Past Releases

Bacao Rhythm and Steel Band "BRSB"

Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band, the mysterious steel pan outfit hailing from Hamburg, Germany have amassed a cult following around the globe. With a slew of classic 7”s and three critically acclaimed full length albums, they set a high bar for themselves, one they clearly intend on pushing even higher with this new offering. On their fourth album BRSB, Bacao are back with more of the same, but more of the same with them is inherently different. Covering songs that span genres and range from mega hits to underground album cuts, they make them their own with their unique approach to the traditional steel pans of Trinidad and Tobago.
While part of the allure of a new Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band album is finding out what covers they do it is equally intriguing to see what original tunes they cooked upland this record is foul of stand out originals. The album opener, “In The Crosshairs” is a rough and tough mid tempo head nodder while both “Grilled” & “Treasure Quest” pick up the tempo with heavy African Funk influences on both. Bacao goes deep with “Hazy Memories”, a bass heavy slow burner that walks a line between hypnotic and hype. All these originals stand as testament that the term “cover band” is a shoe that could never fit Bacao. However, in the tradition of steel pan music, they do a heavy amount of covers. This time around there is a big West Coast Hip Hop influence with covers of Game & 50 Cent’s “How We Do”, Dr Dre & Snoop Dogg’s “Nuthin But A G Thang”, and Tupac’s “Got My Mind Made Up” all of which take on new energy and lend themselves to the BRSB steel treatment. Bacao puts another certified dancefloor filler on their resume with their cover of Claudja Barry’s uber Disco classic “Love For The Sake Of Love” which they flip into a dubbed out affair aptly changing even the title to “Love For The Sake Of Dub”. Pulling from the contemporary smash hit section of Hop Hop they cover Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and “Love$ick” by Mura Masa & A$AP Rocky. Then they go very unexpected with “Stranger Things Theme” where they take the synth heavy theme song to the hit show and give it a more hypnotizing tone than the original.
By the time BRSB is through, Bacao has taken the listener on a journey spanning a myriad of energies, tempos, and moods while keeping it all under one umbrella. For all that, these songs are alive, and they will be taken out of the context of this album and sewn into the fabric of DJ sets around the globe for many years to come. Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band continues building their legacy and pushing the boundaries of steel pan music forward with another rock solid musical offering. Enjoy.

Savak "Flavors of Paradise"

Flavors Of Paradise. Freaky Orange Parka. Fun-loving Octogenarian Pickleballers. The 6th album by Brooklyn’s post-punk stalwarts SAVAK, Flavors Of Paradise, was recorded in Chicago at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio studio without Steve Albini. For a band that has toured Europe five times and never set foot in California, recording 12 songs in 3 days was a breeze across the Danube. The band hunkered down, jammed out ideas in 2 marathon sessions, played a couple of shows to test drive the new material and then got to work with Matthew Barnhart (Superchunk, Bob Mould). No guests, no edits, no country and definitely no funk—the record is lean, spacious and lively.

Noisey/VICE wrote that SAVAK makes “a potent and pointed agitpop racket which manages to balance the dark and moody with the catchy as fuck.” UK’s Louder noted the group’s “endlessly astute observations on the modern world.” And Mojo magazine highlighted their “superior twin-guitar slash action.” So what does that get you? Well, there are recognizable touchstones across electric guitar-based music from the 60s to today. The jagged stabs of The Fall are tempered by harmonies you might hear in a Flamin’ Groovies tune. A nod to The 13th Floor Elevators is purposefully undercut with a riff that’d make Wilko Johnson proud. You can pull out details that wouldn’t be out of place in songs by Royal Headache, Stereolab, NoMeansNo, Feelies, Stooges, Kinks, Mission of Burma, etc. If the guitar can do it, SAVAK is willing to find a way to use it.

After 5 LPs, an EP, a handful of 7”s, and a couple of split releases, SAVAK still has plenty to say. They comfortably take on marriage, espionage, self-reflection, credit (or lack of), sympathy, absurdity, vulnerability, polarization, dogs . . . dogs? Yes. Sure, it’s probably a metaphor, but—woof woof SAVAK is equally comfortable at the dog park as they are browsing the local used bookstore.

What’s your flavor? Press play and find out.

SAVAK was formed in 2015 by Sohrab Habibion (Obits, Edsel) and Michael Jaworski (The Cops, Virgin Islands), who play guitars and trade off singing songs, along with drummer Matt Schulz (Holy Fuck, Enon). The live band features Jeff Gensterblum (Small Brown Bike, Her Heads On Fire) on drums and bassist Matt Hunter (New Radiant Storm King, Silver Jews).

Ben Frost "Scope Neglect"

Ben Frost presents his first studio album in six years, Scope Neglect, via Mute. Available January 11th on limited edition white vinyl, followed by black vinyl, CD, and digital formats on March 1st.

In the sonic crucible of Ben Frost’s Scope Neglect, music undergoes a metamorphic alchemy. From the album’s opening seconds, the familiar aural chemistry of metal is immediately untethered, isolated in the vacuum, stripped of its cultural trappings and heavy armory, and loaded into a particle accelerator.

Where Scope Neglect leans sonically into metal – fuelled by progressive metal outfit Car Bomb’s guitarist Greg Kubacki and bassist Liam Andrews of fellow Australians My Disco – its true form seems to draw more upon the transcendental reveries of the West Coast minimalists. What at first appears confrontational, and ephemeral, is meditatively and methodically unfolded through time, revealing crystalline vulnerabilities.

Frost’s titles weave narratives of cycling, perpetual attempts at ignition, math, and mythology; ‘Tritium Bath’, ‘Lamb Shift’, ‘Chimera’… The slow burn of ‘Unreal in the Eyes of the Dead’ channels the disorienting writings of author W.G Sebald, whose own work often gives the impression of being only the faint, flickering shadow of its actual referent.

Similarly, this genre-defying music seems to feed on an unseen dark matter. Detached from their native surroundings, guitar shapes roar through negative spaces whose dimension is only revealed through the shadows cast upon them. What remains is the outer scaffolding of structures long since dismantled, and which we can no longer see. What Frost wants us to hear, in other words, is frequently not what he wants us to feel.

Scope Neglect is a deliberate opposition in terms; a dualistic game of obfuscation and obliteration, mechanics reconfigured and reengineered, old energies diverted and redirected, scope expanded, contracted and dissolved.

Mary Timony "Untame the Tiger"

Singer-songwriter and guitar hero Mary Timony new album, Untame the Tiger, marks her fifth solo album, her first in 15 years (and first for Merge). It’s a startling document of an artist fully coming into her own power during the fourth decade of her career, the product of lessons learned during life-altering struggle.

Lead single “Dominoes” is a cynical and funny description of a relationship not working out, and a reminder of the healing power of music. “This song was almost not on the record,” says Timony. “We needed one last song, and I found a demo of it I had forgotten about at the last minute.” Mixed by Dave Fridmann (MGMT, The Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev), “Dominoes” features album contributors David Christian (Karen O, Hospitality) on drums and album co-producer Dennis Kane on bass.