• Ben Lee

New Releases: 19th March 2021

Ben brings you all the new releases and reissues to arrive at The Vinyl Whistle this week, featuring releases ranging from indie, rock, pop punk, techno, ambient, experimental, hip-hop, electronica, folk, soul, jazz, dance, acid folk and pop. To order, you can find the items on the links below. Here's Ben's roundup of his Top 10 Picks of the week:

Arcade Fire & Owen Pallett - Her (OST) (Soundtrack)


Composed by Grammy Award-winning band Arcade Fire and their long-time collaborator and bandmate Owen Pallett, the score for Spike Jonze’s critically acclaimed 2013 film Her has never been released, until now. The film’s lush, piano-driven soundtrack received a nomination for “Best Original Score” at the 2014 Academy Awards and is regarded as one of the best film soundtracks of the past decade. Wistful, delicate and brimming with nostalgic warmth, the Her soundtrack is a stunning sonic companion to a story of modern love.

Set in Los Angeles, in the near future, Her follows Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive and unique entity in its own right. Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet “Samantha,” a bright, female voice (Scarlett Johansson) who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. As her needs and desires grow, in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens into an eventual love for each other. From the singular perspective of filmmaker Spike Jonze, Her, which won the 2014 Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, is an original love story that explores the evolving nature—and the risks—of intimacy in the modern world.


Black Honey - Written & Directed (Indie Rock)


Black Honey release their brand-new album – Written and Directed on Foxfive Records.

Written and Directed is Black Honey’s second album. It follows their outstanding self-titled debut released back in 2018 when the world that surrounded the Brighton fourpiece looked and felt like a very different place. Black Honey however are still the bad-ass, truly original band they have always been, they’ve just graduated from the intriguingly anomalous newcomers to becoming one of UK indie’s most singular outfits. They've travelled the world and released a Top 40 album; graced the cover of the NME and become the faces and soundtrack of Roberto Cavalli's Milan Fashion Week show; smashed Glastonbury and supported Queens of the Stone Age, all without compromising a shred of the wild, wicked vision they first set out with.

It's now time for the next instalment of their story – Written and Directed – which see’s Black Honey deliver one, very singular, message – a 10 track mission statement that aims to unashamedly plant a flag in the ground for strong, world-conquering women. For fierce frontwoman and album protagonist Izzy B. Phillips – it’s the most important message she could send to inspire her cult-like fanbase and fill the female-shaped gap that she felt so acutely when she was growing up and discovering rock music for the first time.

Written throughout 2019 and recorded in fits and spurts between touring, Written and Directed is drenched with a hedonistic, anything-goes attitude. It’s also the most full-throttle collection of music that Black Honey have ever-written – egged-on by their run of shows supporting long-term friends and collaborators Royal Blood. Exploring everything from womanhood, to identity and power, it’s an album that revels in the rich history of pop culture, throws a wink to its rock-and-roll heroes, but ultimately (and in true Black Honey fashion) it stands on its own two feet.

With a typically hyper-visual world referencing grindhouse cinema, kitschy pulp films and a flip-reverse of female cinematic representation all primed to unfurl and explode around them, Written and Directed is the sound of Black Honey strapping in and saddling up, of harnessing their quirks, and, as the Phillips has always hoped, riding them joyously into the sunset.


Chris Cornell - No One Sings Like You Anymore Vol 1 (Rock / Acoustic)


No One Sings Like You Anymore is Chris Cornell’s handpicked collection of 10 cover songs, which he personally selected and sequenced to celebrate artists and songs that inspired him, including John Lennon’s “Watching The Wheels,” Janis Joplin’s “Get It While You Can,” a new recording of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” Ghostland Observatory’s “Sad Sad City,” Harry Nilsson’s “Jump Into The Fire,” Carl Hall’s “You Don’t Know Nothing About Love,” Electric Light Orchestra’s “Showdown,” Terry Reid’s “To Be Treated Rite” and two songs currently available as digital singles, Lorraine Ellison’s “Stay With Me Baby” (originally released for HBO’s show Vinyl) and Chris’s 2020 chart topping hit “Patience” originally recorded by Guns N’ Roses.


Lana Del Rey - Chemtrails Over The Country Club (Pop)


Following the success of her 2019 Grammy®-nominated album Norman Fucking Rockwell, Lana releases her highly anticipated seventh studio album Chemtrails Over The Country Club.


DJ Kicks Special Request - Various (Electronic / Experimental / Techno / Jungle)


Special Request continues his impeccable run of form with a typically fervent entry into the DJ-Kicks mix series. His adventurous 25 track mix takes in personal favourites, new school classics and of course a selection of his own brand new and exclusive edits, dubs and reworks next to some overlooked gems.

Leeds based Paul Woolford dares to go where few others do. He can do face-melting underground bangers, peak time piano anthems, ambient cinematics or chart climbing crossover hits. What unites his work as Special Request across labels like Houndstooth and R&S, though, is precision engineering, but never at the expense of real, raw emotion and visceral impact. He is an artist who very much pours his heart into everything he does, and has been on such a prolific run in recent years that it has been impossible to keep abreast of all his many projects. Even in this mix, he hints at yet more new sides and sounds. As always with Special Request, this is an emotional, full spirited ride through the musical mind of one of the most accomplished artists of the day.


Middle Kids - Today We're The Greatest (Indie Rock)


The Sydney-based three-piece Middle Kids release their second album, Today We’re The Greatest via Lucky Number. Recorded and produced in Los Angeles by Lars Stalfors (St. Vincent, Soccer Mummy, Purity Ring), the follow-up to the band’s award-winning 2018 debut, Lost Friends, is their most personal and courageous effort to date. Moving away from lyrics of a more conceptual nature,Today We’re The Greatest is the open, uninhibited product of fearless collaboration. Showing a real vulnerability, Joy is pulling directly from her own experiences and breaking down barriers she had previously set for herself.

The album includes "nervy Strokes-esque floorfiller" (The Guardian) “R U 4 Me?” and their monumental new single, “Questions”, a charged three-minute odyssey which sees Joy struggle poetically with concepts of honesty and intimacy over an explosive rhythm section and a stunningly orchestrated brass-filled climax.

Other tracks like “Run With You”, were written when Joy was a few months into pregnancy with her and Tim Fitz, her husband and bandmate’s, first child. They recorded her 20-week sonogram, and wove the gentle, rapid thump of their baby boy’s beating heart into the last 20 seconds of the track -an exuberant declaration of devotion. Joy’s journey to motherhood and her marriage with Fitz has imbued her songs with a vibrancy that’s unabashedly romantic yet free of clichés. There’s also “Stacking Chairs,” with its unique allegories and Joy’s sunny vocals, that strikes this delicate balance beautifully: it’s a testament to her deep connection with Fitz and the new, “infinitesimal” love that transformed their lives with their son’s arrival.


New Pagans - The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All (Rock)


New Pagans create music that's not only vivid and engaging but also home to massive riffs and rare dynamics. The bands audible influences range from PJ Harvey to Sonic Youth while lyrically the band deliver protest songs, songs about women, songs about mothers and songs about conversations overheard on Belfast's public transport systems. Their live shows are also something to behold and have just been the recipients of the best live act at The Northern Island Music Prize 2020. Music is the focus and an important vehicle for the healthy message the band promotes. New Pagans is a proud advocate for women’s rights, visibility and inclusion in the global music industry – an industry dogged with a history of stark gender inequality.

The arts community and media have responded to the bands refreshing social and historical lyrical stance which includes protest songs, songs of suffrage and an ode to Lily Yeats, the often overlooked sister of Jack and William B and a key mover in the world of Irish arts and crafts back in the day along with her younger sister, Elizabeth. New Pagans have headlined events as part of Women’s Work and Lyndsey McDougall has proudly embraced the demands of live performance and recording whilst pregnant [twice!]. The band are committed to promoting honest inclusion, demonstrating the female force and showing that you can be born as or identify as female, raise a family and have your place as a career musician. Young women, young mothers see Lyndsey as a symbol of strength and hope in her fearless and forthright attitude to motherhood whilst fronting a band. A lot of young mothers feel the need to hide that aspect of their personal life for fear of how people may perceive it as a limit in achieving creative breakthroughs. New Pagans are that breakthrough, a visible work in motion


renforshort - teenage angst EP (Rock / Pop)


The debut EP from renforshort, teenage angst is available exclusively on pink swirled clear vinyl. A candid stream of consciousness, it captures the messiness of growing up in today’s day and age. This EP deftly blends ‘90s alt-rock grunge with modern pop motifs.


AA Williams - Songs From Isolation (Indie / Pop / Rock)


Following excellent reviews for Forever Blue, her July-released debut album, A.A. Williams is back with Songs From Isolation, a 9-track LP of cover versions, and again via Bella Union. The Songs From Isolation project began at the beginning of the UK’s nationwide lockdown in March. A.A. Williams took songs suggested by fans and created a series of videos presenting the tracks with stripped-down instrumentation, recorded and filmed from her home in North London. The album represents a continuation of the project into a full collection of recordings and features cover versions of The Cure, Pixies, Deftones, Nick Cave, Gordon Lightfoot, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails and more.


Nana Yamato - Before Sunrise (Lofi / Electronic / Rock / Japanese)


Nana Yamato with her effortlessly cool debut album on Andrew Savage from Parquet Court's Dull Tools. Nana’s debut LP, much like her previous 7” records released under the Anna moniker, is a strictly DIY affair. Yamato sings and plays guitar, creates beats and Midi melodies, in addition to creating the drawings and design of the LP itself. Produced by P.E.’s Jonathan Schenke, who has worked with Parquet Courts, Liars, and Surfbort, among others, Before Sunrise marks the arrival of an artist who has found her voice. She is not just the pupil of the new arrivals bin, but a life spent as a defiant dreamer, in the secret world that begins after childhood and before sunrise. For fans of Grimes, Cibo Matto, Perfume Genius and Snail Mail.


Here are the best reissues coming out this week at The Vinyl Whistle:

Weyes Blood - Cardamom Times (Pop / Indie)


On vinyl for the first time since its first sold-out pressing in 2015, this fifth anniversary edition of Weyes Blood’s (Natalie Mering) warm and elegiac record, Cardamom Times, features reimagined cover art with the focal image of a desolate paradise during sunset — Jamaica Bay in Queens, NY surrounded by rust. A couple is laying on the ground, caught in a comfort beyond time.

Since the EP’s release, Weyes Blood’s Front Row Seat to Earth (Mexican Summer, 2016) and Titanic Rising (Sub Pop, 2019) were both named Best New Albums by Pitchfork, with the latter making multiple Best Albums of 2019 lists, including The Guardian, Pitchfork, and The Independent. Different from these elaborate albums, Cardamom Timeswas recorded onto reel-to-reel tape at Mering’s home studio in Rockaway Beach, New York.

The songs of Cardamom Times demonstrate Mering’s reverence of devotional music and the avant-garde, channeling the domestic hymns of Sybille Baer through the lens of Baltimore’s experimental DIY scene; the minimal, melodic drones of Terry Riley accompanied by the voices of the Sacre Coeur; the confrontational words of Anaïs Nin along with the warm embrace of St. Augustine.

With Cardamom Times, Mering invites listeners into that space of love and longing, struggle and change, surrounded by the decay of time that perpetually embraces us.


Boise Cover Band - Unoriginal Artists (Indie Rock / Indie Pop)


Limited reissue of a one-off project by Doug Martsch (Built to Spill), featuring Ned Evett, Ian Waters, and John Mullin Includes covers of David Bowie, Captain Beefheart, The Pretenders and more


Lloyd Cole - Antidepressant (Alternative / Indie / Folk)


Antidepressant, originally released in 2006, is Lloyd Cole’s follow-up album to the critically acclaimed Music In A Foreign Language. It is a vivid album, recorded entirely by Cole himself, yet sounding like the production of a full band – a drastic change from the stripped-down sound of Music In A Foreign Language. Above all reigns Cole’s characteristic voice with his distinguished lyricism, ranging from the heartfelt to the sarcastic, which established him as one of the most articulate songwriters of the post-punk era. From the upbeat Bluesrock of the title track to the Country-esque “Travelling Light”, Antidepressant is a confident album with an impressive range.

It is finally available on vinyl for the first time ever via earMUSIC, including a bonus 7” Single featuring ‘Coattails’, a song recorded during the original album sessions which never made it onto the tracklist. Truly a collector’s item that no fan of the British pop-poet would want to miss.


Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms (Half Speed Master) (Rock)


Half-speed vinyl release of the Dire Straits number 1 album Brothers In Arms, mastered by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios. Originally released in 1985, the album features the singles ‘Money For Nothing’, ‘Walk Of Life’, ‘So Far Away’, ‘Brothers In Arms’ and ‘Your Latest Trick’. The winner of multiple Grammy awards, the album was the first ever to be certified 10-times platinum in the UK and is one of the world’s best-selling albums. Part of the UMC half-speed range, the package includes a branded obi-strip and a certificate of authenticity from Abbey Road.


Disclosure - Caracal (Dance / Electronic / House)


Disclosure return with their second album Caracal, after the massive selling debut album Settle. The album features a huge line-up of guest artists including The Weeknd, Sam Smith, Lorde, Gregory Porter, Miguel, Nao, Kwabs, lion Babe to name just a few. Highlights include the disco cut 'Nocturnal', the euphoric gospel track 'Omen' and Ibizia style deep house cut 'Holding On'. It's a party from start to finish that oozes soulful class.


Green Day - Insomniac (25th Anniversary) (Pop Punk. /Alt Rock / Punk Rock)


Green Day’s Insomniac is finally old enough to rent a car (or whatever else you can do when you’re 25, we’re not lawyers), so in order to celebrate the album has been remastered, and we’re throwing in some bonus goodies to boot!

This vinyl double LP includes the cover art printed on prismatic silver foil as well as an additional LP with 8 rare or never previously released live tracks from the Prague stop of the Insomniac world tour on March 26, 1996 and an etched B-side.


Junip - Junip (Rock / Indie)


Just as Fields pushed boundaries and expectations, Junip expands the stylistic palette yet again with unexpected juxtapositions. "We're somewhere between a German jazz band and an African pop band," Gonzalez cracks. As such, infectious album opener (and first single) 'Line of Fire' layers Beatlesque melody on top of a hypnotic groove that splits the difference between flamenco syncopation and krautrock repetition, Gonzalez's heartfelt vocal cresting with emotion as the track builds towards a symphonic climax. 'Baton' also introduces Gonzalez's infectious newfound whistling technique, where he creates hooks literally out of thin air.


The Magnetic North - Orkney Symphony Of The Magnetic North (Folk / Indie. /Alternative)


Repress alert. Haunting debut album from the Magnetic North, the new project from Erland Cooper (Erland and the Carnival), Simon Tong (Gorillaz, Verve, Blur) and Hannah Peel. Orkney: Symphony of the Magnetic North was inspired by a dream of Erland's, in which he was visited by Betty Corrigall, an orcadian girl who in the 1770s committed suicide (having been outcast from her village for falling pregnant out of wedlock). The resulting long player, recorded in various locations across the Orkney Islands, is a collection of beautiful, evocative songs, at times reminiscent of Nancy and Lee, at others King Creosote and Jon Hopkins. The band recorded with the stromabank pub choir while they were in the north, and will be bringing the choir to london later in the year for a live performance.


Mark Knopfler - Local Hero (Half Speed Master) (Folk Rock / Jazz / Ambient)


Half-speed vinyl release of the Mark Knopfler soundtrack to the film Local Hero, mastered by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios. Originally released in 1983, the album features the theme tune 'Going Home'. Part of the UMC half-speed range, the package includes a branded obi-strip and a certificate of authenticity from Abbey Road. 180 Gram black vinyl, cut at half speed. Full colour outer sleeve, facsimile of original artwork. Series-branded obi-strip. Certificate of authenticity from Abbey Road Studios.


The New Age Steppers - Avant Gardening (Reggae / Dub / Psychedelic)


Rare dubs, version excursions and unreleased tracks from the vault 1980 - 1983. In the tradition of archival On-U Sound compilations of recent years such as the Return Of The Crocodile and Churchical Chant Of The Iyabinghi sets for African Head Charge; and the Displaced Masters LP of early Dub Synidcate rarities, On U have gone through the tape vaults to put together this special record of unreleased versions and rarities from the white hot early days of the New Age Steppers, the group that launched the On-U Sound label by appearing on both the first single and album.

Highlights include a restored track from their infamous and long-lost 1983 John Peel session (an ebullient cover of Atlantic Starr’s “Send For Me” featuring a beautifully spirited vocal performance from the much-missed Ari Up), the Jah Woosh deejay cut of “Love Forever”, some rare dubs previously only available on Japanese import CDs, all bookended by two very different takes on Chaka Khan’s “Some Love”. An essential set for collectors of post-punk, dub and other outernational sounds.


Rocksteady Got Soul - Various (Reggae / Dub / Soul)


Soul Jazz Records’ new Studio One release Rocksteady Got Soul is a collection of uplifting and superb rocksteady and soulful reggae from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Studio One is the number one label in the history of reggae and the album features – as ever with Studio One – an impeccable and unbeatable line-up of reggae superstars, all soaring at the height of their creative powers. Alton Ellis, John Holt, The Heptones, Jackie Mittoo, The Ethiopians, Lee Perry and more. The album is a mix of classic tunes and rhythms alongside super-rarities that were released in a dazzlingly complex web of Studio One labels and issues, deftly navigated with new sleevenotes from author and Studio One authority Rob Chapman. But enough with the chatter, just spin the platter – these tunes rule the town, hands down!


Run DMC - Tougher Than Leather (Blue) (Hip Hop)


Too many people sleep on Tougher Than Leather, Run-DMC’s fourth album. But hear us out as we plead the case for this amazing LP. By 1988 there was a lot more competition in the rap game –Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, Eric B. and Rakim, Ice-T and many more had given Hollis, Queens’ prodigal sons lots of competition. But Joe, Darryl and Jay were still at the top of their game, and hip-hop fans should never let this classic – chiefly produced by their Queens neighboir, DJ and multi-instrumentalist Davy D[MX] –get lost in their crates. For starters, the album’s first single, Run’s House / Beats To The Rhyme is arguably the most powerful one-two punch of the trio’s career, showing contenders to the rap throne that they could still destroy a beat, tag-teaming with power at any speed. Not to be lost in the shuffle, fans were also reminded on both sides that Jam-Master Jay remained one of the world’s best DJs, flexing the pinnacle of what would be called “turntablism” a decade later. Both songs show a musical telepathy between all three that has rarely been equaled. The second single, Mary, Mary, driven by an infectious Monkees sample, took a different approach, shrewdly ensuring that pop fans who jumped on the Raising Hell bandwagon had something to chew on. But, like Walk This Way, the song wasn’t just bubblegum –there was an edge to it, and the lyrical gymnastics were very real. It wasn’t selling out, it was allowing fans to buy in. Papa Crazy, driven in concept and by a sample from the Temptations’ Papa Was A Rolling Stone, followed a similar pop-leaning path.

Overall, the lyrical content on the album was a step up from the group’s first three LPs. It’s easy to infer, looking back, that they were feeling the heat from their younger competitors in the rap game. The genre was changing fast, and they were up to the challenge. On cuts like Radio Station they bring substance to the grooves, by attacking Black Radio for its continual denigration of rap. Tougher Than Leather reminds the world that they were still the Kings of Rock, with hard guitars to drive the point home. And They Call Us Run-DMC and Soul To Rock And Roll both bring things back to their early days, with sure-fire park jam rhymes and killer cuts. Tougher Than Leather, which went platinum up against a lot of competition, perfectly bookends the ‘80s output of one of the decade’s most important groups. It encompasses the full range of the trio’s capabilities, and reminds us that Run-DMC should never be forgotten as both pioneers and party-rockers. And so, we say, long live Joe, Darryl and Jay!


Sting - Duets (Rock / Pop)


Duets includes a selection of Sting’s most beloved collaborations throughout his illustrious career. From the melismatic longing of Desert Rose with Rai music singer Cheb Mami and sultry groove of It’s Probably Me with Eric Clapton to the uplifting 44/876 with Shaggy, which yielded his most recent and 17th Grammy award, Sting’s collaborations have become nothing short of cornerstones in the canon of popular music. To celebrate some of these joint-works, he has compiled a special collection to include some of his most beloved duets with collaborators such as Mary J. Blige, Herbie Hancock, Eric Clapton, Annie Lennox, Charles Aznavour, Mylène Farmer, Shaggy, Melody Gardot, Gashi and more. The Duets album also includes the brand new, never-before-released song, September with Italian icon Zucchero, produced by Sting himself and mixed by 4-time Grammy Award winner Robert Orton.


Trees - The Garden Of Jane Delawney (Reissue) (Folk / Rock)


Trees first album, The Garden of Jane Delawney (1970) snuggles nicely into contemporary nu-folkies’ idea of the genre, and shares some of the pastoral-whimsy that characterised The Incredible String Band or Donovan, offset by some stunning interpretations of traditional material and Bias’ own songs. The record includes readings of Lady Margaret, Glasgerion, the old standard She Moved Thro’ The Fair, and the extended fade of the group’s own Road, presage the explosive instrumental duelling that would come to characterise the follow up album, On The Shore.


Trees - On The Shore (Reissue) (Folk / Rock)


It’s now over fifty years since Trees’ formation, a band who helped define ‘Acid Folk’, creating a sub-category in the lexicon of record dealers and music critics alike. Released just months after their debut second album, On The Shore sees a shift from the first record into something darker and more ambivalent with an arcane Englishness.The product of an era characterised by clunky polemic, arcadian sentimentality or English fuzzy-felt surrealism, the album, like all classic records, is so much greater than the sum of its parts. Opening with Soldiers Three, learned from Dave Swarbrick, the album includes another traditional tune and one of the definitive moments in English folk rock Polly On The Shore alongside Sally Free and Easy and Streets of Derry.


Wye Oak - Civilian (Rock / Pop)


originally released march 2011, wye oak’s third album celebrates 10 years in 2021. civilian is the band’s most widely recognized album, and the band’s highest seller. civilian was produced by john congleton (st vincent, shearwater). wye oak is andy stack (of lambchop, joyero, el vy) and jenn wasner (of bon iver, flock of dimes). they started as two friends recording demos together in maryland. their basement project has since evolved to include a shape-shifting catalog and more than a decade of tours across america and europe. jon pareles of the new york times described their evolution: “wye oak segued thoughtful roots-tinged rock into richly overwhelming textural excursions.” // quotes - “wasner’s satin vocals lift, stack couples a key-driven pulse with splashes of delay and crash cymbal, and what we’re left with is fireworks of a dozen colors. they have our attention from beginning to end.” pitchfork // “their music ambushes you, burning not just barns but whole plantations, taut with latent ferocity and brooding bitterness. “ tiny mix tapes


Here are the best of the rest of the new releases arriving at The Vinyl Whistle this week:

Anamanaguchi - Power Supply (Electronic / Chiptune)


Anamanaguchi's driving and dynamic debut EP, recorded while the band was still in high school. First released on the legendary chip music netlabel, 8bitpeoples, these are the seeds of the band's hyper-melodic, digital powerpop flavour - "It is recommended that you sing along with the squarewaves."


The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes are the Last of the Great Thunder (Purple) (Indie / Rock / Shoegazing)


The Besnard Lakes have passed through death and they’r e here to tell the tale. Nearly five years after their last lightning-tinted volley, the magisterial Montreal psych-rock band have sworn off compromise, split with their long-standing label, and completed a searing, 72-minute suite about the darkness of dying and the light on the other side.

The Besnard Lakes Are The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings is the group's sixth album and the first in more than 15 years to be released away from a certain midwestern American indie record company. After 2016's A Coliseum Complex Museum - which saw Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas attempting shorter, less sprawling songs - the Besnards and their label decided it was time to go their separate ways; with that decision came a question of whether to even continue the project at all. What use is a band with an instinct for long, tectonic tunes - rock songs with chthonic heft and ethereal grace, five or 10 or 18 minutes long? How do you sell that in an age of bite-sized streaming? How do you make it relevant?

"Who gives a shit!" the Besnard Lakes realized. Ignited by their love for each other, for playing music together, the sextet found themselves unspooling the most uncompromising recording of their career. Despite all its grandeur, ...The Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings honours the very essence of punk rock: the notion that a band need only be relevant to itself. At last the Besnard Lakes have crafted a continuous long-form suite: nine tracks that could be listened together as one, like Spiritualized's Lazer Guided Melodies or even Dark Side of the Moon, overflowing with melody and harmony, drone and dazzle, the group's own unique weather.

Here now, the Besnard Lakes finally dispensed with the two/three-year album cycle, taking all the time they needed to conceive, compose, record and mix their opus. Some of its songs were old, resurrected from demos cast aside years ago. Others were literally wood shedded in the cabanon behind Lasek and Goreas's Rigaud Ranch - invented and reinvented, relishing this rougher sound. Some of that distortion makes its way into the final mix: an incandescent crackle that had receded from the Besnards' more recent output.


The Datsuns - Brain to Brain (Rock)


Two Brand New Songs From The Upcoming Album ‘Eye To Eye’.


William Doyle - Great Spans Of Muddy Time (Alternative / Electronic / Art Pop / Krautrock / Ambient / Lofi)


It’s nearly a decade since William Doyle handed a CD-R demo to the Quietus co-founder John Doran at a gig, who loved it so much he set up a label to release Doyle’s debut EP (as East India Youth). Doyle’s debut album, Total Strife Forever, followed in 2014, as did a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize. A year later, he was signed to XL, touring the world and about to release his second album – all by the age of 25. After self-releasing four ambient and instrumental albums, Doyle’s third full-length record – and the first under his own name – Your Wilderness Revisited arrived to ecstatic reviews in 2019: Line of Best Fit described it as “a dazzlingly beautiful triumph of intention” and Metro declared it an album not only of the year, but “of the century”. Just over a year later, as he turns 30, Doyle is back with Great Spans of Muddy Time.

“The album this turned out to be – and that I’ve wanted to make for ages – is a kind of Englishman-gone-mad, scrambling around the verdancy of the country’s pastures looking for some sense,” says Doyle. “It has its seeds in Robert Wyatt, early Eno, Robyn Hitchcock, and Syd Barrett.”


Steve Earle & The Dukes - JT (Country / Folk / Rock)


On August 20, 2020 the world lost an amazing light with the passing of Justin Townes Earle. Justin was a vibrant songwriter who could play the blues, country, and rock n roll all in the same song. In his short career, Justin released eight albums and one EP that all manage to sound classic and yet inventive.

Justin's father, Steve Earle, pays tribute to his son by recording an album of songs written by Justin titled, J.T. The album consists of ten Justin Townes Earle songs as well as one song written by Mr. Earle shortly after Justin's passing. J.T.features fan favourites such as Harlem River Blues, Far Away In Another Townand Champagne Corolla along with lyrically heavy songs like, The Saint of Lost Causes and Turn Out My Lights.

J.T. is a loving tribute to a loved son and beautiful songsmith who left this earth too early. But in his wake, Justin left a wealth of beauty. All proceeds from this release will be put into a trust for Justin’s 3 year old daughter, Etta.


Jane Inc - Number One (Pop / Art Rock)


who is jane inc.? she is ceo and pencil pusher; she is a blank, unknowable jane doe, and she is the singular solo project of carlyn bezic. also known as one half of weird-pop duo ice cream, one fifth of rock and roll fever dream darlene shrugg, and touring member of us girls band, bezic has been building a body of work on merging a pop sensibility with off-kilter influences. jane inc's debut album, number one, out on telephone explosion in march 2021, is an exciting progression of that body of work: a meditation on the self that marries pop songwriting with swirling sonic experiments. the eight songs on number one act as pieces of a collage, forming a face that's both familiar and strange, direct and oblique. synths sneer and shimmer, fuzzed-out guitars play against bezic's soothing and hypnotic voice, and a constant and confident bass grounds each track. she brings us into flowing, dreamlike reflections, creating an expansive world that stretches beyond the album’s limits.


Keith Jarrett - Budapest Concert (Jazz)


The second complete show to be issued from Keith Jarrett's 2016 European tour - following on from the widely-acclaimed concert released as Munich 2016 - this double album documents the pianist's solo performance at the Bela Bartok National Concert Hall in Budapest. Jarrett, whose family roots reach back to Hungary, viewed the Budapest concert as akin to a homecoming, and the context inspired much creative improvisation. Where Jarrett's early solo concerts shaped a large arc of music over the course of an evening, the later concerts have generated suite-like structures, comprised of independent "movements", each of them a marvel of spontaneous resourcefulness. Creative energy is applied also to familiar songs given as encores, It's A Lonesome Old Town and Answer Me, transformed in the Budapest concert.


The Kid Laroi - F*ck Love (Hip Hop)


Debut commercial mixtape by Australian rapper / singer. Production was handled by twenty one record producers, including Benny Blanco, Bobby Raps, Cashmere Cat and Taz Taylor. It features guest collaborations from Corbin Smidzik, Juice Wrld and Lil Mosey. It received a nomination for Best Hip Hop Release at the 2020 ARIA Music Awards.


Loretta Lynn - Still Woman Enough (Country / Americana)


The American music icon's 50th studio album (excluding her 10 studio duet collaborations with Conway Twitty), Still Woman Enough celebrates women in country music. From her homage to the originators, Mother Maybelle Carter and the Carter Family (via her cover of "Keep On The Sunny Side") through a new interpretation of her very first single, "I'm A Honky Tonk Girl," Loretta Lynn acknowledges her role in the continuum of American country music with a special collaboration with Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood ("Still Woman Enough"), and duets with Margo Price ("One's On The Way") and Tanya Tucker ("You Ain't Woman Enough"), sharing the musical torch with some of the brightest lights and biggest stars in contemporary country music. The album premieres 13 new Loretta Lynn recordings, intimate and electrifying performances of a career-spanning selection of songs illuminating different aspects of her repertoire. The collection is centred around Loretta's original compositions - from new songs like "Still Woman Enough" (which shares its title and attitude with her 2002 autobiography and was cowritten with her daughter, Patsy Lynn Russell) through fresh interpretations of classics including "I'm a Honky Tonk Girl" (her first single, originally released March 1960), "You Ain't Woman Enough" (the title track for her first #1 Billboard Hot Country Album in 1966), "My Love" (from 1968's Here's Loretta Lynn), "I Wanna Be Free" (1971) and a deeply emotional "Coal Miner's Daughter Recitation," commemorating the 50th anniversary of the release of her signature song (October 5, 1970) and album (January 4, 1971).


Meg Myers - Thank U 4 Taking Me 2 The Disco, I’d Like 2 Go Home Now (Alt Rock / Pop)


These two EP’s are comprised of seven B-Sides from sessions from Meg’s previous 2018 album Take Me to the Disco plus 3 new songs, Grizzly, I Hope You Cry (a duet with her friend Morgxn) and Any Way You Wanna Love (The lead single from the project).


New Bums - Last Time I Saw Grace (Folk / Alternative)


Seven years and a handful of lifetimes ago, New Bums came out of nowhere with their debut album, Voices In a Rented Room - a record the New York Times described as “feeling like it’s falling apart.” New Bums took this as a compliment and, thus emboldened, they toured relentlessly in support of the release: criss-crossing the USA in the spring of 2014, with a European run that summer. Then, silence descended, as the Bums withdrew to the place from which they’d mysteriously emerged.

Now, the Bums are back. 2021 finds them with a new album in hand. Following a West Coast US tour in late 2019 it’s clear that the duo of Donovan Quinn (Skygreen Leopards) and Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance, Rangda, etc) are fully reanimated, as evidenced by the songs and sounds of Last Time I Saw Grace.

Retaining the drunk-dog-locomotion of their debut, New Bums sprinkle a bit of fresh fancy into their signature twin guitars- and-vocals sound, with cleaner recording techniques, further developments in harmonies and a new appreciation for a song with more than two parts, making ‘Last Time I Saw Grace’ nothing less than the perfect progression from the purposefully murky mixes of their debut.

Continuing to embrace an acoustic rock ’n’ roll sound, inspired by artists such as Jacobites, Robyn Hitchcock, Johnny Thunders, Replacements and such, New Bums push the words and the stories to the front of the line, crafting tales with satiric glee on Last Time I Saw Grace. However, this world of empty perfume bottles, bodies tied to masts and moving onward to devastation (after the bottle on the table pulls out a gun) feels much more Gombrowiczian dreamscape than drunken night on the town. Yes, everything is wasted but this is an existential wasteland rather than a substance-laden one. This combination of arch Californian post-aristocratic melodrama with torn and frayed acoustic guitars opens up a new genre entirely, one those at Drag City are tempted to call Rent Control Romantic.


Nirvana - Songlife 1967-72 (UK) (Rock / Psychedelic)


Songlife 1967-72 is a 6 LP vinyl Deluxe Box Set housing all 5 of the band’s pioneering studio albums – The Story Of Simon Simopath, All Of Us, Dedicated To Markos III aka Black Flower, Local Anaesthetic, Songs Of Love And Praise - alongside the never-before released 1972 LP Secrets.

Nirvana were essentially the duo of Irishman Patrick Campbell-Lyons and Greek Alex Spyropoulos – who, following a chance meeting in London during the summer of 1966, took a long, strange trip together.

It is the first time the band’s recorded output has ever been collated together on one release and is an engrossing body of work to explore. These albums sit comfortably with some of the other great works of the time – the Zombies, The Kinks and the Pretty Things included. And whilst Nirvana are most famous for their British psychedelic classic ‘Rainbow Chaser’, as the music contained here displays, there was so much more to them than just that celebrated single, for they reached far and wide into the musical stratosphere with a technicolour vision.

Four of the original albums have been remastered from their original ¼ inch tapes and the box itself comes with a 52-page booklet featuring liner notes from renowned author Peter Doggett, interviews with Patrick and Alex from Nirvana, full discography, rare newspaper clippings, previously unseen photos, posters and sleeves, and an exclusive Gered Mankowitz print signed individually by the band. Of key interest to fans will be the Secrets album which was only recently unearthed in its entirety, its origins began as a musical score that Nirvana had planned on bringing to London’s Theatres and stages in the early Seventies.


Oddisee - Traveling Man (Hip Hop)


As a musician, life is often lived on the road. Each city leaves its imprint on the artist as they develop their craft. Touring, recording, and keeping up with friends and family took Oddisee beyond his hometown of Washington DC to Australia, Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. From cities like East Africa's Khartoum in Sudan, to cosmopolitan jaunts like Paris & Tokyo. The influence of these travels can be heard on every one of the 24 tracks included on Traveling Man.

Each track was produced while Oddisee stayed in the city it was titled after. The result is a 24 city sonic tour of the world. Listen as Oddisee guides you through his instrumental journey around the globe. Visit the lonely winter streets of Detroit, festive San Francisco, hypnotic Khartoum - or let your swagger loose with the theme music of Chicago or the bounce of South Central. Oddisee sees the world, so that you can hear it.


Pierce With Arrow - Shatter (Electronic / Ambient / Minimal Techno / Experimental)


The collaborative debut of American minimal techno pioneer Troy Pierce and Colombian audiovisual artist Natalia Escobar aka Poison Arrow was conceived in reverse: first they created a collection of shadowy surrealist videos, then wrote music inspired by them. This inverted process proved remarkably fruitful. Shatter is a simmering, slow-burn noir odyssey inspired by the Greek myth of Echo and Narcissus, traversing subtle shades of sleepwalker dub, metallic lament, broken beats, and erotic negative space. It's an effectively unsettling evocation of the legend's core theme: “There is nothing more complex than a shattered heart, or a heart that can't love.”

Considering their shared background trafficking in darkened dance floor modes, what's most striking about Pierce with Arrow's partnership is its rhythmic restraint. The album's 10 tracks seethe and shudder between glamor and gloom, with only occasional dread-steeped metronomes mapping the malaise to a grid. They speak of pursuing a “spatial approach” with this project, which manifests in the music's immersive design and patient execution, each mangled clang and rippling pool of bass allowed to reverberate its full flickering waveform.

Guest appearances by austere techno producer Konrad Black (Obsidian Glass) and drum n bass institution dBridge (It's A Love Story, After All) flow seamlessly into the whole, subtle sculptural accents on a dimly lit descent through purgatories of longing and lust. But the shadows recede for the record's closing cut, Narcissus, which swells elegiacally in a mass of devotional drones over a muted heartbeat, like Narcissus gazing upon his reflection in holy awe: elusive true beauty, finally beheld, by itself.


Public Memory - Ripped Apparition (Alternative / Electronic / Indie / Trip Hop)


Since 2016, Public Memory has been crafting lo-fi electronica from the darker corners of the psychic landscape. Gritty atmospherics, damaged synthesizers, and unearthly vocals blend with a mixture of electronic and organic percussion, creating a sense of forceful unease. This, when combined with the shadowy production and emotive singing of Robert Toher, creates a singular contrast between power and vulnerability. Public Memory’s new album, Ripped Apparition, continues to explore these themes. More than anything else that has come before it though, Ripped Apparition is filtered through Public Memory’s narcotic lens–something between dream and nightmare, slowed down and sped up, ugly and beautiful all at once. Rhythm and the power it conjures is still an important part of the album, but the vulnerability behind the power has moved more towards center stage now, however masked by psychic fog and dust it may be. It is as if everything is somehow distilled through a dirty crystal ball in an old opium den, down some long-forgotten alleyway, in some other time.

Upon listening to Epigone, you wouldn’t necessarily expect to be taken so deep into this world. The relaxed beats and airy synths contrast nicely with Toher’s anxious, descending melodies, but the overall impression is lighter, more expansive. Midsummer Shadow, compresses rather than expands. Constricted, claustrophobic drums force the song forward, despite the feeling of walls closing in around them. As in Epigone, synthesizers help to release the listener from the downward pull of the vocals and lyrics. But like the drums, they are ensnared in that same room, attempting to break free of an endlessly recurring obstruction. Butcher, is the sedative, hallucinatory cousin of Epigone. There is space to breathe, and movement here seems possible, but we aren’t sure in which direction that movement is taking us. Spectral chimes conjure visions and reveries, but tape artifacts and vinyl grime keep us rooted in a worn-out world. We aren’t sure if this is past, present, or future.


Skyway Man - The World Only Ends When You Die (Blues / Folk / Rock / Country)


Second full-length project from rock/cosmic country/psychedelic folk singer, songwriter and producer James Wallace, who records as Skyway Man. The World Only Ends When You Die is a cinematic psych folk opera about someone who finds themselves incapable of coping with a new uncertain reality that followed a near death experience. Under a spell of mixed wisdom by several “trickster guides” hailing from the future, this confused person leaps back into the world of the dead only to spend a hero’s journey climbing out, returning to this strange existence of America in 2020.


Ringo Starr - Zoom In EP (Rock)


5 Track EP Zoom In was recorded at Ringo Starr’s home studio from April to October 2020. He collaborated with Jeff Zobar who penned the title track, featuring Robbie Krieger on guitar. Sam Hollander wrote and produced “Teach Me To Tango;” Ringo added vocals and, of course, drums. Ringo co-wrote “Tides Will Turn” with his engineer Bruce Sugar, adding Reggae musicians who played with Bob Marley. “Not Enough Love In the World” was written by long-time All Starr member Steve Lukather and Joseph Williams.


Paul Stanley's Soul Station - Now and Then (Funk / Soul)


Paul Stanley’s Soul Station is a new project from the legendary lead singer of Kiss. Paying homage to influences of his youth, Stanley has called upon a set of seasoned musicians to form Paul Stanley’s Soul Station. Alongside these players, Stanley has recorded a set of classic Motown covers and five original songs on this album. The recording sessions were filmed & turned into a mini-documentary. An additional set of live performance footage will be released in the weeks following as well as a longer documentary about the process of making the album & performance footage.


Devin Townsend - Devolution Series #1 - Acoustically Inclined, Live in Leeds (Metal / Rock / Acoustic)


Devin Townsend brings to you the Devolution Series: a grouping of oddities and interesting material that he would like people to hear, but that aren’t necessarily a ‘major release’. The series includes all the quarantine songs and concerts, as well as various live shows from the past few years. The first release, Devolution Series #1 - Acoustically Inclined, Live in Leeds, is a remixed and remastered version of the Live in Leeds show that was originally included on the Empath Ultimate Edition as video asset. A cool acoustic show that deserves to be heard, now availble as audio version.


Chad VanGaalen - World's Most Stressed Out Gardener (Indie Pop / Rock)


2020 was a terrible year for gardening. It was terrible for peppers, it was terrible for tomatoes, it was terrible for the condition of the soul. But Chad VanGaalen somehow raised a garden all the same: carrots and sprouts and broccoli and a revivifying new album, all of them grown at home. He likes to eat directly off the plant, he says—"I get down on my knees and graze. It's nice to feel the vegetables in your face"—and the 13 songs on World's Most Stressed Out Gardener were harvested with just such a spirit: in their raw state, young and vegetal, at the very moment, they were made. What that means is that the Calgary songwriter's new album is a psychedelic bumper crop. A collection of tunes that does away with obsessiveness, the anxiety of perfectionism, in favor of freshness and immediacy — capturing the world as it was met while recording alone at home over a period of years. "Don't overthink it," VanGaalen told himself again and again, despite the push/pull love/hate of his relationship with songwriting. "I'm always trying to get outside of the song—but then I realize I love the song." This is a record that gleams with VanGaalen's musical signatures: found sound, reverb, polychromatic folk music that is by turns cartoonish and hyperphysical—like ultra magnified footage of a virus or a leaf. Apparently, the LP began life as a "pretty minimal" flute record. (There's only a vestige now, on "Flute Peace"—one of three instrumentals.) Later it became an electronic record "for a while" and finally, "right at the last second," it "turned into a pile of garbage." The good kind of garbage: glinting, useful, free. Music as compost—leaves, and branches ready to be re-ingested by the earth, turned into a flower. Throughout these 40 minutes, VanGaalen floats from mania to solace to oblivion, searching for zen in all the wrong places.


Karima Walker - Walking the Dreaming Body (Electronic / Experimental)


Waking the Dreaming Body is the follow-up to Tucson artist Karima Walker's 2017 standout album Hands In Our Names, which garnered praise from Pitchfork, MOJO and Bandcamp. The album includes dense harmonic arrangements of synthesizer, guitar, piano, percussion, field recordings, tape loops and Karima's dulcet singing voice. The final result is a 40-minute dream-narrative of her conscious and subconscious minds that oscillates between the rich textures of her ambient work and the melody and poetry of her melancholic, Americana-tinged songwriting, their ebb and flow recalling liminal states of half-sleep where images and emotions are recalled and forecasted from the previous night's dreams. Night falls in regular intervals throughout the album, forming a natural dialogue between waking and dreaming. Landscape has always played a huge role in her work. Throughout Waking the Dreaming Body, Walker's uncanny sound design evokes the delicacy, grandeur and terrifying enormity of the American Southwest. Close your eyes while listening to Horizon, Harbor Resonance, the thirteen-minute instrumental at the album's center, and watch the shifting desert landscape in your mind's eye; from the babble of flash flood runoff to the slow parade of cumulus cloud shadows across the red earth, cactus and creosote, and then, moving backwards in time, the thunderous eruptions of ancient volcanoes that pushed the Tucson Mountains skyward. As indicated by the video for Reconstellated, Waking the Dreaming Body holds a deep connection to the environs in which it was created, the delicacy, grandeur and terrifying enormity of the American Southwest. The mountains, rivers and starry skies of Walker’s desert home are referenced in nearly every song she sings on the album, simultaneously grounding the action and imbuing it with a sense of otherworldliness.

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