Saturday, March 26, 2016

Upcoming Album of the Week (Ending March 26)

Earlier today, it was announced that former R.E.M. frontman, Michael Stipe, would be performing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. This is big news as he has largely been out of the spotlight since his band parted ways in 2011. Does this mean an album is on the way? That is not known yet, but if something is announced, look for it on my Upcoming Releases page and check out other great music set to come out soon!

This week, Willis Earl Beal announced a new EP, Through the Dark.

Beal is a Chicago-born (at least that's what he tells us) musician who has become known for a DIY approach to art and music. He got his start distributing illustrated flyers around Albuquerque; ostensibly with a hope of finding a girlfriend. His illustrations caught the eye of some people at Found magazine and he ended up as their cover star and released a collection of art, writings, and music through them. Even once he became more established and was eventually signed to a fairly large record label, XL, he left to put out further releases on his own.

He has since joined another, albeit smaller, label, Tender Loving Empire, and released Noctunes through them last year. This upcoming EP will be his second release on the label. The announcement of the new release came with a lead single of the same name.

Through the Dark is set to be released on April 29.

Also announced this week:

Band of Horses - Why Are You OK (June)
Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial (May 20)
D.A.R.K. - Science Agrees (May 27)
Doused in Mud, Soaked in Bleach (April 16)
Jackie Lynn - Jackie Lynn (June 10)
Lil Silva - Jimi (May 6)
Little Scream - Cult Following (May 6)
Nicholas Allbrook - Pure Gardiya (May 27)
Peaches - Rub Remixes (May 27)
Red House Painters - Old Ramon Reissue (April 29)
Toothless - Terra (May 13)
Whitney - Light Upon the Lake (June 3)

New Music Friday - March 4, 2016

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

Fatima Al Qadiri - Brute

Fatima Al Qadiri is a Kuwaiti producer and artist who has built to strong solo career for herself starting with a 2010 mixtape for DIS Magazine under the name Ayshay. Last year, she partner with three other musicians as Future Brown and released a self-titled album with them. Incorporating sounds from protests, her sophomore album was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and her own experiences with demonstrators clashing with authority.

Listen: "Battery"
Listen: "Oubliette"

Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered

Kendrick sure loves his surprise releases; last year's opus, To Pimp a Butterfly, was released in March with little forewarning and this follow-up is no different. The album consists of demos from the recording of To Pimp a Butterfly and contains many of the same themes. None of the tracks have names, they are just identified by a datestamp.

Loretta Lynn - Full Circle

Loretta Lynn is a strong enough songwriter-singer (that's the order she prefers it) that I can overlook some questionable political endorsements. The legendary country star is 83 years old and in her sixth decade of creating music. She's slowing down just a little bit, this is her first album in 12 years, but she still shows the same prowess in the songs she's created.

Listen: "Everything It Takes" (featuring Elvis Costello)
Listen: "Who’s Gonna Miss Me?"

Poliça - United Crushers

United Crushers comes after a bit of a whirlwind period for Poliça, and especially members Channy Leaneagh and Ryan Olson who got married and had a child last year. Through all of that, the band finished writing and recording the album. This is another record inspired by protest, as protests were erupting in the band's home city of Minneapolis as they were preparing the album.

Watch: "Wedding"
Watch: "Lime Habit"

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down - A Man Alive

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down's fourth album was produced by tUnE-yArDs' frontwoman Merrill Garbus. It's a move that marries Garbus' signature idiosyncratic funk with Thao Nguyen's unique brand of folk. The album is also a more personal outing for Nguyen, who has often tackled social issues in her music. Here, she deals with her own past and her relationship with her father.

Watch: "Astonished Man"
Watch: "Nobody Dies"

Other Full-Length Releases

Big Ups - Before a Million Universes

Watch: "National Parks"
Listen: "Hope for Someone"

Carter Tanton - Jettison the Valley

Listen: "Through the Garden Gates"
Listen: "Twentynine Palms" (featuring Sharon Van Etten)

The Coral - Distance Inbetween

Watch: "Chasing the Tail of a Dream"
Watch: "Miss Fortune"

Guerilla Toss - Eraser Stargazer

Listen: "Diamond Girls"
Listen: "Grass Shack"

Kano - Made in the Manor

Watch: "3 Wheel-ups" (featuring Giggs)
Watch: "Endz"

The Knocks - 55

Watch: "I Wish (My Taylor Swift)" (featuring Matthew Koma)
Listen: "Best for Last" (featuring Walk the Moon)

La Sera - Music for Listening to Music To

Watch: "10 Headed Goat Wizard"
Watch: "I Need an Angel"

Låpsley - Long Way Home

Watch: "Love Is Blind"
Watch: "Cliff"

Lionlimb - Shoo

Watch: "Bored Today"
Listen: "Just Because"

M. Ward - More Rain

Watch: "Girl from Conejo Valley"
Watch: "Confession"

Melaena Cadiz - Sunfair

Watch: "At the Symphony"
Listen: "Last Night in My Dream"

Miike Snow - iii

Watch: "Genghis Khan"
Watch: "Heart Is Full"

Nada Surf - You Know Who You Are

Watch: "Rushing"
Watch: "Cold to See Clear"

Prince Rama - Xtreme Now

Listen: "Bahia"
Listen: "Now Is the Time of Emotion"

Ray LaMontagne - Ouroboros

Watch: "Hey, No Pressure"
Listen: "In My Own Way"

Robert Pollard - Of Course You Are

Listen: "My Daughter Yes She Knows"
Listen: "Of Course You Are"

Samiyam - Animals Have Feelings

Listen: "Dartgun"
Listen: "Mr. Wonderful" (featuring Action Bronson)

Sound of Ceres - Nostalgia for Infinity

Watch: "Bryn Marina"
Listen: "My Spiral Arm"

Tiga - No Fantasy Required

Listen: "Planet E"
Listen: "Don’t Break My Heart"


Watch: "Put It Down" (featuring Anderson .Paak & KRNE)
Listen: "Giving Up" (featuring Jonny Pierce)

Violent Femmes - We Can Do Anything

Watch: "Memory"
Listen: "Issues"

Wussy - Forever Sounds

Watch: "Dropping Houses"
Watch: "She’s Killed Hundreds"

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

The Big Pink - Empire Underground EP

Watch: "Hightimes"
Listen: "Beautiful Criminal"

Day Wave - Hard to Read EP

Listen: "Stuck"
Listen: "Hard to Read"

et aliae - Rose EP

Listen: "Sober" (featuring D∆WN)
Listen: "Only U"

Innerspace Orchestra - "One Way Glass"

Listen: "One Way Glass"

Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation - "Sunny Afternoon"

Watch: "Sunny Afternoon"
Listen: "Lucid Sapphire"

The Little Flames - The Day Is Not Today

Listen: "The Day Is Not Today"
Listen: "Close My Eyes"

The Long Road

Listen: Robert Plant - "The Blanket of Night"
Listen: Kindness - "A Retelling"

Sunday, March 20, 2016

fka twigs - "Good to Love"

I think it's safe to crown fka twigs the queen of music videos. She self-directs the majority of them, incorporates her incredible dancing, and it doesn't hurt that the music is amazing. Her latest is an intimate video of her doing some subtle moves while laying in bed wrapped up in sheets. It's a simple image, but one that pairs perfectly with the song.

There's no word yet on whether this track will be included on an upcoming release; fka twigs last released the EP M3LL155A in August of last year.

New Music Friday - February 26, 2016

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

Santigold - 99¢

It took awhile, but I've finally started thinking of Santigold as Santigold, as opposed to her former stage name Santogold (though it still pisses me off that she had to change it). 99¢ is the artist's third album, and on it she explores the commercialization of music; hence the album's title and artwork. It's another absolute banger of an album from an artist who's perfected her style!

Watch: "Chasing Shadows"
Watch: "Who Be Lovin’ Me" (featuring iLoveMakonnen)

Sarah Neufeld - The Ridge

Since contributing to Arcade Fire's Reflektor in 2013, Neufeld has gone all in on her solo career. She released her debut, Hero Brother, that same year, a collaborative album with Colin Stetson, Never Were the Way She Was, last year, and now her second solo record. In the past, her work as a solo artist has been purely instrumental, but this album is her first foray into incorporating vocals.

Watch: "We've Got a Lot"
Listen: "Where the Light Comes In"

School of Seven Bells - SVIIB

Some bands come to an end so its members can focus on other projects, others come by it acrimoniously. Only rarely is it pure unfortunate circumstance. This band became a twosome after the departure of one founding member left in 2010. Three years ago, one of those two members, Benjamin Curtis, passed away from T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma. Work was mostly completed on the record before Curtis' passing. Their likely last record may also be their best.

Watch: "Open Your Eyes"
Watch: "On My Heart"

Yuck - Stranger Things

With this third record, Yuck has released more music without their founding frontman, Daniel Blumberg, than with him. The band had drifted into a shoegaze-influenced sound on their previous album and EP, but were looking back to a 90s indie rock-tinged (think Dinosaur Jr., Built to Spill) sound they were noted for on their debut. They're still trying to find their footing without Blumberg, but garnered immense praise for some of the tracks from this record.

Listen: "Hearts in Motion"
Listen: "Hold Me Closer"

Other Full-Length Releases

Bullion - Loop the Loop

Listen: "Loop the Loop" (featuring Sampha)
Listen: "Never Is the Change"

Death Index - Death Index

Watch: "FUP"
Watch: "Little ’N’ Pretty"

Glenn Kotche - Drumkit Quartets

Listen: "No. 54"
Listen: "No. 50"

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - This Unruly Mess I’ve Made

Watch: "Downtown"
Watch: "Kevin" (featuring Leon Bridges)

Willie Nelson - Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin

Watch: "Summertime"
Watch: "Someone to Watch Over Me"

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

Charli XCX - Vroom Vroom EP

Listen: "Trophy"
Listen: "Paradise" (featuring Hannah Diamond)

George Fest: A Night to Celebrate the Music of George Harrison

Watch: "Handle with Care"
Listen: "Here Comes the Sun"

God Don’t Never Change: The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson

Listen: Tom Waits - "John the Revelator"

Michael Jackson - Off the Wall Reissue

Watch: "Rock with You"
Watch: "Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough"

Mr. Dan - "Firewater"

Listen: "Firewater"