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Saintseneca’s Zac Little has been thinking a lot about memory. Not necessarily his memories, though they creep in often, too. Rather, he mulls over the idea of memory itself: its resilience, its haziness, how it slips away as we try to hang on, the way it resurfaces despite our best efforts to forget. Memory is the common thread running throughout the Columbus, OH folk-punk band’s fourth album, Pillar of Na, arriving in late summer via ANTI- Records. Following 2015’s critically lauded Such Things, the new album’s name is rooted in remembrance, referencing the Genesis story of Lot’s wife who looks back at a burning Sodom after God instructs her not to. She looks back, and God turns her into a pillar of salt. “Na,” meanwhile, is the chemical symbol for sodium. “Nah” is a passive refusal and the universal song word. It means nothing and stands for nothing. It is “as it is.” Musically, Pillar of Na is Saintseneca’s most ambitious album to date, with Little aiming to incorporate genre elements he’d rarely heard in folk. “I wanted to use the idiom of folk-rock, or whatever you want to call it, and to try to do something that had never been done before,” Little explains. I told Mike Mogis I wanted Violent Femmes meets the new Blade Runner soundtrack. I’m looking for the intersection between Kendrick Lamar and The Fairport Convention.” - SAINTSENECA WILL TOUR THE WORLD IN SUPPORT OF PILLAR OF NA, THEY JUST COMPLETED A TOUR WITH HOPALONG - PRODUCED BY MIKE MOGIS (BRIGHT EYES, RILO KILEY)
TASH SULTANA is a dynamic young artist who has commanded world attention since homemade videos of Tash jamming went viral. A true virtuoso, Tash was soon selling out massive theaters globally and playing at the world's biggest festivals - no mean feat for an artist who just a year before was recording songs on a go pro in a bedroom. The virtuosic playing of over 18 instruments, vocals that shine with a magical quality and the natural gift for melody that Tash possesses needs to be seen to be believed. Tash has sold over 200K tickets globally with 50K in the US, is selling out theaters and clubs around the world, played major festivals including Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, ACL and more, and amassed hundreds of millions of streams globally on her Notion EP. Tash has received 4x Aria award nominations and multiple APRA nominations.
Most people know Aaron Lee Tasjan as one of the wittiest, most offbeat, brilliant, weed-smokin’ & LSD microdosin’ Americana troubadours writing and singing songs today. And the New York Times, NPR and Rolling Stone will all gladly corroborate. But steel yourselves, folk fans, because he’s about to follow his restless muse straight out from under the weight of everyone’s expectations into the kind of glammy, jingle-jangle power-pop- and- psych-tinged sounds he hasn’t dabbled in since his younger days playing lead guitar for a late-period incarnation of The New York Dolls.
Karma for Cheap is Tasjan’s third LP and second for his label New West Records, based in his current hometown of Nashville. The record was co-produced by ALT and his friends Jeff Trott (Stevie Nicks, Liz Phair, Meiko, Joshua Radin) and Gregory Lattimer (Albert Hammond Jr.) and features Aaron Lee’s road band—guitarist Brian Wright, bassist Tommy Scifres and drummer Seth Earnest—with whom he’s been touring heavily for the last two years.
While the stylistic shift from Tasjan’s palpably stoned ‘70s-country-channeling 2015 debut, In the Blazes, to his more sophisticated, introspective and lushly produced 2016 follow-up, Silver Tears, was relatively incremental, Karma’s rocked-up Brit-pop-influenced Beatles-Bowie-Badfinger vibes underscore a significant departure. The album boldly reminagines these vintage sounds, pushing the boundary of what can be considered Americana.
The roots of Tasjan’s Karma for Cheap, stretch deep, drinking up the sounds of a Southern California childhood spent listening to The Beatles while riding around with his mom at the wheel of their navy blue Volvo station wagon—back to the very first pre-teen year he picked up a six-string and started figuring out all the pretty little chords in those Lennon-McCartney tunes. Back to the pure, blissful unfiltered innocence of falling in love with music for the first time. A huge sonic touchstone for ALT’s new record is The Beatles Anthology, one of his childhood favorites. In songs like “If Not Now When,” “Song Bird” and “The Rest Is Yet to Come,” you can hear echoes of George Harrison’s vibrant guitar riffs and Jeff Lynne’s lavish production on those lo-fi John Lennon demos the surviving Beatles dug up and polished off in the mid ‘90s.
Perhaps the most poignant moment on Karma for Cheap is the anthemic, hypnotic “Heart Slows Down,” a tune rife with musical and lyrical references to the Beatles and Tom Petty, anchored by an unforgettable chorus with a Traveling Wilburys vibe that finds the sweet spot between Tasjan’s two earliest musical heroes. “When I was a kid, my favorite CD to fall asleep to was Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ Greatest Hits, and the last song is a cover of that Thunderclap Newman song ‘Something in the Air.’ From the time I was a little kid to when I was teenager, I used to listen to that song on headphones almost every night—I heard it in that space between wake and sleep so many times. And Tom’s passing—he was a really big hero of mine, so it hit me pretty hard. We were in Seattle playing a show when I heard, and it was a heavy thing to process. But all of those elements are there in ‘Heart Slows Down.’ The chorus, ‘I will always be around,’ is a reminder that all the good you ever got out of listening to this music is still around you. You’ll always have that.”
Aaron Lee Tasjan says he aims to use his music for good, but he’s no protest singer. And Karma for Cheap isn’t some heavy-handed, didactic political record cramming a set of talking points down anyone’s throat. It’s a finely tuned rock & roll seismograph measuring the dark and uncertain vibrations of the time in which it was created. A cracked mirror reflecting back the American zeitgeist in this foul year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Eighteen. With Karma, Tasjan establishes himself as an artist who not only evolves over time, but isn’t afraid to risk reinventing himself completely from one record to the next.
Passenger is Mike Rosenberg, the Brighton-born singer/songwriter known for busking his way to the global hit “Let Her Go” which topped the charts in 19 countries. Produced by Rosenberg, along with longtime collaborator Chris Vallejo, the new album is largely inspired by the North American landscape and geography, both musically and lyrically, and taps into Rosenberg’s family roots in New Jersey. This brings a fresh new approach and sound, and speaks to the road going traveler in all of us.
Although civilization’s transition into a cyborg world seems inevitable, there are still those who recognize the beauty and power of a human touch to complement the circumvention. Jack Tatum understands this balance, and through a decade making music as Wild Nothing he has learned to embrace both sides of that dynamic—but perhaps never as distinctly as on Indigo, the fourth Wild Nothing album. On one hand, it is a return to the fresh, transcendent sweep of his debut, 2010’s Gemini, and on the other, a culmination of heights reached, paths traveled, and lessons learned while creating the follow-ups, Nocturne and Life of Pause. Indigo finds Tatum at his most efficient, calculated, and confident—resulting in an artful blend of hi-fi humanity and technology that fires on all circuits and synapses.
To make Indigo, Tatum confronted the Man vs. Machine dichotomy by seizing on the surrounding synergy. Finding the right people to work on the album was integral, as was the proper place to record it. So, Tatum booked four days at legendary Sunset Sound’s Studio. Afterwards, producer Jorge Elbrecht (Ariel Pink, Gang Gang Dance, Japanese Breakfast) and Tatum built out the rest of the album’s sound by adding new parts and repurposing sounds from Tatum’s demos. The resulting Indigo is its own cyborg world, utilizing the artful mechanisms of human touch with the precision of technology to create the classic, pristine sound Tatum had been seeking his entire career. From the opening drum beat, chiming guitar, and sweeping synth of “Letting Go” to Tatum’s Bryan Ferry vocal turn on “Oscillation” to the ’80s-heavy blips, clicks, and strut of “Partners in Motion,” it’s clear that Indigo is at once vintage Wild Nothing and a bold, new leap into a bigger arena.
In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of The Band’s landmark debut album, Music From Big Pink is released in a limited edition of two black vinyl LPs that feature a new stereo mix of the album, produced by Bob Clearmountain from the original four-track analog master. This new mix achieves a striking clarity and incorporates some previously unreleased chatter from the studio sessions. For the LP, Chris Bellman cut the vinyl lacquers for the album’s new stereo mix at 45rpm at Bernie Grundman Mastering, expanding the album’s vinyl footprint from one LP to two.
Steve’N’Seagulls is a Finnish band playing bluegrass versions of classic rock tracks, such as their viral hit of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck, with an arsenal of instruments ranging from accordion, banjo, Cajon, double bass and so forth. On their last album, Brothers In Farms, the band hit #1 on the Billboard Bluegrass Albums chart . With another landmark album under their belt it’s time for the Gulls to tour again ‘til the wheels fall off the wagon!
White Denim's new album 'Performance' collects nine expertly crafted songs that twist and turn, bending genres in the band's unique style. Students of rock music, White Denim has clearly listened to and learned from the best albums ever made from T. Rex to XTC to Little Feat to Jim O'Rourke...but they write songs just dumb enough to drink, dance, and fight to. Rock and roll music that aims for the whole body. Recorded in hometown Austin, Texas in their new Radio Milk studio, Performance displays a band of extraordinary musicians at their creative peak.
This Night Falls Forever, set for release on August 24, 2018 via Concord Records, is DeVotchKa’s most ambitious album yet with more detailed arrangements, more people involved including full orchestras and an overall bigger sound. The band’s sixth studio album features 10 tracks written and produced by frontman Nick Urata. The vinyl edition features 3 sides of music and an exclusive vinyl etching on the 4th side.
The brainchild of Matthew Logan Vasquez (Delta Spirit), Glorietta was born of a desire to collaborate with friends that Vasquez has collected over the years. Those friends; Noah Gundersen, Kelsey Wilson (Wild Child), David Ramirez, Grammy-winner Adrian Quesada, and Jason Robert Blum came together over the course of a week in a rented house in Glorieta, NM. "We chose Glorieta because it was isolated enough to feel like we were at camp" said Vasquez, "the only requirements were vaulted ceilings and a jacuzzi. The days were long with the tape running constantly as the players bought songs in various stages of completion to their new family of collaborators. Midway through the sessions the group was joined by a guest appearance from Nathaniel Ratliff, who drove straight through the night to join the party. The result is their self-titled debut record; a beautiful mix of voices from six band leaders, that fit perfectly together.
The power of words isn’t lost on longstanding Americana triumvirate The Devil Makes Three—Pete Bernhard, Lucia Turino, and Cooper McBean. For as much as they remain rooted in troubadour traditions of wandering folk, Delta blues, whiskey-soaked ragtime, and reckless rock ‘n’ roll, the band nods to the revolutionary unrest of author James Baldwin, the no-holds barred disillusionment of Ernest Hemingway, and Southern Gothic malaise of Flannery O’Connor.
In that respect, their sixth full-length and first of original material since 2013, Chains Are Broken, resembles a dusty leather-bound book of short stories from some bygone era. As the band began writing ideas for Chains Are Broken, they veered off the proverbial path creatively. Instead of their typical revolving cast of collaborators, The Devil Makes Three stuck to its signature power trio, with one addition. This time, they invited touring drummer Stefan Amidon to power the bulk of the percussion.
Another first, they retreated to Sonic Ranch Studios in El Paso, TX a stone’s throw from the Mexican border to record with producer Ted Hutt [Dropkick Murphys].
The incorporation of new sounds as well as the experimentation in space finds the Devil Makes Three crafting a new yet still familiar sound. Coupled with a continued focus on in-depth lyricism that tells a story in every song, Chains Are Broken is a liberating, rump-shaking collection of past, present and future.
On August 24th Interpol will release their sixth studio album Marauder on Matador Records worldwide, available on CD and vinyl. 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 others. 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. Paul may have stepped out of the shadows as a bassist, but he’s stepping into an even brighter light as a songwriter. During Interpol’s previous albums, the singer largely kept himself out of his own work, preferring to fill his lyrics with detached thoughts, characters, and observations, often phrased in abstract. But more than 20 years on since forming at NYU, the frontman is finally allowing himself to play a role in his own stories. “This record is where I feel touching on real things that have happened to me are exciting and evocative to write about,” he explains. “I think in the past, I always felt autobiography was too small a thing for me to reference. I feel like now, I’m able to romanticize parts of my own life.” “A swift and searing song centered around a blown-out drum stomp and a prickly lead guitar riff. Singer Paul Banks’ vocals drift above the mix with a slight sneer soaked in echo.” - Rolling Stone “[The Rover] is Interpol as shit, which means ricocheting guitars and an unstoppable rhythm section.” - Noisey “Interpol are back with ignited energy.” - Stereogum “A driving and relentless bit of post-punk revivalism” - Cons. of Sound