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SUB POP

The Postal Service

Give Up

    The Postal Service is Ben Gibbard from Death Cab For Cutie and Jimmy Tamborello from DNTEL and what a smart record this is. Bedroom electronics combine with proper songs like a weirded-out Lightning Seeds or even New Order. In fact, there's an oddly 80s feel to this sound, so dated it sounds uniquely futuristic! Sad, pretty, poppy songs, Sarah Records but without the guitars. If you liked the Field Mice, you'll love this.

    TRACK LISTING

    The District Sleeps Alone
    Tonight
    Such Great Heights
    Sleeping In
    Nothing Better
    Recycled Air
    Clark Gable
    We Will Become
    Silhouettes
    This Place Is A Prison
    Brand New Colony
    Natural Anthem

    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.

        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

                Reverend Horton Heat

                Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em - 2022 Reissue

                  The band’s 1990 debut, ‘Smoke ‘em if You Got ‘em’, made quite the first impression with frantic stand-up bass, fiery guitar playing, and the Rev’s wild howls stirring up a volatile cocktail of ‘50s rockabilly, punk energy, and sly humour. AllMusic said of the album, “it’s all sleaze, it’s all wrong, and it’s all so very, very right,” while, on encountering the hit single ‘Psychobilly Freakout’, Beavis and Butthead raved “This dude is weird!” “Yeah, yeah, he’s like… our kind of people.”

                  TRACK LISTING

                  Bullet
                  I’m Mad
                  Bad Reputation
                  It’s A Dark Day
                  Big Dwarf Rodeo
                  Psychobilly Freakout
                  Put It To Me Straight
                  Marijuana
                  Baby, You Know Who
                  Ear Steak
                  “D” For Dangerous
                  Love Whip

                  Reverend Horton Heat

                  The Full Custom Gospel Sounds Of - 2022 Reissue

                    1993’s ‘The Full Custom Gospel Sounds Of’ stepped things up a bit from it's predecessor with fuller production by fellow Texan Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers. In addition to the hilarious ‘Bales of Cocaine’, the album features the furious ‘400 Bucks’, the atmospheric creeper ‘The Devil’s Chasing Me’ and ‘Wiggle Stick’. On seeing the video for the latter, Beavis declared, accurately, “Yes! This guy RULES!” while Butthead agreed, “Yeah… this guy ROCKS! ROCKS!!”

                    TRACK LISTING

                    Wiggle Stick
                    400 Bucks
                    The Devil’s Chasing Me
                    Living On The Edge (Of Houston)
                    You Can’t Gey Away From Me
                    Beer:30
                    Big Little Baby
                    Lonesome Train Whistle
                    Bales Of Cocaine
                    Loaded Gun
                    Nurture My Pig
                    Gin & Tonic Blues

                    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)

                                            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

                                                            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

                                                                        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

                                                                            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

                                                                                  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

                                                                                    Preservation Hall Jazz Band

                                                                                    That's It!

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

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

                                                                                      TRACK LISTING

                                                                                      That’s It!
                                                                                      Dear Lord (Give Me The Strength)
                                                                                      Come With Me
                                                                                      Sugar Plum
                                                                                      Rattlin’ Bones
                                                                                      I Think I Love You
                                                                                      August Nights
                                                                                      Halfway Right, Halfway Wrong
                                                                                      Yellow Moon
                                                                                      The Darker It Gets
                                                                                      Emmalena’s Lullaby

                                                                                      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

                                                                                        Minor Poet

                                                                                        The Good News

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

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

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

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

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

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


                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                          Tabula Rasa
                                                                                          Tropic Of Cancer
                                                                                          Museum District
                                                                                          Reverse Medusa
                                                                                          Bit Your Tongue / All Alone Now
                                                                                          Nude Descending Staircase

                                                                                          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)

                                                                                            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)

                                                                                                  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

                                                                                                    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: Where 'Dry As A Bone' includes a wealth of outtakes (all superb), it's 'Rehab Doll' that represents the sole full-length, and what an LP. The eponymous track perfectly representing the sound of the mid to late 80's, and is only bolstered by the superb demo versions and extras on this remaster. It's a superb and essential document of the foundation of a scene.

                                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                    Forever Means
                                                                                                    Rehab Doll
                                                                                                    Swallow My Pride
                                                                                                    Together We’ll Never
                                                                                                    Smilin’ And Dyin’
                                                                                                    Porkfist
                                                                                                    Take A Dive
                                                                                                    One More Stitch
                                                                                                    10000 Things (Rehab Recovery)
                                                                                                    Hangin’ Tree (Rehab Recovery)
                                                                                                    Rehab Doll (Reciprocal 8-track Demo)
                                                                                                    Swallow My Pride (Reciprocal 8-track Demo)
                                                                                                    Together We’ll Never (Reciprocal 8-track Demo)
                                                                                                    Smilin’ And Dyin’ (Reciprocal 8-track Demo)
                                                                                                    Porkfist (Reciprocal 8-track Demo)
                                                                                                    Take A Dive (Reciprocal 8-track Demo)
                                                                                                    Somebody (Reciprocal 8-track Demo)
                                                                                                    Queen Bitch (Reciprocal 8-track Demo)

                                                                                                    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

                                                                                                    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

                                                                                                          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

                                                                                                          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

                                                                                                          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

                                                                                                                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

                                                                                                                        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

                                                                                                                          Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

                                                                                                                          Talk Tight

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

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

                                                                                                                          TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                          1. Wither With You
                                                                                                                          2. Wide Eyes
                                                                                                                          3. Heard You’re Moving
                                                                                                                          4. Clean Slate
                                                                                                                          5. Tender Is The Neck
                                                                                                                          6. Write Back
                                                                                                                          7. Career

                                                                                                                          Iron & Wine

                                                                                                                          Beast Epic

                                                                                                                            "I must confess that I’ve always shied away from album introductions citing the usual "dancing to architecture" cop out. Speaking to their own work is uncomfortable for many artists, but I’ve made a new album called Beast Epic which is important to me and I wanted to take a moment to talk about why. I’ve been releasing music for about fifteen years now and I feel very blessed to have put out five other full lengths, many EPs and singles, a few collaborations with people much more talented than myself, and made contributions to numerous movie scores and soundtracks. This is my sixth collection of new Iron & Wine material and I’m happy to say that it’s my fourth for Sub Pop Records.

                                                                                                                            It’s a warm and serendipitous time to be reuniting with my Seattle friends because I feel there’s a certain kinship between this new collection of songs and my earliest material, which Sub Pop was kind enough to release. In hindsight, both The Creek Drank the Cradle (2002) and Our Endless Numbered Days (2004) epitomize a reflective and confessional songwriting style (although done with my own ferocious commitment to understatement, of course.) I have been and always will be fascinated by the way time asserts itself on our bodies and our hearts. The ferris wheel keeps spinning and we’re constantly approaching, leaving or returning to something totally unexpected or startlingly familiar. The rite of passage is an image I've returned to often because I feel we’re all constantly in some stage of transition. Beast Epic is saturated with this idea but in a different way simply because each time I return to the theme I’ve collected new experiences to draw from. Where the older songs painted a picture of youth moving wide-eyed into adulthood’s violent pleasures and disappointments, this collection speaks to the beauty and pain of growing up after you’ve already grown up. For me, that experience has been more generous in its gifts and darker in its tragedies.

                                                                                                                            The sound of Beast Epic harks back to previous work, in a way, as well. By employing the old discipline of recording everything live and doing minimal overdubbing, I feel like it wears both its achievements and its imperfections on its sleeve. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed experimenting with different genres, sonics and songwriting styles and all that traveled distance is evident in the feel and the arrangements here, but the muscles seemed to have relaxed and been allowed to effortlessly do what they do best.

                                                                                                                            I’ve been fortunate to get to play with some very talented musicians over the years who are both uniquely intuitive and also expressive in exciting ways. This group was no different. We spent about two weeks recording and mixing but mostly laughing at The Loft in Chicago.

                                                                                                                            To be honest, I’ve named this record BEAST EPIC mostly because it sounds really fucking cool! However, with that said and perhaps to be completely honest, “a story where animals talk and act like people” sounds like the perfect description for the life of any of us. If not that, then it’s at least perfect for any group of songs I’ve ever tried to make. I hope you enjoy it." - Iron & Wine

                                                                                                                            Shabazz Palaces

                                                                                                                            Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star

                                                                                                                              Twinned with "Quazarz Vs The Jealous Machines", this companion album from Shabaz Palaces also shines and growns under the crushing weight of the future. Imbued with the energy and ideas from all the creative embers floating in the atmosphere like fireflies, Shabazz Palaces recorded this entire album over the course of two weeks with Blood in Seattle. New gear and new equipment disintegrated comfort zones into dust and a new path appeared in the rubble - aurally evident thoughout this painfully visionary album. "Born on a Gangster Star"  continues the intrepid and unfathomable quest through cosmic-rap, a genre that SP is practically inventing. The beats wobble and ricocheting as if unaffected by gravity, while Palaces' vocals are hushed, ushered and delivered with a biting effeciently which has had me previously drawing comparisons to Dean Blunt / Hype Williams and Earl Sweatshirt. Appearing here, in body or in spirit, are Julian Casablancas, Thundercat, Darrius Willrich, Gamble and Huff, Loud Eyes Lou, Thaddillac, Ahmir, Jon Kirby, Sunny Levine, and Blood. This, my friends, is the sound of the near future. 

                                                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                              Since C.A.Y.A.
                                                                                                                              When Cats Claw
                                                                                                                              Shine A Light (feat. Thaddillac)
                                                                                                                              Dèesse Du Sang
                                                                                                                              Eel Dreams (feat. Loud Eyes Lou)
                                                                                                                              Parallax (feat. The Palaceer Lazaro)
                                                                                                                              Fine Ass Hairdresser
                                                                                                                              The Neurochem Mixalogue
                                                                                                                              That's How City Life Goes
                                                                                                                              Moon Whip Quäz (feat. Darrius)
                                                                                                                              Federalist Papers

                                                                                                                              Rolling Blackouts C.F.

                                                                                                                              The French Press

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

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

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

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

                                                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                              French Press
                                                                                                                              Julie’s Place
                                                                                                                              Sick Bug
                                                                                                                              Colours Run
                                                                                                                              Dig Up
                                                                                                                              Fountain Of Good Fortune

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

                                                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                              1. Waves
                                                                                                                              2. East Seattle
                                                                                                                              3. Bulletproof Windows Ft. Nate Jack
                                                                                                                              4. Past Life Ft. Cashtro + Black
                                                                                                                              5. Everybody [Interlude] Ft. Fly Guy Dai [Shabazz Palaces] 
                                                                                                                              6. The Mirror Between Us Ft. JD + JusMoni 
                                                                                                                              7. Sacred Geometry Ft. Cashtro + The Palaceer
                                                                                                                              8. Arithmetic Ft. Infinite + Stas Thee Boss
                                                                                                                              9. Navi Truck
                                                                                                                              10. Lightro [Looking For The Light]
                                                                                                                              11. Dissolving In A Daydream
                                                                                                                              12. My Mother’s Words Ft. Debra Sullivan
                                                                                                                              13. Beautiful Ft. Aslan T. Rife + The Palaceer
                                                                                                                              14. Sacred Geometry [CONSTELLTION MIX] Ft. Cashtro + The Palaceer *LP Bonus Track
                                                                                                                              15. Vanilla Coke *LP Only Bonus Track
                                                                                                                              16. Sacred Geometry [Instrumental] *LP Only Bonus Track
                                                                                                                              17. Brothers [Instrumental] *LP Only Bonus Track
                                                                                                                              18. Arithmetic [Instrumental] *LP Only Bonus Track

                                                                                                                              This remixed and expanded reissue of Soundgarden’s Ultramega OK is a long-planned “correction” of the legendary band’s Grammy®-nominated debut full-length. The album was originally recorded and released in 1988 on SST Records. While the band enjoyed working with the original producer, Drew Canulette, they soon realized they weren’t quite happy with the final mix. Thus, shortly after the album’s release, the band decided to remix the album for subsequent pressings. However, success intervened: the band rapidly scored a deal with A&M and began work on their major-label debut, Louder Than Love, and the Ultramega OK remix project fell by the wayside as Soundgarden climbed their way to (ultra)mega-stardom.

                                                                                                                              In 2016, after worldwide success, a breakup, a reunion, and many albums and tours, the band finally acquired the original multi-track tapes to Ultramega OK and carved out time to dig into the remix. They handed the tapes over to longtime friend and engineer Jack Endino (Nirvana, Mudhoney, Screaming Trees, Skin Yard), who worked with the band to create a fresh mix of the album that, for the band, ties up this persistent loose end and remedies the sound of their debut full-length.

                                                                                                                              While they were at it, the band dug out six early versions of tracks that wound up on Ultramega OK. The songs were recorded in 1987 on 8-track tape by Jack Endino and Chris Hanzsek at Reciprocal Recording in Seattle, and mixed by Jack Endino in 2016. These versions feature the band in raw, powerful form – sonically closer to the band’s Endino-recorded six-song debut, Screaming Life – and provide a fascinating window into the development of songs that eventually became staples of the band’s set. The six songs comprise what the band refers to as Ultramega EP, and they are included in this reissue.

                                                                                                                              Hailed as grunge innovators, Soundgarden redefined rock music for a generation. In the late ‘80s, the band – singer Chris Cornell, guitarist Kim Thayil, bassist Hiro Yamamoto, and drummer Matt Cameron – combined a punk ethos, brutal metal soundscapes, and Cornell’s ravenous roar to capture the attention of the masses. Jagged and ferocious, their music was deeply at odds with the synth-pop and hair metal which dominated the ‘80s airwaves. Early indie releases, including seminal Screaming Life and Ultramega OK, quickly led to a dedicated indie following as the band toured on both sides of the Atlantic. Subsequent albums, including Badmotorfinger, Superunknown, and Down on the Upside, achieved multi-platinum sales and launched the band to international fame.

                                                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                              Flower
                                                                                                                              All Your Lies
                                                                                                                              665
                                                                                                                              Beyond The Wheel
                                                                                                                              667
                                                                                                                              Mood For Trouble
                                                                                                                              Circle Of Power
                                                                                                                              He Didn't
                                                                                                                              Smokestack Lightning
                                                                                                                              Nazi Driver
                                                                                                                              Head Injury
                                                                                                                              Incessant Mace
                                                                                                                              One Minute Of Silence
                                                                                                                              Head Injury (early Version)
                                                                                                                              Beyond The Wheel (early Version)
                                                                                                                              Incessant Mace (early Version)
                                                                                                                              He Didn't (early Version)
                                                                                                                              All Your Lies (early Version)
                                                                                                                              Incessant Mace (V2) (early Version)

                                                                                                                              Pissed Jeans have been making gnarly noise for 13 years, and on their fifth album, Why Love Now, the male-fronted quartet is taking aim at the mundane discomforts of modern life—from fetish webcams to office-supply deliveries. "Rock bands can retreat to the safety of what rock bands usually sing about. So 60 years from now, when no one has a telephone, bands will be writing songs like, 'I'm waiting for her to call me on my telephone.' Kids are going to be like, 'Grandpa, tell me, what was that?' I'd rather not shy away from talking about the internet or interactions in 2016," says frontman Matt Korvette.

                                                                                                                              Pissed Jeans' gutter-scraped amalgamation of sludge, punk, noise, and bracing wit make the band—Korvette, Brad Fry (guitar), Randy Huth (bass) and Sean McGuinness (drums)—a release valve for a world where absurdity seems in a constant battle trying to outdo itself. Why Love Now picks at the bursting seams that are barely holding 21st-century life together. Take the grinding rave-up "The Bar Is Low," which, according to Korvette, is "about how every guy seems to be revealing themselves as a shithead. It seems like every guy is getting outed, across every board of entertainment and politics and music. There's no guy that isn't a total creep."

                                                                                                                              No Wave legend Lydia Lunch shacked up in Philadelphia to produce Why Love Now alongside local metal legend Arthur Rizk (Eternal Champion, Goat Semen). "I knew she wasn't a traditional producer," Korvette says of Lunch. "I like how she's so cool and really intimidating. She ended up being so fucking awesome and crazy. She was super into it, constantly threatening to bend us over the bathtub. I'm not really sure what that entails, but I know she probably wasn't joking.” The combination of Lunch's spiritual guidance and Rizk's technical prowess supercharged Pissed Jeans, and the bracing Why Love Now documents them at their grimy, grinning best. While its references may be very early-21st-century, its willingness to state its case cement it as an album in line with punk's tradition of turning norms on their heads and shaking them loose.

                                                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                              1. Waiting On My Horrible Warning
                                                                                                                              2. The Bar Is Low
                                                                                                                              3. Ignorecam
                                                                                                                              4. Cold Whip Cream
                                                                                                                              5. Love Without Emotion
                                                                                                                              6. I'm A Man
                                                                                                                              7. (Won't Tell You) My Sign
                                                                                                                              8. It's Your Knees
                                                                                                                              9. Worldwide Marine Asset Financial Analyst
                                                                                                                              10. Have You Ever Been Furniture
                                                                                                                              11. Activia
                                                                                                                              12. Not Even Married

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

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

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

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

                                                                                                                              STAFF COMMENTS

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

                                                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                              Price Tag
                                                                                                                              Oh!
                                                                                                                              What’s Mine Is Yours
                                                                                                                              A New Wave
                                                                                                                              Start Together
                                                                                                                              No Cities To Love
                                                                                                                              Surface Envy
                                                                                                                              I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone
                                                                                                                              Turn It On
                                                                                                                              Entertain
                                                                                                                              Jumpers
                                                                                                                              Dig Me Out
                                                                                                                              Modern Girl

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

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

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

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

                                                                                                                              TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                              Hidden Driver
                                                                                                                              Blur
                                                                                                                              She Sustains Us
                                                                                                                              Spirit Was
                                                                                                                              Pain
                                                                                                                              The Closing Door
                                                                                                                              Five Men On The Ridge
                                                                                                                              Cut From The Vine
                                                                                                                              I
                                                                                                                              Naked In The River With The Creator

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

                                                                                                                              The Shins

                                                                                                                              Wincing The Night Away

                                                                                                                                It could be said that The Shins’ third album, ‘Wincing The Night Away’, was one of the most heavily anticipated record of 2007. Post ‘Garden State’ notoriety, the band have reached beyond their indie-darling status to something approaching mainstream recognition.

                                                                                                                                TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                Sleeping Lessons
                                                                                                                                Australia
                                                                                                                                Pam Berry
                                                                                                                                Phantom Limb
                                                                                                                                Sea Legs
                                                                                                                                Red Rabbits
                                                                                                                                Turn On Me
                                                                                                                                Black Wave
                                                                                                                                Split Needles
                                                                                                                                Girl Sailor
                                                                                                                                A Comet Appears

                                                                                                                                Nirvana

                                                                                                                                Bleach

                                                                                                                                  Originally recorded over three sessions with producer Jack Endino at Seattle’s Reciprocal Recording Studios in December 1988 and January 1989, ‘Bleach’ was released in June 1989 and remains unequivocally / unsurprisingly Sub Pop’s very favourite Nirvana full length. The album initially sold 40,000 copies but was brought into the international spotlight following the release and worldwide success of their 1991 sophomore effort, ‘Nevermind’. Subsequently ‘Bleach’ went on to sell 1.7 million copies in the US alone.

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

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

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

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

                                                                                                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

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

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

                                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                  I Don’t Wanna See What’s Happening Outside
                                                                                                                                  The System Of 1,000 Lies
                                                                                                                                  Another Person
                                                                                                                                  Sun Powers
                                                                                                                                  The Age Of The Birdman
                                                                                                                                  Mssr. Monster
                                                                                                                                  A Gun Appears
                                                                                                                                  The Lowest Of The Low
                                                                                                                                  Escape Capsule
                                                                                                                                  Some Sunsick Day

                                                                                                                                  The Gotobeds

                                                                                                                                  Blood // Sugar // Secs // Traffic

                                                                                                                                  “Hey, what’s this? Well that, my friend, is the newest album from The Gotobeds, entitled ‘Blood // Sugar // Secs // Traffic’. It’s their second full-length LP and their first for Sub Pop.

                                                                                                                                  “The Gotobeds formed vaguely around 2009 in Pittsburgh and play a mutant strain of rock music that is often filed under punk, indie rock, or 99-cent discount bin. […] Much like their previous releases on underground stalwart labels like Mind Cure and 12XU, this new album artfully slips intelligence and experimentation into a dying art form. It’s a harder feat than you’d think.

                                                                                                                                  “And sure, their live shows have often been compared to an ‘all night party where I feared for my life and the lives of everybody in the five block radius,’ and their recorded output is akin ‘to the sonic manifestos of four men deprived of human love and raised on beer and Swell Maps, Mission Of Burma, and old Fall records.’ But what you get with The Gotobeds, delivered in spades on this album, is smart, noisy rock with just the right amount of stupid.” - Joe Casey, Protomartyr

                                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                  Real Maths/Too Much
                                                                                                                                  “Bodies”
                                                                                                                                  Brass Not Rash
                                                                                                                                  Rope
                                                                                                                                  Why’d You
                                                                                                                                  Red Alphabet
                                                                                                                                  Cold Gold Las Alright
                                                                                                                                  Crisis Time
                                                                                                                                  Manifest
                                                                                                                                  Glass House
                                                                                                                                  Amazing Supermarkets

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

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

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

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

                                                                                                                                  STAFF COMMENTS

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

                                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                  Show Me
                                                                                                                                  White Street
                                                                                                                                  (Don’t) Wannabe
                                                                                                                                  X-Communicate
                                                                                                                                  Skin Shed
                                                                                                                                  Drive The Night
                                                                                                                                  What Is Love
                                                                                                                                  Face 2 Face
                                                                                                                                  Going Thru The Motions
                                                                                                                                  Smoke Rings

                                                                                                                                  Mike & The Melvins

                                                                                                                                  Three Men And A Baby

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

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

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

                                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                  Chicken ‘n’ Dump
                                                                                                                                  Limited Teeth
                                                                                                                                  Bummer Conversation
                                                                                                                                  Annalisa
                                                                                                                                  A Dead Pile Of Worthless Junk
                                                                                                                                  Read The Label (It’s Chili)
                                                                                                                                  Dead Canaries
                                                                                                                                  Pound The Giants
                                                                                                                                  A Friend In Need Is A Friend You Don’t Need
                                                                                                                                  Lifestyle Hammer
                                                                                                                                  Gravel
                                                                                                                                  Art School Fight Song

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                  No Big Deal
                                                                                                                                  Two Kinds
                                                                                                                                  Hey Girl
                                                                                                                                  And Yet The World Still Turns
                                                                                                                                  Cinnamon
                                                                                                                                  Poison Dart
                                                                                                                                  Sour Silk
                                                                                                                                  Synthetic Romance
                                                                                                                                  Be A Man
                                                                                                                                  LOM
                                                                                                                                  New Misery

                                                                                                                                  “We’re a band named after a YouTube video. I like that.” Nathan Rodriguez, of Seattle’s So Pitted, is referring to a viral clip of a surfer, standing on the shore in front of mountainous morning waves, relaying to a reporter the glory of the ocean conditions from which he has just emerged. To most, the clip is a funny nugget of Spicoli brah-speak but to Rodriguez and his bandmates Liam Downey and Jeannine Koewler ‘So Pitted’ is way more than just that gung ho, slacker-speak catchphrase. “That surfer gets carried away talking about what he loves, because to him that’s all that really matters,” says Rodriguez. “I don’t surf, but to this surfer ‘so pitted’ is following through instead of bailing. You can take that abstraction and repurpose it to anything you like.”

                                                                                                                                  So Pitted are every bit an experiment in social partnerships as they are a noise outfit. They bonded over a shared love of alternative music - Rage Against The Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, The Mars Volta. Rodriguez is a self-taught quick study who learned music theory on Wikipedia; Downey is a new wave fanatic who sticks pipe cleaners in his brain to speak to extraterrestrials; Koewler is a longtime ballet dancer whose love of aesthetes and bands like Cocteau Twins is a strong influence on her bandmates. Roles and positions have never been important to So Pitted: Rodriguez and Downey often switch instruments and both sing, while Koewler plays her guitar through a bass amp. Together, the trio just fits, a perfect balance for one another’s quirks, strengths and shortcomings.

                                                                                                                                  Enter ‘neo’, So Pitted’s debut album some years in the making. These eleven tracks are lean and snarling rebukes, torch songs not in the traditional, unrequited-love sense but songs that will torch your house down. It’s fuzzy, angular, throbbing, pounding, yet catchy. Songs crash over and over, turning under themselves like waves but, as the measures tick off, the dog-eared melodies arise.

                                                                                                                                  For all its power, growth, and complexities, ‘neo’ is but a slice in time. It stands for anything new and the necessity of revisiting ideas - nothing is above an update. In Rodriguez’s words, “Our whole process is not perfect, but I don’t think it’s supposed to be. That’s not the point.”

                                                                                                                                  ‘neo’ was co-produced and mixed by So Pitted and Dylan Wall and recorded at The Old Fire House, Media Lab, Spruce Haus, the band’s practice space and Tastefully Loud in Seattle. ‘neo’ was engineered by Wall at Tastefully Loud and mastered by Eric Boulanger at The Bakery in Los Angeles.

                                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                  Cat Scratch
                                                                                                                                  Pay Attention To Me
                                                                                                                                  Woe
                                                                                                                                  Holding The Void
                                                                                                                                  No Nuke Country
                                                                                                                                  The Sickness
                                                                                                                                  Feed Me
                                                                                                                                  I’m Not Over It
                                                                                                                                  Rot In Hell
                                                                                                                                  Get Out Of My Room
                                                                                                                                  Chop Down That Tree

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                                                                                  TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                  Mind Is Probably
                                                                                                                                  Own The Road
                                                                                                                                  Want To, Bad
                                                                                                                                  Pier Pressure
                                                                                                                                  Nice Night
                                                                                                                                  Every Night You’ve Got
                                                                                                                                  To Save Me
                                                                                                                                  Money Counter
                                                                                                                                  Territory
                                                                                                                                  Soul
                                                                                                                                  Subway Phone

                                                                                                                                  Deaf Wish

                                                                                                                                  Pain

                                                                                                                                    When Deaf Wish found themselves in a room together for the very first time, they agreed on a guiding philosophy: “Let’s not make anything that’s going to last. If we’re together for just two shows, then that’s what it is.” They’ve deviated since.

                                                                                                                                    Over the course of eight years, the Melbourne foursome bassist Nick Pratt, drummer Daniel Twomey and guitarists Sarah Hardiman and Jensen Tjhung - with each member contributing vocals - have instead amassed one of rock’s most exhilarating bodies of work, a concise run of seven inches and white-knuckle albums whose legendary live translation has been most accurately described as ‘unhinged’. All this despite their being scattered across multiple continents, with no way of getting to know one another outside of intermittent touring. “We didn’t really know what this band was,” says Tjhung. “We had something, but it wasn’t clear - we had to figure out what that was.”

                                                                                                                                    This year marks the arrival of ‘Pain’, the first music they’ve written since coming together again semi-permanently in Melbourne and their appropriately titled first full length for Sub Pop. It is a miraculously dissonant, wonderfully immediate display of Deaf Wish at their mightiest, alive with the same wild chemistry and sense of possibility that made their first recordings so vital.

                                                                                                                                    With more time together than they’ve ever had before, they’ve found themselves confronted with ideal (yet foreign) conditions. Twominute freak-outs like ‘Eyes Closed’ share airspace with the meditate squall of ‘On’ and the guitar-born majesty of ‘Calypso’. Everything was captured in three takes or less, in a bleak, nondescript studio on the lifeless outskirts of Melbourne. ‘Pain’ was mastered by Mikey Young (Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Total Control).

                                                                                                                                    TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                    The Whip
                                                                                                                                    Newness Again
                                                                                                                                    They Know
                                                                                                                                    Sunset’s Fool
                                                                                                                                    Eyes Closed
                                                                                                                                    Pain
                                                                                                                                    Sex Witch
                                                                                                                                    On
                                                                                                                                    Dead Air
                                                                                                                                    Calypso

                                                                                                                                    Daughn Gibson

                                                                                                                                    Carnation

                                                                                                                                      Daughn Gibson of Carlisle, PA is a singer, songwriter and musician possessed of a singular and strange vision. ‘Carnation’, his third album, is the latest exhilarating and dark embodiment of that vision. It’s an album which sees the elements of country music, more prominent on 2012’s ‘All Hell’ on the White Denim label and 2013’s ‘Me Moan’ on Sub Pop, undone by ambient textures and sounds.

                                                                                                                                      ‘Carnation’ was co-produced and recorded at Avast Studios in Seattle, WA by Daughn Gibson and Randall Dunn (Earth, Sunn O))), Jesse Sykes, Tim Hecker) and mastered by Jason Ward at Chicago Mastering.

                                                                                                                                      Doldrums

                                                                                                                                      The Air Conditioned Nightmare

                                                                                                                                        ‘The Air Conditioned Nightmare’ is the new album by Doldrums. The title was spawned by Henry Miller upon his return to the US after ten years as an expatriate.

                                                                                                                                        ‘The Air Conditioned Nightmare’ is the anticipated second album by Doldrums, the band led by 25 year old musician Airick Woodhead. On the follow up to his 2013 debut ‘Lesser Evil’ (which yielded tours with Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Crystal Castles, Grimes and Purity Ring and remixes for Peaking Lights, Grimes and Portishead), the DJ, producer and performer makes a sizeable leap from being darling of the Montreal warehouse creative explosion that gave the world the likes of Grimes, Majical Cloudz and Blue Hawaii to being a standalone artist and composer on the cusp of something quite special.

                                                                                                                                        Doldrums apply a punk rock ethos to electronic music, creating songs using samplers and DJ gear in place of guitars. Bold, anxious, dreamlike, uplifting, glacial, hypnotic, constricting, expansive, alien - this is an album that is ever-changing. “Conflict is at the heart of this album,” explains Airick. “There’s a lot of paranoid sentiment and dystopian imagery in there. The threat of a mundane reality ties it together, as does an obsession with plasticity. Songs come from specific feelings or images. Anxiety is my default state.”

                                                                                                                                        ‘The Air Conditioned Nightmare’ is an album of texture and taste, an extra-sensory overload. Weaving through the mix are Woodhead’s androgynous, tweaked vocals singing lyrics like voices down broken phone lines. This is music born of the 21st century.

                                                                                                                                        ‘The Air Conditioned Nightmare’ is an album that is punk rock in its DIY beginnings and militant commitment to originality. Ten snatched seconds is enough to pull you in. Ultimately, The ‘Air Conditioned Nightmare’ stands alone. Doldrums have created something special. You need to hear it.

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

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

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

                                                                                                                                        TRACK LISTING

                                                                                                                                        Prophetic Perfection
                                                                                                                                        No GMO
                                                                                                                                        Planet For Sale
                                                                                                                                        Blandland
                                                                                                                                        Fetch / Catch
                                                                                                                                        Nature’s Candy
                                                                                                                                        EarthEE
                                                                                                                                        Post Black Anyway
                                                                                                                                        Universal Perspective
                                                                                                                                        WerQ
                                                                                                                                        Sir Come Navigate
                                                                                                                                        Recognition
                                                                                                                                        I Read You


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