New Releases - 5/19/17

(Sandy) Alex G – Rocket CD/LP+MP3 (Domino)
Rocket is Philadelphia-based artist Alex G's eighth full-length release – an assured statement that follows a slate of humble masterpieces, many of them self-recorded and self-released, stretching from 2010's Race to his 2015’s Beach Music. Amid the Rocket recording process, Alex made headlines for catching the attention of Frank Ocean, who asked him to play guitar on his two 2016 albums, Endless and Blonde. More than any stylistic cues, what Alex took from the experience was a newfound confidence in collaboration. Rocket wears this collaborative spirit proudly, and in its numerous contributors presents a restless sense of musical experimentation - effortlessly jumping from distorted sound collage to dreamy folk music to bouncing Americana. Rocket illustrates a cohesive vision of contemporary American experience; the cast of characters that Alex G inhabits have fun, fall in love, develop obsessions, get in trouble, and – much like rockets themselves – ultimately they burn out.

Basement – Promise Everything [Deluxe Edition] LP+MP3 (Fueled By Ramen)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. This deluxe reissue of Basement's critically adored album includes remixed/remastered versions of the original release's ten songs and four bonus tracks: a cover of The Cardigan's “My Favourite Game,” acoustic versions of “Aquasun,” “Blinded Bye,” and the acoustic track “Cloud,” which originally appeared on a limited run 7”. Limited color vinyl pressing.

Beastmaker – Inside The Skull CD (Rise Above)
The glittering technological future we were all promised has turned into a dystopian nightmare. If music must reflect the times, the hour has plainly come to reject the mainstream status quo and get down to the roots and rhythms of life's elemental heaviness. And that's where Beastmaker come in. Purveyors of some of the most ecstatically thunderous and raw doom metal to emerge in decades, this three-man riffing machine from Fresno, CA, are manifestly the real deal. From the old school evangelism of opener “Evil One” and the warped psychedelia of “Now Howls The Beast” through to the twisted fury and fire of “Psychic Visions” and creepy closer “Sick Sick Demon,” Inside The Skull is not just a muscular hymn to the glory days of heavy metal's genesis and early prosperity: this is a vital, virile and venomous slab of wildly creative but spiritually pure doom devastation, designed to rescue us from the drab harshness of present day reality and transport us somewhere cooler, somewhere better and, in the best way possible, somewhere much heavier.

Biters – The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be CD (Earache)
Recalling the early spirit and danger of rabble-rousing rock heroes, Biters have faithfully built upon their punk heritage and their love of ‘70s rock to deliver music that ignites, incites and excites in equal measure. Possessing a heart full of rock ‘n’ roll, the band play foot stomping, fist pumping, spit-on-the-floor anthems possessed of a fighting spirit that refuses to give in. The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be is an instant rock ‘n’ roll classic that makes the genre exciting and relevant again. “Corporate pop culture and fair-weather fads are just something I'm not interested in. I still choose to play rock ‘n' roll, because I still believe in rock ‘n’ Roll.” -- Tuk Smith, Biters

Childish Gambino – Awaken, My Love! 2xLP (Glassnote)
Released last December on CD – now available on vinyl. As Childish Gambino once again sheds his skin, Awaken, My Love! is a sonic evolution. It has been described as R&B meets Pink Floyd, by one journalist while others have cited an amalgam of rock, funk, and soul influences. It is a groundbreaking next step following the genre blending STN MTN / Kauai mixtape and the twice-Grammy nominated rap album, because the internet.

Crimpshrine – Duct Tape Soup [Reissue/1992] LP (Numero)
Crimpshrine – The Sound Of A New World Being Born [Reissue/1998] LP (Numero)

Before Green Day, Operation Ivy, and Lookout Records put the East Bay's burgeoning punk scene on the map, a trio of Berkeley kids were reinventing the genre with music that was melodic but full of feedback, and a singer who sounded like he gargled glass. Crimpshrine's debut EP was Lookout's fourth release, followed by an album, a second EP, and a slew of split singles and compilation tracks before the band imploded in 1989 after a ridiculous two-and-a-half-month tour in a Ford Pinto hatchback.

Daddy Issues – Deep Dream CD (Infinity Cat)
When singer and guitarist Jenna Moynihan saw the phrase Daddy Issues scribbled on the bathroom wall of a now-defunct Nashville DIY venue, she mistakenly assumed it was the name of an all-girl punk outfit sure to become her next favorite band. Upon realizing that no such band existed, Moynihan and friends Emily Maxwell (drums) and Jenna Mitchell (bass) picked up their instruments, taught themselves how to play and started their own band. Produced by Jake Orrall (JEFF The Brotherhood, Colleen Green), Daddy Issues' full-length debut Deep Dream combines the best of '80s alternative, '90s grunge and '00s pop, tackling the difficulties of friendship, heartbreak, mental health, sexual assault and a number of other issues that come with the package of youth in the modern world.

Daniel Romano – Modern Pressure CD/LP+MP3 (New West)
Daniel Romano is an Ontario-based artist, poet, musician and performer of international acclaim. A genre-defying student of musical experimentation and a brilliant multi-instrumentalist, Romano is acutely well versed in the languages of melody, shape, lyric construction and song arrangement. Apt in its title, Modern Pressure picks up where Mosey left off, boldly asking, “What age is this? What blooming weight do we carry through these stolen streets?” Written in observational scrutiny beneath the overcast atmosphere of 2016, the record vigorously tackles the present-day heaviness we contain in the jotting bones of our guilty expressions. It pleads for the restoration of empathy and resonance, to fill the empty chamber once again.

Do Make Say Think – Stubborn Persistent Illusions CD/2xLP (Constellation)
Do Make Say Think is widely celebrated as one of the preeminent instrumental rock bands of the ‘90s-‘00s. Stubborn Persistent Illusions is the group's first album in eight years - and a brilliant addition to one of the most consistently inventive and critically praised discographies in the ‘post-rock’ canon. The band has been acclaimed as “the supernova in Constellation's stellar network...arguably the finest back catalogue of any currently operating instrumental rock band” (Drowned In Sound), creating “some of the most honest, unpretentious, group-oriented rock of their time” (Popmatters). Among the band's strengths is an ineffable naturalism that avoids anything too woolly, proggy, purist or clichéd, while remaining a fundamentally guitar-driven group whose ornate four-and six-string interplay uniquely balances rockism, pastoralism, and electronic-influenced post-production. Stubborn Persistent Illusions is at once familiar and as fresh as anything DMST has committed to tape; produced and mixed as always by the band itself - a continuing affirmation of the group's DIY ethos and their singular self-production acumen and aesthetic. [180gm double-vinyl edition features an etching on the D-side.]

Iron Maiden – The Complete Albums Collection 1990-2015 3xLP (Sanctuary)
Iron Maiden – No Prayer For The Dying [Reissue/1990] 2xLP (Sanctuary)
Iron Maiden – Fear Of The Dark [Reissue/1992] 2xLP (Sanctuary)
Iron Maiden – The X Factor [Reissue/1995] 2xLP (Sanctuary)
Iron Maiden – Virtual XI [Reissue/1998] 2xLP (Sanctuary)

Unlike the '80s reissues which were cut from the original analogue master tapes, the vinyl audio for this reissue campaign of their ‘90s catalog has been cut from the high-resolution remasters of 2015 when the Maiden catalogue was digitally upgraded.

Jlin – Black Origami CD (Planet Mu)
A percussion-led tour de force, Jlin's long awaited second album Black Origami is a creation that seals her reputation as a unique producer with an exceptional ability to make riveting rhythmic music. The album is driven by a deep creative thirst which she describes as “this driving feeling that I wanted to do something different, something that challenged me to my core.” Spirituality and movement are both at the core of Black Origami, inspired largely by her ongoing collaborations with Indian dancer/movement artist Avril Stormy Unger whom she met and collaborated with at her debut performance for the Unsound festival – “There is a fine line between me entertaining a person and my spirituality. Avril, who collaborates with me by means of dance, feels the exact same way. Movement played a great role in Black Origami. The track ‘Carbon 7’ is very inspired by the way Avril moves and dances. Our rhythms are so in sync at times it kind of scares us. When there is something I can't quite figure out when it comes to my production, it's like she senses it. Her response to me is always ‘You'll figure it out.’ Once I figure it out it's like time and space no longer exist.”

Land Of Talk – Life After Youth CD (Saddle Creek)
Life After Youth is the first Land Of Talk album since 2010's Cloak And Cipher. After taking a few months off after Cloak And Cipher’s touring cycle, frontwoman Elizabeth Powell got back to work on a follow-up. Instead, a series of mishaps - post-tour fatigue, a crashed hard drive with new demos, and her father's stroke in 2013 - turned “a few months” into “a few years.” While caring for her father, Elizabeth fell under the spell of classical, ambient, and Japanese tonkori music, whose meditative quality aided his recovery. Immersing herself in those sounds would change her entire approach to music making; she started writing songs without her trusty guitar, instead building tracks up from synth beds and programmed loops. Life After Youth’s centerpiece track, “Inner Lover,” presents the most radical results of those experiments. It's an audio Rorschach test of a song: key in on the incessant synth pulse underpinning Elizabeth's pleading vocal (“take care of me!”) and the track assumes an ominous intensity. But when you surrender to the relaxed drum counter-rhythm and subliminal harmonies, “Inner Lover” projects a graceful serenity. Even the songs built atop more traditional rock foundations exist in that liminal space between dreaming and waking life, confidence and doubt, raw feelings and soothing sounds.

Linkin Park – One More Light CD (WB)
For any career artist, making new material matter can be the biggest challenge. Inspiration is a fickle thing, and past success often draws a bar that is hard to overcome. But once in a while, unexpectedly, lightning strikes – and an artist we think we know goes somewhere we didn't know was possible. Miraculously, Linkin Park's seventh studio album One More Light does just that. And it doesn't achieve it by being louder or bigger, more avant garde or more dramatic. It achieves it by being more human. One More Light is a moment in time. It's built on personal stories, sweat-stained and reeling from injuries – the product of six voices, each coming clean about their lives and struggles, as if it were the first time. We get an unobstructed view into what makes the band tick as people, fathers, husbands, musicians, and friends. Looking back, there were signs of One More Light in Linkin Park's earlier releases. There has always been a catharsis in the lyrics, and genre-bending in the sounds. One More Light continues that tradition, but with a perspective and craftsmanship that only a band of this caliber could command.

Matisyahu – Undercurrent CD (Fallen Sparks)
Singer-songwriter Matisyahu has been on a journey inward for more than a decade. The journey has been private and public. The journey has at times been explicitly external, even while being driven by internal change. Now, nearly thirteen years after the release of his first studio record, Matisyahu and his band have done something unmatched in his past repertoire; they have crafted that journey into a musically thematic eight-song-movement. The band features longtime guitarist Aaron Dugan, Dub Trio's bassist and drummer Stu Brooks and Joe Tomino, and keyboard virtuoso BigYuki - and the journey starts with them. The band improvised for hours in the studio with Matisyahu watching on as an admirer without singing a single lyric. Out of the improvisations grew melodic themes, rhythmic peaks and valleys, blissful and proto-song guitar passages, deep dub meditations and ultimately an inspired instrumental record unto itself. Only once the band had crafted this musical narrative, did Matisyahu begin to work on a lyrical narrative of his own - one that is simultaneously informed and integrated with the music yet driven by his own personal journey.

Mountain Goats – Goth CD/2xLP+MP3/2xLP+12”+MP3 (Merge)
From Peter Hughes of the Mountain Goats: “The theme this time around is goth, a subject closer to my heart perhaps than that of any Mountain Goats album previous. And while John writes the songs, as he always has, it feels more than ever like he's speaking for all of us in the band, erstwhile goths (raises hand) or otherwise, for these are songs that approach an identity most often associated with youth from a perspective that is inescapably adult. Anyone old enough to have had the experience of finding oneself at sea in a cultural landscape that's suddenly indecipherable will empathize with Pat Travers showing up to a Bauhaus show looking to jam, for example. But underneath the outward humor, there is evident throughout a real tenderness toward, and solidarity with, our former fellow travelers – the friends whose bands never made it out of Fender's Ballroom, the Gene Loves Jezebels of the world – the ones whose gothic paths were overtaken by the realities of life, or of its opposite. It's something we talk about a lot, how fortunate and grateful we are to share this work, a career that's become something more rewarding and fulfilling than I think any of us could have imagined. We all know how easily it could've gone the other way, and indeed for a long time did.” [Deluxe color vinyl edition cut at 45rpm and including a bonus 12” also available.] 

Nathaniel Rateliff – In Memory Of Loss [2010] 2xLP (Rounder)
Before Nathaniel Rateliff was topping charts around the world with his hit song, “S.O.B.,” he was a solo singer-songwriter, who made his debut with 2010's In Memory Of Loss. With deeply personal and introspective lyrics, critics drew comparisons to early Bob Dylan and drew high praise from The Telegraph (UK) who called it “highly promising.”

Nick Hakim – Green Twins CD (ATO)
The story of Nick Hakim's debut album Green Twins truly began when, armed with the masters for his critically acclaimed Where Will We Go Pt. I & II EPs, Hakim moved from Boston to Brooklyn, spending his time fleshing out unfinished ideas in his bedroom. He came up with lyrics on the spot while playing the live circuit, recording sketches and lyrics on voice memos and a four-track cassette recorder, and embracing the local community of musicians by performing with bands like Jesse And Forever and Onyx Collective. From there, Green Twins came about as a sum of its parts: Hakim took the demo recordings to studios in New York, Philadelphia and London and built on them, keeping the original essence of the songs intact. Hakim says of Green Twins, “I felt the need to push my creativity in a different way than I had on the EPs.” The record draws from influences spanning Robert Wyatt, Marvin Gaye and Shuggie Otis to My Bloody Valentine. “We wanted to imagine what it would have sounded like if RZA had produced a Portishead album. We experimented with engineering techniques from Phil Spector and Al Green's Back Up Train, drum programming from RZA and Outkast, and were listening to a lot of The Impressions, John Lennon, Wu-Tang, Madlib, and Screaming Jay Hawkins.”

Papa Roach – Crooked Teeth CD (Eleven Seven)
Papa Roach have never taken the easy way out and they aren't going to start now. Over the past two decades the group have established themselves as true trendsetters in heavy music: They've been nominated for two Grammy Awards, toured the globe with everyone from Eminem to Marilyn Manson and crafted the nü metal anthem “Last Resort,” which is still in heavy rotation on rock radio seventeen years after its original release. However, the group's tenth full-length Crooked Teeth sees the band returning to their humble – and hungry – roots. From the instantly infectious nature of the title track to the atmospheric sheen of the moody ballad “Periscope” (featuring Skylar Grey) and the acoustic/hip-hop rock mashup of “Sunrise Trailer Park” (featuring Machine Gun Kelly adding a verse to Shaddix's rap) Crooked Teeth displays the various sides of Papa Roach and illustrates why they've managed to remain relevant while other musical trends ebb and flow. 

Pokey LaFarge – Manic Revelations CD/LP (Rounder)
Pokey LaFarge tries to make sense of trouble he's seen and trouble he's been in. This is the Great Why of his unending passion for songwriting. Each chord, each riff shades the stories he sets up in his lyrics, always in search of the purest truth within the 10 forlorn, haunting melodies on Manic Revelations. A musician, a storyteller, a narrator of the messy, unkempt American experience...Pokey LaFarge sits, he watches, he writes. Everything that's worth happening happens in his songs. From the broad social narrative of “Riot In The Streets” to the internal tension of “Must Be A Reason” and “Bad Dreams” to the profound alienation of “Silent Movie,” these Manic Revelations are questions, they are answers, they are an epoch for Pokey LaFarge. Album single ‘Silent Movie’ “is just the sort of refreshing breeze we could all use in these harsh days, blowing in on shambling guitars and sighing horns. As the instrumentation calms your worried mind, LaFarge reminds you to keep in touch with the things that actually make life worth living because, when all is said is done, we only get one shot at this. ‘Growing up is a scam/ The truth is a lie,’ he sings. ‘Better of staying a child/ Till the day you die’” – Consequence Of Sound. [Limited edition 180gm transparent blue vinyl pressing also available.]

Soundtrack – Singles [OST/Reissue/1992] 2xCD/2xLP+CD (Sony Legacy)
The newly expanded, 25th Anniversary Edition of the Singles soundtrack features the album's original 13 tracks, newly mastered, with a bonus CD of rarities and unreleased tracks. The new bonus CD (also included on the double-vinyl edition) features previously unreleased recordings by Mudhoney, Paul Westerberg, Mike McCready and Chris Cornell in addition to rarities such as Cornell's 1992 EP Poncier (debuting an early rendition of “Spoonman”) and tracks from the film not included on the original soundtrack album. This expanded edition includes, for the first time on CD, “Touch Me I'm Dick,” the signature track from Singles performed by Citizen Dick (a fictional band created for the film featuring frontman Matt Dillon backed by Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament).

The Steel Woods – Straw In The Wind LP (Woods Music)
Straw In The Wind is the debut album from Nashville-based rock band The Steel Woods, a commanding musical force that blends an amalgam of influences with a Southern-infused foundation. The group's sound is a hybrid of rock, blues, folk, gospel, heavy metal, Americana, soul and bluegrass.

Tedeschi Trucks Band – Live From The Fox Oakland 3xLP+MP3 (Fantasy/Concord)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. In September of 2016, Tedeschi Trucks Band set out for the West Coast to make a live album. After 10 shows, there was no shortage of great music to choose from, but for everyone on the tour, one night stood out from the rest: September 9th at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. Live From The Fox Oakland is a live double album that David Fricke calls “a new peak in the continuing story of a great American rock & roll family band.”

Tiger’s Jaw – Spin CD (Black Cement/Atlantic)
Making yourself vulnerable isn't easy but it often makes for lasting art and that is certainly true of Tigers Jaw's fifth full-length, Spin. The album marks a new chapter for the Scranton, PA-based indie rock band for many reasons: Not only is it the first collection of songs that was completely written and recorded solely by Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins, but it was also the first time they had a full month in the studio without having to worry about outside responsibilities. Furthermore it's the inaugural release on Atlantic's new imprint Black Cement, a label spearheaded by longtime collaborator Will Yip who returned to the production helm for Spin. All of these factors converged to create an album that sounds more fully formed than anything Tigers Jaw have done in the past and simultaneously establishes them as a band whose appeal truly transcends genres. Over the course of twelve tracks, the album moves from the sweetly syncopated, fuzzed-out bliss of the opener “Follows” to the midtempo melodicism of "June" and liltingly lovely ballad "Bullet.” Profoundly personal and vibrantly textured, Spin exhibits Walsh and Collins' remarkable ability to capture the sentiments and complexities of a moment through melody and introspection. [Vinyl edition due June 23rd.]

Wavves – You’re Welcome CD/LP (Ghostramp)
The word “brat” has followed Nathan Williams around for almost a decade, but at the age of 30, with a fully-fledged business to his name, as well as the ongoing success of band Wavves, his rebellious streak has proven not just purposeful but pretty damn inspiring. You're Welcome is the soundtrack to this new lease of freedom. It's Williams' tongue-in-cheek rebirth as a self-released, self-actualized, self-promoting punk kingpin, and despite putting his money where his uncensored mouth is, he's emerged not just unscathed but with the upper hand. You're Welcome is mostly comprised of Williams' oddball, sample-led brainstorms: he came up with 40 tracks, now whittled down to twelve, fat-free punk zingers. A sample nerd, Williams delved into his obsession with 1950s doo-wop and – surprisingly – international folk, including Cambodian pop and '70s psychedelia from South America. The results make for one of the most diverse and intricate Wavves records yet. “Come To The Valley” contains a Phil Spector meets Beach Boys '60s high school dance vibe, whereas title track “You're Welcome” riffs on sound effects that could almost originate from Bizarro World, never mind Cambodia. [Limited color vinyl pressing also available.]