"Pictures of Saint Paul Street" is the sixth solo album from the former Mirrors/Gris-Gris mastermind Greg Ashley, an amalgam of tortured, Cohen-esque folk tinged with the beer soaked recklessness of a West Texas honky-tonk. The songs on "Pictures of Saint Paul Street" are lush & beautiful autopsies of society's underbelly, with stark and brutally honest ruminations on humanity. Ashley's songs move from ballads of hopeless misery to rallying anthems for the dispossessed. The people & artists who move further to the fringe as power and greed overtake our planet.
Massachusetts songwriter Doug Tuttle returns with his third solo album, "Peace Potato", once again on Chicago label Trouble In Mind Records. His 2013 solo debut (after fronting his longtime psychedelic band, MMOSS) was an insular and foggy psychedelic masterpiece punctuated by Tuttle's stinging guitar leads, accented by flashes of bedroom Fairport /Crazy Horse brilliance, towing the line nimbly between elegance and ragged assurance. We last saw Tuttle on "It Calls On Me", his 2015 sophomore album, which pushed his songwriting towards further clarity and melody "Peace Potato" shakes it all down with Tuttle's strongest batch of songs yet.
"Peace Potato" introduces itself with the horn-laden, honeydripper,"Bait The Sun", a classic Tuttle tune; downer pop melodies coloring a hypnagogic landscape. It is indeed that state of lucid dreaming, somewhere between the onset of sleep is where Tuttle firmly plants the seeds of "Peace Potato". Songs stutter to life and grind to a halt, to calculated effect, stitched together into a patchwork of full tunes, song fragments and waves of melodic euphoria.Throughout all, Tuttle's guitar picking and soloing echoes the greats of decades prior, Harrison, Thompson, Clarence White, with a conscious eye to the unsung bedroom and basement weird pop genius of sung and unsung artists like Harumi, Sixth Station, The Bachs and Jim Sullivan. Tuttle played every instrument and recorded the entirety of "Peace Potato" in his Somerville bedroom studio; a ubiquitous location in these modern times, but the ease at which Tuttle's songs fold and unfold, suggests something more than your usual home-recorded musings.
"Peace Potato" is released on black (and limited color) vinyl, compact disc and available via all the usual digital platforms.
The Mountain Movers have, over the course of five albums steadily become New Haven's best kept secret; a band capable of lurching between melancholic indie rock, strident garage/psych and pummeling guitar freak-fuckery. This, their s/t sixth album coalesces the band's vision so succinctly and perfectly, it makes you wonder where they’re been your whole life. "Mountain Movers" starts off with the dark, stormy fourteen minute track "I Could Really See Things". Fading into view with a scree of feedback, the drums and bass start to pound and pummel until the song lurches forward, lumbering purposefully toward slashes of guitar improvisation. Then, in a flash comes the jangling, melodic strum of "Everyone Cares" the a brief "Intro" and "Angels Don't Worry" is next up, finding that sweet spot between murky kraut-tinged psychedelia and acid-fried guitar-noise exploration. "Vision Television" pounds out succinct garage stomp and heavy VU-inflected swagger. The album is bookended by "Jam 2" that fades into a full-bore, head-down krautrock slow burn that somehow sounds like the most melodic of Can's repertoire and Sonic Youth at their most effective improv stages "Mountain Movers" is a tour de force. Bandleader Dan Greene's songwriting hits home when it needs to, but leaves pockets open for the band to stretch out and really find a way inside the songs themselves. "Mountain Movers" is a vinyl-only release, pressed on black vinyl and silver vinyl in a limited run of 500 copies, and includes a insert.
On RAYS' debut album the band spins eleven tunes of wiry, urgent post-punk, one foot planted firmly in the nihilistic apathy of 70 & 80's punk (Wire, Electric Eels, Pere Ubu, Eno, Television The Fall), Australian punk past & present (UV Race, Terry, Victims, Babeez), and the addictive strum of 80's & 90's New Zealand/Flying Nun pop; all of whom have found their own way to meld the ferocity & thuggery of punk with a singular melodic voice. RAYS are no different; the swirling jangle of "Attic" starts the album off, sardonically extolling the joy of 'attic life' with Hannan's monotone conveying an underlying sense of dread & isolation. "Dead Man's Curve", with it's hook-filled, organ-laden chorus plays like a lost teenage tragedy song, celebrating the desperation & angst of reckless youth.
Elsewhere, tunes like "Theatre of Lunacy", "Made of Shadows" & "Drop Dead" rage with a desperate fire, speaking to the absurdities of everyday life, but with a wry smile. Shit is fucked, but the members of RAYS seem intent on finding humor within the world's everyday desperation, because sometimes that's the only way to stay sane. "Pain & Sorrow", "Back Downtown" all speak to these truths. The album ends with Hannon's "Over and Over", it's sweet melody belying a derisive outlook on the necessity of modern life & the repetition it requires. Throughout it all, RAYS' debut never feels angry, Recorded by Bay-area stalwart Kelley Stoltz & mastered by Australian tone-genius Mikey Young (Total Control/Eddy Current Suppression Ring) RAYS is a joyous album packed with weird new-wave swirls and sugar-sticky hooks.
The Paperhead have been Nashville's best-kept secret for years now. The trio have crafted three albums of psych-pop perfection, last leaving us with 2014's "Africa Avenue". They return in fine form with their fourth magnum opus, entitled "Chew". Having been lifelong fans of psychedelia & prog rock, They've found a way to straddle four decades of music. Rather than committing the cardinal sin of many modern acts by drenching everything in reverb, "Chew" revels in clarity & melody - the listener finds themselves disoriented by the jarring juxtaposition of styles, rather than gimmicky studio trickery. This was purposeful, as the band wanted "Chew" to seem like criss-crossing AM radio broadcasts. Melodic psych-pop drifts up against crunchy, progressive riffs and good ol' steel-guitar driven country rock, but it all works. The album's centerpiece "Dama de Lavanda" is perhaps their most accomplished composition to date, with it's breezy latin rhythms - it swings with an assuredness unseen from the band as yet. Horns & flutes pepper the mix, but it's the Bacharach-meets-Pretty Things outro that really hits a home run. The obvious peak of an album crackling with ideas & creativity. "Chew" was recorded by the band in bassist Peter Stringer-Hye's garage studio in Nashville & mixed by Cooper Crain (Bitchin' Bajas, Cave) at Chicago's Minbal Studios. "Chew" is released on compact disc & black vinyl, and includes a download code.
Dusk is the third album from London-based duo Ultimate Painting, a ten song set that expands the group's sound from their self-titled debut and their critically acclaimed sophomore effort Green Lanes. Dusk heads along the same path, albeit in a slightly different direction, forging to new territory by heading inward. The group's discovered a simple lushness in Dusk's arrangements, sometimes only with subtle additions like Hoare's recently acquired Wurlitzer piano that drives tunes like 'Lead The Way' or washes underneath others like 'Monday Morning, Somewhere Central'. Dusk feels different and cements the group's presence in the modern world guitar pop, finding voice in the allure of quietude.
Melbourne, Australia band Chook Race formed in 2010, starting out as a scrappy, garage/surf band, but soon developed a greater pop sensibility, born of their love of the Flying Nun bands and other bedroom favorites. After a string of of tapes and 7"s Chook Race return with new album 'Around The House', due for release on September 2nd through Chicago's Trouble in Mind Records. The ten songs on "Around The House" are oddly withdrawn yet highly personal tunes, but performed by the band with a desperate urgency. Songs like the immediate & catchy "Hard To Clean" & "Sometimes" clang & clatter like chrome-plated pop earworms, while others like the somber "Pink & Grey" and album-closer "Start Anew" hum pensively, quietly insinuating themselves into your subconscious. Captured in a single day by Tom Hardisty (NUN, Woollen Kits) and mastered by Mikey Young (Total Control, Eddy Current Suppression Ring) the album has a compelling sound defined by jangly guitars, boy-girl harmonies and lyrical observations of the everyday. "Around The House" is released digitally, on compact disc, and pressed on black vinyl w/download.
Chicago trio The Hecks have been skulking around Chicago's DIY scene for some time now honing their unique twin-guitar sound, weaving tense and beautiful sonic passages of dissonance and harmony into weird and infectious pop songs. The band's eponymous debut has been two years in the making and manages to cram knowledge gleaned from years of absorbing sounds and tones both ugly and beautiful, hitting all the wrong notes in all the wrongs ways to deconstruct sound into their own vessel. Noise drones like "Landscape Photography" and "Tea" sit comfortably amidst the more 'traditionally structured' tunes as well as the apocalyptic mid-album belter "Favor" which sound like something akin to the heavens falling. Recorded by the band at guitarist Dave Vettraino's Public House Recording Studio, "The Hecks" is released digitally, compact disc and pressed on black vinyl. Vinyl includes a download code.
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.
Omni - the band, not the hotel - are from the former home of the Braves: Atlanta. Playing lo-fi pop that channels the spectre of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Omni brings you back to an era where any sane person was reeling from the unfulfilled promise of the Space Age and Age of Aquarius bleeding into the looming threat of "Morning in America.” Omni distills the buzz and grit that snakes through the best of Television, Devo, and Pylon into surprisingly danceable, hook-laden slabs of raw, angular, sonic bliss. It’s still the summer of '78, and pushing the roots of rock & roll to its limits remains in vogue. "Deluxe" serves as a fresh reminder that rock music can work outside of blues rooted, formulaic progressions without playing it safe behind a wall of effects. Arty enough to impress record enthusiasts, yet melodically attractive enough to transcend to those who’ve never asked: “’Sister Midnight’ or ‘Red Money’?”
Portland, OR trio Alto! was formed in 2011 by guitarist Derek Monypeny alongside drummers Kyle Emory & Steven Stone, who over the course of five years have evolved into a fierce and explorative ensemble on the Portland scene. Having self-released two eponymous full length albums on Monypeny's Raheem Records in 2012 and 2014, Trouble In Mind presents their third album, the appropriately titled "LP 3". Past albums have seen Monypeny's guitar leading the fracas, & it's no surprise why; his style is equal parts influenced by the sunbaked deserts of Phoenix & the Bishop Bros (Alan & Richard - whose 'Freak of Araby' ensemble Monypemy was a member of) as well as the swirling sands of the Middle East & guitarists like Omar Khorshid & Bombino, but the real stars of "LP 3" are drummers Emory & Stone, who fuse together into an unshakeable elemental pulse, dancing around each other in dizzying & danceable polyrhythms. "LP 3" was mastered by Timothy Stollenwerk (Grouper / Golden Retriever) at Stereophonic Mastering, with artwork by band member Steven Stone.
In celebration of their 2016 tour together, Woods and Ultimate Painting team up for a limited edition 7" featuring one exclusive unreleased track from each band in what can only be described as a "double A-sider ".
Ultimate Painting offer up Into The Darkness, a lost track from their Green Lanes sessions, a mellow jammer heavy on mood & thick with the spindly, intertwining guitar picking that's quickily becoming synonymous with the band. Woods deliver a jaunty pop hit, Know Your Minute that starts with an infectious bubblegum guitar stabs, launches into a devastatingly hooky chorus before descending into a delicious acid-fried psychedelic freakout.
This match-made-in-heaven split 7-inch is a one-time pressing on black vinyl, and is limited to 1,000 copies. Housed in a 7-inch pocket sleeve with artwork by Andrew Savage of Parquet Courts. This is a split release between Trouble In Mind Records & Woodsist.
One year after releasing Dick Diver's third album,"Melbourne, Florida" Trouble In Mind is pleased as punch to make the revered Melbourne, Florida band's first two albums 2011's "New Start Again" & 2013's critically acclaimed (and The Age-nominated Best Album) "Calendar Days" FINALLY available domestically for eager & discerning listeners. "New Start Again" was the band's first full-length offering after their debut single, surprising many & no one with it's sprawling range of melodic twists & turns. From opener "Through The D" - which starts with a patient drum pulse before launching into the infectious jangle of guitarists Rupert Edwards and Alistair McKay's chiming chords - to casual anthem & album closer "Head Back" (penned by bassist Al Montfort), the band holds the listener's attention steady and true with inventive and memorable songs.
One year after releasing Dick Diver's third album,"Melbourne, Florida" Trouble In Mind is pleased as punch to make the revered Melbourne, Florida band's first two albums 2011's "New Start Again" & 2013's critically acclaimed (and The Age-nominated Best Album) "Calendar Days" FINALLY available domestically for eager & discerning listeners. Building on the promise of their debut, "Calendar Days" a truly communal album with each band member contributing hit after hit, from the punchy first single "Alice" (penned by bassist Al Montfort) to Al McKay & Rupert Edwards' elegant ditties & pop bangers like "Water Damage" "Calendar Days" & "Lime Green Shirt". The real highlight is drummer/guitarist Steph Hughes whose vocal duties on the Edwards-penned title track & duet on "Two Year Lease" add a melodic richness. Not to mention her absolute classic tune "Gap Life" a beguiling & charmingly casual take on "Australian-ness", cementing "Calendar Days" as an unquestionable modern classic. People started to take notice too, as the band was nominated for The Age's Music Victoria Awards for Best Album & Best Band.
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.
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.
New Hampshire-native Doug Tuttle (ex-MMOSS) presents the follow-up to his acclaimed 2013 solo debut self-titled album with "It Calls On Me."
Eschewing the jittery, love-lorn anxiety of his first solo outing, "It Calls On Me" presents a decidedly more dreamy journey through softer, sun-burnt landscapes, while still showcasing Tuttle's trademark masterful guitar-work and his very own brand of impeccably-crafted, fractured psychedelic pop.
Klaus Johann Grobe continue to confound listeners who dare to pidgeonhole them as a "psych" band with their newest single for Chicago-based Trouble In Mind Records, "Baby lass uns Sein" b/w "Ich Bien nicht der Grund". "Baby Lass uns Sein" is a mainstay of the group's live repertoire, a tender ballad that - depending on the band's vibe opens or closes their set with it's mellow metronomic pulse, lilting organ chords & tinkling Moog sparkles. The flip side "Ich Bien nicht der grund" is classic a KJG dance-floor-filler; it's stark beat & thumping bass grounding stratosphear-arching organ drones and chorded keyboard musings. Landolt guides his Moog Prophet thru an array of effects, oscillating it toward new, and decidedly weirder places. The 7-inch single of "Baby Lass Uns Sein" is pressed on black vinyl, comes housed in the Trouble In Mind company sleeve & includes a download code.
Peter Stringer-Hye hails from Nashville, TN - a town that is no stranger to music. Having cut his teeth in local garage & psychedelic bands such as D. Watusi & (Trouble In Mind alums) The Paperhead, Stringer-Hye takes a side step, revealing a strong cache of solo material with his debut solo release, the "Sunday Girls" EP. Kicking off with the title track, "Sunday Girls" bops along familiar territory for Stringer-Hye, conjuring up whispers of UK popsike as well as late-Sixties folk & Americana, punctuated by a stinging guitar solo."When My Eyes Are Closed" ends the firstside; a wistful folk-rocker, whose jangling guitars hearken across decades of music from the late Sixties, thru the present day. Side B kicks off with "Girl With No Name",loping off the grooves with a sensitive grace, before Stringer-Hye launches into a solo worthy of the hottest of Nashville session players. The EP closes with "Throw Away The Day", a fitting ender & a jaunty country rocker with hope & yearning for the future & the possibilities it holds. Expect big things from Stringer-Hye in 2016.
The “Sunday Girls” EP is pressed in an edition of 500 copies,comes housed in a full-color picture sleeve & includes a download code.
Chris Forsyth & Koen Holtkamp have earned reputations as fierce, creative artists and respected masters of their instruments (guitar & synthesizers, respectively). "The Island" is the 2nd collaborative album from these Philadelphia and Brooklyn-based musicians. Rehearsals for the sessions amounted to a couple of days drinking wine, cooking, and hanging out on the beach at the Jersey Shore, and the rhythm and motion of the water seems to have had an undeniable effect on the sessions. The result is an album that despite the freewheeling nature of it's origins, sounds thoroughly composed & song-oriented. Songs like "Long Beach Idyll" and "Cosmic Richard" fuse Forsyth's desert-dusted guitar & Holtkamp's cascading electronics into airy, blissful meditations afloat on an endless ocean, while "Sun Blind" and "Alternator" crackle with intensity, with both musicians seemingly coaxing each other towards something new and primal.