After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine's social and political institutions faced massive change, including an increasingly corrupt government and crippled infrastructure. A number of the nation's youth wound up homeless and addicted to a lethal cocktail of injected cold medicine and alcohol. Steve Hoover's documentary Almost Holy follows a pastor named Gennadiy Mokhnenko, who saves street kids, at times by forcible abduction, and brings them to his Pilgrim Republic rehabilitation center - the largest organization of its kind in the former Soviet Union. The film's depiction of a country in the grip of poverty, addiction, and warfare is made even more powerful by its captivating electronic score by award-winning composer Atticus Ross, his brother Leopold Ross, and Bobby Krlic (The Haxan Cloak).
Over the weekend of August 21-22, 2010, not long after Damien Jurado and Richard Swift first collaborated to produce Damien's 2010 record, Saint Bartlett, the pair hunkered down with a 4-track recorder and one Coles 4038 ribbon microphone to record a collection of cover songs that run the gamut from John Denver to Chubby Checker to Kraftwerk.
The timing was perfect. On Other People's Songs Vol 1, we can see the scaffolding of what would become a creative turning point for the pair - later seen with the release of Damien Jurado's Maraqopa, the first record in his Maraqopa trilogy - less than 2 years later. The opening drum hits of "Be Not So Fearful", the falsetto vocals of "Sweetness", and the Spaghetti-Western swing of "Radioactivity" are, by now, hallmarks of the Jurado/Swift sound, but Other People's Songs Vol 1 is a transitional fossil, a marking of the pair's collaborative evolution.
Collection of self-recorded covers of songs by Frankie Cosmo's friends.
Joseph Washington Jr.'s 1983 holiday LP puts a soulful, funky, suave ribbon on nine frosty Christmas cuts. In that season of music's traditional descent into threadbare schmaltz, Merry Christmas to You restores joy and wonder to a blizzard of bland. Under this tree, find undiscovered classics for our cynical age: the buoyant "Jesus’ Birthday," the hot and bothered soul of "Merry Christmas," the ridiculously catchy wallet-opener "Shopping." The world of records produces just a precious few yuletide keepers: Spector's A Christmas Gift for You; Fahey's The New Possibility; Guaraldi's indelible Charlie Brown Christmas. Down another nog and file Joseph Washington Jr. comfortably next to those.
Italian trio Soviet Soviet take a broad view of the post-punk genre, ignoring timestamps and geographic restrictions to assemble a specimen uniquely theirs. Endless, Soviet Soviet's proper sophomore album, is the result of a very long, well thought out process marked by experimentation and innovation yet still tied to their instinctive style of interpreting and performing music. The band explains, "It started to take shape during soundchecks while on tour, as well as last year when we took a break from touring. It is certainly a continuum of Fate, which we could consider a starting point since every journey calls for us to identify a point from which to start or start over again. That is exactly what we are looking at." Endless is an intense story, one that is marked by purity and which talks of the past. It is an introspective, personal learning experience - a moment of reflection as well as a metamorphosis and a new beginning in life. It’s a tunnel - an experience through which to improve yourself and your surroundings. In many aspects, it's more complex than their previous work in terms of how the songs are arranged."
Every side of every 45 from Syl Johnson's formative years on the Federal Label. Recorded between 1959 and 1962, My Gift is an exemplary collection of early R&B that blends Chicago blues with fiery soul. Cut from the original master tapes, these early recordings are presented pristine fidelity.
Culling together records from a host of short-lived indie labels, Do You Know What Soul Is? finds Syl Johnson at his most industrious. Heard here developing his chops as a writer/producer, Mr. Johnson knows what soul is.
The self-proclaimed "most sampled artist ever," Syl finally gets his due on this 4CD box covering his most productive period, 1959 through 1972. Collected for the first time are all of Syl's Federal, Twinight, Zachron, Special Agent, Cha Cha, and TMP-Ting 45s, plus period cuts from his Japan-only LP Goodie Goodie Good Times, and a murderer's grip of previously unreleased and little-heard out-takes. Lovingly remastered from the original source tapes, these 81 songs never sounded sharper, clearer, or funkier. And historian Bill Dahl's comprehensive track-by-track annotations bring deep-research backstory to every one. Our handsomely detailed and artfully crafted 40 page, 12" x 12" booklet also features a 13,000-word biography, scores of unpublished photos, a must-read index covering the history of every Syl-sampling artist (paid-up or otherwise), and the most complete and accurate discography you're likely to find in this universe.
The late 1990s was a fertile time in the American electronic underground. At the convergence of hip-hop, electronic, and soul music, these artists sought to carve out their own lane. In September 2001, New Orleans' Telefon Tel Aviv, high school friends Joshua Eustis and the late Charles Cooper, joined the conversation with their debut album, Fahrenheit Fair Enough, released by Hefty Records. A labour of love, Fahrenheit was an attempt by the pair "to contribute something meaningful" Eustis says today, "something definitely American, and kinda southern too." Living in New Orleans in the late 1990s, Eustis and Cooper were in the thrall of two musical orbits: black America -- New Orleans' bounce, Detroit's techno, Chicago's house -- and British electronica -- Autechre, Aphex Twin, Jega. Recorded over the course of a year in Eustis' childhood bedroom in the Riverbend neighborhood of New Orleans, Fahrenheit mapped out a potential for American electronic music in a time of hope.
On the fifteenth anniversary of its release, Ghostly International is reissuing Fahrenheit Fair Enough with a vinyl edition and bonus digital material.
Two lovers entwined in grief, having a party.It's a cool party,There's streamers thereMichel Gaubert is thereHate rock minimalism In a loving gaze"I'm always teetering on the edge"No drug metaphorsNo call backsFrankie has been so depressedWilliam Eggleston sends you a birthday cardIts 2016 all your idols are dead.Buy a new record.This one is 9 tracks 33rpm
"There is something that is underrepresented in Christmas music, and that's just how uncomfortable the holidays can be for a lot of folks," David Bazan says about his collection of holiday songs Dark Sacred Night. Back in 2002, David Dickenson of Suicide Squeeze Records approached Bazan and asked if he would be interested in doing a 7" of Christmas carols. The result was the "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day" b/w "Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel" single released under Bazan's Pedro the Lion moniker. He followed it up with "The First Noel" 7" in 2003 and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" in 2005. Even after retiring the Pedro the Lion project, Bazan continued his run of Yuletide singles for Suicide Squeeze under his own name. These limited edition 7"s are all long out of print, but David Bazan and Suicide Squeeze have chosen ten of the fourteen tracks, remixed and remastered the material, and collected them on Dark Sacred Night.
Exploded View is a new collaborative project helmed by the UK-born, Berlin-based political-journalist-turned-musician Anika (Invada Records / Stones Throw). After playing a string of 2014 solo shows in Mexico with a backing lineup composed of local producers Martin Thulin, Hugo Quezada and Amon Melgarejo, Anika and her new bandmates discovered a chemistry that they simply had to capture on tape.
Turns out the very sound of falling in love is just as abstract, subjective and loopy as the concept itself. Yoko Ono and John Lennon are two of history's greatest lovers, and Two Virgins is the document of the pair falling in love in real time. The album is a curious and amazing suite recorded over one weekend in Spring 1968 at Lennon's Kenwood home: Distant conversations; comedic role playing and footsteps; laughter, birdcalls and plunking piano lines; silly songs and space; tape delay stretching shrieks, bass rumbles and moans to the moon and back again.
The now-iconic cover (featuring Ono and Lennon standing nude together) notwithstanding, nothing about Two Virgins is safe. It would be a risky move today for artists in the larger, pop-culture conversation just as it was a risky move in 1969. But this is an uncomfortably private, two-person dialogue about - and celebration of - experimentation, inspiration and play. And these two souls bravely let us look through the keyhole.
Life with the Lions is the sound of Ono and Lennon validating their love as something impenetrable and timeless. It's when we, the listener, begin to fully understand that the scope of their recording efforts was much more than a recording collaboration, and something closer to a performative documentary, a declaration of "Our life and our love is our art - every nitty, gritty part of it."
Things happen fast these days. So fast in the case of Kllo that the Melbourne duo barely had a Facebook page or a proper song before a wave of interest began to build around their breakthrough EP Cusp. What a telling record title; in the year since its release, cousins Simon Lam and Chloe Kaul have played sold-out shows and festival slots throughout Australia, racked up millions of plays on Spotify, and landed on several Artists to Watch lists. Now they're about to chase steely pop singles like "False Calls" and "Make Me Wonder" with the next logical step: Well Worn, an EP that enhances Kllo's high-gloss hooks even further.
Apocalypse Fetish is a 5 song extended play release from, me, Lou Barlow. The cover features a newborn child peering warily over the edge of hermother's sling into 2016, the year that conspiracy theorists became experts and anger went [even more] mainstream. The song "Apocalypse Fetish"proposes that, perhaps, many of us have been disappointed that the end of the world has taken too long to come after we've spent most of our livespredicting it. And, perhaps, we've decided to take matters in our own hands and "bring it on" because, if it doesn't come soon, then didn't we all seemfoolish talking about it all. the. time.
There are 4 other songs on the EP, none of which are political in nature but are similarly "fired up". The melodic inspirations for the record camefrom my day in the back stairways and basement of the enormous Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Dinosaur Jr. were there opening forPrimus in August 2015). I was alone and playing my ukulele in the cavernous spaces and tiled showers there. The unique reverberations brought thebeginnings of these songs. The hall is reputed to be haunted and I'm not so sure it isn't.
I wasn't able to fully draw the songs out until I recorded, once again, with Justin Pizzoferrato at Sonelab in Easthampton Massachusetts (May 2016). Irecorded my last full length record (Brace The Wave) there in 2015. I'm happy to consider this EP a follow up to that album though, this time, everysong is played on ukulele (strung with heavy strings and tuned much lower than a standard uke). Actually, it sounds nothing like a ukulele. For all intents and purposes it is a 4-string acoustic guitar utilizing the strumming styles and lower toned soundscapes I've been pursuing since my first released ukulele recording: "Poledo" (on Dinosaur Jr's 2nd LP You're Living All Over Me). Yes, I've been doing this for a long time. I'd be proud to have Apocalypse Fetish be my final record. Check it out.
A Hand Through the Cellar Door is, in many ways, Temple's most straightforward collection of song-storying tunes to date. There are tales of dysfunctional, broken homes and of dysfunctional, broken people. "Birds of Late December," with its fluttering, nimble fingerpicking, paints an exacting but impressionistic portrait of divorce through the eyes of an exceptionally wistful child. In both "Maryanne Was Quiet" and "The Case of Louis Warren" we follow two characters whose lives unravel in very different ways, though their central question is the same: After you shed all the things you think make you who you are, what is left? Temple is creating small, confident stories with a massive scope. Yes, while the tales Temple weaves are bleak, the aura of hope never quite fades from the picture. He turns the tragedies of human folly into a celebration of our eccentricities.
After spending the past three years cutting acclaimed records for such esteemed imprints as Innervisions, Hotflush, and Acid Test, Recondite has rejoined the Ghostly International fold with an EP that builds on the robust field recordings and pale, moonlit melodies of the Berlin producer's breakthrough LP Hinterland. Named after the foreboding family of birds that includes ravens and crows, Corvus is a chilling listen inspired by everything from The Revenant's Ryuichi Sakamoto soundtrack to Max Frisch's heady novel Homo Faber. After all - the Rottal-Inn native insists there's a light at the end of this particular tunnel. Or as he puts it, "Melancholic doesn't necessarily mean dark. Music can be happy and moody."
No description available right now...
Sleigh Bells wasted no time after getting off the ground in 2009, releasing three blistering records in four years. Ready for a break from the road, they took their time on their fourth LP, Jessica Rabbit, writing and finishing the record several times only to realize that they wanted to push themselves and the music further. As the three years elapsed, Derek went looking for the abyss, found it, and crawled out in one peace. Alexis, for her part, found something like heaven in nature and healthy living. The result of their combined experiences is an intense and vulnerable record that's highly evolved and completely uncategorizable, a major statement from a band wholly committed to advancing their dynamic, uncompromising vision. Jessica Rabbit is the first release on the band's own record label, Torn Clean.
On November 11, we welcome Sneaks to Merge Records with the reissue of her debut album Gymnastics, which Impose called one of its favorite records of 2015. Check out "True Killer" now, and pre-order the album on CD or LP in the Merge store or digitally via iTunes.
Sneaks songs are the mesmerizing post-punk incantations of Washington, DC's Eva Moolchan. Bass and drum machine underpin Moolchan's compelling vocals, and the music straddles several decades of serious minimalist fun to create her own unique niche of rock. "The songs came together pretty fast, very tongue-in-cheek," writes Moolchan of Gymnastics. "I was playing with how we use language and twisting the words of mundane slogans, ads, and repetitive symbols I was seeing while attending school." Sneaks is currently recording her sophomore album to be released on Merge in early 2017. While her music and lyrics are rooted in punk, Sneaks' live shows often provide the joy and release of a dance party. See the band on tour this fall, with more dates to be announced soon.
Spiked Punch is a new project from 2/3 of Black Dice, Eric Copeland & Aaron Warren.
After the third member Bjorn Copeland relocated to Los Angeles in 2015, Aaron & Eric worked on a Black Dice remix commission for Awesome Tapes From Africa, for artist Aby Ngana Diop. Through this creative process, they hit upon a new sort of inspiration for making music and Spiked Punch was born.
These two tracks were born out of long form improvisations between Eric & Aaron. It is most definitely music born of their environment in Brooklyn - the lo-fi bodega beats seeping out of the dozens of delis, trial and error with early sample chopping, watching YouTube tutorials for help, the eerie comfort of late nite local tv, and a sweltering Brooklyn summer cooled and fueled by Tecate. The duo also emphasizes the music was recorded on an iBook from 2004.
The music Spiked Punch have created is wildly percussive and zig zags around tweaked vocal stabs and dubbed out bass lines. When pressed for more personal descriptors for the music the band responded with this: "Coconut bongos, pineapple kick drums, stolen bike vocals, peanut chew bass-lines".
The Features, perhaps more than anybody, were the band that provided the stylistic delineation between punk and post-punk in the Auckland, New Zealand scene.
The band formed in late 1979, led by Jed Town (guitar) and James Pinker (drums). Both were members of The Superettes with Paul Kean (later The Bats), and when Kean left to join Toy Love they pulled in Karel Van Bergen (vocals, ex-Primmers), and Chris Orange (bass, ex-Terrorways) to complete the line-up.
Features are repeatedly named as a primary influence by many acts that followed them, breaking down, as they did, the barriers that had been constructed by the first and second waves of New Zealand punk.
The Men are Rich Samis, Kevin Faulkner, Nick Chiericozzi and Mark Perro. We created Devil Music in our practice space over a weekend in January.
We wanted to give ourselves something enjoyable to listen to with this record... Something that had our personality in it, not just another record to get reviewed, to get into festivals, to get on tv, to participate in some sort of endless, winless game. This isn't a campaign.
Jordan Lovelace (mem. of Pampers) engineered and recorded Devil Music. Jonathan Schenke (mem. of Eaters and engineer of 100's of records) mastered the sessions on a Neve console in New York. These fine gentlemen knew we were after a raw four track sound. They used our strokes on the tape to get us where we wanted to go. Every record sounds a bit different than you think it will.
Some newer things came along for the ride like cassette cut ups, damaged vocal cords from years of yelling, a saxophone and of course the ten new songs. Some old ideas are still in the mix: the tracks were all done live, including the vocals, the packaging/artwork was designed and produced by us.
Uniform formed in New York City in 2013 when old friends Ben Greenberg (ex-The Men, Hubble, and the producer/engineer responsible for much of the Sacred Bones catalog) and Michael Berdan (ex-Drunkdriver, York Factory Complaint) reconnected and realized that they had evolved to a similar place musically. Wanting as intimate an experience as possible, they decided to keep the project a two-man show, eschewing a live rhythm section for programmed drums and low-end synths, augmented with Greenberg playing guitar and Berdan handling vocals. The collaboration quickly yielded a raw 12", followed by a full-length, Perfect World. The Ghosthouse 12" is the first Uniform release on Sacred Bones Records, and it will be followed by a full-length in early 2017.
Ghosthouse shares a basic configuration with the previous Uniform releases, but the tools have evolved far beyond their initial drum machine and bass synth setup. These songs have grown from a broader palette of sounds - shots, explosions, implosions, impacts, ricochets, collapse; the sounds of conflict, war, and destruction that we witness every day. The result is the most sonically confrontational Uniform material to date, and Berdan's lyrics, largely inspired by his lifelong battle with insomnia and depression, match them for relentlessness.
Everybody's still talking about the good ol' days! A rough and rugged collection of Numero Group classics that have inspired swarms of killer beats. A head nod to the sounds of Shaolin, the thirteen chambers of Shanghai'd Soul have led a generation of lyrical chefs and production geniuses to compose some of their most ominous hip-hop. Bound by heavy drums, moody chords, and haunting melodies, Gods and Earths alike will appreciate the raw funk and smoother-than-a-Lexus soul that come together like Voltron on this special compilation.
After the initial blast of punk rock bands made their impression on the youth of the late 1970s, subgenres quickly emerged. Some preferred the faster, louder aggression of hardcore, others the angular danceability of post-punk, some the raw and more personal home-made sound of DIY, and so on. Looking back among and between these genres we now recognize various blends of punk, post-punk, goth rock, industrial, and DIY as "deathrock." In 2014, Sacred Bones Records launched the series Killed By Deathrock to document an entire scene of bands that haven't yet received proper recognition. This is the second volume of that series.
Ruins is Wolf People's new album, and its over-riding theme is that of nature reclaiming the land. The transcendence of life over politics, plants over people. It asks: where are we going and what comes next? If culture is history's narration, then Wolf People are custodians and conduits; electrified sages, if you will. Through them runs a time-line of a nation rising from bloody glory to existentialist confusion. Yet within Ruins, their album proper, lies a spirit of hope too, it is a reminder that society is no match for the mighty power of music and nature working in perfect symbiosis. Wolf People are time travellers, their tools mythology, history, hauntology, big riffs, bigger beats, electricity. Recorded in Devon, Isle Of Wight and London, Ruins is their most direct and instinctive work yet, simultaneously reaching back into a fecund past to tell us who we are today, while harnessing the power of modern technology and ideas to ponder unknown futures. Lyrically Ruins imagines how the planet might appear when society has finally fallen to dust and ash, and the creeping vines and nettles have reclaimed the land. It is the product of letting go of conceit, contrivance and, indeed, a career plan. Influences upon Ruins come in all shapes, size, contours and hues: the discovery of proto Sabbath/Zeppelin Scottish band Iron Claw, the lesser known landscapes of rural Bedfordshire, backstage Taekwondo stretches, Scandinavian psychedelia, fleeting rural epiphanies, Dungen, Trees, Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, a group holiday on a remote Finnish island, and Jagjaguwar flipping out after seeing them play in Bloomington, Indiana and insisting it was time they made their Back In Black...
This long-overdue vinyl reissue of Yoko Ono's seminal, but massively under-appreciated Plastic Ono Band has all the makings of a classic rock nostalgia trip: Ono, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Klaus Voorman and free-jazz legend Ornette Coleman. All the pieces are here to stir up a dangerous amount of nostalgia. But once the needle drops, the record achieves something exactly perpendicular to nostalgia.
Released in 1971, the album not only influenced the approach of other musicians for decades, it also sounds absolutely modern 44 years out, eternally fresh despite the forward march of time. Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band not only predicted the intersection of the avant-garde and rock that would take place in the second half of that decade, the album would sound right at home at where that intersection is happening today.