Music Releases 10-08-21
After releasing their 2010 album Treats on Mom+Pop--which became an indie classic, deemed 'Best New Music' by Pitchfork, 'phenomenal' by Paste Magazine, 'pop smarts' by Rolling Stone, and a 'game-changer' by Stereogum--Sleigh Bells have returned to the label for their fifth studio album, Texis, out September 10, 2021, the day after their sold-out Treats 10-Year Anniversary show at Webster Hall and ahead of a headline US tour throughout October and February.
Sometimes, the best place to begin is at the end. If you really want to dig deep into Illusory Walls, the fourth album by THE WORLD IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE & I AM NO LONGER AFRAID TO DIE, it definitely helps to do that. That’s because epic closer “Fewer Afraid”—all 19 minutes, 44 seconds of it—doesn’t just revisit the themes and ideas on the ten songs that precede it, but also offers a self-aware summary of the Connecticut band’s entire history. It’s the conclusion of all the stories within the record as well as a nod to all the lives that helped make them—little glimpses of everything that’s come before, on both a micro, immediate level, and a more universal one. “That song is a higher level look at my whole life and the whole world,” explains vocalist/guitarist David F. Bello, “as well as the album, our band and our discography. It places the band in the context of the rest of the world, as if we’re listening to everything that came before. It touches on all the themes of the previous songs, but there are also callbacks to songs
from earlier in our career. But in this song, they’re the object, not the subject—I’m talking about a world in which these things happen, not talking about these things happening.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the band—completed by Steven K. Buttery (drums and percussion), Joshua Cyr (bass/vocals) and Katie Dvorak (vocals/synth)—had nothing but time to realize the full extent of their musical and thematic aspirations. And so, four years on from lauded third album Always Foreign, they were able to make what is undoubtedly the band’s most ambitious and epic record to date. Written and recorded remotely—a first for the band—Illusory Walls takes on the weight of human existence while it’s buckling under the pressure of today’s near-dystopian society. Personal anxieties and political struggles collide with a series of portentous, apocalyptic and dramatic tunes, resulting in some of the darkest music the band has made since forming in 2009.
Noah Gundersen returns with his much anticipated new album, ‘A Pillar of Salt’ out October 8th ahead of a US headline tour kicking off October 9th. The project is a return to form for Gundersen, coupling heartfelt lyrics with his signature understated vocal performance. Featuring singles “Sleepless in Seattle” and “Atlantis,” a stunning duet with Phoebe Bridgers, fans old and new will be celebrating this triumphant piece of art.
Nightmare Daydream, the debut album from the formidable rock trio, The Velveteers, is the culmination of the raw power and electric voice of singer/guitarist Demi Demitro with the primal rhythm of two drummers, Baby Pottersmith and Jonny Fig. Fused with the studio prowess of GRAMMYr Award winning producer, Dan Auerbach, the album is a crushing combination of 70s style psychedelia and the hard rock of the California desert. CD Softpak with booklet.
‘22 Break’ is about Anthony and Josephine’s relationship over the past year or so, and how after having toured and made music together continuously up to the lockdown last year, found themselves alone and in each other’s company for the first time in a long time - testing their relationship to the breaking point. Bespoke CD packaging.
Vinyl: $22.98 Buy
Why Do Birds Sing? is the 5th studio album from the textbook American cult band, Violent Femmes. It was their last studio album with original drummer, Victor DeLorenzo. Featuring the fan favorite “American Music,” which reached #2 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Chart, as well as a cover of Culture Club’s “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me.” “The momentum of the song [“American Music”] and the album that spawned it provided a springboard for the band to bona fide cult status.” – Rolling Stone.
S. Raekwon, born Steven Raekwon Reynolds on July 10, 1995, is a singer/songwriter and producer from New York City by way of Buffalo, NY. The S. Raekwon project finds Reynolds documenting traces of a life both affected and infatuated by the power of difference. Reynolds’ journey began as a biracial Black boy in working-class Buffalo. He never met his father and grew up with a white mother who loved musical theatre and playing piano. He didn’t cut his teeth via a DIY scene, or in bands with neighbors and classmates; the isolation gave him space to channel his guarded nature into a freedom forged by the noises in his head.
After graduating from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Reynolds moved to the East Village in NYC, an area he’s been fascinated by since family trips as a teenager. In Spring 2018, as he worked a day job and sought connections with others, Reynolds wrote and tracked the first S. Raekwon demos in his dingy studio apartment. Rather than self-releasing, Reynolds shopped the demos around, leading to the release of his 2020 debut single Parts Towards Whole b/w A Crow’s Smile via Saddle Creek’s Document Series.
Recorded between New York City and a six-month stint at his girlfriend’s parents’ home in Edwardsville, IL during the pandemic, Where I’m at Now is the album S. Raekwon made for himself with a clarity that arrived as he located his missing pieces in the world. Delicate as his approach may be, chaos truly underscored the two working years as Reynolds not only moved to lift the weight of the world off his spirit but connected with his roots. In a serendipitous turn of fate, Edwardsville was not only the same town Reynolds’ father once went to college but is also in close proximity to St. Louis where most of Reynolds’ Black family members are located. When he didn’t work on music, he protested against police violence in Missouri, and eventually reconnected with this family for the first time since his childhood. Upon leaving Edwardsville in September 2020, Reynolds quickly finished the rest of the album, charged by a new fire in his spirit and the light of his blood driving him towards a new beginning.
Where I’m at Now embodies several palpable shifts in the S. Raekwon project, and Reynolds as a man. Completely self-produced and self-recorded (save for drums on two songs,) the music’s driven by the relentlessness of the East Village and the quiet serenity of Edwardsville. The abstractions of his earlier musings transform into a warm wave of genreless coherence, drawing influences from across R&B, rock, folk, and pop to build a record that shines in its quiet spaces as much as its sweeping movements.
Following their last release, The Day Before Halloween - an imaginative, distorted-synth-driven concept album - Atmosphere returns with a refreshing new project, simply titled WORD? Steering back toward their signature sound, the album further highlights producer Ant's undeniable talents as the project leans into the classic boom-bap aesthetic, bringing a unique energy out of Slug's wisdom, wit and delivery. From onset, WORD? proves to be every bit an exercise in refining and advancing their craft as it is a harkening to earlier work. That is, while their releases have grown more broodingly cinematic, and increasingly concerned with the human condition and mortality, WORD? manages to reintroduce moments of levity and lightheartedness throughout, an approach seldom heard on their albums of late.
Almost two years since the release of Sam Fender’s critically acclaimed debut album, Hypersonic Missiles, debuted at #1 on the UK album chart, he now readies its follow up. Seventeen Going Under is a coming-of-age story. It’s the story of a young teen losing his innocence, but then finding strength to stagger blindly into adulthood and all that entails.
Bauhaus, L'Appartamento, produced and mixed by Younghusband's Euan Hinshelwood, firmly establishes Bardo's musical adventurousness and prowess, and marks a cathartic and self-affirming moment for an artist who found her voice by realizing it's been there all along. Each track on the album opens a new door. In the resonant and memorable opener 'The Most,' Bardo is bold in her declaration of romance and devotion. The twinkling, gauzy guitars of 'Do This To Me' find Bardo world-weary and desperate for resolution. The off-kilter distortion of 'Impossible' and its spoken word in her native tongue see Bardo's Italian roots become entwined with the '90s American artists whose music continues to inspire her. She raises awareness for the importance of mental health with last year's single 'It's Okay (To Not Be Okay)'. The album is best summed up by the woman who wrote it all: 'Bauhaus, L'Appartamento is about loneliness, solitude, separation...but also unconditional love,' Bardo reveals of the record's overarching themes. 'Family, emotional dependency, mental health issues, feelings of emptiness and numbness, feelings of not being enough, inability to be in control of my own emotions, self-doubt, self-reflection, past traumas and dealing with them.'
Sugarcult's debut album avoids settling into the comfortable, predictable territory of a single genre. Instead, the band brings together the universal qualities from all the music they love. In doing so, the band was able to deliver the three hit radio singles "Bouncing Off The Walls," "Pretty Girl" and "Stuck In America" that ultimately brought them to mainstream success. This release celebrates the 20th anniversary of the album and features three bonus tracks. Gatefold Jacket.
To emerge from a global pandemic with a renewed sense of situational awareness, hard won insight, and a new album is the kind of move we’ve come to expect from THRICE over the last twenty years. With Horizons/East, Dustin Kensrue and his bandmates address, with candor and courage, the fragile and awkward arrangements that pass for civilization, while inviting us to dwell more knowingly within our own lives. Without surrendering any of the energy and hard edge of their previous albums, they’ve given us a profoundly meditative work which serves as a musical summons to everyday attentiveness.
Since forming THRICE with guitarist Teppei Teranishi, bassist Eddie Breckenridge, and drummer Riley Breckenridge in 1998, Kensrue has never been one to back down from a mental fight. This mood is set by the opening synth-driven number “Color of the Sky,” which sounds well-suited to accompany the closing credits of the Stranger Things season finale. Think Flying Lotus giving way to Elbow and setting the listener down in a new dimension. A self-recorded effort, Horizons/East conveys a palpable sense of danger, determination, and possibility.
With a list of credits from Kesha, Dolly Parton and Deer Tick, Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town, pedal steel savant Spencer Cullum is one of Nashville’s most in-demand session cats. That’s in addition to making up half of the space-country duo Steelism. Clearly he’s had little trouble fitting in since moving from his native London to Music City. Now, with a debut solo album that pays homage to the ’60s and ‘70s psych-pop, folk and proto prog heroes of his homeland, this Nashville sideman’s stepping out from the shadows into the spotlight. Along with a supporting cast of guitarist Sean Thompson and multi-instrumentalist Luke Reynolds, as well as singing and writing partners like Caitlin Rose, Andrew Combs and Erin Rae — he’s bringing a bit of Britain to TN.