New Releases for May 31, 2019
Apex Manor – Heartbreak City CD/LP+MP3 (Merge)
Requiring less than two weeks of studio time to complete, it’s accurate to say that Apex Manor’s Heartbreak City was captured more than it was recorded due to the “everybody in the same room” live sessions featuring songwriter Ross Flournoy on guitar and vocals, Dan Allaire (The Brian Jonestown Massacre) on drums, and Rob Barbato on bass and production duties. The raucous result is a sonic spectacle that cleverly balances aggressive Dinosaur Jr-esque guitars with dreamy synth work that’s reminiscent of The Cure, all mixed together with spirited instrumental performances, nuanced melodicism, and lyrics that swing wildly between being cryptic and being profound. In short, it’s everything there is to love about early ‘90s pre-commercialized alternative rock but with a refreshingly modern absence of pretense or nostalgia. [Limited red colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Kishi Bashi – Omoiyari CD/LP (Joyful Noise)
Imagine being forced from your home. Imagine being sent to a prison camp with no trial, and no promise of release. Imagine all this happened simply because of the language you speak, the shade of your skin, or the roots of your family tree. For over 120,000 Japanese Americans, this was a reality during World War II. It’s a reality that Kishi Bashi seeks to reckon with on his latest release, Omoiyari. The strong conceptual elements of Omoiyari are driven by Kishi Bashi’s captivating musical score. Stepping away from his past loop-based production model, he embraced a more collaborative approach when recording, and for the first time included contributions from other musicians, such as Mike Savino (aka Tall Tall Trees) on banjo and bass, and Nick Ogawa (aka Takenobu) on cello. Kishi Bashi’s spectacular trademark violin soundscapes are still an essential component of his sound, but the focus of Omoiyari is centered squarely on its songs. [Exclusive indie-store-only colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Pip Blom – Boat CD/LP (Heavenly/PIAS America)
Dutch artist Pip Blom’s debut album Boat is as energetic as it is infectious. Recorded in a shipping container on the banks of the Thames in East London, its ten songs, alluding to the album’s title, ferry you through Pip’s headspace via expertly crafted compositions gelled together through their unassuming depth. There’s the kinetic combination of guitars from Pip herself and brother Tender Blom, the effortlessly captivating vocal range which can be authoritative and intent like in the driving album opener “Daddy Issues”, or soothing and warm as heard in melodic middle track “Bedhead”. Then there are the choruses that seem to stop songs in their tracks and lift them into a different stratosphere. Boat is an open book of Pip Blom, delivered via her undeniable knack for writing hook-laden, three to four-minute songs.
Death Angel – Humanicide CD/2xLP (Nuclear Blast)
Ascending from the depths, the almighty Bay Area thrash metal stalwarts are back with their ninth album, Humanicide. A return to the wolves alongside a survivalist pack mentality are what fuel the powerful themes erupting from these fresh death metal anthems. In a modern capitalist society where selfishness reigns and communal help and survival are things of the past, Death Angel produce sounds and symbols that point out the truths of attempting to exist safely in the present day. The title itself describes a plain in which humans, after generations of violence, regression, and hate, have finally extinguished themselves into dust. The wasteland they left behind is populated only by those creatures that passionately depend on their pack for survival: the wolves. [Limited colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Lee “Scratch” Perry – Rainford CD/LP+MP3 (On-U Sound)
The mighty Upsetter returns with nine brand new tracks recorded with longtime friend and collaborator Adrian Sherwood. Rainford is the culmination of over two years work and recording sessions that span Jamaica, Brazil and the UK. Determined to craft a work of lasting power, Sherwood likens to the album to the work that Rick Rubin did with Johnny Cash on the American Recordings series, a deeply personal work (the album title refers to Lees birth name) and arguably the strongest batch of original material that Perry has released for many years. From the atmospheric field recording and wah-wah guitar of album opener “Cricket On The Moon”, to the gothic cello embellishment on “Let It Rain”, the chopped-and-compressed horn section of “Makumba Rock”, to the layered, carefully arranged backing vocals like a heavenly chorus throughout the record, this is an album with true love, care and attention poured into its every groove. [Limited gold colored vinyl pressing also available.]
The Police – Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out DVD/Blu-ray (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
Everyone Stares is a first-person account of The Police’s ascent from obscurity to worldwide fame as well as an astute and sometimes hilarious commentary on the pop culture of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Culled from over 50 hours of Super 8 movies Copeland shot during the acclaimed trio’s heyday, the film offers an insider’s perspective on touring, the other band members and the adoring fans that puts the audience in the drummer’s seat.
*repeat repeat – Glazed CD/LP (Dangerbird)
On their second album Glazed – produced by Patrick Carney of The Black Keys – *repeat repeat deliver a batch of songs entirely true to the album’s title; sugary and sticky and impossibly shiny, all glistening harmonies and candy-coated hooks. But beneath the gloss lies something more jarring and jagged, a raw vitality generated by the Nashville band’s buzzy rhythms and blistering guitar work. Fortified by the distinct creative alliance of husband-and-wife duo Jared and Kristyn Corder, the result is an album that finds an unlikely power in irrepressible sweetness. “We wanted to make a record about seeing the world through a fresh set of colors.”
Sacred Paws – Run Around The Sun CD/LP+MP3 (Rock Action/Merge)
Sacred Paws have a natural inclination not to take things too seriously. You can hear it all the way through a conversation with its two members, guitarist Rachel Aggs and drummer Eilidh Rodgers, punctuated by rolls of giggles and thoughtful pauses, and you can hear it in the light touch they bring to their music, a jangly blend of indie pop full of fizzing world rhythms and bright horns. Run Around The Sun brims with upbeat reflections on growing up and looking back. Shimmering guitar riffs dance between snappy beats and swooning melodies that will have crowds committing to far more than a simple head-bob. “I think we’d get bored if it was too slow,” Eilidh says. “We’d never want to play something live that people couldn’t dance to. It would feel strange to us. It’s kind of the whole point.” [Limited green colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band – The Traveler CD/LP (Concord)
We are all travelers. And for the last quarter-century, riding shotgun with Kenny Wayne Shepherd has been one of the greatest road-trip in rock ‘n’ roll. Gone is the young Louisiana gunslinger who erupted onto the early-‘90s scene with his burn-it-down guitar solos and gut-punch songcraft. Now 41, Shepherd is even more magnetic, still pushing his Fender Strat where others fear to fret while diving deep into human truths and global concerns with an honesty that only comes with wisdom. The Traveler was recorded in Neptune Valley, Los Angeles, where the production team of Shepherd and Marshall Altman led a crack-squad studio band and sculpted a track listing that can be both savage and soothing.
Sinkane – Dépaysé CD/LP (City Slang)
Sinkane is unique in that he is one of few artists that has a real, tangible stake in our current cultural and political climate, and it shows in the music. For the new album Dépaysé (a French word meaning “to be removed from one’s habitual surroundings”) Ahmed Gallab didn’t just write a few protest songs in the style of the familiar Sinkane sound. Rather, you can feel the difference, the change that has taken place in the art. The falsetto of the earlier records is almost entirely gone in favor of an aggressive, clearly stated tenor. There is almost nothing in the lyrics that is ambiguous or even difficult to understand, and even the music’s poppier moments are confrontational and bombastic. And while the album is reflective of what the band has become musically, a wild raging force to be reckoned with live, it is at its heart about what real frustration feels like and what real change could require.
Gaahls Wyrd – Gastir: Ghosts Invited CD/LP (Season Of Mist)
The infamous Gaahl (Gorgoroth, Wardruna) is a grim and imposing personification of black metal’s iconoclasm. Now he returns with his new band Gaahls Wyrd and their massive debut album, Gastir: Ghosts Invited. Borne out of a project honoring the legacy of his first band Trelldom, Gaahls Wyrd continues on the left-hand path that has defined his music for the past 25 years. As “From the Spear”, “Ghosts Invited” and the epic “Carving The Voices” illustrate, his ghastly vocals are the cutting edge of a full-strength assault of pure Norwegian black metal. Gaahls Wyrd is one of the best new metal bands to arise in the last decade, and Gastir: Ghosts Invited is a towering monument of black metal malevolence and majesty.
Bikini Kill – Pussy Whipped [Reissue/1993] CD/LP (Kill Rock Stars)
Bikini Kill – Reject All American [Reissue/1996] CD/LP (Kill Rock Stars)
Bikini Kill was a feminist punk band that was based in Olympia, WA and Washington, DC, forming in 1990 and breaking up in 1997. They are credited with instigating the Riot Grrrl movement in the early ’90s via their political lyrics, zines, and confrontational live performances.
Darkthrone – Old Star CD/LP (Peaceville)
The longstanding duo of Fenriz and Nocturno Culto return with their first studio album since 2016’s Arctic Thunder. Old Star displays a mastery of the art of the riff, with its six epic tracks taking in the best of the old school of heavy and extreme metal combined with a large dose of doom channeled through the grime of the underground.
Fujiya & Miyagi – Flashback CD/LP+MP3 (Impossible Objects)
After the ambitious three EP trilogy Impossible Objects Of Desire in 2017, Fujiya & Miyagi release their seventh full length album. “Flashback started life as our funk record,” says Fujiya & Miyagi’s David Best. “Yet once we got into the production stage our embryonic funk songs moved closer to electro in feel. Although this is our funkiest album to date and the funk is deliberate.” [Limited red colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Hootie & The Blowfish – Cracked Rear View [Reissue/1994] 2xCD2xCD+DVD/LP (Atlantic)
25th Anniversary edition. The digitally remastered and expanded 2xCD edition is packed with rare recordings including early versions of many of their biggest hits recorded in 1990 and 1991 and only available previously on cassettes sold at their live shows; the band’s five-song 1992 Kootchypop EP; and other unreleased and rare studio tracks. The Deluxe 2xCD+DVD edition adds includes a live recording of the band’s February 3, 1995 concert at Nick’s Fat City in Pittsburgh, PA.
L7 – Scatter The Rats CD/LP (Blackheart)
The first L7 album in 20 years, Scatter The Rats embodies everything that made the band so iconic in the first place – the distortion-heavy riffs and headbanging rhythms, sludgy grooves and indelible melodies. And in their lyrics, L7 achieve a direct transmission of raw feeling, often spiked with biting commentary on the chaos of the world today.
Duff McKagan – Tenderness CD/LP (Hip-O)
Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan’s new solo album is a reflection on his experiences traveling the globe over two and a half years on GNR’s Not In This Lifetime tour.
Ian Noe – Between The Country CD/LP (National Treasury)
Ian Noe draws on the day-to-day life of Eastern Kentucky on his debut album, Between The Country. Recorded in Nashville with unhurried production by Dave Cobb, these 10 original songs introduce a number of complicated characters, diverse in their own downfalls but bound together by Noe’s singular voice.
Team Dresch – Personal Best [Reissue/1995] CD/LP+MP3 (Jealous Butcher)
Team Dresch – Captain My Captain [Reissue/1996] CD/LP+MP3 (Jealous Butcher)
Team Dresch – Choices, Chances, Changes: Singles & Comptracks 1994-2000 CD (Jealous Butcher)
Combining the brazenness of Riot Grrrl with the angst dirge of grunge, Team Dresch didn’t just raise the stakes of queercore: They created two near-perfect albums about longing, freedom, and belonging over guitar riffs as epic and intense as Jody Bleyle and Kaia Wilson’s poetic couplets.
Texas Hippie Coalition – High In The Saddle CD/LP (E1)
Backyard barbeques, barroom brawls, tent revivals, and big rock festivals alike are suitable environments for the Red Dirt Metal of Texas Hippie Coalition, a band with a sound so devilishly electrifying that they had to come up with a new genre to describe it. High in the Saddle is a record full of unashamed, full-throttle ass kicking.
Juan Wauters – La Onda De Juan Pablo LP (Captured Tracks)
Juan Wauters – Introducing Juan Pablo LP (Captured Tracks)
Not long ago, Wauters released La Onda de Juan Pablo, an album that allowed him to reinvent himself and start writing a separate chapter in his exciting career. Now, as a companion and as a prequel, he releases Introducing Juan Pablo. La Onda de Juan Pablo was a travelogue of sorts, with its anthropological efforts, its parade of Latin American musicians and its choice to only feature Wauters’ native tongue. Introducing Juan Pablo, on the other hand, goes back and forth between Spanish and English. It is, in short, more faithful to the inter-culturalism that Wauters experiences daily.
Brainiac – Electro-Shock For President [Reissue/1997] 12” (Touch & Go)
Brainiac began in 1992 as the basement experiments of Dayton, OH natives Tim Taylor (vocals, synth), and Juan Monasterio (bass), who first met playing cello in fifth grade. Upon completing the lineup with Michelle Bodine (guitar) and Tyler Trent (drums), they released two full-lengths and toured vigorously, establishing themselves as the latest peg in Ohio’s diverse musical timeline. Jim O’Rourke produced 1997’s Electroshock For President EP, which found Brainiac continuing their transition into a more electronic rock band. On May 23, 1997, only weeks after the EP’s release, Tim lost his life in a car accident. He was 28. A feature length documentary exploring Brainiac’s music, legacy, and loss, entitled Transmissions After Zero is due this year.
JR JR – Invocations/Conversations 2xLP (Love Is EZ)
New album from the band formally known as Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. [CD edition due June 21.]
Phish – Billy Breathes [Reissue/1996] 2xLP+MP3 (Jemp)
Phish – Slip Stitch And Pass [Reissue/1996] 2xLP+MP3 (Jemp)
Released last year as limited Record Store Day/Black Friday releases, Phish’s sixth studio album (Billy Breathes) and second official live album (Slip Stitch And Pass) are available on 180gm black vinyl.