Secretly Distributon

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2017-03-31
Richard Edwards: Lemon Cotton Candy Sunset

In 2014, Richard Edwards (then frontman of Margot & the Nuclear So and So's) was diagnosed with a potentially fatal stomach ailment, lost 50 pounds, was to forced to abandoned a sold out tour, and spent the next couple years recovering and writing a record about absence. With his marriage also ending he moved into a basement, underwent surgery on his abdomen, and re-wrote the record about absence. The result is Edwards' first effort post-Margot "Lemon Cotton Candy Sunset". Produced by Rob Schnapf (Elliott Smith, Cass McCombs, Beck) the album brings together friends, both old and new, for a sound that may be familiar to some fans of his former band, but more rightly a step into new territory. "I hope it sounds like being lost in an ocean", says Edwards.

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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
Tall Tall Trees: Freedays

Freedays is almost in a way a debut album. Mike Savino's previous two albums, still having the songwriting stamina to welcome any music lover in, were birthed in a collaborative band setting. In 2015, Savino took a much-needed respite from New York City, where he had spent a decade and a half honing his craft, and assumed the role of sole caretaker at an abandoned health retreat nestled in the green mountains of North Georgia. The Bird's Nest, as it was called, completely surrounded by national forest, provided the freedom and space to work without time constraints or interruption. Composed and recorded over a period of eight months, Freedays tells the story of a man in transition and documents an artist alone at the crossroads of the life he has and the one he wants. The album begins with "Backroads", which drops the listener into a darkened forest amidst a chorus of wailing coyotes and quickly takes off on a midnight drive. Tracks like "Being There", "A Place to Call Your Own", and "CLC" provide an honest look into the author's thought process and decision making. Although it's often hard to imagine, most of the sounds on the album are experiments with the banjo, and they all reflect the innovative musings of one of the freshest sounds to come out of the Appalachians in decades.

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2017-02-03
Surfer Blood: Snowdonia

SURFER BLOOD are one of the best young indie-rock bands around, and their fourth album, Snowdonia, is their most ambitious effort yet. Overcoming adversity, the band has artistically grown and thrived. Following the departure of bassist Kevin Williams and guitarist Thomas Fekete (tragically lost to cancer in May), singer/guitarist John Paul Pitts and drummer Tyler Schwarz have rebuilt a talented lineup with guitarist Michael McCleary and bassist Lindsey Mills, all four alumni of the same high school in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Pitts wrote specifically with the new band's talents in mind: "When I was writing I was thinking more about background vocals and harmonies. Lindsey and Michael are great singers, and I really wanted that to show in the songs. There are layers of vocals on almost every track, and the call-and-response parts between Lindsey and I are something totally new."

Joan of Arc: He's Got The Whole This Land Is Your Land In His Hands

Twenty years now there's been this thing, our band, Joan of Arc. Sometimes we forget about it and let it fizzle out for a year while we tend to our lives. Sometimes we cling to it for a year and wake up surprised and exhausted every day for months on end, given walking tours of old Italian towns, browsing dreary British pedestrian malls or barefooted organic grocers on the Pacific coast. We know how lucky we are.

The less we feel like a band - the more we can continue to be a band, but escape that feeling of doing all those shitty, corny things expected of bands - the truer to ourselves we feel. And you all know it, everyone knows it even if everyone has to bury it to get on with their day-to-day: the truer to ourselves we feel, the better everything gets.

We have shifted shapes and modified our approaches quite a number of times in the course of twenty years. And we've done so always aiming to stay true to ourselves at that moment, by instinct and with conscious intent. This time, it took us a long time to figure out how to start back up. We threw away a lot of songs and started over, over and over.

But here's the thing: We are getting better at being ourselves. So many of the postures of youth just fall away with time. Most bands break up by that point, or become caricatures of their younger selves. Because money is tricky, or I should say, it comes to be that energy is tricky to muster after all of it goes into the basics of sustaining yourself.

Every day, at some point, it occurs to me that Richard Brautigan killed himself at the age that I am now. But I've got this community of weirdo collaborators to lean on that he never had.

We've never had an audience that gets any validation of its coolness through liking us. We've mangled, juxtaposed, and collaged too many elements for that social contract. But we trust each other.

This time, finally, we trusted each other enough to throw all the songs away, to even throw away every preconceived idea about which one of us should take position at which instrument. We hit Record and played, and our collective tastes emerged. And they, our tastes in the moment, were the only standards in all the expanse of the stupefying and beautiful unknown universe, that we regarded as relevant in the least.

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2016-11-11
Lou Barlow: Apocalypse Fetish (Clear Vinyl)

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 her mother'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 lives predicting 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 seem foolish 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 came from my day in the back stairways and basement of the enormous Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Dinosaur Jr. were there opening for Primus in August 2015). I was alone and playing my ukulele in the cavernous spaces and tiled showers there. The unique reverberations brought the beginnings 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). I recorded 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, every song 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.

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2016-10-28
Rafter: XYZ

Rafter Roberts stands no taller than your average human male, yet his fiery red-haired head is filled with the minutiae of music, swirling and churning constantly. Fortunately this leaves little room for fear, of which Rafter has nearly none. His fearlessness has led him to do just about everything he sets his mind to, which of course includes free-for-all rowdy sweatiness, hanky panky, and rolling on the stage, yelping. (Not to mention playing in bands since the age of two, fatherhood and marriage, running a business, goin' to shows, building recording studios, makin' his own music, recording bands and eating vegan... all without going too furiously nuts.) His is a strong will tempered by humor. One of the most intense and powerful music nerds you may ever meet, there is a refreshing lack of poseur hipness to Rafter Roberts. In its stead is a pure enthusiasm for people, for doing it yourself, and the helping hand, for kicking against the pricks and kicking out the jams.

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2016-10-14
Busman's Holiday: Popular Cycles

A Busman's Holiday performance begins with the thump of kick-pedal on suitcase and the tuning of acoustic guitar strings, two affable brothers quietly considering where to take their audience first. They may begin with an exultant and driving harmony or a ballad in a melancholy mode, but not before they have laughed and shared stories with their audience, patient and cheerful, assuring the crowd that they are in good hands. As Lewis and Addison begin to sing, their voices together evoke the Southern Indiana where their music was born. One can't help but feel the presence of the songs' characters in the room beside you, the music offering intimate details from vivid strangers.

The Rogers brothers' appeal has never been limited to a niche audience. Tested on the road for years, playing music at honky-tonks and roadhouses, moth-eaten lounges crawling with night creatures, punk palaces, last-wave folk huts, they've honed their skills and free-flowing banter to the point where they've been able to endear themselves to all corners.

Time has passed. They've read the books, they've been on the train. The new album by Busman's Holiday, Popular Cycles, is a vehicle to the lives of others. It is a continuation and elaboration of their previous albums, A Long Goodbye and Old Friends. While their earlier efforts pulled in for portraits at close range, their new collection zooms in to capture the private moments in a family's back yard, then gazes up at the macrocosm, turning to planets and tree-crushing storms. The writerly duo is detail-oriented and lyric-driven; they uncork the hidden champagne. The songs live through their details - the voice of an aging planet, a desperate gunman, the penitent, the child, TV guide wisdom, the adoring father lost in the cosmos, the dream.

Two planets turn in tandem Like brothers holding hands They live and burn in cycles As the universe expands

Much like the lyrical content, the musical landscape of Popular Cycles spans grandly, from the booming of a 21-piece orchestra to the solitary sound of a singing bowl. Started in the autumn of 2014, continued in the late winter of 2015, the duo recorded the album in Bloomington, Indiana and Montreal, Quebec, respectively. Recorded at Arcade Fire's Sonovox Studio, the writing of the album concluded in a snowed-in apartment above. Arranger Matt Nowlin and producer Mark Lawson helped them capture a more adventurous sound, riding forward on pulsing acoustic rhythms. Busman's Holiday imitated sounds they'd heard in electronic music with acoustic instruments, the way a mockingbird mimics a car horn. The resulting sound is both familiar but fresh. From western soundtracks to a drone of twelve-strings, tones of forgiveness sweet enough to taste, funky drummers, the splish-splosh of fingers & palms, and melancholy chanting. From Richard Strauss to PeeWee's Playhouse, Busman's Holiday brings a refreshing sound to the stale world of pop music.

Margot & The Nuclear So and So's: The Bride on The Boxcar: A Decade of Margot Rarities 2004-2014

Margot & The Nuclear So and So's formed in Indianapolis in 2004 as an umbrella under which a rotating group of friends could come together to record Richard Edwards' vast array of songs. They still travel in the black United school bus that they bought with that first advance and converted into a mobile home, complete with nine very hard wooden bunks. The band remains prolific, recording multiple albums since starting Mariel Recording Company in 2010, as well as releasing three 7"s, an EP, and three vinyl re-issues, and now a decade rarities box set. The band members currently reside in Chicago and Indianapolis.

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2016-09-16
Kishi Bashi: Sonderlust

"Sonderlust" is an album forged through heartbreak. After his two previous studio albums ("151a" & "Lighght") and his "String Quartet Live!" release, Kishi Bashi was at a musical impasse. "As I sat down to write songs last summer, I went to all my usual conduits of creation: violin loops, guitar, piano, and I came up with the musical equivalent of fumes", says Kishibashi. "I tried to create orchestral pop recordings that I assumed were my forte, and in turn I found myself standing in front of a creative wall of frightening heights."

At this very same moment of musical uncertainty, K's personal life was falling apart... He and his wife of 13 years had briefly separated and were struggling to keep their marriage together. In his own words, "Touring and its accompanying lifestyle took a heavy toll on my soul and my family". As an outlet, K submerged himself in a new musical direction. Sonderlust emerged as a direct result of this personal struggle taking place at an artistic crossroads.

With the help of producer Chris Taylor (Grizzly Bear), engineer Pat Dillet (Angelique Kidjo, David Byrne) and drummer Matt Chamberlain (Morrissey, Fiona Apple, of Montreal), Kishi Bashi has created his most personal and artistically adventurous work to date. "This album is straight from my soul. I questioned everything about what it means to love and desire. The difference between loving someone and being in love."

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2016-09-02
Goblin Cock: Necronomidonkeykongimicon

Goblin Cock is a band from beyond time, beyond space, beyond your naive concept of dimension in METAL. Since before your pathetic "god" had supposedly "created" you and your kind, Lord Phallus was hunkered in a cybertimeship/fun dungeon skating the layers of what was considered "true metal" in all societies and in all generations. Eventually His Majesty realized that he really didnt care and launched a full-scale war against bland metal with and emphasis on ACTUALLY HAVING A GOOD TIME! "Bagged and Boarded" was the first assualt on your laughable 5 senses (Lord Phallus and his kind have 32), followed by the sonically intense "Come With Me if You Want to Live". Expect an unprecedented double whammy in the form of their upcoming LP, the protest album "Necronomidonkeykongimicon", and the future historic masterwork "Lord Phallus and His Goblin Cock Present: Dragonfucker - A Cock Opera (Original Cast Recording)", both available soon from Joyful Noise Recordings.

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2016-08-19
Dumb Numbers: Dumb Numbers II

Being in a band can be like being in a marriage, for better or for worse. Dumb Numbers is more like an open relationship. There is no definitive lineup. I have an amazingly talented bunch of friends from all across the world who contribute to recordings, but there is no commitment beyond that. This makes live performances a rare occurrence. Basically if My Bloody Valentine want us to open we'll be there! But otherwise Dumb Numbers is mostly a recording project. With that being said, The new album from DUMB NUMBERS features ADAM HARDING with LOU BARLOW (Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr), DALE CROVER (Melvins), DAVID YOW (the Jesus Lizard/Scratch Acid), MURPH (Dinosaur Jr), KEVIN RUTMANIS (Cows/Melvins) ALEXANDER HACKE (Einstürzende Neubauten), BOBB BRUNO (Best Coast), BONNIE MERCER (Grey Daturas) and STEVE PATRICK (Useless Children).

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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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2016-08-05
Sugar Candy Mountain: 666

LA/Joshua Tree based Sugar Candy Mountain deliver carefully built psychedelic odes in the style of Jacco Gardner and Tame Impala. Their newest album 666 feels like something unearthed from a box of records found in your dad's garage, glowing wistfully with vintage inspired tones, rambling organs, fuzzed out guitars, shimmering keys and sprawling drums. Ash Reiter's woolly voice croons with the icy warmth of Francoise Hardy, while Will Halsey's tender Lennon-esque vocals uncoil with easy languor. Recorded with Jason Quever of Papercuts, the bands sophomore album sits comfortably between 60's Laurel Canyon bliss and more modern production of Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips/Tame Impala). 666 is the band's ïrst record after deciding to retire Ash Reiter's eponymous solo project to focus solely on Sugar Candy Mountain. With this shift Ash became more heavily invested in writing for the project. On 666 the band moves away from the grandiose production of their previous album, Mystic Hits, on which some songs featured over two hundred instrument tracks. The majority of basic tracking was done on Jason Quever's 16 track Ampex tape machine through a Neve console, and completed at the bands home studio. Under Quever's guiding hand, production on 666 is signiïcantly simpliïed, favoring featuring strong melodies over the wildly playful orchestrations of Mystic Hits. Quever is also signiïcantly featured on the record as a player, with his inïuence distinctly coloring the album.

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2016-07-08
Big Business: Command Your Weather

Recorded in Joshua Tree, CA, "Command Your Weather" sees Big Business return to its original two-man lineup of Jared Warren and Coady Willis. It's a haunting dream about the struggle for dominance of will over the power and unpredictability of nature. Or it's just a really great rock record, it depends on how weird you're willing to get. But you've never had so much fun being crushed in the cogs of the universe's great machine, that much is for sure! I mean, there's no law against having a couple cold beers while we all burn in the fire of time, am I right?!

Recorded by Dave Curran of UNSANE/PIGS/BIG BUSINESS' previous record fame. Founded in 2003 in Seattle, WA., Big Business has spent the last 13 years touring the world and making records. In 2006 Jared and Coady joined forces with the Melvins and moved to Los Angeles. Performing as members of the Melvins and staying autonomous as their own band, they have been there ever since.

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2016-07-08
Saqqara Mastabas: Libras

Somehow, condemned to the underworld/whateverworld, they sustained the light for millennia/millennials. Keeping their Ka-Ba intact and entire they always knew the Power and the Pleasure of the Sun God/Some Guy would grant (though they never fill out the forms) them so-called Eternal Creativity (i.e., QQreativity) if they could just complete the journey and Rise Above! Following their righteous path, they ignited Fiery Furnaces (FEE-ery Fur-Nace-es-EH) and stumbled the inner steps of the Sebadjoser pyramid to finally reach the Night Light!

The two ancient souls/old people from Under Earth had sublated their fate and became Children/Mature Students of the Upper Light - Hermopolis Magna became Matthew Friedberger and Waan'Ubyee Shemayet became Bob D'Amico. They are now proud makers of Joyful Noise (insert plug here) made possible by their Outlet to Eternity - the SAQQARA MASTABAS.

Don Caballero: Got A Mile, Got A Mile, Got An Inch (Live) (Flexi Disc)

"Got A Mile, Got A Mile, Got An Inch (Live)" is a recently-unsurfaced "authorized bootleg" from math rock pioneers Don Caballero. Recorded in 2003 at a single show in Chicago, "Got A Mile” captures Don Cab's unrivaled musicianship in gritty, brash fashion. Featuring the lineup of Gene Doyle, Jeff Ellsworth, Jason Jouver, and (of course) Damon Che, the band performs material spanning from 1993's "For Respect" (Touch & Go) to songs that would end up on 2006's "World Class Listening Problem" (Relapse Records). While classics like "Fire Back About Your New Baby's Sex" and "Delivering The Groceries at 138 Beats Per Minute" are performed true to their recordings, the band also explores medley territory at times, weaving together songs like "Let's Face It Pal, You Didn't Need That Eye Surgery" and "You Haven't Lived Afro Pop" into the aptly named "Let's Face It Pal, You Haven't Lived Afro Pop".

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2016-05-20
Mike Adams At His Honest Weight: Casino Drone

On Casino Drone, his third solo album, Mike Adams at His Honest Weight emerges as both a Hoosier power-pop auteur and a poet of the Indiana everyday. He crafts supremely catchy melodies and fashions ingenious arrangements that thrum with synthpop sparkle, shoegaze drone, classic rock fervor, and sonic textures that draw from easy listening as well as avant garde experiments. And it's all in service to sharply intelligent songs balancing whimsy and melancholy, exuberance and doubt.

Adams recorded these eleven songs himself, recording almost all the instruments in his Bloomington living room. Music is a dominant theme on the album, but Adams has subsumed his influences into a sound that is more idiosyncratic, more ambitious, more personal - in short, more Mike Adams. The long ambient opening passage of "Ideas Man," the weightless drift of "Stainless Still," the tangle of guitar notes anchoring "On the Fumes" - these aren't nods to his pop heroes, but the musical signatures of a confident artist who has come into his own. "This record feels bigger," he says, "but there's actually much less going on. Everything is simplified. Everything is sharpened. I wanted these songs to stand up without any tricks."

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2016-05-06
Yoni & Geti: Testarossa

Testarossa is an eclectic collaboration between indie rock prodigy Yoni Wolf, and multidimensional hip hop artist Serengeti. The songs weave together creating an often dark, sometimes humorous tale of love, and life peppered with human conflict. The versatility of both Yoni & Geti creates an unconventional album that is rooted in both hip hop, and indie rock.

Tim Kinsella: Firecracker in a Box of Mirrors (Orange Vinyl)

The Chicago native, Tim Kinsella (Cap'n Jazz, Owls, Make Believe, and Joan of Arc), has cemented his place as one of the most groundbreaking, and unapologetically honest artists in modern music. Kinsella, known for his eccentric vocals, takes the listener on a gripping musical voyage while intricately weaving melodic hopefulness with lyrical heartbreak, and life experience. "Firecracker in a Box of Mirrors" is a plethora of emotions involved with the human experience, the heart, and the guitar. Conceived while Kinsella was on a solo tour opening up for Pinback, "Firecracker..." is kind-of the inverse of "Joan of Arc's Greatest Hits". While the latter reimagines classic JOA songs with full, robust instrumentation, "Firecracker..." has stripped away all the dense layers of these songs - leaving only a single guitar and voice. The basic, stripped-down instrumentation really allows these songs to shine in ways they never have.

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2016-03-18
Ava Luna: Isrealites (Flexi)

Brooklyn-based indie art fun band, Ava Luna, began in frontman Carlos Hernadez's high school bedroom. While the band has transformed both sonically, and physically over the years, they've nailed down their fundamental elements in their latest album, Infinite House (2015), by solidifying their lineup, and traditionally structuring their art funk R&B-infused sound. This track is a cover of Desmond Decker's "Isrealites", and is the second release in the JNR 2016 Flexi Series.