The Wire’s Stewart Smith opines that “Kim Gordon and Bill Nace’s Body/Head is the most compelling project to have emerged from the ashes of Sonic Youth,” (“Gordon and Nace have become increasingly interested in texture and space, creating a free psychedelic music that’s attuned to the play of shadow and light”), and while we’re not encouraging comparison or competition between post-SY endeavors, I think we can all agree that today is a VERY GOOD DAY for The Wire’s Stewart Smith, as Body/Head’s 3rd Matador album, ‘The Switch’ is officially available via all finer record shops and digital platforms.
Pitchfork’s Marc Masters calls ‘The Switch’, “as mesmerizing as a hypnotist’s swinging clock,” (“no matter how far they stretch, their tones and rhythms always cohere…in Nace and Gordon’s hands, these unchartable sounds combine like well-defined movements in a symphony. Their guitars rhyme as if they were trading chord changes rather than thick swaths of noise,”) and as much as we anticipate you’ll agree with him 110% upon experiencing the album in your preferred listening environment, we also wholeheartedly encourage you to catch Body/Head on tour starting tonight at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Forever Masonic Lodge.
“Marauder is a facet of myself. That’s the guy that fucks up friendships and does crazy shit. He taught me a lot, but it’s representative of a persona that’s best left in song. In a way, this album is like giving him a name and putting him to bed.” -Paul Banks
Months of speculation come to an end today as details of the new Interpol album can finally be confirmed: One of the most critically acclaimed bands of this generation will release their sixth album, Marauder, August 24th on Matador Records.
As you read this, Interpol is currently revealing all details (Themes! Making-of! Album art! Producer! Visuals!) to a convergence of their most fervent fans and media, live from General Prim 30 in Mexico City via a live-streamed press conference. (Update: see the archived video of Interpol’s press conference below)
Interpol have also confirmed an initial run of worldwide tour dates, in addition to previously announced appearances at London’s BST Hyde Park with The Cure, Glasgow’s TRNSMT Festival, NYC’s House of Vans and Chicago’s Riot Fest. Those that preorder Marauder directly from the Interpol store will get first access to ticket presales for the new shows, which include London’s Royal Albert Hall, New York City’s Madison Square Garden and Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl. The full list of tour dates can be found below.
1. If You Really Love Nothing
2. The Rover
4. Flight of Fancy
5. Stay in Touch
6. Interlude 1
7. Mountain Child
10. Number 10
11. Party’s Over
12. Interlude 2
13. It Probably Matters
(photo by Jamie-James Medina)
Special Vinyl Editions
The standard black vinyl edition of Marauder will be available from the Matador Store, Interpol band store, and all good independent music retailers.
The red vinyl edition is only available through the Matador Store or the Interpol band store.
The cream vinyl edition will only be available for purchase through independent retailers.
It finally happened; somebody called the cops on Interpol.
The long arm of the law caught up with Daniel Kessler, Paul Banks, and Sam Fogarino in 2017, as they worked on a new album inside the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ rehearsal space in Manhattan. Even in its infancy, Marauder was shaping up to be a beast; an early practice session was so vigorous, it resulted in Sam hitting the drums so hard that he busted his kick drum. “That rarely happens, even with heavy-hitters,” says Sam.
Eventually, the trio were playing with such force and volume, that a neighbor called the boys in blue on the boys in black, forcing them out of the practice space. “We ruined it for everyone,” reflects Daniel. “It seemed like you’re picking on the wrong rock band,” adds Sam with a laugh. “It’s not like we’re Mastodon. I mean, in certain circles, we’re considered wimps!”
If that was ever the case, the Interpol captured on their sixth album are nothing of the sort. While many fans took time over the last 18 months to read about the band’s vital part in New York City’s early 21st century rock renaissance, or bask in the glory of their hugely successful 15th anniversary tour celebrating the seminal 2002 debut Turn On the Bright Lights, the trio have been quietly (sorry, LOUDLY) working on making sure they’re not just a cultural timepiece for music historians to study. The result is Marauder: an album that sways as well as it seduces, that pounds as well as it pouts, and that batters as well as it broods.
They’ve had some help along the way. For the first time since 2007’s Our Love to Admire, Interpol have opened themselves up to the input of a producer. For two-week spells between December of 2017 to April of 2018, they travelled to upstate New York to work with Dave Fridmann – famed for recording with Mercury Rev, Flaming Lips, MGMT, Spoon, Mogwai, and countless more.
The New Yorkers arrived at his remote and frequently snowbound Tarbox Studios with most of Marauder tightly rehearsed and worked out. Fridmann made sure that their meticulous work in crafting a virile and visceral set of songs didn’t get flattened during recording. It was his suggestion to skip the Pro Tools, and record directly two-inch tape. “That meant there was a limitation to the amount of things you could track,” explains Daniel. “You couldn’t add more overdubs because you would have to erase something else. You couldn’t really over-think too much of it.” It’s a decision that allows a leaner and more muscular Interpol to flex throughout the album.
In the run up to writing and recording, Sam found himself immersed in soul drummers such as Al Jackson Jr (Otis Redding’s drummer) and 80’s funk producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. “How can I make shit swing?” was the question Sam repeatedly asked himself, and the answer is in the striding gallop of opener “If You Really Love Nothing,” the embellished skip ‘n’ bounce of “Stay in Touch” and the R&B swagger of closer “It Probably Matters.” Interpol have always been world-beaters at creating a feeling, but Marauder is where the feel is just as crucial. – Hardeep Phull
On July 13, we’re releasing the new album from BODY/HEAD, ‘The Switch’. The duo of Kim Gordon and Bill Nace recorded their 2nd studio album for Matador last summer in Western Massachusetts with engineer Justin Pizzoferrato and the results are equal parts dizzying & intense. Summer & Autumn U.S. dates are listed below, with several of the shows in question already on sale.
Creative alchemy doesn’t just happen in the studio or in the practice space; so much of it is the product of solo time with one’s instrument, learning how body and wood and electronics fuse, and of subconscious processes as one lives one’s daily life—picking up the ambient noise of the world outside, listening to others’ work, talking through ideas with friends. For Kim Gordon and Bill Nace, time together these days is limited to live performances and recording, so they’ve got to bring all their magic to every encounter. Lucky for us, these are two experimental sorcerers of significant renown.
Their debut album together as Body/Head, ‘Coming Apart’, from 2013, was more of a rock record—heavy, emotional, cathartic, spellwork in shades of black and grey. T’he Switch’ is their second studio full-length, and it finds the duo working with a more subtle palette, refining their ideas and identity. Some of it was sketched out live (if you’ve not had the fortune of seeing them in that natural environment yet, see 2016’s improvisational document ‘No Waves’), but much of it happened purely in the moment. Working in the same studio and with the same producer as ‘Coming Apart’, here Body/Head stretch out, making spacious pieces that build shivering drones, dissonant interplay, Gordon’s manipulated vocals, and scraping, haunting textures into something that feels both delicate and dangerous. Less discrete songs than one composition broken up into thematic movements, a slow-moving narrative that requires as much attention and care from the listener as it did from everyone involved in its creation, it is a record that sticks around after it’s done playing.
This is Nace’s favorite of Gordon’s guitar work; she’s truly come into her own as a guitarist, having built up her confidence through solo shows. The way the duo work together, you’d never know they spend so much time apart; on ‘The Switch’, their vision and focus feel truly unified. If Coming Apart was dark magic, ‘The Switch’ works with light, though it never forgets that these approaches are two sides of the same coin, and that binaries—black/white, near/far, emotion/analysis, body/head—are made to be broken open, and that the truth of things is in the energy between.
After a wait some might describe as “interminable”, or perhaps even “long”, ‘Sparkle Hard’, the latest & greatest album from Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks is now available to purchase or download. If you’re in the Seattle area this coming Tuesday, consider making your way to KEXP’s Gathering Space at noon AND NOT SIMPLY BECAUSE IT’S A LOVELY SPACE FOR GATHERING(S).
As a few of you sleuths (professional and otherwise) doubtlessly figured out from the earlier tour announcement and debut of “Middle America”,there’s a new album from Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks on the way May 18, and it’s called ‘Sparkle Hard’. Produced by Chris Funk, the album’s prerelease track, “Shiggy” can heard today on all relevant / responsible streaming platforms.
Modesty and plain good manners might prevent them from saying so themselves, but the fact that Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks have thrived, rather than simply endured over 17 years and delivered six albums of buzzy, sub-cultural significance, constitutes an impressive legacy. The challenge with album number seven is one that any successful band with integrity faces: how to safeguard that legacy and hold on to their identity without rehashing old ground (unthinkable), and also say something meaningful while (crucially) having fun doing it?
Meeting that issue head on in the run up to The Jicks’ seventh record involved some “navel gazing”, according to singer, songwriter, and guitarist Malkmus and not only in terms of what it means to be releasing music in 2018. If, like him, you’re a voracious consumer of all kinds of culture and feel the need to interact with it, rather than just react, then inevitably “there’s a world that prompts you to put your best foot forward”. With Sparkle Hard Malkmus, Mike Clark (keyboards), Joanna Bolme (bass) and Jake Morris (drums) do exactly that. And they hit the ground running – on air treads.
It’s light ’n’ breezy, head-down heavy, audacious, melancholic and reflective, goodtime and bodacious, and it pulls off the smartest trick: it’s both unmistakeably The Jicks and – due to the streamlining of their trademark tics and turns, plus the introduction of some unexpected flourishes (Auto-Tune! A fiddle! Guest vocalist Kim Gordon! One seven-minute song with an acoustic folk intro!) – The Jicks refashioned. If 2014’s ‘Wig Out At Jag Bags’ balanced the lengthy prog workouts of ‘Pig Lib’ with ‘Mirror Traffic’’s sparky pop moments, then ‘Sparkle Hard’ bears less obvious direct relation to what’s come before. It also has turbocharged energy and enthusiasm by the truckload.
Malkmus started writing ‘Sparkle Hard’ in 2015. He’d upgraded his home-recording equipment and bought some electronic drums and had been working on the Netflix series ‘Flaked” (he penned the incidental music and the end theme song). Demos were done in one day in April of 2017 and then in May, The Jicks started recording at a new studio in Portland called Halfling, which is managed by multi-instrumentalist Chris Funk of The Decemberists, who produced the album.
Self-indulgent escapism has never been The Jicks’ bag, but on ‘Sparkle Hard’, the reality of modern life sits closer to the surface, communication cutting to the chase whether it’s a proto-punk grind or a back-porch country duet doing the talking. A cleaner burn for dark and complex times. – Sharon O’Connell
On June 8, we’re releasing ‘Lush’, the eagerly awaited debut album from Baltimore, MD’s SNAIL MAIL, aka Lindsey Jordan, whose 2016 ‘Habit’ EP for Sister Polygon lit up the universe (ours, anyway). Produced by Jake Aron and recorded last year, ‘Lush’ is a dramatic, ultra-confident leap forward from a songwriter & guitarist that couldn’t possibly be more-in-the-moment. The video for single #1, “Pristine” can be found above. Preorders for the LP & CD versions of ‘Lush’ (with or without a t-shirt bundle) start today.
Lindsey Jordan is on the brink of something huge, and she’s only just graduated high school. Her voice rises and falls with electricity throughout ‘Lush’, her debut album as Snail Mail, spinning with bold excitement and new beginnings at every turn.
“Is there any better feeling than coming clean?” sings the eighteen-year-old guitarist and songwriter halfway through the sprawling anthem that is “Pristine,” the album’s first single. You can’t help but agree with her. It’s a hook that immediately sticks in your head—and a question she seems to be grappling with throughout the record’s 10-songs of crystalline guitar pop.
Throughout ‘Lush’, Jordan’s clear and powerful voice, acute sense of pacing, and razor-sharp writing cut through the chaos and messiness of growing up: the passing trends, the awkward house parties, the sick-to-your-stomach crushes and the heart wrenching breakups. Jordan’s most masterful skill is in crafting tension, working with muted melodrama that builds and never quite breaks, stretching out over moody rockers and soft-burning hooks, making for visceral slow-releases that stick under the skin. – Liz Pelly
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Liz Phair’s landmark debut Exile in Guyville. On May 4th Matador will release a comprehensive box set: 7 LPs or 3 CDs cataloging the Guyville era in an edition of 1900, including the first official restored audio of all three 1991 Girly-Sound tapes. The tapes were meticulously restored from original copies of the cassettes, traded from hand to hand at the time, by Dave Cooley at Elysian Masters. Also available on double vinyl and regular CD for the first time in years: the original Exile in Guyville, remastered by Emily Lazar at The Lodge.
Buyers have the option of purchasing the remastered Exile in Guyville on 2xLP / CD or purchase the box set which includes Exile in Guyville as well as the Girly-Sound tapes Yo Yo Buddy Yup Yup Word To Ya Mutha, Girls! Girls! Girls! and Sooty. The box set also includes a book featuring essays by Ann Powers (excerpted below), Liz Phair, and an extensive oral history of Phair’s collaborators compiled by Jason Cohen. The vinyl edition of the book also includes never before seen photos, artwork, and ephemera.
Both sets will also be available via all digital retailers and streaming services on release date.
If a 7 LP set is not enough (and when is it ever, really) the 3 Girly-Sound tapes, restored by Dave Cooley at Elysian Masters, will be released as replica cassettes in a limited edition of 345 copies. The cassettes will be available as a premium exclusive for those ordering the box set on vinyl or CD through the Matador webstore.
An excerpt from TALKING BACK IN GUYVILLE by Ann Powers
Back in the 1990s, when everybody in a certain corner of the punk scene was reading feminist theory and making mixtapes, people used to go on about “speech acts.” You might wonder, what the hell is a speech act? How is it different than plain old speech? Every time you open your mouth, you’re spraying out your point of view like viral spit. Pointing this out seems a little redundant.
Yet people can easily forget that their words don’t just fall on empty air; they hit people and have the power to infect. “It was nothing,” a guy says, after he’s told a woman her ass looks good in those jeans, or she might hurt herself if she carries something heavy, or it’s kind of a shock that she’s so good at playing guitar. One thing feminists do is point out that the little jokes men make, the condescending asides, even the well-meaning compliments (you’re so pretty, little girl) are epidemic. They keep women an invisible quarantine, away from their own subjectivity, away from power. Or, as Liz Phair says in one of the songs on her immortal Exile in Guyville, “When you said I wasn’t worth talking to, I had to take your word on that.”
A lot of dudes had said a lot of things to Liz Phair by the time she was 23. After college and a year of fucking around in San Francisco, she was back in her parents’ house in the Illinois suburbs, semi-secretly writing and recording songs on a 4-track. She was also running with some guys who loved to tell her how much they knew about rock and roll and what it took to be a real musician. They tended to be startled when they discovered her ambition. When she gave her tapes to a couple of them, they recognized that she was brilliant, but by the time she got a record deal with a cool indie label, many were wondering how and why. “Guyville is wrapped up in how the songs were written and in the way it was created and came about: It’s that girl, that girl having people say you can’t do this, you aren’t good enough to do this, you don’t know what you are doing,” Phair told the journalist Jessica Hopper in a 2013 oral history of her absolutely brilliant, groundbreaking, stereotype-defying debut album Exile in Guyville.
To preview the release of Girly Sound to Guyville, Phair has released a track from Girly-Sound: an early version of the Guyville highlight “Divorce Song” originally heard on Yo Yo Buddy Yup Yup Word To Ya Mutha.
Liz will kick off the “Girly Sound To Guyville Tour,” performing material from the newly reissued set, this Spring with select dates across the U.S. Tickets are on sale next Friday March 23rd at 10am ET.
“Girly Sound To Guyville: The 25th Anniversary Box Set” Tracklist
Exile In Guyville
2. Help Me Mary
4. Dance Of The Seven Veils
5. Never Said
6. Soap Star Joe
7. Explain It To Me
10. Fuck and Run
11. Girls! Girls! Girls!
12. Divorce Song
15. Johnny Sunshine
18. Strange Loop
Yo Yo Buddy Yup Yup Word To Ya Mutha
1. White Babies
3. 6 Dick Pimp
4. Divorce Song
5. Go West
6. Don’t Holdyrbreath
7. Johnny Sunshine
8. Miss Lucy
9. Elvis Song
10. Dead Shark
11. One Less Thing
13. In Love w/Yself
Girls! Girls! Girls!
1. Hello Sailor
3. Fuck And Run
4. Easy Target
5. Soap Star Joe
6. Ant In Alaska
8. Polyester Bride
10. Miss Mary Mack
12. Love Song
5. Open Season
9. South Dakota
Just another elbow in the ribs reminding you that Lucy Dacus’ incredible 2nd album, ‘Historian’, is available today at the planet’s best record shops and via the streaming or download platform of your choice. Dacus’ show tonight at Brooklyn’s Music Hall Of Williamsburg is sold out, and while that’s certainly frustrating for those who snoozed on tickets, she’ll be back in the region before long. AND THERE’S OTHER REGIONS (allegedly).
Copenhagen’s Iceage — Elias Bender Rønnenfelt (vocals, lyrics), Jakob Tvilling Pless (bass), Dan Kjær Nielsen (drums), and Johan Wieth (guitar) — will release their fourth album, ‘Beyondless’, on May 4th. After returning last month with ‘Catch It’, their first new material since 2013’s ‘Plowing Into The Field of Love’, Iceage now share Beyondless’s “Pain Killer”, featuring Sky Ferreira (the first guest vocalist to ever be featured on an Iceage song). Additionally, the band is announcing March residencies in New York and Los Angeles and dates in Japan in April, with their previously announced European and North American tours to follow in May and June.
The album was produced by the band with Nis Bysted, and recorded all-analog by Mattias Glavå at Kungsten Studios in Göteborg, Sweden, and mixed by Randall Dunn at Avast Studios in Seattle. The album was played entirely by Iceage with additional performances by Nils Gröndhal (violin), horns by Kasper Tranberg (trumpet), Lars Greve (saxophones) and Morten Jessen (trombone).
I can totally imagine myself as a kid lying in my closed-door room in the dark, listening to this band and getting what I need, the way a band can make a person feel seen and bring confidence, sometimes even represent an ideal. Or maybe I’m already all defiant and self-certain, and I identify with Iceage because they are too, and they’re who I want to represent me in music. It’s a weird combination of qualities that a rock and roll band and their recordings presents to their young crowd, imparts to them. The music being pure emotion, the strong emotions of youth—anger, sadness, contempt, longing—as well as energy and sex, and the band’s demonstration that it gracefully owns and provides those things, consoling their followers in all the confusion.
What is it that Iceage in particular brings? A large number of extraordinary things. (Poetry! But more about that later.) The band members were childhood friends, which is always good news. They’re like a small urban gang, faithful to each other, suspicious of outsiders (of which music journalists like me are the most suspect examples). At the same time, they seem mature and competent, which is almost too much to hope for. They not only play and compose well, but the production of their records, from the very beginning, and at the music’s most chaotic, is impeccable. Their presentation is as hardcore anarchic as any, but much better played, mixed, and recorded than most.
And then there’s the poetry and the intelligence. The members of Iceage are not only smart but hyper literate. Interviews with E. Rønnenfelt, the lead singer and lyricist of the band, find him mentioning Carson McCullers, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter; Georges Bataille, Story of the Eye; Peter Shaffer’s Equus; Mishima, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea; Genet’s Thief’s Journal and Miracle of the Rose; The Torture Garden by Octave Mirbeau; Henry Miller on Writing; and James Agee’s A Death in the Family, and that’s in a total of four interviews. It’s not that he flaunts it; he’s simply honest and naturally acknowledges it.
The lyrics of Iceage songs have the most sophisticated vocabulary I can remember finding in rock music. Here’s a favorite example, from “Pain Killer” on the new album:
“Praying at the altar of your legs and feet /Your saliva is a drug so bittersweet / I’ll arrogate what’s there to take. In an evanescent embrace.”
…“Arrogate”??? I half know the word, but I had to look it up to be certain. It means “to claim or seize without justification.” It’s funny because its Latin root also underlies the word “arrogant,” which one might be tempted to apply to Rønnenfelt for the contempt he shows for people who try to understand him. But I sympathize. It is extremely annoying to be characterized by other people. And the shading of meaning of the word “arrogate” brings a subtlety to those lyrics of his that “take” or “seize” or “claim” wouldn’t. Frankly, though, what I really like about those lines is the concept of praying to his lover’s feet. That’s good. It makes me think of a similar instance in another poet, Charles Baudelaire, who wrote in his “Hymn to Beauty”:
“Who cares if you come from paradise or hell, appalling Beauty, artless and monstrous scourge, if only your eyes, your smile or your foot reveal the infinite I love and have never known?”
Perhaps you recall our mid-January premiere of 4 songs from Yo La Tengo’s forthcoming album, ‘There’s A Riot Going On’? And perhaps you don’t — who are we to make assumptions about your attention span and capacity for detail? THE IMPORTANT THING is that we’re sharing another of the album’s standout tracks, “For You Too” in advance of the album’s March 16 release.
On March 2, Matador is releasing the hotly anticipated 2nd album from Richmond, VA’s Lucy Dacus, ‘Historian’, the followup to her unanimously hailed 2016 debut, ‘No Burden’ that established her as one of modern music’s top new voices & songwriters. The album’s first single, “Night Shift”, can be heard above.
‘Historian’ is a remarkably assured 10-track statement of intent that finds Dacus unafraid to take on the big questions — the life-or-death reckonings, and the ones that just feel that way. It’s a record full of bracing realizations, tearful declarations and moments of hard-won peace, expressed in lyrics that feel destined for countless yearbook quotes and first tattoos.
Dacus and her band recorded the album in Nashville last March, re-teaming with ‘No Burden’ producer Collin Pastore, and mixed it a few months later with John Congleton. The sound they created, with substantial input from multi-instrumentalist and live guitarist Jacob Blizard, is far richer and fuller than the debut — an outward flowering of dynamic, living, breathing rock and roll. Dacus’ remarkable sense of melody and composition are the driving force throughout, giving ‘Historian’ the immersive feel of an album made by an artist in full command of her powers, on a new level of truth-telling and melodic grace.
The past year, with its electoral disasters and other assorted heartbreaks, has been a rough one for many of us, Dacus included. She found solace in crafting a thoughtful narrative arc for Historian, writing a concept album about cautious optimism in the face of adversity, with thematic links between songs that reveal themselves on repeat listens — touching on everything from systemic racism to creative burnout to the death of her grandmother. “It starts out dark and ends hopeful, but it gets darker in between; it goes to the deepest, darkest, place and then breaks,” she explains. “What I’m trying to say throughout the album is that hope survives, even in the face of the worst stuff.”
As mentioned earlier this week, Spoon’s omnipresence in the commercial and public broadcast realms continues tomorrow with an appearance on “CBS This Morning” (7am eastern), followed by a broadcast of “A Prairie Home Companion”, live from NYC’s Town Hall at 6pm eastern.
Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile have teamed with Spotify for an intercontinental mixtape exchange in the spirit of their new album Lotta Sea Lice. Listeners can make a new musical friend by submitting a playlist, sending it into the world as a digital postcard and immediately receiving a playlist postcard in exchange.
Harkening back to their 1997 release of three consecutive EPs (‘Dog On Wheels’, ‘Lazy Line Painter Jane’, and ‘3.. 6.. 9 Seconds Of Light’), Belle and Sebastian will release three new EPs under the umbrella title ‘How To Solve Our Human Problems’, with the first EP coming out on December 8th, the second on January 19th, and the third on February 16th (vinyl and digital only). The EP trilogy will culminate with a compilation CD and a limited vinyl box set containing all three EPs, with the option of a box just for EP3 for those who have already purchased 1 and 2.
Belle and Sebastian has revealed a new song titled “I’ll Be Your Pilot”, which can be found on EP2. The single takes as its subject Stuart Murdoch’s young son: “Having your first kid is a huge event, so I wrapped a lot of things I felt about Denny into the song. Being a dad made me feel a little like the pilot in The Little Prince, hence all the references to the Sahara!”
Just as those three early EPs are a crucial part of the Belle and Sebastian canon, these three new releases aren’t merely a detour between albums, but as definitive releases in their own right. ‘How To Solve Our Human Problems’ is both an era of its own, and part of a long, rich history. ‘How To Solve Our Human Problems’ is, if you like, Belle and Sebastian Redux.
When Belle and Sebastian felt new music percolating, they decided to break from the working methods of the recent years and instead stay at home, record the tracks as and when, often producing themselves, working with friends and collaborators to see what emerged. Working in Glasgow gave them the freedom to work without the constraints that making an album can impose: they could take their time honing and experimenting.
One thing that has defined Belle and Sebastian has been their relationship with fans, and that’s apparent in the new EPs. For the three sleeves, the group issued a call to fans to come to be photographed by Murdoch at a studio in Belsize Park in North London. Fifty were selected, and all those photographed were also recorded answering the question: “How do you solve your human problems?”
The 3×12″ boxset is available with two different purchase options. You can buy the set as a subscription which will ship an EP to your door each month, starting with the first EP on December 8th, the second EP on January 19th and the third EP and box + poster on Febraury 16th.
OR you can buy the 3×12″ boxset as a complete set, which will ship to arrive on February 16th, 2018.
Alternatively, you may purchase a CD compilation of the 3 EPs, which will also ship to arrive on February 16th, 2018.
The 3 EPs are also available individually, without the boxset and poster, on each of the dates listed above. You can buy EP 1 HERE, EP 2 HERE and EP 3 HERE.
Brooklyn-via-Baltimore singer /songwriter/guitar prodigy Lindsey Jordan aka Snail Mailis the latest addition to the Matador Records roster. Snail Mail will release a full-length album in 2018, following Sister Polygon’s 2017 12″ reissue of the of the introductory cassette, ‘Habit’. Snail Mail’s NPR Tiny Desk concert premiered this morning, and might provide a hint or several why press, musical peers (including but not limited to Waxahatchee, Priests and Girlpool), and yeah, record labels have taken so much interest in a short spell..
(prior praise for ‘Habit’)
“There’s no grandstanding here, no attempts at hiding how truly confusing it is to be young and feel like the world is simultaneously infinite and hopeless. Perhaps that is why Snail Mail sound so alive despite much tangible optimism: there’s no person behind a curtain, the ugly resides in reality.” – Quinn Moreland, Pitchfork
“Jordan has a voice that only comes along every now and then … she is able to fit a universe of emotion into a single turn of phrase without any vocal affectation … whether she’s muttering or shouting, you feel the heartbreak, the frustration, the joy that came with writing these lyrics” -Stereogum
“a minimalist swirl of drowsy tempos, unassumingly meticulous guitar parts, and the sort of entry-level existentialism that’s too pure to be pretentious.” – Patrick D. McDermott, The Fader
Julien Baker will release her highly anticipated second album,’Turn Out The Lights’ on October 27th, 2017. An early preview can now be heard in the first single “Appointments”, a viscerally moving track that culminates in a swell of Baker’s voice, guitar, and piano. ‘Turn Out The Lights’ will arrive nearly two years to the day after her debut LP, ‘Sprained Ankle’ (originally released by 6131) and is now available for pre-order HERE.
Recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Baker’s hometown of Memphis, TN, ‘Turn Out The Lights’ expands upon the sound and vision of Sprained Ankle while retaining the haunting, confessional songwriting style for which she has become known. Throughout the album, she reflects on experiences of her own and those closest to her, exploring the internal conflicts that wrestle inside us all: how we deal and cope with our struggles, and how it all impacts both ourselves and our relationships of all kinds. The result is a deeply empathetic album that embraces the grays and complex truths of humanity and mental health. Turn Out The Lights was written and produced by Baker, and mixed by Craig Silvey (The National, Arcade Fire, Florence & the Machine).
3. Turn Out the Lights
5. Sour Breath
7. Everything That Helps You Sleep
8. Happy to Be Here
9. Hurt Less
11. Claws In Your Back
10/12 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade +
10/13 – Saxapahaw, NC – Haw River Ballroom +
10/14 – Asheville, NC – The Grey Eagle +
10/15 – Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theater +
10/17 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club +
10/18 – Millvale, PA – Mr. Smalls Theatre +
10/20 – Madison, WI – Majestic Theatre +
10/25 – Montreal, QC – Theatre Fairmount +
10/27 – New York, NY – Town Hall +
10/28 – Somerville, MA – Somerville Theatre +
10/29 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer +
11/03 – The Hague, NL – Crossing Border Festival
11/04 – Utrecht, NL – Ekko
11/06 – Bristol, UK – The Lantern
11/07 – Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club
11/08 – Glasgow, UK – CCA
11/09 – Dublin, IE – Whelans
11/10 – London, UK – Union Chapel *SOLD OUT*
11/12 – Brussels, BE – Autumn Falls
11/14 – Berlin, DE – Heimathafen Neukolln
11/15 – Hamburg, DE – Uebel & Gefahrlich
11/16 – Düsseldorf, DE – New Fall Festival
11/17 – Madrid, ES – El Sol
11/18 – Braga, PT – Theatro Circo
11/19 – Barcelona, ES – La De Apolo
11/29 – Knoxville, TN – Bijou Theatre
11/30 – Nashville, TN – Marathon Music Works
12/01 – Memphis, TN – 1884 Lounge
12/02 – St. Louis, MO – Delmar Hall +
12/04 – Boulder, CO – Fox Theatre +
12/07 – Spokane, WA – The Bartlett +
12/08 – Seattle, WA – Neptune Theatre +
12/09 – Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre +
12/10 – Portland, OR – Aladdin Theater +
12/12 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore +
12/14 – Los Angeles, CA – Palace Theatre +
12/15 – San Diego, CA – The Irenic +
12/16 – Phoenix, AZ – The Crescent Ballroom +
12/18 – Austin, TX – Emo’s +
12/19 – Houston, TX – The Heights Theater +
12/20 – Dallas, TX – The Kessler Theater +
* supporting Belle & Sebastian
# supporting Ben Folds
+ Half Waif supports
Julien Baker online:
“A collection of songs that articulates that fury and despair with such authority, it deserves to become the soundtrack for whatever future documentary montage captures the mess of 2017. It’s galvanizing, uncompromising, and uplifting, and it should speak to everyone who still has some fight left in them.” – Sean O’Neal, The A/V Club
Today marks the long-awaited release date for Algiers’ incendiary 2nd album, the critically-acclaimed ‘The Underside Of Power’, available on digital, CD and LP formats at the url below. The first song from the Adrian Utley and Ali Chant-produced masterpiece, “Walk Like A Panther” (featuring a sample culled from a speech by Chicago Black Panther Fred Hampton), can be heard above in lyric video form.
In addition to the previously announced European stadium dates supporting Depeche Mode and this summer’s headlining club shows in North America, Algiers have more US dates happening in September supporting !!! (see below).
(directed, produced and edited by Henry Busby and Marcus Tortorici)
Hot on the heels of NPR premiering the album’s title track earlier this morning, we’re very proud to announce the release of Algiers‘ long-awaited 2nd album, ‘The Underside Of Power’ (June 23). LP preorders (starting today) will include the limited edition “Walk Like A Panther” 7″ and 16 page ‘zine created by Algiers.
Produced by Adrian Utley (Portishead) and Ali Chant, mixed by Randall Dunn (Sunn O)))), with post-production by Ben Greenberg (Uniform, Hubble), ‘The Underside Of Power’ zooms across a musical landscape including but not limited to Southern rap to British grime to horror movie soundtracks to late-70s English industrial to Northern Soul. In the wake of our current political climate, Algiers cast a withering gaze on subject matter ranging from oppression, whiteness, police brutality, dystopia, and hegemonic power structures.
Now a four-piece, with the addition of Bloc Party’s Matt Tong on drums, the Atlanta-London-NYC band will bring their intense live show to major East and West Coast markets this summer, following an previously announced arena & stadium tour with Depeche Mode in Europe.
1. Walk Like A Panther
2. Cry Of The Martyrs
3. The Underside Of Power
4. Death March
5. A Murmur. A Sign.
6. Mme Rieux
9. Plague Years
10. A Hymn For An Average Man
11. Bury Me Standing
12. The Cycle/The Spiral: Time to Go Down Slowly
This is the musical response that dark times demand, one that not only shakes its fist but deploys it. Locally-informed global citizens, Algiers refuse to sit idly by while most contemporary artists appear perfectly content to sit out the revolution. Not only do Algiers harbor a purposeful sense of obligation in what they do on their latest resistance record The Underside Of Power, but they recognize the roots and thorns of precedent in said resistance.
“This album was recorded in a political environment that collapses the late 70s economic crisis and the looming onslaught of arch-conservative neoliberalism, via Thatcher and Reagan, into the late 1930s, a world riven by fascist nationalism and white power fantasies in the US and abroad,” says bassist Ryan Mahan. Their shared experiences and collective understanding of this rising tide of sinister politics compels them to make music together, to combat the potentially crippling waves of frustration and despair to let out a soulful roar, a call-to-action set to an eclectic, positively electric beat.
The inclination to do otherwise is one worth fighting. Take Algiers frontman Franklin James Fisher, for example. Writing incendiary and even beauteous lyrics from inside a Manhattan nightclub’s coat check room, enduring the same damn songs thumping away nightly in the next room for the pleasures of a predominantly white audience, he tends to see the bigger picture as well as its pointillistic details.
“This nightclub is every nightclub in the world, basically. Whatever is being played there, whatever is happening there is happening everywhere else in the world,” he says. “It’s as if the entire history of music is boiled down to these fifteen artists–and I use the term loosely,” he says with an exasperated, dismissive sneer. With the world burning outside, a generation’s obliviously privileged dances to a carbon copied soundtrack.
It speaks volumes that a black man in America with an expensive Master’s degree–and all its overwhelming personal debt–finds himself picking up shifts at such a place that literally manifests the culture industry’s exploitation and commodification of black experience. An aptly unjust fate, Fisher is confined to an enclosed space while others move their feet freely mere steps away from him. “You have to find ways of getting through it without completely losing your mind. Luckily I’m able to escape inside my own head.”
Fortunately, the multiracial quartet Algiers provides more than mere distraction, but rather a revelatory creative release and wholesale rejection of the globally normative corporate playlist culture. Poke at the seasoned members’ bruised flesh, and out come wafting touchpoints as disparate and intriguing as Big Black, Wendy Carlos, John Carpenter, Cybotron, The Four Tops, Portishead, Public Image Limited, Steve Reich, and Nina Simone, to name but a few. Deep echoes of Black Lives Matter and its 20th century forbears gather, surge, and subside in their often soulful work, a form of principled, acute dissent more interested in learning from the past than in evoking nostalgia.
And while many artists seem uninterested or even afraid to fully engage with these potent topics in song, Algiers has zero qualms about taking a direct approach. “We’re fortunate enough now where we’re able to openly talk about racist, violent police and murderous state structures,” says Mahan. “When we were growing up in the South, these critiques of class and race oppression were largely and sometimes violently suppressed. It’s why we take inspiration from the Panthers or the Chicano movement, to name two.”
Adding to this Casbah rocking mix of ideas is the relatively recent inclusion of drummer Matt Tong, formerly of Bloc Party. Joining the group for the touring cycle following their prior album, he’d spent time gelling with the original trio as a core component of their simply ferocious live sets to understand and help shape the dynamic. For a band that seems to revel and thrive in flux, Tong’s substantial role in the making of The Underside Of Power worked out well.
Beyond the technical necessities living their respective lives both in and outside of music, Algiers’ continued deviation from a more traditional band approach created a more versatile sound, one that better incorporates a collective and respective panoply of influences and styles.
Some of this is informed by their choice of collaborators in this process, a crew that includes Adrian Utley [Portishead], Ben Greenberg [Uniform, The Men], Randall Dunn [Sunn 0)))], among others. Pick any track off The Underside of Power and the reference points expand exponentially, a dizzying and thrilling Recommended-If-You-Like list that would consume a series of afternoons.
Featuring a fully-sanctioned sample of slain Black Panther Fred Hampton, the revolutionary “Walk Like A Panther” presents an alternate reality where Adrian Sherwood produced Yeezus instead of Rick Rubin, with Fisher bellowing justifiable threats over a storm of formidable sonics. “Death March” fuses post-punk primacy to the Italo-horror tradition, in an effort to mirror a looming and perpetual sense of modern dread. Elsewhere, the raucous “Cleveland” turns into a full-on demonstration, with names of victims of institutionally sanctioned racial violence like Sandra Bland and Tamir Rice invoked over a neck-snapping electro beat.
The dangerously poppy title track finds a glorious midpoint between Suicide and The Temptations, making for the catchiest expression of outrage this side of the ‘70s. A molotov cocktail of a single, that particular song represents a potential paradox for Algiers, the maintaining of a renegade righteousness in the midst of a peppy soul tune. “It’s more important than ever in this particular time, but it’s something we’ve never shied away from,” says Tesche.
The band doesn’t concern themselves with that risk. “No matter what your messaging is, you can’t control what people will or won’t take away from it,” says Mahan. “The only thing you can do is put stuff of substance out there.” – Gary Suarez
Hey, look at us, actually repressing a couple of Kurt Vile EP’s you’ve been trying to acquire for far too long. On May 19, we’re reissuing the 6-song ‘So Outta Reach’ (2011) on blue vinyl and on the same day, 2010’s ‘Square Shells’ on opaque colored vinyl. Activate your preorder skills below :
In addition, Kurt’s playing 3 Eastern datesin June including a free show at Portsmouth, NH’s Prescott Park Arts Festival and a rather intimate show in the town made famous by Howard Stern (and infamous by Homestead Records) Rockville Centre, NY.
Perhaps you’re saying to yourself, “doesn’t this sound a bit Peter Lemonmoodring?” and you’d be right. However, we’re sure you’ll find the experience far more rewarding. When you create a Spoon Spotify playlist, the Aura Reader analyzes that playlist, then creates a individualized version of the ‘Hot Thoughts’ album cover with different colors in the artwork’s signature watercolor skull, creating a reflection of each fan’s own… (SAFE FOR WORK) Hot Thoughts.
The customized ‘Hot Thoughts’ skulls can then be used by as avatars on Twitter, Instagram, and various other social media. Because we’re ALL ABOUT SKULLS .