Vol. 10 Issue 121 October 2015

Oh October! What a plethora of gifts you hold for us! Cooler weather, pumpkin flavored everything, jackets, good sleeping weather, and an absolutely enormous slate of new releases. Seriously. A cubic bunch of records! We have plenty of debuts from new bands like Moving Panoramas and Sun Club, releases from old favs like Joanna Newsom and Des Ark, plus a killer reissue from Unwound.

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10/01/15 #TBT Re-Up

Posted by John On Oct 1, 2015

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Current Releases

Click to see:
Modern Outsider
Other Music
Don Giovanni
Fat Cat
Team Love



El Vy picture

El Vy

"Return To The Moon"

Can you call a duo a supergroup? I’m gonna go with yes, especially if the pairing is Brent Knopf of Ramona Falls and Menomena fame and Matt Berninger of The Nationals. With a baritone as distinctive as Beringer’s, it’s gonna be tough for Return To The Moon (4AD) to avoid comparisons to The National. But frankly, every band should have such wonderful problems. Somehow, the combination of these two talents has resulted in a record far more funky than anyone would assume they would. El Vy are somewhere between Bowie at his 80s poppiest and Gorillas at their most chill, this is a surprisingly danceable album. Who would have thought it? Well, besides Brent and Matt. I bet that was their idea the whole time. Hey, I have an idea! Check out the title track “Return To The Moon.”



Babes picture


"Five Tears"

If there was a weird alternate history to pop music, and Roy Orbison didn’t record his own songs, but instead gave them to girl groups to record, then that history would sound a lot like the full-length debut from Babes. Five Tears (Barsuk) is comprised of 5 family members (3 siblings, 2 cousins). It’s obvious that they have been making music together for a very long time, and chances are they were also listening to music together for a good long while as well. It’s like they invented a machine by where you feed oldies into a machine and they come out the other side 25% more Flaming Lips (before they were annoying). Harmonies, big melodies, electronic accents, broad themes of love and life hammer that Soft Bulletin-era Flaming Lips comparison I so wordily made moments ago. Check out the feel good first single from the album “I’ve Got a Reason to Keep on Living.”



Des Ark picture

Des Ark

"Everything Dies"

If you are the kind of person that needs everything to be settled up easily in your brain, then Des Ark isn’t for you. If you hate surprises, you probably don’t love Des Ark. Sometimes Des Ark refers to Amiée Argote’s band. Sometimes Des Ark refers to her solo acoustic offerings. However, if you like your music to challenge your expectations then you probably have a super cool Des Ark tattoo somewhere. This time around, Everything Dies is not the trashy loud version of Des Ark. Or the solo acoustic version. Somewhere in the middle lies Des Ark Ver. 3.0. Mostly band oriented, Everything Dies (Graveface) is such an amazingly well-written collection of songs that even though it was recorded piecemeal over the last 5 years, her talent ties everything in a way that most records could only dream of. For a hint of the greatness withinn, check out the Feist-y “Don Taco & His Hot Sauce Toss” and realize that you have been titling songs wrongly your entire life.



Larry Gus picture

Larry Gus

"I Need New Eyes"

According to the press for Larry Gus’s new album I Need New Eyes (DFA), this is an album written and recorded during two life-altering events. One, his participation in the Red Bull Music Academy in Tokyo, and the birth of his child. The latter made him realize that the former could never be a full-time thing. As he says, having a baby means you can’t move to Tokyo. However, if this is an album about self-reflection and alternate universes closing, it sure doesn’t sound it. This is as jubilant as music gets. Here are all the Larry things we love. His falsetto vocals, his piecemeal, found sound composition style. Fantastically deep beats. You like Can? You like Panda Bear? You like Larry Gus. Check out the album ever-driving flute-chill of the album closer “Nazgonya (Paper Spike).”



Sun Club picture

Sun Club

"The Dongo Durango"

Look. It’s simple. If the kids (and by kids, I mean anyone under 30) stop playing rock music then rock music stops. So I feel a certain amount of pride when any new band starts up, playing guitars and drums and driving around in a van touring the country. Case in point is Sun Club. Starting when they were barely teens, these dudes have been working hard at this for years, and after a few beloved singles and EPs, their debut full length album The Dongo Durango (ATO) was announced on the same day that their tour van caught fire. The van has been replaced, and the touring hasn’t stopped. Poppy, off-kilter tunes somewhere between BRMers Daytona, Arcade Fire at their most celebratory, early Mothers Of Invention at their silliest, and early Built To Spill; like if Slim Twig covered the Beach Boys. Yeah, those results are as great as I made them sound. Check out the jubilant “Beauty Meat.”

Modern Outsider


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Moving Panoramas


Sometimes in blurb writing, a good way to catch the reader up is by listing some bands the members of a new band have been in before. But sometimes, that list would be so long it would scare the blurb reader off. Suffice it to say the newly christened “dream gaze” (their very apt words, not mine) trio Moving Panoramas has the talents of singer/guitarist Leslie Sisson (of The Wooden Birds as well as the list I am leaving off to spare your tired eyes) and drummer Karen Skloss (of Black Forest Fire) as well as bassist-pal Rozie Castoe. One (Modern Outsider) is a hazy, heady rush of post-rock and dreamy harmonies, this one is a beguiling beauty. Heavy and quiet simultaneously, they are like a more reverb-y Lush, or a less keyboard-y Au Revoir Simone, or a more modern Cocteau Twins. Frankly, the fact that I mentioned those three bands together should mean you cannot wait to hear the title track “One.”

Other Music


Monika picture


"Secret In The Dark"

In her homeland of Greece, Monika is huge. I’m talking bigger than Jerry Lewis in France big. Ok, that might be an overstatement. No one is THAT big. But having two platinum albums of her folk-pop music in her homeland of Greece sounds pretty mega-big to me. So when one has something that is obviously working so well, one keeps driving along that same road, right? Wrong! Monica spent some time hanging out at Daptone Records in Brooklyn and almost immediately turned into a disco diva! Well, maybe it wasn’t instant. But I can assure you that the disco part of that sentence is 100% true. Produced by Dap-King Homer Steinweiss, Secret In The Dark (Other Music) is not a record that recalls the glory days of NY ‘70s disco, at times this IS a record of ‘70s NY disco. Seriously. And one of the best disco records we have ever heard. DJs, you have been warned. You better have this in tow, because if you aren’t playing standout track “Secret In The Dark” then you don’t deserve your DJ union card.

Don Giovanni


Laura Stevenson picture

Laura Stevenson


It’s been 2 years since Laura Stevenson blew us all away with her solo debut Wheels. Steady yourself, because Cocksure (Don Giovanni) is about to do the same thing. There must have been something in the water on that Bomb the Music Industry! tour bus, because they all appear to be full of nothing but good ideas. I could say lots of things about her amazing vocals, but Spin has the definitive sentence on that subject, calling her voice “one of the more affecting forces currently going in rock’n’roll.” Thanks Spin! This is a little poppy, a little punk-y, a little folk-y, a little 90s college, a little 70s glam. You know, all the good stuff. Speaking of good stuff, check out the first single “Torch Song.”

Fat Cat


Shopping picture


"Why Choose"

If you happened to be playing the new Shopping record Why Choose (FatCat) in ear shot of a music geek, chances are they would sheepishly ask you “so…um…hey…who, uh…who is this?” all the while dying on the inside because they feel like they’ve missed a touchstone of ‘70s post-punk greatness. Maybe they are a band that shared the bill with Gang Of Four? They obviously played shows at CBGBs, right? Nope. They are Shopping (you know, like I said before). But if said music geek awkwardly stood around and listened long enough they would realize that although it is totally a ‘70s downtown vibe, the melodies and vocals are distinctly right now. Twangy, spindly lead guitar lines surfing around while Television-y baselines slink forward. The Talking Head’s album “More Songs About Buildings And Food is exhausted from this album’s raw energy. Yeah. I said it. You’ll say it too when you listen to the first single “Why Wait.”

Team Love


Long Beard picture

Long Beard


When a debut record from an artist comes as fully formed as the debut from Long Beard, you better believe that people are gonna pay attention. Sleepwalkers (Team Love) is a moody, almost gloomy, atmospheric rock record a la Lush or even Pale Sisters. Leslie Bear, the woman behind Long Beard, definitely heard these songs in her head before she recorded them, they are so obviously fully formed. It’s also a safe bet that she has a vast collection of late-80s and 90s shoegaze records. Her hushed vocals and chunky, distorted frail strumming is definitely built on a steady foundation of 90s-era college rock (not gonna lie, miss the hell out of those days. But frankly, I miss and days where “internet sensation” wasn’t a viable thing… Hey you kids! Get off my lawn!). Thankfully there are records as beautiful as this to remind us of the thrill of guitars. Check out the 1st single from the album, “Porch.”

Click to see:
Drag City
Numero Group
Temporary Residence
Thrill Jockey

Drag City


Joanna Newsom picture

Joanna Newsom


I make no effort to hide my complete obsession with the sounds of Joanna Newsom. She is beyond compare. Literally. There is no one to compare her sound to. She is a name you use to compare someone else to, so singular is her elfin roller coaster of a voice, the harp, piano, and oddballl arrangements of her music. Honestly, when is the last time you saw Schiedmayer Celesta listed as an instrument played in the liner notes of an album? My guess is a resounding “Huh? What’s that?” Her newest album Divers (Drag City) is like  accidentally wondering into a Shakespearean-era Green Show with a heavy dose of psychedelic drugs coursing through your system. As her music progresses from album to album, here are all the benchmarks of Newsom-ism, with just a touch of heady brutish-prog (as a side note to Ms. Newsom–PLEASE form a prog band. That is all.). Fall in love with the incomparable sounds of “Sapokanikan.”



Beach Slang picture

Beach Slang

"The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us"

With a series of critically and fan adored 7 inch records behind them, people have been chomping at the bit for a proper album from Philadelphia's Beach Slang. Well folks, put your bit away, your chomping days are over. The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us (Polyvinyl) is here, and it’s everything we hoped it would be. If you like your pop-punk with more musicality than is sometimes associated with the genre, then this is for you. Makes sense, seeing as frontman and songwriter James Alex is from the beloved Weston. A little bit Replacements, a little bit Weston, yet very, very new sounding. Check out the the angsty “Bat Art & Weirdo Ideas.”

Birthmark picture


"How You Look When You’re Falling Down"

What is it about the birthmark that drives people nuts? Cindy Crawford’s birthmark probably earned her a few million bucks a year at the height of it’s popularity. Now, I doubt that she is the reason Nate Kinsella uses Birthmark as his solo recording name (in fact, judging from the press photo on Polyvinyl’s website, he went with it because of the lovely birthmarks that adore his face). We may never know (unless, of course, we ask him. But where is the fun in that?) Whatever the reason, the tunes on How You Look When You’re Falling Down are as beguiling as a birthmarked supermodel. With a sweet, soaring voice and a electro-pop backing that falls somewhere between Postal Service and the Macbook excursions of Thom Yorke, chances are you are already smitten with Nate’s sound. If not, then start by grooving along with the driving pop of “Suit Of Armor.”



Allison Weiss picture

Allison Weiss

"New Love"

Sure it’s practically the norm now, but in 2009 that fact that Allison Weiss crowdfunded her debut album was unheard of. The media, doing what it does (we ARE in a 24 hour news cycle-world now after all) made quite a deal out of that brand new business model. But the interest in Allison’s music would have disappeared quicker than booze at a wedding reception with an open bar if it wasn’t for that fact that her music is as beguiling as it is. An indie pop/folk/rock sound and a desire to be understood by her audience that leaves her music somewhere between Funeral-era Arcade Fire, best of early U2, and a healthy dose of the now. A huge stadium-sized sound playing up her heart-on-her-sleeve lyrics and conversational vocals. If she wasn’t on your radar before, be warned: she is the entire Air Force now. Sometimes you hear an album and think “Yup. This is a big one.” New Love (SideOneDummy) is one of those. Check out the asthmatic (Give it a rest already autocorrect! I don’t mean “asthmatic”) build of standout track “Who We Are.”

Numero Group


Unwound picture



As they do with all their releases, Numero has given a LOT of love to Unwound recently. A series of deep digging box sets have been reexamining their entire catalog, including original release albums, singles, live tracks, and copious b-sides. This attention to detail continues with the last release in this series. Unwound: Empire (Numero Group) collects their last few studio albums, as well as era-specific oddities. This is an often overlooked period for the angular, post-rock trio, and hopefully this release will mend those sins committed by the music listening population in general. You know you love them. You know you wanna obsess over every note recorded by them. This is your chance. Check out the standout track “December.”

Temporary Residence


Maserati picture



Generally, when you say a band or an album reminds you of Pink Floyd, one's mind instantly goes to their trippy psychedelic heyday of the late 60s and early 70s. In the case of the new Maserati album, Rehumanizer (Temporary Residence), that is not the case. Sure, I'm gonna say that they sound like Pink Floyd at times on here (otherwise this is a pretty lousy blurb intro) but the Floyd (as I like to call them) I am referring to here is late era, Wall and post-Wall, even Waters-less PF. Majestic guitars, walls of keyboard textures, driving rhythms and rolling drums.  Mix all that with some Flock of Seagulls, a healthy dose of '80s sci-fi aesthetic and some Neu!-ish krautrock tendencies, and you are getting the idea. Another way to get the idea is to listen to the first single from the album, the particularly Krautrock-y "Rehumanizer II."

My Disco picture

My Disco


As most artists mature, they realize that “less is more” really is true. Films get less flashy, paintings become less worked over, more immediate, and songs begin to strip away the fluff at get to the heart of the matter. This might never be as apt a description of a band’s career as the minimalist post-punk masters My Disco. 10+ years in and Severe (Temporary Residence) finds the trio as stripped-down as they have ever been. But as is the case with most minimalist music, it’s the spaces in between that create the atmosphere. This is as gloomy, dark, and harrowing as music can get. A little like Slint, a little like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, this is one for the dark passages of life. Check out the sludgy, math chug of “1991.”

Thrill Jockey


Dan Friel picture

Dan Friel


If you aren’t already a fan of the expert electronic excursions of expert knob twister Dan Friel, then I fear that no amount of words can brace you for the wildly experimental, yet deeply melodic sounds that he creates. Does his music have a beat? Yes. Can you dance to it? Well, did you graduate from Julliard with a major in contemporary dance? If so, then please send us a video of your newest routine set to Dan’s tunes. Otherwise, you are just gonna hurt yourself. With loves that appear to be equal for classical music, noise and experimental electronic music, instrumental library music, heavy metal, ‘80s horror movie themes, Dan is something of an anomaly. It’s tough to compare him to any of his contemporaries in the field of instrumental music. Maybe a little Dan Deacon? But mostly a lot of Dan Friel. His sound would be as comfortable being presented as modern art in a gallery as he would as a musician performing on a stage. If you aren’t excited to hear his newest album Life (Thrill Jockey) yet, then I need to reexamine my describing skills. Give a listen to the decaying robots of “Rattler” and please, turn the volume down a bit before you start and adjust accordingly. If there is one thing Dan excels at, it’s “in the red” sounds.

Dave Heumann picture

Dave Heumann

"Here In The Deep"

If you are a music fan (and frankly, if you are reading this, you’d better be!) then chances are you are an Arbouretum fan. Since 2002, that band has been releasing albums that couldn’t be more qualified to stand as “alternative rock” if they tried. Those out of time records are like the rock excursions of Richard Thompson from the ‘70s (side note: if ever there was such a thing as “multiple discovery” then this description is it. I swear I thought of it before I saw it, almost word for word, on Thrill Jockey’s site). Well, the man behind that beloved Baltimore band Dave Heumann (how great is that name, eh?) has stepped away to record his solo debut. Here In The Deep (Thrill Jockey) is somewhere between the sound of his day job, Mark Kozelek at his sunniest, and the organ dirges of mid-‘90s YLT. If you thought you liked Dave’s sound before, just wait until you here the title track “Here In The Deep.”



Co La  picture

Co La

"No No"

Describing No No (Software), the new album from Co La, simply as electronic music is like describing The Simpsons as a cartoon. I mean, sure, both of those things are true, but they have no scope in their written meanings. The Simpsons is… well, I could wax poetic about them all day, and I am gonna need plenty of space to also wax equally poetically (I hope) on Co La (which consists of one dude, (Matt Papich). Sure, you could probably dance to Co La if you tried really hard, but this is serious music, as modern as classical music can get. Computer controlled music. Arranged and perfected without being glitchy, and yet somehow retaining the organic qualities of it’s creator (it’s like I’m writing the script for an I, Robot sequel. I would call it We, Robot.) That this record has been released on Daniel Lopatin’s Software imprint Software makes perfect sense, because I can’t help myself from comparing it to Oneohtrix Point Never’s music (that’s Mr. Lopatin’s nom de tune). Check out the stuttering greatness of the title track “No No.”