New Releases - 7/14/17

Alan Vega – It 2xLP (Fader)
The final album written and recorded by Alan Vega, frontman of seminal electronic duo Suicide, before his passing in July 2016. Double-LP gatefold with never-before-seen drawings, writings, and photos.

As Cities Burn - Son, I Loved You At Your Darkest [Reissue/2005] LP (Solid State)
Limited colored vinyl reissue of the post-hardcore band’s debut album.

Bloodclot – Up In Arms CD/LP (Metal Blade)
At its purest, there is little that can match the visceral thrill and empowering spirit of hardcore. As frontman of New York City hardcore kings Cro-Mags, this is something John Joseph knows very well, and with Up In Arms, he and his Bloodclot compatriots deliver a furious collection that hits hard on every level. “In this band we’re doing what each of us have always done: give it our all,” he states plainly. Every track lives up to the rallying cry of the album’s title – the bursts of high energy hardcore act as the perfect accompaniment to Joseph setting his sights on injustice and the seemingly endless flaws of the contemporary world. From the moment the opening title track explodes to life, it’s clear that everyone involved is having a blast and playing from the heart, and that this is no frills / no bullsh*t music at its most passionate – every song evoking mental images of utter chaos in a heaving mosh pit.

Bonzie – Zone On Nine CD/LP (Beevine)
The second album from Chicago-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Bonzie, Zone On Nine pulls off the sublime feat of feeling both intensely intimate and otherworldly in scope. “All of my songs basically start as a conversation I’m having with myself alone in my room,” says 21-year-old Nina Ferraro, who’s created under the moniker of Bonzie since age 17. “It’s how I process and interpret things that have happened to me or in life in general; it’s my way of trying to understand the world.” Throughout Zone On Nine, Ferraro eschews the confessional singer-songwriter approach and claims her role as a fiercely honest observer and commentator who delivers her lyrics with powerful abandon. Kaleidoscopic in texture and spiked with startling intensity, the album opens with the jagged guitar riffs and measured fury of “Crescent.” That intensity sustains for the dusky urgency of songs like “Combback,” and for the synth-laced title track’s anthemic determination. “I think we’re here to experience things and express our experience, and to notice and enjoy how we each have our own different perspective,” says Ferraro. “I feel obligated to participate in life that way, on a very visceral level. To me there’s a rhythm that already exists in the world, and I want to be a part of that.”

Boris - Dear CD/2xLP+MP3 (Sargent House)
In the 25th year of their existence Boris deliver an album they describe as “heavenly-far beyond heavy.” Though Boris has traversed a broad swath of sonic territories, they have always been consistent in their embracing of excess, pushing their myriad of approaches and stylistic forays to points of intoxicating absurdity.

Daley – The Spectrum CD (BMG/The End)
Daley is a singer, songwriter and recording artist hailing from Manchester, UK. A British boy who grew up on the sounds of Prince, Chaka Khan, Jill Scott, D’Angelo, Radiohead and Oasis - Daley first became prominent after co-writing and featuring on the Gorillaz hit “Doncamatic” under the wing of the band's creator Damon Albarn in London. He has since become one of the UK's most respected musical exports, recording and touring on both sides of the Atlantic and working with the likes of Pharrell Williams, Miguel, Jessie J, Emeli Sande, Maxwell, Jill Scott and Marsha Ambrosius. “Daley, intentionally or unintentionally, has curated an intriguing imagery around him. He goes solely by his surname as his stage moniker. He has an iconic aesthetic — round glasses, perfectly coiffed ginger hair — and an even more iconic voice: His inimitable falsetto has ultimately separated him as a matchless talent, and one that should not be ignored; in short, he has firmly planted himself within the music industry as an artist worthy of note.” – Atwood Magazine

Hiss Golden Messenger/Michael Chapman – Parallelogram a La Carte: Hiss Golden Messenger and Michael Chapman LP (Three Lobed)
Matching up kindred spirits and mutual influences, this volume of Three Lobed Recording's Parallelogram series collects 2015 recordings from Hiss Golden Messenger and Michael Chapman. Both M.C. Taylor (Hiss Golden Messenger) and Michael Chapman have consistently won praise for possessing a certain songwriting prowess and earnest delivery.

Integrity – Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume CD/LP (Relapse)
Known for being one of the most incendiary and influential bands in hardcore and modern metal history, apocalyptic heavy music icons Integrity return with their highly anticipated twelfth studio album Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume. A conceptual foretelling of the final days of Armageddon, Howling... is a manifestation of Pentecostal nightmares and religious depravities, wrought with fire and brimstone sermons and occult prophecies bathed in waves of destruction. Now with almost 30 years of creating dark and terrifying anthems under their belt, Integrity have honored their past musical legacy while fearlessly moving forward into unchartered territory on what is undoubtedly their most elaborate and ambitious effort to date.

Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds From Another Planet CD/LP+MP3 (Dead Oceans)
Japanese Breakfast's Soft Sounds From Another Planet is less of a concept album about space exploration so much as it is a mood board come to life. Over the course of 12 tracks, Michelle Zauner explores a sonic landscape of her own design, one that's big enough to contain her influences. There are songs on this album that recall the pathos of Roy Orbison's ballads, while others could soundtrack a cinematic drive down one of Blade Runner's endless skyways. Zauner's voice is capacious; one moment she's serenading the past, the next she's robotically narrating a love story over sleek monochrome, her lyrics more pointed and personal than ever before. While Psychopomp was a genre-spanning introduction to Japanese Breakfast, this visionary sophomore album launches the project to new heights. [Limited colored vinyl pressing also available.]

Kendrick Lamar – Damn 2xLP (Aftermath)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl.

Kyle Dixon/Michael Stein – Stranger Things: Deluxe Edition 1 2xLP (Lakeshore)
Kyle Dixon/Michael Stein – Stranger Things: Deluxe Edition 2 2xLP (Lakeshore)

Double 180gm multi-colored vinyl LP pressings with new covers including posters and 4” x 6” character cards.

Lo Tom – Lo Tom CD/LP (Barsuk)
Lo Tom is made up of David Bazan (Pedro The Lion), Trey Many (Velour 100, Starflyer 59), TW Walsh (Pedro The Lion, The Soft Drugs), and Jason Martin (Starflyer 59). Recorded over two different sessions when they could find the time to spare, the four friends gathered with half-formed riffs and beats to see what would come out of it. The album’s thematic direction is loose and conceptual. The melodies recall Pedro The Lion and TW Walsh, the guitars sparkle with hints of Starflyer 59, and the songs hurtle through the major keystones of guitar rock tight conversation between percussion and guitar, heavy fuzz, and some genuinely joyful breakdowns that give way to catharsis.

Offa Rex – The Queen Of Hearts CD/LP (Nonesuch)
The Queen Of Hearts is the debut album from Offa Rex, an adventurous new project featuring English singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Olivia Chaney and The Decemberists. Produced and recorded by Tucker Martine (Modest Mouse, My Morning Jacket, Neko Case) and Colin Meloy at Martine's studio in Portland, OR, and mostly arranged by Chaney, the album’s 13-tracks draw largely on traditional English-Irish-Scottish repertoire to create a transatlantic musical conversation that flirts with psychedelia and folk rock while maintaining its own inimitable identity. From the heady harpsichord swirl that engulfs album opener “The Queen Of Hearts” to the warm, delicate drone of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” or the cold, grey riff that heralds “Sheepcrook And Black Dog,” it's evident that Offa Rex is different indeed, upending its folk roots and imbuing these songs with exploratory verve.

Shabazz Palaces – Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star CD/LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
Born On A Gangster Star came into the world in a big damn hurry, like nightfall on an island. You can see it happening, but then again, it's so gradual that the next thing you know – it's dark. Imbued with the energy and ideas from all the creative embers floating in the atmosphere like fireflies, Shabazz Palaces recorded this entire album over the course of two weeks with Blood in Seattle. New gear and new equipment disintegrated comfort zones into dust and a new path appeared in the rubble. Herein the Palaceer continues the tale of Quazar, a sentient being from somewhere else, an observer sent here to Amurderca to chronicle and explore as a musical emissary. Born On A Gangster Star flirts with a pop sensibility, but through the prism of Shabazz Palaces's fire and fury. For the Palaceer, that sense is all about how the groove is moving, and the supernatural telepathy that occurs amongst his cohort. Appearing here, in body or in spirit, are Julian Casablancas, Thundercat, Darrius Willrich, Gamble and Huff, Loud Eyes Lou, Thaddillac, Ahmir, Jon Kirby, Sunny Levine, and Blood.

Shabazz Palaces – Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines CD/LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines is Shabazz Palaces’ extra-spatial twin to Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star. The album, featuring highlights “30 Clip Extension,” “Julian's Dream (ode to a bad)” and “Effeminence” includes guest appearances from Fly Guy Dai of Chimurenga Renaissance, Amir Yaghamai, John Carroll Kirby, Thaddillac, Morgan Henderson, The Shogun Shot, Laz, and Purple Tape Nate. Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines is a second, fully-realized album of new material that expands the Quazarz universe, and tells the tales of Quazarz, that sent sentient from some elsewhere. A wave warrior wielding his sonic sword. Posted to the turnt-up states of Amurderca here on the Gangster Star to chronicle, explore and enjoy as a musical emissary. He discovers a world where humankind's relationship with their tech-devices has become weirdly sensual, seducing a sedentary seamlessness with humans, while capturing and incarcerating the results of their imagination. Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines finds our protagonist with his dazzling cohorts rising a collective Nah to the device and the guilds that proliferate them.

Six Organs Of Admittance and William Tyler - Parallelogram: a La Carte LP (Three Lobed)
Mutual influence is always fun to see in action, especially when it is between modern long-form guitar composition greats Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance) and William Tyler. This volume of Three Lobed Recording's Parallelogram series allows both artists room to stretch out and breathe.

Steve Gunn/Kurt Vile - Parallelogram – LP (Three Lobed)
Kurt Vile and Steve Gunn collaborated on record in 2015 for their contributions to Three Lobed Recording's Parallelogram series. That previously ornate and limited title is now released in a non-limited format standing along and outside of that prior collection. The two artists, originally connected by mutual friends and geographic proximity, have long pushed the other's continued artistic development. Despite sharing many live stages over the years, this collaborative album represents the first time that the two have worked together in the studio.

Sun Seeker – Biddeford CDEP/12” (Third Man)
Sun Seeker has carved out a universe all their own in Nashville, TN. Biddeford, their first EP and second release on Third Man Records, is near combustion level with beautiful atmospherics, willful lyricism and a supernatural ear for atypical pop hooks which should ring immediately familiar to fans of their debut 7’’ “Georgia Dust”. Six charming vignettes explore friendship, romance, and the daydreams populating the space between them. EP highlight and single, “Won’t Keep Me Up At Night”, gives us the best of singer and principal songwriter Alex Benick – his ability to breathe life and a depth of scenery into a song, especially with the clever rhythms of drummer Ben Parks and guitarist Asher Horton’s near-perfect pop instinct. Sun Seeker has climbed into broad daylight, into blessed dynamics, and every song blossoms as a result of it.

Thurston Moore and John Moloney/Bishop, Orcutt, Corsano - Parallelogram: a La Cart LP (Three Lobed)
Thurston Moore, Alan Bishop, Bill Orcutt, John Moloney, and Chris Corsano are five of the most uncompromising and visionary voices to emerge out of the last quarter century of American underground rock. Three Lobed Recordings was honored to capture all of these artists within the confines of a single album for this raucous and boundary-free volume of their Parallelogram series.

Various Artists – Punk Goes Pop Vol. 7 CD (Fearless)
Punk Goes Pop Vol. 7 features 13 brand new unreleased recordings of your favorite Top 40/Pop hits covered by an assortment of pop/punk acts. The latest in the series features artists such as Andy Black (lead singer of Black Veil Brides), State Champs, Dance Gavin Dance and Amity Affliction covering Billboard Top Ten hits from the likes of Justin Bieber, Twenty One Pilots, The Chainsmokers, Bruno Mars and more.

Waxahatchee – Out In The Storm CD/LP+MP3 (Merge)
Out In The Storm is the blazing result of a woman reawakened. Her most autobiographical and honest album to date, it is a self-reflective anchor in the story of both Katie Crutchfield's songwriting and her life. The album tells the story of taking control of a volatile situation, embracing flaws, and exploring a new sonic freedom. Crutchfield's voice oscillates between effortless grace and commanding righteousness, taking the listener with her on an explicitly personal journey. Songs like “Hear You” and “No Question” are lyrically unapologetic and musically resolute, while the softer acoustic songs like “A Little More” and “Fade” let fear and melancholy seep through. But it is on the atmospheric "Sparks Fly" where we feel an essential redemption. The track acts as an inner dialogue and marks the first time since the inception of Waxahatchee that any semblance of self-love has shone through. This moment is a perspective we've yet to see from Crutchfield: it is a rediscovery of herself, and the realization of a full life she is completely worthy of. [Regular and Limited Deluxe vinyl pressings also available. Deluxe includes a poster.]