Bush Lady is the only recording ever made by Alanis Obomsawin, a member of the Abenaki First Nations and best known as one of Canada's most accomplished and decorated documentary filmmakers. Less well known is that Obomsawin began her artistic career as a singer-songwriter in the 1960s, part of a broad movement of Indigenous artists from across North America rallying in new assertions of cultural consciousness, political rights, and reckonings with oppressive colonial history. She was invited by Folkways to perform at Town Hall in New York City in the early 1960s and spent that decade primarily identifying as a singer, channeling traditional songs hand-in-hand with modern composition. Twenty years later, amidst her burgeoning film career, Bush Lady was born of sessions sponsored by CBC Radio in 1984. Unsatisfied with these recordings, Obomsawin reclaimed the master tapes, remade the album, and issued it on her own private press in 1988. This unique, profound, magical record has been out of print and gaining cult status ever since. Constellation is honoured to be working with this legendary Canadian cultural icon to issue a newly remastered version of Bush Lady on audiophile 180gram vinyl - and for the first time on CD.
BACK IN STOCK & REMASTERED
Big Black was started by Steve Albini in 1982 while he was attending Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Lungs, the first Big Black release was recorded by Steve on a borrowed 4-track. He played everything on the EP himself - except the sax bleating courtesy of pal John Bohnen and the drums courtesy of Roland. Soon after, Steve recruited Jeff Pezzati (Naked Raygun) on bass, and Santiago Durango (also Naked Raygun) joined them on guitar. In 1983, together with live drummer Pat Byrne, they recorded the Bulldozer EP. By 1984, the band had done some touring and recorded the Racer X EP and the start of the Il Duce 7". After that, Jeff returned to Naked Raygun and was replaced by Dave Riley. In 1985, Big Black recorded their first full-length, Atomizer, as well as finishing the Il Duce 7". Atomizer was released in 1986 along with the release of the Hammer Party compilation CD. In 1987, the Headache EP and Heartbeat 7" were released. That same year, the band recorded and released the 7" of The Model/He's A Whore as well as their second full-length album, Songs About Fucking. They toured extensively (for Big Black). And they broke up.
"Useful Solitude" is the phrase Kevin Krauter uses to describe Toss Up, his upcoming full-length debut on Bayonet Records - both the conditions in which it was created and the prevailing theme of these nine iridescent indie-pop songs. In between tours the Indiana musician spent long hours in his basement, guitars and vintage keyboards his only company, and tested out ideas, explored new sonic avenues, savored new sounds, and taught himself how to play a few instruments.
'Toss Up' builds on the sonic worlds of Krauter's first releases, conveying a similar mood with a greater array of instruments and influences. An insightful songwri'er with a lyrical style that is both economical and evocative, Krauter crafts unique soundscapes that scramble a range of influences - '60s flower pop, ‘70s easy listening, '80s New Wave, '90s alt-radio, '00s indie rock. The secret tension on Toss Up, the engine that drives these songs: melody propelled by rhythm, melancholy fended off by the exuberance of simply creating art.
Facing the sort of obstacles that might, understandably, derail a fledgling band's career, MOURN instead forged ahead, and in typical fashion managed to harness their swirling anger, frustration, and passion from the past 2 years into new music. Now, only just recently freed from their legal binds, MOURN is back in full force to share their 3rd full-length album, Sorpresa Familia.Ironically, the obstacles and injustice MOURN have faced in recent years has provided a fertile foundation for new songs that display a palpable maturity and evolution, while retaining every bit of the fiery angst and attitude that has shaped their sound from the start. Chock full of tension and pent up frustration, Sorpresa Familia feels tonally right at home within MOURN's catalog. But it also feels distinctly separate - more refined, more intentional. Railing against greedy businesses, exploitation, fake friends, dishonest figures of authority, and ever complicated global politics, it's an album of decidedly higher stakes than their past outputs, delivered with the newfound poetic grace of a band rising up out of the ashes of those who stood in their way.
After an eventful year of touring throughout their native Australia - including runs with labelmates MONO and likemindedpioneers Tortoise - and featuring alongside the work of artist David Hockney at the National Gallery ofVictoria, post-everything quintet Tangents return with another album, and another stylistic detour. New Bodiescontinues Tangents' rummage through countless varieties of electronics, rock, dub, noise, and free improv jazz thatdefines the group's acclaimed aesthetic. The spacious dub of a plucked cello gives way to a minimalist breakbeattableau resting over rhythmic prepared piano; a staid electronic groove is gradually absorbed into washes of frenziedimprov; staccato synths are woven into tumbling avant-rock; and shimmering free drums phase over static loops ofpiano, guitar and cello. To quote FACT Magazine, "The quintet are so comfortable working with jazz, folk music, postrockand electronic music that it comfortably hangs in a space between them all." On New Bodies, that descriptionrings more intuitive and authentic than ever.
Across two decades, Tadd Mullinix has amassed himself a veritable arsenal of aliases, exploring nearly as many styles and sounds from the willfully weird EBM he makes as Charles Manier, to the acid-inclined house and techno of JTC, or the freeform electronics released under his given name, Mullinix carves a distinctive niche with his music. But inspiration comes in waves, and the creative surge resurrected Mullinix's acclaimed hip-hop project, Dabrye, and, as might be expected from such a multifaceted producer, it also gave life to the latest alias in his arsenal: X-Altera.
The name itself reflects as much. "X-Altera references two things. It comes from Latin - ex altera - which means 'from or of the other side.' Which could be a metaphysical thing, or you could say it's jungle ethics brought into the techno world. And I spelled it this way as a reference to X-101 and X-102, the Underground Resistance project of Jeff Mills, Mike Banks, and Robert Hood." Detroit meets London, deep techno meets drum & bass, old meets new - X-Altera unites these threads in order to take them in unknown directions.
Though not a household name, Bernadette Carroll is one of the more successful teen vocalists of the girl group era. She charted as a member of the Angels, as a solo act, and as a for-hire backup singer, performing on at least two #1 hits, selling over a million copies of each. You've heard her voice, whether you know it or not.
Her early '60s work with Hazlet, New Jersey, producer Tommy Falcone resulted in a handful of singles for the Cleopatra and Julia labels, including the syrupy ballad "Laughing on the Outside (Crying on the Inside)" and the upbeat dancer "Heavenly." "Laughing" was buried in a New Jersey basement until we pulled it from obscurity for last year's "End of the F***ing World" for Netflix, which garnered the track five million streams in its first three months.
Bernadette Carroll will be featured prominently on Teen Expo: The Cleopatra Label and Basement Beehive: The Girl Group Underground, both due this fall.
Hilary Woods' artistry is one of rare emotive reach. Her minimalist and compositional finesse combine with densely layered atmospheric instrumentation and dreamlike vocals to create music rich with both delicacy and intensity. The Sunday Times hailed her early solo recordings as "a revelation."
After the release of two critically acclaimed EPs, Woods spent 2017 writing and recording songs on an eight-track in an abandoned flat she was living in at the time. Layering piano, synth, tape machine, field recordings, vocals, drone, unadorned beats, and old string instruments, these songs culminate in her debut solo LP Colt. Straddling the acoustic and electronic worlds, Colt is an intensely personal journey through grief, abandonment, and mutating love. Woods navigates this journey with a lyrical potency that cuts through stark piano, sensuous synth work, and textural acoustics. Somewhere between Marissa Nadler, Grouper and Julee Cruise, these songs evoke both the anguish of their content and the ecstasy of their craft.
Devotion is a stunning artistic about-face from revered Melbourne songwriter Laura Jean. Loved for her piercing, intimate, folk-based albums, Laura has worked with producer John Lee (Beaches, Lost Animal) to create an enveloping, deep pop album like nothing she has done before. Laura's last self-titled album, recorded in the UK with John Parish (Perfume Genius, Aldous Harding) and featuring Jenny Hval on backing vocals, was a critical smash in Australia, short-listed for the Australian Music Prize. The album lead to tours with Aldous Harding and Marlon Williams, plus shows at the National Gallery of Victoria and various Australian festivals. But soon Laura found herself tinkering with a 90s Kawai keyboard, enjoying its built-in drum rhythms and moody synth sounds. Laura began a series of shows performing with nothing but the keyboard, as the idea for her next album grew and developed.Devotion is an album about teenage obsession, coastal childhood and vivid memory - universal themes filtered through Laura's razor sharp lyrical focus. Initial influences for the record took in R'n'B, 80s adult contemporary pop and 70s disco, but the end result is transformed into something wholly other, full of depth, resonance and mystery. Devotion is both contemporary and timeless.
serpentwithfeet is an avant-garde vocalist and performance artist whose growing body of work is rooted in dueling obsessions with the ephemeral and the everlasting - key components of his artistic journey from a childhood stint as a choirboy in Baltimore through his time at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he studied vocal performance before relocating to New York City. His forthcoming debut full-length album soil is a return to the sensibilities and wide-eyed curiosity of his musical youth before symmetry and sterile soundscapes ruled the roost. With the release of soil the chameleonic serpentwithfeet (born Josiah Wise) rediscovers and ultimately returns to the unhinged version of himself he was sure he had outgrown.
With this album I gave myself permission to let the leaves grow, let the flowers bloom, let myself be hairy and let my sound be hairy. I'm excited about the way things naturally come out of my body. I am always going to embrace discipline and streamlining. But I’m in a space at the moment where I don't need or desire the corset. It's time for expansiveness.
In Spring 2017, Uniform was asked to support fellow noisy, boundary-pushing duo The Body for a European tour. Having been longtime fans of the band, Uniform vocalist Michael Berdan and guitarist Ben Greenberg jumped at the opportunity. During the planning phase of the tour, Berdan and Lee Buford from The Body started corresponding regularly. Ultimately, Berdan asked Buford if he and The Body cofounder Chip King would be interested in making a collaborative record with Uniform. Buford enthusiastically assented, and the seed of Mental Wounds Not Healing was sown.
The title of the record is a line stolen from the chorus of Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train." Most of the titles are culled from horror literature and cinema, with specific nods to Shirley Jackson, Jack Ketchum, and Elem Klimov. Thematically, the songs have to do with feeling trapped in one's own mind, projecting images over and over again of a future in shambles before it even gets a chance to happen. It is about hopelessness, anxiety, and depression so familiar that they seem like permanent fixtures of one's psyche and identity.
DECAYED: Ten Years of Cities, Wounds, Lightness, and Pain perfectly charts Young Widows' evolution from inspired post-hardcore trio to peerless entity crafting profound combinations of post-punk, noise rock, heavy psych, and gothic folk. The fifteen tracks in this collection originally appeared on stand-alone singles, b-side, splits with likeminded artists (including Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Pelican, Melt-Banana, and MY DISCO), and rare compilations. Four of them have never been released until now. Of the many impressive aspects of Young Widows' decade-plus run as a band perhaps most remarkable is the quality and breadth of music they made that didn't appear on their albums. Every song here is a standout track from the evolving eras of the band, and as with all things Young Widows, DECAYED pays respect to the past while planting roots for the future.