"I wanna try harder / To love myself like I would another,"Molly Burchsings on her captivating new album,Romantic Images. It's a notion that lies at the very heart of the record, a guiding light to which Burch returns throughout the collection as she sheds the anxiety and insecurity of her twenties and embarks upon a bold new chapter marked by a radical embrace of herself and her womanhood. "I wrote most of these songs in the months leading up to my 30th birthday," Burch explains, "so I was doing a lot of reflecting on growth and change. Sometimes it's only in hindsight that you can realize how far you've actually come."
Indeed,Romantic Imagesmarks a distinct evolution for Burch, both emotionally and sonically. Recorded in Denver with Tennis'Alaina MooreandPat Rileyproducing, the collection celebrates the timeless delights of a well-crafted pop song, flirting with Blondie, Madonna, and even Mariah Carey as it forges a joyful soundtrack to liberation and self-discovery. Burch deliberately worked with more women collaborators than ever before on the album, and the results are transcendent, reveling in the passion and the power of the divine feminine.
Written with the live show in mind, the collection prioritizes ecstasy and escape, and it's easy to hear Burch's commitment to collective catharsis in her lifted, airy delivery, which manages to exude both thoughtful introspection and carefree abandon all at once. The shadow still lurks on the album, to be sure, but the light ultimately wins, as it always does when we're brave enough let it in, and the result is an intoxicating collection all about coming into our truest selves, an honest, uplifting testament to the comfort and strength that comes with learning to look in the mirror and love the face staring back.
The five members ofSun Junespent their early years spread out across the United States, from the boonies of the Hudson Valley to the sprawling outskirts of LA. Having spent their college years within the gloomy, cold winters of the North East, Laura Colwell and Stephen Salisbury found themselves in the vibrant melting-pot of inspiration that is Austin, Texas. Meeting each other while working on Terrence Malick'sSong to Song, the pair were immediately taken by the city's bustling small clubs and honky-tonk scene, and the fact that there was always an instrument within reach, always someone to play alongside.
Coming alive in this newly discovered landscape, Colwell and Salisbury formedSun Junealongside Michael Bain on lead guitar, Sarah Schultz on drums, and Justin Harris on bass and recorded their debut album live to tape, releasing it via the city's esteemed Keeled Scales label in 2018. The band coined the term ‘regret pop' to describe the music they made on theYearsLP. Though somewhat tongue in cheek, it made perfect sense - the gentle sway of their country leaning pop songs seeped in melancholy, as if each subtle turn of phrase was always grasping for something just out of reach.
Sun Junereturns withSomewhere, a brand new album, out February 2021.Somewhere showcases a gentle but eminently pronounced maturation of Sun June'ssound, a second record full of quiet revelation, eleven songs that bristle with love and longing. It finds a band at the height of their collective potency, a marked stride forward from the band that created that debut record, but also one that once again is able to transport the listener into a fascinating new landscape, one that lies somewhere between the town and the city, between the head and the heart; neither here nor there, but certainly somewhere.
Chicago trio The Hecks have been skulking around Chicago's DIY scene for some time now honing their unique twin-guitar sound, weaving tense and beautiful sonic passages of dissonance and harmony into weird and infectious pop songs. The band's eponymous debut has been two years in the making and manages to cram knowledge gleaned from years of absorbing sounds and tones both ugly and beautiful, hitting all the wrong notes in all the wrongs ways to deconstruct sound into their own vessel. Noise drones like "Landscape Photography" and "Tea" sit comfortably amidst the more 'traditionally structured' tunes as well as the apocalyptic mid-album belter "Favor" which sound like something akin to the heavens falling. Recorded by the band at guitarist Dave Vettraino's Public House Recording Studio, "The Hecks" is released digitally, compact disc and pressed on black vinyl. Vinyl includes a download code.
The Talkies is Girl Band's follow-up album to their ground breaking 2015 debut Holding Hands with Jamie. It was recorded in November 2018 at Ballintubbert House, Ireland, "a few pay grades above what we're used to!", the alien construction of Ballintubbert and its corridors help to navigateGirl Band'scataclysmic sound within a world of its own. "In many ways the idea behind the album was to make an audio representation of the house." And this enigmatic manor becomes Girl Band'ssonic playground. The Talkiesis living, breathing, in a continual state of metamorphosis. It encompasses everything there is to love about Girl Band while simultaneously causing an exciting level of discomfort. The moaning and sawing guitars, atonal blankets of sound, abstractive lyrical repetition, chugging snare and ascending/descending snakes and ladders noise-rock guitar deliver something that is so distinctively Girl Band.
Before The World Was Big is the debut album by Girlpool and follows their critically acclamed self-titled EP, released on Wichita Recordings in 2014. Girlpool will be touring extensively in 2015 including shows at SXSW and a support tour with Waxahatchee. The band were named Musical Artist To Watch in 2015 by New York Times.
Preoccupations' songs have always worked through themes of creation, destruction, and futility, and they've always done it with singular post-punk grit. The textures are evocative and razor-sharp. The wire is always a live one. But while that darker side may have been expertly explored, it's not quite the same as having been fully, intensely lived. This time it was, and the result is 'New Material', Preoccupations' deepest and most fully realized record to date. In it lies the difference between witnessing a car crash and crashing your own, between jumping into an ocean and starting to swallow the water.
2021 Vinyl LP Reissue Newly Remastered at Abbey Road Studios!
Twenty years on from the release of their 2001 self-titled debut album,The Nationalare reissuing it along with 2003's follow-upSad Songs For Dirty Loversand 2004'sCherry TreeEP. With all three records having beenremastered at Abbey Road Studios, the 2021 represses stay faithful to their original artwork while their stunning new masters help make these much-loved records sound as vital as ever, further emphasizing the early signs of the sound that would go on to make them one of the finest and most beloved alternative bands of their generation.
Released a year beforeThe Nationalbroke through with their third albumAlligator, theCherry TreeEPis a thrilling record which - thanks to its collection of delicate ballads and anthemic crowd-pleasers - sums up what they do best in under 30 minutes. Now a firm fan-favorite, amongCherry Tree'sseven tracks are nowNationalclassics "About Today" and "All The Wine," plus a thrilling live version of "Murder Me Rachael" that reminds of the band's fearsome early live performances.
Cherry Treecan be seen as the record that marks the moment whenThe Nationalhad truly found themselves, a bridge from what went before to a band ready to conquer the world. And with this new master, it's never sounded better!
Since the late '80s,Mudhoney– the Seattle-based foursome whose muck-crusted version of rock, shot through with caustic wit and battened down by a ferocious low end – has been a high-pH tonic against the ludicrous and the insipid. Thirty years later, the world is experiencing a particularly high-water moment for both those ideals. But just in time, vocalistMark Arm, guitaristSteve Turner, bassistGuy Maddison, and drummerDan Petersare back withDigital Garbage, a barbed-wire-trimmed collection of sonic brickbats. Arm's raw yawp and his bandmates' long-honed chemistry makeDigital Garbagean ideal release valve for the 2018 pressure cooker.
"My sense of humor is dark, and these are dark times," says Arm. "I suppose it's only getting darker."Digital Garbageopens with the swaggering "Nerve Attack," which can be heard as a nod both to modern-life anxiety and the ever-increasing threat of warfare. The album's title comes from the outro of "Kill Yourself Live," which segues from a revved-up Arm organ solo into a bleak look at the way notoriety goes viral. Appropriately enough, bits of recent news events float through the record: "Please Mr. Gunman," on which Arm bellows "We'd rather die in church!" over his bandmates' careening charge, was inspired by a TV-news bubblehead's response to a 2017 church shooting, while the ominous refrain that opens the submerged-blues of "Next Mass Extinction" calls back to the clashes in Charlottesville.
Mudhoney's core sound – steadily pounding drums, swamp-thing bass, squalling guitar wobble, Arm's hazardous-chemical voice – remains on Digital Garbage, which the band recorded with longtime collaborator (and contributing pianist) Johnny Sangster at the Seattle studio Litho. The anti-religiosity shimmy "21st Century Pharisees" builds its case with Maddison's woozy synths, which Arm says "add a really nice touch to the proceedings." Digital Garbage closes with "Oh Yeah," a brief celebration of skateboarding, surfing, biking, and the joy provided by these escape valves. In the end, the riffs and fury of Digital Garbage will stand the test of time, even if some of the particulars [hopefully] fade away.
Die-cut gatefold jacket with custom dust sleeve and accompanying download coupon.
Vinyl LP pressing. 2013 album from the Seattle/Grunge legends. 25 years in, Vanishing Point affirms that, even in an age where only the newest of the new can survive, Mudhoney still have plenty to say and more to offer. These are songs written from the rare vantage point of a band who went through the rock n' roll meat-grinder and not only lived to tell such a tale, they came out full of the wisdom and dark humor such a journey provides. Vanishing Point is filled with dread, psychoanalysis and Nuggets-on-fire riffs; the sort of uninhibited rock music that is harder and harder to locate these days. With Vanishing Point, Mudhoney makes it easy.
For 18 years, Mudhoney has proved to be one of the most consistently electrifying acts to survive the grunge implosion, whatever that was. The wolfish howls of singer Mark Arm, soulful splatterings of guitarist Steve Turner, and frenzied fills of drummer Dan Peters have produced nine albums to date, most of which are considered neo-garage classics. Drummer Matt Lukin has been replaced by the inimitable Australian Guy Maddison. "Under A Billion Suns" is performed with the same amplified urgency of their previous work. Mudhoney has never swayed from their vision of making really loud rock, and this album is no exception. Produced by three notable knobsters, Phil Ek, Johnny Sangster, and Tucker Martine, and boasting a blaring horn section, this record exposes a more snidely political-fueled side of our shaggy heroes, but one revealed through the invariables of the Mudhoney recipe: thick, soggy punk riffs and underrated guitar dynamics, psychedelic tangents, and snot-nosed finger pointing. Loud and fierce.