Vol. 10 Issue 125 February 2016


So the groundhog saw his shadow, right? Or didn’t. I always get which one is which confused, like the feed a fever, starve a cold thing. Just to be on the safe side, I stuff my face on both counts (you can’t be too careful when it comes to your health). All I know is I could have told you that the groundhog was gonna do whichever one meant early spring. Judging from this winter we are just gonna get all of our future snow in one hard to traverse weather dump. So that’ll be annoying. Know what’s not annoying? Besides segues I mean? New records! Enjoy the sounds of an early spring with new LPs from Ra Ra Riot, Radiation City, Lushlife, and more!


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February Web Update/BRM Libs

Posted by John On Feb 4, 2016

    Those of you playing along at home with our 2016 Activity Calendar knows that... Read More

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@bentcousin D'awww... Thanks! Thank YOU for the great record. We love it! 😍
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Current Releases

Click to see:
Barsuk
Western Vinyl
Ba Da Bing
Thrill Jockey
Grand Jury
Team Love

Barsuk

www.barsuk.com

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Ra Ra Riot

"Need Your Light"

Holy cow. This new Ra Ra Riot. I say things like “it sounds like everything all at once,” and when I say it I mean it. But I don’t know if I ever meant it like I mean it this time. Look, you already know that you are dying to fall in love with Need Your Light (Barsuk), RRR’s 4th album. So let’s play a game. Press play on the lead single “Water” and follow along: Moby remix of Flaming Lips. Oasis covering Billy Ocean. Moby by his onesies. M83 if Justin Timberlake was a member. Then like a sad Beastie Boys breakdown. Then right into stadium-ready Ra Ra Riot-ness. Oh, and we are only 2 minutes into this one song. Really. It’s a mass conglomeration of everything everyone loves. This is a band celebrating the joy of being in a band, of making music. Get ready to party along. You must absolutely check out “Absolutely.”

Western Vinyl

www.westernvinyl.com

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Lushlife

"Ritualize"

Philly rapper/producer Raj Haldar, also know as Lushlife, had released 2 self-produced records over the last few years. That experience made him realize that he couldn’t concentrate on his lyrics if he was also too worried about the production. So on Ritualize (Western Vinyl), he enlisted the help of co-producer CSLSX, as well as having contributions from Killer Mike, Ariel Pink, RJD2, and many more. I can’t speak for you, but this is everything I wan my hip hop albums to be. Thoughtful, funny, sad, catchy, with amazing beats and sensitive musicality. It is also obvious that the philly soul sounds of yesteryear have made an impact on him, as the the beats and (don’t worry) cleared samples definitely have an old school soul feel to them. Besides that, there are plenty of other Philly references (and a Mary Timony reference too!). What’s not to love? All those collaborators? They go a long way to describe the sounds here. Check out the first song on the album, “Total Mutual Feeling.”

Ba Da Bing

www.badabingrecords.com

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Cross Record

"Wabi Sabi"

When is the last time you put in a 60 hour work week? That’s a lot of work in a week, no? Emily Cross, along with her husband Dan Duszynski, have recorded before as Cross Record. This time around, they left the bustle of Chicago behind and moved into a ranch in Dripping Springs TX. Somehow, between the shifts at restaurants, supermarkets, and other odd jobs, they found time to record Wabi-Sabi (Ba Da Bing) in the wee hours of the morning, before shifts started, or very late at night, after all the shifts ended for the day. The results are frail, human, and otherworldly. Perhaps the atmosphere created by the pre-dawn light helped create this just out of reach sound. A little bit like like a more sensitive Red Red Meat as fronted by Popeye-era Shelly Duval. Yeah. Sounds awesome, right?  Check out “High Rise.”

Thrill Jockey

www.thrilljockey.com

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Matmos

"Ultimate Care II"

Wait. So Sonic Youth reformed just to record a sequel to their 1995 album Washing Machine? Oh wait. No. Sorry. This is a different washing machine-type deal. This is the electro-experimental Matmos at their most experimental. Seriously. I told the ghost of John Cage how they recorded this album and his response was “Wait. What?” All the sounds on Ultimate Care II (Thrill Jockey) were created by the bands washing machine. No, this isn’t a sequel to an album called Ultimate Care, but rather their washing machine was a sequel to a washing machine called the Ultimate Care. Luckily Dan Deacon and Jason Willett (Half Japanese) also had some dirty shirts laying around, so they came over and helped out. At times industrial, other times melodic, and other times still melodic, the washing machine sounds thing would only go so far if the music wasn’t great. Thankfully, it is. Like a sci-fi fever dream that’s part Aphex Twin and part Eno and at least half swamp things (because of all the sloshing). Check out the tribally-minded “Excerpt 8.”

Grand Jury

www.grandjurymusic.com

Mothers picture

Mothers

"When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired"

If you somehow had the sonic wizardry to listen to Joanna Newsom’s voice played at the wrong speed and 1/3 of the band Built to Spill slowing down to keep time with the slower than usual Joanna, you would start to get to the surprising beauty of the debut from Mothers (no, this isn’t a Zappa thing. I checked). When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired (Grand Jury) consists mostly of material written by Kristine Leschper when Mothers was in it’s original format as a solo project. The band has since been expanded, as has the sound. Sort of like a dustier version of Torres, these songs will hypnotize you. Prepare to fall in love with “It Hurts Until It Doesn’t.”

Team Love

www.team-love.com

Bentcousin picture

Bentcousin

"Bentcousin"

Take a She & Him-filtered ‘60s pop, and add it to some Pet Shop Boys new wave. But make sure you turn the disco on that new wave up! up! up! Make the whole thing a little shoegazey. But make sure you are gazing at some dance shoes. Plus, you need to mix in some backpack hip hop. A little Smith’s dourness. Really, you need a little bit of everything to describe the sound of the twin-fronted Bentcousin on their self-titled full-length debut. A few beloved EPs and singles behind them, this finds the band with a sound so singular that it took that weird convoluted intro I just wrote to barely begin to describe the Brighton band’s sound. Check out the hip hop-indie pop hybrid of “Where Do I Belong (feat Lord Gabe & Lo-Fye).”

Click to see:
Merge
Polyvinyl
Mexican Summer
Secret City
Self Released
3eme Bureau

Merge

www.mergerecords.com

Mount Moriah picture

Mount Moriah

"How To Dance"

If a music supervisor were to write us an email that read “Hey guys, I know this is a long shot, but I need something that sounds like Dolly Parton doing alt-country. You guys have anything like that?” we would absolutely send them nothing but How To Dance (Merge), the second record from Mount Moriah. Imaginary supervisor would absolutely love it, use it in their project, and everyone would live happily (and successfully) ever after. “You guys are so smart” the supervisor would write back. “you are also about to be invaded by aliens, so you should head for the basement ” they would almost assuredly say. Ok. Some of that stuff wouldn’t happen. But some of it would. Check out the first song on the album, “Calvander.”

Polyvinyl

www.polyvinylrecords.com

Radiation City picture

Radiation City

"Synesthetica"

Sometimes, the hardest part of this job is keeping out big mouths shut. Seriously. We get to hear all about movies LONG before they come out (you guys are not gonna believe what happens at the end of Episode IX). We also get bunches of insider music info. Take for instance, the signing of Radiation City to Polyvinyl for their album Synesthetica. We were bursting at the seams to share that info with everyone. But silent we had to be. Thankfully, we can now shout this business from the rooftops. The poppy, indie sounds of Radiation City are back! As far as we can tell, there are two kinds of people in the world. People that haven’t heard this record yet, and people that love this record. Mix Shout Out Louds with Goldfrapp and you can start to get the idea. So join the party and check out the hook-filled “Juicy.”

Mexican Summer

www.mexicansummer.com

Quilt picture

Quilt

"Plaza"

There are only two directions psychedelic bands can head after their first album. They are either going to get more strange or less strange as time goes on. At least that’s what my brain thinks, or rather thought, before hearing the newest album from psych-rockers Quilt. Plaza (Mexican Summer) is their 3rd album, and is somehow more tight and concise than their last two releases while also being stranger and more otherworldly than their last two albums. I know, neat trick, right? A bit of late-era Kinks here, some The Soundtrack Of Our Lives pop-leanings there, Beatlesque bass groves; all enveloped in warbly, bubbling guitar tones and acid flashback phaser tricks. By now you are familiar of that picture of NY Police Commissioner Bill Bratton holding up how much weed you can be holding in the City? Well, smoke all of that and check out “Searching For.”

Secret City

www.secretcityrecords.com

Basia Bulat picture

Basia Bulat

"Good Advice"

I imagine Basia Bulat could have picked a million worse ways to record Good Advice (Secret City), a “break-up album” (her words), than driving 600 miles to Kentucky to have Jim James of My Morning Jacket record and produce the record. Trippy, gospel-tinged pop tunes without an ounce of throwback-ness to them, this is an exceedingly modern take (and sound) on well-worn ideas. Simultaneously sparse sounding, and containing walls of sound (nice trick Jim!) this is Basia working through her pain with joy. The joy of music, of freedom, new beginnings. Last time I went through a breakup, the period after consisted mostly of Ramen Noodles and staring blankly. Perhaps I could have used my time time better? Basia certainly did. This is far removed from the folkish albums of her past. This is rebirth via Telefunken U47s (because there is no way Jim James DOESN’T use those mics, right?). Check out the Pet Sounds meets Florence and the Machines writing for Funeral-era Arcade Fire sounds of “La La Lie.”

Self Released

www.thecavesingers.com

The Cave Singers picture

The Cave Singers

"Banshee"

The Cave Singers have released many fine records on many fine albums, but their newest indie-go-go’d album Banshee might be the Cave Singer-iest album of them all. Self-releasing will do that (note to self, avoid the term self-releasing in future blurbs. Kinda gross). The filters are off. The editors are no where to be found. The result? An exciting, psych-folk adventure that leaves their sound somewhere between Fleet Foxes at their folkiest and Norman Greenbaum at his “Spirit in the Sky-y-est.” Yup. That’s right. Besides all the amazing folk there is an air of weird late ‘60s pop hanging over this record, as is evidenced by the lead single from the album “That’s Why.”

3eme Bureau

www.soul-kitchen.fr/label/3eme-bureau

General Elektriks picture

General Elektriks

"To Be A Stranger"

You wanna feel good? You wanna dance around while you listen to some music? Wanna wish that Prince still made fun albums? Then you, my friend, you wanna listen to the newest General Elektriks album To Be A Stranger. Jazzy and French like Dimitri From Paris, but with more complex chord structures a la Stereolab. But neither of those comparisons include the funky, funky sounds of Hervé Salters’s keyboard collection. So if their existed a Parliament Funkadelic/Midnight Vultures-era Beck supergroup doing only french standards, then besides being on everyone’s shelf, it would sound a like this. Sexy and fun. Funky and soulful. Check out “Whisper To Me” and get ready to strut!