There have been several big releases the past month that we have mentioned and have in stock, including The Black Keys, Jack White, Coldplay and the Led Zeppelin re-issues but now it’s time for some releases that may fly a little under the radar, exactly what we like here.
So check out the releases below, and take a listen to some sample tracks or just jump over to our Soundcloud stream to hear everything that has been coming out and available at Backbeat Books and Music.
Uke-Hunt – Uke-Hunt
UKE-HUNT is ME FIRST AND THE GIMME GIMMES vocalist Spike Slawson’s latest cover band extravaganza. What started as Spike simply learning and arranging some of his favorite classic songs for the ukulele on his own, eventually evolved into added musicians and a layered patchwork of ukulele, saxophone, glockenspiel, stylophone, organ, standup bass, and all manner of percussive elements. Obviously, due in no small part to the instrumentation, this most recent foray into the world of breathing new life into shopworn classics displays a decidedly different slant than the breakneck tempo of the GIMMES. UKE-HUNT slips into something a little more comfortable with a lounge/soul vibe that’d be at home in a tiki bar, Elks lodge, rock club, or on a sunny patio. Spike uses UKE-HUNT as a vehicle to explore a diverse selection of songs and while some tracks seem to be made for UKE-HUNT, others undergo some astonishing genre-bending to arrive in perfect harmony with the rest of the album. Of course, the centerpiece of the entire UKE-HUNT experience is Spike’s enchanting vocal ability, which is on full display in all of its silky splendor from start to finish. So pour yourself a cocktail and set course for the captivating sounds of UKE-HUNT. Features members of Lagwagon, Filthy Thieving Bastards, & The Ramshackle Romeos.
Lee Perry Scratch – Back On The Controls
UK producer Daniel Boyle lovingly recreated the original set up of Black Ark studios by collecting all the original equipment used by Lee Perry back in the day, and rebuilding Black Ark in his own London studio. Hearing of this, Lee Scratch Perry couldn’t resist a visit to London, and the resulting sessions that reunited The Upsetter with his original recording set up was the blueprint for this brand new album project. 13 new songs, plus dub versions – many with iconic Lee Perry vocals too! The first modern Lee Perry Production to reach the world on the Upsetter Label in many years. “Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry Is ‘Back on the Controls’ in Roots Reggae Return! “If I pulled the plug, just like that, then snap!, the entire universe could disappear,” famed reggae producer Lee “Scratch” Perry tells Rolling Stone. “But then it would be on my conscience. I was sent here to make people happy . . but repentance is coming.” “Repentance” refers to “Repent,” one of the lead tracks from Perry’s upcoming album, Lee “Scratch” Perry – Back on the Controls.” – Rolling Stone.
Ringo Deathstarr – God’s Dream
Warm guitars and pulsing drums combine to form an aggressively atmospheric bubble, encompassing the listener in an infectious cohesion which blends the sounds of an era when Sonic Youth and Jesus and Mary Chain ruled the Earth with forward thinking and stubborn creativity. Joined by Adam Franklin of Swervedriver on the track “Nowhere” and Jeff Schroeder of the Smashing Pumpkins on “Chainsaw Morning,” Ringo Deathstarr has created a flawlessly crafted sound on God’s Dream, destined and deserving to exist on vinyl. This is a red pressing limited to 500 copies.
Lust For Youth – International
To put it bluntly, Lust For Youth’s International is unrecognizable as a Lust For Youth record on first listen. Hannes Norrvide’s previous solo albums under the Lust for Youth moniker have been described as “dark, cold, atonal, tormented, lonely, and lower than lo-fi.” The approach on International has shifted dramatically. Writing as a three-piece now, with longtime live collaborator Loke Rahbek and new band member Malthe Fisher, who produces and plays guitar, LFY have entered a completely new territory. The result is stunning.International is a buoyant synth masterpiece in the vein of early Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys and New Order. Norrvide’s work has always had pop sensibilities buried deep in the reverb, but the hooks are front and center on International, and there is nothing lo-fi about it.
Tomas Barfod – Love Me
Tomas Barfod released his debut solo album back in 2012, a sophisticated mesh of electronics called Salton Sea. Lauded by the likes of Pitchfork, Dazed & Confused and Gorilla vs Bear, the acclaim took Barfod slightly by surprise but its success has paved the way for the follow-up, Love Me, an album that takes Barfod’s spirit of adventurousness and raises the stakes. Utilising a supporting cast that includes a string and brass section, and musicians like Here We Go Magic’s Luke Temple and long-term collaborator Nina K. on vocal duties, it’s a multi-layered album that effortlessly pushes and pulls dance and electronic music into a myriad different shapes.
Sharon Van Etten – Are We There
For all the attention that was paid to her 2012 break-through Tramp, Sharon Van Etten is an artist with a hunger to turn another corner and to delve deeper, writing from a place of honesty and vulnerability to create a bond with the listener that few contemporary musicians can match. Compelled by a restless spirit, Van Etten is continuously challenging herself. Now, the result is Are We There, a self-produced album of exceptional intimacy, sublime generosity, and immense breadth.
Stagnant Pools – Geist
Stagnant Pools are Bryan and Douglass Enas, two brothers from Indiana, who, with just one guitar and a drum kit, make music that the Chicago Reader describes as “drone-heavy, slate-gray art-rock that should appeal to fans of Disappears, Joy Division, and Sonic Youth records from back when they were still actually scary.” In January the siblings traveled two hours from their hometown of Indianapolis to the Champaign, IL-based studio run by Hum guitarist/vocalist Matt Talbott – a short trip that quickly grew hazardous when a blizzard blanketed the region with snow, temperatures dipped further below zero than they had in decades, and roadsides became littered with stranded vehicles. After braving this grueling display of nature to arrive intact, the band hunkered down to finish their sophomore release, Geist. Four days later, they emerged having spent two days recording and two days mixing the record – all completely analog.
Sunparlour Players – The Living Proof
Toronto’s multi-instrumental duo Sunparlour Players have been captivating audiences for seven years with their incredible live performances and three critically acclaimed albums; ‘Hymns For The Happy’ (2007 – Baudelaire), ‘Wave North’ (2009 – Outside Music) and ‘Us Little Devils’ (2011 – Outside Music). Their latest, ‘The Living Proof’ (Outside Music Distribution), is their most powerful and personal effort to date; creating a perfect time capsule of what makes the Sunparlour Players one of the best live acts in Canada. ‘The Living Proof’ is filled with songs that are living things that exist now. They do not harken back. They do not romanticize. It is a forecast of sorts (“All we are is cancer in the ground” – from the track “Nain Rouge”). It’s about blowing an idea apart and putting it back together.
Liam Finn – Nihilist
Liam Finn’s first album in three years, ‘The Nihilist,’ features 12 tracks that find Finn at his most refined and inventive in the studio, with other-worldly arrangements and blissfully catchy hooks. Finn, who plays 67 instruments on the record, maniacally assembled the album with contributions from frequent bandmates/collaborators Eliza Jane Barnes (vocals), his brother Elroy (drums) and fellow NZ songwriter Jol Mulholland (bass) in sessions entirely between the hours of sunset and sunrise in a Brooklyn studio overlooking the Manhattan skyline. “As soon as I found my own space to bunker down, the songs started taking shape,” he says. “There was a surreal feeling created through the energy of where I was and looking over at Manhattan and seeing it as a subconscious dimension, an entity in itself where every story under the sun was happening all at once. Any fantasy or fear you have in your own mind is probably playing out in reality in Manhattan at any one time.”
First Aid Kit – Stay Gold
First Aid Kit are a Swedish duo comprising sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg, whose vocal harmonies and woodsy, folk-influenced songwriting take influence from the likes of Fleet Foxes and Joanna Newsom. Hailing from suburban Enskede, the siblings began composing songs as young teenagers in 2007. The home-recorded “Tangerine” enjoyed airplay on Swedish radio later that summer, and the debut EP Drunken Trees helped expand the girls’ audience upon its release in April 2008. The London-based Wichita Records reissued Drunken Trees one year later, bolstering its track list with a reverent Fleet Foxes cover and three additional songs performed live in a Swedish forest.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Only Run
Only Run is the fourth studio album from Philadelphia based Clap Your Hands Say Yeah who are celebrating 10 years as a band this year. Features additional vocals from Matt Berninger from The National on ‘Coming Down’ & Turntables from Kid Koala on ‘Cover Up’. Only Run aims to loosely document lead singer/songwriter Alec Ounsworth’s observations of his life in music over the last ten years. Ounsworth crafted the songs himself before bringing them to the studio for completion, the distinguishing characteristic (and what sets it apart from his other projects) is the use of synthesizers. Ounsworth spent all of 2014 thus far crisscrossing the United States on The Living Room tour, playing shows in fan’s living rooms. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – the entire concept of the band, the name itself – is about balancing optimism in the face of overwhelming odds. CYHSY has always produced, marketed and distributed all of its albums independently.
That’s it for now!