Saturday, February 28, 2015

New Music Friday

I guess I'll be buying these puppies on weekends now
Yesterday the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) announced new rules which will set global music release dates on Fridays. Albums have generally been released on Mondays in the UK and France, Tuesdays in the US, Wednesdays in Japan, and Fridays in Germany. This isn't even taking into consideration the random dropping of albums outside of that schedule. For example, Beyoncé's 2013 self-titled album was surprise released on a Saturday. The IFPI’s new plan will go into effect this summer.

Theories differ on why Tuesday became the default day here in the States. In 2010, NPR published an interesting article exploring the possible reasons, which included giving stores plenty of time to stock shelves, and because Billboard publishes their charts on Wednesdays. Of course, that doesn't help to explain why other countries chose different days and it's possible the day of choice came before the Billboard chart schedule.
The move has three primary goals. First, to "re-ignite the excitement and sense of occasion around the release of new music.” Second, to help artists focus their social media campaigns. Third is to prevent piracy. Although, if labels don't stop their tendency of releasing albums months apart in different markets (Charli XCX's latest record was released last December in the US and in February through much of Europe), the piracy thing is still going to be a problem.

The change has been in discussion since last summer and there is a fair amount of excitement for the change in the industry. Artists, labels, and retailers have weighed in, but not everyone is on board. British record company Beggar's Group, which includes the labels 4AD, Matador, XL, and Rough Trade, is concerned that the change will have a negative impact on non-mainstream labels and artists, further marginalizing an already-marginalized segment of the market. I've also seen, mainly in comments, some concern from those who work at record stores that the change will remove the modest mid-week boost that they see in sales from the current schedule.

For me, the change probably won't have a huge impact. Obviously, my usual "New Music Tuesday" posts will become "New Music Friday." Also, going through the new releases each Tuesday are a nice mid-week pick-me-up, so I will miss that. Overall, though, I don't think it will have much of a negative impact on the industry; I also don't think that it will have much of a positive one either (at least for consumers). I fail to see how it will "re-ignite excitement," but I do think it will remove some confusion over when, exactly, an album is coming out.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

New Album Tuesday - February 10, 2015

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

New Full-Length Albums

Caught on Tape - Full Bleed

Former Sonic Youth frontman Thurston More engages in some freak-out noise rock improvisational sessions with John Moloney (who he collaborated with as Chelsea Light Moving). It follows his 2014 solo album and the album with Chelsea Light Moving released the year before.

Listen: "Full Bleed"
Listen: "Age Limit"

Death Grips - The Power That B

This should, theoretically, be the last release from Death Grips, who "broke up" last year (though this is their second release this year). The new album completes a double album project, the first half of which, Niggas on the Moon, was released in June of last year. Technically, its companion record, Jenny Death, has not yet been released, but presumably those tracks are featured here.

Watch: "Inanimate Sensation"
Listen: "Up My Sleeves"

The Dø - Shake Shook Shaken

The Dø is a French/Finnish indie pop group with a fairly obvious nod towards Björk's unique brand of pop. I found out about them following a feature of lead singer, Olivia Merilahti, in Lucky magazine. I didn't know anything about them, but was intrigued by the magazine's description of their music. I've loved them ever since. Shake Shook Shaken is their third album.

Watch: "Despair, Hangover & Ecstasy"
Listen: "Miracles (Back in Time)"

Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear

Father John Misty, real name Josh Tillman, continues his swaggering indie folk persona on his second album under the newer name. The album is a concept record about himself; it deals with his personal life, regretted behaviors, and his relationship with his wife.

Watch: "Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)"
Listen: "Bored in the USA"

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - A Year with 13 Moons

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma is a multi-instrumentalist and record label owner who has been involved with a number of bands during his career. He has also worked with many other artists in the drone and ambient community, including Grouper and Oneohtrix Point Never. Cantu-Ledesma is extremely prolific and A Year with 13 Moons follows a long string of both solo and collaborative work.

Watch: "Pale Flower"
Watch: "Love After Love"

Rhiannon Giddens - Tomorrow Is My Turn

Rhiannon Giddens made a name for herself as a member of the Grammy-winning Americana group, the Carolina Chocolate Drops. She was also the sole female member of The New Basement Tapes, who released an album of songs based off of unrecorded Bob Dylan lyrics last year. She is following that up with her first solo album, which consists of songs previously made famous by other female artists.

Listen: "Black Is the Color"
Listen: "Shake Sugaree"

Rone - Creatures

Rone is a French electronic musician with three studio albums and six EPs under his belt. In 2013, he collaborated with The National on their album Trouble Will Find Me, providing electronic instrumentation. He gets some help in return for his latest album; one of the band's twin guitarists, Brian Dessner, features on a track.

Listen: "Elle" (featuring Brian Dessner)
Listen: "Ouija"

William Ryan Fritch - Revisionist

William Ryan Fritch is one of an increasing number of musicians affiliated in some way with Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver). He played with Volcano Choir member Jon Mueller in Death Blues. This is his sixth studio album.

Watch: "Thankless Deeds"
Watch: "Still" (featuring Esmé Patterson)

Other New Releases

St. Vincent - St. Vincent Deluxe Edition

St. Vincent released one of, if not the best album last year, and won her first Grammy earlier this year for it! The album is getting the reissue treatment this year, with the two songs she released for Black Friday Record Store Day, along with a few other new tracks, added to the record.

Listen: "Bad Believer"
Listen: "Pieta"

The Twilight Sad - "I Could Give You All That You Don’t Want"

The Twilight Sad released the long-winded Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave in October of last year. The second longest song (title-wise) after the title track is getting released as a single this year, backed with a much shorter new song from the Scottish band.

Watch: "I Could Give You All That You Don’t Want"
Listen: "The Airport"

Zola Jesus - "Hunger"/"Compass"

Zola Jesus also released her latest album in October of last year. Her newest single release comes with a brand new song of her own.

Watch: "Hunger"
Listen: "Compass"

Thursday, February 19, 2015

New Music Tuesday - February 3, 2015

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

New Full-Length Albums

Big Noble - First Light

Big Noble is the side project of Interpol's Daniel Kessler with sound designer Joseph Fraioli. Their first album takes on the interplay between "popular music and sound design" and uses field recordings, guitar, and sound manipulation.

Watch: "Peg"
Watch: "Stay Gold"

Bob Dylan - Shadows in the Night

Bob Dylan has been active for more than half a century and, as one of our most celebrated songwriters, has seen much of his music covered by various other musicians. This time around, he is the one doing the covering. His latest record features songs originally sung by Frank Sinatra. Dylan is far from a crooner, he has his own distinctive voice, which lends a unique style to these songs.

Listen: "Stay with Me"
Listen: "Full Moon and Empty Arms"

Mount Eerie - Sauna

Sauna is the fifth full-length album from Mount Eerie and their first in three years. The album is meant to evoke the feel of an actual sauna, stuffy and heavy, but still very relaxing. The album was recorded in a reclaimed church in Washington state.

Watch: "Sauna"
Watch: "This"

Murder By Death - Big Dark Love

Recently, Bloomington-based band Murder By Death relocated a couple of hours south to Louisville. The band has settled into a well-established sound over their 15 years and seven albums together. Their latest sees them experimenting a bit on their sound, but still holding to their whiskey-voiced folk rock.

Listen: "Big Dark Love"
Listen: "Solitary One"

Ricked Wicky - I Sell the Circus

The once-impossibly-prolific band Guided By Voices broke up last year, but it looks like their members will remain active on their own. Former frontman Robert Pollard is busy with a new project, Ricked Wicky. Pollard takes the name from his first made-up band name from his youth and brings in former collaborators Todd Tobias and Nick Mitchell to help.

Listen: "Mobility"
Listen: "A Real Stab"

Other New Releases

Billie Holiday - At Storyville

The latest release from the legendary Billie Holiday was recorded at the Storyville Club in Boston in October 1951 and October 1953. More than half a century after the original recording, the music is getting a new release.

Purchase: Amazon

Built to Spill - Ancient Melodies of the Future Reissue

Built to Spill are getting set to release a new album in April of this year. First, they are re-releasing their fifth album which was originally released in 2001.

Listen: "Strange"
Listen: "The Host"

Fifty Shades of Grey Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

It seems like a lot of movies that are otherwise uninteresting to me are getting really good soundtracks. Fifty Shades of Grey is the latest such film. It's unlikely I'll ever see it, but with new tracks from The Weeknd, Sia, and Jessie Ware, I may have its soundtrack on repeat.

Watch: The Weeknd - "Earned It"
Listen: Jessie Ware - "Meet Me in the Middle"

Hiss Golden Messenger - Southern Grammar EP

Hiss Golden Messenger released his fifth album, Lateness of Dancers, in September of last year. He's following that up with a short new EP, which features two new songs, and a live version of the title track. A studio version of the title song was on his previous album.

Listen: "He Wrote the Book"
Listen: "Brother, Do You Know the Road?"

Hodgy Beats & Don Cannon - DENATAPE 2 Mixtape

We may have already had the first Odd Future release of the year with Award Tour II last week, but Hodgy Beats is not far behind with his own follow-up mixtape. He released his first mixtape, DENATAPE, in 2009 and is releasing his follow-up to that this year, though he's released other mixtapes in the time between.

Listen: "Self Titled"
Listen: "Miyagi’s Prime"

Joni Mitchell - Newport Folk Festival 19th July 1969

The second-oldest live recording this week comes from Joni Mitchell and her 1969 performance at the Newport Folk Festival. The show came towards the beginning of her career and saw her performing songs that would become classics, as well as some of her rarer tracks.

Listen: "The Circle Game"

Kali Uchis - Por Vida EP

Kali Uchis is a Colombian singer-songwriter who has been featured on songs from Tyler, the Creator in the past. On her latest release (available as a free download from her site), Tyler returns the favor. The release also features production from Kaytranada and BADBADNOTGOOD.

Watch: "Know What I Want"
Listen: "Lottery"

Ty Segall Band - Live in San Francisco

Ty Segall's prolific slate of new releases continues with his latest live album. The album was recorded over the course of two nights at The Rickshaw Shop and covers several years' worth of output.

Listen: "What’s Inside Your Heart"

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

New Music Tuesday - January 27, 2015

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

New Full-Length Albums

Amason - Sky City

Amason is a Swedish band made up of members of a number of other Swedish acts (Idiot Wind, Little Majorette, Dungen, Miike Snow). The group met each other thru a mix of school, early collaborations, and seeing each other live. They officially came together in 2012, selecting the name Amason from a car brand popular in Sweden during the 1960s (which itself was named for Amazonian warriors). Sky City is the band's debut album.

Watch: "Duvan"
Listen: "Elefanten"

Aqualung - 10 Futures

Aqualung, real name Matt Hales, has been on a bit of a hiatus for the past several years. It's been five years since his last album, Magnetic North. He has stayed active as a songwriter and producer, though. He contributed songs to Diane Birch, Jason Mraz, and Sara Bareilles, and has also provided produced for Laura Jansen, Diane Birch, and For King & Country. In 2012, he cowrote and produced Lianne La Havas' Is Your Love Big Enough?. She returns the favor on his latest record, with guest vocals on "Eggshells."

Watch: "Eggshells" (featuring Lianne La Havas)
Watch: "Tape 2 Tape"

Björk - Vulnicura

Bjork's latest release came out of a place of pain; it was written following her split from artist Matthew Barnet. It wasn't meant to be released quite this early. The album was announced last month with no official artwork and no release date (it was set for sometime in March). Unfortunately, the album was leaked online not long after it was announced. Since the album was complete, and due to the emotional nature of the record, Björk made the decision to push up the digital release. Physical copies of the album are still set to be released in March.

Listen: "Atom Dance"
Listen: "Stonemilker"

The Body/Thou - You, Whom I Have Always Hated

This is the second collaboration between these two sludge metal bands in as many years. Last year, they teamed up for the EP Released from Love. The Body is no newcomer to collaborating, having worked with The Haxan Cloak, Sandworm, and Braveyoung in the past. This may not be it for the two bands to collaborate, they will likely be touring together later this year. We'll just have to see if that leads to any more new music!

Listen: "Her Strongholds Unvanquishable"
Listen: "Lurking Fear"

The Dodos - Individ

While I enjoyed The Dodos' 2013 album, Carrier, it didn't quite strike me as strongly as their previous release, No Color, had in 2011. After just a few listens through this latest offering, I feel this one may be, for me, a more worthy sonic follow-up. The album is a more polished one from the band, as well. They've gotten rid of the acoustic guitars in favor of electric and brought in one of indie rock's greatest producers, Phil Ek. While the result may be more polished, the album still hearkens to their earlier sounds.

Watch: "Competition"
Listen: "Goodbyes and Endings"

The Lone Bellow - Then Came the Morning

Members from The National are beginning to become a reliable source for great new music from other bands. One of the band's twin guitarists, Aaron Dessner, helped Sharon Van Etten to gain a following and now he's giving his "bump" to folk band The Lone Bellow. This is the Brooklyn band's sophomore album, and it was produced by Dessner.

Watch: "Fake Roses"

Natalie Prass - Natalie Prass

Natalie Prass got her start as a member of Jenny Lewis' live band, a gig she got after auditioning demo recorded on an iPhone. She's also spent some time developing as a solo artist over the past couple of years. Her debut album, recorded with Matthew E. White as producer, has a bit of a throwback sound, with some comparing it to that of a vintage record. Her work and experience have paid off in one of the most highly-rated debut albums I've ever seen.

Watch: "Bird of Prey"
Watch: "Why Don't You Believe in Me"

Pond - Man It Feels Like Space Again

Despite being a side project from members of Tame Impala, Pond has managed to become a significantly more prolific band, to the point that Tame Impala is pretty much the side project. This is their sixth album in nearly as many years together. It was originally intended to be their fifth album, it was written before 2013's Hobo Rocket, but the band instead chose to record and release Hobo Rocket first. At least this one wasn't a scrapped record, as it's another incredible release from the band.

Watch: "Elvis’ Flaming Star"
Watch: "Zond"

Punch Brothers - The Phosphorescent Blues

This is the fourth album from, Punch Brothers, the folk/bluegrass supergroup. The band starting writing the record during the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 2012, on the heels of Who's Feeling Young Now?, and were working on it almost right up until its release. It's their first album recorded with superstar producer T Bone Burnett and they will soon be touring in support of the release.

Listen: "Julep"
Listen: "My Oh My"

Twerps - Range Anxiety

With a name like Twerps, it's easy to imagine a bunch of young musicians just learning to play their instruments, but these guys have been together for awhile. The Australian lofi/pop band formed in late 2008 and released their debut self-titled album in 2011. They spent the next few years touring and performing at some major festivals, and released an EP, Underlay, to tide fans over in 2013. Their sophomore album is their first on the Merge label.

Watch: "Back to You"
Watch: "Stranger"

Other New Releases

The Babies - Our House on the Hill Outtakes

It's been a little while since we heard from this collaboration between Cassie Ramone and Kevin Morby, though they both released solo albums last year. They're making sure fans don't forget them with a couple of outtakes from their last record, 2012's Our House on the Hill.

Listen: "Got Old"
Listen: "All I Know"

The Body/Thou - Released from Love Reissue

In addition to their new collaborative album, The Body and Thou are also reissuing their first collaboration. Initially, the album was released only on vinyl, but on its reissue, has also been made available via CD.

Listen: "In Meetings Hearts Beat Closer"
Listen: "The Wheel Weaves as the Wheel Wills"

Mike G - Award Tour II

Mike G is one of the many members of Odd Future, and the first to release new music this year. This is a follow-up to his 2011 EP of the same name and features production and guest spots from other Odd Future members, including Left Brain, Tyler, the Creator, and Earl Sweatshirt.

Watch: "Archer" (featuring Larry Susan)
Listen: "James Bond"

Operators - "Ecstasy in My House"

The latest project from former Wolf Parade member Dan Boeckner released their first EP, EP1, in August of last year. They've got just a little bit of new music to follow that up, but there's always hope for more from them this year!

Listen: "Ecstasy in My House"

TRU Jack City

The Real University is rapper 2 Chainz's new record label, which he announced just last month. Currently, Cap. 1, Skooly, Fresh, and 2 Chainz himself are signed to the label. As an introduction, he is releasing a mixtape featuring his artists.

Listen: 2 Chainz - "Trap House Stalkin'"
Listen: 2 Chainz - "Road Dawg"

Young Ejecta - The Planet

The perpetually-naked Ejecta recently had to change their name due to a legal notice from DJ Ejecta (this seems to be happening a lot lately). This is their first release with the new name, a follow-up to 2013's Dominae.

Listen: "Welcome to Love"
Listen: "Into Your Heart"

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Guided By Voices - "Planet Score"

In this music video from the now-defunct Guided By Voices, Matt Jones (who you may recognize from Breaking Bad) is just some dude playing basketball in the park, and he kind of sucks. Unfortunately, the only other guy there knows it and berates him for it. Rob Corddry steps in to help him hone his skills and defeat his hot dog opponent.

The, likely, last album from Guided By Voices, Cool Planet, was released in May of last year, though this song appeared on their February album, Motivational Jumpsuit. Fear not fans, a new album from the band's former frontman under the name Ricked Wicky, I Sell the Circus, was just released!

New Music Tuesday - January 20, 2015

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

New Full-Length Albums

Alex Calder - Strange Dreams

Alex Calder, not to be confused Alexander Calder (the modern artist), has been a long time collaborator of fellow Canadian Mac DeMarco. He's also been active as a solo artist, releasing his first EP, Time, in 2013. On his own, he is heavily influenced by the pop sounds of yesteryear, including Hall & Oates, the Beach Boys, and the Beatles. It's an influence that shows clearly in his work and helps to stand out on its own.

Watch: "Lola"
Listen: "Strange Dreams"

Belle and Sebastian - Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance

Just a few months ago, Belle and Sebastian were giving us a retrospective on their nearly 20-years together with a career-spanning box set, titled It Could Have Been a Brilliant Career. Seems that the trip back through time was to prepare listeners for the band's ninth album, their first in five years. On this latest release, they prove that they are still willing to incorporate new sounds and techniques into their style; producing what is ostensibly their first dance record.

Watch: "Nobody’s Empire"
Watch: "The Party Line"

The Decemberists - What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World

It's also been awhile since we last heard from this band; four years since The King Is Dead. Members of the band have kept themselves busy; last year, Black Prairie released their fifth album (the band consists of all members of The Decemberists except frontman Colin Meloy), and in 2013, Meloy released an EP of Kinks covers. Now back together, the band's latest album is inspired, in part, by the 2012 events in Sandy Hook; with one song "12/17/12" referencing President Obama's speech in response to the event.

Watch: "The Wrong Year"
Watch: "Make You Better"

Elephant Micah - Where in Our Woods

Elephant Micah is the stage name of Indiana-based musician Joseph O'Connell. During his 15-year career, O'Connell has attained a near cult status among fans of lo-fi and folk music. He was a good friend of Jason Molina and often performed alongside him; you can certainly hear shared elements in their music. This is the prolific performers 14th album, and his first for Western Vinyl.

Listen: "Slow Time Vultures"
Listen: "By the Canal"

Jack Name - Weird Moons

Jack Name is the stage name of producer and musician John Webster Johns. He's worked with Ariel Pink (and is currently touring with him), and has performed as a touring guitarist for White Fence. He released his first album, Light Show, almost exactly one year ago. As a solo artist, he has garnered comparisons to Gary Numan and Brian Eno.

Listen: "Running After Ganymede"
Listen: "Watcher Talk"

Man without Country - Maximum Entropy

Man without Country is an electronic act out of South Wales. I decided to check them out after discovering that one of the tracks on their new album features vocals from White Sea (aka Morgan Kibby), who herself works with M83. Later, I found out that their frontman, Ryan James, provided vocals for Röyksopp's "Sordid Affair." Maximum Entropy is the band's sophomore album.

Watch: "Laws of Motion" (featuring White Sea)
Listen: "Claymation"

Night Terrors of 1927 - Everything’s Coming Up Roses

Night Terrors of 1927 is another band that I discovered due to a featured vocal. "When You Were Mine" features the twin sister duo Tegan and Sara (and, when performed live, has featured Dee Dee Ramone of the Dum Dum Girls). Even more recently, I've found out that the band includes former Rilo Kiley guitarist Blake Sennett. With Tegan and Sara, the duo have formed a sort of 1990s/early 2000s indie rock dream team.

Watch: "When You Were Mine" (featuring Tegan and Sara)
Watch: "Always Take You Back"

Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love

When long-parted bands get back together, the results can be mixed. Worst case scenario, it's apparent that the band was best separated. But it's great when they're able to release something that matches, or even exceeds, the work that they'd done years before. Such is the case for Sleater-Kinney, who were on hiatus from 2006 until last year. All members partook in a number of side projects, but show what made them so great together with this new album.

Watch: "Bury Our Friends"
Watch: "No Cities to Love"

Until the Ribbon Breaks - A Lesson Unlearnt

Rap and rock together can be a risky combination; it was so overdone a decade ago that it's become easy to pass over. It is this band's collaborations with one of the best rap duos, Run the Jewels, which lead to much of my interest in them. They appeared on the track "Job Well Done" from the first Run the Jewels record. Now, Killer Mike and El-P returned the favor, featuring on "Revolution Indifference."

Watch: "Revolution Indifference" (featuring Run the Jewels)
Watch: "A Taste of Silver"

Viet Cong - Viet Cong

Viet Cong is a Canadian band risen from the ashes of Women, who went on hiatus following an onstage fight in 2010, and the death of guitarist Christopher Reiner in 2012. Under the new project, they released their first EP in 2013. They spent much of the next two years touring, before releasing this debut full-length album. Their genre is post-punk, with tinges of Interpol and Joy Division. It's probably one of the best from a new artist that I've heard so far this year!

Watch: "Continental Shelf"
Watch: "Silhouettes"

Other New Releases

Amen Dunes - Cowboy Worship EP

To follow-up on last year's Love album, Amen Dunes is releasing the Cowboy Worship EP. This release consists of songs that were recorded at the same time as the album, but didn't quite make the cut. Amen Dunes also intends for this EP to show sounds and ideas that didn't make it onto the album, featuring original arrangements of the tracks.

Listen: "Song to the Siren"

Future - Beast Mode Mixtape

Future released his sophomore album, Honest, just last year, but has remained active with more new music in that time. He released a mixtape, Monster, in October, and is following that up with another (I'm sensing a theme in the mixtape titles). His latest is a collaboration with producer and DJ Zaytoven, and can be downloaded at Live Mixtapes.

Listen: "Real Sisters"
Listen: "Forever Eva"


Limited is the solo stage name of Alex Craig, who also performs with Big Trouble and Ducktails. His latest release is a short teaser of music, with just three tracks. He manages to fit a lot of styles into the short length, and creates something that leaves me wanting even more.

Watch: "Times Square Poet"

Lxury - Into the Everywhere EP

Lxury is a young British house producer who has worked with and shares a similar style to Disclosure (he was also signed to their Method Records label). This is his third EP, this time released on the Greco-Roman label.

Watch: "Square 1" (featuring Deptford Goth)
Watch: "Pick You Up"

Mac DeMarco - Demos, Volume 1

Mac DeMarco released an incredible third album, Salad Days, last year. His follow-up, this release of album demos, collects early versions of tracks from both his latest album and its predecessor, 2.

Purchase: Captured Tracks

Petite Noir - The King of Anxiety EP

Leave to a new-comer to bring an iconic rapper out of musical retirement. Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) has been pretty quiet since 2009's The Ecstatic, though he has been active as an actor. On his debut EP, Petite Noir, aka Yannick Iluga, manages to nab the rapper, who features on "Till We Ghosts."

Watch: "Chess"
Listen: "Till We Ghosts" (featuring Yasiin Bey)


As they did last year, the British record label Young Turks is releasing an LP of new and notable tracks from a selection of its artists. 2014's compilation includes Quirke, Jamie xx, Sampha, SBTRKT, and FKA twigs.

Listen: SBTRKT - "New Dorp New York"
Listen: FKA twigs - "Two Weeks"