The mysterious tale of The Twin, the second full-length from Sound of Ceres, exists in myriad permutations: a new album, a mesmerizing live show, videos, and Alastair Reynolds short story... and others in-between. Sound of Ceres' creative cohort of authors, composers, and illusionists traveled from a snowy Alpine retreat to the outer limits of deep space to bring you The Twin. Ryan & Karen Hover, along with bandmate Jacob Graham, arrived at the Reykjavik studio of producer Alex Somers (Sigur Rós, Julianna Barwick) with the original mixes of what seemed like more-or-less finished songs. And then they went through a different door. Guitars and harpsichords gave way to more analog synthesizers and melodic percussion. As the music's dynamic range grew wider, timbres chilled; as more layers of vocals were woven into the background, a new twin of The Twin emerged. In concert, The Twin evolves and changes nightly; no two versions of this immersive audio-visual experience are alike. Lasers and fiber optics pierce the darkness and smoke, creating a web of ever-changing constellations. Stars, circles, and double-helixes dance around the band, bouncing off reflective costumes and outstretched hands. Responding fluidly to each unique environment where they perform, Sound of Ceres transport the audience into the heart of the great cosmos via a mystifying display of lights and effects, coupled with hypnotizing sound.
Experiencing one emotion at a time is a luxury of the past. Think back to that moment at the women's march or the pro-science rally, when you spied a small child holding a handmade sign that read "I love naps but I stay woke" or "Boys will be boys good humans" or "May the facts be with you." How adorable! How upsetting! How the hell are they going to make it to adulthood in this toxic environment?
Deerhoof is right there with you. They recognize that we are simultaneously living in two worlds, one a maniacal, mainstream monoculture hell-bent on driving humankind into extinction, the other a churning underground teeming with ideas and dogged optimism and the will to thrive and survive. Mountain Moves refutes the former by ecstatically celebrating the latter.
Though Deerhoof have often made albums from start to finish with virtually no input from the outside world, now is not the time for artists to operate in isolation. Mountain Moves throws the doors wide open. Working quickly, the band invited myriad guests to participate, some of them dear friends, others practically strangers. They are of different ages, different nationalities, different disciplines. The only common thread was that each and every artist on Mountain Moves doesn't fit into a single, neatly-defined category - and doesn't wish to.
Originally released in the fall of 2015, Palm's debut album, Trading Basics, challenges the listener's expectations with moments of dissonance that are reigned in and precise. The pretty moments are often where the chaos is. Amid these constant and rapid changes, the band sneaks in an unrelenting, trance-inducing repetition. Recorded and mixed by Eli Crews (Deerhoof, tUnE-yArDs) at Figure 8 Studios in Brooklyn, the album is a confident statement that this young band has carefully crafted a unique sonic vocabulary and methodology during their short time together. Being somewhat removed from city life, and having access to a 24-hour practice space, has resulted in an unparalleled level of discipline and focus on their craft, as well as a jaw-dropping live show that is not to be missed.
Introducing, the debut solo album from the enigmatic legend that is Dale Crover.Amongst his 30+ year career as one half of the essential Melvins roster, Crover has contributed to countless albums ranging from platinum-plated classics (ahem, Nirvana) to seminal cult LPs. However, up until this point Crover's solo efforts have only appeared once in a blood moon, limited to the Melvins 1992 KISS-themed solo EP, and a couple intermittent 7" releases. The Fickle Finger Of Fate marks Crover's first calculated, full length solo effort.But let's be clear: this is not a drum record. The album features a perplexingly diverse batch of songs that recall the best moments of the Melvins catalog. With 90% of all instruments played by Crover, and recorded by longtime engineer Toshi Kasai, the album is sure to tickle the temporal lobes of Melvins devotees.Sonically, the album ranges from slightly microwaved heaviness, to surprisingly chill Pink Floyd-tinged ballads, to Max Roach-meets-Throbbing-Gristle drum experimentations, to good old fashioned Andy Kaufman-style head-fuckery.Though consistently otherworldly, The Fickle Finger Of Fate is surprisingly approachable— dare we say, catchy. But even at it's most anthemic, you won't be able to shake the feeling that a sinister ambience is hovering just beneath the surface.
Records like Psychic Temple IV aren't made anymore. Maybe they never were. There is a magic present that some mistake for "tubes" or "tape" but it's no more complicated than putting the right musicians together with the right songs.
Produced and composed by band/cult leader Chris Schlarb, Psychic Temple IV was recorded in Los Angeles over a series of eight large scale sessions. In the spirit of the classic Wrecking Crew sessions for Phil Spector and the Beach Boys, the band was often tasked with recording four songs per session. Vocals were added as soon as the rhythm section tracks were cut with British rock legend Terry Reid, Arlene Deradoorian, and Nedelle Torrisi joining Chris in the studio to work out harmony parts and sing live together.
Schlarb's melodies are soulful yet unpredictable, and yet the exploratory spirit of the first Psychic Temple album still abides. The music has been poured over with both care and abandon. There is magic in Psychic Temple IV. It's no more complicated than that.
The legendary Jad Fair has teamed up with Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub) and Japanese mainstays Tenniscoats to create some of the most endearing content you're likely to experience outside of an internet cat video.
'Raindrops' is fiercely adorable. Containing 85 minutes of music on limited edition 2xLP, this is simple, charming, acoustic pop at it's most feral. Tenniscoats' playful melodies and vocal coos have seemingly harnessed Jad Fair's uninhibited style, resulting in some distinctively special songs that are fragile, and oozing with positivity. Outsider art has never sounded so cute.
Jason Loewenstein has been a major force behind lo-fi pioneers Sebadoh ever since their pivotal 1991 record, "III". Along with fellow partner in crime Lou Barlow, Loewenstein has co-created some of the most influential releases in indie-rock, including the pivotal 90's albums "Smash Your Head on the Punk Rock", "Bubble & Scrape", and "Bakesale".
Way back in 2002 Jason Loewenstein released his first solo album "At Sixes And Sevens" via Sub Pop. Now 15 years later, the follow-up has finally arrived. "Spooky Action" contains 13 new songs of unwavering rock. The self-recorded, self-produced album is as solidly engaging as anything in Loewenstein's formative lineage.
Sleep Party People is the brainchild of Brian Batz, a Danish multi-instrumentalist with a boundless imagination. The one-man home recording project took shape in 2008 when Batz began experimenting with an old battered piano in his apartment. Coupled with a strange electronic alteration of his recorded voice, he created eerie, hypnotic sounds and haunting melodies forming the basis of Sleep Party People's self-titled debut album (2010).
With the release of 2012's 'We Were Drifting On A Sad Song' and 2014's 'Floating', Sleep Party People began touring as a five-piece band, gaining the attention of fans worldwide. Without the support of a U.S. label, the band was able to harness a groundswell of attention from far reaches of the globe. Throughout Asia, Eastern Europe, South America, and even parts of the Middle East it's not unusual for SPP shows to draw thousands of spectators.
On June 2nd, Sleep Party People releases their first album on Joyful Noise, titled 'Lingering'. Written, recorded, produced, and performed by Batz, the new album develops beyond the band's more overtly post-rock efforts. With 'Lingering', Batz has found a voice as a unique songwriter, and has captured a singular warmth within his densely layered, futuristically choreographed instrumentation.
The Caddywhompus idioverse - the shared, invented language, subtle and unspoken gestures, thoughts and quirks wrought from close bonds and experience - is one unique to Chris Rehm and Sean Hart. From growing up only a short bike ride from one another in Houston to nearly a decade of performance together as a guitar and drum duo in New Orleans, their years-in-the-making style consists of distorted walls of sound with lightspeed melodic U-turns and waves of brilliant noise, a dynamic that only could be learned by the two players on Odd Hours, their latest album out April 14, 2017 on Inflated Records.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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 hermother'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 livespredicting 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 seemfoolish 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 camefrom my day in the back stairways and basement of the enormous Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Dinosaur Jr. were there opening forPrimus in August 2015). I was alone and playing my ukulele in the cavernous spaces and tiled showers there. The unique reverberations brought thebeginnings 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). Irecorded 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, everysong 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.
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.
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 tandemLike brothers holding handsThey live and burn in cyclesAs 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 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.
"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 werestruggling 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. Iquestioned everything about what it means to love and desire. The difference between loving someone and being in love."