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2019-02-15
Barbara Howard: On The Rise

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2019-02-15
Durand Jones & The Indications: Don’t You Know

The lead single from the sophomore LP from Durand Jones & The Indications has everything you could ask for. Dual lead vocals from Durand Jones and Aaron Frazer, danceable beat, and super sweet soul harmonies that won’t soon leave your ear or turntable. It’s familiar yet modern and it’s truly beautiful seeing these guys push soul music forward with their second LP!

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2019-02-15
Homeshake: Helium

Over his first three albums, Homeshake's Peter Sagar followed his own idiosyncratic vision, a journey that's taken him from sturdy guitar-based indie-pop to a bleary-eyed take on lo-fi R&B. Now, with Helium, Sagar is putting down roots in aesthetic territory all his own.

It comes through not only in the gauziness of the production, but also in the vulnerability of the songs themselves. Everyone Sagar encounters here - including himself - seems to be a step removed from present reality, whether by technology ("Anything At All"), solitude ("Just Like My"), or sweet fantasy ("Like Mariah").

Helium was recorded and mixed by Sagar alone in his apartment in Montreal in early 2018. Freed of the rigid editing process he'd endured before, he was able to lose himself in pursuit of tone and texture. A budding interest in ambient and experimental music pushed him to tinker with the micro-sounds that surround the songs here. The warm chords of a Roland Juno 60 form the album's base, and gave him a clean palette with which to work. "No tape hiss, no humming power outlets and shitty mixing boards," as he puts it. "Everything just came out nice and pure."

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2019-02-15
Hugh Marsh: Violinvocations

Even if you've never heard of Hugh Marsh you've almost certainly heard the sound of his violin. He's a featured player on soundtracks by Hans Zimmer and Harry Gregson-Williams, was nominated for a Juno award, recorded with Iggy Pop and The Stooges, and was in the backing band for Bauhaus' Peter Murphy, all a tiny fraction of his decades-long list of credits. The latest addition to that list is Marsh's own Violinvocations, an LP recorded while Marsh lived in L.A. with friend, mentor, and fellow soundbender Jon Hassell.

Despite the album's title, one would be hard-pressed to say with certainty whether violin was even involved in this album without being told so ahead of time. In one moment a ghost is heard weeping into a dictaphone; a digitized anime character is nervously chattering in the next; and in still another, jagged sheets of distortion avalanche toward the listener beneath auroric swells of harmony. It’s the kind of sound design that requires a dedicated attempt by any Oneohtrixian laptop composer, only it’s all being generated by Marsh's violin and his curious cabinet of effects pedals often in just one take.

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2019-02-15
Pinegrove: Skylight

The physical edition of Pinegrove’s follow-up to 2016's widely heralded ‘Cardinal’ is now here. The first pressings come with a bonus lp / disc - titled ‘Skylight 2’, an acoustic version of the whole album. ‘Skylight 2’ is exclusive to the the physical edition and not available digitally.

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2019-02-08
Bobby Oroza: Your Love Is Too Cold b/w Deja Vu

The first time we heard Bobby Oroza, it was his slow moody ballad "This Love", that perked the world's ears and made a name for the dapper crooner that calls Finland his home. Since it's release, "This Love" has become somewhat of an underground hit, the soundtrack to car shows and swap meets in the West Coast, numerous movies and TV shows, and it even made it to Earl Sweatshirt's most recent mixtape. This new single from Bobby Oroza picks up the tempo and show- cases another side of his range with a record sure to move bodies and nod heads. The A side "Your Love Is Too Cold" is a stomper that blends the groovy soul drumming of early Motown records with guitar that could have been lifted from a James Bond soundtrack. Bobby pleads over the track of his decision to call it quits and keep it quits. The B side "Deja Vu" finds Oroza leaning again into the B side ballad stylings that made him a name to check for. Heavy duty drums lay down the canvas on which Bobby's vocals paint the picture of a relationship that has come to a fork in the road. The Cold Diamond & Mink production and backing band are tight as ever and this is sure to be another classic with the slowie fans.

Jozef Van Wissem & Jim Jarmusch: An Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil

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Experimental lute player Jozef Van Wissem and acclaimed film director and musician Jim Jarmusch have a working relationship that dates back to 2006, when they ran into each other on the street in New York City and quickly struck up a friendship. Van Wissem contributed to the soundtrack for Jarmusch's 2013 movie Only Lovers Left Alive, and the two have collaborated on three previous studio albums - Apokatastasis, Concerning the Entrance Into Eternity, and The Mystery of Heaven. An Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil is their second release as a duo for Sacred Bones Records, following The Mystery of Heaven, and its narrative picks up where that album left off.

Musically, the mostly instrumental album finds much of its power in minimalism. Van Wissem's unadorned lute traces the outlines of subdued electronics and ominous guitar drones laid down by Jarmusch. It's a subtle album, and repeat listens reveal vast depths in its dark corners. Above all, it's an album that sees two formidable collaborators complement each other brilliantly.

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2019-02-08
Michael Chapman: True North

The masterful follow-up to his universally celebrated 2017 album 50, Michael Chapman’s True North finds the elder statesman of British songwriting and guitar plumbing an even deeper deep and honing an ever keener edge to his iconic writing. This authoritative set of predominantly new, and utterly devastating, songs hews to a more intimate sonic signature—more atmospheric, textural, and minimalist than 50, stately and melancholy in equal measure. Recorded in rural West Wales, True North unflinchingly surveys home and horizon, traveling from the Bahamas to Texas to the Leeds of Chapman’s childhood, haunted by the mirages of memory and intimations of mortality. Joining him on this introspective journey is a cast of old friends and new disciples: once again Steve Gunn produces and plays guitar, and fellow UK songwriting hero Bridget St John sings, collaborating with cellist Sarah Smout and legendary pedal steel player BJ Cole, who has accompanied everyone from John Cale to Scott Walker, Elton John to Terry Allen, Felt to Björk to Brian Eno.

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2019-02-08
Ryan Lott: Pentaptych

Pentaptych is a collection of 9 new tracks from Ryan Lott, taken from the ballet piece commissioned by the Philbrook Museum of Art and presented by Tulsa Ballet. The original evening-length work was choreographed by Ma Cong and included a live, original painting created by Eric Sall on-stage (Pentaptych's cover is another of Sall's pieces). It premiered in September of 2018 at the Tulsa Ballet Theatre. About the score, Lott writes: "In dance, music is as much the space in which movement occurs as is the room itself. Those of us who write music for dance are, in that sense, architects. For Pentaptych, I sought to create a series of resonant spaces for Ma's choreography, and for the generation and regeneration of Eric's paintings. Each musical movement explores a consistent instrumental palette, led by the violin (and its viola and cello counterparts), in various stages of abstraction. We hear familiar sounds accompanied by unknown colors, just beyond the reach of familiarity. My hope is that navigating through this array of "rooms" feels as much like an exploration as a homecoming."

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2019-02-01
Cherry Glazerr: Stuffed & Ready

After releasing 2016’s critically acclaimed Apocalipstick, Cherry Glazerr spent the next 18 months touring the world on their own steam. Between DIY All Ages venues, rock clubs, large festival stages, and massive theaters with some of the world’s best and most beloved bands (The Pixies, Flaming Lips, Slowdive, and The Breeders, among others), the band has really only stopped to work on their follow up, Stuffed & Ready. While furiously building the band’s sound and ideas, front person Clem Creevy enlisted Carlos de La Garza to be the band’s studio co-collaborator as they evolved the songs and refined the recordings.

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2019-02-01
Christopher Larkin: Hollow Knight: Gods & Nightmares

Beneath the fading town of Dirtmouth sleeps an ancient, forgotten kingdom. Many are drawn beneath the surface, searching for riches, or glory, or answers to old secrets. Descend into Hallownest, traverse the depths, unravel its mysteries and conquer its evils. The score for Hollow Knight capturundtrack is one of the most memorable and whimsical scores I've heard in a long time. There are tracks here that I'd rank beside the music of Zelda and Star es the vast underground world of the game, and the "Gods & Nightmares" expansion is the perfect addition to an already brilliant soundscape. Destructoid says "[Hollow Knight's] soWars. It is that damned good." Gorgeously packaged in a spot-gloss jacket and pressed on an elaborately designed picture disc, this release is a must-have for all soundtrack fans.

Kelly Finnigan: “I Don’t Wanna Wait” b/w “It’s Not That Easy”

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The first 45 release from Monophonics' lead singer Kelly Finngian puts his multitude of talents on full display! "I Don’t Wanna Wait" is a catchy, gritty soul tune that finds Kelly pleading for love! And with a voice like his, you could resist!

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2019-02-01
Sorry Girls: Easier

Picture your fiercest self, taking your more introverted self on a loving pep-talk-fueled shopping spree. Imagine the feeling of driving down the highway listening to Springsteen with a car full of friends. Bathe in the comfort of lying in bed next to a bag of M&M peanuts watching Twin Peaks. Welcome to Sorry Girls. Easier - their new 7" / double single - presents a culmination in Sorry Girls' sound. Equally steeped in lament and celebration, its two songs are driven by uplifting vocals and synth-heavy arrangements. Cruisin' power pop that cries equally with joy and sorrow. All the pleasure and regret felt by a hypochondriac who can't resist a good cigarette. Sorry Girls is a Montreal based duo consisting of Heather Foster Kirkpatrick and Dylan Konrad Obront. The two met in 2008 while studying at university, making joke songs on GarageBand together over pots of Kraft Dinner on the floor of their friend's apartment. Easier marks the band's first release with Arbutus Records.

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2019-02-01
Unwound: What Was Wound

The definitive Unwound. All seven of their studio albums, nine singles, 24 compilation tracks, complete Peel Sessions, original demo tape, original Fake Train recorded with Tim Green, Live Leaves, a disc of live rarities, and pre-unwound band Giant Henry's complete recordings (plus 2001 reunion show), plus a 90-minute DVD filled with live footage, videos, and other detritus of the VHS era. Foil-wrapped hardcover book contains David Wilcox's complete 40,000 word liner notes, reflections by Justin Trosper, Sara Lund, and Brandt Sandeno, map of Olympia punk houses, dozens of previously unpublished photographs, a flyer gallery, and annotated discography.

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2019-02-01
William Tyler: Goes West

William’s new record, Goes West, is the best music that he’s ever made. I’m sure of this because I know and love all of his music intimately, and this album moves me the most, and the most consistently. The first time I heard it was in the late spring in the Texas Hill Country, rolling between limestone and scrub. I was on a cleanse then—no alcohol, no drugs, no evil thoughts—and was astonished at the emotional clarity that the album held. It offered up a model for what I wanted my head to feel like. Goes West marks a sort of narrowing of focus for William’s music; it sounds as though he found a way to point himself directly towards the rich and bittersweet emotional center of his music without being distracted by side trips. Perhaps this is down to the fact that William only plays acoustic guitar on the album, a clear and conscious decision considering that he is one of Nashville’s great electric guitarists. The band that performs Goes West alongside William—including guitarists Meg Duffy and Bill Frisell, bassist and producer Brad Cook, keyboardist James Wallace, drummer Griffin Goldsmith, and engineer Tucker Martine—is the best and most sympathetic group of players that William could have assembled to play these songs.

—M.C. Taylor, Durham, NC