Thursday, December 19, 2019

Best of 2019

As usual it really makes no sense to try and compile a top 50. There are obviously great albums not on this list --- not because I didn't like them, but because for whatever reason they never spent much time in my ears this year. So what we have is a list of 50 records that surprised, enriched, altered, bettered, saddened, angried-up, elevated my listening over the last 365 days. Hope you find a few new favourites.

01. 75 Dollar Bill - I Was Real (Thin Wrist Recordings)
02. Aldous Harding - Designer (4AD)
03. Alexander Tucker - Guild of the Asbestos Weaver (Thrill Jockey)
04. Anne Chris Bakker - Stof&Geest (Unknown Tone)
05. Benoît Pioulard - Sylva (Morr)
06. Big/Brave - A Gaze Among Them (Southern Lord)
07. Bill Callahan - Shepherd in a Sheepskin Vest (Drag City)
08. Black Midi - Schlagenheim (Rough Trade)
09. Bremer / McCoy - Utopia (Luaka Bop)
10. Carla dal Forno - Look Up Sharp (Kalista Records)
11. Cate Le Bon - Reward (Mexican Summer)
12. Chromatics - Closer To Grey (Italians Do it Better)
13. Cinematic Orchestra - To Believe (Ninja Tune)
14. Claude Fontaine - S/T (Innovative Leisure)
15. clipping. - There Existed an Addiction to Blood (Sub Pop)
16. Damien Jurado - In The Shape Of A Storm (Mama Bird Recording Co.)
17. Deerhunter - Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared? (4AD)
18. Earthen Sea - Grass and Trees (Kranky)
19. Ex:Re - S/T (Glass Note)
20. FACS- Lifelike (Trouble in Mind)
21. Fennesz - Agora (Touch)
22. FKA twigs - Magdalene (Young Turks)
23. Floating Points - Crush (Ninja Tune)
24. Fly Pan AmC'est ça (Constellation)
25. Helado Negro - This is How You Smile (RVNG)
26. Hey Colossus - Four Bibles (Alter)
27. House and Land - Across the Field (Thrill Jockey)
28. Jane Weaver - Loops in the Secret Society (Fire)
29. Jay Som - Anak Ko (Polyvinyl)
30. Jenny Hval -The Practice Of Love (Sacred Bones)
31. Kim Gordon - No Home Record (Matador)
32. Lee "Scratch" Perry - Rainford (On-U Sound)
33. Lightning Dust - Spectre (Western Vinyl)
34. Maggie Rogers - Heard it in a Past Life (Capitol)
35. Mdou Moctar - Illana the Creator (Sahel Sound)
36. Mega Bog - Dolphine (Paradise of Bachelors)
37. Mount Eerie with Julie Doiron - Lost Wisdom 2 (P.W. Elverum and Sun)
38. Nivhek - After its own death / Walking in a spiral towards the house (Yellow Electric)
39. Oren Ambarchi - Simian Angel (editions Mego)
40. Purple Mountains - Purple Mountains (Drag City)
41. Ride - This is Not a Safe Place (Wichita)
42. Saariselka - The Ground Our Sky (Temporary Residence)
43. Sandro Perri - Soft Landing (Constellation)
44. SeabuckthornCrossing (Eilean Rec)
45. Stella Donnelly - Beware of the Dogs (Secretly Canadian)
46. Sunn O))) - Life Metal (Southern Lord)
47. Teeth of the Sea -Wraith (Rocket Recordings)
48. Vampire Weekend - Father of the Bride (Columbia)
49. Vanishing Twin - The Age of Immunology (Fire)
50. Wand - Laughing Matter (Drag City)

Saturday, October 19, 2019

New Album Watch :: Beck - Hyperspace

Here's the thing... when Beck's Colors came out in 2017 it struck a weird chord. Here was 47 year old man making a seemingly straight-up dance album that wouldn't seem out of place in mix with artists less than half his age. But after a handful of tentative listens it was clear that these were still pretty awesome songs!

Now Beck returns with a new album, and the singles sound like he may have driven a talking car through a wall made of Giorgio Moroder 12"s. If that's not intriguing I don't know what is.

Available on November 22nd!

Monday, September 23, 2019

Friday, June 28, 2019

New Album Reissue Watch :: Lightning Bolt - Wonderful Rainbow

Exciting news from Thrill Jockey records. The label is planning to reissue Rhode Island freakout bros. Lightning Bolt's back catalog starting with their colourful 2003 release. Wonderful Rainbow on August 23rd.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

New Album Watch :: Clinic - Wheeltappers And Shunters

Clinic - Wheeltappers and Shunters // Domino Records // May 10, 2019 // CD/Vinyl

A playful callback to the 1970s variety television show of the same name, Wheeltappers and Shunters is a title befitting of what Clinic was looking to achieve with their eighth studio album: "a satirical take on British culture - both high and low".

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

New Album Watch :: Sunn O))) - Life Metal

First new full length from your favourite monolithic metal band since 2015's Kannon. The band's website promises a far and wide ranging tour starting in Europe in March and moving to the USA in April with many more dates to be added. The album itself is due out in April. Track listing is as follows:

1. Between Sleipnir's Breaths
2. Troubled Air
3. Aurora
4. Novae

There is a teaser/trailer up on YouTube now too:

Monday, January 28, 2019

New Album Watch :: The Mountain Goats - In League With Dragons

What better to follow up an album about Goth Rock, appropriately called Goths, which itself was a follow up to an album about professional wrestling, Beat the Champ!, than an album all about Dungeons and Dragons. Well that's just what The Mountain Goats are doing. Come April 26th we shall hear the results, but for now here's the lead off track and this note from band leader John Darnielle about the album:

This album began life as a rock opera about a besieged seaside community called Riversend ruled by a benevolent wizard, for which some five to seven songs were written. When I’m focusing on a project, I always distract myself from the through-line with multiple byways, which are kind of like mini-games within the broader architecture of a long video game. As I worked on the Riversend stuff, weird noir visions started creeping in, probably under the influence of Leonardo Sciascia (a Sicilian author, he wrote mysteries) and Ross MacDonald’s The Zebra-Striped Hearse, which a friend from Port Washington gave me while I was in the thick of the writing. I thought these moods helped complicate the wizards and dragons a little, and, as I thought about my wizard, his health failing, the invasion by sea almost certain to wipe out half his people, I thought about what such a person might look like in the real world: watching a country show at a midwestern casino, or tryout pitching for an American League team years after having lit up the marquees. Finally, I wrote the title track, which felt like a drawing-together of the themes in play: rebellion against irresistible tides, the lush vistas of decay, necessary alliances. I am earnestly hoping that a new genre called “dragon noir” will spring from the forehead of nearly two years’ work on these songs, but, if not, I am content for this to be the sole example of the style.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

New Album Watch :: Better Oblivion Community Center - S/T

Usually surprise releases are the purview of Kanye West, but today it comes from the duo of Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers who've teamed up as Better Oblvion Community Center. Dubbed "soft rock for hard times," the album is available for download and purchase at the Dead Oceans Bandcamp, and likely, hopefully, very soon here instore.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

New Album Watch :: Fennesz - Agora

Fennesz has always been a busy artist with collaborative releases with Jim O'Rourke, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto and others over the last couple of years. But Agora, due out on March 29th through Touch is his first solo recording since 2014. Recorded with stripped down equipment and headphones in his own flat it provides a slight bend in the electronic superhighway for him. Here is a sampler of the four tracks that make up the new album:

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

New Album Watch :: Priests - The Seduction of Kansas

Washington based dance punks Priests are putting out their sophomore album The Seduction of Kansas April 5th on their own Sister Polygon Records. Here is the first single, the title track "The Seduction of Kansas."

New Album Watch :: Strand of Oaks - Eraserland

Timothy Showalter of Strand of Oaks has announced the follow up to 2017's excellent Hard Love. Eraserland will drop on March 22nd from Dead Oceans records. Here is the first single, "Weird Ways."

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

New Album Watch :: Pup - Morbid Stuff

Canadian faves PUP have announced their new album Morbid Stuff will be released on their own Little Dipper label on April 5th!! Get ready. Here is lead single "Kids"

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

New Album Watch :: Stella Donnelly - Beware of the Dogs

Australian singer/songwriter Stella Donnelly is following up her wonderful 2018 EP Thrush Metal with a full length titled Beware of the Dogs. It is due on March 8 through Secretly Canadian, and here is lead off track "Old Man". More timely than a Neil Young cover, really.