Channeling the feeling of youth on the fringe, Chastity focuses on the earnest connections found amongst the pent up suburban blue-collar. Living in Whitby Ontario, Brandon Williams creates music in a space of urgency, melody and chaos - an artifact of youth culture that bridges isolation and collectivity. Chastity is a protean temperament in punk, in recent history sharing the stage with Priests and Fucked Up, the project carries in the ethic of solidarity, antagonistic to the status quo.
The key influences for Hanz’ upcoming EPs lie outside music - "They are heavily influenced by film. Things like pacing, tension, comic relief, and climactic moments." "Plasty I," his long-overdue new EP, is the first of two recordings that form a kind of mirror shot of each other - you could say one is a frontal shot, while the other a back shot. Both EPs developed in sessions that started right before the re-issue of "Reducer" (on Tri Angle) in 2015. "I was watching a lot of films and realized the ones I appreciated the most were shorter in length - films like "Tetsuo, The Iron Man". Over a year or so of working, I decided to trim compositions down and get to the point in underneath twenty minutes per EP. I named this work "Plasty" due to its constant structural changes, it’s as if the sound is being operated on surgically."He adds - "I like tension and action. I edit my music like a movie, placing pieces of a song inside of other songs. Certain parts / melodies from part one reappear in part two and vice versa. That’s my way of making these EPs compliment each other by making them function like puzzles. The temporary moments on both EPs are for you to get better acquainted with this sonic environment. For example, the track "A Breathing House" is a short vignette on "Plasty I" that is based on the imagery of a house with breathing windows, doors, and floors." Cinematic influences are joined by inspirations from "the Surrealists" and the "cut-up" technique" (of William Burroughs & Brion Gysin). "Plasty" is the sound of an artist evolving and emerging through exploration, it’s the sound of an artist breaking free."
Vision Songs Vol. 1 (1984) is the LARAAJI album like no other, located at the intersection of new age and gospel. It is both his outlier and magnum opus, the feel-good DIY tape of the century.Discovered busking in Washington Square Park by Brian Eno in the late 70s, engagement with the eternal flow has led Laraaji to, seemingly by magic, emerge as the most beloved avatar of the unstoppable new age music revival of recent years.Now Vision Songs rewrites Laraaji's musical history. Vision Songs is literally a revelation -- of a master songwriter whose unbelievably catchy best compositions such as "We Shall Be Lifted", "All Of A Sudden", and "Is This Clear?" belong in any great American songbook.Casio synth jams recorded at spiritual retreat guest rooms and a tiny bedroom on the Upper West Side, lysergically-spectacular anthems for a continually arriving new moment, "channeled," as Laraaji states in the album's eloquent liner notes, "from the sky," previously available in an edition of 100 cassettes sold at yoga retreats and on the streets of New York City, Vision Songs is humbly offered on vinyl, CD, and streaming for the very first time.
"We started playing 'No Fun' after BBC6 Radio asked us to record an Iggy song for his 70th birthday. We added it to our set to work it out for the session and kept playing it every night because everyone loves that song. We worked up a version of 'Jukebox Babe' because our sound engineer Larry got it stuck in his head and was singing it all the time. We figured, we may as well play it if we’re going to hear it all the time.
The Stooges and Iggy, and Suicide/Alan Vega/Martin Rev, are all huge influences on us. But we never want to do faithful covers of great songs, because what's the point. So we tried to push both of the tracks in less obvious directions, incorporating other influences, like California psych and cosmic disco, giving them more of a summer vibe. We knew Sonic Boom was working outside of Lisbon, so we asked him to produce the tracks, recording them in August for maximal summer heat."
-Moon Duo, October 2017
Christchurch, New Zealand's Salad Boys are back with "This Is Glue", the follow up to their critically acclaimed 2015 debut album "Metalmania". Recorded once again by bandleader/guitarist Joe Sampson at his home studio, "This Is Glue's" twelve songs dig deeper, with sharper hooks embedded deep within a more mature musicality. "This Is Glue" hones Sampson's songwriting chops to a razor edge, with many of the album's songs sounding utterly timeless. The riffs and melodies seem all too familiar, perhaps recalling greats that came before them (The Chills, R.E.M., The Bats), but Sampson has a voice all his own. The themes are darker, the lyrics more claustrophobic and yearning; confronting anxiety, mortality, and fear through an abstract lyrical lens. Album opener "Blown Up" kickstarts with motorik drumming that crescendos into a thrilling guitar riff that could crack mountains. "Psych Slasher" crashes forward frenetically awash in phaser before easing into a melodic denouement buoyed by a bubbling synthesizer before a tidal wave of guitar crashes down again.
Following on the success of their two previous albums for FatCat, which were praised on both sides of the pond as "breakneck, open-eared, positivist post-punk canter" (NME) and "direct, smart, catchy, and extremely punk" (Pitchfork) - the band returns to shake some asses with an agenda yet again. The album was produced by Edwyn Collins (Orange Juice) at his studio in Helmsdale, Scotland, who brought his taut post-punk ear to the Shopping’s acclaimed evolution of brittle '70s polti-punk.
If the band's approach was prescient in the past, our current political landscape renders them ever more indicative of the restlessness of youth's current dilemma. The band manages to walk the razor thin line between inspiring euphoric dance and shouldering societal anxiety. They face down gender politics and environmental peril ("Suddenly Gone"), breakdown social media as both a vital emotional mask and conduit of spirit ("Wild Child"). The Official Body stays true to the minimal dance-punk ethos of Shopping’s previous releases, fans of which will undoubtedly find this logical unfolding of their musical approach thoroughly satisfying.
Harder Love is the latest from Strand of Oaks, a collection of Tim Showalter's original recordings for the album Hard Love. Pairing the earliest versions Hard Love tracks with previously-unreleased material (including some songs deemed "too weird" for the official release), Harder Love feels like an alternate dimension. A whole lot stranger and even more raw, it’s like the tripped out, spiritual brother to its predecessor.
"These songs are me uneditedâ€¦I just want people to have them. I’m sick of overthinking and talking too much about the process and the narrative." And it’s Showalter's desire for a wholly unfiltered approach that defines Harder Love, a listening experience that often feels like scrolling through the FM dial, not quite getting the station, and listening through the static anyway. Out January 19th, 2018, limited to 500 copies.
Concrete is a bracing jolt of a song, racing forward on a tightly wound post-punk riff, its call-and-response vocals capturing the turmoil and schizophrenic internal dialogue of the song's subject matter.
"It's about someone who's trapped in a relationship and they're being pummelled into surrender," says singer and lyricist Charlie Steen. "It's not about a physically abusive relationship - more an emotionally and psychologically draining one. The call-and-response vocals [between Steen and bassist Josh Finerty] is the central figure's own internal dialogue. They are dealing with two different things that they don’t want to address."
The band cite The Fall, Country Teasers, Television Personalities and Wire among their biggest influences, and the icily claustrophobic sound of Concrete sets it in a lineage with Magazine, Joy Division.
As a lyricist, Steen is a modern flĂ˘neur, forensically observing the lives of others around him as they unspool and fracture, with Hubert Selby Jr and Irvine Welsh his primary literary influences. "That graphic and harsh style of writing always interested me," he explains. "It's not about the shock factor; it’s about the fact they are talking about these things in such great detail without stripping anything back."
The London five piece have swiftly earned a reputation as one of the most visceral and exhilarating live bands in the UK, their combustible shows being honed through a heavy touring schedule in the UK and across Europe. Cutting their teeth on the squat-punk scene in the Queen’s Head in Brixton in 2015, where they were taken under the wing of Fat White Family, the white heat of their gigs quickly landed them support slots with Slaves and Warpaint. They were also personally invited by Billy Bragg to play the Left Field stage at Glastonbury this year.
Following two singles - the AA single The Lick/Gold Hole and Tasteless on Fnord Communications as well as the digital-only Theresa May-baiting Visa Vulture (described by Steen as "the worst love song ever") - Concrete is the first track to be released as part of their record deal with Dead Oceans.
"We started this band as a joke that went too far," deadpans Steen. "What we do is quite strange and quite weird, but I get to meet a lot of people and I get to hear a lot of things. I am interested in the surrealism of reality."
Heron King Blues is about the letting go. Each song its own ceremony. The earth, sun and moon. Wingbones. Shadow maps and dream logic. Stoplights. Meat Trucks. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Cocaine. Wild eyed robbers. Hunchbacked derelicts. Broken down angels, Lepers. Gay Lithuanians. Cheaters. Sex. Beggars. Rabid dogs. Sirens. Undertows. Reverse magnetism. Cock fighting. Electric shock therapy. Trick birds. Floods. Ancient Hebrew texts. The Illuminati. Haboobs. Bleach. Expired medicine. Severed tongues. Dragons, Spirit telephones. Bees. Modern Architecture. Electric fences. Dianetics. ESP. Snakes. Poltergeist. Haunted spaces. Crop circles. Demons. Feedback loops.
How does one capture lightning in a bottle? You could call me a witness, or better yet an interloper, briefly given the wheel to the mythological ship called Califone. Where others might have attempted to exercise the demons, I chose to let the spirits run wild. We bored under the earth's surface into its core until we reached the belly of the beast. These aren't Songs of Love and Hate. This is no Street Hassle. No Main Street here. This is music that was pulled from the abattoir of Chicago rock, tattered and bruised and barely breathing. This is not music for pussies.- Michael Krassner, August, 2017
Since his 2012 debut as Heathered Pearls, Jakub Alexander has constructed art - music, objects, installations - as a way of revisiting and re-imagining fragments of his past. The Polish-born producer's first album was a slow, oceanic response to the ambient music his mother introduced him to as a kid. His second, 2015's Body Complex, used melodic repetition to render the architectural structures of his daydreams as a teen, as well as the late night drives home with friends in the afterglow of a rave. Detroit, MI 1997 - 2001 resumes reflection on the formative era. The EP's four compositions take their respective names from four distinct locations of Alexander's youth, and sonically suggest the deeper sides of early Detroit techno. The sound that pulled him and countless others from the suburbs to the scene at a young age; music he’s been DJing for the last 20 years and relied on especially when warming up bigger rooms on tour with Tycho.
Honey Harper is both an old and a new project. The songs were written in the past three years but they've been around for much longer. They resist temporality and eschew spatial specificity. Whether they were written on a lake in northern Ontario, a haunted hotel room in Atlanta, or in a car at 5AM in east London makes little difference as they all reside within.
Honey Harper is intrinsically honest, pure, universal country.
In late 2013, Preoccupations - then known as Viet Cong - released a small-run cassette EP only available on tour. Over the course of a year, Matt Flegel and Scott Munro worked in their basement studio with a mess of old and run down equipment to build a set of fresh material. Joined by bandmates Daniel Christiansen and Michael Wallace, the band completed work on an debut cassette. What emerged from the studio was a mixture of sharply-angled rhythm workouts and euphoric '60s garage pop-esque melodies, balanced with a penchant for drone-y, VU-styled downer moments, and became a hard-to-find classic.
In the years 1978 to 1981, Robert Crotty would show up on Loren Connors' doorstep in New Haven, Connecticut with his tiny, almost toy guitar. The two would then spend hours playing acoustic blues, the likes of which was absolutely staggering in its truthfulness."Robert Crotty with Me: Loren’s Collection (1979-1987)" is the first anthology of the late bluesman's work, as selected by Connors, his former playing partner and avant blues master. These are the unheard tapes of Crotty and Connors communing with the spirits of Delta and County Blues through their own revisions of standards and tingle-inducing improvisations. These also some of the Connors' earliest available recordings showing the development of his iconoclast guitar style and vocal moan.Crotty was a New Haven lifer and linchpin of the region's blues scene yet, he never achieved much recognition outside local bars and house parties - until now. The album features never before heard recordings, unseen photos, liner notes by Connors and Crotty's brother plus a bonus CD: the first-time reissue of Crotty's ultra rare sole LP "Robert Crotty Blues" and 7-inch -- both released on Connors' private St. Joan imprint in the late 1980s.
The Greatest Gift is a mixtape of outtakes, remixes and demos from Sufjan's 2015 album Carrie & Lowell. The release is available digitally on October 20th, and translucent yellow vinyl and yellow cassette in November.This collection serves as a companion piece to the Carrie & Lowell Live album released earlier this year (and as an expansion to the original album). In the same way the live show featured re-interpretations of the songs from Carrie & Lowell, the mixtape unveils new remixes by several longstanding collaborators including Roberto C. Lange (aka Helado Negro), Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman), and James McAlister (aka 900X). The album also features Sufjan’s own remix of "Drawn to the Blood."The mixtape includes a few alternate and/or demo versions of songs from the original album. The digital release also contains an iPhone demo of the song "Carrie & Lowell."The mixtape features four previously unreleased new songs, "official" outtakes from Carrie & Lowell (they were recorded at the same time as the album). These include "Wallowa Lake Monster," "The Hidden River of My Life," "City of Roses," and "The Greatest Gift." This new material, in its investigation of love, life, death, God, and the beautiful state of Oregon, serves as a contemplative companion to the original album. We hope you enjoy.
Vancouver three piece The Courtneys find a home for their sophomore effort II, 7000 miles away in New Zealands’'Flying Nun Records.
"The lyrics are often smart, resonant, and at times existential; the musicianship is tight, the hooks are sharp, the songcraft is dynamic" -Pitchfork
"alive with fuzzed-up jangle and artful pop that makes for both good daytime listening and solitary nighttime repeat play" - Rookie
Tom Rogerson's life as an improviser began when, as a toddler, he would clamber up onto his family piano stool and try to emulate his sister's playing. Now releasing his second solo album, a collaboration with Brian Eno, he feels that his musical life has come full circle: "I remember smashing out C Major chords again and again and really loving it. It's the same as what I do now, funnily enough, I've come back to it". After stints playing jazz in New York, a delipadated fenland hotel and in noise rock band Three Trapped Tigers, Rogerson ran into Eno at a gig. Bonding over a love of the countryside of their Suffolk home, the pair entered the studio and worked with The Piano Bar, a device that converted the sound of the piano into midi signals, which were then further manipulated. "It was this classic Eno, almost scientific thing," Rogerson says now. "He always finds a system that can be a source of creativity". The result is an album that uses Eno's magic to pull deep from Rogerson's subconscious to evoke the strange flat landscape of Eastern England, all heathland, military testing sites and estuary mud. "I do totally hear it, I'll listen and think 'oh that sounds like the bells at Woodbridge, that's the birds, the wind rustling in the reeds'," Rogerson says. "I think it permeates my music, and Brian's ambient records. That 'is it organic or is it electronic thing' is so interesting".
Visible Cloaks' Lex proposes a utopian dream language and its accompanying sound, a limitless, delicate space developed by fluid musical techniques and subconscious voices. The six pieces comprising Lex simulate a more peaceful future, their mysteries telling a new tale in an unknown but imaginable melodic language. Visible Cloaks are the Portland-based musicians Spencer Doran and Ryan Carlile. Utilizing software-based composition rooted in randomization, MIDI-translation and chance operations, the duo has established an improbable humanist mode of music from esoteric processes. Following their self-titled debut album, Visible Cloaks offered Reassemblage, an album simultaneously honoring the post-Yellow Magic Orchestra school of avant musical adventure and diverging from it. Veering from the paths cleared by Japanese and Italian electronic pop and ambient artists of the mid-80s / early-90s, Reassemblage established Visible Cloaks' own camp in a forest of deep sound canopied by trees grown from synthetic seeds. The sound represented on Lex is webbed with sculptural arrangements and interpolated by the sounds of alien speech. These strange and serene utterances were created by Doran feeding a chain of multiple dialects and accents through a language translation software to create an auditory poetry of an evolved place and time. Lex features both the final version of this process and earlier, simplified experiments with it ("Keys"). "The idea - building on 'fourth world' or 'global village' type concepts - was to create a projected language that was a fusion of many," Doran explains. "The result was a very disorienting form of non-language that amplifies the lapses in meaning that occur with the inaccuracy of auto-translation software." Permutate Lex, a companion short film to Lex made by Visible Cloaks in collaboration with artist Brenna Murphy (who also created the artwork for Reassemblage and several virtualist videos for the album), is an integral counterpart, both visualizing an aesthetic alive with human form and guiding the sonic experience of the first five pieces: "Wheel," "Frame," "Transient," "Keys," and title track "Lex." "World," the longest piece presented on Lex, is redrawn from a generative composition originally produced for an installation Doran made with Murphy. The original work incorporates LFOs and randomized MIDI-information, and was intended to variate indefinitely. In this 'fixed' version, "World" provides a more conclusive view into the impossible musical environments Visible Cloaks make real. Longer than any track on Reassemblage, "World" expresses the deepening, patient intimations suggested by Lex. Doran says the Lex "attempts to communicate the essence of a world distant enough that it can’t be captured or comprehended from the present, appearing only surreal and inscrutable." The statement reveals a broader musical philosophy fueling this new moment; an awakened voice woven through complex melodic shapes and phrases establishes communication between listeners and the unknown, here presented by Visible Cloaks as sounds coloring the very edge of the envisionable. Visible Cloaks' Lex is available December 8 in LP and digital formats. An exclusive CD version of Lex featuring the audio of Permutate Lex will be available around Visible Cloaks Japanese November / December 2017 tour with Sugai Ken.
How do you best describe Angel Olsen? From the lo-fi, sparse folk-melancholy of her 2010 EP, Strange Cacti, to the electrified, polished rock 'n' roll bursting from 2016's beloved and acclaimed MY WOMAN, Olsen has refused to succumb to a single genre, expectation, or vision. Impossible to pin down, Olsen navigates the world with her remarkable, symphonic voice and a propensity for narrative, her music growing into whatever shape best fits to tell the story. Phases is a collection of Olsen's work culled from the past several years, including a number of never-before-released tracks. "Fly On Your Wall," previously contributed to the Bandcamp-only, anti-Trump fundraiser Our First 100 Days, opens Phases, before seamlessly slipping into "Special," a brand new song from the MY WOMAN recording sessions. Both "How Many Disasters" and "Sans" are first-time listens: home-recorded demos that have never been released, leaning heavily on Olsen's arresting croon and lonesome guitar.The b-sides compilation is both a testament to Olsen's enormous musical range and a tidy compilation of tracks that have previously been elusive in one way or another. Balancing tenacity and tenderness, Phases acts as a deep-dive for longtime fans, as well as a fitting introduction to Olsen's sprawling sonics for the uninitiated.
A sliver of strings, a squeal of feedback, pulsing drums, sheets of steely guitar and sonorous bass, and a rough, declamatory voice - from these primary components, Leeds, UK quintet AUTOBAHN unfurl their second album, The Moral Crossing, which adds more finesse, dynamic color to the commitment and energy shown on their 2014 debut, Dissemble. To capture the new sonic details of the band, lead singer and principal songwriter Craig Johnson, guitarists Michael Pedel and Gavin Cobb, bassist Daniel Sleight and drummer Liam Hilton decided to give up their practice room that doubled as a hardcore/punk venue and build their own studio space (in Holbeck, Leeds' red light district) and record it themselves with Craig leading that charge. It took a year to finish from ripping out the existing contents to finishing the album which was then mixed by Ben Greenberg (Uniform, The Men). Johnson's lyrics on The Moral Crossing combine to form a whole: the theme of a birth, "but that person had no choice in the decision. And then it's about the different outcomes that could happen. Which could be glorious or torturous."
AUTOBAHN have checked their own moral compass, and chosen the hard way, but their music is infused with the joy of exorcising the darkness: to be there, and rise on through.
Conceived in a constant state of limbo, the self titled, 'Compton White' EP tells the story of a childhood lived between many homes. It's creator, 21 year old UK based producer and multi instrumentalist, Lloyd Whittle, is part of a generation of Romany showmen - 'Sand Scratchers' - who settled on the coasts of Great Britain 100 years or so ago. Growing up, the seasonal nature of his family's business put him in a state of constant migration between the Isle of Wight, 'the island' and London 'the mainland'. The EP was written in an attempt to capture this duality. It therefore makes sense that the EP traverses a number of styles and genres; boom bap beats dripping in nostalgia, and jagged grime textures hit hard alongside hazy, warm ambiance and distinctly British, pastoral, almost prog like elements, with the occasional pirate radio static cutting through proceedings. What holds these disparate elements together is the confidence with which Compton throws everything together, which is made all the more impressive when we keep in mind this is his debut release. Aside from the record being a sonically inventive head-rush of a listen, it exudes emotion and feels like an incredibly personal statement. As some have begun to note, 'Compton White' signals the emergence of an artist who is surely one to watch.
Dawn People's "The Star Is Your Future" is a studio collaboration between New York musicians Nick Forte and Peter Negroponte. The pair's mutual disregard for musical categorization results in a genre-bending ride on the nine-track LP, which portrays their diverse backgrounds while maintaining a sense of accessibility, continuity, and purpose.
Both veterans of the underground experimental scene, the duo entered into the project preparing to make a serious racket. In time, their mutual appreciation for breezy 70's jazz fusion, kraut rock, and library funk became apparent, setting the course for the sessions. In the summer of 2016, they started tracking live jams with drums and electronics at the Outlier Inn studio in upstate New York with engineer Josh Druckman. As the tracks took shape, Forte and Druckman arranged the material and Negroponte overdubbed guitar, synthesizer, bass, and percussion. Finally, the tracks were handed to Abe Seiferth for mixing and post production.
The sound of this LP harkens back to a time not too long ago, in the early - mid 90's, with groups like Air, Cornelius, Stereolab, Tortoise, and Cibo Matto. All these artists combined a love of Krautrock & David Axelrod records into a lushly produced jigsaw puzzle of live instrumentation, editing, sampling, and immaculate production. It is a genre that Pitchfork's Eric Harvey recently described as "recombinant pop", which is applied to "adventurous, sample-driven and style-copping music".
"The Star Is Your Future" shifts aesthetically and dramatically between sections and phrases, woozy in the best way and never unfocused. Together, Forte and Negroponte have cobbled together a dazzling scope of sonic elements to create something cohesive and mesmerizing - put on the record and get lost in the haze.
Introduction to Escape-ism by Escape-ism isn't a typical record.
Oh, sure, it looks like one, with a label in the center and mysterious grooves etched on a sleek, black disc that glints in the light with a perverse air of knowing treachery. But this disc is different.
Why? Because it's the first "solo" record by Ian Svenonius - of groups The Make-Up, Chain & the Gang, XYZ, Weird War, etc. - and as such, it's profound, prophetic, perverse, and poetic... It's introverted glitter, violence against the state, obsessive desire; it stomps on convention, shreds constitutions, clobbers pre-conceived notions of what a record can be.
A drum box, a guitar, a cassette player, and a single slobbering, sinful voice singing out... for a way out. Live, it's a new paradigm of performance: raw, gestural, idiotic, sublime, revolutionary, poetic, faux naĂŻf, unknowing, a drainage pipe that leads to who knows where.
Escape-ism's Introduction to Escape-ism isn't just the soundtrack for a late-night drive on a lonely interstate, or a platter played to incite abandon at a pajama party with one's pals. It's also a tunnel to tomorrow. It's a mineshaft to the motherlode.
Exploded View is: Annika Henderson, Martin Thulin, Hugo Quezada and Amon Melgarejo.
After finishing the songs that became their self-titled debut LP for Sacred Bones, Exploded View decided to go back into the studio and record some more. Mixed in with some of the outtakes of the first record, such as "Mirror of the Madman," the songs on Summer Came Early signal a step forward for the band, revealing more clarity and focus than the first, yet retaining a certain messy experimentalism that gives them the freedom they crave.
This is the new Four Tet album on gatefold double vinyl format.
Like a stone eroded by years in the arroyo, Gun Outfit's enveloping "Western expanse" aesthetic of guitar levitations and honky-tonk hexes has become gradually smoother over time. Their fifth LP ranks as their most brutally beautiful statement yet. Drawing from mythologies both classical and postmodern, Out of Range builds a world in which Brueghel the Elder, St. Augustine, and the ancient goddess Cybele ride with John Ford, Samuel Beckett, and Wallace Stevens on a Orphic-Gnostic suicide drive towards the hallucinatory vanishing points of the Southwestern desert, debating the denouement of the decaying American dream.
Dreamers wielding slide guitars. A tradition-warping band, with a punk aesthetic deep at the center and double-guitar desert-rock psychedelia at the surface. - The New York Times
With its echoing grooves, drifting landscapes, and new textures - bits of bluegrass banjo, homemade electric sitars - it has the blue-sky sensibility of a soul-searching road trip. You want to get lost inside of it, to turn it up on a road trip that lasts for weeks. - Pitchfork
Peyote for the ears... Expansive, arid, and dusty. - Uncut