We’ve got a load to get through today thanks to a late shipment yesterday full of goodies and an early delivery today with some great releases.
Hard to pick just one of these as my top release, but really have been listening to “Sky Swimming” from Elephant a lot and the track “Never Make a Dollar That Way” from the David Wiffen reissue is getting lots of my attention. Anyways, not going to yammer on here, let’s just get to the releases and featured tracks!
Margot & The Nuclear SO & SOs – Slingshot to Heaven
Sling Shot to Heaven, Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s 5th studio album, was recorded in the studio that the band built a decade ago with the advance received from their debut album, The Dust of Retreat. The entirety of the new release was recorded on 2” tape and produced by the band. Consistent with their successful approach of self-releasing music since 2008’s Animal! / Not Animal (Epic), Sling Shot to Heaven will be released on the band’s own label, Mariel Recording Company. Edwards’ goal for the band’s fifth album was to “make a record that came across like a sci-fi dream about my decade of touring and making records obsessively while slowly becoming an adult adult, or at least something vaguely resembling one.” 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 Edwards’ vast array of songs. They remain as prolific as ever, recording an album a year since starting Mariel Recording Company in 2010, as well as releasing 3 7”s, an EP, and three vinyl re-issues during the same span of time.
Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Days of Abandon
Brooklyn Indie Pop stalwarts The Pains of Being Pure at Heart just announced their eagerly anticipated third LP entitled Days of Abandon after two critically-acclaimed records that demonstrated the group’s ability to shift musical registers from bedroom pop daydreams to Alternative Nation anthems. The band has already shared the first official single from the record, the buoyant ‘Simple and Sure’. The album was recorded at new Greenpoint studio House Under Magic which is owned by longtime Pains cohort Danny Taylor (ZaZa). Produced by Andy Savours (My Bloody Valentine, Patrick Wolf, Cloud Boat) and mixed by Charlie Hugall at London’s Engine Room (Swim Deep, Florence And the Machine), Abandon is a bright and refreshing about face from the roar and clamor that defined the group’s last record, the Flood-and-Alan Moulder helmed Belong. “I didn’t want to make Belonger,” Berman says. “This album was a chance to push beyond that album’s universal style of songwriting into something that was far more personal, more in keeping with my ideals. I wanted the music to be joyful and full of light, even if the subjects were often dark.”
This Will Destroy You – This Will Destroy You – LP re-issue
2LP set finally repressed with a BRAND NEW COVER (same as the CD artwork cover) in a limited pressing of black vinyl and clear colored vinyl. Comes with digital download codes. Texas based TWDY are an instrumental post-rock band that took the indie rock genre by storm. Recently the band has had their music used at the Oscars during the “Best Motion Picture” category and used in the “Moneyball” trailer.
David Wiffen – David Wiffen – LP re-issue
Self titled studio debut album by Canadian singer/song writer David Wiffen originally released on Fantasy Records in 1971. Highlighting David’s rich baritone voice and his world weary, melancholic songs, the album features the classic song ‘Driving Wheel’ covered by Tom Rush, The Byrds, The Jayhawks, Roger McGuinn and The Cowboy Junkies among many others, the openly confessional ‘More Often Than Not’ and ‘I’ve Got A Ticket’. An underground country/folk/chamber pop classic reissued by 4 Men With Beards on 180 gram vinyl.
Never Make a Dollar That Way
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Pink Mountaintops – Get Back
Stephen McBean cites influences for his latest release as “Alleys, curbs, walls, and cigarette-stained gig flyers. An island on the Pacific coast. Fake British towns. Slayer posters. The beauty of youth. It’s about listening to ‘Driver’s Seat’ and ‘Guns of Brixton’ and hotboxing The Duster.” Joe Cardomone, known for his work with The Icarus Line, produced the new release. Get Back includes a wealth of talented Los Angeles musicians including J Mascis, Gregg Foreman, Daniel Allaire, Stephen Kille, and Rob Barbato. To finish up the record, Stephen called upon Randal Dunn who mixed it at Avast! Studios in Seattle and Howie Weinburg who mastered it in Laurel Canyon.
Ortolan – Covered in Black
Ortolan are a female indie pop quartet comprised of three sisters and one sister-in-law. The group began taking shape in 2007, when songwriter Stephanie Cottingham played a church coffeehouse with the help of a friend. The audience’s response was encouraging, and Cottingham began making additional appearances at the coffeehouse, often with her two older sisters — drummer Lara and bass player Brianna — playing along. Ken Fabianovicz caught one of the girls’ performances and introduced them to Daniel Smith, a local producer and founder of the New Jersey-based label Sounds Familyre. After recording some demo material in Smith’s studio, the group added a fourth member, keyboardist/vocalist Jill Cottingham, and properly joined Sounds Familyre’s roster.
CATL – This Shakin’ House
Recorded in Memphis TN with Adam Hill at Ardent Studios, mixed in Detroit at Ghetto Recorders with Jim Diamond, This Shakin’ House is catl’s 4th LP. From infectious dance numbers to lullabies about watching horror movies at a too-tender age, this record has it all! Once a duo, then a trio, now a duo… This “gruesome twosome” (Perlich Post) is a stripped down, juke-joint blues band that will make you drink n’ sweat til you can’t drink n’ sweat no more. Make catl proud.
Kishi Bashi – Lighght
Violinist, singer, and composer Kishi Bashi is slated to release his new album on May 13, 2014. The album entitled “Lighght” (pronounced “Light”) continues and expands the sound of his critically acclaimed debut, “151a” – which earned Kishi Bashi the title of “Best New Artist” by NPR. Since the profoundly successful release of “151a” two years ago, Kishi Bashi has toured relentlessly, captivating audiences across the globe with his loop-based live show, and fostering a groundswell of devotees.
“Lighght” takes its title from the one-word poem by minimalist poet Aram Saroyan. As Kishi Bashi explains, “The poem’s blatant assault on literary convention and classical form was attractive to me.” It is apparent that such an approach informed the new album, which has both broadened and redefined his classical foundations. “Though I have studied classical composition, I prefer to take an unconventional path when it comes to creating and thinking about music,” says Kishi Bashi.
Kepler – Attic Salt – LP first time on vinyl
Kepler existed between 1997 and 2006 and broke up, after bandmember Jeremy Gara changed to Arcade Fire. Their first two 12” (Fuck Fight Fail and Missionless Days) were called in one breath with Codeine, Low and Bedhead. Their third and last record took a new direction (Slowcore to Songcore) and certainly had a significant influence on bands such as Broken Social Scene or Apostle of Hustle. Going for a lighter feeling using sweet harmonies, lush layers and some subtle wit, Attic Salt is deeply beautiful, haunting, and memorable…
12” vinyl in beautiful gatefold sleeve, includes 1 unreleased song. An elaborately designed booklet (integrated in the cover) with lyrics and pictures and a gold-hot-foil stamped envelope. Limited release of 1000.
Guided By Voices – Cool Planet
Conceived during the sub-freezing Polar Vortex of 2014, the next Guided By Voices record is Cool Planet. It’s another wineskin full of great songs, recorded in a single proper studio for the first time since their inexhaustible reformation. There’s some unusually consistent and consistently awesome production on display, thanks to the array of vintage equipment on offer at Cyberteknics Creative Studios in Dayton, Ohio. Cool Planet also offers a weighty crunch that will lay you flat, perhaps due in part to the (re-)addition of late-version Guided By Voices tubthumper Kevin March on drums. Robert Pollard has talked in recent months about having refined his approach to songwriting (as if that was a thing that needed to happen) and the tunes he’s written for Cool Planet stack up against the best he’s ever done, including the hard-hitting title track, which just begs to be played live. Guitarist Tobin Sprout steps up with (among others) a Bowie-esque song (‘Psychotic Crush’) and a Beatle-esque number (‘All American Boy’). Look what Guided By Voices have done for the world since reforming in 2010. Six high-quality full-length albums in less than four years. And that’s not counting EPs, singles, tours, or solo records. If the sorry state of the present day indie-, alt- or just plain rock landscape is the disease, Guided By Voices is the cure! Do not take in moderation.
Young Widows – Easy Pain
Young Widows are a creatively restless bunch. Easy Pain is easily their densest, most disturbingly addictive record yet. The guitars are enormous, the drums are pummeling, and the trademark gut-churning bass is more jaw-dropping than ever. Evan Patterson’s lyrics and vocal delivery are more expressive and dynamic, and the production is absolutely massive. Disregarding all boundaries and pushing forward with a masterful command of post-punk, noise rock, pseudo industrial, experimental doom, and goth, Young Widows emit the intimidating force of a 10-piece with the heart and soul of a classic power trio. Few artists can simultaneously summarize their entire recorded career while also undeniably expanding upon it. Young Widows have done exactly that, and have earned their reputation as a truly peerless group. In their constant pursuit of the intersection of beauty and ugliness, Easy Pain is unquestionably their most fully realized album to date.
Elephant – Sky Swimming
Amelia Rivas and Christian Pinchbeck don’t just sing about feverish, frayed and fractured romances – in the three years since forming Elephant, they’ve been living one.
It’s fitting that Sky Swimming, their debut full length release is a seductive, night time delight of an album. After all, it was in the twilight hours of a May morning three years ago that Pontefract native Amelia Rivas and Bristolian Christian Pinchbeck met at a house party and in alcohol-soaked all-nighter sessions that Sky Swimming was written.
A fibrous collection of songs about relationships – their own included, which broke down during the making of the album – hazy memories, twisted dreams, the metaphysical bleeding in to the physical – Sky Swimming – all trilling keyboards, swooping melodies, broken hip hop beats, looped strings and Amelia’s uniquely curvy vocals – that makes you want to clamp your headphones tighter on your ears, letting you swim in its every detail and emotion. Influenced by everything from Toro Y Moi to composer Angelo Badalamenti, Everything But The Girl to rap originators Arrested Development and Joe Meek’s productions, it’s an intensely varied listen.
Los Straitjackets – The Further Adventures of Los Straitjackets – LP re-issue
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s the mystical masked avengers Los Straitjackets! The Los Straitjackets latest album ‘The Further Adventures of Los Straitjackets’ continues their conquest as the champion luchadores of instrumental rock. With the heroic efforts of Eddie Angel, Daddy-O Grande, Pedro Del Mar and Teen Beat,the world renowned kings of Chopsville are set to release one of their most remarkable albums to date.