New Releases for May 24, 2019
Amyl and The Sniffers – Amyl and The Sniffers CD/LP (ATO)
Melbourne, Australia’s Amyl and The Sniffers’ self-titled debut album was produced by Ross Orton (Arctic Monkeys, M.I.A) and comes with 11 blistering tracks boasting ‘70s throwback anthemic guitars and breakneck drumming with human firecracker Amy Taylor leading the 29-minute auditory assault. The Fader says that, “the Australian band recall the heady days of punk: spiky, wild, provocative, and a little dangerous with a fierce live reputation.”
Justin Townes Earle – The Saint Of Lost Causes CD/2xLP (New West)
The Saint Of Lost Causes is the eighth album from American roots troubadour, Justin Townes Earle. Earle’s latest album finds a songwriter and artist who is unflinching and unequivocal in his truth. When writing this collection, Earle focused on a different America – the disenfranchised and the downtrodden, the oppressed and the oppressors, the hopeful and the hopeless. There’s the drugstore-cowboy-turned-cop-killer praying for forgiveness (“Appalachian Nightmare”) and the common Michiganders persevering through economic and industrial devastation (“Flint City Shake It”); the stuck mother dreaming of a better life on the right side of the California tracks (“Over Alameda”) and the Cuban man in New York City weighed down by a world of regret (“Ahi Esta Mi Nina”); the “used up” soul desperate to get to New Orleans (“Ain’t Got No Money”) and the “sons of bitches” in West Virginia poisoning the land and sea (“Don’t Drink The Water”). These are individuals and communities in every corner of the country, struggling through the ordinary – and sometimes extraordinary – circumstances of everyday life. [Double-LP vinyl edition features and etched D-Side.]
Fleshgod Apocalypse – Veleno CD/2xLP (Nuclear Blast)
Italian grandmasters of orchestral death metal Fleshgod Apocalypse find spontaneity rewarding on their new album, Veleno. Over the past four records – including previous album, King (2016) – the Francesco Paoli-led trio have planned every step, discussed every note, and ensured every salutation to Paganini, Bach, and Mozart was met with an equally brutal death metal equivalent. On Veleno, which is Italian for “Venom”, Fleshgod Apocalypse distanced themselves from distraction, unboxed the songwriting process, and let the inspiration flow freely. “Veleno is an interesting creature. It tries to accomplish a lot while at the same time making valiant attempts to avoid the usual Fleshgod Apocalypse tropes. To say that that the crew manning the good ship Fleshgod have developed a comfort zone in their branch of opera-infused death metal would be to put it politely, and it seems on Veleno that the group are aware of that, and tried to move outside those boundaries as much as possible.” – No Clean Singing [Limited colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Flying Lotus – Flamagra CD/2xLP+MP3 (Warp)
Enter Flamagra – a work that sweeps up every quantum advance and creative leap of the last dozen years of Flying Lotus’ career and takes them even further; the Warp release encompasses hip-hop, funk, soul, jazz, global dance music, tribal poly-rhythms, IDM, the L.A. Beat scene, but it soars above a specific vortex whose coordinates can’t be accurately charted. Other than to say that it is a Flying Lotus record, perhaps the definitive one. An astral afro-futurist masterpiece of deep soul, cosmic dust, and startling originality. He’s aided by a dream cast of collaborators: Anderson.Paak, George Clinton, Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon, Tierra Whack, Denzel Curry, Ishmael Butler of Shabazz Palaces, Toro y Moi, and his telepathic kinsman, Thundercat. David Lynch even pops up for an eerie narration wherein he somberly warns that, “Fire is coming.” But they all naturally bend to the magnetic warp of Lotus’ spells – a transfixing hex unto themselves. [Deluxe vinyl edition features a pop-up gatefold jacket and mirriboard inner sleeves.]
Cate Le Bon – Reward CD/LP (Mexican Summer)
Be it on her more minimalist, acoustic-leaning 2009 debut album Me Oh My or critically acclaimed, liquid-riffed 2013 LP Mug Museum as well as 2016’s Crab Day, Cate Le Bon’s solo work – and indeed also her production work, such as that carried out on recent Deerhunter album Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? (2019) – has always resisted pigeonholing, walking the tightrope between krautrock aloofness and heartbreaking tenderness; deadpan served with a twinkle in the eye, a flick of the fringe and a lick of the Telecaster. The multifaceted nature of Le Bon’s art – its ability to take on multiple meanings and hold motivations which are not immediately obvious – is evident right down to the album’s very name, Reward. “Cate Le Bon writes songs in the absurdist tradition, as both as an escape and a mirror to the world. Her music is elliptical and sparse, using familiar sounds—chiming electric guitar, saxophone—to create her own alien landscape. ‘Daylight Matters’, the swooning first single from her new album Reward, isn’t so much a reinvention as it is a grand unveiling.” – Pitchfork
L’Eclair – Sauropoda CD/LP (Beyond Beyond Is Beyond)
L’Eclair’s Sauropoda LP was recorded in an undisclosed location in the mountains over the course of two days in October 2018. Captured live in the studio, the music is mega-organic and free with few overdubs. Think of it as a 2am YouTube rabbit-hole find, or that weird-looking Soviet prog funk private press that you knew you should’ve bought the one time you came across it in the bins. In fact, Sauropoda actually sounds more like a L’Eclair live show…blended with carefully crafted dance floor grooves, last-minute studio fantasies, and fully-faded late night jams. L’Eclair is all about the blending of things, and those things never sound the same twice; endlessly morphing like the human machine itself.
Morrissey – California Son CD/LP (BMG)
The Britpop icon releases his new covers album, California Son. The 12-track collection traverses the sonic landscape of the ‘60s and ‘70s, covering untouchable luminaries like Joni Mitchell, Dionne Warwick, and Bob Dylan while also delving into more obscure musicians of the time, such as early gay icon Jobriath and political activist Phil Ochs. Paying equal tribute to the marginalized stars as he does household names – and taking on these covers with modern alt-rock royalty guests including Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day), Ed Droste (Grizzly Bear), Sameer Gadhia (Young The Giant), and LP – California Son serves as a bridge between space, time, and rock music’s past, present, and future. In line with a career marked by environmental advocacy and a groundbreaking soundscape of jangly alt-rock melancholia, we see Morrissey playing to his strengths while pushing his sonic limits.
Sebadoh – Act Surprised CD/LP (Dangerbird)
Indie-rock pioneers Sebadoh return with their first new studio album in more than six years. Act Surprised continues the soulful collaboration that’s defined the band since 1991’s Sebadoh III and 1994’s Bakesale. The new batch of songs reaffirms how vital the creative partnership is between members Lou Barlow, Jason Loewenstein, and Bob D’Amico. When Barlow recently moved back to his home state of Massachusetts following a series of personal changes, he pressed the restart button and, in time, felt the incentive to reach out to Jason and Bob again to reunite and start work on a new album.
Mavis Staples – We Get By CD/LP+MP3 (ANTI-)
A clarion call to love, faith, justice, brotherhood and joy lies at the heart of We Get By, Mavis Staples’ spectacular twelfth studio album and first full-length collaboration with multi-Grammy Award-winner Ben Harper. Backed by her longtime touring band, Staples breathes extraordinary life into Harper’s compositions on the record, delivering roof-raising performances with both a youthful vigor and a commanding maturity. The arrangements here are spare but weighty, matched by Harper’s suitably lean and thoughtful production, and Staples seizes the opportunity to showcase her remarkable and continued evolution as an artist, one still growing and exploring more than half a century into her storied career.
The Waterboys – Where The Action Is CD/LP (Cooking Vinyl)
Following the acclaim of 2017’s Out Of All This Blue, The Waterboys return with the new album Where The Action Is. Its title inspired by Robert Parker’s 1960s mod/northern soul classic, Where The Action Is is a 10-song, genre-defying album, testament to the enduring talents of the band’s founder and frontman Mike Scott. One of the finest British songwriters of the past four decades, his songs have been covered and recorded by artists as far and wide as Prince, Rod Stewart, Tom Jones, Steve Earle, and Ellie Goulding (who had a number three hit with “How Long Will I Love You”).
Black Mountain – Destroyer CD/LP (Jagjaguwar)
Destroyer is structured around that first time behind the wheel of a hot rod, inspired by the crucial nexus of the early-to-mid- ‘80s Los Angeles when a war between punk and hair metal was waged.
Com Truise – Persuasion System CD/LP+MP3 (Ghostly Int’l)
Released last week on vinyl – now available on CD. For nearly a decade the story of Com Truise has relied on science fiction and abstract fact. Seth Haley’s singular style of melodic beat music subsists as hazy machinist nostalgia, a mainframe downloaded cosmology. Yet with each release, alongside sonic refinement, comes an increasingly visible vapor trail to Haley’s own ontology.
Billy Ray Cyrus – The SnakeDoctor Circus CD (Broken Bow)
The first new studio album in nearly three years from country artist.
Earth – Full Upon Her Burning Lips CD/LP (Sargent House)
With their latest album, Full Upon Her Burning Lips, Earth has stripped away the layers and auxiliary instrumentation that embellished some of their previous records and have deconstructed their dynamic to the core duo of Dylan Carlson on guitar and bass and Adrienne Davies on drums and percussion.
Joan As Police Woman – Joanthology CD (PIAS America)
Joanthology spans the first fifteen years of Joan’s remarkable musical output and includes new, rare and unreleased material alongside more than thirty of her most loved songs.
Neckbeard Deathcamp – So Much For The Tolerant Left CD/LP (Prosthetic)
Recorded with the same contempt for clean production and music theory as white nationalism is for basement dwelling losers, So Much For The Tolerant Left is 40 minutes of relentless hostility featuring guest vocals from Denis Boardman of Doom and Karl Willets of Bolt Thrower and Memorium.
Lee Ranaldo/Jim Jarmusch/Marc Urselli – Lee Ranaldo/Jim Jarmusch/Marc Urselli CD/LP (Trost)
New York based producer and engineer Marc Urselli had the idea to bring people together who had never met before and let that meeting of minds create beautiful soundscapes. Film director and musician Jim Jarmusch, Sonic Youth co-founder and guitarist Lee Ranaldo shared space with versatile drummer Balázs Pándi (projects with Keiji Haino, Venetian Snares, Merzbow) for a night session at Urselli’s EastSide Sound studio in downtown New York. These are the unfiltered results.
Sting – My Songs CD (A&M)
My Songs is an album comprised of the 17-time Grammy Award winner’s most celebrated hits from his unparalleled career, each reshaped and reimagined for 2019. [CD is available in regular and deluxe editions. Deluxe adds four bonus tracks. Vinyl edition due June 7.]
Stray Cats – 40 CD/LP (Surfdog)
The first new studio album 26 years from the rockabilly trio comprised of Brian Setzer (guitar, vocals), Lee Rocker (bass, vocals) and Slim Jim Phantom (drums, vocals).
Thee Oh Sees – Hounds Of Foggy Notion LP (Castleface)
Thee Hounds Of Foggy Notion/Live Performances Sans Stages And Whatnots With Thee Oh Sees (2008), is a film Thee Oh Sees made just over a decade ago, and this record is the soundtrack. [CD edition due May 31.]