Privately pressed to LP in 1978 under the name "J. Jasmine" and made especially for the Ann Arbor Film Festival, with artistic collaboration from the festival's founder and Once Group artist, George Manupelli, My New Music is the debut album by Jacqueline Humbert and David Rosenboom. Featuring a cast of Mills College personalities like David Behrman and Sam Ashley on backup vocal duties, this song cycle is at every turn boundary pushing and intent upon gender-busting, yet still hilarious, sweet, and genuine, all delivered in a post-genre, art-song, cabaret musical style that happens to boast some serious avant-garde chops, courtesy of Rosenboom. If it weren't so spot on, you'd swear it was a guilty pleasure. As J. Jasmine writes, My New Music is a collection of personal stories and private desires, exposed, articulated, performed and dedicated to the hope that one person's fantasies can contribute to another person's freedom. Get lost in J. Jasmine's world for a little long while.
Joey Dosik didn't set out to make a conceptual EP about basketball. It was his first love before music, and some of his earliest memories are of attending Lakers games, but he'd never thought to look to the sport for inspiration. But when Joey blew out his knee during his regular pick-up game and had to undergo reconstructive ACL surgery, he found himself confined to the couch, watching a lot of television and waiting to resume his normal life. He gravitated toward basketball, and when he started recording again, he found it seeping into his writing. The result is Game Winner, a brisk, emotive collection of songs loosely inspired by the language and lore of the game. Joey is an inveterate collaborator who has worked extensively with the likes of Vulfpeck, Nikka Costa and Miguel Atwood Ferguson, and who is a vital part of an LA scene that updates vintage sounds into a more contemporary context. But Game Winner was a different project with a different process; the lion's share of the EP was recorded solo in Joey's home studio. The common thread in the EP's six songs - as well as the four bonus tracks - is musicality and song craft: the two pillars of Joey's sound. "The most important thing is the song," explains Joey. "Songwriting won't go out of style." It's that approach, one that thinks beyond style, that gives the EP's title track its magic. Minimal and almost languid, "Game Winner" has a confidence that’s hard to place in time, an ease that meets a buzzer-beater just as well as it meets a Sunday morning. Basketball may have been Joey's first love, but the sport is also the perfect metaphor for where he's ended up musically, always striving to stay timely and timeless, to bring deep, foundational elements in sync with innovation and imagination.
'Tape Recorder' is the second album from Nashville's Lionlimb, the project of Stewart Bronaugh and Joshua Jaeger. The record is a collection of six tracks written by Bronaugh after their second European tour in the fall of 2016, primarily on piano in Columbia University practice rooms. After having collaborated with a friend who played cello, the Bronaugh and Jaeger began expanding into scoring music for violins and bass clarinet. Having been the first time he scored music by hand, Bronaugh looked to 70's minimalist composers for research. After recording the entire album live, the resulting six tracks of 'Tape Recorder' are reflective, soulful, and based around the themes of love, loss, heartache, friends, and family. Bronaugh recalls an incident that inspired the album's title track, 'Tape Recorder,' from his youth when a friend of his collapsed during gym class and went into a 2 week-long coma due to a heart condition. His teacher told everyone to make cassette tapes of themselves singing songs to help him wake up. This ended up being one of the experiences that inspired Bronaugh to continue writing music as a means of connecting, healing, and having hope. On the flip side, songs like 'Clover' on the album also deal with some of the struggles that come with writing music, such as experiencing self-doubt, isolation, obsession, and competition. The minimal, bare-bones live recording of the album and collaborative orchestration of the music give 'Tape Recorder' a deeply personal and tangible beauty.
Few Traces surveys Mark Renner's scarcely released and unreleased material recorded from 1982 to 1990, embracing and evoking wordless translations of the individual's musical experience, and the poetic expression of being here. Something of a rust-belt Brian Eno, Few Traces places the Baltimore artist's ambient explorations, composed as soundtracks to guide his visual work, alongside his guitar-centric, vocal driven songs traversing terrains similar to Cocteau Twins or The Durutti Column.
Martin Newell spent the '80s being compared to Robyn Hitchcock, XTC, and other lesser-known '60s-influenced pop maestros, so it was poetic that XTC's Andy Partridge would produce this Newell solo album. The result isn't a stretch from Martin's days as The Cleaners from Venus or The Brotherhood of Lizards. The production is cleaner than on Newell's home recordings, but the songs are as melodic and adventurous as ever. If one's naturally attracted to the charms of "We'll Build a House" (which sounds like what Guided by Voices' Robert Pollard has spent his career emulating), then there's plenty more from where this came from. Newell is devoutly English, writing his songs much in the way Ray Davies sculpted his observations of British life, past and present, with The Kinks. There's a Davies-like shuffle to "Tribute to the Greatest Living Englishman," a barrage of guitars to "She Rings the Changes," and an "all the lonely people" feel to "A Street Called Prospect" and "The Green-Gold Girl of Summer." The only drawback to being seduced by Mr. Newell? It's a full-time job to get up to speed!
Olden Yolk is a New York-based group led by songwriters, vocalists, and multi-instrumentalists Shane Butler (Quilt) and Caity Shaffer whose penchant for dystopian folk, abstract poeticism, and motorik rhythms have enveloped them in a sound uniquely of-the-moment yet simultaneously time-tested. The band's debut ruminates on questions surrounding love, self-doubt, and locating autonomy amidst burgeoning unrest. Wrought with hazy melancholy and halcyon joy, these songs are ecstatic odes to the life of the city; to the subway platforms, kiosks, and monuments which enliven and encompass our collectivity, elevating into an urban-psychedelia.
At its heart, Hundred Acres - the third full-length from Wisconsin singer/songwriter S. Carey - finds him grounded and confident, writing the strongest songs of his career. More direct than ever, there is a wellspring of confidence in this new batch of songs that allow for ideas to remain uncomplicated while laying bare the intricacies of life.Written in between touring schedules and the growth of his family, Carey produced Hundred Acres at April Base in Fall Creek, WI with support from his regular crew and contributions from the likes of Rob Moose (yMusic), Casey Foubert (Sufjan Stevens) and Sophie Payten (Gordi). He employed a smaller, more focused scale of instrumentation than on his previous albums while writing mostly on guitar instead of his go-to piano. Using more traditional song structures instead of the Steve Reich-ian repetitions of his past work, a new balance is struck that creates something unique. The result is a collection of poetic yet clear-eyed songs that both stand brightly on their own and tightly weave together to create a powerful album.
The Low Anthem would beckon you into the salty sea. Formed in 2007 by Ben Knox Miller and Jeff Prystowsky, The Low Anthem grew from DIY ethos to semiaccidental success. Having originally self-released "What The Crow Brings" and "Oh My God, Charlie Darwin" , the group signed with Nonesuch, toured the world, and were reluctantly lumped in with the so-called "folk revival". But night after night of performing their early material was not ultimately where they wanted to land: "The moment was losing its mystery. We were scared of becoming robots." In the winter of 2012, the group returned to their hometown of Providence, RI, with an eye toward re-exploring their musical understanding. In a newly restored vaudeville theater-studio, The Low Anthem found their direction. The band began recording in increasingly experimental and meticulous ways, resulting in the complexly experimental Eyeland . The album's release was tragically cut short after four shows due to a crippling car accident, leaving the band hospitalized and the tour cancelled. Through this journey, The Low Anthem have boiled down their musical ideals and found their true voice. The Salt Doll Went ToMeasure The Depth Of The Sea is 12 short songs, at once fragile, nuanced, honest, and delicately purposeful.
Her is the second album by Melbourne lush pop quartet Totally Mild. Following on from their acclaimed 2015 debut Down Time, Her is a shining jewel of an album. Elizabeth Mitchell's voice soars and swoops in shiver-inducing ways, while her songs address desires and dreams with affecting frankness. "Her is a record of failure and victory, new desire, stale romance, queer domesticity and what comes when the party is over," says Mitchell. First single Today Tonight is kinetic, dynamic guitar pop at its finest, while Lucky Stars showcases Mitchell's love for piano balladry, and From One Another is an eulogy for a toxic relationship given the most graceful pop setting. Totally Mild toured UK/Europe in 2015 and the US in 2017, playing SXSW and a string of LA/NYC shows. In Australia they have shared stages with the likes of Real Estate, Kurt Vile, Best Coast, DIIV and The Chills.Across their powerful, delicate, luminous second album Her, Totally Mild move through light and shade with silky finesse."A shining talisman for the heartbroken" - Pitchfork"Engorged, engaged, empowered bedroom sulk music" - The Guardian