We mentioned earlier in the year there was going to be loads of great new music coming out in 2017, and here we are again with some stellar albums to drop the needle on. With Record Store Day and Authors for Indies keeping us busy the last couple of weekends we’ve got a big list of featured albums to get to this week. We also received a whole bunch of restocks and additions to the selection here so scroll down to the bottom of this post to find that list. But please take some time to look over the new releases and check out some sample tracks and videos. WE LOVE NEW MUSIC!
Recent New Releases
BNQT – Volume 1
BNQT, a new indie super-group conceived and led by Eric Pulido of Midlake, have released their debut album Volume 1. The introductory set includes ten new, original songs and features five vocalists – Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses, Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand, Fran Healy of Travis, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, and Pulido – who wrote and sing two tracks each, with backing from other Midlake members McKenzie Smith (drums), Joey McClellan (guitar) and Jesse Chandler (keys). ‘Volume 1’ was recorded and produced mostly attheir studio in Denton, Texas.
The concept of BNQT (pronounced “Banquet”) came to Pulido while touring Midlake’s 2013 release, “Antiphon”. Gathering a number of contrasting yet complementary artists he’d befriended or shared the stage with, Pulido set out to establish an environment in which they could collaborate: “That’s what art is about for me,” Pulido says, “creating with other people that you love and appreciate.”
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Slowdive – Slowdive
We can’t believe it’s here, Slowdive’s first album in 22 years, and it’s a beauty.
Slowdive’s second act as a live blockbuster has already been rapturously received around the world. Highlights thus far include a festival-conquering, sea-of-devotees Primavera Sound performance, of which Pitchfork noted: “The beauty of their crystalline sound is almost hard to believe, every note in its perfect place.”
“It was just nice to realise that there was a decent amount of interest in it,” says principal songwriter Neil Halstead. The UK shoegaze pioneers have now channelled such seemingly impossible belief into a fourth studio opus which belies his characteristic modesty. Self-titled with quiet confidence, Slowdive’s stargazing alchemy is set to further entrance the faithful while beguiling a legion of fresh ears.
Deftly swerving what co-vocalist/guitarist Rachel Goswell terms “a trip down memory lane”, these eight new tracks are simultaneously expansive and the sonic pathfinders’ most direct material to date. Birthed at the band’s talismanic Oxfordshire haunt The Courtyard – “It felt like home,” enthuses guitarist Christian Savill – their diamantine melodies were mixed to a suitably hypnotic sheen at Los Angeles’ famed Sunset Sound facility by Chris Coady (perhaps best known for his work with Beach House, one of countless contemporary acts to have followed in Slowdive’s wake).
“It’s poppier than I thought it was going to be,” notes Halstead, who was the primary architect of 1995’s previous full-length transmission Pygmalion. This time out the group dynamic was all-important. “When you’re in a band and you do three records, there’s a continuous flow and a development. For us, that flow re-started with us playing live again and that has continued into the record.”
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Fazerdaze – Morningside
The brainchild of Amelia Murray, Fazerdaze began as a string of bedroom recordings created late in the night, emerging fully-formed in 2014 as her debut eponymous EP. A succinct collection of intimate, beautifully produced dream-pop written, produced and performed by Murray herself. It’s a significant first outing for the young New Zealander with layers of softly crunching guitars swirling over consistently driving drum machines, and sparse electronica.
The EP quickly took flight, receiving critical acclaim from blogs and publications around the globe. NME described it as ‘elegant dream pop’, while US blog HillyDilly exclaimed how ‘Fazerdaze transports us to a warm, optimistic sonic space with her glistening synths and mellow acoustic guitar strums’. NZ’s Sunday Star Times listed it in their ‘Best of 2014’ spread, hailing it as a ‘versatile collection of near-perfect pop songs…’.
Since the EP release, Fazerdaze and her band have shifted to another level. Supporting and touring with international acts like Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Explosions In The Sky and Connan Mockasin. She was invited to join the Red Bull Music Academy in Montreal and she stole the show at both Auckland’s Laneway Festival and The Others Way Festival. And now here we are with here debut album – Morningside – a full set of “swooning, happy-sad bedroom guitar-pop sunshine”
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Gorillaz – Humanz
The Gorillaz return for their newest offering since 2010’s ‘Plastic Beach’. Having amped up the guest-factor on this release, there is a whole host of influence from all over the musical spectrum. The Peven Everett number, ‘Strobelite’ for instance is a luminescent dancefloor house number, complete with soaring vocals and thumping bassy rolls, lots of filters and clanging sweeps, all topped with a smooth-as-silk string synth overlay.
Move along to ‘Charger’ though and we get the scary/alluring big baddie vox of disco-not-disco legend Grace Jones, before sweeping spookily into Albarn’s dulcet Gorillaz voice. Backed by an industrious clanging synth sweep and charged percussives, it slowly segues into anthemic swirl of grooving disco before fading into the solemn follower, ‘Andromeda’.
By integrating a diverse selection of supplimentary talent, Gorillaz have managed to increase the scope of their already venerable musical palette, and absorb all sorts of influence along the way. ‘Humanz’ is littered with references to classic electronic music in all it’s forms but still relies heavily upon that good old-fashioned songwriting we’re all so keen on, providing their most diverse offering yet, whilst not sacrificing the cohesion and flow that has set them in such good stead so far.
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Feist – Pleasure
Feist’s first album in six years reflects on secrets and shame, loneliness and tenderness, care and fatigue and is at its core a study on self-awareness. As the fourth full-length from the Canadian singer/songwriter born Leslie Feist, Pleasure builds off the warm naturalism of the Polaris Prize-winning Metals and emerges as her most formally defiant and expansive work so far. Recorded over the course of three months—in Stinson Beach, Upstate New York, and Paris — Pleasure was co-produced by Feist with longtime collaborators Renaud Letang and Mocky. Following the album’s title-track, Feist has now shared ‘Century’, which features Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker in addition to reaffirming Feist as a cagily inventive guitar player, the album threads her shape-shifting and often haunting vocals into sparse and raw arrangements.
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Raveonettes – 2016 Atomized
The Raveonettes are an L.A. based indie rock duo from Denmark. They are Sune Rose Wagner (guitar and vocals) and Sharin Foo (bass, guitar and vocals). Widely credited as one of the key influences in the garage rock revival of the noughties, The Raveonettes have rightfully earned their place in rock’n’roll history. Revered by the likes of Tom Petty, Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode), Julian Casablancas (The Strokes), Little Steven and Johnny Marr, to name but a few; the band continues to evolve sonically and visually as their live shows continue to captivate audiences around the world. Their music is characterized by close vocal harmonies combined with hard-edged electric guitar sounds and liberal dose of noise. Their songs juxtapose the simplicity of ’50s & ’60s rock with intense electric instrumentation, driving beats and dark lyrical content.
Woods – Love Is Love
Love is Love was written and recorded in the two months immediately following the election, but it’s not a record borne entirely of angry, knee-jerk reaction to what America is becoming. Instead, it’s a meditation on love, and on what life means now. Taking cues from last year’s City Sun Eater in the River of Light, it feels very much like a record made from living, shoulder to shoulder, in a major city: weaving psychedelic swirls of guitar between languid horns reminiscent of the best Ethiopian jazz—Love is Love is a distinctly New York record. It is a document of protest in uncertain times and an open-hearted rejection of cynicism in favour of emotional honesty. It is bright, and then, unexpectedly, a little dark sometimes too.
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Recent New Re-Issues
Dangerdoom – The Mouse and the Mask: Official Metalface Version (3LP)
Back in 2005, super producer Danger Mouse and masked hip hop supervillain DOOM came together for The Mouse And The Mask, a collaborative album released under the name DANGERDOOM. Among DOOM’s most successful projects both critically and commercially, the album was inspired by Cartoon Network’s late-night Adult Swim programming slate, and includes appearances from several Adult Swim characters, including Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Space Ghost, Harvey Birdman, and more. The full 7-track 2006 DANGERDOOM EP Occult Hymn is included, as well as two previously unreleased tracks, making this the definitive DANGERDOOM collection.
Soundtrack – Fight Club (Score by Dust Brothers) (2LP/DLX/Packaging)
Heavy-weight 2LP deluxe destructive packaging! (first pressing sold out in seconds, so we’re excited to have received a few of this 2017 re-issue) As website ‘Consequence of Sound’ reports; “In a truly genius design choice, you won’t be able to actually access the vinyl or inserts without “destroying something beautiful.” It all comes housed in a sleeve like a sealed manila envelope, and the only way to open it is to pull a tab labeled “Sacrifice” and tear it completely around.” The Dust Brothers only film score to date, Fight Club is arguably one of the most enjoyable soundtrack albums to come out of the 90’s and part of that has to do with the fact that it is one of the best sequenced scores of all time. Weaving all of the films cues from the film into 16 songs, the album winds up feeling like the best instrumental Trip-Hop album you’ve never heard. Buy it, or you will be incomplete. But be warned, this album will not be beautiful, clean or perfect. It will not be Mint, or even VG+. It is Fair at best. Just like you. You are not your record collection. Check out this unboxing video:
Descendents – Everything Sucks
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this special release, Epitaph Records is proud to present the deluxe 20th Anniversary edition of Descendents – Everything Sucks. This remastered edition is a vinyl lover’s dream; pressed on 180 gram vinyl and including a 7” with 2 unreleased bonus tracks. The packaging features deluxe embossed cover art which features the beloved Milo cartoon. This album marked a reunion for the band back in 1996 with the line- up that has remained solid ever since, featuring singer Milo Aukerman, drummer Bill Stevenson, bassist Karl Alvarez and guitarist Stephen Egerton. Everything Sucks features punk classics, “I’m The One” and “Everything Sux.”
Arrested Development – 3 Years, 5 Months And 2 Days In The Life Of (Music on Vinyl 25th Anniversary Edition)
3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of… is the debut album by American Hip Hop group Arrested Development, released in 1992. The album’s chart success was the beginning of the popularization of Southern Hip Hop.
The album stood in stark contrast to the gangsta rap that ruled the Hip Hop charts in 1992, in its focus on spirituality, peace and love. It was voted as the best album of the year in The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll. The album’s title refers to the length of time it took Arrested Development to get a record contract.
The album charted at #3 in the UK Charts, and #7 in the Billboard 200. Charting singles that came off the album are “People Everyday”, “Mr. Wendal” and “Tennessee”. The latter song is part of the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list.
- 180 gram audiophile vinyl
- Includes insert with song lyrics
- Limited 25th Anniversary Edition in numbered sleeves
- Includes the hits “People Everyday”, “Mr. Wendal” and “Tennessee”
- First pressing of 2.000 copies on white vinyl
Restocks and Additions
What?!? You want more music? That wasn’t enough? Okay, here’s the list of restocks and new additions to our selection here at Backbeat this week.
Adele – 19
Adele – 21
Adele – 25
Alice In Chains – MTV Unplugged
Arcade Fire – Funeral
Chet Baker – Sings
Beastie Boys – Solid Gold Hits
Beatles – Abbey Road
Beatles – Revolver
Beatles – Rubber Soul
Black Keys – El Camino
Black Keys – Brothers
David Bowie – Changesonebowie
David Bowie – No Plan (EP)
Johnny Cash – American IV: Man Comes Around
Chameleons – Live At The Hacienda (LTD splatter vinyl)
City And Colour – Bring Me Your Love
John Coltrane – Lush Life
Counting Crows – August And Everything After
Cult – Pure Cult: The Singles
Cure – Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Dead Can Dance – Aion
Death Grips – No Love Deep Web
Elbow – Little Fictions
Funkadelic – Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow
Marvin Gaye – Whats Going On
Gnarls Barkley – St. Elsewhere (W/CD)
Goldfrapp – Silver Eye
Jack Johnson & Friends – Sing-A-Longs And Lullabies For the Film Curious George
Jay Som – Everbody Works
Pokey LaFarge – Riot/Betterment (45RPM)
Little Walter – Best Of
Lumineers – Cleopatra
Bob Marley – Legend
Meters – Rejuvenation
Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um
Mumford & Sons – Babel
Nirvana – 1993: Unplugged In New York
Pearl Jam – Ten
Pink Floyd – The Wall
Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon
Pixies – Wave of Mutilation: Best of Pixies
Nina Simone – Little Girl Blue
Smashing Pumpkins – Adore
Smashing Pumpkins – Gish
Toots And The Maytals – Funky Kingston
Tragically Hip – Up To Here
A Tribe Called Quest – People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm
Twenty One Pilots – Blurryface
Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes
White Stripes – Elephant
Yelawolf – Love Story