…..pick of the week…..
*nick cave and the bad seeds – push the sky away – bad seed ltd – lp+cd
– with over 5 million albums sold worldwide, nick cave is one of the most respected and admired singer/songwriters of his generation. from 80’s post punk the birthday party, to his legendary band nick cave and the bad seeds, and the more recently formed grinderman. cave is also an acclaimed composer (the proposition, the assassination of jesse james by the coward robert ford, the road, lawless), script writer (the proposition, lawless), novelist and occasional actor. now, nick cave & the bad seeds are back with their fifteenth studio album, push the sky away, which will be issued on bad seed ltd. includes 180g vinyl album, a bonus 7″ of spoken word tracks and album download card. “well, if i were to use that threadbare metaphor of albums being like children, then push the sky away is the ghost-baby in the incubator and warren’s loops are its tiny, trembling heart-beat,” nick notes. at the heart of push the sky away is a naturalism and warmth that makes it the most subtly beautiful of all the bad seeds albums. the contemporary settings of myths, and the cultural references that have time-stamped nick’s songs of the twenty-first century mist lightly through details drawn from the life he observed around his seaside home, through the tall windows on the album’s mysterious and ambiguous cover. the songs on this album took form in a modest notebook with shellac covers over the course of almost a year. the notebook is a treasured analogue artifact but the internet is equally important to nick: googling curiosities, being entranced by exotic wikipedia entries “whether they’re true or not.” these songs convey how on the internet profoundly significant events, momentary fads and mystically-tinged absurdities sit side-by-side and question how we might recognize and assign weight to what’s genuinely important. push the sky away was produced by nick launay and recorded at la fabrique, a recording studio based in a 19th century mansion in the south of france, where the walls of the main studio are lined with an immense collection of classical vinyl. “i enter the studio with a handful of ideas, unformed and pupal; it’s the bad seeds that transform them into things of wonder. ask anyone who has seen them at work. they are unlike any other band on earth for pure, instinctive inventiveness,” nick adds. on this album it’s not always apparent what instruments the band is playing: they may be traditional musical instruments but other sounds are clearly generated by objects unrelated to musical instruments. what’s being created is a collective musical language that’s rich and complex. push the sky away has a clarity and sweet strangeness that’s built upon the refusal to accept limitations, whether they be the traditional uses and sounds of musical instruments, lyric styles, or diminished spiritual horizons. “i don’t know, this record just seems new, you know, but new in an old school kind of way,” cave concludes.
christian bland and the revelators – the lost album – reverberation – lp
destruction unit – void – jolly dream – lp
– “destruction Unit’s history dates back more than a decade with founding member ryan rousseau, previously of the reatards, the wongs and tokyo electron. originally formed with jay reatard and alicja trout, du exhibited heavily the so-called ‘punk’ aggression that has in later years developed a more monstrous, psychedelic feel. the unit’s output morphed by the collective inputs of rusty rousseau, andrew flores, nick napp and jes aurelius. neither energy nor matter is destroyed, only changed. void is not merely a departure, but a new realization of power that has existed all along.” (obn).
eat skull – iii – woodsist – lp
– while you were out kicking an empty sparks cup around sxsw, world class musical talents eat skull were busy creating their third opus, entitled III, on a fever train between states, cities, community colleges and jails. nearly four days or four years in the making (depending on who you ask), III is a more psychedelic and perfectly circular outing then their previous classics of paranoid ecstasy wild and inside and sick to death. somewhere in between the subatomic joy of primal scream’s “keep your dreams” and the desperate loneliness of same place the fly got smashed-era guided by voices lies the weird and wonderful world of III. throw a dash of iron maiden’s wasted years in the cauldron, stir and dip a cigarette in it to smoke. this is music to drink to, die to, fall in love to and quit your job to. drive to alaska. fuck it.
foxygen – we are the 21st century ambassadors of peace & magic – jagjaguwar – lp
– some may approximate with that old trope: “it’s like listening to the kinks on acid.” but that doesn’t exactly do it. the deeper truth might be that this is what the kinks would be like if they themselves – the brothers davies – dropped some blotter and struggled through a trip to lay down the follow-up to arthur. bubbling beneath their supreme melodic instincts, there’s a wild, nervy energy and a raw musicianship that makes foxygen incapable of doing anything exactly straight. and we wouldn’t want it any other way. they somehow pack a host of musical left turns, lyrical non sequiturs and decades-spanning bridges into industry prefered 3-4 minute gems that are at both reinvention and memorial. don’t call them the new young dudes on the scene. they’re only new to you. they’ve been at this rock god thing since junior high.
*jacco gardner – cabinet of curiosities – trouble in mind – lp
– the 12 tracks that make up the debut album cabinet of curiosities from dutch multi-instrumentalist & producer jacco gardner deftly explore the loss of innocence in a far more accomplished & mature way than you would expect from a 24 yr old, fulfilling the promises made by his first 2 singles. jacco’s melodic palette colors music with a more uk-sensibility, where minor chords & plush harmonies brush up against strings, mellotrons, harpsichords and an occasional squeezebox. the overall feel is more zombies than left banke and more nirvana & billy nicholls than beach boys & van dyke parks..
jesus & mary chain – barbed wire kisses – 1972 – lp
– the jesus and mary chain released barbed wire kisses (b-sides and more) in 1988, just five years into their existence. the album is an incredible collection of singles, outtakes and rare tracks that proved to fans outside of collectors’ circles that the group ranked among the uk’s great singles bands. barbed wire kisses showcases a more varied presentation of the band. psychocandy defined the jesus and mary chain as nihilist rebels, while its follow-up darklands revealed their softer (albeit still gloomy) side. barbed wire kisses shows all the varied influences (motown rhythms, spector-ish walls of sound, surf licks, industrial noise) that informed the band on the next phase of their career as they continued to re-invent pop music. the album is a great snapshot of the band’s first half-decade and many of the band’s biggest fans consider it the equal to any of their best work.
jesus & mary chain – sound of speed – 1972 – lp
– the sound of speed is the second compilation of singles, b-sides and rare tracks from the jesus and mary chain, one of the greatest uk singles bands, and just as essential as its predecessor barbed wire kisses (b-sides and more) for its quality of songs and degree of variety. it’s arguably just as influential and meaningful to fans, having been released just as a newly amassed alternative nation was sprouting up.
peter king – african dialects – secret stash – lp
– the 1970s saw a seemingly endless amount of funky music coming from nigeria, but very few recordings were as masterfully crafted or skillfully executed as the music of peter king. in particular, african dialects delivers raw emotion via relentless grooves and unique melodies culled from years of playing many styles in pubs around the globe. the record is a heavy blend of afrobeat, afro funk, and caribbean sounds.
lusine – waiting room – ghostly – lp
– seattle-based producer jeff mcilwain’s work has long inhabited the fertile border zone between electronic pop and experimental electronic music—it’s a place that’s home to music that has both a brain and a heart, and mcilwain’s been exploring its boundaries for the best part of a decade now. his third full-length release for ghostly international under the moniker lusine, and his first album since 2009’s a certain distance. as with all mcilwain’s work as lusine, this is a record that’s characterized by both diversity and coherency.
dawn mccarthy & bonnie prince billy – what the brothers sang – drag city – lp
– as children, the music of the everly brothers touched dawn mccarthy and bonnie prince billy; it touches dawn’s children and the little ‘prince’ within bonny today, and makes them dance and sing. the brothers’ harmonies make the hairs stand up—they enervate and inspire.what the brothers sang is no mere gesture of nostalgia; these new versions rethink the everly brothers for the audience of listeners today, people who naturally might have no knowledge or experience with those songs. what the brothers sang is made with deep respect for, is inspired by the everly brothers, but it pays tribute by being a record that only dawn and bonnie could make, and only in the room with the players that had come to join them. their duets are a sensuous display of give and take that includes everything that’s resonating in the room, every surface that’s being pressed or rubbed or hit is a part of the action. their harmonies are in the tradition, but they are their own, not cutting-on-the-dotted-line of everly magic.
*night marchers – allez allez – swami – lp
– isolated by their exquisite taste, night marchers exude a barbarous neglect of current trends. they resemble a group of dapper, elderly tarzans or well-groomed, unfrozen cavemen detached from today’s nightclub society; their actions are just as confusing and alien to us as we to them. this must be taken into account when listening to the band’s unconventional wail or observing them rub their long dicks on doorknobs. allez allez is frantic protest rock ’n’ roll against being unfrozen, against being lured from the jungle by poontang on a string. they know they can never go back so they relinquish to the insulation of manic shredding and good times. night marchers consist of three quarters of hot snakes—john reis (rocket from the crypt, drive like jehu, sultans), gar wood (beehive and the barracudas, tanner) and jason sinclair (delta 72, mule, bardo pond)—accompanied by thomas kitsos (previously of montreal rock ’n’ roll destructionists cpc gangbangs). they sound remotely like the combination of the aforementioned acts. this is their second record.
*overhang party – complete studio recordings – important records – 4cd
– the complete studio recordings of overhang party includes each of their studio albums (each with a bonus track) and their unreleased final recording sessions. while this 4 cd set is sure to please afficianados of japanese underground rock the biggest surprise, however, will be for the uninitiated who can finally confront the groups emotional depth and stylistic bredth head on. japan’s overhang party were always one of their country’s most interesting, multifaceted and imaginative musical units, able to weave crawling rhythms and blown out psych feedback into full on rock anthems. absolutely essential listening for fans of lsd march, miminokoto, les rallizes denudes, damon & naomi/g500, ghost, psf/tokyo flashback and japanese underground rock.
*pissed jeans – honeys – sub pop – lp
– age and four full-lengths haven’t mellowed pissed jeans; they can still unleash a blare that will exfoliate your cochlea. formed in allentown, pennsylvania, pissed jeans released shallow, their first album, in 2005 on parts unknown records. the band relocated to philadelphia seven years ago, and sub pop released hope for men in 2007, and then king of jeans in 2009. the latter was recorded by grammy nominee alex newport, who also recorded honeys. age and experience, have, however, refined pissed jeans. their ideas and execution have become more subtly focused. the songs on honeys are direct without being obtuse, evocative without being vague, personal without being indulgent. they also rock like nobody’s business. forget all the claptrap you’ve heard about other bands delivering the goods. if you want bloodthirsty, you’ve got it… at times honeys is the sound of being bashed over the head with a snow shovel. at times the band slows down and sounds like waking from nightmare you can’t quite remember. the songs are catchy, but in a way that would appeal to mental patients who only understand colors. includes bonus 7″!
martin rev – s/t – superior viaduct – lp
– in 1980, shortly after suicide’s second full-length, martin rev released his first solo album on preeminent no wave label infidelity (lust/unlust). uninhibited by the trappings of a collaborator, rev was freed to explore his most experimental and pop leanings with dirty synths, dark melodies and dreamlike textures, and produced a masterpiece of modern alienation that captures a uniquely new york landscape. echoing other electronic forerunners such as silver apples and kraftwerk, and foreshadowing the work of aphex twin and air, rev’s solo outing rests firmly in the lineage of unnerving sounds from the furthest fringe of maladjustment..
*stereolab – dots and loops – 1972 – lp
– dots and loops is stereolab’s fifth studio album and the first to completely ditch the motorik drone that had been a trademark since their inception; predominated by lush lounge and jazz textures, it showcases the band’s most complex set of rhythms yet. stereolab is aided by members of the high llamas (like-minded travelers in the production of whimsical ’60s sounds), jan st. werner and andi toma of mouse on mars, and john mcentire of post-rock pioneers tortoise. the album was recorded in chicago and düsseldorf and bridges a unique american-euro influence. the new rhythmic approach separates dots and loops from the band’s previous output, as does a beach boys influence which adds to the band’s standard brand. bossa nova and ’60s euro pop are still major touchstones and give the album a deceptively light vibe; however, further listens reveal an elaborate work, with almost every track featuring odd time-signatures and more complicated and layered arrangements. the dividing line between the band’s first phase and what would be its more experimental latter period, dots and loops is the type of album that reveals its charms over many listens and is the one stereolab aficionados point to as the band’s best work..
*stereolab – emperor tomato ketchup – 1972 – lp
– stereolab’s fourth full-length marked the point where the band evolved from a purely underground phenomenon to an important pop group capable of selling albums while keeping their hipness and integrity intact. at the time of its release, it was simultaneously their most experimental and most accessible release, with the deliberate raw textures of earlier works replaced by a more polished vibe. the album was also their greatest success to date both commercially and critically, and remains a consensus favorite even now. continuing to mine the music of the ’60s and early ’70s, stereolab employs farfisas and moogs, melodies from bacharach and hardy, soft-rock, bubblegum, dub and hip-hop sounds to augment their core influences of krautrock, punk, jazz and space rock. odd time-signatures and deft layering techniques are more crucial to the arrangements. emperor tomato ketchup brings many elements to the table, but stereolab puts them all together into a coherent vision. it’s hard to say if the album’s greatest accomplishment is making pop music palatable to experimental listeners or introducing pop listeners to the group’s experimental influences. either way, it’s one of the most enjoyable and important albums of the ’90s.
*unwound – live leaves – unwnd – 2lp
– the mighty unwound return after an 11 year hiatus with a collection of live recordings from their final tour for their swan song album proper leaves turn inside you. think of this as a gift from unwound to you. a sonic love letter. a promise. here’s to you. vinyl only release comes with digital download coupon.
various – son of flexi – castleface – 6×7″ flexi
– volume 2 in castle face’s group flex series of flexi disc books. you get six 7-inch flexi discs with 12 bands and 7 pages of print (on translucent stock) so the whole thing is like a crappy 3d look into the brain and art of joe roberts (terrifying). featuring exclusive tracks from warm soda, thee oh sees, ty segall, mykal cronin, the mallard, running, the fresh & onlys, kelley stoltz, white fence, blasted canyons, sic alps, and burnt ones. includes a download card and comes in a specially printed heavy polybag.…..restocks…..arcade fire – the suburbs – merge – lp
beastie boys – check your head – capitol – lp
beastie boys – ill communication – capitol – lp
beirut – the flying club cup – ba da bing – lp
black keys – brothers – nonesuch – lp
david bowie – rise and fall of ziggy stardust – emi – lp
*budos band – iii – daptone – lp
bill callahan – sometimes i wish… – drag city – lp
bill callahan – woke on a whaleheart – drag city – lp
*chromatics – kill for love – italians do it better – lp
the clash – london calling – legacy – lp
leonard cohen – songs of love & hate – sundazed – lp
john coltrane – blue train – amazing jazz – lp
john coltrane – soultrane – amazing jazz – lp
john coltrane – the last trane – amazing jazz – lp
converge – jane doe – death wish – lp
miles davis – sketches of spain – legacy – lp
*bill fay – s/t – 4 men with beards – lp
foo fighters – colour & shape – legacy – lp
foo fighters – medium rare – rca – lp
*funkadelic – maggot brain – 4 men with beards – lp
galaxie 500 – this is our music – 20/20/20 – lp
galaxie 500 – today – 20/20/20 – lp
games – s/t – hozac – lp
grinderman – grinderman 2 – anti – lp
*isaac hayes – black moses – 4 men with beards – lp
son house – raw delta blues – not now – lp
jawbreaker – bivouac – blackball – lp
lcd soundsystem – this is happening – dfa – lp
love – forever changes – rhino – lp
melody’s echo chamber – s/t – fat possum – lp
metallica – kill em all – elektra – lp
charles mingus – oh yeah – legacy – lp
nirvana – from the muddy banks of wishkah – geffen – lp
nirvana – in utero – geffen – lp
nirvana – live at reading – geffen – lp
nirvana – mtv unplugged – geffen – lp
thee oh sees – help – in the red – lp
otis redding – dictionary of soul – sundazed – lp
*ty segall – twins – drag city – lp
*ty segall – slaughterhouse – in the red – 2×10″
*ty segall & white fence – hair – drag city – lp
joe strummer – global a go go – epitaph – lp
joe strummer – rock art.. – epitaph – lp
joe strummer – streetcore – epitaph – lp
*swans – seer – young god – 3lp
tame impala – innerspeaker – modular – lp
tycho – dive – ghostly – lp
*kurt vile – hunchback – richie – lp
tom waits – rain dogs – music on vinyl – lp
wilco – sky blue sky – nonesuch – lp
*wipers – is this real – jackpot – lp
*wipers – over the edge – jackpot – lp