Girl On The Wing
                                                                    Your Algebra
                                                                    Pressed In A Book
                                                                    The Past And Pending

                                                                    CHAI

                                                                    Wink

                                                                      Since breaking out in 2018, CHAI have been associated with explosive joy. At their live shows, the Japanese four-piece of identical twins MANA (lead vocals and keys) and KANA (guitar), drummer YUNA, and bassist-lyricist YUUKI have become known for buoyant displays of eclectic and clever songwriting, impressive musicianship, matching outfits, delightful choreography, and sheer relief. At the core of their music, CHAI have upheld a stated mission to deconstruct the standards of beauty and cuteness that can be so oppressive in Japan. Following the release of 2019’s second album PUNK, CHAI’s adventures took them around the world, to music festivals like Primavera Sound and Pitchfork Music Festival, and touring with indie-rock mainstays like Whitney and Mac DeMarco.

                                                                      Like all musicians, CHAI spent 2020 forced to rethink the fabric of their work and lives. But CHAI took this as an opportunity to shake up their process and bring their music somewhere thrillingly new. Having previously used their maximalist recordings to capture the exuberance of their live shows, with the audiences’ reactions in mind, CHAI instead focused on crafting the slightly-subtler and more introspective kinds of songs they enjoy listening to at home—where, for the first time, they recorded all of the music. Amidst the global shutdown, CHAI worked on Garageband and traded their song ideas—which they had more time than ever to consider—over Zoom and phone calls, turning their limitations into a strength.

                                                                      Their third full-length and first for Sub Pop, WINK contains CHAI’s mellowest and most minimal music, and also their most affecting and exciting songwriting by far. While the band leaned into a more personal sound, WINK is also the first CHAI album to feature contributions from outside producers (Mndsgn, YMCK) as well as a feature from the Chicago rapper-singer Ric Wilson. CHAI draw R&B and hip-hop into their mix (Mac Miller, the Internet, and Brockhampton were on their minds) of dance-punk and pop-rock, all while remaining undeniably CHAI. Whether in relation to this newfound sense of openness or their at-home ways of composing, the theme of WINK is to challenge yourself.

                                                                      WINK is a fitting title then: a subtle but bold gesture. A wink is an unselfconscious act of conviction, or as CHAI puts it: “A person who winks is a person with a pure heart, who lives with flexibility, who does what they want. A person who winks is a person who is free.” YUUKI noted that “With this album, we’re winking at you. We’re living freely and we hope that when you listen, you can wink and live freely, too.”

                                                                      CHAI came to see the album—with its home-y feel—as a collection where each song is like a new friend, something comforting to rely on and reach out to, as the album was for them throughout 2020. This impulse towards connection is in WINK’s title, too. After the “i” of their debut album PINK and the “u” of PUNK—which represented the band’s act of introducing themselves, and then of centering their audiences—they have come full circle with the “we” of WINK. It signals CHAI’s relationship with the outside world, an embrace of profound togetherness. Through music, as CHAI said, “we are all coming together.” In that act of opening themselves up, CHAI grew into their best work: “This album showed us, we’re ready to do more.”

                                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                      Barry says: A vibrant mix of deep, grooving disco beats and perfectly effervescent production has come to characterise the CHAI experience, and 'Wink' is absolutely the peak of this aesthetic. Brilliantly playful but ram-packed with moments of sheer synthy perfection, CHAI really are one of the most exciting bands around at the moment.

                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                      Donuts Mind If I Do
                                                                      Maybe Chocolate Chips (feat. Ric Wilson)
                                                                      ACTION
                                                                      END
                                                                      PING PONG! (feat. YMCK)
                                                                      Nobody Knows We Are Fun
                                                                      It's Vitamin C
                                                                      IN PINK (feat. Mndsgn)
                                                                      KARAAGE
                                                                      Miracle
                                                                      Wish Upon A Star
                                                                      Salty

                                                                      Iron & Wine

                                                                      Archive Series Volume No. 5: Tallahassee Recordings

                                                                        Archive Series Volume No. 5: Tallahassee is the lost-in-time debut album from Iron & Wine. A collection of songs recorded three years prior to his official Sub Pop debut, The Creek Drank the Cradle (2002). A period before the concept of Iron & Wine existed and principal songwriter Sam Beam was studying at Florida State University with the intent of pursuing a career in film. Tallahassee documents the very first steps on a journey that would lead to a career as one of America’s most original and distinctive singer-songwriters.

                                                                        Creek arrived like a thief in the night with its lo-fi, hushed vocals and intimate nature, while almost inversely Tallahassee comes with a strange sense of confidence. Perhaps an almost youthful discretion that likely comes from being too young to know better and too naïve to give a shit. The recordings themselves are more polished than Creek and give a peak into what a studio version of that record might have offered up.

                                                                        Tallahassee was recorded over the course of 1998-1999 when Beam and future bandmate EJ Holowicki moved into a house together. Beam had not been performing publicly, however he was known for playing an original song or two in the early morning glow of a long night. Holowicki also in the film program and who would go onto a career as a sound designer at Skywalker Sound, had a mobile recording device and after some prodding convinced his friend to record these late-night meditations.

                                                                        Together they would record close to twenty-four songs, ideas and sketches, with EJ on bass and Sam on vocals, guitar, harmonica and drums. The recordings – all captured in the house where they lived – have a “live in the room” feel akin to say Neil Young’s Harvest or Nick Drake’s Five Leaves Left, rather than the homespun lo-fi 4-track home recording experiment taking place at the time.

                                                                        These recordings, minus one track, have never been made available and were instead left preserved on a hard drive for the last twenty years. The one track that floated out there, called “In Your Own Time” was shared without a title to childhood friend Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses) at some point. The song became known as the “Fuck Like A Dog” song and Ben shared it with more than a few folks during the golden era of mix cd’s. Two of those folks were Jonathan Poneman from Sub Pop and journalist Mike McGonigal, who included it on his best songs of 2001 mix cd, passed out to friends and acquaintances. And for many that is where the Iron & Wine story begins, until now…

                                                                        Tallahassee is the foreword to your favorite book that you’ve somehow skipped over time and time again. It’s an alternative history mixed with some revisionist history told over the course of eleven songs. It’s also the debut record by Iron & Wine some twenty years after the fact. 

                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                        Why Hate The Winter
                                                                        This Solemn Day
                                                                        Loaning Me Secrets
                                                                        John's Glass Eye
                                                                        Calm On The Valley
                                                                        Ex-Lover Lucy Jones
                                                                        Elizabeth
                                                                        Show Him The Ground
                                                                        Straight And Tall
                                                                        Cold Town
                                                                        Valentine

                                                                        Ya Tseen

                                                                        Indian Yard

                                                                          Band founder, Nicholas Galanin is one of the most vital voices in contemporary art. His work spans sculpture, video, installation, photography, jewelry and music; advocating for Indigenous sovereignty, racial, social and environmental justice, for present, and future generations. Indian Yard is a compelling document of humanity centered in an Indigenous perspective. Created by one of the world’s foremost Indigenous artists, the irrepressible Indian Yard is an intense illumination of feeling and interconnectedness. On the groups’ debut offering, "Close the Distance”, Galanin “reflects on the universal need for connection and the expression of desire across distances. The official video, directed by Stephan Gray (Shabazz Palaces “Dawn In Luxor,” “Deesse Du Sang”), extends beyond human experience to consider physical expressions of desire in biological, mechanical, and celestial forms."

                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                          Knives (feat. Portugal. The Man)
                                                                          Light The Torch
                                                                          Born Into Rain (feat. Rum.gold & Tunia)
                                                                          At Tugáni
                                                                          Get Yourself Together
                                                                          Close The Distance
                                                                          We Just Sit And Smile Here In Silence
                                                                          A Feeling Undefined (feat. Nick Hakim & Iska Dhaaf)
                                                                          Synthetic Gods (feat. Shabazz Palaces & Stas THEE Boss)
                                                                          Gently To The Sun (feat. Tay Sean)
                                                                          Back In That Time (feat. Qacung)

                                                                          Father John Misty

                                                                          Fear Fun - Reissue

                                                                            Father John Misty is the nom-de-plume of Josh Tillman, who has been recording and releasing solo albums under his own name since 2003 and who recently left Seattle’s Fleet Foxes after playing drums with them from 2008-2011.

                                                                            When discussing Father John Misty, Tillman paraphrases Philip Roth: “‘It’s all of me and none of me, if you can’t see that, you won’t get it.’”

                                                                            ‘Fear Fun’, Father John Misty’s album from 2012 and now available again through Sub Pop, began gestating during what Tillman describes as an “immobilizing period of depression” in his former Seattle home, when he had lost interest in songwriting and wound up finding his voice by writing a novel. After breaking from Seattle and settling in a spider-infested Laurel Canyon treehouse, Tillman spent months demoing songs, eventually liberating himself from his creative impasse. With the help of LA producer/songwriter/pal Jonathan Wilson, a wealth of talented musicians kicking around LA and producer Phil Ek (who everyone knows has worked with Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes), ‘Fear Fun’ blossomed into a fully-formed expression of Tillman’s unrestrained vision.

                                                                            ‘Fear Fun’ consists of such disparate elements as Waylon Jennings, Harry Nilsson, Arthur Russell, All Things Must Pass and Physical Graffiti, often within the same song. Tillman’s voice has never been better and often sounds like Roy Orbison at his most joyous, while the music maintains a dark, mysterious yet playful, almost Dionysian quality.

                                                                            Lyrically, his absurdist fever dreams of pain and pleasure elicit, in equal measures, the blunt descriptive power of Bukowski or Brautigan, the hedonist-philosophy of Oscar Wilde and the dried-out wit of Loudon Wainwright III.

                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                            Funtimes In Babylon
                                                                            Nancy From Now On
                                                                            Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings
                                                                            I’m Writing A Novel
                                                                            O I Long To Feel Your Arms Around Me
                                                                            Misty’s Nightmares 1 & 2
                                                                            Only Son Of The Ladiesman
                                                                            This Is Sally Hatchet
                                                                            Well, You Can Do It Without Me
                                                                            Now I’m Learning To Love The War
                                                                            Tee Pees 1-12
                                                                            Everyman Needs A Companion

                                                                            Flock Of Dimes

                                                                            Head Of Roses

                                                                              On her second full-length record, Head of Roses, Jenn Wasner follows a winding thread of intuition into the unknown and into healing, led by gut feelings and the near-spiritual experience of visceral songwriting. The result is a combination of Wasner’s ability to embrace new levels of vulnerability, honesty and openness, with the self-assuredness that comes with a decade-plus career as a songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and prolific collaborator.  Simply put, Head of Roses is a record about heartbreak, but from a dualistic perspective. It’s about the experience of having one’s heart broken and breaking someone else’s heart at the same time. But beyond that, it’s about having to reconcile the experience of one’s own pain with the understanding that it’s impossible to go through life without being the source of great pain for someone else.

                                                                              “Part of the journey for me has been learning to take responsibility for the parts of things that are mine, even when I’m in a lot of pain through some behavior or action of someone else. If I’m expecting to be forgiven for the things I’ve done and the choices I’ve made and the mistakes that I’ve made, it would be incredibly cowardly and hypocritical to not also do the work that’s required to forgive others the pain they caused me.” Showcasing the depth of Wasner’s songwriting capabilities and the complexity of her vision, Head of Roses calls upon her singular ability to create a fully-formed sonic universe via genre-bending amalgamation of songs and her poetic and gut punch lyrics. It’s the soundtrack of Wasner letting go – of control, of heartbreak, and of hiding who she is: “I think I’ve finally reached a point in my career where I feel comfortable enough with myself and what I do, that I’m able to relax into a certain simplicity or straight forwardness that I wasn’t comfortable with before.” Head of Roses puts Wasner’s seismically powerful voice front and center. Those vocals help thread it all together -- it’s a textured musicality, quilted together by intentionality and intuition. Wasner and producer Nick Sanborn (Sylvan Esso, Made of Oak) assembled Head of Roses in the same way you’d put together a mixtape, painstakingly and carefully melding disparate parts into a whole, transcending genre to weave a story of heartache and healing together.

                                                                              And in the same way a homemade, painstakingly-crafted mixtape plays out, with the maker’s fingerprints left all over its songs – so goes Head of Roses. Carefully curated and culled from the depths of Wasner’s heartbreak and healing, it’s deeply, intensely personal. But just as we change ourselves by embracing the pain of loss and uncertainty, so too are the purpose of these songs changed through the act of creating them. Having succeeded in healing the person who made them, they now exist for those who find them in their own moments of need. Always in motion, the original spirit of creation has already flown from this place—but it’s left behind a blueprint, a tool for you, to lean on, too.

                                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                              Barry says: Wasner's wonderfully evocative style of songwriting encompasses all of the melodicism and movement in her partnership with Any Stack for Wye Oak, but with a superb audible palette of influence seeping into the sound. Echoes of 80's synth and classic rock mix with soaring guitars and funky rolling bass. A wonderful triumph, and most importantly a great listen.

                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                              1. 2 Heads
                                                                              2. Price Of Blue
                                                                              3. Two
                                                                              4. Hard Way
                                                                              5. Walking
                                                                              6. Lightning
                                                                              7. One More Hour
                                                                              8. No Question
                                                                              9. Awake For The Sunrise
                                                                              10. Head Of Roses

                                                                              TV Priest

                                                                              Uppers

                                                                                It’s tempting to think that you have all the answers, screaming your gospel every day with certainty and anger. Life isn’t quite like that though, and the debut album from London four-piece TV Priest instead embraces the beautiful and terrifying unknowns that exist personally, politically, and culturally.

                                                                                Posing as many questions as it answers, Uppers is a thunderous opening statement that continues the UK’s recent resurgence of grubby, furious post-punk music. It says something very different though – something completely its own.

                                                                                Four childhood friends who made music together as teenagers before drifting apart and then, somewhat inevitably, back together late in 2019, TV Priest was borne out of a need to create together once again, and brings with it a wealth of experience and exhaustion picked up in the band’s years of pursuing ‘real life’ and ‘real jobs’, something those teenagers never had.

                                                                                Last November, the band – vocalist Charlie Drinkwater, guitarist Alex Sprogis, bass and keys player Nic Smith and drummer Ed Kelland – played their first show, to a smattering of friends in what they describe as an “industrial freezer” in the warehouse district of Hackney Wick. “It was like the pub in Peep Show with a washing machine just in the middle…” Charlie laughs, remembering how they dodged Star Wars memorabilia and deep fat fryers while making their first statement as a band.

                                                                                Unsurprisingly, there isn’t a precedent for launching a band during a global pandemic, but among the general sense of anxiety and unease pervading everything at the moment, TV Priest’s entrance in April with the release of debut single “House Of York” - a searing examination of the Monarchy set over wiry post-punk and fronted by a Mark E. Smith-like mouthpiece - served as a breath of fresh air among the chaos, its anger and confusion making some kind of twisted sense to the nation’s fried brains.

                                                                                It’s the same continued global sense of anxiety that will greet the release of Uppers, and it’s an album that has a lot to say right now. Taking musical cues from post-punk stalwarts The Fall and Protomartyr as well as the mechanical, pulsating grooves of krautrock, it’s a record that moves with an untamed energy. Over the top of this rumbling musical machine is vocalist Charlie, a cuttingly funny, angry, confused, real frontman. Uppers sees TV Priest explicitly and outwardly trying to avoid narrowmindedness. Uppers sees TV Priest taking musical and personal risks, reaching outside of themselves and trying to make sense of this increasingly messy world. It's a band and a record that couldn’t arrive at a more perfect time.

                                                                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                Barry says: The latest in a long run of bands riding the new punk revival, TV Priest mix the breathy off-kilter vocal musings of idles with the machinated percussion of the Sleaford Mods and add a healthy dash of grungy dissonance. A heady concoction indeed.

                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                The Big Curve
                                                                                Press Gang
                                                                                Leg Room
                                                                                Journal Of A Plague Year
                                                                                History Week
                                                                                Decoration
                                                                                Slideshow
                                                                                Fathers And Sons
                                                                                The Ref
                                                                                Powers Of Ten
                                                                                This Island
                                                                                Saintless

                                                                                Kiwi Jr.

                                                                                Cooler Returns

                                                                                  Kiwi Jr. is a phenomenal “rock” and/or “punk” and/or “indie-rock” (whichever you like more) band from Canada, made up of Jeremy Gaudet (mic, guitar), Brohan Moore (drums), Mike Walker (bass), and Brian Murphy (guitar). Cooler Returns is their second album, and their first for Sub Pop. Despite being a snapshot of the pandemic-infused beginnings of this decade, Cooler Returns is truly a whole lot of fun.

                                                                                  RIYL indie-pop from down under, things that are smart / exuberant / catchy all at once. Buildings burning in every direction; macabre unknowns in your friendly neighbor’s basement; undecided voters sharpening their pencils: under pressure we could call Kiwi Jr.’s Cooler Returns “timely.” But what year is it, again? On Cooler Returns, Kiwi Jr. cycle through the recent zigs & looming zags of the new decade, squinting anew at New Year’s parties forgotten and under-investigated small town diner fires, piecing together low-stakes conspiracy theories on what’s coming down the pike in 2021. Put together like a thousand-piece puzzle, assembled in flow state through the first dull stretch of quarantine, sanitized singer shuffling to sanitized studio by streetcar, masked like it's the kind of work where getting recognized means getting killed, Cooler Returns materializes as a sprawling survey from the first few bites of the terrible twenties, an investigative exposé of recent history buried under the headlines & ancient kings buried under parking lots. 

                                                                                  Not so long since their debut Football Money in archaeological time, unending gray eons later in the dog years of quaran-time, spiritually antipodean Canadians Kiwi Jr return to disseminate this year's annual report to the shareholders, burying the incriminating numbers in the endless appendices of a longform narrative record, a 3,000 word tract for stakeholders to pore over. These stories - memories of Augusts past, unrepressed & transcribed fast - go down easier thanks to meaningful changes enacted in 2019’s KiwiCares Pledge: delivering on a promise to transition from Crunchy to Smooth by 2021, the caveman chug of Football Money has been steamed & pressed with the purifying air of a saloon piano - operated with bow-tie untied - and a spring green side-salad of tentatively up-tempo organ taps & freshly fluted harmonica. A chronically detuned spin of the dial through swivel-chair distractions & WFH daydreams, an immersive ctrl-tab deluge cycling through popular listicle distractions like the unentombing of Richard III, or the deja vu destruction of the Glasgow School of Art, Kiwi Jr. sing this song to an indoor audience, crisscrossing canceled, every other prestige distraction source wrung dry, only songwriting remaining to deliver engrossing tales to the populace, just how I imagine it worked in the old days.

                                                                                  Fixing loose ingredients into a sturdy whip, Kiwi Jr. beam in live from the 9-5, striding into 2021 with a mastered brainwave that comes equally from the back room of the record store as the penalty box. And how do we, left holding this box of deliberate entanglements, sign off to those as yet uninitiated, undecided, uncertain, unseen, absent return coordinates -  Best Wishes, Warm Regards, Good Luck? Cooler Returns, Cooler Returns, C o o l e r  R e t u r n s ! Cooler Returns was produced by Kiwi Jr., mixed and engineered by Graham Walsh (METZ, Bully) in Toronto, and mastered by Phillip Shaw Bova at Bova Labs in Ottawa, Ontario.

                                                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                  Barry says: Sounding not unlike a modern version of The Strokes, Kiwi Jr mix the unhurried punky aesthetic and mild, modern fuzz with cleverly measured heft and undeniably clever songwriting.

                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                  Side A
                                                                                  1. Tyler
                                                                                  2. Undecided Voters
                                                                                  3. Maid Marian's Toast
                                                                                  4. Highlights Of 100
                                                                                  5. Only Here For A Haircut
                                                                                  6. Cooler Returns

                                                                                  Side B
                                                                                  1. Guilty Party
                                                                                  2. Omaha
                                                                                  3. Domino
                                                                                  4. Nashville Wedding
                                                                                  5. Dodger
                                                                                  6. Norma Jean's Jacket
                                                                                  7. Waiting In Line

                                                                                  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.

                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                    Intro
                                                                                    Say The Name
                                                                                    Wytchboard (Interlude)*
                                                                                    '96 Neve Campbell (feat. Cam & China)
                                                                                    Something Underneath
                                                                                    Make Them Dead
                                                                                    She Bad
                                                                                    Invocation (Interlude) (with Greg Stuart)*
                                                                                    Pain Everyday (with Michael Esposito)
                                                                                    Check The Lock
                                                                                    Looking Like Meat (feat. Ho99o9)
                                                                                    Drove (Interlude)*
                                                                                    Eaten Alive (with Jeff Parker & Ted Byrnes)
                                                                                    Body For The Pile (with Sickness)
                                                                                    Enlacing
                                                                                    Secret Piece

                                                                                    *CD/digital/cassette-only Tracks

                                                                                    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.

                                                                                      STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                      Barry says: If you’ve listened to the radio in the last 30 years you can hear all sorts of examples of how much L7 influenced other acts, and this 30th anniversary reboot of their incendiary second album is a remastered gem in the weirdo goth-rock crown.

                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                      1. Shove
                                                                                      2. Fast And Frightening
                                                                                      3. (Right On) Thru
                                                                                      4. Deathwish
                                                                                      5. Till The Wheels Fall Off
                                                                                      6. Broomstick
                                                                                      7. Packin' A Rod
                                                                                      8. Just Like Me
                                                                                      9. American Society

                                                                                      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.”

                                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                                        Add It On
                                                                                        Every Tradition
                                                                                        Where To Start
                                                                                        Prism
                                                                                        You
                                                                                        Let You
                                                                                        Like Fire
                                                                                        Stuck In Your Head
                                                                                        Come Down
                                                                                        Not Ashamed
                                                                                        Hours And Hours
                                                                                        What I Wanted

                                                                                        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.

                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                          Too Late
                                                                                          Face Up
                                                                                          Time To Walk Away
                                                                                          Paralyzed
                                                                                          Reckless Desires
                                                                                          Game Of Chance
                                                                                          Leave You Behind
                                                                                          Don't Go
                                                                                          Hide
                                                                                          Haunt

                                                                                          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.

                                                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                            Darryl says: It’s been well documented that we love the sunshine rich sound of The Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever here at Piccadilly; two EOY Top 10 entries with 2018’s ‘Hope Downs’ and 2017’s mini-album ‘The French Press’ speaks for itself. And now the Australian quintet have returned with ‘Sideways To New Italy’, a superbly crafted and exceptionally well produced album that’s easily on par with their previous releases.

                                                                                            Kicking off the album with the timeless “The Second Of The First” it’s clear that they’ve lost none of their songwriting wizardry, all the key RBCF elements are here; interlocking jangling guitars, pristine melodies, a driving rhythm section and hooks that’ll earworm their way around your head for months on end.

                                                                                            Track after track of effortless sunkissed indie-pop follow including the standout “Cars In Space” where the intertwining triple guitars really hit their peak, layers upon layers of blissful golden soundz over an infectious motorik beat. This is RBCF at their best, where all five members click into a groove that you’ll never want to end.

                                                                                            ‘Sideways To New Italy’ is the sound of a band that’s happy to be back in the confines of their studio again having spent around 18 months touring the world; finding warmth in the familiarity of their setting, but wiser for the adventures and tribulations that they’ve encountered so far. Here’s hoping the next album is just as good!

                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                            The Second Of The First
                                                                                            Falling Thunder
                                                                                            She's There
                                                                                            Beautiful Steven
                                                                                            The Only One
                                                                                            Cars In Space
                                                                                            Cameo
                                                                                            Not Tonight
                                                                                            Sunglasses At The Wedding
                                                                                            The Cool Change

                                                                                            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.

                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                              Dreamers
                                                                                              Cloud Nein
                                                                                              On The Mend
                                                                                              Lonely Beuys
                                                                                              Future Peg
                                                                                              Goat
                                                                                              Inner Iggy
                                                                                              Hunters
                                                                                              Oyster Point
                                                                                              The Prettiest Song In The
                                                                                              World
                                                                                              Animal Attraction
                                                                                              Sheela
                                                                                              Unsweet Meat
                                                                                              Swan
                                                                                              Powder My Wig
                                                                                              If Only
                                                                                              In The Valley Of The In-Between

                                                                                              Shabazz Palaces

                                                                                              The Don Of Diamond Dreams

                                                                                                Shabazz Palaces’ Black Up, the group’s Sub Pop debut, was recently hailed as one of the best albums of the decade by outlets like Pitchfork, Gorilla Vs Bear, and Variety. Pitchfork summed it up thusly: “Black Up is drowned in murky instrumentals and bombastic, introspective rhymes. The sounds flirt with jazz but also root themselves in a firm understanding of silence, or the sparse magic of simplicity. The songs teem with unexpected climaxes...From great mystery exploded an album of impossible vision.” That “impossible vision” has continued to confound and engage Shabazz Palaces fans over the course of four acclaimed albums and two EPs. Each release feels like an evolution, letting the music speak for itself, while slowly revealing more about its creator. With The Don of Diamond Dreams, the group’s fifth album, that spirit remains, this time embracing modernism in hip-hop and rap.

                                                                                                Featuring 10 tracks in 43 minutes, the album features the highlights “Fast Learner (ft. Purple Tape Nate),” “Chocolate Souffle,” “Bad Bitch Walking (ft. Stas THEE Boss), and “Thanking The Girls.” It also features contributions from singer/keyboardist Darrius Willrich, Seattle’s OCnotes (who collaborated with Shabazz leader Ishmael Butler on the Knife Knights project), Los Angeles musician Carlos Overall, and bassist Evan Flory-Barnes. The Don of Diamond Dreams was recorded throughout 2019 and produced by Shabazz Palaces at Protect and Exalt: A Black Space in Seattle, mixed and engineered by Erik Blood at Studio 4 Labs in Venice, California, and mastered by Scott Sedillo at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Los Angeles.


                                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                Portal North: Panthera
                                                                                                Ad Ventures
                                                                                                Fast Learner Ft. Purple Tape Nate
                                                                                                Wet
                                                                                                Chocolate Souffle
                                                                                                Portal South: Micah
                                                                                                Bad Bitch Walking Ft. Stas THEE Boss
                                                                                                Money Yoga Ft. Darrius
                                                                                                Thanking The Girls
                                                                                                Reg Walks By The Looking Glass Ft. Carlos Overall

                                                                                                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.”



                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                  1. Ego
                                                                                                  2. Make It Stop
                                                                                                  3. ///
                                                                                                  4. Stranger
                                                                                                  5. Running
                                                                                                  6. Connect The Dots
                                                                                                  7. Fall In Love
                                                                                                  8. Coincidence Or Fate
                                                                                                  9. What Separates Us
                                                                                                  10. //////////
                                                                                                  11. Keep Out
                                                                                                  12. Saving Face
                                                                                                  13. Say Something

                                                                                                  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.

                                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                    What's In Store
                                                                                                    Children's Day
                                                                                                    Pawing
                                                                                                    I Celebrate My Fantasy
                                                                                                    Leap Year
                                                                                                    The Small Exercise
                                                                                                    The Big Exercise
                                                                                                    Focus On The Beach
                                                                                                    Kaïn
                                                                                                    Male Bonding

                                                                                                    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.

                                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                    Tracklisting:
                                                                                                    Under Glass
                                                                                                    Julia Take Your Man Home
                                                                                                    Forest Green
                                                                                                    Out Of Control
                                                                                                    The Static Age
                                                                                                    As Kind As You Can
                                                                                                    Fall Into The Future
                                                                                                    Wandering Son
                                                                                                    Against The Day
                                                                                                    Town Square

                                                                                                    Preservation Hall Jazz Band

                                                                                                    A Tuba To Cuba

                                                                                                      The legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band present the soundtrack to ‘A Tuba To Cuba’, the critically acclaimed documentary directed by TG Herrington and Danny Clinch. The film follows Ben Jaffe of New Orleans’ famed Preservation Hall Jazz Band as he seeks to fulfil his late father's dream of retracing their musical roots to the shores of Cuba in search of the indigenous music that gave birth to New Orleans jazz. ‘A Tuba To Cuba’ celebrates the triumph of the human spirit expressed through the universal language of music and challenges us to resolve to build bridges, not walls.

                                                                                                      Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s Ben Jaffe said of ‘Kreyol’ from the soundtrack: “Every evening in Havana people gather along the waterfront to socialize. I’ve always been taken by the tempo at which people stroll, like New Orleans, there’s a very particular rhythm to their walk. That rhythm was the inspiration for ‘Kreyol’. In fact, ‘Kreyol’ is the Cuban spelling of ‘Creole.’ You can feel that same Creole influence in New Orleans, it’s one of our many shared connections with Cuba.”

                                                                                                      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 one.

                                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                      Yesteryear
                                                                                                      Tumba
                                                                                                      I Am
                                                                                                      Descarga Del Son
                                                                                                      Keep Your Head Up
                                                                                                      Corazon
                                                                                                      Elegguà
                                                                                                      Kreyol
                                                                                                      El Manicero
                                                                                                      Solitude
                                                                                                      Las Palomas
                                                                                                      Malecón

                                                                                                      Clipping

                                                                                                      The Deep

                                                                                                        Experimental hip-hop group Clipping’s “The Deep” is a dark sci-fi tale about the underwater-dwelling descendants of African women thrown off slave ships, based on the mythology of Detroit electronic group Drexciya. The song was originally commissioned for a This American Life about Afrofuturism in 2017. The track earned Clipping a nomination for a 2018 Hugo award, and the band constructed a sound installation based on “The Deep” at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. This release comes on the heels of the November 5th release of The Deep, a novella by Rivers Solomon (with Clipping credited as co-authors) inspired by the title track and published by Saga Press. The vinyl and digital versions include two otherwise-unreleased extra tracks – including “Aquacode Databreaks,” which features Shabazz Palaces – and the vinyl edition includes instrumental versions of all three tracks. 

                                                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                        The Deep
                                                                                                        Aquacode Databreaks (ft Shabazz Palaces)
                                                                                                        Drownt
                                                                                                        The Deep (Instrumental)
                                                                                                        Aquacode Databreaks (Instrumental)
                                                                                                        Drownt (Instrumental)

                                                                                                        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

                                                                                                          Barry 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.

                                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                          1. Sincerely Yours
                                                                                                          2. Courtesy Call
                                                                                                          3. Moat
                                                                                                          4. Underage
                                                                                                          5. Skeleton Key
                                                                                                          6. Genuine Person
                                                                                                          7. Present Tense
                                                                                                          8. Blunt Force
                                                                                                          9. Flat Earth
                                                                                                          10. Networker
                                                                                                          11. Sleep Mask

                                                                                                          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.

                                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                            Topographe
                                                                                                            Junior
                                                                                                            Domino
                                                                                                            Goldie
                                                                                                            Agent Double
                                                                                                            Microscopie
                                                                                                            Grand Cheval
                                                                                                            Milan
                                                                                                            Pow
                                                                                                            Bang

                                                                                                            Clipping

                                                                                                            There Existed An Addiction To Blood

                                                                                                            Clipping return with "There Existed an Addiction to Blood", the group’s fourth effort and the follow up to "Splendor and Misery", the album features the singles "Nothing Is Safe", "Blood of the Fang", "La Mala Ordina" (Feat. Benny The Butcher, ElCamino, The Rita), and was produced by Clipping, mixed by Steve Kaplan, and mastered by Dave Cooley at Elysium Masters in Los Angeles. The album also features appearances from Ed Balloon, La Chat, Counterfeit Madison, and Pedestrian Deposit.

                                                                                                            "There Existed an Addiction to Blood" finds Clipping interpreting another rap splinter sect through their singular lens. This is Clipping’s transmutation of horrorcore, a purposefully absurdist and creatively significant sub-genre that flourished in the mid-90s. If some of its most notable pioneers included Brotha Lynch Hung and Gravediggaz, it also encompasses seminal works from the Geto Boys, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and the near-entirety of classic Memphis cassette tape rap.

                                                                                                            The most subversive and experimental rap has often presented itself as an alternative to conventional sounds, but Clipping respectfully warp them into new constellations. "There Existed an Addiction to Blood" absorbs the hyper-violent horror tropes of the Murder Dog era, but re-imagines them in a new light: still darkly-tinted and somber, but in a weirder and more vivid hue. If traditional horrorcore was akin to Blacula, the hugely popular blaxploitation flick from the early 70s, Clipping’s latest is analogous to Ganja & Hess, the blood-sipping 1973 cult classic regarded as an unsung landmark of black independent cinema, whose score by Sam Waymon, the band samples on "Blood of the Fang" and inspired the album’s title.


                                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                            1. Intro
                                                                                                            2. Nothing Is Safe
                                                                                                            3. He Dead (feat. Ed Balloon)
                                                                                                            4. Haunting (Interlude)
                                                                                                            5. La Mala Ordina (feat. The Rita, Benny The Butcher & El Camino)
                                                                                                            6. Club Down (feat. Sarah Bernat)
                                                                                                            7. Prophecy (Interlude)
                                                                                                            8. Run For Your Life (feat. La Chat)
                                                                                                            9. The Show
                                                                                                            10. Possession (Interlude)
                                                                                                            11. All In Your Head (feat.Counterfeit Madison & Robyn Hood)
                                                                                                            12. Blood Of The Fang
                                                                                                            13. Story 7
                                                                                                            14. Attunement (feat. Pedestrian Deposit)
                                                                                                            15. Piano Burning (composed By Annea Lockwood)

                                                                                                            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!


                                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                              Vortex Of Lies
                                                                                                              Creeps Are Everywhere
                                                                                                              Ensam I Natt
                                                                                                              Morning In America
                                                                                                              Let's Kill Yourself Live Again
                                                                                                              Snake Oil Charmer
                                                                                                              One Bad Actor

                                                                                                              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

                                                                                                                Barry 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.

                                                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                Moonsea
                                                                                                                Cosmic Shop
                                                                                                                41st
                                                                                                                So Blue
                                                                                                                A Joke
                                                                                                                Rings (On A Tree)
                                                                                                                Actin' Weird
                                                                                                                Windows
                                                                                                                Never Would
                                                                                                                Self-destruct
                                                                                                                Wannago
                                                                                                                I'm It
                                                                                                                Trunk Of A Tree
                                                                                                                Last Season's Textures
                                                                                                                Even Though I Knew
                                                                                                                UFO
                                                                                                                Marbles
                                                                                                                Did You Find
                                                                                                                A Hit
                                                                                                                With Great Purpose
                                                                                                                This Swirling

                                                                                                                Shannon Lay

                                                                                                                August

                                                                                                                  There is an entire sub-genre of poetry devoted to rivers and their persistent, meditative flow. Emily Dickinson’s ‘My River Runs to Thee’ compares them to the cycle of life, while Alfred Tennyson’s ‘The Brook’ deems them eternal and Kathleen Raine’s ‘The River’ muses on the dream-state they evoke. For transcendent folk pop artist Shannon Lay, the river is all of the above: It’s the metaphor driving her latest album, the exquisitely uplifting ‘August’, which doubles as an aural baptism renewing her purpose for making music. “I always picture music as this river. Everyone’s throwing things into this river, it’s a place you can go to and feed off of that energy,” she says, “and feel nourished by the fact that so many people are feeling what you’re feeling. It’s this beautiful exchange.”

                                                                                                                  The album’s name, ‘August’, refers to the month in 2017 when Lay quit her day job and fully gave herself over to music. This was her liberation as an artist and the album is devoted to paying that forward to her listeners. Lay may be the most chilled-out artist you’ll ever meet. Despite fronting her tranquil solo act and being a guitarist/singer in the indie rock band Feels, she never pressures herself to overachieve. Nonetheless, she regularly does: in a glowing review, Pitchfork anointed her last album, ‘Living Water’, “captivating.”

                                                                                                                  ‘August’ was mostly written in three months, during Lay’s first solo tour for ‘Living Water’. “For the most part, all of the songs were just guitar and voice,” she says. In keeping with the humbled, contemplative nature of ‘August’, most tracks clock-in at three minutes or less. She saved indulgence for the production. “Some songs as they were had this room to grow,” says Lay, who recorded the album with her longtime friend, musician Ty Segall at his home studio on the East Side. “I believe whoever you record with tends to affect the mood of music and Ty really brought this jovial sense that I hadn’t really explored yet,” she says. Also in the mix is Mikal Cronin, who played saxophone on the album’s opener, ‘Death Up Close’. “A lot of my friends who are really tough have admitted that they shed a tear when they hear my songs, and I think that really speaks to the visceral aspect of folk music,” Lay says. “It’s this ancient form of expressing yourself.”

                                                                                                                  Think of ‘August’ as a warm hug for your psyche. “I want to create as much music as I can,” she says, “and leave this spot by the river where people can go sit and enjoy.”

                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                  Death Up Close
                                                                                                                  Nowhere
                                                                                                                  November
                                                                                                                  Shuffling Stoned
                                                                                                                  Past Time
                                                                                                                  Wild
                                                                                                                  August
                                                                                                                  Sea Came To Shore
                                                                                                                  Sunday Sundown
                                                                                                                  Something On Your Mind
                                                                                                                  Unconditional
                                                                                                                  The Dream

                                                                                                                  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.”

                                                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                    1. Calquer The Hound
                                                                                                                    2. Twin Cities
                                                                                                                    3. Slang Words
                                                                                                                    4. 2:15
                                                                                                                    5. Poor People Are
                                                                                                                    6. Revolting
                                                                                                                    7. Debt Begins At 30
                                                                                                                    8. On Loan
                                                                                                                    9. Dross
                                                                                                                    10. Parallel
                                                                                                                    11. Bleached Midnight
                                                                                                                    12. Debt Begins At 30 (Alt)

                                                                                                                    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

                                                                                                                      Barry 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.

                                                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                      Soft Whiteout
                                                                                                                      Lump Sums
                                                                                                                      Dry Up
                                                                                                                      Ripped On The Fence
                                                                                                                      Negative Space (7 Inch Version)
                                                                                                                      Automat
                                                                                                                      Wet Blanket (Demo)
                                                                                                                      Dirty Shirt
                                                                                                                      Leave Me Out
                                                                                                                      Can’t Understand
                                                                                                                      Pure Auto
                                                                                                                      Eraser
                                                                                                                      Pig*
                                                                                                                      I’m A Bug*
                                                                                                                      M.E.*

                                                                                                                      *vinyl-only Bonus 7” Track

                                                                                                                      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'.

                                                                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                        Broken Mirror Pose
                                                                                                                        O! Lucky Hand
                                                                                                                        2 Ugly 4 NY
                                                                                                                        Blackhole/Joyride
                                                                                                                        Bed Of Needles #2
                                                                                                                        Deathwish Blue
                                                                                                                        Blood In The Water
                                                                                                                        Buzzkill Caterwaul
                                                                                                                        Sunday Driver
                                                                                                                        Johnny (Free & Easy)
                                                                                                                        She’s Lily Riptide

                                                                                                                        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.

                                                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                          So It Is
                                                                                                                          Santiago
                                                                                                                          Innocence
                                                                                                                          La Malanga
                                                                                                                          Covergence
                                                                                                                          One Hundred Fires
                                                                                                                          Mad

                                                                                                                          Tacocat

                                                                                                                          This Mess Is A Place

                                                                                                                            When Seattle band Tacocat—vocalist Emily Nokes, bassist Bree McKenna, guitarist Eric Randall, and drummer Lelah Maupin—first started in 2007, the world they were responding to was vastly different from the current Seattle scene of diverse voices they’ve helped foster. It was a world of house shows, booking DIY tours on MySpace, and writing funny, deliriously catchy feminist pop-punk songs when feminism was the quickest way to alienate yourself from the then-en vogue garage-rock bros. Their lyrical honesty, humor, and hit-making sensibilities have built the band a fiercely devoted fanbase over the years, one that has followed them from basements to dive bars to sold-out shows at the Showbox. Every step along the way has been a seamless progression—from silly songs about Tonya Harding and psychic cats to calling out catcallers and poking fun at entitled weekend-warrior tech jerks on their last two records on Hardly Art, 2014’s NVM and 2016’s Lost Time.

                                                                                                                            This Mess is a Place, Tacocat’s fourth full-length and first on Sub Pop, finds the band waking up the morning after the 2016 election and figuring out how to respond to a new reality where evil isn’t hiding under the surface at all—it’s front and center, with new tragedies and civil rights assaults filling up the scroll of the newsfeed every day. “What a time to be barely alive,” laments “Crystal Ball,” a gem that examines the more intimate side of responding emotionally to the news cycle. How do you keep fighting when all you want to do is stay in bed all day? “Stupid computer stupor/Oh my kingdom for some better ads,” Nokes sings, throwing in some classic Tacocat snark, “Truth spread so thin/It stops existing.” Despite current realities being depressing enough to make anyone want to crawl under the covers and sleep for a thousand years, Tacocat are doing what they’ve always done so well: mingling brightness, energy, and hope with political critique.

                                                                                                                            This Mess is a Place is charged with a hopefulness that stands in stark contrast to music that celebrates apathy, despair, and numbness. Tacocat feels it all and cares, a lot, whether they’re singing odes to the magical connections we feel with our pets (“Little Friend”), imagining what a better earth might look like (“New World”), or trying to find humor in a wholly unfunny world (“The Joke of Life”). It’s a delightfully cathartic moment and the cornerstone of the record when they exclaim, in “Grains of Salt:” “Don’t forget to remember who the fuck you are!”

                                                                                                                            Producer Erik Blood (who also produced Lost Time) brings the band into their full pop potential but still preserves what makes Tacocat so special: they’re four friends who met as young punks and have grown together into a truly collaborative band. Says Nokes: “We can examine some hard stuff, make fun of some evil stuff, feel some soft feelings, feel some rage feelings, feel some bitter-ass feelings, sift through memories, feel wavy-existential, and still go get a banana daiquiri at the end.”


                                                                                                                            STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                            Barry says: Embodying the spirit of 90's grunge, but with more of an emphasis on melody than on fuzz, Tacocat craft a completely immersive and endearing suite of punky bangers. Wholly modern but with a comforting musical nod to the past.

                                                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                            Hologram
                                                                                                                            New World
                                                                                                                            Grains Of Salt
                                                                                                                            The Joke Of Life
                                                                                                                            Little Friend
                                                                                                                            Rose-Colored Sky
                                                                                                                            The Problem
                                                                                                                            Crystal Ball
                                                                                                                            Meet Me At La Palma
                                                                                                                            Miles And Miles

                                                                                                                            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

                                                                                                                            Andy 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.

                                                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                            A Lot's Gonna Change
                                                                                                                            Andromeda
                                                                                                                            Everyday
                                                                                                                            Something To Believe
                                                                                                                            Titanic Rising
                                                                                                                            Movies
                                                                                                                            Mirror Forever
                                                                                                                            Wild Time
                                                                                                                            Picture Me Better
                                                                                                                            Nearer To Thee

                                                                                                                            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

                                                                                                                            Barry 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.

                                                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                            This Town
                                                                                                                            PCC
                                                                                                                            Ozzie
                                                                                                                            One More Stitch
                                                                                                                            Unwind
                                                                                                                            Baby Takes
                                                                                                                            Searchin’
                                                                                                                            Hangin’ Tree
                                                                                                                            Together We’ll Never
                                                                                                                            Ain’t Nothin’ To Do
                                                                                                                            Bleeding Sheep
                                                                                                                            Bazaar
                                                                                                                            Thrown Up
                                                                                                                            This Little Boy
                                                                                                                            10000 Things
                                                                                                                            Your Own Best Friend (Deep Six)

                                                                                                                            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.

                                                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                              On Your Wings
                                                                                                                              Naked As We Came
                                                                                                                              Cinder And Smoke
                                                                                                                              Sunset Soon Forgotten
                                                                                                                              Teeth In The Grass
                                                                                                                              Love And Some Verses
                                                                                                                              Radio War
                                                                                                                              Each Coming Night
                                                                                                                              Free Until They Cut Me Down
                                                                                                                              Fever Dream
                                                                                                                              Sodom, South Georgia
                                                                                                                              Passing Afternoon
                                                                                                                              Naked As We Came (demo)
                                                                                                                              Cinder And Smoke (demo)
                                                                                                                              Teeth In The Grass (demo)
                                                                                                                              Love And Some Verses (demo)
                                                                                                                              Free Until They Cut Me Down (demo)
                                                                                                                              Fever Dream (demo)
                                                                                                                              Sodom, South Georgia (demo)
                                                                                                                              Passing Afternoon (demo)

                                                                                                                              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.” 


                                                                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                Father And Son
                                                                                                                                Band Reunion
                                                                                                                                Iain And Deanna
                                                                                                                                Inner City Pressure
                                                                                                                                New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
                                                                                                                                Summer Of 1353
                                                                                                                                Complimentary Muffin
                                                                                                                                Stana
                                                                                                                                Stuck In A Lift
                                                                                                                                Foux Du Fafa
                                                                                                                                Seagull
                                                                                                                                Mutha'uckas - Hurt Feelings
                                                                                                                                One More Anecdote
                                                                                                                                Back On The Road
                                                                                                                                Thank You London
                                                                                                                                Bowie
                                                                                                                                Bus Driver
                                                                                                                                Tuning
                                                                                                                                Robots
                                                                                                                                Shady Rachel
                                                                                                                                Carol Brown*
                                                                                                                                The Most Beautiful Girl (In The Room)*

                                                                                                                                *Bonus Tracks (not Included In The TV Special)

                                                                                                                                Luluc

                                                                                                                                Dear Hamlyn

                                                                                                                                  Luluc released their debut album, Dear Hamlyn, in 2008; the songs were written following the death of Randell's father. Dear Hamlyn eventually gained a large group of influential admirers. Peter Blackstock co-founder of No Depression Magazine, wrote of the album, "The most beautiful album I've heard in ten years." In 2011, Nick Drake's producer, Joe Boyd, also taken by Dear Hamlyn, invited Luluc to feature in his Nick Drake tribute tour. They contributed the tracks "Things Behind the Sun" and "Fly" to the live tribute album, Way to Blue: The Songs of Nick Drake in 2013. Luluc went on to sign with Sub Pop Records and release the critically acclaimed albums Passerby (2014) and Sculptor (2018). This edition of Dear Hamlyn is the first time it has been available on vinyl.

                                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                  I Found You
                                                                                                                                  Little Suitcase
                                                                                                                                  The Wealthiest Queen
                                                                                                                                  Black Umbrella
                                                                                                                                  Body On The Water
                                                                                                                                  Warm One
                                                                                                                                  Gillian
                                                                                                                                  One Day Soon
                                                                                                                                  Abigail & The Whale (The Blue Queen Of The Deep)
                                                                                                                                  A Whisper
                                                                                                                                  My Midnight Special

                                                                                                                                  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.


                                                                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                    Reel Me
                                                                                                                                    Lust
                                                                                                                                    It's For Life
                                                                                                                                    Old Desires
                                                                                                                                    So Divine
                                                                                                                                    Promises
                                                                                                                                    High Hopes
                                                                                                                                    My Body Wants
                                                                                                                                    Wax
                                                                                                                                    Almost Mine

                                                                                                                                    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

                                                                                                                                    Barry 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.

                                                                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                    See You At The Movies
                                                                                                                                    Web So Dense
                                                                                                                                    I Went Dust
                                                                                                                                    Sky Is All We Had
                                                                                                                                    Picking Out The Seeds
                                                                                                                                    Give If Off
                                                                                                                                    Drop Me
                                                                                                                                    Cut Stranger
                                                                                                                                    Elastic Days
                                                                                                                                    Sometimes
                                                                                                                                    Wanted You Around
                                                                                                                                    Everything She Said

                                                                                                                                    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

                                                                                                                                    Barry 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.

                                                                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                    Nerve Attack
                                                                                                                                    Paranoid Core
                                                                                                                                    Please Mr. Gunman
                                                                                                                                    Kill Yourself Live
                                                                                                                                    Night And Fog
                                                                                                                                    21st Century Pharisees
                                                                                                                                    Hey Neanderfuck
                                                                                                                                    Prosperity Gospel
                                                                                                                                    Messiah's Lament
                                                                                                                                    Next Mass Extinction
                                                                                                                                    Oh Yeah

                                                                                                                                    Blitzen Trapper

                                                                                                                                    Furr

                                                                                                                                      Blitzen Trapper is the Portland, Oregon-based experimental country and folk rock band, who in 2008 released Furr, its breakthrough album and label debut for Sub Pop. The record was met with universal acclaim, earning praise from the likes of The Guardian, Pitchfork, Paste, AV Club, and Rolling Stone, who in its four-star review called the album “an engaging album full of rootsy beauty.” The album would earn the no. 13 spot on Rolling Stone’s 50 Best Albums of 2008 later that year.

                                                                                                                                      For the newly remastered and expanded deluxe edition of Furr, Blitzen Trapper have compiled over two LPs worth of material: the original album and twelve rare and previously unreleased tunes. The added songs are from the same recordings that become Furr, with the exception of the “Live at KCRW” tracks, which were recorded during the Furr tour. The songs “War is Placebo,” “Booksmart Baby,” and “Maybe Baby” appeared as limited-edition singles for Record Store Day in 2009 and 2011. This reissue also features new liner notes from Eric Earley reflecting on the album, as well as a track-by-track description of the bonus songs, and a Q&A with the stage and screen actor Rainn Wilson (of The Office fame).

                                                                                                                                      “It's difficult to remember exactly where my head was in those days, recording Furr in a leaky, dilapidated, pre-boom Portland building, all but condemned, where the migrant workers congregated at the curb outside hoping to get picked up by desperate contractors, the dealers working the opposite corner, two blocks up the Burnside bridge running with pitched tents and sleeping bags all the way to the West Side Mission, the black river sliding by beneath. For those in the know enough at the time to have heard it when Sub Pop first released Furr in 2008, listeners had to have been underwhelmed by the hit and miss production, the furry overdriven vocals and perilous sounding dubs, all industry-standard production fare now. But the songs must have shone through the noise even then. The stand-out title track recorded on a nearly defunct cassette four-track in one take and mixed on a couple-hundred-dollar PC was almost an afterthought at the time, but its message was real enough: that life consists of change and growth, love and transformation.

                                                                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                      1. Sleepytime In The Western World
                                                                                                                                      2. Gold For Bread
                                                                                                                                      3. Furr
                                                                                                                                      4. God & Suicide
                                                                                                                                      5. Fire & Fast Bullets
                                                                                                                                      6. Saturday Nite
                                                                                                                                      7. Black River Killer
                                                                                                                                      8. Not Your Lover
                                                                                                                                      9. Love U
                                                                                                                                      10. War On Machines
                                                                                                                                      11. Stolen Shoes & A Rifle
                                                                                                                                      12. Echo/Always On/Easy Con
                                                                                                                                      13. Lady On The Water
                                                                                                                                      14. War Is Placebo **
                                                                                                                                      15. Simple Tree *
                                                                                                                                      16. Booksmart Baby **
                                                                                                                                      17. Heroes Of Doubt *
                                                                                                                                      18. Maybe Baby ^
                                                                                                                                      19. Ballad Of Bird Love *
                                                                                                                                      20. Hard Heart *
                                                                                                                                      21. Other People's Money *
                                                                                                                                      22. On My Way To The Bay *
                                                                                                                                      23. Rent-a-Cop *
                                                                                                                                      24. God & Suicide ^^
                                                                                                                                      25. Furr ^^

                                                                                                                                      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

                                                                                                                                      Barry 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.

                                                                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                      Quorum
                                                                                                                                      Dancing And Blood
                                                                                                                                      Fly
                                                                                                                                      Tempest
                                                                                                                                      Always Up
                                                                                                                                      Always Trying To Work It Out
                                                                                                                                      The Son, The Sun
                                                                                                                                      Dancing And Fire
                                                                                                                                      Poor Sucker
                                                                                                                                      Rome (Always In The Dark)
                                                                                                                                      Disarray

                                                                                                                                      Knife Knights were born of the love of mystery. From the start of Shabazz Palaces – the groundbreaking project launched in 2009 by former-Digable Planets leader Ishmael Butler – confidentiality seemed essential: Butler wanted Shabazz Palaces to stand on its own strength, not his outsized reputation, so he adopted a nom de plume for himself. As the project’s network expanded, though, he needed new monikers for his partnerships. Knife Knights is the name he gave to his work with Seattle engineer, producer, songwriter, and film composer Erik Blood, a vital force in the Shabazz Palaces universe.

                                                                                                                                      Now, after more than a decade of collaboration and the development of a rich friendship, Butler and Blood have made a proper full-length record together as Knife Knights: 1 Time Mirage, an eleven-track odyssey that finds the pair and a cast of their friends weaving together a singular world of soul and shoegaze, hip-hop and lush noise, bass and bedlam. 1 Time Mirage represents a playground for Butler and Blood, a free space for unfettered exploration, and a radically adventurous start to something much more than a mere production duo or side project.

                                                                                                                                      Recorded in three fertile sessions interrupted by Shabazz Palaces tours and Blood’s recording projects, 1 Time Mirage is a profound fulfilment of the partnership, realized at the crossroads of Butler’s and Blood’s mutual enthusiasms. Their shared interests have been split into pieces and fused together with enviable imagination. In the decade since Butler launched Shabazz Palaces and first christened his partnership with Blood as Knife Knights, much of the external mystery has, of course, fallen away. And 1 Time Mirage is a very public step forward for the pair. The early sense of secrecy has given way to a spirit of friendship and creative candor, to the doors of experimentation being thrown open by old pals thrilled by the prospect of testing new ideas.

                                                                                                                                      Still, these eleven songs retain a core of intrigue and, indeed, mystery; each listen reveals yet another connection between infinite and interlocking pieces. To wit, Robert Beatty’s brilliant cover for 1 Time Mirage depicts a futuristic vehicle, being coolly steered with one hand into some great, mildly ominous unknown. That’s how these songs feel, too—confident conquests of the dark that unlock sounds and spaces you have yet to imagine.
                                                                                                                                        


                                                                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                      1. Bionic Chords (feat. OC Notes & Darrius Willrich)
                                                                                                                                      2. Drag Race Legend
                                                                                                                                      3. Give You Game (feat. Marquetta Miller & Stas Thee Boss)
                                                                                                                                      4. Light Up Ahead (Time Mirage) [feat. Porter Ray, Gerald Turner, Darrius Willrich,
                                                                                                                                      5. OC Notes & Shabazz Palaces
                                                                                                                                      6. Seven Wheel Motion
                                                                                                                                      7. Low Key (feat. Shabazz Palaces)
                                                                                                                                      8. My Dreams Never Sleep (feat. OC Notes, Marquetta Miller & Shabazz Palaces)
                                                                                                                                      9. Light Work (feat. El Mizell)
                                                                                                                                      10. Can't Draw The Line (feat. OC Notes)
                                                                                                                                      11. Come On Let's Go (feat. OC Notes & Marquetta Miller)
                                                                                                                                      12. Mr. President

                                                                                                                                      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

                                                                                                                                      Barry 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.

                                                                                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                        1. Dark Window
                                                                                                                                        2. Call Me
                                                                                                                                        3. J.Z.O.K.
                                                                                                                                        4. Keep On Dying
                                                                                                                                        5. How I Love You
                                                                                                                                        6. I've Tortured You Long Enough
                                                                                                                                        7. New Work
                                                                                                                                        8. The Goad
                                                                                                                                        9. Big Window

                                                                                                                                        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.

                                                                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                          Four Years
                                                                                                                                          Borderline Friends
                                                                                                                                          All By Yourself
                                                                                                                                          Happiness Reigns
                                                                                                                                          Master Eyes
                                                                                                                                          Quiet Girl
                                                                                                                                          Black Rainbow
                                                                                                                                          Natural Woman
                                                                                                                                          Millennial Geishas
                                                                                                                                          Last Line
                                                                                                                                          Queen
                                                                                                                                          A Real You

                                                                                                                                          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.

                                                                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                            Easy
                                                                                                                                            FFS
                                                                                                                                            Metal Carnage
                                                                                                                                            The Rat Is Back
                                                                                                                                            Ox
                                                                                                                                            Hitachi Jackhammer
                                                                                                                                            Lithium Zion
                                                                                                                                            Deep Blue Cheated
                                                                                                                                            Birthday
                                                                                                                                            Afraid For You
                                                                                                                                            Through Smoke

                                                                                                                                            "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.

                                                                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                            Spring
                                                                                                                                            Heist
                                                                                                                                            Kids
                                                                                                                                            Controversy
                                                                                                                                            Cambridge
                                                                                                                                            Me And Jasper
                                                                                                                                            Genius
                                                                                                                                            Moon Girl
                                                                                                                                            Needn't Be
                                                                                                                                            Sculptor

                                                                                                                                            Eric's Trip

                                                                                                                                            Forever Again

                                                                                                                                              Eric’s Trip was a Canadian indie rock band hailing from Moncton, New Brunswick. The band formed in 1990 when musicians Rick White and Christopher Thompson of The Forest joined Julie Doiron and Ed Vaughan (who was later replaced by Mark Gaudet of Purple Knight).

                                                                                                                                              White described their sound as “sappy melodic pop music on top of thick distortion”. They were the first Canadian band to be signed to Sub Pop Records, and the band broke up in 1996 (they subsequently reunited in 2001, and again in August 2006.)

                                                                                                                                              ‘Forever Again’ is the band’s second full-length, and their follow-up to their Sub Pop debut, 1993’s ‘Love Tara’. It was recorded in 1994 at guitarist Rick White’s home studio, Stereo Mountain. It has been out of print on vinyl since its original, 1994 pressing. Packaged in a single-pocket jacket with poster.

                                                                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                              New Love
                                                                                                                                              This Way Out
                                                                                                                                              About You
                                                                                                                                              Girlfriend
                                                                                                                                              Always There
                                                                                                                                              Stupidest Thing
                                                                                                                                              December ‘93
                                                                                                                                              Thoroughly
                                                                                                                                              My Bed Is Red
                                                                                                                                              View Master
                                                                                                                                              Cloudy
                                                                                                                                              My Chest Is Empty
                                                                                                                                              Run Away
                                                                                                                                              Waiting All Day
                                                                                                                                              Let Go
                                                                                                                                              Hate Song
                                                                                                                                              Feeling Around
                                                                                                                                              Forever Again

                                                                                                                                              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

                                                                                                                                              Laura 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.

                                                                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                              Amber
                                                                                                                                              No Going Back
                                                                                                                                              Fall In Love
                                                                                                                                              Why For
                                                                                                                                              So Slow
                                                                                                                                              Galapagos

                                                                                                                                              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.

                                                                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                              An Air Conditioned Man
                                                                                                                                              Talking Straight
                                                                                                                                              Mainland
                                                                                                                                              Time In Common
                                                                                                                                              Sister's Jeans
                                                                                                                                              Bellarine
                                                                                                                                              Cappuccino City
                                                                                                                                              Exclusive Grave
                                                                                                                                              How Long?
                                                                                                                                              The Hammer

                                                                                                                                              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.

                                                                                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                Abegail Anne
                                                                                                                                                Return Of The Frog Queen
                                                                                                                                                Lewis Hollow
                                                                                                                                                Lizard
                                                                                                                                                Carnival
                                                                                                                                                Call Me Steam
                                                                                                                                                Explain
                                                                                                                                                Shade And The Black Hat
                                                                                                                                                Fallen Heart
                                                                                                                                                Abegal Anne (The End Sessions) *digital-only Bonus Track
                                                                                                                                                Return Of The Frog Queen (The End Sessions) *digital-only Bonus Track
                                                                                                                                                Lizard (The End Sessions) *digital-only Bonus Track
                                                                                                                                                Carnival (The End Sessions) *digital-only Bonus Track
                                                                                                                                                Explain (The End Sessions) *digital-only Bonus Track

                                                                                                                                                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

                                                                                                                                                  Barry 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.

                                                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                  1. Nevermine
                                                                                                                                                  2. Company
                                                                                                                                                  3. Ages Ago
                                                                                                                                                  4. Taste
                                                                                                                                                  5. Not For Me
                                                                                                                                                  6. Be My Baby
                                                                                                                                                  7. New Face
                                                                                                                                                  8. Saunter
                                                                                                                                                  9. Tired Games
                                                                                                                                                  10. Temporary

                                                                                                                                                  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

                                                                                                                                                  Barry 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.

                                                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                  The Other
                                                                                                                                                  Raindrop Blue
                                                                                                                                                  Thru The Cracks
                                                                                                                                                  Psycho Star
                                                                                                                                                  Infinite Mile
                                                                                                                                                  Birds Of Paradise
                                                                                                                                                  Circuits In The Sand
                                                                                                                                                  Ultraviolet
                                                                                                                                                  Neverending Sunshine
                                                                                                                                                  No Man's Land

                                                                                                                                                  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

                                                                                                                                                  Barry 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.

                                                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                  1. Caramelize
                                                                                                                                                  2. Apathy
                                                                                                                                                  3. As Often As I Can
                                                                                                                                                  4. This Stuff
                                                                                                                                                  5. Jesse
                                                                                                                                                  6. Duet
                                                                                                                                                  7. Accommodate
                                                                                                                                                  8. I'm Fried
                                                                                                                                                  9. Hereby
                                                                                                                                                  10. Ballad Of R & J
                                                                                                                                                  11. Ur Up
                                                                                                                                                  12. Being Alive
                                                                                                                                                  13. Bus Bus Train Train
                                                                                                                                                  14. My Phone
                                                                                                                                                  15. Cafeteria
                                                                                                                                                  16. The End
                                                                                                                                                  17. Same Thing
                                                                                                                                                  18. Vessel

                                                                                                                                                  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.


                                                                                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                    I Need A Doctor
                                                                                                                                                    Candid Cameras
                                                                                                                                                    Why Don't It Sink In?
                                                                                                                                                    Six Wave Hold-Down
                                                                                                                                                    Jericho Sirens
                                                                                                                                                    Death Camp Fantasy
                                                                                                                                                    Having Another?
                                                                                                                                                    Death Doula
                                                                                                                                                    Psychoactive
                                                                                                                                                    Death Of A Sportsman

                                                                                                                                                    Moaning is a band defined by its duality. The abrasive, post punk trio comprised of Sean Solomon, Pascal Stevenson, and Andrew MacKelvie, began nearly a decade after they met in L.A.’s DIY music scene. Their debut album comes born out of the member’s experiences with love and distress, creating a sound uniquely dark and sincere. Although the band is just breaking out of their infancy, Moaning’s sleek and cavernous tone emphasizes the turmoil of the era they were born into. One where the endless possibility for art and creation is met with the fear and doubt of an uncertain future.

                                                                                                                                                    The trio began regularly frequenting DIY institutions like The Smell and Pehrspace, eventually selling out dozens of their own shows at both venues with their first few bands. Solomon recalls, after a brief hiatus from playing together, Moaning’s conception came when he sent Stevenson and MacKelvie the first demo for “Don’t Go,” setting the tone for the impulsive songwriting that would follow.

                                                                                                                                                    The three fleshed out Solomon’s primitive recordings, adding in MacKelvie’s heavy syncopated drumming, and Stevenson’s melodic driving bass and synth parts, capturing each member’s personality in their sparse and fuzzed out tracks. Like many of their previous collaborative projects, Moaning forces pain up against pleasure, using the complexity of personal heartbreak to inform the band’s conflicted sound. The band eventually landed on the apt moniker Moaning, admiring the ambiguity the name held and hoping to reference both an intimate wail and an anguished scream

                                                                                                                                                    STAFF COMMENTS

                                                                                                                                                    Laura says: Sub Pop really are on a roll at the moment! LA band Moaning bring us some doomy, abrasive guitar tunes, with skittering drums and rumbling fluid bass lines that nod to early 80s post punk. Add to that dead-pan vocals and big hooks and they've got me sold!

                                                                                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                    1. Don’t Go
                                                                                                                                                    2. Tired
                                                                                                                                                    3. Artificial
                                                                                                                                                    4. Close
                                                                                                                                                    5. Does This Work For You
                                                                                                                                                    6. The Same
                                                                                                                                                    7. For Now
                                                                                                                                                    8. Useless
                                                                                                                                                    9. Misheard
                                                                                                                                                    10. Somewhere In There

                                                                                                                                                    Loma's enigmatic debut feels beautifully adrift in time and space.  It's an album that takes you to a place you've never been, with a rare confidence in the strength of its own vision. Though it was recorded off a dirt road in rural Texas, there's no hint of country here: from the first airy notes of "Who Is Speaking?" to the decaying choir of "Black Willow," Loma create a hypnotic world of their own, where rustling leaves, fuzzed-out basses, panting dogs, prepared pianos, and a wilderness of percussion form a backdrop for Emily Cross's translucent voice.  

                                                                                                                                                    She's a steady, clear-eyed presence throughout, even among the heart-pounding pulses of "Relay Runner", the skittering drums of "Dark Oscillations" and the galloping release of "Joy"; in sparer songs like "Shadow Relief" and the haunting "I Don't Want Children," she's a fearless ally, swimming calmly with you against a powerful undertow.
                                                                                                                                                    Loma is inviting but also beautifully self-contained, like a dream that stays with you all day. There's something here for lovers of Nina Nastasia or Broadcast, but also Linda Thompson, or The Silver Apples—even early Pink Floyd. But most of all, this arresting and mysterious album marks the arrival of a band whose first steps already feel timeless.  Loma was recorded by the group at Dandy Sounds Studios in Dripping Springs, Texas and mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound. 


                                                                                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                    Who Is Speaking?
                                                                                                                                                    Dark Oscillations
                                                                                                                                                    Joy
                                                                                                                                                    I Don’t Want Children
                                                                                                                                                    Relay Runner
                                                                                                                                                    White Glass
                                                                                                                                                    Sundogs
                                                                                                                                                    Jornada
                                                                                                                                                    Shadow Relief
                                                                                                                                                    Black Widow

                                                                                                                                                    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

                                                                                                                                                      Barry 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.

                                                                                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                      1. Fever Dream Girl
                                                                                                                                                      2. Full Circle Nightmare
                                                                                                                                                      3. Heartbreak Junky
                                                                                                                                                      4. The Rager
                                                                                                                                                      5. Exile Rag
                                                                                                                                                      6. Belmont (One Trick Pony)
                                                                                                                                                      7. Slick & Delta Queen
                                                                                                                                                      8. Fake Magic Angel
                                                                                                                                                      9. Bridge City Rose
                                                                                                                                                      10. Gold Calf Moan

                                                                                                                                                      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.





                                                                                                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                        1. I Hate The Kids
                                                                                                                                                        2. Gar Forgets His Insulin
                                                                                                                                                        3. XOX
                                                                                                                                                        4. Who Died
                                                                                                                                                        5. Suicide Invoice
                                                                                                                                                        6. Paid In Cigarettes
                                                                                                                                                        7. LAX
                                                                                                                                                        8. Bye Nancy Boy
                                                                                                                                                        9. Paperwork
                                                                                                                                                        10. Why Does It Hurt
                                                                                                                                                        11. Unlisted
                                                                                                                                                        12. Ben Gurion

                                                                                                                                                        Mudhoney

                                                                                                                                                        LiE

                                                                                                                                                          Recorded live during their 2016 European tour at shows in Germany, Croatia, Sweden, Austria, Norway, and Slovenia LiE is the first unlimited-edition, non-bootleg live Mudhoney album to date. 2018 marks Mudhoney’s 30th anniversary, and this Jan. 19 release is a fitting start to a year that will also see the release of a new Mudhoney full-length. This album’s 11 tracks span the band’s storied career, and include their live cover of Roxy Music’s “Editions of You.” Available on LP and through digital service providers (N/A on CD).

                                                                                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                          SIDE 1
                                                                                                                                                          1. Fuzz Gun '91
                                                                                                                                                          2. Get Into Yours
                                                                                                                                                          3. Poisoned Water
                                                                                                                                                          4. The Final Course
                                                                                                                                                          5. What To Do With The Neutral
                                                                                                                                                          6. I'm Now

                                                                                                                                                          SIDE 2
                                                                                                                                                          1. Judgement, Rage, Retribution And Thyme
                                                                                                                                                          2. I Like It Small
                                                                                                                                                          3. Suck You Dry
                                                                                                                                                          4. Editions Of You
                                                                                                                                                          5. Broken Hands

                                                                                                                                                          Hot Snakes

                                                                                                                                                          Audit In Progress

                                                                                                                                                            Audit in Progress is Hot Snakes' third studio album, originally released in 2004. The band recorded the album with new drummer Mario Rubalcaba at San Diego’s Big Fish Recording with engineer Ben Moore. An increased attraction to dissonance surfaced on Audit in Progress. The album was well-received by critics and fans and was named "best punk album" at the 2005 San Diego Music Awards. More shows were played and enjoyed and the band visited many cities all over the world. By 2005, the band spiraled into a mid-life punk crisis and stopped performing.

                                                                                                                                                            TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                            1. Braintrust
                                                                                                                                                            2. Hi-Lites
                                                                                                                                                            3. Retrofit
                                                                                                                                                            4. Kreative Kontrol
                                                                                                                                                            5. Think About Carbs
                                                                                                                                                            6. Audit In Progress
                                                                                                                                                            7. Hatchet Job
                                                                                                                                                            8. This Mystic Decade
                                                                                                                                                            9. Lovebirds
                                                                                                                                                            10. Reflex
                                                                                                                                                            11. Hair And DNA
                                                                                                                                                            12. Plenty For All

                                                                                                                                                            Hot Snakes

                                                                                                                                                            Automatic Midnight

                                                                                                                                                              Automatic Midnight, Hot Snakes’ first studio album, originally came out in 2000. Both the band and the album began as a side project for John Reis in June 1999, during time off from his main band Rocket From the Crypt. Reis wrote and recorded a batch of songs in San Diego with Delta 72 drummer Jason Kourkounis. To provide vocals for the tracks Reis called in Rick Froberg, whom he had played with in Pitchfork and Drive Like Jehu from 1986 to 1995. Most of the material from these sessions was used to create Automatic Midnight, which became the first release for Reis' newly formed Swami Records label. The band’s sound represented a return to the unrealized past of its members: direct, undraped and rock ‘n’ roll while still maintaining the dense and turbulent character of the members’ previous work. In April or May of 2000, Hot Snakes added bassist Gar Wood, found their live sound and established themselves as primo, down-stroke warlords. 




                                                                                                                                                              U-Men

                                                                                                                                                              U-Men

                                                                                                                                                                “The U-Men are one of the best bands I’ve ever seen. They were hypnotic, frenetic, powerful and compelling. It was impossible to resist getting sucked into their weird, darkly absurd world. They effortlessly blended The Sonics, Link Wray, Pere Ubu, and Captain Beefheart. Their shows were loose-limbed, drunken dance parties and no two shows were alike. The U-Men were avant-garage explorers and, most importantly, they fucking rocked. I was lucky enough to live in their hometown and I saw them every chance I could.

                                                                                                                                                                “From 1983 to 1987, the U-Men were the undisputed kings of the Seattle Underground. No one else came close. They ruled a bleak backwater landscape populated by maybe 200 people. They were the only band that could unify the disparate sub-subcultures and get all 200 of those people to fill a room. Anglophilic, dress-dark Goths; neo-psych MDA acolytes; skate punks who shit in bathtubs at parties; Mod vigilantes who tormented the homeless with pellet guns; college kids who thought college kids were lame; Industrial Artistes; some random guy with a moustache; and eccentrics who insisted that they couldn’t be pigeonholed: all coalesced around the U-Men.

                                                                                                                                                                “Sub Pop co-founder, Bruce Pavitt released the first record by the U-Men, a 4-song 12” EP on Bombshelter Records. By the time they had recorded songs for another record, Bruce was too broke to release it on his proto-Sub Pop label, so he hooked them up with Gerard Cosloy at Homestead Records. This was a big deal. Homestead had a heavy rep at the time with recent releases by Foetus, Nick Cave, Sonic Youth, and Big Black. I was sure that the release of their second 12”, Stop Spinning, would propel the U-Men into the ranks of those Homestead acts and the worldwide underground would get hip to Seattle’s finest. Following the departure of bassist Jim Tillman (replaced by Tom Hazelmyer of Amphetamine Reptile Records, and then Tony Ransome), the band recorded two fantastic singles, and recorded their one full-length album, ‘Step On A Bug’, for Black Label, which was run out of Fallout Records. They became increasingly disenchanted with the direction the Seattle underground was heading and called it quits in 1989.

                                                                                                                                                                “The U-Men had nothing to do with Grunge. They were their own unique thing. I loved them and I still miss them. I remember thinking at the time that most of their recordings were a little soft and didn’t capture the power of the band live. Now, thirty years later, their records sound great to me and we are lucky that they exist. I’m stoked that Sub Pop complied these long out-of-print records and scrounged up some unreleased songs so that everyone has a chance to take a trip back to old weird Seattle.” - Mark Arm, Seattle, August 2017

                                                                                                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                Blight
                                                                                                                                                                Flowers DGIH
                                                                                                                                                                Shoot 'em Down
                                                                                                                                                                Gila
                                                                                                                                                                Trouble Under Water
                                                                                                                                                                Mystery Pain
                                                                                                                                                                Last Lunch
                                                                                                                                                                Clubs
                                                                                                                                                                The Fumes
                                                                                                                                                                Cow Rock
                                                                                                                                                                Green Trumpet
                                                                                                                                                                A Year And A Day
                                                                                                                                                                Ten After One
                                                                                                                                                                They!
                                                                                                                                                                U-Men Stomp
                                                                                                                                                                Solid Action
                                                                                                                                                                Dig It A Hole
                                                                                                                                                                Whistlin' Pete
                                                                                                                                                                2 X 4
                                                                                                                                                                A Three Year Old Could Do That
                                                                                                                                                                Juice Party
                                                                                                                                                                Flea Circus
                                                                                                                                                                Too Good To Be Food
                                                                                                                                                                Willie Dong Hurts Dogs
                                                                                                                                                                Papa Doesn't Love His Children Anymore
                                                                                                                                                                Pay The Bubba
                                                                                                                                                                Freezebomb
                                                                                                                                                                That's Wild About Jack
                                                                                                                                                                Bad Little Woman
                                                                                                                                                                Selfish

                                                                                                                                                                Bully

                                                                                                                                                                Losing

                                                                                                                                                                  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.

                                                                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Feel The Same
                                                                                                                                                                  2. Kills To Be Resistant
                                                                                                                                                                  3. Running
                                                                                                                                                                  4. Seeing It
                                                                                                                                                                  5. Guess There
                                                                                                                                                                  6. Blame
                                                                                                                                                                  7. Focused
                                                                                                                                                                  8. Not The Way
                                                                                                                                                                  9. Spiral
                                                                                                                                                                  10. Either Way
                                                                                                                                                                  11. You Could Be Wrong
                                                                                                                                                                  12. Hate And Control

                                                                                                                                                                  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

                                                                                                                                                                  Barry 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!

                                                                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Lazarus Online
                                                                                                                                                                  2. You’re Dreaming
                                                                                                                                                                  3. Valley Boy
                                                                                                                                                                  4. Incantation
                                                                                                                                                                  5. Files On The Sun
                                                                                                                                                                  6. Baby Blue
                                                                                                                                                                  7. Weaponized
                                                                                                                                                                  8. Who Are Ya
                                                                                                                                                                  9. Am I An Alien Here
                                                                                                                                                                  10. Artificial Life
                                                                                                                                                                  11. King Of Piss And Paper

                                                                                                                                                                   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

                                                                                                                                                                  Barry 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!

                                                                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Mess Of Wires
                                                                                                                                                                  2. Drained Lake
                                                                                                                                                                  3. Cellophane
                                                                                                                                                                  4. Caterpillar
                                                                                                                                                                  5. Lost In The Blank City
                                                                                                                                                                  6. Mr. Plague
                                                                                                                                                                  7. Sink
                                                                                                                                                                  8. Common Trash
                                                                                                                                                                  9. Escalator Teeth
                                                                                                                                                                  10. Dig A Hole
                                                                                                                                                                  11. Raw Materials

                                                                                                                                                                  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.

                                                                                                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                                                    Mind Hijacker’s Curse
                                                                                                                                                                    Locked In The Phase
                                                                                                                                                                    Prep Piano And 770
                                                                                                                                                                    Host Body
                                                                                                                                                                    Mystery Elementals
                                                                                                                                                                    Old Heads
                                                                                                                                                                    Golden Oceans
                                                                                                                                                                    Faces Lit
                                                                                                                                                                    Pine And Clover
                                                                                                                                                                    You Fool
                                                                                                                                                                    Broken Bell
                                                                                                                                                                    Static Shape


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