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2017-03-17
ANOHNI: Paradise EP

The revelry of 2016's Hopelessness helped reinvent Anohni (f/k/a Antony and The Johnsons) in the mold of staunch political agitator. Self-aware and self-flagellating, Anohni speaks of deep concern for our very livelihood, as a species and as a civil society. With critical acclaim from The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker, FADER and many more, Hopelessness came to represent a new and necessary musical language.

Anohni's Paradise EP is the extension, into 2017, of a language of protest and distress. The songs on here - already featured in her arresting live performances - were made during the same sessions as Hopelessness, but rather than trimmings or bonus material, they are, instead, unique touch points for old problems and newly minted geo-political crises writ macabre.

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2017-03-17
Califone: Quicksand / Cradlesnakes (Deluxe Reissue)

In the summer of 2002, Tim Rutili and the rest of Califone had just come out of a busy year that included touring with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot-era Wilco and collaborating with Issac Brock's alter-ego project, Ugly Casanova. With new creative energy unlocked, the band began work on the follow-up to their breakout full-length debut, Roomsound. The result, the much celebrated Quicksand / Cradlesnakes, brims with earned confidence.

Here, Califone began to master the mix of blues, country and technical glitchery so oft-referenced today, all the while creating something timeless. Quicksand / Cradlesnakes is rugged and elegant, dark and optimistic, familiar and entirely new. In a word it is beautiful.

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2017-03-17
Cherry Glazerr: Haxel Princess (Translucent Red Vinyl)

Society would deem a prodigious girl can't be in a progressive rock band while also being in complete control of its creative vision, business plan and social messaging. Society is wrong. Clementine Creevy, a 19 year old teen Queen, dreamed up Cherry Glazerr in her LA bedroom alone and is perhaps more capable of figuring a music career out than anyone who attempts this treacherous life path.

Back in 2014, much-loved Cali imprint Burger Records released Cherry Glazerr's intoxicating debut Haxel Princess. The New York Times called "Grilled Cheese" one of their Top Songs of 2014 alongside heavy hitters such as Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Future. The band toured across the country and abroad, between Clementine's acting responsibilities on the award-winning show Transparent, and gained fans everywhere with their wild lives shows. On their upcoming sophomore album, Apocalipstick, the band worked with "rock'n'roll wizard" Joe Chicarelli (White Stripes, The Shins, The Strokes) and Carlos de la Garza (Bleached, M83, Tegan and Sara). With their help and the band's newfound self-discipline and motivation, Cherry Glazerr has evolved into a wildly complex, hugely guitar heavy, and unapologetically loud machine.

Grails: Black Tar Prophecies Vol's 1, 2, & 3 (Reissue)

At the start of 2005 Grails returned to the US from a month-long European tour. Stepping off the plane, most of the band walked in one direction and the violinist strayed off into another. It ended up being the last time most anyone would see or talk to him. A bandmate for three albums in five years had vanished only to exist in the form of vague rumors. As the varied reports of brief encounters and sightings grew stranger and darker, the band began a series of recordings called Black Tar Prophecies. With newly liberated instrumental roles came new possibilities for the band's sound. In this way the collected Black Tar Prophecies Vols. 1, 2, & 3 ends up being a more idiosyncratic mission statement for future Grails recordings, revealing their fondness for the '60s and '70s experimental artists that saw music as a process of discovery. A parallel was now forming between Grails and pioneering experimental bands like Faust who, rejecting their past, started over from the beginning to build new languages in music.

Remastered for vinyl and reissued for the first time in over a decade, Black Tar Prophecies Vols. 1, 2, & 3 is a massive evolutionary step in the established Grails sound and is shrouded in change and pain. The somewhat clinical studio sound and recording style with which they had established a tremendous following has been replaced with a much more free and conceptual recording style. This method liberated the group in the studio and these recordings feel much more open, heavy, and psychedelic. This sound has always existed within Grails, but it was here that it became their identity.

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2017-03-17
Grails: Take Refuge In Clean Living (Reissue)

Remastered for vinyl and reissued for the first time in nearly a decade, Take Refuge In Clean Living sees Grails pulling back their already wide lens on multiple sonic horizons. Opening with a nod to Syd Barret's Pink Floyd (Piper at the Gates of Dawn) Take Refuge In Clean Living begins with morse code and drops into one of the heaviest slowburn grooves in the Grails canon. Sounding something like Hawkwind and Ravi Shankar scoring Blade Runner, it's lysergic and earthy for Grails in a new way. The rest of the record moves from blissful Eno-inspired ambience, to epic Morricone rock hymns, to an unexpected take on a Ventures tune that returns the listener to the very beginnings of instrumental rock music. The touring incarnation of Grails in 2006 and 2007 included good friend and drummer Ben Nugent, allowing Emil Amos to switch to 3rd guitar for the band's live instrumentation. The DNA of this guitar-heavy line-up allowed for new kinds of arrangements and bigger melodies. In early 2007, the then-5-piece entered Steven Lobdell's (Faust) Audible Alchemy studio to document the new songs written with this augmented ensemble. The band is defined by exploration and they've created a template for themselves where any style or method can be ingested to reap legitimate rewards. Take Refuge In Clean Living rightly suggested that Grails wouldn't run out of ideas.

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2017-03-17
Jacaszek: KWIATY

MichaÅ Jacaszek is an absolute master of melancholy: the Polish composer who's spun dramatic shades of darkness and light into gold for more than a decade now, from the trickle-down electronics of Treny and artful gloom of Glimmer to the vapor-trailed verses of their looming spiritual cousin KWIATY.

KWIATY - which was inspired by An English anthology of metaphysical poetry from the 17th century - is the most vocal-driven material Jacaszek's ever written, melding his stormy melodies with a breakout performance by Hania Malarowska (of the Warsaw-based rock band Hanimal) and the robust supporting roles of Joasia Sobowiec-JamioÅ and Natalia GrzebaÅa, with lyrics adapted from poems from Virgil and Robert Herrick.

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2017-03-17
Pinback: Some Offcell Voices

In the early days of Pinback, they were known mostly as two lauded musicians who spent their spare time away from their primary projects (Three Mile Pilot, Thingy, Heavy Vegetable) to hone their home recording skills while experimenting with ideas, tones, and instrumentation that didn't quite fit into those primary projects. Pinback hadn't yet become their day job; it hadn't yet become a well-oiled 5-piece touring machine; and it had no idea where it was going to go. In retrospect, that earnest curiosity is what makes those early Pinback recordings so resonant and so unique, and what separated them from every indie rock band of this century. Every bit as powerful and expressive as their first two albums, the 1999 EP, Some Voices, and the 2003 EP, Offcell, famously bucked the perception of EPs as outtakes and toss-offs. What were ostensibly minor stopgaps between albums became massive fan favorites and staples of Pinback's live show. Having never been released on viny, it's only fitting that we revisit these poignant recordings - and take the opportunity to painstakingly remaster and repackage them into the full-length album that never was, the aptly named Some Offcell Voices.

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2017-03-17
Public Memory: Veil Of Counsel

Public Memory is a concoction of damaged dubbed-out percussion, unfurling tape-delayed synths and sparse sampling - all strung together by producer Robert Toher's snarling tenor. This music is a kind of exotic crossroads between krautrock, trip hop and coldwave, with traces of Radiohead's Kid A drifting up through its floor.

Veil Of Counsel is the first formal release since the band's March 2016 debut, Wuthering Drum and July's standalone single, "Gate At The End" . With titles "Verdict," "Afterlife" and "Ecco", its three tracks seem to create a chronology that in themselves perhaps mark the end of the Wuthering Drum era, as the band anticipates a second album later in 2017. Effectively, each track showcases a singular world, one distinct from the next. Each are different vestiges of paths not explored during Wuthering Drum, or maybe each is foreshadowing what may be yet to come, though Veil Of Counsel does not feel like a mere construction from the scraps left on its predecessor's cutting-room floor. These are ardent, earnest songs, crafted in colours and rhythms tapped right from the band's source; a kind of alien emotion that walks the tightrope between one part romantic, nostalgic - the other introspective and dystopian.

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2017-03-17
The Creation: Action Painting

Biff! A violin bow scrapes across the strings of a guitar Bang! The hiss of a an aerosol can releases paint on to canvas Pow! As the violin bow pierces the canvas.

Presented here for the first time are the complete Creation studio recordings. All 42 tracks (CD version) have been remastered from the original tapes by Shel Talmy, and given fresh stereo mixes where previously unavailable. New essays by Dean Rudland and Alec Palao tell the band's story and dive into their complete studio sessions. Scores of previously unpublished photographs adorn the accompanying 80 page hard bound book (CD version). We've rounded the whole package out with four tracks by pre-Creation freakbeat quartet the Mark Four, making Action Painting the definitive collection of this legendary UK band.

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2017-03-17
The Creation: Making Time b/w Making Time (instrumental)

Reproduction of The Creation's ripping debut single "Making Time," with a previously unissued instrumental version. Remastered by producer Shel Talmy (The Who, The Kinks, The Easybeats) from the original analog tapes. Housed in a stock Numero sleeve, with UK-style break away spindle.

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2017-03-17
Those Who Walk Away: The Infected Mass

Those Who Walk Away is the new project of Winnipeg-based composer Matthew Patton, best known for his widely acclaimed musical score (and Emmy Award-winning collaboration) Speaking In Tongues with the choreographer Paul Taylor.

The Infected Mass is a haunted and profoundly emotive requiem of minimalist composition that combines ghostly strings and choral voices with musique concrète; melodic passages rise and fall amidst rumbling and sibilant drones sourced from humming and whispering voices and the sound of human blood flow, punctuated by cockpit voice recordings of airplanes in distress. Patton obsessively sculpts the recordings with erasure techniques, seeking liminal and transcendent horizons of sonic materiality through absence, subtraction, silence and collapsing structure.

Patton explains: "There is something very genuine and at the same time very wrong in what I am doing. But this work is disturbingly personal for me. The music is filled with ghosts and artifacts I couldn't erase, a pathology which infects everything, of decayed memories haunted by the ghost of my brother, who was killed in a plane crash."

The Infected Mass is a powerful work of avant-garde sacral music, executed with elegiac beauty and restraint. Co-produced by Paul Corley (Ben Frost, Oneohtrix Point Never).

Ty Segall: Sentimental Goblin EP (Half Blue / Half Yellow Vinyl)

It's tough to keep up with garage rock's wunderkind Ty Segall. Between his steady release schedule of LPs, raucous side projects like Fuzz and GØGGS, and collaborations with fellow songwriters Mikal Cronin and Tim Presley, it's as if a season can't pass without Segall dropping a new record. And that's not even taking his cassettes, splits, and EPs into consideration. Fortunately, Segall's bottomless well of creativity, production savvy, and boundless fascination with the various niches of the rock world makes every new release an occasion to celebrate. Suicide Squeeze Records is proud to offer the latest entry in Ty's impressive canon with the Sentimental Goblin 7". Side A features "Pan", a fuzz-soaked proto-metal jam that links Beatles' pioneering guitar dirge "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" to later lurch classics by Sir Lord Baltimore and Pentagram. In true Segall fashion, he switches gears on side B and conjures the erudite pop appeal of T. Rex and Bowie with the lush glam rocker "Black Magick". Suicide Squeeze Records is proud to release Sentimental Goblin to the world on March 17, 2017. The initial pressing consists of 1000 copies on half blue / half yellow vinyl and includes a download card. In a testament to his restless creativity and tireless work ethic, Ty also provides the artwork for the record.

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2017-03-03
Blanck Mass: World Eater

As humans, we are aware of our inner beast and should therefore be able to control it. We understand our hard-wired primal urges and why they exist in an evolutional sense. We understand the relationship between mind and body. Highly evolved and intelligent, we should be able to recognize these genetic hangovers and control them as a means to act positively and move forward as a compassionate species. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Recent global events have proven this. The human race is consuming itself.

World Eater, the new album by Benjamin John Power's Blanck Mass project, is a reaction to this. There is an underlying violence and anger throughout the record, even though some of these tracks are the closest Power has ever come to writing, in his words, "actual love songs."

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2017-03-03
Bleached: Can You Deal? (White Vinyl)

Los Angeles-based sister duo Jennifer and Jessie Clavin knew things were going to be different for their band Bleached's sophomore LP Welcome The Worms. Not only had they managed to charm world renowned producer Joe Chiccarelli (Morrissey, The Strokes, Elton John) to join them and their bassist Micayla Grace in the studio, but the sisters had been crawling out of their own personal dramas. While emotionally spinning, they dove head first into music.

In the studio, Chiccarelli and co-producer Carlos de la Garza (Paramore, YACHT) helped the band perfect their fervent songs into fearlessly big pop melodies. They drew inspiration from the iconic hits of everyone from Fleetwood Mac to Heart to Roy Ayers. The result is an ambitious rock record with a new found pop refinement that somehow still feels like the Shangri-Las on speed, driven forward in a wind of pot and petals, a wall of guitars in the back seat.

After touring extensively worldwide and finding success with their hit single "Wednesday Night Melody" Bleached is back with four new blazing tracks on their Can You Deal? EP. Fueled by the experiences they've had as women in their calling for music, Can You Deal? takes on the complexities of issues female musicians encounter in an industry dominated by men. With this fire in their bellies, they connected with Alex Newport (Bloc Party, Mars Volta) to produce the EP. With their singularly triumphant mix of sunny melodies, thrashing guitars and lyrics highlighting the darker sides of life, Bleached continues to demand your attention.

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2017-03-03
Gabriella Cohen: Full Closure and No Details

Melbourne artist Gabriella Cohen's first solo full-length is the product of ten days and two microphones. Co-produced alongside close friend, bandmate, and engineer Kate 'Babyshakes' Dillon, the record is the result of what Cohen describes as the "ceremony" of reflecting on a relationship. The album's raw, personal side could be traced back to its place of birth at Dillon's parents' place in the country, or to the Brisbane streets the songs were composed in. The songs are soaked in the kind of aching nostalgia that is tinged with equal measures of sadness and triumph. On "I Don't Feel So Alive", Cohen warns: "This could be the last time we get together", and on one hand it's melancholy, but it's in the spirit of endings that are also beginnings.

There are two sides to Cohen's coin though - for every moment of raw, cutting emotion, there's one of otherworldly ethereality. It's what makes the record feel timeless, which doesn't mean old-fashioned - it means that the vocoder on "Feelin' Fine" and the fuzzy, frenzied drums of "Alien Anthem" don't feel at odds with the dreamy, ambling melodies and old-school ethos at the heart of Cohen's songwriting.

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2017-03-03
Ibibio Sound Machine: Uyai

Ibibio Sound Machine will release Uyai on March 2. Fronted by London-born Nigerian singer Eno Williams, Ibibio Sound Machine is a clash of African and electronic elements inspired in equal measure by the golden era of West African funk, disco, modern post-punk, and electro. The intervening time since their self-titled debut album in 2014 has been spent forging a reputation as a high-energy live act appearing on stages such as Later... with Jools Holland, Glastonbury, Roskilde, and the BBC 6 Music Festival, as well as at iconic venues such as Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London as part of Lauren Laverne's "Wonder Women" series.

Weird and wonderful folk stories, recounted to Eno by her family as a child in her mother's Ibibio tongue, form the creative fabric from which the band's unique musical tapestry is woven. Evocative poetic imagery and empowering messages set against an edgy, Afro-Electro soundscape give the band a unique space within the current wave of modern Afrocentric sounds sweeping across the globe.

Ibibio Sound Machine is Eno Williams (vocals), Alfred Kari Bannerman (guitar), Anselmo Netto (percussion), Jose Joyette (drums), John McKenzie (bass), Tony Hayden (trombone, synth), Scott Baylis (trumpet, synth), and Max Grunhard (saxophone, synth).

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2017-03-03
Lusine: Sensorimotor

From his early releases as Lusine onward, Jeff McIlwain's electronic explorations make up one of the more diverse discographies of the past decade and a half. Effortlessly blurring the lines between techno, electro-pop and experimental composition, the Texas-raised/Seattle-based producer's arrangements are meticulously constructed, but also filled with emotion and soul. With an introspective turn that's hinted at in the record title, Lusine's fourth album for Ghostly sees McIlwain diffusing the pop-leanings of 2013's The Waiting Room with opaque, brush-stroked melodies washing over these new buoyant productions.

Sensorimotor is a visceral album, with gorgeous opener "Canop"” slowly building into an empyrean cloud of music box chimes and an amorphous thrum. The following "Ticking Hands" is just as beguiling yet also more formed, with the processed melancholy vocals of McIlwain and his wife Sarah filtered into a chilling lament that unfolds over the song’s light skitters and Kraftwerkian pulse. Sensorimotor finds other past Lusine collaborators returning as well: Benoit Pioulard's narcotic croon loops into a swirling arpeggio during "Witness," and Vilja Larjosto's sun-kissed vocal melodies are spliced and splayed across the steady pulsing bass and fluorescent synth pads of "Just a Cloud," and later on "Won’t Forget."

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2017-03-03
Marc Barreca: Music Works For Industry

Marc Barreca's Music Works for Industry is a layered assertion. An economic mantra for the mind to spin, like the many loops on this recording, or churn, as gears of some godhead machine. From the pool of playful compositions, a social subtext appears - a somewhat sardonic riposte to the commercial and cynical abuse of music and musicians. Favoring musicians, performance artists, and a bespoke instrument maker over an assembly line, Barreca combines multiple disciplines into a collective, industrious whole for this consumable work.

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2017-03-03
Minus The Bear: VOIDS

On their sixth album VOIDS, Minus the Bear started with a blank slate, and inadvertently found themselves applying the same starting-from-scratch strategies that fueled their initial creative process. Album opener "Last Kiss" immediately establishes the band's renewed fervor. An appropriately dizzying guitar line plunges into a propulsive groove before the chorus unfolds into a multi-tiered pop chorus. From there the album flows into "Give & Take", a tightly wound exercise in syncopation that recalls the celebratory pulse of early Bear classics like "Fine + 2 Pts" while exploring new textures and timbres. "Invisible" is arguably the catchiest song of the band's career, with Jake Snider's vocal melodies and Knudson's imaginative guitar work battling for the strongest hooks. "What About the Boat?" reminds us of the "math-rock" tag that followed the band in their early years, with understated instrumentation disguising an odd-time beat. "Erase," recalls the merging of forlorn indie pop and electronica that the band dabbled with on their early EPs, but demonstrates the Bear's ongoing melodic sophistication and tonal exploration. By the time the band reaches album closer "Lighthouse," they've traversed so much sonic territory that the only appropriate tactic left at their disposal is a climactic crescendo, driven at its peak by Cory Murchy's thunderous bass. Not since Planet of Ice's "Lotus" has the Bear achieved such an epic finale. All in all, it’s an album that reminds us of everything that made us fall in love with Minus the Bear in the first place, and a big part of that appeal is the sense that the band is heading into uncharted territories.

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2017-03-03
Mozart's Sister: Field Of Love (Clear Vinyl)

Mozart's Sister is the solo project of Montreal's Caila Thompson-Hannant. Her new album - Field of Love - is an explosion of glittering, celebratory pop. Intense, yet vulnerable, Field of Love marks a distinct growth in her artistry, and a departure from her critically-acclaimed debut Being (2014) Writing for Field of Love began in early 2015. Reliving her childhood love of 90s dance pop, Caila wanted to capture the spirit of the era's pop song - colourful, cartoonish, goofy, but always earnest. Throughout the writing process, she maintained only one rule: follow through on every musical desire. The critique could happen later, once the fun was finished. Ditching barriers and prejudice, her aim was to make music everyone was invited to. "I wrote Field of Love at a point when I truly did feel I was floating in a field of love. Once I got going the song-writing process happened very easily. As the songs came I realized: oh I really like these. There was a naivety to them and I felt like I could really cut loose when writing".

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2017-03-03
The Besnard Lakes: The Besnard Lakes Are The Divine Wind

Early in 2016, The Besnard Lakes released their finest album to date, the magisterial A Coliseum Complex Museum and toured worldwide throughout the following months. Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas, the couple at the heart of the band, had spent the previous summer on their annual retreat to their namesake Besnard Lake. In a place with so much personal significance, they spent time writing the music that was to form the album. Culling the tracks down to an album proved a difficult task and inevitably there were tracks they loved that just didn't quite fit with the overall album.

So it is with delight that almost exactly a year on, the band are able to release this 12" of two brand new, exclusive tracks written and recorded at the same time as the album. "Laura Lee" is a sibling track to the album's illustrious first single, "The Golden Lion" - spacious reverb-y drums echo around an almost sci-fi vocal line sung by Olga Goreas. Meanwhile, the title track "The Divine Wind" is the Besnard Lakes at their expansive, psychedelic best: a sustained keyboard building through to a bombastic coda, complete with Lasek's unmistakable falsetto.

If you ever needed a reminder of just how unique, beautiful and far-reaching this band is, then The Besnard Lakes Are the Divine Wind delivers. They’ll be on tour on the west coast of North America in December and worldwide throughout 2017.

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2017-03-03
The Books: The Lemon Of Pink (reissue)

Following up their hugely acclaimed debut, Thought For Food, The Lemon of Pink was the album that cemented the Books as a pioneering musical force. It would become their biggest-selling album (a feat usurped only by the recently released The Way Out), and still stands as perhaps the most beloved album in the Books’ unfailingly brilliant catalog. As with the recently reissued Thought For Food, The Lemon of Pink is repackaged with dazzling new artwork and expanded toinclude lyrics for every song for the first time ever. Carefully and thoughtfully remastered from the original mixes by Zammuto at his new studio outside his home in Vermont, The Lemon of Pinknow boasts a warmth and clarity that surprisingly reveals an increased harmonic depth.

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2017-03-03
Vaguess: Guilt Ring

For all those idiots who said that a President Trump would mean better punk rock in this god-forsaken world, then heress Exhibit A: Guilt Ring, the second helping of acid tongued punk rock smashers from Vaguess. Across 14 songs that rarely break the minute and half marker, Vinny Vaguess wields Roky Erickson-esque demonized guitar solos as deftly as his sharp eye for sordid details. On his follow-up to 2015's compilation The Bodhi Collection, Vinny successfully peels back the sun dappled, "surf's up" lies of the California tourism board to reveal scenes of domestic discord that would look just right as plot points in Repo Man.

Standing among the wreckage of his generation's swan dive into mediocrity and malaise, Vinny welds a short story writer's punchy, pulpy plot lines to airtight 1970s American punk sensibilities, tapping into the anxieties and fears that spurred bands like The Adolescents and The Descendents. These songs sure are bleak: they're about guys getting their girlfriends pregnant and thinking it's some kind of accomplishment (the title track), kombucha-swilling yuppie scum herd mentality ("Sober Cult"), pornography and Internet addiction ("Private Windows") and TWO songs about how Life, that glorious beautiful miracle, is really just a little too long, thanks ("Life’s Long Enough", "Less 2 Live For"). All of it played to the hilt with heaping doses of black humor, sharp hooks (this is the first Vaguess album to feature Miles Lutrell, of Useless Eaters and Scraper, on drums) and zinger riffs. Vaguess is back!

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2017-03-03
WHY?: Moh Lhean

The final words sung on the sixth album by WHY? are an apt place to begin: "Hold on, what's going on?" Because while there's much familiar about the oddly named Moh Lhean - mastermind Yoni Wolf's sour-sweet croon, his deadpan poet's drawl and ear for stunningly fluid psych-pop-folk-whatever arrangement - a great deal has changed in the four years that've passed since 2012's Mumps, Etc., an LP that honed the band's orchestral precision and self-deprecating swagger to a fine point. It's significant that this is the first fully home-recorded WHY? album since the project's 2003 debut. Made mostly in Wolf's studio and co-produced by his brother Josiah, the result is obsessive, of course, but also intimate, and flush with warmth and looseness. But the biggest transformation is a bit subtler. After years of eying his world, in part, with a cynical squint, Wolf here learns a new mode. While Moh Lhean never stoops to outright optimism, it chronicles our hero finding peace in the unknowing, trading the wry smirk for a holy shrug, and looking past corporeal pain for something more cosmic and, rest assured, equally weird.

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2017-02-17
Grails: Chalice Hymnal

Rather than pick up where they left off, Grails take the sky-high riff-based heaviness of their earlier albums and distill it into a nuanced, widescreen opus. The perennial influences of mid-20th century Western film scores, obscure library music, and psychedelic krautrock are indelibly imprinted, but Chalice Hymnal exudes an eerie patience in unfurling the many layers of its subtle details. Produced by the band over the past five years, Chalice Hymnal bears some of the European psych and experimental hip-hop production techniques of founding members Alex Hall and Emil Amos' other group, Lilacs & Champagne. Amos' meditative metal band, Om, and longtime singer-songwriter project, Holy Sons, also naturally find their way into the Chalice cauldron. Rounding out their leaner line-up, cofounder Zak Riles (also of experimental kraut-psych trio, Watter) layers synths and programming into an electronic-prog hybrid that pushes Grails further into the deep end, displaying a profound resonance, both musically and emotionally. No one else sounds like Grails, and on Chalice Hymnal they sound more like themselves than ever before.

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2017-02-17
Jens Lekman: Life Will See You Now

Jens Lekman describes his new record, Life Will See You Now, playfully, but also honestly, as "a midlife-crisis disco album; it's an existentialist record, about seeing the consequences of your choices". It's a typical Lekman album in several ways: sly humour is key to its heartfelt nature; it inverts pop's writing norm by making songs with sad concerns sound happy and songs with a happy subject sound sad; and it plays with notions of identity and the self. But, as the title suggests, it also represents a significant move forward, as if across a threshold. It's the more expansive, upbeat sound of a revitalised Lekman, who is just one of many characters in his new stories about the magic and messiness of different kinds of relationships.