Music Releases 01-18-19
Pedro the Lion has always been David Bazan, but it took a long time to get back there.
In August 2016, during what he now recognizes as his lowest point, Bazan was touring the country alone in an aging minivan and found himself in his hometown of Phoenix, AZ. In need of a break from the road, he spent a night off at his grandparents’ house instead of driving on to San Diego. Before leaving town the next morning, after realizing that even the most familiar places can become unrecognizable, Bazan gave himself the gift of a quick detour past the house he grew up in, and on the way, experienced a breakthrough - one that would lead him both forward and back to another home he had built many years before.
From the beginning, Pedro the Lion didn’t work like the bands Bazan had played drums in, where each player came up with their own parts. Instead, like scripting scenes of dialogue for actors to play with, Bazan recorded and arranged all of the skeletal accompaniments for his obsessively introspective lyrics and spare melodies. Each player would then learn their parts and, together as a band, they brought the skeleton to life. While bandmates played on a few recordings, Bazan often played all or most of the instruments himself.
“I found so much joy working this way,” Bazan remembers. “It came naturally and yielded a feeling and a sound that couldn’t have existed by any other process. At the same time, I was also aware that not everyone wanted to play in a band where the singer wrote all the parts and might perform them on the record. Someone even suggested it might not be a valid approach to having a band in the first place. Being insecure and wanting to find camaraderie, I became conflicted about my natural process.”
By 2002, after recording Control, the high rate of turnover in the band finally caused Bazan to ditch his “natural process” in favor of a collaborative writing process. When, after a couple more years, this move did nothing to stabilize turnover, Bazan was perplexed. In November 2005, Bazan decided to stop doing Pedro the Lion altogether.
Ironically, Bazan didn’t see “going solo” as a chance to revert back to his original process of writing and playing all the parts. For the next decade Pedro the Lion felt off limits, even forgotten, like a childhood home Bazan had moved out of. He pushed forward with releasing solo albums & relentless touring in living rooms and clubs, through every part of the US and beyond, sometimes with a band, but mostly on his own. It took a toll on his family and more acutely on himself. By the summer of 2016, he still hadn’t found the personal clarity or the steady collaboration he’d been seeking and was at the end of his rope.
“I had abandoned my natural way of working in the hopes of creating space for a consistent band to write with...and it hadn’t worked. So I got a rehearsal space, mic’d up drums, bass, and guitar, and really leaned into my original process again. It immediately felt like like home. Before long I realized it also felt like Pedro the Lion.”
In June 2018, with Bazan on bass, vocals, and arrangement writing, Erik Walters on guitar and backing vocals, and Sean Lane on drums, Pedro the Lion went into Studio X and Hall of Justice with producer Andy Park to create Phoenix, the first new Pedro album in 15 years.
After rising to fame two years ago in 2016 with her explosive debut 1 Million selling single 'No Roots' (Mom + Pop), written about her constant moving homes as a child becoming such as huge debut, its safe to say its been a whirl wind for Alice Merton with 124 Million YouTube hits to date. She also gained 6+ Million streams, toured the US supporting the brilliant Vance Joy, championed by Billboard Magazine, Rolling Stone Magazine with Performances on Jimmy Fallon's The Tonights Show and James Corden's Late Late Show, Live With Kelly and Ryan, and even a recent 2018 Teen Choice Awards Nomination in 'Best Rock' category. Merton's debut album, Mint, will be released on January 18th and featured "No Roots", "Lash Out" and her newest single "Why So Serious".
Following the ever-emotive Boo Boo, Toro Y Moi’s new album Outer Peace is a time capsule that captures our relationship to contemporary culture into one comprehensive, sonic package. As both a producer and designer, Bear utilizes abstract sound pairings with recognizable samples for his most pop influenced record to date, including features from ABRA, WET, and Instupendo. This is no departure from his funk and disco roots, which can be heard on “Ordinary Pleasure”, later fusing into variations of house with tracks like “Freelance” and “Laws of the Universe.” Smooth interludes melt into fast paced beats, paralleling the feeling of driving through the Bay Area, where Bear spent most of his time writing the album. Outer Peace is duality. It embodies whatever form you choose to inhabit in the moment. Listen and let your imagination become the universe.
Guster's latest studio album Look Alive was produced by English musician, composer, and producer Leo Abrahams (Regina Spektor, Brian Eno/David Byrne, Belle and Sebastian, Chromatics). The forthcoming LP maintains the band’s unique charm while charting new sonic and lyric pathways. It will be available on CD, vinyl, and digitally.
James Blake has long been a hip-hop ally. Not only has his own discography cemented him as a critically acclaimed artist, the multiple Grammy award-nominee and Mercury Prize winner has worked with artists from the likes of Drake, Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, Frank Ocean and more. 2018 was a massive year for the producer, singer and song-writer who collaborated with Kendrick Lamar on the era-defining Black Panther soundtrack and lent his vocals to Travis Scott's "Stop Trying To Be God."
Remind Me Tomorrow was written in stolen time. In the four years since Are We There, Van Etten guest-starred in The OA, performed in David Lynch's Twin Peaks revival, and wrote her first film score and song for TV - for Kathering Dieckmann's Strange Weather Tig Notaro's show Tig, respectively. Van Etten also had a child, and began studying psychology. In the scraps of hours between these endeavors, Remind Me Tomorrow was born. Working with producer John Congleton, Remind Me Tomorrow reveals piano keys that churn, deep drones, distinctive sharp drums. Originally a piano ballad, "Comeback Kid" evolved into a dark, menacing anthem. "Seventeen" began as a Lucinda Williams-esque dirge, but winds up a star-spangled nod to Springsteen, exploring gentrification and generational patience. The breadth of Van Etten's new passions have inflected Remind Me Tomorrow with a wise, warped-time perspective. She explains, "I want to be a mom, a singer, an actress, go to school, but yeah, I have a stain on my shirt, oatmeal in my hair. I feel like a mess, but I'm here. Doing it. This record is about pursuing your passions." This is Remind Me Tomorrow, fusing a pained attentive realism and radiant lightness about new loves.
Aesop Rock has been credited as one of the most verbose MC's in Hip-Hop today. Known for his dense and abstract wordplay, he manipulates language to illustrate elaborate stories and difficult concepts with sharp clarity. Tobacco is a member of psych-electronic band Black Moth Super Rainbow. Known for working with pre-digital electronic instruments like analog synths and tape machines, he crafts distorted, experimentalist beats that intertwine feelings of tension and anxiety with sensations of bemusement and pleasure. Together, Aesop Rock and Tobacco are... Malibu Ken.
How do you describe an album out of time, concerned with the disappearance of culture, of humanity, of nature, of logic and emotion? Why make this album in an era when attention spans have been reduced to next to nothing, and the tactile grains of making music have been further reduced to algorithms and projected playlist placement. Why wake up in the morning? Why hasn’t everything already disappeared? Deerhunter’s eighth LP forgets the questions and makes up unrelated answers. It gets up, walks around, it records itself in several strategic geographic points across north america. It comes home, restructures itself and goes back to bed to avoid the bad news. From the opening harpsichord and piano figures of Death in Midsummer, it is impossible to tell where the record came from. Is No One’s Sleeping an outtake of an aborted Kinks recording session in 1977 Berlin with Eno producing? No. That is nostalgia. If there is one thing Deerhunter are making clear it is that they have exhausted themselves with that toxic concept. What they spend their time doing instead is reinventing their approach to microphones, the drum kit, the harpsichord, the electromechanical and synthetic sounds of keyboards. Whatever guitars are left are pure chrome, plugged straight into the mixing desk with no amplifier or vintage warmth. The result is as thrilling, haunting, and unpredictable as anything in their roughly 15 year career. Deerhunter have made a science fiction album about the present. Is it needed right now? Is it relevant? Perhaps only to a small audience. DADA was a reaction to the horrors of war. Punk was a reaction to the slow and vacant 70’s. Hip Hop was a liberated musical culture that challenged the notions presented wholesale about the African-American experience. What is popular music today a reaction to?
Imagine: John Lennon 75th Birthday Concert captured performances from the historic event at The Theatre At Madison Square Garden, honoring the songs of one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century. The concert film/audio recordings feature 20 performances of Beatles and solo classics by Aloe Blacc, Eric Church, Sheryl Crow, Brandon Flowers, John Fogerty, Peter Frampton, Juanes, Kris Kristofferson, Pat Monahan, Tom Morello, Willie Nelson, The Roots, Spoon + Chris Stapleton.
For over a decade, guitarist/vocalist Steve Gunn has been one of American music’s most pivotal figures - conjuring immersive and psychedelic sonic landscapes both live and on record, releasing revered solo albums ranking high on in-the-know end of year lists, alongside exploratory collaborations with artists as diverse as Mike Cooper, Kurt Vile, and Michael Chapman (whose most recent studio album he produced). Gunn is known for telling other people’s stories, but on his breakthrough fourth album, The Unseen In Between, he explores his own emotional landscapes with his most complex, fully realized songs to date. The lyrics evoke voyages, tempests (actual and emotional), and a rich cast of characters met along the way -- the work of an artist finding a place of calm in the midst of a storm. Produced by frequent collaborator James Elkington and engineered by Daniel Schlett, the immaculately recorded Unseen forces a reassessment of Gunn’s standing in the pantheon of the era’s great songwriters. Getting to The Unseen In Between itself was not easy for Gunn. In the summer of 2016, Gunn released Eyes On The Lines, his winning and elliptical debut for Matador. It should have been a triumphant moment, but exactly two weeks later, Gunn’s father and namesake died following a two-year struggle with cancer. This experience yielded the emotional centerpiece of the album. “Stonehurst Cowboy” is a duet for Gunn’s raw acoustic guitar and spare basslines by Bob Dylan’s musical director Tony Garnier, whose featured throughout the album. The song distills the lessons Gunn learned from his father and it is a solemn but tender remembrance, a tribute to his father’s reputation as a tough, wise, and witty guy from far west Philadelphia. A sense of musical renewal and emotional complexity fits the new songs perfectly; “Luciano” seems to be about the chemistry between a bodega owner and his cat, an unspoken romance of gentle obedience and quiet gestures. But Gunn peers below the relationship’s surface and wonders about the owner’s lonely future once the cat is gone, a devastating meditation wrapped in soft strings. And then there’s “Vagabond,” Gunn’s graceful attempt to humanize a rich cast of characters whose lives have gone astray, wanderers who live outside of society’s modern safety net, who pursue “a crooked dream” in spite of what the world expects. Supported by the perfect harmonies of Meg Baird, Gunn finds something lovely in the unloved. In a final contrast, “Morning is Mended” is an acoustic beauty so resplendent it ranks alongside Sandy Denny or Jackson C. Frank. Buoyed by a melody that sparkles like sunlight on still water, Gunn acknowledges the hardships around him, the feeling of being a “nothing sky,” and then moves forward into the world, walking tall into the fresh morning. The song is an apt encapsulation of The Unseen In Between, a gorgeously empathetic record that attempts to recognize the worries of the world and offer some timely assurance. It is a revelatory and redemptive set, offering the balm of understanding at a time when that seems in very short supply.
Fast on the heels of 2018's acclaimed 'Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John' comes Juliana Hatfield's self-produced all-originals album, Weird. Freda Love Smith (Blake Babies, Sunshine Boys) and Todd Philips (Lemonheads, The Juliana Hatfield Three) each played drums on multiple songs while Hatfield played all of the other instruments (and some additional drums). Weird is an album about disconnection and discomfort. ''I often feel cut-off from other people, from my feelings, from technology, from popular culture,'' says Hatfield. ''I feel weird, I feel like I'm dreaming my life and that I am going to wake up some day.'' While Hatfield's songs-melodies and lyrics and structures are meticulously crafted, her guitar parts are loose and sometimes a little unhinged; first-take expressions of this temperamental uneasiness. ''Personally, I feel like a malfunctioning machine. There's a screw or two loose. I want my guitar playing to reflect that.''
Limited clear vinyl LP pressing. 2019 release from the acclaimed singer/songwriter, his first studio album since 2016's More Rain. What A Wonderful Industry takes on a subtler shade of music industry beef, writing about the heroes and villains he's encountered over 20 years. M. Ward: "This album is a reminder to keep your friends close, your enemies closer and don't let the ones that just need an extra couple hours of therapy bring you down." M. Ward's solo work is a mixture of folk and blues-inspired Americana analog recordings; he has released nine albums since 1999, primarily through independent label Merge Records. In addition to his solo work, he is a member of pop duo She & Him and folk-rock supergroup Monsters of Folk, and also participates in recording, producing, and playing with multiple other artists.
For more than 18 years, the members of Greensky Bluegrass have been creating their own version of bluegrass music, mixing the acoustic stomp of a stringband with the rule-breaking spirit of rock & roll. As they continue to evolve and further define that sound they are breaking barriers with their seventh studio album, All For Money. Recorded at Echo Mountain Recording in Asheville, NC alongside co-producers Dominic John Davis (Jack White s longtime bassist) and Glenn Brown, this set of 12 new songs finds the band pushing boundaries and breaking new ground, welcoming old fans and new audiences alike. They re going full steam ahead into this new era with both the passion and vigor of a band in their infancy and the knowledge and power of one that s been together for almost two decades and counting.
One of Los Angeles punk rock’s most widely admired yet little-heard bands makes a striking return to records on Jan. 18, as Yep Roc Records issues an all-new collection by The Flesh Eaters, I Used to Be Pretty. On the release, founding vocalist and songwriter Chris Desjardins — better known as Chris D. — is backed by the legendary “all-star” edition of the band, originally heard on the 1981 set A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die: Dave Alvin (guitar) and Bill Bateman (drums) of the Blasters; John Doe (bass) and D.J. Bonebrake (marimba and percussion) of X; and Steve Berlin (saxophones) of the Plugz (and later the Blasters and Los Lobos). The album was produced collectively by the band members.
'Before we learn to hate. Love is our Native Tongue.' - Jon Foreman. For their new album Native Tongue, alternative rock band SWITCHFOOT step beyond their trademark epic soundscapes and explore new textures and themes that genuinely reflect this fraught cultural moment. From the hard-hitting anthemic title-track to more reflective songs such as 'Prodigal Soul,' 'Joy Invincible,' and 'Voices,' co-written and produced with their friends in One Republic, the band interlace empathy and introspection, urging us to 'use our lungs for love and not the shadows.'
Fronted by Texan native Danny Lee Backwell, Myth Of A Man is Night Beats fourth studio album. While Blackwell has always fed off the musical legacy of his Texas roots, Myth Of A Man has him pulling from the surrogate wellspring of Nashville, Tennessee. It was there that he worked with the eminent Dan Auerbach, and a murderer's row of battle-worn session musicians. Written during a particularly destructive period of the band, the album is populated by fallen angels, blood-sucking wanderers, and vindictive lovers, but the character most present is Blackwell, himself. ''Myth Of A Man can be summed up as a personal display of vulnerability and guilty conscience,'' he explains, ''Destroying the mythos of what it means to live and function in society.'' With its bold steps forward, Myth Of A Man serves as both a takedown and reintroduction of the band as we know it-the strongest evidence that you'll never be able to pin Night Beats down.
Love Hates What You Become captures the Manchester-based duo comprised of Ebony Hoorn and Ellery James Roberts at their most musically raw and visceral. The band wrote the album in Ellery’s native Manchester before traveling to Los Angeles to record with producer John Congleton, known for his Grammy-winning work with St. Vincent, Swans, Explosions in the Sky and Sigur Rós. A striking difference from their debut record is the prominence of Ebony’s vocals, notable on the album’s formidable “Bunny’s Blues.” With Love Hates What You Become, Lost Under Heaven continue to establish themselves as a courageous and innovative young band, hungry to create and perform their art.
Following a breakout year for Liz Brasher, including cross country tours with rock and roll legends The Psychedelic Furs and The Zombies as well as Red Wanting Blue, today she's announced her follow up to her Outcast EP from earlier this year with her debut full-length album coming on Fat Possum Records January 18th, 2019. Today sees the first taste of the new album with "Love Feasts" before Brasher heads back on the road with The Psychedelic Furs for an east coast run this fall. Speaking to the single Brasher says ""Love Feasts" is a stream of subconsciousness that came out of me in maybe 10 minutes. It was fast. I had been reading poetry, the book of Jude, and doing a lot of self-reflecting. In turn, it came out as a mixture of beautiful imagery wrapped in darkness. It's not about any one particular thing. It's a song you can look at from different perspectives and still find new meaning over time. At its core it begs the listener to be watchful of who they let in to their intimate space. It also asks them to always forgive when they have been wronged (the inevitable). To undergo purification, reconciliation, and ultimately completely letting go of what has happened."Liz Brasher's debut album showcases her robust voice, accompanied by her technical guitar playing and allegorical songwriting, with her inspirations stemming from a myriad of musicians, wandering from Pops Staples to surf guitar icons The Ventures. Brasher has a punch to her playing on record, but when it comes to her live performances, she is an absolute powerhouse show stopper. Brasher distills this passion and vigor into eleven powerful tracks on her debut LP.Liz Brasher's Painted Image sees this fiery vocalist and band leader digging into her past and present to create music that is as timeless as it is refreshing. Hers is a diverse sound rooted in the influence of Brasher's two homes: her adopted hometown of Memphis; and her childhood stomping grounds in rural North Carolina, where she was raised in a musical, multi-ethnic household that i
From their unassuming origins as a group of school friends drawn together by a shared passion for music to the global touring force (supporting The Cure and Editors at arenas and stadiums), they have quietly become, The Twilight Sad's ascent has been forged the old way with grit, graft and four exceptional studio albums. Now signed to Mogwai's Rock Action Records, the bands fifth album does not disappoint and will certainly not disappoint fans of their previous works. It will also appeal to fans of The Cure, Frighten Rabbits, The National, Interpol and Editors.
After graduating from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Maggie Rogers released her critically acclaimed debut EP, 'Now That The Light Is Fading'. The acclaimed producer/songwriter/performer now releases major label debut album: ‘Heard It In A Past Life’. The album includes the song that introduced Rogers to the world, “Alaska,” which has accrued over 100 million global combined streams to date. ‘Heard It In A Past Life’ also contains the follow-up singles “Fallingwater,” praised by NPR as “a celebration of the terrifying yet thrilling process of change” and “Give A Little,” which Pitchfork hailed as “cathartic pop song about empathy and unity.”; as well as newest single “Light On”, as seen on Saturday Night Live - November 3rd.
The brand new single from the band Ohtis - made up of members Sam Swinson, Adam Pressley & Nate Hahn. The band, formed in Normal, Illinois, bring the vivid storytelling wit of Josh T. Pierson and the shufflin’ Americana of Wilco and Phosphorescent. The band have finished their new album which is due for release in Spring 2019. Limited edition, one time 7" press. Includes "Runnin" and an exclusive B-side, "Settling."
Timing matters. With our without you the train is departing; the second hand doesn't really stop when you won't wind your watch; inspiration strikes in an instant but its reckoning can take an eternity. In the world of music, the concept of time doesn't just pertain to cues to come in or a 4/4 beat -- it is also equally about patience and the space an artist must allow themselves to create. So for Christina Cone, the leader of the Nashville-based soulful indie-pop band Frances Cone, Late Riser, the title of her first album since 2013, is a nod to that notion, and her band's growing achievements.
The Steel Woods' sophomore Thirty Tigers album, Old News, represents a creative leap for the southern roots rock songwriting team of Alabama native Wes Bayliss and his North Carolina partner Jason "Rowdy" Cope, who completed their first recordings barely months after they first met. Recorded in Asheville, NC at Echo Mountain Studios, the site of an old church during a six-day break in a hectic touring schedule, the new album features more original songs and, for the first time, the whole band participated -- including the rhythm section of bassist Johnny Stanton and drummer Jay Tooke -- playing in a single room, cutting the tracks virtually live. Part Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers, dual-guitar southern blues-rock with elements of R&B, country, bluegrass, gospel, blues, folk and metal, the descriptively named, Nashville-based band deepens its resolve on a theme-driven album that joins the mystery train of the past with the full-speed loco-motion of the present, seeking to bring people together with the universality of music.
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• The band’s last raucous indie releases before signing to major Label. • Remastered and featuring 7 bonus cuts, including 4 never-before released. • Liner notes by Jon Wurster (Superchunk). • While You Were Out was produced by much revered Minneapolis Musician Chris Osgood, leader of the groundbreaking 1976 punk band The Suicide Commandos. • Contains the full U.K.-only EP track list of Clam Dip & Other Delights EP, first time available in the U.S. Soul Asylum were inheritor’s of the throne in the Minneapolis scene launched by The Replacements and Husker Du. Soul Asylum stood out because of their smart, punky, hard rock songs and relentless work ethic. They made four records for hometown label Twin/Tone Records before moving on to the majors; first A&M, then Columbia, where they scored two platinum albums and won a Best Rock Song Grammy for “Runaway Train.” While You Were Out was the band’s 3rd album and its 3rd release of 1986, following 2nd album Made To Be Broken and the cassette-only rarities compilation, Time’s Incinerator. It is considered by many to be their finest album. Clam Dip & Other Delights was their parting release for Twin/Tone before signing to major label, A&M Records. As the liner notes say, “The band got to record a bunch of things that likely would never have made it to an album, raw and all over the map stylistically, but sounding vital even 30 years removed.” Produced by Twin/Tone Records co-founder and Replacements manager, Peter Jesperson and Grammy®-winner, Cheryl Pawelski, these expanded reissues of Soul Asylum’s 3rd and EP collect rare outtakes and demos from this era, including seven bonus tracks as well as four completely unreleased songs. The packaging provides an array of never before seen photos, artwork, flyers and liner notes written by Jon Wurster of Superchunk fame.
Roadrunner Records activists FEVER 333 have announced their anticipated Roadrunner/333 Wreckords Crew debut LP, STRENGTH IN NUMB333RS. The album is led by the incendiary new single "BURN IT" and is joined by an official music video - directed by FEVER 333 vocalist Jason Aalon Butler and Djay Brauner - available at FEVER 333's YouTube channel. The group's sound instantly exploded to fans around the world with their live performances at all of the top festivals this year packing stages and tents everywhere including: Download and Reading in the U.K., Fuji Rock in Tokyo, Afro-Punk in Brooklyn, Lowlands in Holland, and Riot Fest in Chicago.Comprised of vocalist Jason Aalon Butler [ex-letlive.], drummer Aric Improta [Night Verses], and guitarist Stephen Harrison [ex-The Chariot], FEVER 333 is explicitly devoted to a revolutionary cause and delivering aggressive advocacy through a molotov cocktail of punk, hip-hop, and thrash...FEVER 333's activism serves as the banner for the band's focus on community, charity, and change.
RYD, aka North London producer and songwriter Ryan Downie is inspired by the frankness of Bon Iver's work, the more experimental wing of 90s R&B - think Timbaland, The Neptunes, Missy Elliot - his classical upbringing and a fondness for jazz composition that all come to the fore on his intoxicating self-titled debut album. Opaque electronics matched to heart-rending songwriting, bleached out digital production underpinning the most poignant of vocals, the album is a work of solitary creativity that is constantly in flux.
In 2014, the Delines released their debut LP, toured Europe, UK and Australia and were heading towards album #2. Singer Amy Boone was hit by a car and endured nine surgeries over three years before becoming strong enough to record again. Former Richmond Fontaine leader, Willy Vlautin had songs waiting---less Americana and more Country Soul. As Q wrote, ''Vlautin is in majestic storytelling formconjuring more depth in a couple of verses than most writers in 300 pages.'' The Imperial melds his songs with Boone's voice and a crack band with horns for a result that is a grand step forward from the first album replete with emotional songs of worlds both romantic and lonely, desperate and hopeful. The effort is stunning.