There must be something in the water of Edmonton, Canada that's gifting it's songwriters with the ability to write sweet and snug pop melodies. After putting in time with fellow Edmontonian Mac DeMarco in Makeout Videotape, Alex packed away his drums to perfect his song writing. Moving back to his mother's house, he was able to write and record his first solo effort in 2013 with the "Time" EP.
Alex Calder's sophmore release with Captured Tracks is as familiar as it is foreign - brining together both infectious melodies and texture to create tidy, acid-induced pop sequences. "Strange Dreams" takes a confident step forward from Calder's previous release and brings the focus and ambition of Alex's songwriting to all aspects of his music. The record delivers, while still maintaining the youthful humor that has become his trademark.
Tight rhythms tie down whirling guitars, sparkling textures bounce off of timeless melodies, and ambition beyond humble means are realized in Alex Calder's latest album. Ghostly vibes find their way into his songs that possess a certain sense of urgency, as is unmistakably evident on his lead single, title track "Strange Dreams".
Axxa/Abraxas is the music and art project of Ben Asbury, a 23 year old from outside Atlanta, GA. His experiences as a record collector and music obsessive from a very young age are easily evident in his debut release. Going full circle from being introduced to 60's pop as a kid, through his foray into punk rock at an early age, into post-rock and Elephant Six indie, right back into 60's Psychedelia, Ben has honed his influences (Neil Young, Television Personalities), into a cohesive blend to adapt his own take on psych-influenced art-pop.The label enlisted Jarvis Taveniere (Woods) to record and produce what would become Axxa/Abraxas debut. It's the artistic culmination of prodigious young songwriter putting it all together in an erudite way despite his tendency to write lyrics which are "...generally directed at myself, often criticizing my shortcomings..." No matter how he criticizes himself, one need only listen to the record to see he's quite confident in his music.
Three psychos that came to be through fate by way of necessity, B Boys offer up to the world their sonic manifesto, No Worry No Mind. A relief from the mania, an expression of duality, an extension of Dada. Abstraction takes a triangular form: effortless guitar melodies, undulating bass lines, deep swirling grooves. Interlocking vocals bob and weave over top, resounding their mantras. You’ve got something growing out your neck, my friend. Open your self to the frequencies, and let the vibrations illuminate your being.
Dada - conceived first as a dream, then manifested into reality as instruments and voices recorded onto magnetic tape - is the newest sonic artifact by the group known as B Boys. Over the course of the album, the 13 songs explore connections between language, self-awareness, introspection and unconventional serenity. A nod to the collective unconscious by way of personal reflection. Experiential wisdom filtered through a tin of mints and a fresh pair of chinos.
Evolution is a tricky word when discussing current trends in music, especially when it comes to sophomore albums. The critically lauded BLOUSE, the 2011 debut from the Portland band of the same name was a lush, melodic and dreamy affair spiked with whoozy synths and delicate vocals. For Imperium, their 2nd LP for Captured Tracks, Blouse have shed the synths, done away with drum machines and wrote and recorded with “instruments that don’t plug into the wall,” as enforced by bandmember/producer Jacob Portrait.
Sonically speaking, that comes through on the LP immediately. Perhaps bolstered by the ongoing construction occurring next to the studio while the record was being made, the sense of force and urgency propelling the record is evident. Patrick Adams’ driving bass and plodding drums in the title track usher in this new guitar-friendlier Blouse; more direct and clearer of vision, but still mysterious and beautiful.
"Bona Dish were a scratchy pop punk group from Hertfordshire villages, brought together by their love of the Velvets, Supremes and each other. They were cool, handsome and gorgeous. The songs are simple but at the same time complex. The two girls, two boy’s line-up added a tension that was both sexual and musically fragile. You felt it might all fall apart any second but it rarely did.
After their "cassette in a tube" ploy worked for John Peel play, the band released a cassette on InPhaze and disbanded not long after. Collected here is a rediscovered gem showcasing the zest and spontaneity that gripped the UK DiY scene of the time, standing up to their contemporaries like Television Personalities, The Homosexuals and Marine Girls.
This release marks the first vinyl and cd release for BonaDish, their complete recorded output compiled and newly mastered."
Jamil Rashad, a/k/a Boulevards, is the embodiment of funk. Taking queues from pioneers such as Prince, Rick James, and Earth Wind & Fire, Boulevards seamlessly delivers cheeky, party-themed jams that range from raw and risque to soulful on his debut LP Groove!
Boulevards evokes a spirit from a time that combined intricate production with a focus on rhythm and getting people back on the dance floor. With Groove!, Boulevards does just that. On tracks like "Patience," Rashad melds pop with vintage hip-hop elements -- think Eddie Murphy meets The Sugarhill Gang -- and it just works. "Cold Call" introduces a slow hypnotic groove before a symphony of synths, creating a rhythmic cadence that stays with you even after the party is over. However, to give Groove! merit solely based on nostalgia would be a mistake. Groove! is not just a rework of a classic sound - it is an intelligent collection, an evolution to reign in a new era of funk - heard via the disco pulses on tracks like "Weekend Love" and "Up On Your Love," nodding to industry giants like Pharrell and Breakbot.
By late May of 1989, Cleaners from Venus man Martin Newell and Peter Nice a/k/a Nelson finished their first album, Lizardland, and handed it over to upstart indie Deltic Records. Though there is a fair amount of Cleaners from Venus DNA in the mix due to the charms of the definitely lo-fi recording methods, the music of the Brotherhood of Lizards has a sharp sound all its own. And, the story doesn't stop there.
Towards the end of 1989, label head Andy McQueen, who knew Newell's aversion to touring, asked if there was any possibility that the duo might go on a promotional tour. Newell replied, "Only by bicycle." Soon after, whilst studying a map of England and its regional radio stations, it struck Newell that a bicycle tour might be a real possibility. Thus, amazingly, in early October, the two set off on bicycles, instruments on backs, tiny amps in front carriers, for a 600-mile busking tour of the entire southern half of England. The media became unexpectedly interested. More through sheer eccentricity than eco-activism, at the turn of a turbulent decade, the Lizards had unwittingly hitched a ride on a brand new zeitgeist. They were called "The First Eco Rock Band" and the tour became the subject of a number of news items.
As 1990 rolled around, however, there was one big problem, for Newell at least: while the Lizards cycled and busked, an EMI employee saw Nelson on TV and thought he would be great replacement bass player for New Model Army. Nelson attended and passed the New Model Army audition and stayed with that band for well over two decades, although it spelled the end of the Brotherhood of Lizards. In spring of 1990, almost two years after they had begun, it was all over. They travelled over a thousand miles on bikes, busked their way around England and made all of the music contained here in this collection.
Hot on the heels of Captured Tracks' reissue of Capital Punishment's 1982 album Roadkill, the quartet of Kriss Roebling, Ben Stiller, Peter Zusi, and Peter Swann present This Is Captial Punishment - an EP of new material recorded almost 35 years after the group disbanded.
Recorded at the Garden in Brooklyn, This Is Capital Punishment came about when Captured Tracks boss Mike Sniper asked Roebling for bonus material for the Roadkill reissue. The original members got back together and did a remake of their track "Confusion." A blistering, motorik take on the original, the new version reimagines "Confusion" as a much louder and sinister track. It was so loved by the label - and the band had so much fun recording it - that they decided to record new material.
Capital Punishment burn through four other tracks that all explore the darker edges of rock 'n' roll. From the strangely sultry "Drumming Out Time Inside Me" and "Grey And Illuminate" to the band’s favorite "Hot Love," Capital Punishment may not be teenage punks anymore, but they certainly haven’t lost their edge. Pressed on translucent blue vinyl, This Is Capital Punishment is limited to 1500 copies worldwide.
If I were to tell you that a band of NYC teenagers who met in 1979 decided to form a band influenced by Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, Eno, Chrome and released a privately pressed record, it would be enough to pique your interest. When you find out the band consisted of a future Supreme Court Justice for Arizona, a Professor of Slavic Studies, a Musician/Documentarian whose family built the Brooklyn Bridge, and an A-list world-famous actor the story goes from being about another rare, privately pressed recording that's been re-discovered, into something that's pretty incredible.
Captured Tracks is thrilled to announce the reissue of Capital Punishment's 1982 sole LP Roadkill. For a band of high school weirdos who actually got their shit together enough to make a completely uncommercial album with no means to sell it shows a lot of determination, persistence and perhaps insanity. But it's always those kinds of weirdos who go on to do great things - just ask Judge Peter Swann, Professor Peter Zusi, Kriss Roebling and Ben Stiller.
As we age, a growing and ever changing identity is something we never shake. The distance between the magic and awe of a child's mind to the mentality of a teenager is palpable. When you hit your 20s, it's safe to say a few things are different from that time you were 16. Though she maintains some reservations about the implications of something as abstract as identity, Charlie Hilton, known up until now for her work in the band Blouse, has now forged a new one with her debut solo album, Palana.
Enlisting Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Jacob Portrait as producer, Hilton freely experimented with diverse sounds and moods - some minimal and some cacophonous - out of the confines of a band structure. "Funny Anyway" is truly stark, featuring only string accompaniments, with Hilton assuming a role akin to a confessional French chanteuse, while "Let's Go to a Party" is Hilton's cheeky take on an icy dance track with thick, bouncing synths and a chorus that echoes "I'm only happy when I'm dancing." Alternatively, tracks like "Pony" harken back to the psychedelic strengths of Blouse, saluting bands like Broadcast and United States of America, and then there's "100 Million," the sole track produced by Woods' Jarvis Taveniere that rounds out the album in a soft, acoustic and light-hearted way with labelmate Mac DeMarco lending his talents on percussion and back-up vocals.
Chastity (Brandon Williams) hails from Whitby, Ontario, a suburb well removed - both physically and emblematically - from the stirring city of Toronto. Chastity channels the angst of small town isolation, but focuses most on the bursting, earnest connections formed among suburban, blue-collar youth. The genre bending music of Chastity hovers in a space of oscillating urgency, both melodic and noisey, juxtaposing themes of collectivity and isolation. It is, in short, a perpetual ode to youth culture that winds in and out of the darkest and lightest edges of the self, and ultimately celebrates all it has to offer.
Chastity is a world of its own from the mind of Brandon Williams. Reflecting the working class background of Whitby, Ontario, Chastity's songs are charged with the ethos of archetypal youth on the fringe. A project more aptly characterized by its intentions than specific sound or medium, Chastity stands to confront the struggles of those existing in the unseen, often silenced periphery. It is an artifact of youth culture constantly working to form community, bridging isolation with collectivity.
Visuals play a meaningful role in this world with Williams using his penchant for crafting consistently sharp, challenging imagery to personalize the narratives running throughout all of Chastity's work - most discernibly, a call for the disruption of harmful status quo.
Releasing Friday the 13th of July, 2018, Death Lust follows the plot of suffering to survival. The album begins on a tortured note with 'Come' and builds toward the plummeting finale of 'Chains', evolving from start to finish in a crescendo of severity. Chastity explains, "Death Lust is about growing up death obsessed. It's about the pain that it takes but the capacity that we have to overcome."
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.
Chris Cohen’s songs initially sound easy. They’re each tiny jewels that unfurl at a leisurely pace, but dig a little deeper and you’ll reach a melancholy core. His previous two albums - 2012’s Overgrown Path, and 2016’s As If Apart - were built from lush, blurry tracks that embedded themselves in your subconscious, like they’d always been there. Chris Cohen, his third solo album, is a thoughtful, accomplished meditation on life and family, backed by dusky instrumentation influenced by the late evening beauty of Pat Metheny’s Falcon and the Snowman soundtrack, and Thomas Dolby’s Golden Age of Wireless. It’s beautiful, but it’s also unflinching in its depiction of emotional turmoil.
Mastered by Bernie Grundman and written and recorded in his Lincoln Heights studio and at Tropico Beauties in Glendale, California over the course of the last two years with the help of Katy Davidson (Dear Nora), Luke Csehak (Happy Jawbone Family Band), Zach Phillips, and saxophonist Kasey Knudsen, it is his most straightforward album yet, but it is also the conclusion of an unofficial cycle that began with Overgrown Path.
As If Apart, the long-awaited sequel to Chris Cohen's 2012 soft psych garden of unearthly alter-pop earworms and studio-sonic delights Overgrown Path, follows on its predecessor with another bittersweet ensemble of dreamy, complex songs. Pushing the idiosyncrasies of Cohen's melodic and rhythmic approach into even more fractured, shifting spaces, As if Apart unsettles lazy pop conventions, upending jaded heads and hearts with an expansive, moody psychedelia. Where Overgrown Path plunged within, As if Apart voyages out. And up.
The legendary lo-fi band Cleaners from Venus formed in the small town of Wivenhoe, southeast England at the turn of 1980s by Martin Newell. The man, the myth, but to rock singer and part-time kitchen porter with a love of sunny 1960s pop music, punk rock and musical comedy. He never cared much for any kind of musical rule book and broke new ground with music that garnered a cult following and a highly-influential sound that continues to inspire. These 4 albums are the final chapter in the unveiling of the entire discography from the band, spanning the end of Martin Newell's long, storied run as the Cleaners from Venus (1985-1992). Included are Living with Victoria Grey, Number Thirteen and My Back Wages, which Newell considers a new release as it is finally being released as he originally intended it. The fourth album is a collection of rarities and unreleased material from the time that My Back Wages was recorded, called Extra Wages.
The beautiful 4xLP box set includes original liners written by Newell himself with unreleased photos, as well as a 16 pages book of Newell's poetry.
The beautiful CD foldout wallet with booklet includes original liners written by Newell himself with unreleased photos.
Following the release of "Living With Victoria Grey", Martin Newell and the Cleaners from Venus once again began taking their musical careers seriously, releasing a few singles and two vinyl LPs. However by late 1988 Newell and bass player Peter Nelson left the band and ended up forming a side project by the name of The Brotherhood of Lizards. After busking and loosley recording some demos, the band were signed to the independant label Deltic Records. Newell and Nelson gained quite a bit of media attention for their guitar driven rock by refusing to tour by anything but bicycle. This generated a lot of attention for the band, but unfortunately Nelson left the band before it could fully come to fruition.
What we find in "Number Thirteen" is a transitional period from Newell. Intended as a demo, the cassette received positive feedback, but ultimately led no where. At 37 years old, Martin Newell reflected upon the almost two decades of hard work and musical activity which had led him to this point. One morning he got up and began to coolly put his instruments away. He turned his small upstairs music studio into a room for books and writing. He decided to turn to the life of gardening that he'd always thought upon. However the simple life of a gardener would not last long. Newell soon found renowned with his poetry and writing, penning a semi-regular column for London's Independent, appearing on many TV and radio programs and publishing several collections.
Finally, in autumn of 1992, through another series of connections and coincidences, he was asked if he would like to make a solo album, with none other than XTC's Andy Partridge in the producer's chair. The first thing which he did, before dusting off his long abandoned instruments, was send Andy Partridge a handful of songs from the Cleaners from Venus' "Number Thirteen" cassette. Four of these would eventually form the basis of what became his first solo album and international success, The Greatest Living Englishman. The quartet of songs chosen by Partridge were, "The Jangling Man", "Home Counties Boy", "A Street Called Prospect", and "Christmas in Suburbia".
"Number Thirteen" is one of the many stepping stone releases that have led Martin Newell and the Cleaners From Venus through their storied career. Available for the first time on vinyl, and seeing it's first wide release, Captured Tracks are pleased to give you "Number Thirteen".
Considered the "last ever" Cleaners From Venus release, "My Back Wages" is comprised primarily of songs written in 1992 while Martin Newell was quarantined with the Chicken Pox. While some songs made it onto Newell's "The Greatest Living Englishman", many fell into obscurity, never to be released.
That is until some 8 years later when long time Cleaners supporters JAR Music Germany, a small DIY label, released a collection entitled "My Back Wages". Newell claims to have had no knowledge of the release, but the punning title of the album has his paw prints all over it.
After spending the years between 1992 and 2000 focusing on his writing, poetry and gardening, and when the release surfaced in 2000, Newell had little recollection of even sending the songs to his friends at JAR. When Newell heard it, he was surprised to find that musical additions had been made to the tracks, which polished up his spontaneously and sometimes sloppy recording style. Newell felt touched that anyone would be interested, or even care about something which he'd regarded as a rag-bag of demoes. Conversely, as a natural musical anarchist, the idea that anyone, anywhere, considered that they knew better than he did, annoyed him.
This version of My Back Wages as issued by Captured Tracks, therefore, is Martin Newell's own 'producers cut' of oddities, out-takes and 'orphan songs'. "Crane Drivers" for instance, was made after a friend with a brand new Roland U20 keyboard, lent it to Newell for two days, challenging him to make a complete song using only the sounds contained within its pre-sets. "Haunt Your House" was a demo written for The Damned, who were short of songs for an album at that time. It was never used.
Over 20 years later, Captured Tracks are thrilled to give Newell the chance to release this material on his own terms and put the Cleaners to rest once and for all.