New Releases for March 22, 2019
Avey Tare – Cows On Hourglass Pond CD/LP+MP3/LP+10”+MP3 (Domino)
Dave Portner aka Avey Tare of Animal Collective, has returned, following up 2017’s release of Eucalyptus and 2018’s audiovisual album Tangerine Reef, a collaboration between Animal Collective and avant-garde coral macro-videographers Coral Morphologic, with a gorgeous and layered new record. Cows On Hourglass Pond takes inspiration from the future and the past in equal measure, referencing a myriad of cultural touchstones and influences: Buddy Holly, robots, Waylon Jennings, Morricone soundtracks, and much more. “The first single, ‘Saturdays (Again)’, is pretty low-key, with few of the bracing vocal contortions that Portner sometimes peppers his songs with. Sonically, it’s much slicker than the scrappy Eucalyptus, which felt like a return to the scrappy early days of Animal Collective, with its layers of lo-fi acoustic guitar and sound effects like malfunctioning electronic toys. The acoustic is back for ‘Saturdays (Again)’ but it sits within a lush and dubby mix, atop melodic synth bass, accompanied by peals of lead guitar.” — SPIN [Limited deluxe vinyl pressing adds a bonus 10” featuring the non-album tracks “Tipped In Hugs” b/w “Dog Says Goodbye”.]
Bad Suns – Mystic Truth CD/LP+MP3 (Epitaph)
The third full-length from L.A. band Bad Suns, Mystic Truth gets its title from a piece of art that vocalist Christo Bowman stumbled upon while visiting London’s Tate Modern on tour. Created by Bruce Nauman in 1967, the neon-and-glass piece spells out a possibly paradoxical statement in blue spiraled cursive: “The True Artist Helps The World by Revealing Mystic Truths.” “I thought that connected back to the message of the record, which is about finding the extraordinary in very simple things, even though we’re living in a very dark time right now,” says Bowman. Right from opener “Away We Go”, Bad Suns reveal the timeless sensibilities at the heart of Mystic Truth. With its soaring vocals, majestic piano melodies, and fiery guitar tones, the song unfolds as a brightly anthemic battle cry. “‘Away We Go’ was mostly inspired by us growing up and really being adults for the first time, and trying to make sense of all that,” says Bowman, who co-founded Bad Suns at age 17. “It’s about learning how to make decisions for yourself, and sometimes just going for something and blindly trusting that it’s going to work out.” [Limited clear vinyl pressing also available.]
Andrew Bird – My Finest Work Yet CD/LP (Loma Vista)
My Finest Work Yet finds Andrew Bird grappling with themes of current day dichotomies and how to identify a moral compass amidst such divisive times. “I’m interested in the idea that our enemies are what make us whole – there’s an intimacy one shares with their opponent when locked in such a struggle. If we were to just walk away would our enemies miss us? How did we get to this point and how can we, through awareness of it, maybe pull ourselves out of this death spiral,” says Bird. He tackles these topics with a more direct songwriting approach than his previous releases, taking greater risks both lyrically and in recording. Bird and the band taped all the songs live without headphones or separation attempting to create a sound where all instruments bled into each other’s microphones. Of the new music, Bird reflects, “There is a certain optimism to this record…it’s pretty up musically though it doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the lyrics.”
Luther Dickinson and Sisters Of The Strawberry Moon – Solstice CD/LP (New West)
“The stars aligned and the strawberry moon coincided with the 2016 summer solstice. Our recording session felt like a pot-luck dinner – a group of interesting new friends convened and marveled at what was brought to the table. ‘Oh, a gut-string banjo and a clarinet? Check out this Mississippi bamboo cane fife and funky beats. Is it OK if I sing this harmony? Wow, listen to how our voices blend together…’ The music came together and flowed organically, as did the band name. The Sisters Of The Strawberry Moon passed the mic, family style, backing each other up with sympathy and empathy, enjoying their new found chemistry. With instruments as ingredients and songs as recipes, The Sisters Of The Strawberry Moon stirred up lovely new concoctions as well as fresh interpretations of family heirloom songs we hold dear. We believe music is a celebration of life and folk music an expression of community and family, and Solstice is an artifact of our new friendship and musical fellowship.” – Luther Dickinson
Ex Hex – It’s Real CD/LP+MP3 (Merge)
On their sophomore album It’s Real, Ex Hex’s commitment to larger-than-life riffs and unforgettable hooks remains intact, but the garage-y, post-punk approach that defined their debut Rips has grown in scale and ambition. What started as a reaction to the blown-out aesthetic of Rips would test the sonic limits of the power trio and lead the band on a quest for a more immersive and three-dimensional sound. Vocal harmonies are layered ten tracks deep, solos shimmer and modulate atop heaving power chords, and the codas linger and stretch toward new frontiers of sound. On first listen, you might think you’ve unearthed a long-lost LP carved from the space where crunch-minded art rock and glitter-covered hard rock converge, an event horizon at the intersection of towering choruses and swaggering guitars. Ex Hex was already one of America’s best guitar bands – but on It’s Real, their musical savvy has thrillingly combined with anything-goes curiosity, studio experimentation, and a dedication to refinement, resulting in an album that’s ready to be played at maximum volume.
Kevin Garrett – Hoax CD/2xLP (KG Music LLC/AWAL)
Kevin Garrett twists up soulful tradition with singer-songwriter spirit, lush instrumentation, and alternative adventurousness. The Pittsburgh-born Grammy-nominated artist, multi-instrumentalist, and producer is known as a writer on “Pray You Catch Me” from Beyoncé’s Lemonade. He also has played shows alongside Alessa Cara, Mumford & Sons, and James Vincent McMorrow. His debut album, Hoax, echoes the kind of grit meant to be smoothed out only on vinyl and emanates the ambition of a 21st century festival draw. The album’s second single “Faith You Might” “is at once forlorn and hopeful, telling the story of someone who refuses to give up on love, even when the odds are stacked against them. This acoustic track plucks along quietly at first, cradling Garrett’s luscious croon as he sets the scene. Then the chorus sets in, folding in strings that seem to sing along with the artist, optimistic in tone that his fight is worth the work. ‘Lost my way, once or twice but I won’t sway in a fight/Do I pray? No, but I have faith you might,’ Garrett sings.” – Earmilk
Ibibio Sound Machine – Doko Mien CD/LP+MP3 (Merge)
“Music is a universal language but spoken language can help you think about what makes you emotional, what makes you feel certain feelings, what you want to see in the world,” says Eno Williams, frontwoman of Ibibio Sound Machine. When Williams uses both English and Ibibio – the Nigerian language from which her band’s name is derived – on Doko Mien, the group somehow produces a world of both entrancing specificity and comforting universality, a language entirely of their own. By pulsing the mystic shapes of Williams’ lines through further inventive, glittering collages of genre on Doko Mien, Ibibio Sound Machine crack apart the horizon separating cultures, between nature and technology, between joy and pain, between tradition and future.
La Dispute – Panorama CD/LP+MP3 (Epitaph)
Hardcore luminaries La Dispute return with their fourth album. Panorama was produced by the band in tandem with Will Yip, and combines jazz, rock, slowcore, noise, hardcore among other influences over the span of 10 tracks. It’s a highly ambitious and deeply affecting body of work that filters narrative storytelling through a personal lens, like a set of Joan Didion essays put to music. Where the past two albums had vocalist Jordan Dreyer delving further into fictional subject matter, it’s with Panorama that the band has created the most personal project since their breakthrough Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair, an album whose influence has been palpable within the genre over the course of the past decade.
Lambchop – This (is what I wanted to tell you) CD/LP+MP3 (Merge)
As with 2012’s engrossing Mr. M and 2016’s staggering FLOTUS, Kurt Wagner’s openness to unexpected collaborators to give his thoughts and feelings the shape they need was central to the creation of This (is what I wanted to tell you). In the summer of 2017, Wagner re-met Matthew McCaughan, who has spent the last decade drumming for the likes of Bon Iver and Hiss Golden Messenger. McCaughan told Wagner he had been adventuring inside the world of rack-mounted analogue synthesizers and asked if Wagner might send some vocals to which he could compose. They became instant musical pen pals, with Wagner sending him a cappella takes of new song ideas and McCaughan dispatching long-form synthesizer pieces for inspiration. McCaughan eventually headed to Nashville, where, together, they put a band behind the songs, using pedal steel and piano and the harmonica of Nashville legend Charlie McCoy to color in the spaces of these black-and-white sketches.
Jenny Lewis – On The Line CD/LP (WB)
Jenny Lewis returns with her highly anticipated fourth solo album, On The Line – the former Rilo Kiley member’s follow up to 2014’s critically acclaimed The Voyager. Produced by Beck and Ryan Adams, the 11 all-new original songs were written by Lewis and recorded at Capitol Records’ Studio B and feature a backing band of legendary talent including Benmont Tench, Don Was, Jim Keltner, Ringo Starr, Beck and Adams. There were two events in Jenny’s life that had an emotional impact on recording the album. One was a recent breakup and the other was the passing of her mother. On The Line is introduced by the retro, Emmylou Harris-esque lead single, “Red Bull & Hennessy.” “What’s the matter with me?” Jenny Lewis sings on her latest single, “Redbull & Hennessy.” On [“Redbull & Hennessy”] Lewis “offers a darkly suggestive tale of dissolution and desire. Riding a sparkling Seventies pop-rock piano riff, Lewis’ narrator second-guesses herself into a haze of liquor and regret. She has long been a master at juxtaposing candy-sweet melody with ominous narrative, and her latest is no exception.” – Rolling Stone [Limited indie-store exclusive blue colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Mötley Crüe – The Dirt (The Original Soundtrack) CD/2xLP (Eleven Seven Music)
Director Jeff Tremaine’s (Jackass co-creator) 2019 dramatization of Mötley Crüe’s best-selling 2001 autobiography The Dirt follows the band’s anarchy-fueled rise from musical misfits to heavy metal demigods. The accompanying 18-song soundtrack features a collection of Mötley Crüe classics that meaningfully underscore significant moments that shape the film. The album collects 14 fan-favorites including “Dr. Feelgood”, “Girls, Girls, Girls”, “Kickstart My Heart”, “Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)”, “Shout At The Devil”, and the iconic ballad “Home Sweet Home”. Mötley Crüe also recorded four exclusive new songs for the soundtrack: “The Dirt (Est. 1981)” (feat. Machine Gun Kelly) with effortless rap verses surrounding signature guitar riffs; the three remaining songs conclude the album with the catchy “Ride With The Devil”, “Crash And Burn”, and the band’s own spin on Madonna’s, “Like A Virgin.”
Orville Peck – Pony CD/LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
Combining the lulling ambience of shoegaze with the iconic melodies and vocal prowess of classic American country music, enigmatic outlaw cowboy Orville Peck croons love and loss from the badlands of North America. The resulting sound is one completely his own, taking the listener down dusty rose-colored desert highways, through a world where worn out gamblers, aloof road-dogs and lovesick hustlers drift in and out of his masked gaze. Orville’s debut album, Pony, delivers a diverse collection of stories that sing of heartbreak, revenge and the unrelenting tug of the cowboy ethos. Warm lap steel guitars and echoing drums move through dreamy ballads, campfire lullabies and sometimes frantic buzzsaw tunes, all the while paying homage to his country music roots.
Robin Trower – Coming Closer To The Day CD/LP (Mascot Label Group)
Robin Trower, the iconic guitarist who rose to fame with the legendary Procol Harum, returns with a new album, Coming Closer To The Day. It’s rare to find a ’60s legend still on trailblazing form in their eighth decade. But while Trower’s peers recycle the old hits or retreat from view, the 73-year-old guitarist finds himself in a golden late-bloom of creativity. Even at this career pinnacle, Trower admits he “just can’t stop.” And with Coming Closer To The Day, his songcraft and soulful performances have never sounded more alive. Acting on artistic instincts – rather than bowing to market forces – might not be a fashionable or profitable approach in the modern music industry. But in 2019, it’s a philosophy that is driving Trower’s late career to new creative heights, as the bluesman tightens his grip on the long-term fans who fell for his classic ’60s work, while reeling in younger music-lovers who crave something honest and unvarnished in the age of artifice.
Nilüfer Yanya – Miss Universe CD/2xLP (ATO/Caroline)
Nilüfer Yanya, London’s 23-year-old “effortlessly smooth new soul star” (The Fader) releases her hotly-anticipated full length debut, Miss Universe. Uniquely blending elements of soul and jazz into intimate pop songs with electronic flourishes and a newly expressed grungy guitar sound, Miss Universe is big and ambitious. “Angels,” with its muted, harmonic riffs, channels ideas “of paranoid thoughts and anxiety” – a theme that runs through the album, not least in its conceptual spoken word interludes which emanate from a fictional health management company “WWAY Health”. “You sign up, and you pay a fee,” explains Nilüfer of the automated messages, which are littered through the album and are narrated by the titular Miss Universe. “They sort out all of your dietary requirements, and then they move onto medication, and then maybe you can get a better organ or something…and then suddenly it starts to get a bit weird. You’re giving them more of you and to what end?” [Limited clear vinyl pressing also available.]
American Football – American Football: LP3 CD/LP+MP3/2xLP+MP3 (Polyvinyl)
American Football’s original triumph, on their 1999 self-titled debut, was to reunite two shy siblings: emo and post-rock. It was a pioneering album where lyrical clarity was obscured and complicated by the stealth musical textures surrounding it. Like Slint’s Spiderland, or Codeine’s The White Birch, even Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock, American Football asked far more questions than it cared to answer. But there wasn’t a band around anymore to explain it, anyway. The three young men who made the album – Mike Kinsella, Steve Holmes, and Steve Lamos – split up pretty much on its release. 15 years later, American Football reunited (now as a four-piece, with the addition of Nate Kinsella). LP3 is contemplative, rich, expressive, yet with a queasy undercurrent. It is heavy with expectancy, revealing its ideas slowly, eliciting the hidden stories people carry around with them. [Limited single-disc colored pressing and deluxe double-vinyl edition mastered at 45rpm and pressed on 180gm vinyl are also available.]
Matt Anderson – Halfway Home By Morning CD/LP (True North)
Recorded live off the floor in Nashville, Tennessee, celebrated songwriter Matt Andersen’s tenth album collects all the essential elements for a down-home ramble and shoots them through with enough electrifying energy to drive the rock ‘n’ roll faithful to simmer, shimmy, and shake. Over its 13 tracks, he explores every facet of his sound-sweat-soaked soul, incendiary rhythm and blues, heartbroken folk, and gritty Americana.
Apparat – LP5 CD/LP (Mute)
Like previous Apparat albums, LP5 is essentially the result of collaboration between Sascha Ring and cellist Philipp Thimm and on the album you can also hear trombone, trumpet and saxophone, a harp, a double bass and other strings. John Stanier, the dancing dervish from math-rock outfit Battles, plays percussion and the songs were developed over endless group improvisations and lavish orchestral sessions. The music of Apparat is now music of enrichment, of omission and override; every melody, every sound is at the same time a palimpsest.
Kate Bush – The Other Sides 4xCD (Rhino)
Four discs’ worth of Kate Bush rarities, B-sides, remixes and cover versions that filled out the back half of last year’s second CD box set of the singer’s reissued catalog get their own separate release.
Deicide – The Stench Of Redemption [Reissue/2006] CD (Earache)
CD reissue. Emerging from seemingly endless controversy re-energized and re-focused, the death metal originators hit back with their most confrontational album in years with 2006’s The Stench Of Redemption. Bristling with the defiance and confidence borne of a new line up (welcoming Jack Owen and Ralph Santola to the fold), Deicide 2006 plays with an intensity that puts every young pretender to shame.
Iron & Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days [Reissue/2004] CD/LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
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. This reissue of Our Endless Numbered Days features the original album plus eight previously unreleased demo versions and a 12-page booklet with an essay by Amanda Petrusich.
John Lennon & Yoko Ono – Wedding Album [Reissue/1969] CD/LP+MP3 (Secretly Canadian/Chimera Music)
Originally released in 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Wedding Album was the couple’s third experimental, album-length record, and one of the most remarkable of the duo’s testaments to an intense romantic and artistic partnership that would last fourteen years, until Lennon’s murder in 1980. [Limited white colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Megadeth – Warheads On Foreheads 3xCD/4xLP (Capitol)
35 tracks representing 35 years of the legendary thrash metal band’s impressive career.
Van Morrison – The Healing Game [Reissue/1997] 3xCD/LP (Sony Legacy)
Digitally remastered and expanded CD edition deluxe edition of The Healing Game includes the original album plus two additional discs of rare and unreleased material featuring B-sides, session outtakes and duets with John Lee Hooker, Carl Perkins and B.B. King. Also included is the first official release of a performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in the summer of 1997. [First-time single-disc vinyl edition also available.]
The Rippingtons featuring Ross Freeman – Open Road CD (E1)
New album from the smooth jazz mainstay. [Vinyl edition due April 26.]
Strand Of Oaks – Eraserland CD/LP (Dead Oceans)
Leading off with standout track “Weird Ways” and his powerful declaration of “I don’t feel it anymore,” Eraserland traces Tim Showalter’s evolution from apprehension to creative awakening, carving out a new and compelling future for Strand Of Oaks. In February 2018, he spent two weeks alone in Wildwood, New Jersey writing and demoing all of the songs that would eventually comprise Eraserland. And in April, he went into the studio to record with Kevin Ratterman at La La Land Studios in Louisville, Kentucky, and with Broemel, Hallahan, Koster, and Blankenship as his band. Jason Isbell also contributed his Hendrix-esque guitar work to Eraserland, while singer- songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle provided gorgeous vocals. [Limited white colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Exclusively on Vinyl This Week
Paula Frazer and Tarnation – What Is And Was [Reissue/2017] LP+MP3 (Slimstyle)
180gm translucent red colored vinyl. “My introduction to the music of San Francisco-based singer-songwriter Paula Frazer started with her breakthrough second album, 1995’s Gentle Creatures (4AD), released under the band name Tarnation. I remember being blown away after listening to the very first track – the transistor-radio sounding ‘Game of Broken Hearts’, which featured nothing but Paula’s lonesome, melancholic vocals lilting over a strummed guitar. Evoking nuances of Patsy Cline and the Old West, this was probably my first intro to the musical genre of alt-country. I was immediately hooked. Over the years that followed, Paula released several additional albums. While the artist/band names may have varied over the years, the one constant is Paula’s brilliant songwriting and trademark vocal style, contributing to the unique and immediately identifiable sound across all of her recordings.” – Soundthread
New Order – Temptation b/w Hurt [Reissue/1982] 12” (WB)
Featuring the full versions of both tracks, this 12” was originally released in May 1982 and comprised New Order’s first self-produced recordings.
Snarky Puppy – Immigrance 2xLP (Ground Up Music)
Released last week on CD – now available on vinyl. Immigrance, the twelfth Snarky Puppy studio album, is all about movement. “The idea here is that everything is fluid, that everything is always moving and that we’re all in a constant state of immigration,” explains Michael League. “Obviously the album’s title is not without political undertones.” Like the Grammy-winning Culcha Vulcha, Immigrance is a studio project, and it features most of the same musicians. And though it shares that project’s ace musicianship and dynamic, kinetic spirit, it is also rawer and moodier than its predecessor. Several of the compositions put a newfound emphasis on delivering simpler, streamlined impact. With Immigrance, Snarky Puppy is essentially practicing what it’s preached all along: People from different places can bring their various strengths and experiences, and that can be beautiful and cohesive. The band itself is a representation of that musical expression.
Various Artists – Africa Airways Five (Brace Brace Boogie 1976-1982) LP (Africa Seven)
10 slices of Afro boogie goodness.