Vol. 9 Issue 114 March 2015


Winter, why do you forsake us? I know, I know… You live in the Northeast, you are supposed to expect some lousy Smarch weather. But come on? This hasn’t been right! Has there ever been a month colder than the February we just exited? Well, according to the news, there have been 2 NYC Februarys colder than 2015’s, and it was the coldest on record since 1934. Look, I love setting records, but not that kind of record. I’d much rather dig into new records from of Montreal, Aero Flynn, Will Butler & more. Enjoy!


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SXSW Video Round-Up

Posted by John On Mar 27, 2015

             Well, we made it back from another SXSW. Our minds and phones... Read More

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A video roundup of our memories of #sxsw, as set to the music of #waxahatchee (@k_crutchfield) http://t.co/B2KSLdLiTn @mergerecords
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Current Releases

Click to see:
Polyvinyl
KIAM
Temporary Residence Ltd
Side One Dummy
Ooh La La
Dead Oceans

Polyvinyl

www.polyvinylrecords.com

of Montreal picture

of Montreal

"Aureate Gloom"

Every time Kevin Barnes announces a new of Montreal album, it’s reason to celebrate. It’s also reason to wonder what it will sound like. Like a modern day David Bowie working backwards, Barnes is quite the musical chameleon. Really, he always sounds different with every album (and within each album as well). This time around, on Aureate Gloom (Polyvinyl), it’s his late ‘70s NY disco-rock glam album kinda thing. A little Talking Heads, a little Bowie, and a lot Barnes. A vibe kinda like the danceability of the last Sondre Lerche album, this one will get you moving and thinking at the same time (like reading on the treadmill!). Check out the blistering bounce of the first single “Bassem Sabry.”

KIAM

www.kiamrecords.com

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Tim Foljahn

"Fucking Love Songs"

Hot off his stint as sideman for Sideboob (that’d be Caputo’s fictional band from Orange Is The New Black, which resulted in a very real digital EP), as well as his work with both Cat Power and the Thurston Moore band, Tim Foljahn has now released his rockingest collection of tunes to date. For a dude that has spent a lot time in the Townes/Leonard Cohen zone, "rocking" is something that is relatively new to Tim. The NSFW title of the album is Fucking Love Songs (so think twice before you give it as a gift to a loved one). So yeah, rocking and Fucking Love Songs-that’s kinda where Tim is at, but let his sly sense of humor be your gateway to love songs that don’t suck. Full of the kind of rock (both root and classic, imagine a world where "Goats Head Soup” era Rolling Stones is led by Richard Buckner), with some expert guitar (courtesy of Smokey Hormel) work throughout. Check out the ode to a green thumb with “Garden Lady.”

Temporary Residence Ltd

www.temporaryresidence.com

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Lilacs & Champagne

"Midnight Features Vol. 2: Made Flesh"

Emil Amos, the talented multi-instrumentalist behind Holy Sons, as well as with his work with Grails and Om has teamed up again with fellow crate digger Alex Hall to create their heady psych-trip-hop vibes as Lilacs & Champagne. Midnight Features Vol. 2: Made Flesh (Temporary Residence) is another combination of beyond obscure samples from, well, just about everything (which is my way of saying who the hell knows where these gems have been culled from. Well.. BESIDES Alex and Emil I mean…). Sexy beats and vocal samples teamed up with free jazz and, aw heck… who knows? I mean, one minute it sounds a little like the french trip-hop DJs of the ‘90s (think DJ Cam) or even a little like the beats of Dan “The Automator” and DJ Qbert from the Dr. Octagon stuff. But then at times it’s also a little space pad (think Tipsy) or overtly ‘70s, which at times can make it sound like RZA doing the instrumental music for Taxi. Prepare to let this thing keep your head nodding (people still nod their heads, right?) Check out the soulful longing of the first single “Roses & Kisses.”

Side One Dummy

www.sideonedummy.com

Jeff Rosenstock picture

Jeff Rosenstock

"We Cool?"

You had to know that Jeff Rosenstock wasn’t gonna take the dissolving of his band Bomb The Music Industry! laying down, right? At least, not in a passive way. He might have taken it lying down in a drunken passed out sort of way. At least, you get that impression from his latest solo effort We Cool? (Side One Dummy). This certainly isn’t his first solo album, but it is the first one he’s released after the long tenure of his former band. If you are familiar with the dude, then you know what to expect here. Pop-punk gems, drunken love-sick angst, some horns here, heart adorned sleeves a-plenty.Check out the Ben Folds Five meets beer-pong sounds of “Nausea.”

Ooh La La

www.oohlalarecords.com

Aero Flynn picture

Aero Flynn

"Aero Flynn"

There isn’t enough space in this blurb to fully dig into Josh Scott’s backstory. But the Reader’s Digest Version is this: In 2002, if Josh Scott hadn’t been spooked away by oncoming fame, Justin Vernon very may well have not retreated into that cabin to record his masterpiece. Band members were shared between the two, and… really, you should google the long story. But know this, that line about the song “Lip Parade” in the track “Holocene” is about a Josh Scott song. Josh Scott who is now finally releasing a self-titled (Ooh La La) album of his own as Aero Flynn. It is somehow as warm as a fireplace’s flame and as cold as the snow it’s meant to melt. Gorgeous and frazzled, clean and spooky at the same time, this is the real deal. Somewhere between what Radiohead might be doing now had Thom not fallen so in love with Apex Twin and that early aughties Wisconsin sound. Check out the positively Radiohead-y sound of the first single “Dk/Pi.”

Dead Oceans

www.deadoceans.com

Ryley Walker picture

Ryley Walker

"Primrose Green"

Ryley Walker is a funny guy. Really, he is. In person, and on twitter, the guy makes us laugh. Which is always so shocking when you listen to his almost proper take on the fingerpicked British folk music from the ‘60s that he obviously loves so much. When I say proper, I mean that his music can sometimes sound like a delightfully tussled haircut and a shirt with billowy cuffs. You know, like what went down in the ‘60s (plus of course the "Puffy Shirt" episode of Seinfeld, so we will add in a little 1993). His newest album, Primrose Green (Dead Oceans) is a little bit more of a band affair than his previous albums. A little folk-y Grateful Dead, a little Kingston Trio, a little Bonnie Prince Billy, all that good stuff. Really, you couldn’t ask for a more throwback album if you tried. Put on your love beads and burn out to the sweet sounds of the title track, “Primrose Green.”

Click to see:
Merge
Thrill Jockey
Sacred Bones
Outside Music
Ernest Jenning

Merge

www.mergerecords.com

Will Butler picture

Will Butler

"Policy"

The first time I saw Will Butler on stage, opening for The Wrens(!), he was splitting his time evenly between beating one drum dangling from a strap (marching band style) and beating other band members with the same drumsticks. I often try to describe the energy of that Arcade Fire show, coming right before they signed to Merge, but it's tough to put into words. Thinking back now, it is really Will's energy that I have been trying to describe all these years. Thankfully, his solo debut Policy (Merge) has helped me to understand where he is coming from. Half thoughtful poet, half snotty Violent Femmes punk, half religious zealot, encouraging the followers to clap along with his big brothers sermon (I know, that's three halves. So? What is this, Scientific Monthly? Stop fact checking me!) Check out the jangle-wail of "Take My Side."

Thrill Jockey

www.thrilljockey.com

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Lightning Bolt

"Fantasy Empire"

Go take a look in the mirror. I’ll wait. Make sure to get a good long look, soak it all it. Because surely the whole thing is gonna melt off while listening to the outrageous noise rock riffage courtesy of Lightning Bolt. The last 20 years have seen this drum/bass duo expand from a mostly improvisational live band to writing the tightly wound assaults you’ll hear on their latest Fantasy Empire (Thrill Jockey). This is the first time the two have ventured into a hi-fi studio to record their songs, and the sonic wonderment has helped them define their sound. You can hear everything happening, and a lot of what is happening is almost unintelligible vocals mixed with live loops of the drums, bass and the vocals, leading you to wonder “how the frig are there two guys making all of this noise?” Let that be party of the mystery. Do yourself a favor, and worship at the altar of “The Metal East.”

Liturgy picture

Liturgy

"The Ark Work"

The self-described “Transcendental Black Metal” sounds of Liturgy is back with their 3rd full-length album The Ark Work (Thrill Jockey). A beguiling combination of thrash metal, video game precision and chant-like vocals come peeling out of the speakers (or headphones, I tried, but I can’t see you right now) on this one. Usually, this would be the part of the blurb where I tell you what bands the band I’m writing about sounds like. Not gonna happen. Sorry. This beast is it’s own man. I mean, if you can think of another band that sounds like black metal, british horn fanfares and wind chimes at the same time, more power to you. I’m at a loss. Thankfully I have the  blazing sounds of “Follow” to comfort me.

Sacred Bones

www.sacredbonesrecords.com

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Moon Duo

"Shadow Of The Sun"

One of my favorite episodes of 30 Rock is a parody of Amadeus, when Tracy Morgan’s Tracy Jordan is creating a porno video game. At the end of the episode, just like when Mozart is dictating to Salieri how the duo becomes a trio, and the trio becomes a quartet, Tracy does the same thing (I don’t have to tell you, you’ve seen the movie. And I’m sure if you haven’t seen the episode of 30 Rock, you can imagine what sort of activity is piling on people). Reason I say this is, I wonder if that joke went through anyone’s head when Moon Duo added a third member, a drummer, and continued to be Moon Duo. So besides guitarist Ripley Johnson (Wooden Shjips) and Sanae Yamada, there is also drummer John Jeffery. Makes sense, with all that lack of gravity on the moon, it’s super easy to lug drums around (rim shot!). Their kinda dance-y, kinda rocky thing is in full effect here on Shadow Of The Sun (Sacred Bones). Check out the Trans-Am (the band, not the car) sounds of the first single, “Animal.”

Outside Music

www.outside-music.com

Gold Lake picture

Gold Lake

"Years"

Sometimes you listen to a demo because you think it is from one guy, but it is actually from someone else (and you probably wouldn’t have listened to it had you really known who sent it). But mistakes can often turn out to be great (penicillin anyone?). Case in point?  Gold Lake!  There we were, CMJ 2014, thinking we were gonna meet someone else, and we got to meet Gold Lake instead. We were completely blown away by their ability to have their songs build to such great heights. Lots of bands kinda sound like Yo La Tengo, Phantogram and Explosions In The Sky. Very few of them have songs that actually go somewhere though. And even fewer are fronted by a female singer. Years (Outside Music) is the tonic for that particular ailment. Check out the Yo La Buildo sounds of “We Already Exist.”

Ernest Jenning

www.ernestjenning.com

Joel Michael Howard picture

Joel Michael Howard

"Love As First Response "

With just 2 singles under his belt, Joel Michael Howard is releasing his debut LP Love As First Response (Ernest Jenning). Let’s say you really like Destroyer. Let’s say you also like The Shins at their happier. Let’s say you also love the more esoteric work from Fleetwood Mac. Let us also say that you also love Yo La Tengo at their most whisper-y. Besides saying that you have impeccable taste, I’d also say “Hey, you should check out this new JMH album, since it kinda sounds like all of those things.” And I would say that because it’s all true. With a great ear for off-kilter-pop melodies, and the ability to sneak in little time change asides and breakdowns, this album is hopefully just the first in a string of great releases. Check out the first single from the album, “Don’t Know Why.”