Well, almost everything in this week is and should have been in sooner, but looks like everything out next week is actually shipping on time…MIRACLE! And loads in next week, so good thing this one is a light one.
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…..pick of the week…..
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Infest the Rats’ Nest (ATO) LP
The planet is in trouble. Dire trouble. But fear not: Melbourne, Australia seven-piece King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have returned with Infest The Rats’ Nest to save us all, this time armed only with blast beats, an arsenal of well-oiled guitars that are locked and loaded, and a desire to melt faces clean off. Their fifteenth studio album, Infest The Rats’ Nest is by far The Gizz’s hardest and heaviest album to date. How metal is it? Very metal. Maybe even more. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard aren’t mere dabbling dilletantes either. Their love of this ferocious music runs deep, and was previously explored on 2017’s apocalyptic concept album Murder Of The Universe, hinted at during 2016’s award-winning Nonagon Infinity’s more bludgeoning moments and elsewhere in numerous hardcore psychedelic freak-outs in their back catalogue. “In year 4 there was an older kid who was into Rammstein,” explains Stu of his early discover discovery of metal’s extremities. “I made friends with him and we put together a performance at our school assembly where we headbanged to ‘Du Hast’. I got whiplash, which I thought was pretty cool. That was my introduction to heavy metal, and soon Rammstein led to Metallica, Metallica led to Slayer, Slayer led to Kreator and Sodom. The German bands really kicked my ass and scared the hell out of me too. Later on, when I picked up a guitar I realized that shit was too hard to play, so I got into rock ‘n’ roll and garage. That was liberating.” Infest The Rats’ Nest is the sound of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard scratching the thrash metal itch, fully and unequivocally. Ferocious and direct, “Organ Farmer” is built on drums that gallop away like a battalion of wild horses over the horizon and a triple guitar attack set to stun. It’s the type of sub-three minute song you wish Hetfield and Co. still made. “Venusian 1” goes at it even harder, a shredding collection featuring an army of guitars. A guitarmy, if you will. This is an album dripping with disdain and disgust for a planet consuming itself in a mass act of cannibalism. “Superbug” sings of the type of lurgy that will one day destroy us all, while the utterly nihilistic “Self-Immolate” sees riff piled upon riff and Stu Mackenzie delivering a vocal display to stand alongside the likes of Tom Araya or Max Cavalera. “I’m a pretty shit singer but I do think of my voice as an instrument,” laughs the frontman. “You’ve got lots of tones and different sounds in there you can experiment with.” Elsewhere recent single “Planet B” is a frantic, bludgeoning beast of a song, a scorched earth blitzkrieg that depicts a world burning through its natural resources (“Open your eyes and light the fluid / Get into a petrol siphon / Low on meals, browning fields / Bury children…”) and charging headlong into a population exodus that may only be solvable through the colonization of other planets. Breakneck closer “Hell” meanwhile is the last black bile-spewing word on musical brutality. King Gizzard meet the fears and anxieties of a planet head on; here is a place where uncompromising music meets the concerns of contemporary cli-fi, that emerging movement of writing centered around ecological disaster and its repercussions. “The A-side of the album is set in the near future and is about real shit going on right now – especially ecological disaster,” explains Stu of the album’s grand themes. “We’ve got a lot of things to fear. The B-side tells the story of a group of rebels who are forced to leave Planet Earth and try to settle on Venus. I spend a lot of time thinking about the future of humanity and the future of Planet Earth. Naturally these thoughts seep into the lyrics.”
File Under: Psych, Punk, Rock
Blanck Mass: Animated Violence Mild (Sacred Bones) LP
“In this post-industrial, post-enlightenment religion of ourselves, we have manifested a serpent of consumerism which now coils back upon us. It seduces us with our own bait as we betray the better instincts of our nature and the future of our own world. We throw ourselves out of our own garden. We poison ourselves to the edges of an endless sleep. “Animated Violence Mild was written throughout 2018, at Blanck Mass’ studio outside of Edinburgh. These eight tracks are the diary of a year of work steeped in honing craft, self-discovery, and grief – the latter of which reared its head at the final hurdle of producing this record and created a whole separate narrative: grief, both for what I have lost personally, but also in a global sense, for what we as a species have lost and handed over to our blood-sucking counterpart, consumerism, only to be ravaged by it. “I believe that many of us have willfully allowed our survival instinct to become engulfed by the snake we birthed. Animated – brought to life by humankind. Violent – insurmountable and wild beyond our control. Mild – delicious. This is perhaps the most concise body of work I have written to date. Having worked extensively throughout my musical life with dramatics, narrative, and ‘melody against all odds’, these tracks are the most direct and honest yet. The level of articulation in these tracks surpasses anything I have utilized before.” – Benjamin John Power
File Under: Electronic, Noise, Punk, Techno
Kenny Burrell: Introducing Kenny Burrell – Tone Poet (Blue Note) LP
Introducing Kenny Burrell put the jazz world on notice in 1956 that an extraordinary new guitarist was on the scene who combined bebop and the blues with smoky aplomb. Burrell is accompanied on this stellar set of original and standard compositions by Tommy Flanagan on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, bebop icon Kenny Clarke on drums along with the percussion sensation from Cuba, Candido. This legendary session launched the career of one of the giants of modern jazz guitar who would go on to record his magnum opus Midnight Blue for Blue Note in 1963. The Blue Note Tone Poet Series was born out of Blue Note President Don Was’ admiration for the exceptional audiophile Blue Note LP reissues presented by Music Matters. The label brought Joe Harley (from Music Matters), aka the “Tone Poet,” on board to curate and supervise a series of reissues from the Blue Note family of labels. Extreme attention to detail has been paid to getting these right in every conceivable way, from the deluxe gatefold jacket graphics and printing quality to superior mastering (all analog direct from the master tapes) by Kevin Gray to superb 180-gram audiophile LP pressings by Record Technology Inc. Every aspect of these Blue Note/Tone Poet releases is done to the highest-possible standard. It means that you will never find a superior version. “The LPs are mastered directly from the original analog master tapes by Kevin at his incredible facility called Cohearent Mastering. We go about it in the exact same way that we did for so many years for the Music Matters Blue Note reissues. We do not roll off the low end, boost the top or do any limiting of any kind. We allow the full glory of the original Blue Note masters to come though unimpeded! Short of having an actual time machine, this is as close as you can get to going back and being a fly on the wall for an original Blue Note recording session.” – Joe Harley
File Under: Jazz
Eluvium: Pianoworks (Temporary Residence) LP
Pianoworks is Eluvium’s first solo piano album since his sophomore album, An Accidental Memory In The Case Of Death (2004). Inspired by the quiet thoughts and solitary observations of children – and the evolution/dissolution of that ephemeral, uncorrupted wonder of simple joy – Pianoworks begins with a song about children’s piano lessons, and culminates with an etude driven by the struggle to hold onto innocence and imagination as adulthood settles in. The record’s dramatic simplicity in both execution and expression is with purpose: Cooper wants the music to be simple enough to inspire children and novices to play, and the concept simple enough to resonate regardless of age or experience. As any minimalist painter, poet, or architect can attest, it is oftentimes the profoundly simple art that proves to be the most time-consuming and torturous to produce. Pianoworks exemplifies this dichotomy, having been recorded, re-recorded, and re-re-recorded in the span of nearly a decade. Cooper exhausted every attempt to achieve a very specific, peculiar sound that is out of time – a sound not entirely lost in an attic, but also one not easily found in a playlist. The process to achieve this elusive sound was painstaking, but it has yielded a rare kind of music that is as uncomplicated as it is uncompromised.
File Under: Piano
Explosions in the Sky: How Strange, Innocence (Temporary Residence) LP
2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the birth of Explosions In The Sky. To celebrate the occasion, the band and Temporary Residence LTD. will release deluxe remastered and repackaged editions of two highly sought-after, long out-of-print pieces of their historic catalog: their debut album, How Strange, Innocence (available on vinyl for the first time since 2004); and The Rescue (available on vinyl for the first time ever). The members of Explosions In The Sky played their first show, at the University of Texas’ student radio station, on July 4, 1999, under the short-lived moniker, Breaker Morant. A year later, they recorded their first album, How Strange, Innocence, over the course of two days, and made 300 CD-R copies to sell at shows and give to friends in their hometown of Austin. In 2001, they signed to Temporary Residence and released their breakthrough second album, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever, leaving the legend of How Strange, Innocence to proliferate on file-sharing and tape trading sites in a pre-iTunes and YouTube era. Following their third album, The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place, the band released a single vinyl pressing of How Strange, Innocence as the debut release on a friend’s short-lived local imprint, Ruined Potential Records. Sold exclusively on a 2004 North American tour, the sole pressing of 300 sold out immediately, quickly becoming an urban legend for fans. Now, in honor of the band’s 20th anniversary, Temporary Residence brings this treasured document of Explosions In The Sky’s humble beginnings back into the world. The How Strange, Innocence – Anniversary Edition has been beautifully remastered by Heba Kadry – with vinyl lacquers cut by Bob Weston – and packaged in an incredible full-color, heavyweight triple-gatefold jacket with matte varnish, heavyweight full-color insert, and custom vinyl etching containing the charming story of How Strange, Innocence in the band’s own words. This is the definitive sound, look, and feel of the album that started one of the most inspiring and unique careers in modern underground music.
File Under: Indie Rock, Post Rock
Explosions in the Sky: The Rescue (Temporary Residence) LP
2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the birth of Explosions In The Sky. To celebrate the occasion, the band and Temporary Residence LTD. will release deluxe remastered and repackaged editions of two highly sought-after, long out-of-print pieces of their historic catalog: their debut album, How Strange, Innocence (available on vinyl for the first time since 2004); and The Rescue (available on vinyl for the first time ever). The Rescue is commonly referred to as Explosions In The Sky’s “secret album,” mostly due to the fact that since its initial limited mail-order only CD release in 2005, it has never been made commercially available on any format, in any store, anywhere in the world. In 2005 – after having toured the world for over a year straight in support of The Earth Is Not A Cold Place, and scoring the major motion picture, Friday Night Lights – Explosions In The Sky took the year off to physically, emotionally, and creatively recharge. It was during this period that they decided to try making an entire album in a method that was totally foreign to them: Quickly, and loosely. They came up with the idea to compose, rehearse, record, and mix an entirely new song each day for eight days in a row. They kept the rules simple and strict: the song had to be crafted from start to finish in one day, and could not be revisited once that day was done. The band would produce, record, and mix everything themselves in their own homes, without outside assistance or interference. With such rigid parameters, the expectations were kept suitably low. The quality of the album that bloomed was startlingly high. The songs had a lightness and unruliness that starkly contrasted their catalog, while maintaining the same emotional resonance that had already become a trademark of their music. The Rescue – Anniversary Edition has been beautifully remastered from the original 24-bit stereo mixes, and is packaged in a full-color jacket with a full-color heavyweight inner sleeve featuring the hand-written story of The Rescue, as told by the band upon its completion in 2005. This is the long-overdue, definitive presentation of a rare but requisite piece of Explosions In The Sky’s remarkable history.
File Under: Indie Rock, Post Rock
Hold Steady: Thrashing Thru the Passion (French Kiss) LP
“Just after the new year, we headed up to Woodstock to The Isokon studio to record some new songs. We were joined by producer Josh Kaufman and engineer D. James Goodwin, who have helped us record everything we’ve done for the past few years. It was a highly productive session, we pretty much just set up and cranked through the songs. The songs came together quickly and we were psyched on how they sounded. Overdubs happened back in Brooklyn, with our friends Stuart Bogie and Jordan McLean adding horns and Annie Nero doing some backup vocals. “We thought “Denver Haircut” sounded like the first track on a record. “Blackout Sam” sounded like it should close an album side. In fact, these five songs together sounded like a cool A side of an album. So, after D. James Goodwin mixed the songs, we decided to put them together with some of our favorite songs we’d recorded in the past few years and make it an album. We pondered a track list for a bit, had our friend Dave Gardner master it, and here it is. We call it Thrashing Thru The Passion, which is taken from a line on “You Did Good Kid”. “I’ve remarked for a while now that this six- piece lineup of THS is the best we’ve ever had. It’s not really even negotiable. And fifteen years in, I believe that we are making some of our very best music. We’ve come to a place that feels both fun and vital. When I listen to these songs, I feel a sense of joyfulness – I hear friendship, community, positivity and a love of rock and roll music. This band has changed all of our lives, and it continues to make changes. Good ones. “We’ve also made changes in how we release music. In late 2017, we dropped “Entitlement Crew” and “A Snake in the Shower” as a surprise before our second annual Massive Nights run at the Brooklyn Bowl. We made it available on Bandcamp, with a suggested donation that raised money for a charity. We’ve repeated that a number of times now, dropping these digital singles just before a run of shows. It’s been fun to release music this way, it feels almost like a new episode of a serial. It also allowed us to escape some of the promotional obligations that come with releasing a full LP. In short, it keeps things exciting and fresh. “This time, with Thrashing Thru The Passion, we have released an album with five new songs and five that have been previously released digitally. That felt right this time. We can’t say what we will do next time, but with the recording industry where it is in 2019, it feels wide open. We will continue to take the advice Paul Stanley offered on the classic Kiss song, “Room Service”, and do what we feel.” – Craig Finn
File Under: Indie Rock
Ikebe Shakedown: Kings Left Behind (Colemine) LP
Ten years ago, Ikebe Shakedown began pushing the boundaries of instrumental music. Each new track and live set has sent them deeper into combining the primal elements of ’70s soul, raw psychedelic style, and cinematic Western soundtracks with powerful grooves and soaring melodies. Now, with their new release, Kings Left Behind, the band is giving listeners more mystery and majesty than ever before. The album features the entire group collaborating to produce tracks that deliver punches right to the gut, even as dreamy guitars and lush horn melodies and string arrangements capture the imagination. The album was recorded by Ikebe Shakedown bassist, Vince Chiarito, at Hive Mind Recording. Opened with band saxophonist, Mike Buckley, and another collaborator in 2017, Hive Mind has become a home base for the band, leading to more experimentation with the textures and sounds of a genre they define as Instrumental Soul. Pressed at Gotta Groove Records in Cleveland, OH, the vinyl LP is stored in Gotta Groove anti-static innsersleeve and packaged in a high quality Stoughton Tip-On gatefold jacket.
File Under: Funk, Soul, Psych
Iron & Wine: Live at Third Man Records (Third Man) LP
Iron & Wine performed and recorded an absolutely captivating live set of songs in the Blue Room venue at Third Man Records in Nashville. Armed with spartan set-up of a guitar, microphone and his minimal backing band in front of a sold-out audience, Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam ambled through his discography, on touchstones like “Naked As We Came” from classic album Our Endless Numbered Days, “The Trapeze Swinger” from Around the Well and “Winter Prayers” from Ghost on Ghost. It was a heartfelt experience without sacrificing any charm, personality or gestalt crowd connection.
File Under: Indie Rock, Folk
Amyl & The Sniffers: s/t (ATO) LP
David Axelrod: Earth Rot (Now Again) LP
Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago (Jagjaguwar) LP
Brian Eno: Apollo (Astralwerks) LP
Brian Eno: Here Comes the Warm Jets (Astralwerks) LP
Jimmy Giuffre: Jimmy Giuffre 3, 1961 (ECM) LP
Freddie Hubbard: Open Sesame (Blue Note) LP
Melvins: Houdini (Third Man) LP
Hank Mobley: No Room for Squares (Blue Note) LP
Portishead: Dummy (Go Beat) LP
Sam Rivers: Contours (Blue Note) LP
Pharoah Sanders: Thembi (Impulse) LP
Ty Segall: First Taste (Drag City) LP
Sinoia Caves: Beyond the Black Rainbow (Jagjaguwar) LP
Scott Walker: Tilt (Drag City) LP
Yeah Yeah Yeahs: It’s Blitz (Interscope) LP
Various: Warfaring Strangers: Acid Nightmare (Numero) LP
Various: Wayfaring Strangers: Cosmic American Music (Numero) LP