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Deepak Verbera, the third LP by Austin's Spencer Stephenson aka BOTANY, bends the beat-driven path carved by the composer's first two records into meterless cosmic territory, juxtaposing free jazz arrhythmia with cathedral-filling harmony, ringing off the temple walls with soaring grandeur. The billowing textures that loomed behind his previous output break unabashedly into the foreground, shedding the beats that once stenciled them in. What arises in the absence of discernable rhythm is a psych-inflected scrapbook of atmospheres with tremendous sonic and emotional breadth.
In essence Deepak Verbera is a soundscape record created through methods usually found in hip-hop; vinyl samples, looped vocal phrases, pulsing bass, and warm synths all shimmer with kosmische-indebted splendor, like Popol Vuh with MPCs and a stack of secondhand records.
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.
Glasgow's prodigious talent C Duncan released his critically acclaimed and Mercury Prize nominated debut album Architect earlier this year (last summer in the UK.) Now, his follow-up The Midnight Sun sees the bedroom producer return with a more expansive and experimental second offering, blending electronic elements and sweeping synth sounds with his signature layered vocals and dreamy instrumentation.
The album borrows its name from a Twilight Zone episode aired in 1961 Duncan muses, "it embodies the style of Twilight Zone perfectly, which is often claustrophobic, mysterious and unnerving. Like Architect, The Midnight Sun was recorded and produced entirely by C Duncan in his Glasgow flat, using his bedroom studio set-up and gradually adding each layer and each instrument one at a time. Though time-consuming, the process allowed him to lovingly assemble an intricate and subtle collection of songs that pick up where Duncan began with Architect and move toward a cleaner and more precise vision of the Scottish songwriter's vision. Duncan has heralded the new album as his "most coherent and concise work, sonically."
Califone's debut album Roomsound - Originally self released in April of 2001. Roomsound covers the same rustic, slightly ramshackle back forty that Tim Rutili has been ploughing through since his previous band Red Red Meat. Only this time the tilled bedrock unveils the most vividly colored, luring crop of songs Rutili has ever harvested. The sleepy, country-blues picking and autumnal backwoods melodies are accented with striking splashes of electronic tone color, obsolete keyboards and off-kilter percussion. Lyrically, Roomsound penetrates the breath of pirates, poison apples at a tango contest and the waiting room between death and canonization where missionaries have quit and 19th-century prostitutes have been rescued for all the wrong reasons. Masterfully produced by Brian Deck, the album is vaulted far beyond the sum of its parts.
Roomsound is a hauntingly unique and distinctive record of crafted and sculpted beauty.
Chasms is the San Francisco based project of Jess Labrador and Shannon Madden. The duo crafts percussive dirges that are at once beautiful and menacing. Labrador's haunting vocals and hypnotizing guitar work wade between rhythmic bass lines and bursts of Madden's stinging feedback, laid on a bed of pummeling drum programming. The band's affinity for industrial rhythms, swelling textures, precise minimalism, and chaotic eruptions of noise sounds as equally informed by shoegaze as drone and doom metal - to choose just one would be a disservice. On the Legs of Love Purified is the band's proper debut full-length album. Written over the course of several years, the album explores the healing force of love and the exorcism of pain that inescapably accompanies it. Light cannot exist without dark, bliss without suffering.
Steeped in Caribbean flavor and seasoned with a fistful of hand-percussion, "Yamar" was initially sidelined from 2009's Cult Cargo: Grand Bahama Goombay for feeling less like cargo than an authentic piece of pan-Americana. Phish fans may recognize this previously unattainable A-side as it as been a staple in their setlists since the late '80s, imported by bassist Mike Gordon who heard the Mustangs performing it in a Bahamian hotel. Backed with the sweltering "Words To My Song," this doubler-sider is a must for any sea side or pool side DJ.
Flood Dosed was DFA's first release from the incomparable New York-via-Boston Guerilla Toss. Originally released only on cassette and digitally, Flood Dosed is now available on vinyl for the first time. It now includes a bonus vinyl exclusive track "Teacher Speaks" which was recorded in the same sessions as the rest of the EP.
Guerilla Toss have lived by (admitted fan/supporter) Henry Rollins "Get in the Van"-style promotion; touring extensively around the USA, Canada, and Europe since their inception in 2011. They played pigsties, punk houses, liberal arts colleges, and the occasional opening slot for iconic bands such as Mission of Burma, Merzbow, & Black Dice. Recently, the band affixed a Grateful Dead "steal yr face" decal to the bumper of their well-traveled minivan - a signifier of their commitment to unique setlists and unpredictable surprises at each and every performance.
Guerilla Toss have also been prolific recording and releasing multiple releases on vinyl, tape, and CD on respected underground labels labels such as Feeding Tube, John Zorn's TZADIK, NNA Tapes, Infinity Cat and as well as their most recent full-length LP Eraser Stargazer for DFA in the spring of 2016.
Guerilla Toss are set to release their EPs Flood Dosed and Giant Claw VS Guerilla Toss bundled for the first time on Compact Disc on October 14, 2016.
Flood Dosed was DFA's first release from the incomparable New York-via-Boston Guerilla Toss. Guerilla Toss have lived by (admitted fan/supporter) Henry Rollins "Get in the Van"-style promotion; touring extensively around the USA, Canada, and Europe since their inception in 2011. They played pigsties, punk houses, liberal arts colleges, and the occasional opening slot for iconic bands such as Mission of Burma, Merzbow, & Black Dice. Recently, the band affixed a Grateful Dead "steal yr face" decal to the bumper of their well-traveled minivan - a signifier of their commitment to unique setlists and unpredictable surprises at each and every performance. Guerilla Toss have also been prolific recording and releasing multiple releases on vinyl, tape, and CD on respected underground labels such as Feeding Tube, John Zorn's TZADIK, NNA Tapes, Infinity Cat and others.
Giant Claw VS Guerilla Toss is the remix/version/reworking of Guerilla Toss' music, a musical creation mixed, manipulated and imagined through the prism of ideas that is Giant Claw (Orange Milk Records). Giant Claw is also known to many as Keith Rankin, an in-demand artist / graphic designer, tied to Guerilla Toss by illustrating the bold LP images from their DFA debut LP Eraser Stargazer, as well as the cover for this very release. Giant Claw takes five prime Guerilla Toss tracks and zaps them with his wild blend of elastic 808 rhythms, merging the crazy R&B vocal sample style he is known for with Kassie's sing/shout rapid-fire poetic delivery. It is a unique formula and it sees Giant Claw find a surprising elements or two or three within all five "versions". The through-line that pulls all tracks together is the faithful analog stems VS MIDI triggered fully digital sounds, all clashing together into a glorious groove.
Private Energy is the fifth album from Roberto Carlos Lange a.k.a. Helado Negro. Written and produced by Lange, the album is an interpersonal communication of sounds about his surroundings past, present, and future.
Private Energy, which follows 2013's Invisible Life and 2014's tour de force Double Youth, continues the work Lange has done as an artist, culminating in the most captivating artistic statement of his career. The music draws from his expansive knowledge of sampling, sound synthesis, recording and history of references, and the album was created as a performance piece in tandem with his Tinsel Mammal dancers. Present at each Helado Negro show, the Tinsel Mammal dancers, costumed head-to-toe in silver strands, are a visual representation of sound and a sensual gateway to profoundly personal lyrics. The Tinsel Mammals are not representative of any human form. They work as a shimmering objects that represent the ideas of genderless and raceless beings and Private Energy’s themes of self-love, pride, and the embrace of constant change.
Katie Gately's introduction to music making was born out of a fascination with sounds, which led to a preoccupation with making field recordings of her surroundings and saving them. "With no plan or direction and no understanding of what I was doing, I was like, 'Well, I like doing this so I'm just going to record lots of sounds. I'm just going to put them on hard drives and save them,'" she recalls. While studying at USC and working as a sound editor for films, Gately went from engineering and editing sound for films to making her own rudimentary electronic. "I realized that I wanted to do more than just correlate sounds to pictures. I'd like to take the sounds and make them the movie stars of the soundscapes. Those experiments became my songs."
On her debut LP, Color, the LA based, singer songwriter-producer, has built seven maximalist electronic compositions based on the idea that more is more. Meticulously composed from layers of found sounds and manipulations of her own voice, Color pulses, lurches, and throbs with the excitement of a million barely-controlled ideas and the energy of a sped up cartoon. The cacophony of sounds could easily slide into chaos were it not for Gately's uncanny knack for melody. Even at their wildest, songs like "Tuck", "Sire", and "Frisk" all boast some sort of accessible emotional core - be it an earworm melody or the kind of winding, circular beat that becomes almost impossible not to hum or sing or feel.
Lawrence Arabia - the pseudonym of James Milne - is a connoisseur of classic songwriting, creating timeless music inspired as much by 1970's West Coast Americana as New Zealand indie pop.
In April 2016 Lawrence Arabia released the first single A Lake from his forthcoming album Absolute Truth. Described by A Line Of Best Fit as: "is a confident, assured sound and the overall feeling that he's finally happened upon the sound that works for him... with tracks as strong as this, there's every chance that Lawrence Arabia's new album will give him the worldwide recognition his music deserves."
Just months after reviving The Departing of a Dream series from a ten-year hiatus -- Loren Connors issues another movement of saturated guitar tones, dissonance and impermanence.
Volume Six begins with the percussive sound of struck, muted strings -- an unusually rhythmic effect for one of Connors solo recordings, writes Kurt Gottschalk in The Wire. But from there, Connors' guitar notes morph into gentle wisps of guitar sounds -- or as Connors himself describes: "just like the wind scattering the notes around."
The mini-album is presented as a 10-inch record with artwork by Connors -- a faint, subtle outline of a woman's face. One-time edition of 500 copies, includes download coupon.
Founded and directed by composer Minna Choi, Magik*Magik Orchestra is an orchestra from San Francisco. From 2008 - 2015, Magik*Magik focused on musical collaborations with outside artists, such as Death Cab for Cutie, The Dodos, John Vanderslice, Explosions in the Sky, The Walkmen, How to Dress Well, Son Lux, Gem Club, Christina Vantzou, and Weezer, among others. As the group's music director, Choi has composed string arrangements for over 100 bands on 600+ songs over the past 7 years.
In 2014, Death Cab For Cutie guitarist/producer Chris Walla encouraged her to try writing original songs. His belief in Choi was so unwavering he offered her a record deal on his label, TRANS-, with the promise to release whatever she wrote. The resulting record features drummer James McAlister (Sufjan Stevens), violinist Rob Moose (Bon Iver/YMusic), bassist Jason Muscat, & guitarist Matthew Heulitt alongside 15 of Magik*Magik Orchestra's most accomplished orchestral session musicians and is a loose homage to Choi's musical inspirations including Bjork, St. Vincent, Robyn, The National, Janelle Monae, Son Lux, and How to Dress Well, whose Tom Krell lends his voice to the duet "We Laugh A Lot."
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.
Requiem For Hell finds MONO returning to longtime friend and collaborator, Steve Albini. After MONO and Albini's band, Shellac, toured Japan together last year, they realized how much they missed the (often wordless) creative dialogue they shared during the making of many of their most memorable albums - beginning with Walking Cloud and Deep Red Sky... (2004) and culminating with Hymn To Immortal Wind (2009). The rebirth of the Albini collaboration for Requiem For Hell also coincided with the birth of a close friend's first child, whose actual in utero heartbeat serves as the foundation for the aptly named "Ely's Heartbeat." For MONO, it all felt so right, so inevitable. Requiem For Hell is undeniably heavier and scarier than most of MONO's output to this point - hear the dizzying 18-minute title track for example - but it also carries some of their most sublime moments. This dichotomy is how one band's obsession with conflict has manifested itself into one of underground music's simultaneously quietest and loudest catalogs.
A busy stage actor and singer already well known in his native Norway for three albums released on Oslo's Fysisk Format, "Echo" marks a pivotal turning point for Bech, and something of a radical sonic departure too. The keys to the seachange lie with Bech's new collaborator, the young underground DJ, producer and beat maker Drippin, known for his work with American rap artists such as LE1F and Cakes Da Killa. As a result, where his previous work was strange, ethereal and otherworldly - completely and utterly unique - "Echo" throbs with a renewed sense of vigour and urgency, without losing any of the idiosyncratic beauty which marked Bech's work out before.
The sound created here is strange and immediate. Stuttering sharp bass kicks combine with clanging 5-alarm snare drums made of glass, orchestra stabs and melancholy piano lines jump in and out of the arrangements. These new elements and ideas are married to the already singular voice of Nils Bech, with "Echo" becoming something new, exciting and 100% Norwegian - homegrown and ready for the world. Just listen to new track "Waiting" for evidence of his truly inimitable vision, as martial drums anchor Bech's floating, weightless vocals, to create something swoonsome, beguiling and defiantly its own creature.
The music comes to full fruition when performed live, as proven at two packed performances at the 2016 By Larm Festival where Nils was joined onstage by both Drippin & Oyvind Mathisen, who also produced, arranged and played on the album alongside Bech. Make sure not to miss the completely original and striking sound of Nils Bech.
The debut album by Selector Dub Narcotic is an exercise in ecstatic genre-smashing, blending and up-ending. Calvin Johnson of the K label and such Olympia combos as Dub Narcotic Sound System, Beat Happening, Halo Benders and most recently The Hive Dwellers has been working under the nom de plume Selector Dub Narcotic since founding the Dub Narcotic Studio in 1993. This Party Is just Getting Started is a collaboration with NW hip hop producer Smoke M2D6, who first began working with K producing the All Your Friend's Friends [KLP255] compilation. As a member of the Oldominion crew Smoke M2D6 has produced almost every major hip hop artist in Washington and Oregon. This Party Is just Getting Started began with the song "All for the Sake of Rhymin'" (which samples K artist Mahjongg) and snowballed into an entire album of dance pop garage soul with Calvin's trademark melodica wafting overall.
Emerging from a decade-long hiatus, East Coast electronic producer and multi-instrumentalist, Sybarite, returns with Waver The Absolute. Following his lone, lush album on 4AD, Sybarite released the odd-and-ends collection, Cut Out Shape, before receding into his studio to focus on soundtrack and freelance work. In 2009 he formed the dream-pop duo, Bell Horses, with Jenny Owen Youngs, and released a leftfield cassette as Christian Hawkins in 2012. The long break from Hawkins' Sybarite project seems to have done him some good, as Waver The Absolute is unquestionably his strongest and most cohesive work to date. The marriage of the electronic and the organic has been one that Hawkins has expertly manipulated since his days in the legendary Silver Apples in the late 1990s. On Waver The Absolute, he uses his Sybarite moniker to expand and explore that union in exhilarating and rewarding new ways.
Syrinx's path veered from the dominant modes of '70s subculture, their version of chamber pop hybridized with wild, whimsical electronic experimentation charting new territory in the under and overground. Formed by composer John Mills-Cockell after the dissolution of Intersystems, Syrinx's two adventurous albums, Syrinx and Long Lost Relatives, endorsed the poetic potential of the avant-garde, subverting a turn of the '60s trend toward technological pageantry. Tumblers From The Vault presents these two albums alongside the trio's unheard music, revisiting the Syrinx story and sharing their memorable, mind-bending melodies. Triple LP version comes with printed inner sleeves, 20 page booklet with extensive liner notes, and a high-quality digital download.
Both Will Escape is the debut full-length between electric guitarist Tashi Dorji and percussionist Tyler Damon. In the long tradition of string/drum duets -- from Bailey & Bennink to Haino & Yoshida -- these two cleave out their own unmapped continent of sound. Across four pieces they connect lashes of ecstatic intensity and outer reaches of texture and timbre. At times Dorji's brutal electric torrents meld into Damon's metal and tonal abstractions.
These two developed in parallel for years before forging an ongoing duo in 2015. Dorji has released a string of startling acoustic albums that've rescrambled six-string notions of jazz/improv/Flamenco. Damon's rethink of overtone and rhythm is enraptured as it's stupefying in solo exhibitions or with Mars Williams, Darin Gray and Thee Open Sex. Edition of 500 LPs with download coupon.
Legendary Texan artist Terry Allen occupies a unique position straddling the frontiers of country music and visual art; he has worked with everyone from Guy Clark to David Byrne to Lucinda Williams, and his artwork resides in museums worldwide. Widely acclaimed as a masterpiece, his deeply moving (and hilarious) satirical second album, a complex memory palace to his West Texas hometown Lubbock, is often cited as the urtext of alt-country. Produced in collaboration with the artist and meticulously remastered from the original analog tapes, this is the definitive edition: the first to correct the tape speed inconsistencies evident on all prior versions; the first U.S. vinyl reissue; the first CD to restore the full track listing; and the first to contextualize the record within Allen's 50-year career. Deluxe 2Ă—LP package includes tip-on gatefold jacket with lyrics, printed inner sleeves, download code, and 28pp. book with related artwork and photos, an oral history by Allen, and essays by David Byrne, Lloyd Maines, and PoB. 2Ă—CD edition features replica jacket, sleeves, and tipped-in 52pp. book.
5 stars; '50 Essential Albums of the 1970s.' Eccentric and uncompromising, savage and beautiful, literate and guttural. - Rolling Stone
Raunchy, pithy, and deeply redolent. - Pitchfork
Riveting. - NPR
A sinewy guitar, a throbbing bass, and a chorus of haunting females oohs... Eccentric Soul: The Deep City Label started with one unrelenting pleader of a track:'Them Two's "Am I A Good Man." Since its 2006 rerelease, "Am I A Good Man" has appeared in dozens of films and television shows and has been sampled by the likes of Ghostface Killah and 50 Cent. Ten years later, this deep soul classic from Miami returns to its original format with it's long-vaulted B-side "Love Has Taken Wings" on the reverse. Both songs were co-written by Clarence "Blowfly" Reid and produced by Liberty Citywunderkinds Johnny Pearsall and Willie Clarke.
Automatisme is the electronic music project of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec-based producer William Jourdain, who has been self-releasing a brilliant series of albums and tracks under this moniker since 2013, exploring various intersections of drone, dub techno, electronica, ambient, electro-acoustic, and noise.
Always taking site-specific field recordings as its starting point, and with nominal reliance on synthesizers, Automatisme samples, signal bends, and transforms his source material into deliberate and elemental soundscapes of white and pink noise, spatial drone and methodically additive beats.
Momentform Accumulations compiles much of Jourdain's most recent and most rhythmically-driven work. We're very excited to be issuing this as Automatisme's first official full-length physical album release - and while Jourdain continues to pursue his studies in Art History, his practice as a painter and installation artist, and his work at Saint-Hyacinthe's excellent FrĂ©quences record store, we also anticipate diverse and fascinating future recordings from Automatisme that will stake out a multi-faceted identity for this viscerally engaged young producer. (We also urge interested ears to check out Automatisme on Bandcamp for previous recordings that similarly reveal the project's multiplicity.)
Teeming with the energy and grit of pre-Giuliani Manhattan, Blonde Redhead's long out-of-print early recordings have finally crawled their way out of the '90s basement thanks to Numero Group who will issue the set on Sept. 30. Weighing in at 37 tracks, Masculin FĂ©minin compiles the band's first two albums for Steve Shelley's Smells Like Records (self-titled and La Mia Via Violenta), their period singles, extant demos, and radio performances across four LPs or two CDs. Dozens of previously unpublished photographs illustrate two lengthy essays on this essential New York band's formative years.
This is the latest installment in Numero Group's 200 Line series which has also included releases from Unwound, Bedhead, Codeine, White Zombie and The Scientists.