MUSIC MILLENNIUM - OUTSIDE THE HEARD - JUNE 2013

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Clairy Browne &
The Bangin' Rackettes

Baby Caught The Bus
Vanguard Records

 
The Clairy Browne and the Bangin' Rackettes experience is like a vivid flashback to the sixties -- one that transports you straight onto the set of Shindig but with a darker undercurrent with shades of David Lynch or Federico Fellini piercing through. Their debut album, Baby Caught the Bus, drips with heart-wrenching doo-wop, noir theatrics, party attitude and tough-as-nails soul. The songs on the album have drawn favorable comparisons to artists as diverse as Sharon Jones, Tina Turner and Bettye LaVette, and that commitment to raw emotion is readily apparent on the luridly seductive “Yellow Bird", the torchy, angst-fueled "Vicious Cycle" (a homage to the fallen icons of classic soul), the drunken party clap-a-long "Frankie", the vengefully dramatic "She Plays Up To You", the title track "Baby Caught The Bus", with its fetching ah-OOH vocals and rapid-fire choreography, and "Love Letter" (inspired by the film The Piano Teacher), with its mix of sensuality and menace. Baby Caught the Bus is a powerful and arousing listen. Check it out.
 
The Features
The Features
BMG

 
Two weeks. That’s how long The Features had to work up roughly a dozen new tunes before they traveled some 2500 miles from their native Tennessee to Vancouver, Washington to make their new album, The Features. Capturing their thrilling, stage-tested sound was a no-brainer on previous albums, but for The Features, the band was game to shake things up. Just two months away from the release of their hailed 2011 album, Wilderness, they decided that they weren’t going to wait another two or three years to start work on the follow-up. They’d make it in the two months they had to spare. From their first night in town – when they loaded into the studio and immediately started firming up the song they were set to track the next day – the band didn’t flinch at the task at hand. With no time for second-guessing, they embraced a slew of previously untapped sonics and styles, resulting in their most adventurous set of songs yet.
Boxer Rebellion
Promises
INgrooves
 
Promises is the uplifting and cinematic follow-up to the Boxer Rebellion’s critically-acclaimed 2011 album The Cold Still. Tennessee-native Nathan Nicholson, Australian Todd Howe, and Englishmen Adam Harrison and Piers Hewitt took to their London rehearsal space and transformed it into a recording studio where the songs for Promises would eventually come together over the course of 18 months. Moving away from the more analog and darker soundscapes that enveloped the band's previous album, Promises is a significant step in a different direction for the London four-piece - a hi-fi, soaring piece of work that truly delivers on the band's epic, signature sound, and individual skill as musicians. From the retro-glossiness of the album's opener, “Diamonds,” to the wall-of-sound of “Fragile,” to the towering beauty of “Low,” “New York,” and “Dream,” Promises presents itself as an evolution in aesthetic - diverse in soundscapes but singular in grand ambition.
 
Dennis Callaci & Simon Joyner
New Secrets
Shrimper

 
Simon Joyner, who over the course of thirteen albums has released a unique and influential body of work on a myriad of independent labels, and Dennis Callaci, who has recorded nearly as many records with his band Refrigerator and runs one of those said labels (Shrimper), present their second record, New Secrets. Their first collaborative release was a one-sided vinyl-only release on Catsup Plate Records released a decade ago called Stranger Blues -- a direct-to-one-track live recording of the two playing together and sharing one mic. Though recorded and mixed in the same spot (i.e. the living room of the Callaci) home in merely three days, New Secrets is a different record altogether -- a call and response exercise of sorts, with a Joyner song answering the plea to the preceding Callaci dirge.Augmenting the album's eleven tracks are guest appearances by Franklin Bruno (Human Hearts, Nothing Painted Blue) and Kevin Morby (The Babies). Dig it.
Liam Hayes
A Glimpse Inside The Mind
Of Charles Swan III
Night Fever Music
 
Set in a stylized Los Angeles, A Glimpse Inside The Mind Of Charles Swan Iii is a playful comedy of lost love, friendship, revenge fantasies, and Brandy Alexanders. Charles (Charlie Sheen) is a successful graphic designer whose fame, money and charm have provided him with a seemingly perfect life. When his true love, a perplexing beauty named Ivana, suddenly breaks off their relationship, Charles’ life falls apart, and he swirls into a downward spiral of doubt, confusion and reflection. With the support of his loyal intimates—Kirby (Jason Schwartzman), Saul (Bill Murray), and his sister, Izzy (Patricia Arquette) — he begins the hard road of self-evaluation to come to terms with a life without Ivana. The film begs the question: Is it possible to love and hate someone at the same time? The soundtrack was composed by Liam Hayes – the reclusive genius behind the band Plush – who appears in the film playing Hammond Organ on a beach.
 
Man or Astro-man?
Defcon 5...4...3...2...1
Communicating Vessels
 
Man or Astro-Man? has returned to earth for the human masses and after years of hibernation they are unveiling their finest recorded work to date. Nearly 12 years since the band last released their intergalactic sonic wave forms, the new album, Defcon 5...4...3...2...1 is here with a striking validity that the band is unquestionably as tuneful and energetic as ever. Defcon combines the familiar Astro audio tones and the well-established ferocity that MOAM? is known for yet there is now an undeniable evolution of the band that is both intuitive, logical, and well crafted. Defcon is here and with imminent purpose. Recorded with longtime Astro copilot, Steve Albini, as well as producer Daniel Farris (St. Vincent) this album finds the band bringing their unique powerful style of Science Friction back to humanity in supreme form. It seems Man or Astro-Man? hasn’t missed a beat. Put on your space helmet and strap in. The countdown begins now...
Jon Hopkins
Immunity
Domino

 
A powerful, multi-faceted beast, packed with the most aggressively dancefloor-focused music Jon Hopkins has ever made, Immunity is about achieving euphoric states through music. Inspired by the arc of an epic night out, the album peaks with the huge, apocalyptic, techno monster of “Collider” and dissolves with the quiet, heartbreakingly beautiful closer, “Immunity” -- a track featuring vocals from King Creosote that could sit comfortably alongside the gems of their Mercury-nominated collaboration, Diamond Mine. Immunity is a confident, dramatic record defined by an acute sense of physicality and place. It feels like the hypnotic accompaniment to a journey of creativity, a trip inside Hopkins’ mind, using analog synthesis alongside manipulations of physical, real-world sounds to make dance music that feels as natural and unforced as possible. Immunity is the most human electronic album you’ll hear this year.
 
Tommy Emmanuel & Martin Taylor
The Colonel & the Govenor
Mesa/Bluemoon

 
The world-renowned Australian “Fingerstyle” phenomenon Tommy Emmanuel and Britain’s jazz icon Martin Taylor are back with The Colonel & The Governor -- an album of duets that re-creates jazz classics from masters such as Django Reinhardt, Karl Krass, and Eddie Lang, and features Standards like “Jersey Bounce,” “The Nearness of You,” and “Lullaby of Birdland.” Both Emmanuel and Taylor also contributed original compositions to the project. Taylor and Emmanuel and had an instant chemistry: “Martin and I go back to the early 90s when I first saw him on TV in Australia. I was so amazed by his playing, I rang the TV station and they gave me his hotel details,” recalls Tommy. “I have learned so much from Martin, as he comes from a jazz background and I come from a country and rock background. We both have a strong love of melody and arrangements that allow our playing to interweave effortlessly. Sometimes it feels like time stands still when we are playing together.”
Monster Truck
Furiosity
Dine Alone
 
Furiosity is the debut full-length from Monster Truck. The title, Furiosity, is a portmanteau of furious and curiosity -- as in, wanting to know what’s out there, and what’s going on, but doing that with aggression and passion.Monster Truck was formed in 2009 by Jon Harvey, Jeremy Widerman, Brandon Bliss, and Steve Kiely as a side-project for their other more serious bands (The Reason, Saint Alvia). Quickly the original plan of getting wasted and playing sloppy rock got twisted into something new entirely. Everyone's influences gelled in a cohesive and exciting new take on all of the classic rock that had come before them. Quickly show offers piled up as well as festival slots (landing them on tours with The Sheepdogs, Slash, Deep Purple, and playing alongside Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper) and Monster Truck realized that they had something that was undeniably fun and exciting on their hands. You will agree.
 
JC BROOKS &
THE UPTOWN SOUND

Howl
Bloodshot
 
With a sound that calls to mind the melting pot Chicago Uptown neighborhood they’re named for — a meeting of Otis Redding and the Stooges — JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound get crowds twisting and writhing on the floor. The charismatic Brooks erupts with raw emotion, harnessing the Uptown Sound’s post-punk reimagining of JB’s moves and MG’s grooves to unleash pure and uncompromising soul music ranging from sweaty on-the-one workouts, dance-punk booty shakers, and garage rock thump humps. Known for their wonderful re-imagining of Wilco's "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart,” Howl finds the band looking for so much more. Throughout Howl, the dark side of love and longing is explored by frontman JC Brooks's starkly personal lyrics and the Uptown Sound's willingness to bare all their influences and let the grooves fall where they may. A collective evolution has been made where influence meets experience, and this organic progression results in 11 songs that are more open than ever both in message and vibe.
Quadron
Avalanche
EPIC

 
When Quadron released their self-titled debut album, the Denmark-born, Los Angeles-based duo -- which is multi-instrumentalist/producer Robin Hannibal and vocalist/lyricist Coco O. -- quickly established themselves as an exciting young act to watch.Avalanche is a funky, soulful game-changer that shows what these two can do when armed with a live band, an actual budget, and the luxury of time to deliver their vision. Quadron’s first shot across the bow in 2013 is “Hey Love,” that Pitchfork loved, saying “Coco delivers an agile, complementary performance; when she takes over the song in its final minute, it’s a display of both vocal power and chemistry.” The remainder of Avalanche also reflects Coco and Robin’s love for buoyant melodies and insistent grooves as it summons up the gritty synth-driven funk of Stevie Wonder’s 1973 landmark album Innervisions and the dancefloor euphoria of Michael Jackson’s 1979 classic Off The Wall — two albums that the duo say served as touchstones during the writing and recording process.
 
New Politics
A Bad Girl In Harlem
RCA

 
The Denmark trio New Politics -- who uprooted their lives and relocated to Williamsburg, Brooklyn -- return with their new album, A Bad Girl In Harlem. The band started out with over 60 demos -- many inspired by, lead singer, David's new single life --that embraced a greater variety of musical styles, drawing influence equally from punk rock and pop music. The new songs kept coming during the albums recording and, in fact, a few of the disc's final tracks feature the original demo vocals. The songs' lyrics, too, were rooted in the musicians' shifting lives and experiences. "Harlem," the album's first single, was inspired a fling David had with a girl from Spanish Harlem, an area he never thought he'd visit. The throbbing rock number captures a boisterous party vibe and marked a turning point in the band's writing process, which the rest of A Bad Girl In Harlem delivers in spades.
It’s not easy to stand out of the shadow of a towering music genius like Paul Simon (Just ask Art Garfunkel), but Harper Simon’s sophomore album, Division Street, defiantly shines in its own right. Division Street is a departure for Simon: it features a sound that's much more driven by electric guitars than his Alt-Country flavored debut. Simon co-produced Division Street with Tom Rothrock, who produced three albums for Elliott Smith (Either/Or, XO and Figure 8) and Beck's first album Mellow Gold, among others. Division Street was recorded with a small coterie of guest musicians including Pete Thomas from Elvis Costello's Attractions on drums, Nikolai Fraiture from the Strokes on bass, vocals by Inara George, Feist's musical director Brian LeBarton playing synths, as well as Nate Walcott from Bright Eyes and Wilco's Mikael Jorgensen. Despite the title, this is a family affair – and one well worth exploring.

Harper Simon -
Division Street

PIAS
moremusic

The Coalition of Independent Music Stores (CIMS) is a group of some of the best independent music stores in America. CIMS was founded in 1995; its current membership is made up of 29 accounts that handle 47 stores in 21 states. Many of the accounts have been recognized by the music industry and their local communities for their outstanding dedication to customer service and developing artist support.

Each member is bound by its shared love of music, a reputation for great selection and customer service in its community, yet each CIMS account is as unique as the market it represents. Most importantly, CIMS member stores continually seek to challenge the jaded, color-by-numbers advertising and marketing of other retailers.

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