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Ólöf Arnalds – Palme CD/LP (One Little Indian)
The fourth long-player from the stunningly talented classically trained singer and multi-instrumentalist is a move beyond the sound she's become known for, with synthetic sounds carefully augmenting her songs, thanks in part to múm founder Gunnar Örn Tynes and long term collaborator Skúli Sverrisson (Laurie Anderson, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Blonde Redhead).
Best Coast – California Nights CD/LP (Harvest)
A brighter, more-sparkly, more sophisticated, more psychedelic Best Coast album across the board, embodying the rich lightness and stinging darkness of a California state of mind. “Bethany and Bobb’s third record is like a needy, narcissistic L.A. teen in an ironic Avril Lavigne T-shirt who loiters round the house, nagging and nudging you until you’ve no option but to be endeared by its gawkish vulnerability. It begins with the heavily medicated ‘Feeling OK,’ falls hook, line and sinker on the Hole-homage ‘Heaven Sent,’ asks ‘Why don’t you like me?’ during ‘Jealousy,’ before addressing more pertinent questions, ‘What is life? What is love? What’s the meaning of it all?’ on ‘So Unaware.’” – The Guardian
Mikal Cronin – MCIII CD/LP+MP3 (Merge)
Marked by the lush arrangements, stunning melodies, and deeply personal lyrical work for which Cronin is now known, MCIII is a deliberate attempt to simply “go big.” As he did on his self-titled 2011 debut and 2013’s MCII, Cronin arranged and played nearly all of the record himself, including the tzouras, a traditional Greek string instrument he heard and subsequently bought while on tour in Athens. There’s French horn, saxophone, and trumpet. There are mood-altering crescendos and heartbreaking turns-of-phrase, guitars both gorgeous and pugnacious. No longer satisfied with the sound of “just one string player,” Cronin arranged parts for a full string quartet instead.
Dead Men Walking – Easy Piracy CD (Slimstyle)
The core line-up of Dead Men Walking features Captain Sensible of The Damned, Slim Jim Phantom of The Stray Cats, Mike Peters of The Alarm, and Chris Cheney from The Living End. They are often joined by special guests including SNL alumni/comedian Fred Armisen, Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses, and many more.
Death & Vanilla – Where The Wild Things Are CD/LP (Fire)
Death & Vanilla’s sound is woozy, evocative and blatantly in thrall to the kaleidoscopic sounds of Broadcast, The BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Mazzy Star and ‘60s sci-fi soundtracks. It’s beautifully listenable; A veritable tapestry of warm sounds to soothe and refresh. Available on CD and on orange or blue vinyl.
Django Django – Born Under Saturn CD/LP (Ribbon Music)
Born Under Saturn expands on the slippery, indefinable nature of the Scottish indie pop outfit’s self-titled debut, applying all of its giddy art-rock imagination only across a much larger canvas. Throughout, Django Django continues to find magic in the unexplored spaces between musical genres. Beach Boys harmonies and Link Wray riffs crisscross with house music pianos, while classical keyboard flourishes meld with Jamaican and African rhythms.
Jacco Gardner – Hypnophobia CD/LP+MP3 (Polyvinyl)
The Baroque pop prince/Dutch multi-instrumentalist casts a majestic and vibrant psychedelic spell akin to the sonic boom of maverick contemporaries John Maus and Tame Impala. His is a sound that holds fast next to fellow paisley performers Syd Barrett & Curt Boettcher, with the airy dynamics of Stereolab, Air or Simon & Garfunkel.
Giant Sand – Heartbreak Pass CD/LP+MP3 (New West)
Heartbreak Pass marks the seminal alt-country/rock band’s 30th anniversary. Individually, each track on the record looms large on its own but, when heard as one complete offering, you know that you are listening to something very, very special. The Arizona desert has been a dominating theme and source of inspiration for frontman Howe Gelb. The group can also be looked at as Howe’s one-man-band with many guests and collaborators. Heartbreak Pass features Steve Shelly (Sonic Youth), Grant-Lee Phillips and Ilse DeLange (Common Linnets) and our very own Lonna Kelley! (Vinyl edition features MP3 coupon that unlocks two additional tracks.)
Hop Along – Painted Shut CD/LP+MP3 (Saddle Creek)
Hop Along has had multiple lives. First conceptualized as a freak-folk solo act by Frances Quinlan, it progressed towards a fuller, angular pop sound with the addition of Mark Quinlan on drums, Tyler Long on bass and Joe Reinhart (Algernon Cadwallader, Dogs On Acid) on guitar. Emerging as one of music’s most unique songwriters, the captivating vignettes Frances has weaved contain vivid stories of desperation and weary awakening. Her powerful voice is a spellbinding entity all it’s own, celebratory and raw, and one that can’t be shaken away.
Ivan & Alyosha – It’s All Just Pretend CD/LP (Dualtone Music)
These 11 new songs from the Seattle five-piece are overflowing with infectious melodies, thoughtful lyrics, rich vocal harmonies and timeless pop sensibilities.
Shelby Lynne – I Can’t Imagine CD/LP (Rounder)
Shelby Lynne’s 13th album starts, as always, with that voice: two parts Alabama sunshine, one part Memphis rainstorm. Comprising ten new songs, I Can't Imagine is powered by Lynne's lustrous, virtuosic vocal performance, indelible, sparkling songwriting, and the sympathetic, versatile playing of a top-flight band, led by guitarist Ben Peeler. The songs themselves reflect a panoply of Lynne's influences from Southern soul, Crescent City R&B, and California country & western to the ardent social consciousness of precursors like Woody Guthrie and even the roots ‘n’ blues vocalizing of Billie Holiday all brought into clear focus by Lynne's keen, sophisticated pop sensibility.
Lyrics Born – Real People CD (Mobile Home)
Funk has always been a part of what Lyrics Born does -- his unique vocal swagger dishes out melody and rhyme with equal aplomb. For Real People, he turned the production over entirely (also a first) to his NOLA colleagues, giving them space to do what they do best, and him the freedom to write. Mercurio and Ellman wrangled a host of talent to execute the vision: Trombone Shorty, Ivan Neville, the Preservation Jazz Hall Band, Corey Glover (Living Colour), Corey Henry (Rebirth Brass Band), David Shaw (The Revivalists), and Billy Martin. Amidst all that quirk, soul, and raw talent, LB was reborn. Vinyl version due June 23.
Mandolin Orange – Such Jubilee CD/LP (Yep Roc)
“Mandolin Orange’s loyalties may seem to be at odds—that is, home versus the road. But in the middle of this struggle sits the duo’s unwavering grace. With Such Jubilee, Mandolin Orange seems not to have veered from their elegant folk, and that's great news, as it seems to get only better and better.” – Indy Week (Raleigh Durham)
Mac McCaughan – Non-Believers CD/LP+MP3 (Merge)
Superchunk frontman Mac McCaughan releases his first solo album under his own name. McCaughan wanted to use the album to explore his attraction to that early-‘80s era of music when punk evolved into something more introspective, focusing on themes of isolation and eventually turning into post-punk and new wave. As he puts it, he was thinking about a time when bands were “using keyboards and drum machines to relate through their music a disaffection or alienation” from society, school, whatever. The record is about a fascination with art that could only be made by someone far from where you are, but who maybe shares the frustrations and awkwardness of youth. It’s about “the irony that comes with being 16 and having a car but not knowing where to go in it, or having a keyboard or a guitar and not knowing how to play it.”
METZ – II CD/LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
Written and recorded in 2014, after two years of constant touring behind their self-titled debut, II is METZ at their most true to form—as pure an expression of what they do as can currently be committed to tape The guitars are titanic, the drums ill-tempered, the vocals chilling, and the volume worrisome. From the exhilarating grind of “Spit You Out” to the blunt-force thrills of “Landfill,” herein reside ten songs as uncompromising in their ferocity and abrasiveness as any collection this record label has had the pleasure of releasing to date. While the band’s debut was often “clean and clinical,” II is what Edkins describes as a “much heavier, darker, and sloppier” affair, with many of its roughest edges and ugliest tones kept intact.
Mumford & Sons – Wilder Mind CD/LP (Glassnote)
“Disillusioned audience members booed Bob Dylan in 1965 for swapping his acoustic guitar for an electric one. It is hard to imagine fans of Mumford & Sons doing the same 50 years on. The lines between folk and rock have long since blurred and the English quartet is the most recent example of a band effectively occupying some of the fertile space in-between. They may have risen to fame in 2009 playing banjos, yet their surging, sing-along anthems always had more in common with the epic rock of Coldplay than bluegrass. Nevertheless, the decision to go electric for their third album effectively sacrifices what might be considered their USP, putting them in a much more crowded field. There may be nothing particularly original here, but the gritty ambience of electric instrumentation suits Mumford & Sons’ way with melody, emotion and dynamics. Simply put, the Mumfords rock” – The Telegraph. Available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds four bonus live tracks.
My Morning Jacket – The Waterfall CD/2xLP (ATO/Capitol)
My Morning Jacket recorded The Waterfall in Northern California’s Stinson Beach, and gladly took the inspiration the location offered to craft this sparkling new album. “For me, every record has the spirit of where we made it,” James explains in a statement. “Stinson Beach was so psychedelic and focused. It was almost like we lived on our own little moon out there. It feels like you’re up in the sky.” The 10-track album sounds like history and decades colliding, like a record made by fervent music fans in search of that tingle up the spine. Inveterate music geeks will hear echoes of vintage rock and pop as MMJ continues to honor its influences without aping any of them; The Waterfall sounds like nothing else but also warmly familiar. CD is available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds four bonus tracks. (Vinyl version also includes the four bonus tracks.)
Nosaj Thing – Fated CD/LP+MP3 (Innovative Leisure)
Fated has most in common with records like Burial's Untrue, or J Dilla's Donuts: requiems that canvass the shadowy hinterlands between life and death, darkness and light, loneliness and love.
Oddisee – The Good Fight CD/LP (Mello Music)
Imbued with love, honesty, and selflessness. The Good Fight is virtuosic in its musicality, direct in its language, and infinitely relatable. In a landscape overrun with abstract indulgence and shallow trend-chasers, the Prince George's County, Maryland artist has created a record that reminds you that it's music before its hip-hop.
Other Lives – Rituals CD/LP (TBD)
13 years since they first began playing together in their native Oklahoma, Other Lives, which includes Josh Onstott and Jonathon Mooney, remain focused on the search for audible clarity: their next expression, their next melody, their next rhythm. Rituals, the band’s third and latest full-length album is a pure encapsulation of the trio’s relentless drive for precision. “It’s more dimensional, it’s more 3-D, if you will,” Tabish explains. “We wanted a cleaner, brighter record with more movement and more color. We’re haphazardly trying to write classical music. For the first times in our lives we were moving off on our own away from our families and kind of coming into our own. I wanted the songs to reflect that new spirit.”
Palma Violets – Danger In The Club CD/LP+MP3 (Rough Trade)
While Danger In The Club, the follow-up to Palma Violets’ barnstorming debut 180, certainly trades on the primal and joyous hook-laden rock of their debut, their sophomore LP finds the band with a new sonic looseness, revealing far more expansive influences than the still-quite-young quartet had on their debut.
The Proclaimers – Let’s Here It For The Dogs CD/LP (Compass)
Best known for the hit singles “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” “Sunshine On Leith,” “I’m On My Way,” and “Letter From America,” the identical Scottish twins known as The Proclaimers release their 10th studio album.
Rose Windows – Rose Windows CD/LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
When Chris Cheveyo abandoned his heavy instrumental post-rock band towards the end of 2010, he culled his old habits and made a fresh start with Rose Windows, a Seattle-based sextet that draws upon everything from American folk to West Saharan guitar rock, from pentatonic proto-metal to traditional Persian music, from the darker corners of California’s early psych scene to the hazy atmospherics of contemporary drone artists. After releasing their debut album, The Sun Dogs, Rose Windows escaped Seattle’s rapid growth by heading to Bogalusa, Louisiana to record their sophomore album at Studio in the Country, re-enlisting producer Randall Dunn (Earth, Cave Singers, Akron/Family). Geography inevitably leaves its mark on musicians, and there was a certain character to the Deep South—with its tradition of the delta blues and the swampy riffage of New Orleans—that resonated with the band.
STS x RJD2 - STS x RJD2 CD (RJ’s Electrical Connections)
You may not know the name STS at first glance, but you have surely heard him: his fingerprints are on Ciara's “Oh,” The Roots How I Got Over LP, and tracks from Jill Scott to Jazzy Jeff and more. RJD2 the man behind the Mad Men theme, “Ghostwriter,” and many tracks on TV and film has likely crossed your ears as well. Together, the two formed a unit and cut a full-length album of beautiful, soulful, poetic, and fluid. Heavily melodic and still able to rattle a trunk, this debut album takes nods from the Impressions to Ludacris to Wu-Tang, all the while holding originality, razor sharp lyricism, and a deep pocket in the highest regard.
Super Furry Animals – Mwng [Reissue/2000] 2xCD/LP+MP3 (Domino)
Deluxe 15th anniversary reissue of SFA’s career-defining fourth album. Mwng was the band’s only Welsh language long player. It reached Number 11 in the UK album chart and it remains the biggest selling Welsh language album of all time. The deluxe CD contains the original album plus five studio tracks previously released on the 2001 US version of the album, as well as an unreleased Peel session and a live performance at All Tomorrow's Parties.
Superheaven – Ours Is Chrome CD/LP+MP3 (SideOneDummy)
New album from the Pennsylvania grunge-rockers. Formed in 2007, Pennsylvania's Superheaven has spent the better part of the last five years honing in on their dark and desperate sound across four EPs, an outstanding full-length debut in Jar, and an almost endless touring cycle. Produced by Will Yip, Ours Is Chrome consists of eleven emotionally heavy songs that drift effort -- less between genres, channeling the band's insecurities and determination into a collection of material that are simultaneously confident and downcast.
Torres – Sprinter CD (Partisan)
Following her self-titled debut in 2013, Torres pushes herself to even noisier extremes on Sprinter, a punishing self-examination of epic spiritual and musical proportions. Scott escaped the confines of her churning mind in order to find herself by recording in the market town of Bridport in Dorset, England; and then at the Bristol studio of Portishead's Adrian Adrian Utley. With his guitar riffs and synthesizers lingering in the background like a lowland mist and PJ Harvey's Robert Ellis and Ian Olliver on rhythm—the two fortuitously reuniting 23 years after the release of Dry. Vinyl version due May 19.
Various Artists [Actress] – DJ Kicks CD/LP+CD (!K7)
British techno-related visionary Actress joins the DJ-Kicks series with a singular hour-long set, following his acclaimed fourth full-length effort, Ghettoville.
16 Horsepower - Folklore [Reissue/2002] LP (Volkoren)
16 Horsepower - Olden [Reissue/2003] LP (Volkoren)
Folklore is 16 Horsepower’s fourth album, originally released in 2002 on Glitterhouse. As hinted to by its name, most of the material on the album is drawn from traditional folk music. Only four of the songs (“Hutterite Mile,” “Blessed Persistence,” “Beyond The Pale” and “Flutter”) on the album are original 16 Horsepower compositions. Recorded before their break up, Olden is divided into three sections, with each section separated by two short interviews with David Eugene Edwards, the band's vocalist and lead musician. The first seven tracks were recorded at the Night Owl Studio in Denver in 1993, and are referred to as the “Night Owl Studio Sessions.” The following six songs were recorded at Kerr Macy studio in Denver in 1994. The last six songs are live recordings from their session at the Mercury Cafe in Denver in 1994.
D’Angelo – Voodoo [Reissue/2000] 2xLP (Virgin)
15th anniversary color vinyl reissue of D'Angelo's classic sophomore album. Voodoo features an extensive line-up of musicians associated with the Soulquarians musical collective. Produced primarily by D'Angelo, the album features a loose, groove-based funk sound and serves as a departure from the more conventional song structure of his debut album, Brown Sugar.
Ty Segall/King Tuff – Live At Pickathon 12” (Easy Sound Recording Company)
Split LP culled from the garage titans' respective sets at the 2013 Pickathon Music Festival in Happy Valley, OR.