Kai Hugo works in two guises. Palmbomen is a group-oriented collaboration suited for live dynamics and instrumentation, while Palmbomen II is geared toward solitary production with an austere toolset: classic sequencers, time-tested drum machines and their contemporary counterparts. Hugo's foray as Palmbomen II makes its debut on Beats In Space Records with the eponymous full-length Palmbomen II.
It's either her second album or her ninth, depending on how you count, which means Amy O is both a new artist and a veteran. Growing up in Fayetteville, Arkansas, she taught herself to play guitar and write songs, eventually recording a series of lo-fi albums as she moved around the country for college and work. The endeavor was more about her own experience: the thrill and the discipline of making art. "Songwriting became a way for me to process things and make sense of my life. I got hooked on it emotionally."
Today, Amy's songwriting processes remains the same. 'Elastic' is an album about learning to live in your own inescapable skin- a challenge that defines not just Amy's life, but everybody's existence. Identifying that universal truth has shaped Amy into an exciting and insightful artist, one who is no longer making music for herself but is working to command whatever stage she steps onto. "I always had an aversion to being a girl onstage with a guitar singing quiet songs. There's nothing wrong with that at all, but I always knew I wanted to do something with a bit more volume, a bit more anger. I'm just now figuring out how to represent myself, and I think a lot of that has to do with feminism- learning how to be loud and take over a room, when those are things I've been socialized not to do. It's been a very powerful realization that I can do that."
There is something unforgettable about great love songs, and Briana Marela's Call It Love wraps its welcoming arms around the subject, invoking all its complexity. Before writing the songs that would become Call It Love, Briana Marela was guided first and foremost by her instincts as a producer & engineer. Marela's original vision for this album was to dig into the two poles of her songwriting styles: her ambient, ethereal side and her brighter, beat-driven pop leanings. She enlisted the production help of Juan Pieczanski & Ryan Heyner of the band Small Black upon hearing their most recent self-produced album.
On this album, Briana Marela has made her proverbial giant leap, deepening her songwriting and expanding her palette to explore the sounds of love in beautiful, striking new ways. "Give Me Your Love" explores what Marela calls "love's immature, silly & selfish side." "Quit", the deep, dramatic centerpiece of Call It Love, was originally penned about a breakup with a longtime partner and written with the idea that she could give the song away to another artist. Instead, "Quit" is powerful and revealing in Briana's own hands. And, if "Be In Love" is the sound of falling in love, "Farthest Shore" is the sound of looking inward, of reckoning with and without ourselves. It is an intricate, cavernous song, setting a deceptively pretty melody over ominous drones and skittering percussion. And here, again, the contradictory becomes complementary.
LUV IN THE RUINS is the third release from CARE and their second with Winspear. The album interrogates the abusive interval of "love" and "struck," posing a critique of self-crucifixion and those whom culture has coronated with the privilege to resurrect. Though much of LUV IN THE RUINS was written and recorded in Grand Rapids, MI, CARE currently resides in Queens, NY. The record has garnered much praise for it's dark and unique sound. Ian Cohen for SPIN says "this kind of melodramatic, genre-absorptive oversharing is probably emo's future," and Stereogum says "Majetich fills that vast space with textures that are as wide-ranging and volatile as the emotions he's attempting to work through, and the way he processes the end of a relationship feels brazen and painful."
50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't be Wrong is the debut by Alabama-raised, Austin-based Caroline Sallee, aka Caroline Says. There are rays of youth beaming through this music, but they never outshine a kind of maturity that betrays the fact that Sallee was just 22 years old when 50 Million was made. After college she took a job as a waitress in Yellowstone as an exercise in solitude and independence. With the money she saved there, she took a transformative journey via Greyhound to explore the West Coast before returning to Alabama where she would record her debut album in her parents' basement. 50 Million puts us in the seat right next to Sallee where we can feel the warm West Coast light through the window, the bus route charting the lines between our youth, and our delayed future.
Sallee's gift lies in pitting the familiar against the unexpected with a delicate assuredness, never compromising the one for the other. These kinds of debuts can sometimes feel like an over-promise of what is to come, but in the case of Caroline Says there's clearly plenty more thread to be unraveled. It'll be a pleasure to see where the next bus ride takes us.
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.
Guantanamo Baywatch's new album Desert Center opens with "Conquistador", an instrumental track displaying enough fretboard savvy and fiery twang to make The Challengers proud. But any notion that Guantanamo Baywatch is strictly adhering to one facet of rock n' roll's classic era is dispelled by the soulful swagger and unabashed pop of "Neglect". It’s an inadvertent juxtaposition maintained through the entirety of Desert Center, with blazing instrumental nuggets like "The Scavenger" alternating with the proto-grunge and golden oldies mash-up of a track like "Blame Myself." Like their 2015 album Darlingâ€¦ It's Too Late, Desert Center was primarily tracked in Atlanta at Living Room Recording with Justin McNeight and Ed Rawls, with Jason Powell doing the bulk of the guitar tracks on his own at Jungle Muscle Studios. While Guantanamo Baywatch initially made a name for themselves with their early blown-out recordings, Desert Center retains the raw aesthetics of a Hasil Adkins single, but has the added heft and thump afforded by a modern studio. This balance is perhaps best captured on their lead single "Video", where bassist Chevelle Wiseman drives the tune with a thick, throbbing riff while drummer Chris Scott ruthlessly pounds his kit with a crashing clarity guaranteed to please even the most snobby analog audiophile.
Mermaidens are a three-piece outfit from Wellington, New Zealand, who are renowned for their intricate and unique songwriting, boldly raw but increasingly refined studio production, and a hypnotic live synergy that leaves audiences enchanted. Their entrance onto the NZ music scene was extremely strong following the releases of their widely acclaimed debut EP O in 2014 and subsequent album Undergrowth in 2016. As a result, they were offered dozens of national shows and international support slots, which led to them being picked up by Flying Nun records, who release the band’s first international album, Perfect Body, on 4th August 2017.
The excitement around Mermaidens' debut album was encapsulated by i-D contributor Wendy Syfret, who described them as one of; "New Zealand's most enigmatic and engaging young bands."
Their impressive portfolio of support slots and sold out shows, attests to the charm and excellence of their live show. In just a few years Mermaidens have sold out major venues in New Zealand as well as supporting international acts such as Death Cab For Cutie, Sleater Kinney, and Mac Demarco, and Windhand.
"I don't remember when I first heard of this mysterious album Yellow, but it must have been some time ago, because for the last few years, whenever I would meet Travis, Neil and Nick, the first words from my lips would be "when's Yellow drop?" It was at the Showbox in Seattle were I first heard songs that were going to be on Yellow. I was watching their set with my brother, and after a few songs we glanced at each other knowing that we were finally passing into the Yellow era. Wherever Naomi Punk had been going this whole time, they had just arrived. When I'm listening to the sound of Olympia and America and planet Earth and 2017 and suddenly it doesn't feel so gloomy, and I feel so lucky to have met these boys and to have been touched by their music and to call them friends. And I just hope the world realizes how lucky it is to have them." - Andrew Savage (Parquet Courts)
In late 2013, Preoccupations —then known as Viet Cong-- released a small-run cassette EP only available on tour. Over the course of a year, Matt Flegel and Scott Munro worked in their basement studio with a mess of old and run down equipment to build a set of fresh material. Joined by bandmates Daniel Christiansen and Michael Wallace, the band completed work on an debut cassette. What emerged from the studio was a mixture of sharply-angled rhythm workouts and euphoric ‘60s garage pop-esque melodies, balanced with a penchant for drone-y, VU-styled downer moments, and became a hard-to-find classic.
Shayne P Carter (born in Dunedin, New Zealand) is best known for leading early 80’s punk band The Bored Games followed by The Doublehappys, then the Straitjacket Fits into the mid 1990's. From 1995-2012 he was the only permanent member of Dimmer. Offsider is his first album under his own name.
Accolades Carter has earned during his career include membership of the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame, the Legacy Award (both earned with Straitjacket Fits at the 2008 New Zealand Music Awards), and New Zealand Music Awards for Best Group and Best Rock Album (Dimmer, 2004).
Melbourne scratchy pop favourites the Stevens return with their second album Good. 18 short songs, alternately frenetic or laconic, packed with twists and hooks that merge lo-fi outsider songcraft with 70s prog wizardry and classic rock swagger. The Stevens formed in 2011 around guitarists Alex Macfarlane (Twerps, Tyrannamen) and Travis MacDonald, and were soon joined by bassist Gus Lord (Twerps, Boomgates, Tyrannamen) and drummer Matt Harkin. Chapter released their debut album A History Of Hygiene in late 2014. The album was written up by Pitchfork and The Guardian, reviewed by Austin Brown of Parquet Courts and played on BBC6. The Stevens toured the US in 2015, playing Gonerfest on the back of killer single Thirsty Eye. In Australia they have played with Wire, Parquet Courts, Real Estate and others. The Stevens recorded Good in Melbourne bedrooms/jam rooms throughout 2016, and once again employed the services of New Zealand mastering engineer Tex Houston, veteran of a thousand Flying Nun releases. Alex and Gus from The Stevens have spent the last couple of years as the newest members of Twerps, with Alex drumming on their 2015 album Range Anxiety, and Gus joining on bass a short time later.
Blast Off Through the Wicker documents Art Feynman looking for life in the lifeless, questioning what it means to be living. There is a calm, disciplined pocket to be felt in everything Feynman does; krautrock slink, staccato bounce, and pentatonic bursts of Nigerian Highlife fuzz pour on the temporal canvas with unquestionable ease, never falling in the wrong place. Even more admirable is, that his "canvas" is a four-track tape recorder, and that Blast Off features no loops or drum machines despite its aesthetically faithful motorik and afrobeat underpinnings. Nowhere is this fact more surprising than on album standout "Slow Down" which pulses along infectiously with a crunchy backbeat, and deftly arpeggiating bass lines that are so locked-in that it would be hard to fault an unknowing ear for assuming the whole thing is tediously programmed.
There are gentler sides to Blast Off that conjure the spacey tenderness of Arthur Russell inventively and respectfully, without adopting their muse's palette wholesale. In this regard Blast Off is an endearing collection of songs that capture the ear with warm-yet-clear cassette aesthetics and spot-on musicianship, both of which form an angle that points lovingly to Feynman's deep and varied influences. Make no mistake-- this one truly is alive.
Formed in Auckland in the early 1990s, Bressa Creeting Cake's, catalog is packed with avant-pop. Right from the opening calypso swing of 'Palm Singing', always displaying a playful inventiveness that goes throughout the album. With plenty of psychedelic tinges and a touch of progressive rock, the band don’t get stuck in any one place for long, from the frivolous fun of 'Rocky Mountain' to the beautiful 'Chip That Sells Millions', the term 'pure pop genius' jumps to mind. Never released before on vinyl this expanded double LP edition of the bands debut s/t album also features tracks from the Papa People EP plus b-sides and rarites.
After a string of well-received 7" releases on labels like Suicide Squeeze and Die Slaughterhaus, Dasher songs new and old have finally been smelted down into their debut album, Sodium. Dasher knifes out the chop-crunch guitar of latterday post-punk with a seething screech echoing the hardest horizons of the early 90's underground.
Re-issued for the first time Auckland's Garageland 'Comeback Special EP' and 'Last Exit To Garageland' which when released made solid splashes on student radio as well as going on to reach number 5 in the NZ music album charts. Guitars turned up and warm reverb tossing off words nonchalantly in the way that great NZ bands have always mumbled through a catchy tune, Garageland were mining a rich musical vein. Deluxe 2xLP, including, B-sides, rarites and digital download.
The 'Otherness' is the latest album from New Zealand's experimental-alternative pop connoisseur Grayson Gilmour. This album is Grayson's third record with Flying Nun and follows on from the 2014 release 'Infinite Life!'. Over a 15 year music career, Grayson has built himself a dedicated fan base and admiration from music critics across New Zealand and internationally for not just his solo work but his band So So Modern and his more recent film and TV work.
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On & Off Again is the follow up to Major Murphy's 2015 EP Future Release. The new EP finds lead singer and songwriter, Jacob Bullard, hashing out variations on a familiar theme. The title itself, On & Off Again, implies a repetitive motion, and likewise the EP fixates itself on recycling chord progressions and melodies. The two video singles from the EP, "On & Off" and "Oceans," are both repurposed as instrumental arrangements. The main "On & Off" theme is repeated in "On & Off Again," but this time with a new chilled out tempo & atmosphere. "Oceans" is rehashed as the chaotic & sprawling jam-out "Over Everything."
On & Off Again comes out July 14th via Winspear. Debut full length expected Spring 2018.
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.
Beginning in 1982, the conceptual audiovisual troupe labeled Psychic TV set out on a multimedia journey filled with subversion, liberation and rebellion. While the members' previous works took root in the counterculture zeitgeist of late '70s UK punk and conceptual art, it was no longer a question of how to rebel against authority, but rather how to carefully subvert it through collective infiltration. Parallel to Psychic TV, its members formed the anti-cult faction Thee Temple of Psychick Youth, further propagating the Psychic TV message and vision.
While the ensuing years saw Psychic TV's major label infection and record breaking live album release binge, it wasn't until 1988 that the band started to ready itself for a chart-friendly pop endeavor in the form of "Allegory & Self". This would be the band's most notable and successful endeavor but tragically, it would be the final songwriting collaboration between P-Orridge and Fergusson. "Allegory and Self" was a perfect storm of catchy pop melody along with subversive counter-culture reference and occult leanings, packaged in a perfect bundle of underground hits.