New Release Round-Up 02-16-18
Belle & Sebastian - How To Solve Our Human Problems [Limited Edition LP Box Set] - Matador
A new Belle & Sebastian release is always something to cheer. So three new releases leads to the inevitable conclusion: three cheers! Here is the latest installment in a career that has always pursued a singular and delightful vision of what pop represents and what it can achieve, a career that has seen them triumph against the odds to win a Brit award, be one of the first bands to curate their own festival, and play at the official London residence of the US ambassador (the last president’s ambassador, not the current one’s). Murdoch, as ever, is not the only writer. Sarah Martin (violin/vocals) brought in the delicious ‘The Same Star’, which marries Belle and Sebastian’s melodiousness to a pounding Motown backbeat, and was produced by Leo Abrahams (Ghostpoet, Wild Beasts, Regina Spektor). “We’d met Leo in February of 2016, and I’d say that meeting and the recording of ‘I’ll Be Your Pilot’ were the first tangible steps of this EP project,” Martin says. “We didn’t have a stack of songs to play him, but we liked him and he became a part of the plan from that point - and when I’d got to a point with ‘The Same Star’ where it just needed to be recorded, I thought it could benefit from having a producer to steer things, and fortunately we had a slot in the diary marked ‘Leo’ coming up. It’s not a song we’d laboured over playing for months - it fell together quite quickly thanks in large part to Bob’s [Bobby Kildea, guitarist] enthusiasm and Stuart’s willingness to dismember an old song and repurpose the break, so that it wasn’t just the same three chords over and over and over.” There’s one big reason why 15 songs are coming out on three EPs, rather than one album. “We’d made a couple of LPs, Tigermilk and If You’re Feeling Sinister, within the space of six months,” Murdoch says, remembering the early days of the band’s career, and how that fed into their decision-making this time.
Pianos Become The Teeth - Wait For Love - Epitaph
Wait For Love, their fourth album, sees Pianos Become The Teeth taking another sonic step forward to craft a musical statement that truly transcends genres. The Baltimore natives have produced a collection of songs that feature lush soundscapes and a more nuanced and melodic sound when compared to the screamo-aggression of their early work. Fans who have followed the band’s trajectory—from their 2013 split with Touché Amoré—can trace the way the band’s sound has evolved from a melodic screamo act to a group that create heaviness and weight via raw emotion instead of distortion and dissonance.
Superchunk - What A Time To Be Alive - Merge Records
After the shocking, and for many, demoralizing result of the 2016 election, “I didn’t buy the silver lining some were promoting that ‘well, at least art and music will be great now!’,” says Superchunk co-founder and frontman Mac McCaughan. “Obviously, any sane person would gladly trade four to eight years of terrible music for not having our country dismantled to satisfy the whims of a vengeful child and his enablers.” That said, good music and art still have a lot to say, and the urgency of current events gave Mac, Laura, Jim, and Jon the momentum to make something new sooner than later. “It would be strange to be in a band, at least our band, and make a record that completely ignored the surrounding circumstances that we live in and that our kids are going to grow up in.” Enter What A Time To Be Alive, Superchunk’s first album in over four years, out February 16, 2018, on Merge Records. It’s a record, says Mac, “about a pretty dire and depressing situation but hopefully not a record that is dire and depressing to listen to.”
Ought - Room Inside The World - Merge Records
On Room Inside The World—Ought's third album and their first for Merge—growing up doesn’t mean mellowing out so much as it means learning to pay attention, listening carefully and openly, staying somewhere long enough to really understand where you are. Recorded at Rare Book Room in Brooklyn with producer Nicolas Vernhes (Deerhunter, Animal Collective, Silver Jews), Room Inside the World explores themes that have always concerned the band—identity, connection, survival in a precarious world—but with a bolder, more nuanced sound palette. Vibraphone, justly intonated synthesizers, drum machines, and a 70-piece choir suffuse the precise post-punk breakdowns that spangled Ought’s first two albums, giving rise to an emotional complexity that pushes their characteristically taut sound to greater depths.
Born Ruffians - Uncle, Duke & The Chief - Yep Roc Records
Produced by Richard Swift (Foxygen, The Shins), Uncle, Duke & The Chief is a record less concerned with what sounds hip than what feels good. In the Born Ruffians case that meant shedding some of their more arty influences (the Pixies, Talking Heads) and reconnecting with the sounds they first heard on their parents turntables as kids: Buddy Holly, The Everly Brothers, and pre-psychedelic Beatles. It's about going back to the deepest, most satisfying itch to scratch, says lead singer Luke Lalonde. And in doing so, the album takes you back to a time when the Ruffians sounded less like a band and more like a gang, raising a wild ruckus and speaking in telepathic tongues.
Caroline Rose - Loner - New West Records
The songs and narrative’s on Loner reflect my life over the last couple years––I joined Tinder, I got my first apartment and painted it teal, I went to parties, I discussed politics, I had a girlfriend, we traveled the country, we broke up. I learned, for better or worse, how to be a member of the modern world. Turns out the modern world is terrifying. Tired of the bottomless pit of sad songs, I decided to put a spin on my greatest songwriting inspirations––misogyny, unplanned pregnancy, Capitalism, anxiety, loneliness and death––and wrap such depressing subject matter in a sprightly, angsty pop burrito…Because it’s hard being serious all the time and sometimes sad songs just need a cocktail. Loner reflects the styles of music I love––pop, folk, punk, electronic, and surf music––all thrown into a blender with a ladle full of cheeky satire. I call it Schizodrift. It sounds like Blondie drunk on mai tais. Loner was co-produced by myself and the wonderful Paul Butler (Devendra Banhart, Michael Kiwanuka, St. Paul & The Broken Bones) and recorded in freezing Northern California, in addition to my parent’s attic and my last apartment. It was mixed by sound guru Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Nick Hakim, Show Me The Body) in Brooklyn, NY. - Caroline Rose
Joshua Hyslop - Echos - Nettwerk Records
Joshua Hyslop's new album Echos, releases on February 23, 2018 (Nettwerk) and is an empathetic collection of stories reflecting the Vancouver based singer/songwriters personal experiences as well as those around him. Since emerging with his 2012 full-length debut Where The Mountain Meets The Valley, Joshua Hyslop has accumulated over 65 Million streams worldwide, performed over 200 shows spanning North America and Europe, garnered critical acclaim and support throughout the media and industry peers, and has carved out an impressive diehard fan base.
For more information on these and other releases out this week, check out our New Releases charts by week section and don't forget that many of these titles are also available on vinyl.