Secretly Distributon

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2016-08-05
Dinosaur Jr.: Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not

Let's face facts - in 2016 it is remarkable that there's a new Dinosuar Jr album to go ape over. After all, the original line-up of the band (J Mascis, Lou Barlow & Murph) only recorded three full albums during their initial run in the 1980s. Everyone was gob-smacked when they reunited in 2005. Even more so when they opted to stay together, as they have for 11 years now (on and off). And with the release of Give a Glimpse Of What Yer Not, this trio redivisus has released more albums in the 21st Century than they did in the 20th. It's enough to make a man take a long, thoughtful slug of maple-flavored bourbon and count some lucky stars.

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2016-08-05
Jad and David Fair: Shake, Cackle And Squall

In 1974 Jad and David Fair teamed up to form a band called Half Japanese. The route was simple, at first. If one pounded on drums the other could squeeze sounds from an electric guitar. There were no other band members to stay in tune with, so there was no particular reason for them to worry about tuning the guitar in a traditional manner or learning traditional chords. They were free from the start to express their music in their own way. They traded off the guitar and drumming rolls. Whichever one sang the words also played the guitar and the other one drummed. For a couple of years they wrote, recorded and performed this way, without the convention of more members. When they did decide to expand they went big. They first thought of recruiting an outside drummer, so that both could play guitars at the same time

In 2014 Jad and David stripped things back to the roots. They went back to recording as a duo. One sang and played guitar, the other one drummed. 40 years had passed, but they slipped right back into the original roles and churned out a number of breath-stealing songs. 40 years later; 40 years better. One pick, two sticks and heart-warming vocals...... That's all they needed; two brothers, still rockin' the same damn deal!

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2016-07-08
Beef Jerk: Tragic

Beef Jerk's debut LP "Tragic" was self-released in a small run by the band in 2015 & has now been re-released for a deservedly wider audience by Trouble In Mind in 2016. The band often get lumped in with the Australian "dolewave" scene - a joke title referring to bands of the jangling pop variety whose lyrics often touch on the more mundane aspects of modern life in Australia. Beef Jerk's principal songwriters' Jack Lee & Mikey Branson certainly write tunes that seem to fit that mold, but upon further investigation & attention, reveal an intelligent, deeper & poetic understanding of working class culture in Australia. "Tragic" is re-released by Trouble In Mind with all-new artwork, and includes a download code.

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2016-07-08
DJ Katapila: Trotro + Bonus Tracks

There's no other producer in West Africa like DJ Katapila. His album Trotro, reissued in March on Awesome Tapes From Africa, demonstrates a wild combination of breakneck rhythms steeped in his native Ga traditional dances. But the spiritual affinity his music share with the minimal sounds of early house and techno have not gone unnoticed by listeners worldwide. Ghana's tireless producer and DJ, aka Ishmael Abbey, singularly consolidates flavors. As new sounds wind their way from West African neighbors into urban Ghana - particularly the hectic and humid metropolis Accra - Katapila has absorbed and analyzed their insidious influence on local dancers and filtered them into his own works. The result is astonishing.

Two of the tracks here haven't been on wax before. This 12" single made specially for DJs and collectors adds to the lore of Katapila's days-long DJ sets and intensely original and (slightly bananas) FruityLoops-crafted minimalist productions. The two previously-unreleased tracks build on Katapila's international oeuvre significantly, painting a broader picture of what the iconoclastic road warrior dj-producer has been doing the past few years: making his own kind of electronic music that's both deeply personal and wildly international.

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2016-06-17
Jerry Paper: Toon Time Raw!

From Los Angeles-based artist Lucas Nathan, Jerry Paper is a highly caricatured, stranger, and less-categorizable representation of his Self - fulfilling his need for a subversive outlet and catharsis, in general. Jerry's songs thematically deal with matters of loneliness, transcendence, war mongering and existential contemplations, all delivered with subtle humor.

The latest full-length from Jerry Paper is Toon Time Raw! sees itself as a a continuation of Nathan's of amoebic mission. Whereas his previous seven albums featured him alone - with his synthesizer, drum machine, and the occasional guitar - this new record features backing instrumentation from Easy Feeling Unlimited, a jazz band who have asked to remain anonymous. Though the synth sax has been traded for real brass, it's still the same Jerry songwriting.

Toon Time Raw! is a metamorphosis of Jerry's style that nonetheless retains his characteristic wit and sentimentality. Musically, the album fills the space somewhere between jazz-rock, sophisti-pop, and psychedelia. Lyrically, the album follows a cast of anthropomorphic animals navigating their cartoon reality, facing "the quotidian aches and pains of being a Being." Can you imagine if Martin Heidegger created Looney Tunes? Jerry already did.

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2016-06-17
John Carpenter: Halloween b/w Escape from New York

Much of the power of the best films by the cult director John Carpenter can be attributed to their use of music - music that, more often than not, was composed and performed by Carpenter himself. What began as a necessity for the low-budget productions by Carpenter became a major part of his aesthetic, and established him as a pioneering figure in genre-film score work as well as electronic music in general. Now, flanked by his son Cody Carpenter and godson Daniel Davies, and with two albums (Lost Themes and Lost Themes II) of non-soundtrack material under his belt, Carpenter has decided to revisit some of his most beloved themes.

This 12" release includes the themes to Halloween and Escape from New York, newly rerecorded by Carpenter and his Lost Themes bandmates. May it serve as a bridge between the Horror Master's legendary, still relevant past and his remarkable present.

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2016-06-17
John Carpenter: Assault on Precinct 13 b/w The Fog

Much of the power of the best films by the cult director John Carpenter can be attributed to their use of music - music that, more often than not, was composed and performed by Carpenter himself. What began as a necessity for the low-budget productions by Carpenter became a major part of his aesthetic, and established him as a pioneering figure in genre-film score work as well as electronic music in general. Now, flanked by his son Cody Carpenter and godson Daniel Davies, and with two albums (Lost Themes and Lost Themes II) of non-soundtrack material under his belt, Carpenter has decided to revisit some of his most beloved themes.

This 12" release includes the themes to Assault on Precinct 13 and The Fog, newly rerecorded by Carpenter and his Lost Themes bandmates. May it serve as a bridge between the Horror Master's legendary, still relevant past and his remarkable present.

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2016-05-20
Adult Jazz: Earrings Off!

Adult Jazz first appeared back in 2013, amid a flurry of praise surrounding their joyous and addictive debut single 'Springful'. Their unanimously acclaimed debut album Gist Is followed in 2014, self-released on their label Spare Thought, with The Sunday Times calling it "utterly riveting" and the NME and The Line Of Best Fit both naming it their album of the week. Gist Is was a startling and mesmerising voyage from start to finish, taking a labyrinthian, fragmented pop-not-pop path, incorporating songs within songs, while maintaining a sense humour through some of its complex themes surrounding religion, gender and humanity.

Following the release of Gist Is, the band went on to play sell out tours around Europe as well as festivals including Latitude, End of The Road, CMJ and Iceland Airways. The latter was attended by none other than Bjork, who was moved to write about Adult Jazz as ones to watch for Art In America Magazine. David Byrne followed suit and asked them to play at last year's Meltdown festival with Young Marble Giants, while further endorsements came from diverse remixes by Oliver Coates, Happa and a very rare re-work from Shabazz Palaces. Since then the band have been busy collaborating, including producing OKAY KAYA's recent single 'Durer' / 'Keep On Pushin'.

Adult Jazz return with a new record 'Earrings Off!' released on May 6 2016 via TriAngle. Comprised of seven tracks, it experiments with sound and song structure as well as its themes and narrative. Harry explains: "The record is about masculinity. Embodiment, lust, idealisation, privilege, legitimacy and limitation. It's about acknowledging the weight, with a view to liberation from its past clout. It's about picking your ideal body, and playing with body language to achieve authenticity. It's about the possibility of authenticity."

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2016-05-20
We Were Promised Jetpacks: These Four Walls (Grey Vinyl)

Opening with a lone guitar line that itself has all the momentum of entire genres crammed into a single set of chords, We Were Promised Jetpacks' These Four Walls signifies a debut album that has the sort of peerlessness and potential to stand as a mainstay and luminary of indie music in the 21st century.

The band's youthful energy (their average age at the time was 21) explodes thunderously as colossal choruses fall unfailingly into place. Every space is filled, tension bristling achingly in Thompson's vocal delivery as the rest of the band crashes around him with a perfect balance of force and harmony. The romanticism and accessibility of a pure pop sensibility is never hidden too deep. Both "Roll Up Your Sleeves" and "Quiet Little Voices" capture this beautifully and immediately. The product of Ken Thomas' (Sigur Ros, Cocteau Twins, David Bowie etc.) studio mastery and Peter Katis' (Frightened Rabbit, The Twilight Sad, The National etc.) mixing, the recording of These Four Walls was almost entirely live, with only minimal overdubs, and the band members' collected passion and intuition is translated into a pure, precise form, at once powerful and delicate.

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2016-05-06
Jaye Bartell: Light Enough

Jaye Bartell's move to Brooklyn, NY in 2013, as well as the work Spalding Gray and Eileen Myles, heavily influence the content presented on his latest record, Light Enough. Bartell spent about a year secluded in his Greenpoint bedroom, piecing together the intricate tunes and gentle melodies that furnish his new record.

The songs on Light Enough encompass the processes of aspiration, pursuit, and fulfillment, if only to find that "[P]eople don't change. They only stand more revealed," as Charles Olson writes in Maximus Poems. In the album opener, "G & Me," Bartell sings of the joyful illusions of escape, "a whole new life" that's recognized, without bitterness as a "whole new lie." "Light Enough" is a declaration of sufficiency, as if to say, Let this be enough then, and if it isn't now, then it never will be: "I'm ready to come down," he sings. The record as a whole takes as a kind of informal edict a line from Eileen Myles' Chelsea Girls: "I have waited all my life for permission. I feel it growing in my breast. A war is storming and it is behind me and I am moving my forces into light."

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2016-05-06
Joanna Brouk: Hearing Music

She was a composer who wrote scores with geometric shapes, a poet who became a pioneer of early electronic music. Joanna Brouk's little-known body of work exists at the nexus between ambient, new age, drone, and classical minimalism - stark in its simplicity, lush in its expanse. Studying under Robert Ashley and Terry Riley at the fabled Mills College Center For Contemporary Music before graduating into the margins of the 70s bay area new music scene, Ms. Brouk blazed her own trail well outside of the musical establishment to create uncompromising electronic and acoustic work of sleek beauty and primal power. Describing herself as less a composer than a channel, she took her cues from the frequencies of the natural world and the talents of collaborators like Maggi Payne and Bill Maraldo. Hearing Music collects for the first time the deepest cuts from her beguiling and rare cassette releases and her archive of previously unreleased recordings.

"I realized that, in many instances, it didn't matter what you said, it mattered how you said it: the tone of the voice, the rhythm, the sound... Because sound has an incredible effect on other people, it can make them dance, put them into trances, it can control emotions by a certain pitch, a certain depth." - Joanna Brouk

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2016-05-06
Julianna Barwick: Will

Julianna Barwick's revelatory third full-length, Will, is a surprising left turn for the Brooklyn experimental artist. Conceived and self-produced over the past year in a variety of locations, the ominous, compelling Will is a departure from 2013's Alex Somers-produced Nepenthe. If that last record conjured images of gentle, thick fog rolling over desolate mountains, then the self-produced Will is a late afternoon thunderstorm, a cathartic collision of sharp and soft textures that sounds looming and restorative all at once.

Will comes off of Barwick's busiest period in her career to date following Nepenthe - a spate of activity that included playing piano for Yoko Ono, performing at the 25th annual Tibet House Benefit Concert alongside such kindred spirits as the Flaming Lips and Philip Glass, the Rosabi EP and an extensive touring schedule that included her first-ever shows in Japan.

Her life over the past several years has largely been lived in transit, and as such the genesis of Will was not beholden to location; Barwick reflects on this cycle of constant motion. "You're constantly adjusting, assimilating, and finding yourself in life-changing situations."

That sense of forward propulsion is largely owed to what Barwick describes as Will's "synthy flava," an ingredient she was inspired to add to her vocal loop-heavy formula after demoing equipment for synth maker Moog. Another new wrinkle Will introduces in Barwick's sound: Mas Ysa's Thomas Arsenault, who lends his richly complex vocals to "Same" and "Someway." The beguiling, beautifully complicated Will is the latest proof yet of Barwick's irresistibly engaging talent.

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2016-05-06
Klaus Johann Grobe: Spagat der Liebe

Klaus Johann Grobe continue to avoid easy classification with "Spagat der Liebe", the follow-up to their mind-scrambling 2013 debut album "Im Sinne der Zeit". The sinister, late-night grooves present of their debut have been tempered a bit, in favor of somewhat sunnier dispositions, calling to mind an ecstatic party somewhere in sunny Ibiza. Tunes like album opener "Ein Guter Tag" & first single "Wo Sind" feel like a warm up, preparing the listener for the four-on-the-floor propulsion of "Rosen des Abschieds" - a song tailor-made to sweat to. Elsewhere the fragile "Heut Abend nur" ("Tonight Only") & the synth-tickled "Ohne Mich" - which is closest the band has come to an honest to goodness pop tune - guides the listener by the hand towards floor fillers like "Geschichten aus erster Hand" and the absolutely DEVASTATING groove of "Liebe am Strand", which is anchored by a rubbery bass groove & a killer flute solo that takes it over the event horizon.

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2016-04-29
Jason Molina: The Townes Van Zandt Covers

At a Songs: Ohia show in the early 00s Jason Molina said to the artist William Schaff that he'd be honored to see himself depicted as one of Schaff's signature, skull-headed creatures. The pair struck up a pen pal affection in the late 90s, bonding over art and music, and frequently traded letters, drawings and historical ephemera. Schaff naturally obliged Molina's request, adding that if Molina fancied the drawing he planned to send, he would be thrilled to receive a recording of the Townes Van Zandt covers Molina had performed that night.

Months later in 2002, a cassette appeared in Schaff's Providence post box along with a polaroid of Molina's new digs, labeled "Sweet Home Chicago." Songs captured on the micrometer tape included vocal-and-guitar covers of "I'll Be Here in the Morning" and "Tower Song," along with early demos of tracks that would soon comprise Molina's magnum opus "The Magnolia Electric Co." The pair of Van Zandt covers included here, recorded at Molina's home on the north side of Chicago and released for the first time for Record Store Day, symbolize not only the creative turn Molina's songwriting had taken, from sparse and jagged indie rock to rootsy folk rock, but also a sonic bond between two friends who loved each other's work very deeply. After learning of Molina's death in 2013, Schaff spent days pouring over his lengthy correspondence with his friend, with Molina's oeuvre on repeat. He created the painting that graces the cover of this release in the process: Apropos of everything, a skull-headed creature in flight.

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2016-04-15
John Carpenter: Lost Themes II

The musical world of Lost Themes II is also a wider one than that of its predecessor. More electric and acoustic guitar help flesh out the songs, still driven by Carpenter's trademark minimal synth. This manifests itself brilliantly in songs like lead single "Distant Dream," which hitches a familiar Carpenterian beat to an expressive drum performance and rides it to a thrilling conclusion. The eerie "Angel’s Asylum" lets an ethereal synth line command the first three-quarters of the song, before turning over the melody to an acoustic guitar, and "Virtual Survivor" delivers a blast of the sci-fi menace that characterized his great scores for films like Assault on Precinct 13 and They Live. Lost Themes II delivers eleven compelling new tracks for which fans can continue to score the movies in their minds.

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2016-04-01
Peter Jeffries & Jono Lonie: At Swim 2 Birds

Peter Jefferies (percussions, piano, tapes etc.) and Jono Lonie (guitar, violin, percussions etc) collaborated to make this album in 1987, originally released on Flying Nun. Noise ambience, minimalism, piano-scapes, experimental moods, open forms... a homemade instrumental sound related with so many fields, seeking for free combinations among several elements and defending both antithesis and co-existence.

Sufjan Stevens: Illinois: Special 10th Anniversary Blue Marvel Edition

This 10th anniversary edition of Sufjan Stevens 2005 Illinois replaces balloons (which themselves replaced Superman in 2005) with rising comic book Chicago-born superhero Blue Marvel. The special colored edition includes "Antimatter Blue" and "Cape White" colored vinyl. Pressing is limited to 10,000 worldwide.

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2016-03-18
Damien Jurado: Visions of Us on the Land

Providing the ideal entry point for neophytes and an intoxicating aural high for the faithful, Damien Jurado's new opus extends the hot streak ignited by 2012's Maraqopa and its 2014 follow-up Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son. Cut once again with label mate and super producer Richard Swift at the latter's National Freedom recording facility in rural Oregon, Visions of Us On The Land completes the tale of an individual who has had to disappear from society in order to discover some universal truths.

Damien Jurado: Visions of Us on the Land (Deluxe Edition)

Providing the ideal entry point for neophytes and an intoxicating aural high for the faithful, Damien Jurado's new opus extends the hot streak ignited by 2012's Maraqopa and its 2014 follow-up Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son. Cut once again with label mate and super producer Richard Swift at the latter's National Freedom recording facility in rural Oregon, Visions of Us On The Land completes the tale of an individual who has had to disappear from society in order to discover some universal truths.

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2016-02-19
Chuck Johnson: Velvet Arc

Chuck Johnson has cemented his reputation as a master of solo guitar with his critically acclaimed solo albums "Crows in the Basilica" (Three Lobed, 2013) and "Blood Moon Boulder" (Scissor Tail, 2015) perfecting his modernist style of American fingerpicking over the course of those two albums. "Velvet Arc" finds Johnson returning to territory he explored in bands like Idyll Swords and Spatula, utilizing an expanded lineup of like-minded musicians to augment his captivating guitar stylings. On "Velvet Arc" Johnson is playing at the top of his game, unafraid to re-evaluate & redefine himself any chance he can get.

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2016-02-19
DJ Katapila: Trotro

DJ Katapila makes Ga traditional music using electronic sounds instead of live percussion to create his own kind of what he calls house music. In the context of Ghana's pop music landscape, Katapila's music is singular. The uptempo, bass-heavy, Roland 808-rooted sounds echo early 1990's Detroit techno and Chicago acid house more than the contemporary hiplife productions blasting across Ghanaian airwaves currently.

However, the structure of Katapila's sound directly descends from Ga musical lineage found around Accra. Neo-traditional dance music forms gome, kpanlogo and gyama are there.

DJ Katapila didn't start producing music until he was 39 years old. Around 1998, began chanting and rapping in Twi and Ga during instrumental breaks of songs he was DJing. He added Yamaha DD11 electronic drum pads and sampler and invented new creations on the fly. Katapila then began experimenting with program beats using Fruity Loops on his laptop.

His music reflects his love for the international dance pop that filtered into Accra's radio waves in the '90s: Inner City's "Big Fun"; C&C Music Factory's "Gonna Make You Sweat"; Crystal Waters' "Gypsy Woman"; even Rick Astley hits, among many others. Katapila mixed international tunes with highlife - J.A. City Boys and AB Crentsil - as well as hiplife, Ghanaian gospel, Jamaican dancehall, soca and regional Francophone hits. This blend helped set the stage for Trotro and the inspired yet minimalist dance music Katapila now creates.

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2016-02-05
Benji Hughes: Songs in the Key of Animals

North Carolina's Benji Hughes fronted a rock band in the nineties. He's written commercial jingle. He's made music for film and television (Walk Hard, Eastbound & Down). He released 2008's A Love Extreme, his excellent double-LP debut record. But these ventures aren't different hats Hughes wears. They're not different paths traveled. This is Hughes playing in different keys.

Now, for his first full-length on Merge, Benji Hughes is playing Songs in the Key of Animals. Recorded over two years mostly at Frisbie studios in New York, the record is 41 minutes of pop-music exploration. The album has a summertime immediacy but an evergreen resonance (see "Longshot"). It's clever but too deep for punchlines (check the excellent back and forth of "Picnic"). It is sincere ("Girls Love Shoes") yet heartbreaking ("Song for Nancy"). It's eccentric but never forced in its strangeness. It's the kind of record that reminds us music can be fun without being empty. It's an album full of peacocks and sharks and zebras and tigers, but ultimately, it's about us. "People are animals," Hughes says, "even if some people don't want to admit it." Songs in the Key of Animals taps into something beyond just intellect or trend or taste. It's all about the feel, the connection between the player, the music, and the listener.

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2016-01-22
Half Japanese: Perfect

Half Japanese is one of the most influential bands in rock history. Founded by brothers Jad & David Fair in 1975, the band is credited with pioneering the DIY and lo-fi movements and influencing everyone from Sonic Youth and Neutral Milk Hotel to Daniel Johnston and Kurt Cobain (who asked the band to open some of the dates on Nirvana's In Utero tour.) Known for dismissing conventional music basics like melody, song structure and chords (and for Jad's famous line "the only chord I know is the one that connects the guitar to the amp"), Half Japanese operated under the premise that rock music should be accessible to anyone who wanted to play.

On January 22nd, Joyful Noise will release Half Japanese's new full-length album, Perfect, a collection of songs that feature otherworldly sounds, chaotic rhythms, and weird time signatures, topped off with Jad's brash vocals and oddball lyrics. Its tracks run the gamut from sweet love songs with overtly sincere lyrics to manic, almost abrasive tracks that seem to end before you can fully wrap your head around them. With Perfect, Half Japanese manages to combine elements of every genre imaginable into one strange, unpredictable, and undeniably-catchy package.