Hey Backbeaters! Where to put all these new releases that have been arriving lately? The browsers are feeling a little stuffed right now, but we can’t help ourselves from ordering all the great albums that have been coming out recently. Let’s get right to the new stuff this week including new releases from Bon Iver, Kishi Bashi, Angel Olsen, Pixies and Preoccupations.
What’s your “must spin” album from these new releases? Find out ours by just scrolling down and checking them all out below.
Kishi Bashi – Sonderlust
“Sonderlust” is an album forged through heartbreak. After his two previous studio albums (“151a” & “Lighght”), Kishi Bashi was at a musical impasse. “As I sat down to write songs last summer, I went to all my usual conduits of creation: violin loops, guitar, piano, and I came up with the musical equivalent of fumes”, says K Ishibashi. “I tried to create orchestral pop recordings that I assumed were my forte, and in turn I found myself standing in front of a creative wall of frightening heights.”
At this very same moment of musical uncertainty, K’s personal life was falling apart… He and his wife of 13 years had brieﬂy separated and were struggling to keep their marriage together. In his own words, “Touring and its accompanying lifestyle took a heavy toll on my soul and my family”. As an outlet, K submerged himself in a new musical direction. Sonderlust emerged as a direct result of this personal struggle taking place at an artistic crossroads.
With the help of producer Chris Taylor (Grizzly Bear), engineer Pat Dillet (Angelique Kidjo, David Byrne) and drummer Matt Chamberlain (Morrissey, Fiona Apple, of Montreal), Kishi Bashi has created his most personal and artistically adventurous work to date. “This album is straight from my soul. I questioned everything about what it means to love and desire. The difference between loving someone and being in love.”
Angel Olsen – My Woman
“My Woman” is lovingly put together as a proper A-side and a B-side, featuring the punchier, more pop/rock-oriented songs up front, and the longer, more reflective tracks towards the end. The rollicking ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’, for example, appears early on – its nervy grunge quality belying a subtle desperation, as befits any song about the exhaustion point of an impassioned argument. Another crowning moment comes in the form of the melancholic and Velvets-esque ‘Heart-shaped Face’, while the compelling ‘Sister’ and ‘Woman’ are the only songs not sung live. They also both run well over the seven-minute mark: the first being a triumph of reverb-splashed, ’70s country rock, cast along Fleetwood Mac lines with a Neil Young caged-tiger guitar solo to cap it off. The latter is a wonderful essay in vintage electronic pop and languid, psychedelic soul.
Pixies – Head Carrier
For the first time since their very early days, the Pixies spent a total of six weeks in pre-production, writing, arranging and rehearsing a plethora of songs. Between the band’s late-80s/early 90s touring schedule and delivering an album once a year, there simply wasn’t time for more than a day or so of fleshing out their music before recording started. ‘This was a wonderful luxury, for us to have the time to be able to really work these new songs out,’ said Pixies drummer David Lovering. ‘By the time we started recording, we all knew the songs backwards and forwards, so it took half as long for us to make this album as it did to make ‘Indie Cindy.’ And it was great working with Tom (Dalgety)…he started with us in pre-production and played a big part in keeping us focused on making the best music we could.’ In addition, the band – Lovering, rhythm guitarist/vocalist Black Francis and guitarist Joey Santiago – officially welcome bassist Paz Lenchantin to the Pixies’ permanent line-up. Lenchantin has been the band’s touring bassist since January 2014, and played an integral part in the recording of Head Carrier. Her cool and dreamy soprano can be heard singing lead on the track ‘All I Think About Now.’
Preoccupations (fka Viet Cong) – Preoccupations
When the four members of Preoccupations wrote and recorded their new record, they were in a state of near total instability. Years-long relationships ended; they left homes behind. Frontman Matt Flegel, guitarist Danny Christiansen, multi-instrumentalist Scott Munro and drummer Mike Wallace all moved to different cities. They resolved to change their band name, but hadn’t settled on a new one. And their road-tested, honed approach to songwriting was basically thrown out the window. This time, they walked into the studio with the gas gauge near empty, buoyed by one another while the rest of their lives were virtually unrecognizable and rootless. There was no central theme or idea to guide the band’s collective cliff jump. As a result, ‘Preoccupations’ bears the visceral, personal sound of holding onto some steadiness in the midst of changing everything.
Bon Iver – 22, A Million
22 stands for Justin Vernon. The number’s recurrence in his life has become a meaningful pattern through encounter and recognition. A mile marker, a jersey number, a bill total. The reflection of ‘2’ is his identity bound up in duality: the relationship he has with himself and the relationship he has with the rest of the world. A Million is the rest of that world: the millions of people who we will never know, the infinite and the endless, everything outside one’s self that makes you who you are. The other side of Justin’s duality is the thing that completes him and what he searches for. 22, A Million is thus part love letter, part final resting place of two decades of searching for self-understanding like a religion. And the inner-resolution of maybe never finding that understanding. When Justin sings, “I’m still standing in the need of prayer” he begs the question of what’s worth worshiping, or rather, what is possible to worship. If music is a sacred form of discovering, knowing and being, then Bon Iver’s albums are totems to that faith. The poly-fi record formed at the congruence of a bold yet delicate sonic palette. These sounds were the way out from the suffocating enclosure and captivity of anxiety. The ten songs of 22, A Million are a collection of sacred moments, love’s torment and salvation, contexts of intense memories, signs that you can pin meaning onto or disregard coincidence. If 2011’s Bon Iver, Bon Iver built a habitat rooted in physical spaces, then 22, A Million is the letting go of that attachment to a place.
We also have received a handful of restocks. Here’s what is back in stock this week:
Alabama Shakes – Sound And Color
Arctic Monkeys – Am
Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am
Beirut – Flying Club Cup
Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
David Bowie – Blackstar
Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning
Jeff Buckley – Grace
Mac DeMarco – Salad Days
Explosions In The Sky – The Wilderness
Father John Misty – Fear Fun
Howlin Wolf – Moanin In The Moonlight
Elmore James – Blues After Hours
Kid Koala – 12 Bit Blues
B.B. King – Live At Cook County Jail
Metallica – Ride The Lightning
Pearl Jam – Yield
Pink Floyd – Meddle (2016 re-issue)
Rage Against The Machine – Rage Against The Machine
Shins, The – Oh Inverted World
Sloan – Twice Removed
Tragically Hip – Man Machine Poem
Wallflowers – Bringing Down The Horse
Hey little hen, when, when, when will you lay me an egg for my tea?