Today’s New Music Tuesday includes five new releases we have been waiting on and quite a few more we are excited to check out this week.
Our picks we are pumped for the most this week:
“In “Carrie and Lowell,” Sufjan Stevens is a child again or, more specifically, the child character in the family of man drama that often but not always centers on the story of love given, or love forsaken, but isn’t that the same thing to the poet? That the love Stevens sings about having left or given or been born to–thank you, Carrie–is a perceptible wound not only on the singer’s throat, but his sleeve: he wears love’s incomprehensibility, and the deep incomprehensibility of being a son, like a backing vocal on “Carrie and Lowell,” which is also filled with colors, hearts, trees, conclusions, and beginnings, all adding up to the kind of intimacy that caught my eye the morning I sat in the diner waiting for the sun to get stronger as I saw intimacy pass by while going about it’s business, like something sung and felt by Sufjan Stevens on his new beautiful solitary and rich record filled with faith and disbelief and the resurrection of trust and dreams.”
“On Escape From Evil, Lower Dens’ Jana Hunter emerges: cerebral and hot-blooded, rash and incorruptible, and, crucially, possessing of a loud, clear voice. The album sees Hunter stepping up and taking center stage, and emboldening every aspect of the band.
Escape From Evil is a cinematic, tonally rich work. The sounds are clean and warm. The pulse of the album is strong. Melodies are potent and songs are physical. Lyrics are direct, frank confrontations with life’s common crises. The album title is brazen, and along with the grimly funny title of lead single, “To Die in L.A.”, almost theatrical.”
Reptar: Lurid Glow – “Continuing their exploration of indie-electro-guitar-pop-weirdness, Reptar returns with their second full-length album, Lurid Glow, out March 31st on Joyful Noise Recordings. A diverse amalgamation of sounds and styles delineate the music of Reptar, culminating from the band’s disparate array of influences. Comparisons can be made to bands like Talking Heads and MGMT, but Reptarsimultaneously showcases musicianship in the heritage of Frank Zappa, Rush, Mike Patton, and Tortoise – creating a blend of party music suitable for music nerds.
The band’s 2012 debut, Body Faucet, was characterized by Pitchfork as “Afro-tribal-electro-twee-pop” for college kids who “seriously like nothing more than to throw the fuck down.” Now in 2015, Reptar is back to deliver on the hype. Lurid Glow is an expansive, artful development for the band, as catchy as it is difficult to classify. Building upon their party-wielding instincts, Lurid Glow fuses arrangements of horns, keyboards, guitars, and much more into compositionally-refined, booty-shaking anthems. Whether it’s the pulsating “Ice Black Sand” that transforms effortlessly from droning arpeggios to gorgeous pop choruses, the simple steel drum serenade of “Amanda”, or the 80s-prog-tinged “Cable”, Lurid Glow is a compelling statement from a band on their own unruly trajectory.”
“Blue Light…This tune was a guitar bass idea I had and I could NOT stop this. It all went down in an hour- band playing live to tape. Musically, this is such a cousin to “The Door” from Blackhole ( One day you will understand what that means- think Love is Hell/ More Mats ) Lyrically — that bleakness…I had this vision of New York city this guy in a busted pair of glasses walking between subway cars…people texting each other glued to their information machines. I fucking know I get lost in that shit. Our faces “are like ghosts”, my friend Paul Cutler said “ when they are underlit by their phones”. Like we all become Bela Legosi lit — but uncool. No cape. No Dracula. Pretty sure I borrowed Jeremy Stacey from the Benmont Tench session when we recorded this. Like he literally was on that session but I think he was net door with Glyn Johns while they were doing some overdubs. Lucky lucky. This was before PaxAm had the weird cat-print baffles. We had to work the ribbon mics extra hard and there was a lot of bleed but it worked.
On My Life… well — that’s a portrait of me maybe back in the early 2000’s on 2nd Avenue and A, having lived in a hotel that was once a children’s hospital for basically children with polio (ugh). I am CERTAIN it was haunted but by a sadness really that I cannot explain. Chris Farley died in that building. It has a heaviness that could swallow you. Windows too big to every fully close. Just the worst. Had some fun there though, those were the days that weren’t New York was alive and crazy with that buzz of the Stokes and the easy village in general was basically frozen in time from godknowswhat every single day … It’s fun while you break it. But then you break it.
I Lost My Mind is me on everything I think- a riff from a batch of good ones… the basic guitar part had been a riff for a long time that I was carving out on my Stratocaster, the old one, every time I picked up the guitar and I just decided to unleash some Cure vibes in the studio one night… Well it turns out CREED ain’t the only band me and Charlie have in common from back in the day… we also have The Cure ( esp Disintegration )… Guess that was both out real high school shit I (among other actual record store snob respected bands… dont get me started people ) also that’s the one and only Daniel Clarke of Richmond fucking Virginia playing me out, like the cosmic Keyboard cat that he is on this tune. I think he had to literally mail the part to us. Remember the fucking mail? Woah! Mike is on here- Charlie is on here… There’s nothing but 7-11 grease on this one, ladies and gentlemen. Shined up with the funk. Maybe a little dash of the creeps on the side too. We over-season to taste and then paint-strip the thing. That’s why you build a studio. To go deep.”
More releases we are excited to check out this week:
Bohannons: Black Cross, Black Shield – “Following Bohannons’ previous two efforts (the Steve Albini-produced debut EP Days of Echo and their critically-acclaimed 2012 album Unaka Rising) the Chattanooga, TN-based foursome will be releasing their sophomore studio full-length, BLACK CROSS.BLACK SHIELD this March (via This Is American Music).
On it, brothers Marty and Matt Bohannon & company deliver an intense, highly-charged platter that incorporates punk, metal and southern roots music into a heavy and heady melting pot of sounds and styles. Guest musicians on the album include James Leg (piano and Fender Rhodes), Nikki Ellis and Mary Higgins (backing vocals) and Jimbo Mathus (harmonica). The often thundering calamity that charges through these 10 tracks provide the perfect backdrop to the equally heavy subject matter.
“There is a theme to this album,” Marty explains, “and it’s not death. It’s the beauty of death and memorializing the departed with electricity and force.”
So we’re not just talking trucks and shots of whiskey here. On the album, they can get faster and looser in turns. And the recording doesn’t get bogged down in any spoilsome tricks, so it feels fresh enough. But overall, yup, this is your morning cup of fringe ‘n’ long locks rock.”
Tim Foljahn: Fucking Love Songs – “Fucking Love Songs is so surprising and ultimately so satisfying. It engages with others, specifically significant others, in a cycle of songs about relationships.“While I was writing the songs, I had relationships starting, relationships ending and relationships starting again,” says Foljahn. “It just seemed natural to write about them. People would ask me what I was working on, and I would say, ‘Oh, a bunch of fucking love songs.’”
But it’s not just the other people in the songs. It’s the ones on the record – including two extra guitar players, two drummers, a bassist, even back-up singers — that make this album so densely collaborative. Consider, for instance, “Wild Tonight,” with its slow, blistering lead, its bluesy in- the-pocket rhythm guitar, its sweet, sweeping gospel chorus, its raucous drums. That’s Smokey Hormel, who has played with Tom Waits, Beck, Johnny Cash, Joe Strummer, Neil Diamond, Norah Jones and Adele, on one guitar. Foljahn met him while auditioning, twice, for a spot in Beck’s band (Hormel beat him out). Tom Beaujour, the album’s producer/engineer, plays another guitar. Jeremy Wilms is on bass, and Jon Langmead, a drummer for Mark Eitzel and Jennifer O’Connor, punches out the beat. (Brooklyn drummer Brian Kantor sits in on two other tracks.) O’Connor and Amy Bezunartea sing harmonies.
The result is a beautifully layered, dense, full-band sound that amplifies Foljahn’s evocative songs. Bend your ear to “Legends” with its cavorting, porch-picked guitar lick (Smokey again), its lilting, group-sung chorus, its sunny, folk-scented lift. Or check out “Etant Donné” a headlong, full-on garage rocker. “For me this is a totally upbeat pop record,” he admits. Foljahn recorded Fucking Love Songs over a two-year period at Nuthouse Recording in Hoboken with Tom Beaujour (Juliana Hatfield, Nada Surf, Jennifer O’Connor ) producing and engineering. “Tom gets such great sounds,” Foljahn says, “To my ears, his records have more resonance than you hear in current albums. There’s almost a sound of the 1970s in it.”
The main thing, though, are the songs, as cracked and individual as ever, but focused this time on love. “When I listen to a song I really like, I’m glad to be right where I am in the song, but I’m also wondering what’s coming next and a little bit sad when it’s gone,” says Foljahn. You might find yourself feeling the same way about Fucking Love Songs.”
Hannah Cohen: Pleasure Boy – “Music often comes from a deep place, and in the case of Hannah Cohen’sstunning and heartrending second album, it’s very deep indeed. Mainly inspired by a painful break-up and the anxieties that loss can trigger, Pleasure Boy cushions its sadness in an exquisitely nuanced soundscape of aching melancholy and lush melody where Hannah’s vocal conveys all the different shades of heartbreak. Following the album’s completion, she’s survived the calamity and found a new level of happiness, but to paraphrase the classic Sixties hit, there will always be something there to remind her with Pleasure Boy.
Pleasure Boy, like her debut Child Bride, was produced by Thomas Bartlett, aka Doveman, whose work with artists such as The National,Antony Hegarty and David Byrne singles him out as one of America’s current finest producers and collaborators, though he’s also a talented pianist. The dynamics of Pleasure Boy was the result of Hannah and Bartlett, “bunkering down with my songs, experimenting with different tones and sounds, and layering them. My first record was so airy and roomy, I didn’t have patience for that again, I wanted more movement, something more mysterious and witchier, so we created this sound wall together.”
“I wanted the music to hurt, to have a visceral effect,” Hannah says. Her voice sometimes sounds delirious or icy; other times she recalls the vulnerable, piercing beauty of Harriet Wheeler (The Sundays) and Karen Peris (The Innocence Mission). But Pleasure Boy’s sound wouldn’t exist without the vision that launched it. The album title arrived as the record took shape. “Pleasure Boy is a character of who it’s about, someone who represents gluttony and decadence and richness,” Hannah explains. She admits it was a tough record to make, given she was aiming to heal emotionally while feeling “devastated and hurt. But it wouldn’t be the record it is if I hadn’t done that.” ”
The Soft Moon: Deeper – “The voice of The Soft Moon has never been more clear and honest than it is on this record. With eerie, immersive tracks like the dogged “Far” and slow, beautifully melancholic “Wasting” (the first track written for Deeper), the album is a penetrating portrait of Vasquez as he wrestles thoughts of suicide, vulnerability and what it means to heal. By facing the most hopeless parts of himself without illusion and putting his past demons to bed, the creation of Deeper was an intense personal exploration of existence for Vasquez — old wounds were forcibly opened, deep anger and paranoia were manipulated into song — and he did not emerge unchanged. Deeper may have delivered Vasquez back to the waking world, but it willingly drags us further into The Soft Moon‘s dark, euphonic universe once more.”
More worth checking out this week:
Here is the full list of albums all together for you in a Spotify playlist: