Vol. 11 Issue 127 April 2016


Taxes. Baseball. Insects. Garbage stink. Summer is right around the corner. Which means that the excellent new releases are coming fast and furious now. This month, we have something for everyone. Seriously. Every. One. From stoner rock to experimental hip-hop and everything in between. New music from M83, Dalek, Laura Gibson, and many more. 


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Listen To Forget! 4/28/16

Posted by John On Apr 28, 2016

                Look. There’s no way around this. 2016 has been rough.... Read More

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No better way to start the weekend than with bobmould, @splitsingleband & jonwurster!… https://t.co/vx1JFeuWy9
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Current Releases

Click to see:
Mute
Barsuk
ATO
Sargent House
Modern Outsider
Team Love
Secret City

Mute

www.mute.com

M83  picture

M83

"Junk"

There are a few artists in this world that I know I will love the new thing from before I start it. New Paul Thomas Anderson movie? It’ll be a fav. New book from Cormac McCarthy? Give it a Pulitzer already, why don’t cha! New M83? Hot damn! That’s what I’m talking about. We were on pins and needles waiting to hear what Anthony and the rest of the gang had in store for us with Junk (Mute), and neither our pins nor our needles were disappointed in what we got (and no, the title doesn’t refer to any Paul McCartney covers.) What did we get? Dance, fun synth-pop of the highest order. Is it also full of the epic ballads that we have come to love from M83? Well no. This is not a ballad album. This is a dance party. This is the M83 album that is less about emotions, and more about motion (clever, eh?). So put on your dancing shoes and take off whatever shoes you wear when you are feeling things (I dunno, probably Crocs?). Check out the first song from the new album, “Do It Try It.”

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Moderat

"III"

Let’s say you are a major producer of music compilations. One day, you have a vivid flash of inspiration. You decide right there and then that you are going to produce an album of the sexiest songs of all time. So you write a short list of bands you know you want to have on your sexy comp. The first artist you write down is Prince. Then you write down Pet Shop Boys. Then you think how great it would be if this was a remix album, and you decide to have James Murphy give all the tunes his special treatment. Sounds like an amazingly sexy compilation, right? Well, you could have saved yourself a lot of time and just released Moderat’s new album III (Mute). Moderat being, of course, the Voltron-ing of Sascha Ring, AKA Apparat and Modeselektor members Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary. It is one super sexy album, and it sounds like all those things you were writing down moments ago. Lush, laid back, dance-y and driving. Next time, just ask us when inspiration hits! Check out the Thom Yorke-esque modern pop of “Reminder.”

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Yeasayer

"Amen & Goodbye "

Things have been relatively quiet on the Yeasayer front since the release of 2012’s excellent Fragrant World. As soon as you start listening to Amen & Goodbye (Mute) you immediately know why. “Oh,” you’ll say to yourself, “they have been writing and recording the bejesus out of this record since then.” Psychedelic, strange, yet also immediately recognizable as pop music. The combination is beguiling the way that MGMT’s Congratulations was. It’s obvious that Yeasayer are mixing the coolest sounds and ideas from days gone by in rock, and injecting them into the veins of a super modern music robot (that I guess has some robot blood or something? Future!). This whole mishmash of amazing was recorded to tape and then given to Joey Warkoner (drummer for Atoms For Peace and Beck) so that he could “deconstruct everything” (words and italicization via the band). Check out the Suzzy Roche of The Roches featuring the first single from the album, “I Am Chemistry.”

Barsuk

www.barsuk.com

Laura Gibson picture

Laura Gibson

"Empire Builder"

Empire Builder (Barsuk), the new record from Laura Gibson, was written after her East Village apartment building burned to the ground after a horrific gas explosion. Laura lost everything. Every word she had ever written was in that apartment. But she considers herself lucky having made it out alive, unlike some of her buildingmates. The music community was quick to help Laura get on her feet, and rather than look back she decided to focus on the future. So much like Laura is focusing on the positives, let’s us do the same. Did you know that Laura is the inspiration for NPR’s acclaimed Tiny Desk Concerts? It was while Bob Boilen was watching her perform at SXSW that the idea came to him. She was then the first performer on the series as well. It’s easy to hear why. Her restrained songcraft and the emotional punch she is able to pack with a minimal use of instruments is a testament to her skills as a songwriter and a performer. A little Suzanne Vega, a little bit M. Ward and a lot Laura Gibson. Check out the first track from the album, “The Cause.”

ATO

www.atorecords.com

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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

"Nonagon Infinity "

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the last King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard record, but if Paper Mache Dream Balloon is a flute-filled bong rip of a children’s show, then Nonagon Infinity (ATO) is that album’s cooler, darker, older brother. What’s he up to? He’s down in the basement playing dungeons and dragons, carving pentagrams into the wooden furniture, all the while discovering Krautrock. Oh, and still ripping bongs. This is what every long haired stoner metal dude wants his band to sound like, a combination of Black Sabbath, King Crimson, and Kraftwerk. Oh, plus some Rolling Stones-ish harmonica solos. (They had to give the last records flute player something to do, right?) Lyrics are obtuse, imagery can skew towards a renfair black t-shirt vibe and absolutely none of it matters. Honestly, who listens to Yes for lyrics like “Shining, flying, purple wolfhound, show me where you are” anyway? King Gizzard, that’s who. Check out the absolutely bonkers “Gamma Knife.”

Sargent House

www.sargenthouse.com

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A Dead Forest Index

"In All That Drifts from Summit Down"

In All That Drifts from Summit Down (Sargent House) is the debut record from indie duoA Dead Forest Index. Now before you start stressing out that this is another White Stripes/Black Keys duo, fear not. Kiwi brothers Adam and Sam Sherry couldn’t be further from that sound. Well, besides the fact that there instrumentation is guitar, drums, and vocals. Think a duo that takes the most important aspects from The Velvet Underground (emphasis on the Nico), throw in a little Swans, make sure everything is somehow poppy and gloomy at the same time. Lush and sparse at the same time too. Neat trick, eh? If ever the term “atmospheric rock” needed to be used in a blurb, it’s this one. Hence my using of the term. Dreamy guitars, percussion mostly as accent, and harmoniously slow moving vocals. Check out the glacial beauty of “No Paths.”

Modern Outsider

www.modernoutsider.com

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Brass Bed

"In The Yellow Leaf "

A little bit of a beach-y vibe, with west coast guitars a-twanging. Some shoegaze-lite indie vibes. Energy not unlike the best of The Walkmen, but combined with the spacey-ness of mid-career highlights from Built To Spill, Brass Bed are back with a new album! In The Yellow Leaf (Modern Outsider) finds the band’s effortlessly cool sound maturing like a fine wine (just don’t spill any of that wine on your new brass bed, ok! That’ll never come out!) Their songs have a timeless “is this a cover of an oldies tune I’ve never heard before?” M. Ward quality to them, yet they also have a slightly sinister vein running through them. But that vein does nothing to hide the obvious joy the guys put into this record. Feel the joy for yourself with “Be Anything,” featuring the rockingest cha-cha beat this side of ELO’s “Don’t Bring Me Down.”

Team Love

www.team-love.com

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The Lowest Pair

"Uncertain As It Is Uneven / Fern Girl & Ice Man "

I’m sure you’ve seen it. The now legendary autograph/business card of actor/comedian/musician Steve Martin is known to hand out. It reads “This certifies that you have had a personal encounter with me and that you found me warm, polite, intelligent and funny.” Then it is autographed. If I was either member of bluegrass/americana duo The Lowest Pair my business card would read “Steve Martin has tweeted about me.” Which makes sense, we all know that the man loves banjo music. And The Lowest Pair sure make the hell out of some banjo music. So much music, in fact, that they are Use You Illusioning 2 new albums! Uncertain As It Is Uneven is the more familiar of the releases, while Fern Girl & Ice Man (both Team Love) is the darker, more experimental release of the two. Both albums are packed with authentic, quirky folk, and americana. Oh, and a little bluegrass. And some country western along the way. All the dusty, back porch influences are here. Check out “Keweenaw Flower” from Uncertain As It Is Uneven.

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The Banddroidz

"The Banddroidz"

A DIY mishmash of ‘90s alt, Nirvana-esque energy, Black Sabbath heaviness, some Clash hints, especially around the bass parts. These dudes from Harlem are so refreshingly not worried about what you think. They like what they like. They like rock and roll. They like punk. Is it a sound the kids are clamoring for? No. Do The Banddroidz care? Absolutely not. (For proof of this fact, check out their song “Hipsters”). This is as authentic as music can get. Monk’s raspy, smoky voice hitting unthinkably low tones, and the punk-y bass stylings of Q-Maxx driving the whole trio forward constantly. There is no way these three guys are having anything but the time of their lives playing this music. Now it’s your turn. Have the time of your life and check out the addictive ear worm that is “Creep.”

Secret City

www.secretcityrecords.com

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Plants And Animals

"Waltzed In From The Rumbling"

In 2013, after a long run of albums and constant touring, Plants And Animals dialed it back. Their next album was going to be recorded at their leisure. They wanted to sleep in their own beds. They wanted to remember what their friends looked like. The 2+ years it took them to craft Waltzed In From The Rumbling (Secret City) was worth every second. An upbeat mixture of War On Drugs AOR fetish, French pop music of the ‘70s, Radiohead at their most band-oriented, and a little bit of David Lynch atmosphere thrown in for good measure. Check out Henley-esque “No Worries Gonna Find Us.”

Click to see:
Rough Trade Publishing
Polyvinyl
Numero Group
Drag City
Thrill Jockey
Moshi Moshi
Profound Lore Records

Rough Trade Publishing

www.roughtradepublishing.com

Rogue Wave  picture

Rogue Wave

"Delusions Of Grand Fur "

Rogue Wave are fantastically back with their 6th album. Star Wars puns aside, Delusions Of Grand Fur is an indie-pop blast of a rocking good time. People say things like “their finest album in years” all over the place. I’m no different. I’m people! This really is their finest album in years. Melodies soar, guitars shimmer, drums bounce. This is a maturing Rogue Wave that is ready to fill stadiums with their cavernously building sounds. It’s like the hooktastic quirk-pop of XTC as covered by José González while he’s borrowing The Apples In Stereo’s keyboard collection. Pretty high-concept comparison sentence, eh? It’s almost like I’m having delusions of… you know what? Nevermind. Pay attention to the infinitely more interesting, “What Is Left To Solve.”

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We Are Scientists

"Helter Seltzer "

Are we not men? We Are Scientists! Ok, yeah. I know that’s a Devo thing. But guess what? Devo didn’t put out a new record, We Are Scientists did. We couldn’t be happier to have gotten our grubby little ears wrapped around Helter Seltzer. Yes. Helter Seltzer is the name of the album. I mean, you know the We Are Scientists dudes are known as cut-ups, right? As ribald merrymakers? (And no, no matter how much proof you have, I did NOT google “synonyms for cut-ups” to finish that sentence. That is an outrageous lie, and pay no attention to the other windows on my computer screen.) This record is as poppy and joyous as anything they’ve ever released. A little Simple Minds here, some turn of the century rock a la Bloc Party and Kaiser Chiefs there, some late era Cheap Trick pop-mindedness all mixed together in an enticing, effervescent album. Check out our favorite track from the album, the ballsy rocker “Headlights.”

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Black Mountain

"IV"

Sometimes the hardest part of writing these blurbs is coming up with the comparison bands we use as shorthand to describe a band’s sound. So when the press for the excellent new Black Mountain album IV (Jagjaguwar) included the following passage, I was powerless to take the easy way out and just quote it directly like I’m writing a term paper. “Sonic tributaries that never met in the real world – AC/DC and Amon Düül, Heart and Hawkwind, King Crimson and Kraftwerk – flow together on IV…” (Black Mountain - IV. Jagjaguwar.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.) Huh? A citation and everything! Wait, so now do I need to cite the fact that I made that citation by using easybib.com? And what about citing the fact that I had to Google “MLA online citation generator”? Whew, English is hard. Thankfully, rocking out is not hard for Black Mountain. Or maybe it is? They sure make it sound easy. Prog-y guitars and majestic vocals, swelling keyboards and epically cinematic passages of face-melting musicality. No citation needed, that last one was all me. Check out the rollicking drive of “Florian Saucer Attack.”

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Magic Bronson

"EP"

Magic Bronson is nearly indescribable. Well, maybe that’s not true. But they are without category, that’s for sure. Are they a dance duo? A pop band? Electronica? Indie? Ska? Are they being serious? Or are those jokes? It’s impossible to tell. Their newest EP does little to narrow their sound, but it does everything to further cement their particular niche in music. Songs are huge, stadium filling pop/rock and before you know it, they are jaunty, kitschy college radio ditties. It happens so fast, you barely even know what hit you. Sometimes they sound a little like New Order, Gorillaz and Negativland at the same time. I know, right? Check out the organ-y shuffle of “Run Run.”

Polyvinyl

www.polyvinylrecords.com

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Tancred

"Out Of The Garden "

Somewhere between the hook-tactic self doubt of Weezer’s first two albums and the sure-footed-ness of the swagger of Veruca Salt lies Out Of The Garden (Polyvinyl), the mission statement of an album from Tancred. Power pop at it’s most powerful and it’s poppiest (hence, the Weezer mention mere words ago). These are tunes that have been obsessed over. And no, I don’t mean in a Rush-prog sense, but in a “hey, what cool thing can we do here for a few measures to make a great song even better?” kind of way. Completely natural sounding, and an absolute blast to listen to. Bubbling just beneath the catchy surface is a smirky sarcasm that has been missing from music for years now. Stuff can be serious and fun at the same time. Trust me. Or rather, trust Tancred as you give a listen to the Seether-y “Bed Case.” 

Numero Group

www.numerogroup.com

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Los Alamos Grind

"Compilation"

The sleaziest of sleaze from the sanitized days of yore, Los Alamos Grind is one dirty record. Dirty, that is, if anything from a weird back alley where ‘50s greasers and ‘60s space age bachelor pad dwellers occupied the same space could be considered “dirty.” Leave it to Numero to make a collection this strange and wonderful. There used to be a bootleg series of compilations called Las Vegas Grind, and they attempted to collect music played by bands in Las Vegas strip clubs back in the 50s. This is Numero’s attempt at an unofficial continuation to that series. Combining the slinky, repressed sexuality of that old series and finding the thin line where those tunes and ‘60s instrumental pop overlapped, this is the kind of record that you know you need as soon as you hear it. It’s plays like the super-authentic score to any John Waters movie worth it’s weight in… well, you don’t wanna know. Check out the hip-swaying Elvis-y swagger of Johnny Knight’s “Rock and Roll Guitar.”

Drag City

www.dragcity.com

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Cate Le Bon

"Crab Day "

Effortlessly eccentric performer Cate Le Bon is back with her fourth blissfully bizarre record. Crab Day (Drag City) is like a combination of the strangest inclinations of Nico mixed with the most pop-minded (was there such a thing?) Captian Beefheart tunes. Throw in some Laetitia Sadier, plus some… you know what? If that combo of comparison bands doesn’t whet your appetite then either you were thinking about something else when you read it or you don’t like good things. Angular and syncopated, yet groovy at the same time, this is a record that takes you away to a fancy foreign world that doesn’t exist. Kind of like Bowie’s Berlin mixed with Byrne’s downtown NY, which is appropriate, because both of those play as heavy influences on here. Check out the jittery “Wonderful;” not since Frank Zappa have rock music and xylophone combined so seamlessly.

Thrill Jockey

www.thrilljockey.com

Jan St. Werner picture

Jan St. Werner

"Felder (Fiepblatter Catalogue # 4)"

If David Lynch were ever to create a video game (and please, gods of video games, let this happen) I can imagine that the soundtrack to that game would sound an awful lot like Jan St. Werner’s Felder (Thrill Jockey). In fact, if we have anything to say about it (and we’d like to think we do), this would be the soundtrack to that yet-unproduced video game. Jan’s music, both his work with Mouse On Mars and his solo work, tends to have an otherworldly quality to it. Here, on the 4th entry in his Fiepblatter Catalog series, otherworldly doesn’t begin to describe the beautiful alien sounds contained within. Organic and inorganic instruments weaving in out of traffic in ways that have no right sounding as natural as they do. A little Oneohtrix Point Never, a little Max Richter, even a little bit of Frank Zappa’s Synclavier compositions, this is like waking up on an alien world and being bombarded by never-before seen sights and sounds. Thankfully, this is every bit as brilliant as that would likely be (spoiler alert: I wanna go to space). Check out the eerie pulses of “Foggy Esor Pt. 2.”

Moshi Moshi

www.moshimoshimusic.com

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Teleman

"Brilliant Sanity"

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes you hear an album and say to yourself “well, self, that record sounds exactly like it did in the songwriters head, doesn’t it?” I mean, that’s the kind of thing I say to myself all day at least. Usually, as a band gets into the studio to “lay down tracks” (we can speak the lingo here, right?) things change, ideas evolve and songs fall into focus. Every song on Brilliant Sanity (Moshi Moshi), the new record from South London’s Teleman, is dance-y, poppy, sophisticated and whatever the opposite of overproduced is. I don’t mean underproduced, but produced perfectly (guess I answered my own question…). A little Blur, a little Motown, some early B-52s, really, a mishmash of great influences can be heard on the pop gem. Check out the “Song 2” guitars and slight krautrock hints of “Dusseldorf.”

Profound Lore Records

www.profoundlorerecords.com

Dalek  picture

Dalek

"Asphalt For Eden "

It’s been seven years since the beyond experimental rap group Dalek released an album. Their strange combination of MC dälek’s smart rhymes and laid back flows over Mike Manteca and DJ rEk’s experimental noise shoegaze beats, is as strange and wonderful on Asphalt For Eden as it was the first time we heard them in the late ‘90s. Hailing from Jersey (hi guys!) their sound has always had more in common with the likes of Mike Patton, J Dilla, and the DJ instrumental albums of the late ‘90s. But because that music has always sounded timeless since it gathers so many different influences under the same roof, Dälek’s music always seemed strange and new. Ok. Look. At what point in this blurb is someone gonna give me credit for not making any Doctor Who references? That’s like, a super big deal for me. I drop them into blurbs all the time, and those bands don’t call themselves Dälek. I expect some credit. I also expect you to love the unsettling head rush that is “Established.”