New Releases - 2/24/17

All Them Witches – Sleeping Through The War CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (New West)
“Carrying a reputation for following instinct over calculation, All Them Witches lunge into the young year wielding Sleeping Through The War, a record that potently concentrates all that the band pull up from their well of heavy Americana. Depending on which state-of-the-pop-world conversation you jump into, rock is routinely in decline, left for dead, or being resuscitated. All Them Witches don’t seem like the kind of guys to entertain any of those notions. Like Josh Homme’s Kyuss and Queens Of The Stone Age, they dig up diamond hooks from rough desert rock. They can swing between tranquil and torrential in an almost Mogwai-esque manner, as the massive strobe light opener ‘Bulls’ demonstrates. Nashville grounding informs their grooves and affords them the inspired addition of recurring backing vocals by local notables Erin Rae, Caitlin Rose and Tristen. Sleeping Through the War’s persuasive determination to chew up everything in its path make minor idiosyncrasies like Allan Van Cleave’s psychedelic organ punctuations on the pedal-to-the-floor ‘Bruce Lee’ fit in without question. Even through mere speakers, All Them Witches have a physically imposing yet approachable presence” – The Line Of Best Fit

Andrew Bird - & The Mysterious Production Of Eggs [Reissue/2005] LP (Wegawam)
Chicago singer/songwriter/violinist Andrew Bird updates the traditions of small-group swing, German lieder, and New Orleans jazz, mixing Gypsy, folk, and rock elements into his distinctive style. His 2005 album (originally issued on Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe label) is back in print on vinyl.

Circa Survive – On Letting Go: Deluxe Ten Year Edition LP (Equal Vision)
Equal Vision Records' alumni artist Circa Survive present a deluxe 10 year anniversary edition of their sophomore album. It was originally released in May 2007 and produced by Brian McTernan at Salad Days Studio, as the follow-up to their 2005 debut Juturna.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – The Tourist CD (CYHSY Inc.)
The fifth album from indie-rock band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is nod to frontman Alec Ounsworth’s inspirations, such as Tom Waits, Nick Cave, and Paul Simon, and features keyboard-laden cuts alongside more folk-based numbers. Album tracks “Better Off” and “The Vanity Of Trying” are lush, keyboard-augmented songs, while “A Chance To Cure” and “Ambulance Chaser” are rhythmically askew, and the sighing “Loose Ends” is delicate, acoustic-based folk-rock. In terms of theme, Ounsworth uses The Tourist to reflect on an emotional last couple of years, describing the songs as a “type of purge.” A “purge of certain emotional confusion that manifested itself in the last several years,” he explains. “I’d rather not say that it was a dark time, but it was a difficult time in my life — among the most difficult. But I needed and need to try to let it go. And this is how I let things go.

Crystal Fairy – Crystal Fairy CD/LP (Ipecac Recordings)
“Considering Crystal Fairy’s lineup, it’s no wonder that the band brings tunes with a high riff-factor on their self-titled debut. Starring King Buzzo and Dale Crover (Melvins), the fold is further filled out with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (At The Drive In) and Teri Gender Bender (Le Butcherettes). Crystal Fairy consists of 11 songs, each one diving deeper into a bizarre pit of screeching, high intensity riffs. Very much the sum of their parts, Crystal Fairy stares down the listener with psychotic energy. It’s Dale’s job to lay down the law, which he does most notably in ‘Bent Teeth.’ Rodriguez-Lopez helps bridge the gap between Dale’s intense push and Buzzo’s guitar, but the star of the show here is Terri Gender Bender. Whether she’s owning the title track with her gnarly snarl or spitting out the Spanish language lyrics in ‘Secret Agent Rat,’ it’s her voice that’s keeping the Crystal Fairy boat afloat” – The Sludgelord.

David Bowie – No Plan CDEP (Sony) 
The No Plan EP features single “Lazarus” from Blackstar backed with three final, non-album tracks recorded during the Blackstar sessions. [Vinyl edition due April 21.]

Dirty Projectors – Dirty Projectors CD/2xLP+MP3 (Domino)
Dirty Projectors, the beloved, decade-plus-long recording pursuit of producer, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist David Longstreth, presents the eighth full-length album in the band’s wildly varied and fascinating discography. As with previous Dirty Projectors albums, Dirty Projectors sees Longstreth lead a group of hugely talented contributors, including Solange Knowles, Tyondai Braxton, Mauro Refosco (Atoms For Peace, Red Hot Chili Peppers), and Dawn Richard (D∆WN and Danity Kane), in realizing his creative vision. “‘I would be lying if I said it didn't feel a little crazy, but I wanted to tell these stories,’ Dirty Projectors leader Dave Longstreth told Rolling Stone of the prolific art-pop group's new self-titled LP. Dirty Projectors is a self-admitted breakup record that chronicles in vivid detail the entirety of his ultimately doomed relationship with former bandmate Amber Coffman. Ranging from new-love giddiness (‘Little Bubble’) to self-flagellation (‘Winner Take Nothing’) and eventually acceptance (‘Cool Your Heart’), the album is a deep dive into the musician's life and heart. Rather than bury his emotions, he chose to channel the intense sadness he felt in the wake of his breakup into his most soul-baring, emotionally jarring songs yet” – Rolling Stone. [Double vinyl LP pressing features an etched D-side.]

Dude York – Sincerely CD (Hardly Art)
The Seattle-based trio Dude York arrive with an album that couches its themes of anxiety and eroding mental health in rock tracks that amp up the sweetly melodic crunch of power pop with massive distortion and bashed-to-heck drums. Sincerely is a loud, sweaty rebuke to those moments in life when it seems like nothing is working, a testament to the power of friendship, staring problems directly in the face, and finding solace in art. Longtime Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill producer John Goodmanson and The Blood Brothers’ Cody Votolato helped Dude York craft a more straightforward draft of Sincerely, one based on the energy of their live show but without any superfluous flourishes. The band’s thoughtful approach to putting together Sincerely's songs echoes the album's overarching themes of almost-punishing inward focus. Bringing bassist Claire England's straightforward drawl into the mix underscores that idea, and its contrast to guitarist Peter Richards' excited yelp heightens the tension on Sincerely, a chaotic, yet ultimately triumphant album that's a vital tonic for these increasingly confused times.

Emma Ruth Rundle & Jaye Jayle – The Time Between Us 12”+MP3
(Sargent House) New six-song split EP between Sargent House alum Emma Ruth Rundle (Red Sparowes, Marriages) and the label’s newest addition, Louisville’s Jaye Jayle (featuring Evan Patterson of Young Widows). The EP boasts three previously unreleased tracks from each artist. On the heels of her recently released and widely recognized third album, Marked For Death, Emma Ruth Rundle unveils a follow-up dose of brooding, melancholic rock draped in shimmering guitar and the breathy familiarity of her unmistakable voice. Though possessing a distinct Southern filter, Jaye Jayle’s stripped-back noir in fact owes more to Krautrock than the blues, while Evan Patterson’s baritone croon brings to mind Angels Of Light-era Michael Gira. Jaye Jayle unsurprisingly count Spacemen 3, Neu!, and Lungfish among their varied influences, while arriving at a sound wholly unusual in the American underground.

The Feelies – In Between CD/LP+MP3 (Bar/None)
Impose Magazine recently called The Feelies “… one of the most influential bands in the history of alternative and underground music” and Rolling Stone said that they are “a template of formal perfection.” They have influenced bands like R.E.M., Yo La Tengo, Real Estate and Weezer, and now during their 40th anniversary comes their first album of all new material in over six years. While working the VU template they are famous for, In Betwen brings some interesting new sonics into the mix.

Hippo Campus – Landmark CD (Grand Jury)
“There’s a moment in growing up when it becomes clear that the road you walk is your own to cultivate.” A surprisingly profound sentiment for a band of 21-year olds. Nevertheless, it’s a sentiment that animates much of Landmark, the debut album from Minneapolis’ Hippo Campus. From the resplendent “Way It Goes,” a guitar led gallop about the Instagram-filtered church of cool, to the propulsive “Boyish,” a horn-kissed rumination on children of divorce, Landmark is shot through with a woozy dissonance between precocious wisdom and old-as-time coming of age stories. The result is a messy, brave, and earnest whole -- not to mention, a tectonic shift forward for a young band still discovering itself. Landmark invites introspection and close listening—even its most upbeat songs are rich with details, like the whistling break that lands in the middle of the galloping “Simple Season” or the spangles of guitar that slice through the clamor of “Tuesday.” Elsewhere, the second half of landmark is dominated by a somber stretch that includes the lush “Monsoon,” which slowly blooms into a quiet freak-out of reverb and synth, a revelation in the context of the band’s catalog.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Flying Microtonal Banana CD/LP (ATO)
Flying Microtonal Banana is King Gizzard's first-ever experience in microtonal tuning, which features intervals smaller than a semitone and not found in customary Western tuning octaves. “Earlier this year we started experimenting with a custom microtonal guitar our friend Zak made for (lead singer and guitar player) Stu Mackenzie,” drummer Eric Moore explained. “The guitar was modified to play in 24-TET tuning and could only be played with other microtonal instruments. We ended up giving everyone a budget of $200 to buy instruments and turn them microtonal. The record features the modified electric guitars, basses, keyboards and harmonica as well as a Turkish horn called a Zurna.” Flying Microtonal Banana is the first of five albums the band plans to release in 2017 (each based around a different sonic experiment), and takes a subtle musical shift away from the frazzled freak-beat of its predecessor, Nonagon Infinity.  [Limited neon color vinyl pressings are also available.]

King Woman – Created In The Image Of Suffering LP (Relapse)
“One of the oldest creation stories in history holds that God created mankind in his image. But what of woman? Is she not worthy of being conjured from a vision, a likeness, the stuff of greatness? King Woman, the mighty Bay Area-bred solo-project-turned-full-band helmed by vocalist and guitarist Kristina Esfandiari, grapples with this glaring omission on its forthcoming album, Created In The Image Of Suffering. On the album, out later this month, King Woman commands a particular terrain where doom-laced rock, shoegaze and sludgy metal converge in compositions that aren't so much songs as they are reckonings, laments, eulogies and exaltations.” -- KNBA

Lupe Fiasco – DROGAS Light 2xLP (1st & 15th Prod.)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. “After recently declaring his retirement from music, Lupe Fiasco has announced a new album DROGAS Light. Last year, Lupe announced plans to release a trilogy of albums in 2016 (including one titled Drogas) which he later retracted, due to ‘clearance and mixing issues.’ He later released a track called ‘Made in America,’ reportedly from an album called Drogas Light slated to be released ‘at the top of 2017.’ His plans seemed to come to a halt when a lyric in a new song ‘N.E.R.D.’ sparked anti-semitism claims among listeners. After defending the track vigorously on Twitter, Lupe announced his decision to retire from music: ‘Yo Lupe fans it’s been fun and I hope you’ve had fun,’ he wrote, ‘I’m officially not releasing anymore music. Albums cancelled.’ Following his remarks, he briefly set his Twitter to private before engaging in debates with the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. His recently declared retirement ends February 10.” – Pitchfork

Modern Baseball – The Perfect Cast [2015] 12” (Lame-O)
Lame-O Records reissues witty indie-pop Philadelphia, PA band Modern Baseball's sweeping 6-track 2015 EP “It's indie/emo with a sharp, melodic rock twist and deviates just enough to hype their buzz” – Punknews.org.

Old 97s – Graveyard Whistling CD/LP+MP3 (ATO)
In 1996, the Old 97s recorded Too Far To Care. It was their major-label debut after the band signed with Elektra Records. But rather than venture into some state-of-the-art studio in New York or L.A., the band decamped to Village Productions in Tornillo, Texas, a remote facility in the middle of two thousand acres of pecan trees near the Mexican border. The sound that the group captured on Too Far To Care has remained a touchstone for them. “We've always held that one up as the closest to sounding exactly like what sets us apart from the rest of the world,” says Rhett Miller. And so when it came time for the Old 97's to record the follow-up to the highest-charting album of their career, 2014's Most Messed Up, producer Vance Powell brought up the idea of returning to Tornillo. “We knew instantly that it was the perfect move,” says Miller. The result is the eleven songs of Graveyard Whistling, the band’s eleventh studio album. The emotional range and musical scope of Graveyard Whistling also benefits from the contributions from co-writers Brandi Carlile, Caitlin Rose, Nicole Atkins, and Butch Walker. [Four different color vinyl pressings are are available: translucent clear, green, red and blue.]

Pissed Jeans – Why Love Now CD/LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
Pissed Jeans have been making gnarly noise for 13 years, and on their fifth album, Why Love Now, the male-fronted quartet is taking aim at the mundane discomforts of modern life—from fetish webcams to office-supply deliveries. Their gutter-scraped amalgamation of sludge, punk, noise, and bracing wit make the band—frontman Matt Korvette, Brad Fry (guitar), Randy Huth (bass) and Sean McGuinness (drums)—a release valve for a world where absurdity seems in a constant battle trying to outdo itself. Take the grinding rave-up “The Bar Is Low,” which, according to Korvette, is "about how every guy seems to be revealing themselves as a shithead. It seems like every guy is getting outed, across every board of entertainment and politics and music. There's no guy that isn't a total creep.” The lyrics on Why Love Now are particularly pointed about gender relations and the minefield they present in 2016. “‘It's Your Knees’ is about the endless, unrequested, commenting on if you'd f**k a girl. On “Love Without Emotion” Korvette channels Nick Cave's guttural side while bemoaning his detachment over cavernous guitars. “Ignorecam” twists the idea of fetish cam shows— “where the woman just ignores you and watches TV or eats macaroni and cheese or talks on the phone”—into a showcase for Korvette's rancid yelp and his bandmates' pummeling rock.

Power Trip – Nightmare Logic LP (Southern Lord)
Nightmare Logic is the second crushing, soul mangling, neck bustin’ album from these Texas hardcore thrashers. Power Trip’s raw energy, musical proficiency, perfect song structure, rich tones, fierce riffs, persecution, and collective attitude have seeded them as one of the most prolific underground staples in the US metal, punk, and hardcore scenes. [Limited red color vinyl pressing also available.]

Southern Avenue – Southern Avenue CD (Stax/Concord)
“Memphis, Tennessee, is one of the outstanding music cities of America. Southern Avenue runs from East Memphis due west, where it turns into E. McClemore Avenue, home of Soulsville, better known as Stax Records. This young Memphis group named themselves and their self-titled debut release, Southern Avenue, in a deliberate undertaking to continue and expand upon the soul, blues, and gospel tradition associated with this fabled city. Fronted by the vivacious and vigorous vocalist Tierinni Jackson, the band has the recognizable throwback sound of Stax, but also adds a distinctive contemporary essence, giving them a razor sharp modern identity. They open with the gospel rooted ‘Don't Give Up,’ Jackson's dominant voice displaying where she came from, and setting the direction for the album. She falls right into a southern soul groove on ‘What Did I Do,’ with solid backing by Naftaly's tasty guitar licks, and Powell's organ fills. Ann Peeble's funky ‘Slipped, Tripped, and Fell In Love,’ is transformed with a renewed attitude, and is sure to be a popular dance number. This is a band that based on their collective talents and powerful live performances, is garnering an increasing audience base, and this record should catapult them into the international spotlight.” – All About Jazz