CDs + Vinyl:
!!! – Shake The Shudder CD/LP+MP3 (Warp)
Shake The Shudder is a product of !!!’s DIY punk roots presenting a harder edge lyrically and sonically, while incorporating trans-Atlantic electronic music influences. Regularly enlisting the aid of talented female vocalists to elevate to their sound, this new album is no exception with the inclusion of up and coming talents Lea Lea and Meah Pace showcasing “energetic breakout performances that only hints at what they do live.”
Adult Mom – Soft Spots CD/LP (Tiny Engines)
Adult Mom began as the solo project of Stephanie Knipe in a Purchase College dorm room in 2012. Adult Mom now falls between the playful spectrum of solo project and collaborative band with beloved friends and musicians Olivia Battell, Mike Dvorscak, and Bruce Hamilton. Through reflections and explorations of the personal and hidden, the crux of the writing produced by Knipe is focused on excavation. The dredging out of secrets, putting it all in a pan, waiting for the gold to rise. Honesty and intimacy form as Knipe writes clever pop songs that offer a glimpse into the journey of a gender-weird queer navigating through heartache, trauma and subsequent growth.
(Sandy) Alex G – Rocket CD/LP+MP3 (Domino)
Rocket is Philadelphia-based artist Alex G’s eighth full-length release – an assured statement that follows a slate of humble masterpieces, many of them self-recorded and self-released, stretching from 2010’s Race to his 2015’s Beach Music. Amid the Rocket recording process, Alex made headlines for catching the attention of Frank Ocean, who asked him to play guitar on his two 2016 albums, Endless and Blonde. More than any stylistic cues, what Alex took from the experience was a newfound confidence in collaboration. Rocket wears this collaborative spirit proudly, and in its numerous contributors presents a restless sense of musical experimentation – effortlessly jumping from distorted sound collage to dreamy folk music to bouncing Americana. Rocket illustrates a cohesive vision of contemporary American experience; the cast of characters that Alex G inhabits have fun, fall in love, develop obsessions, get in trouble, and – much like rockets themselves – ultimately they burn out.
Apocalypse Orchestra – End Is Night CD/LP (Depotz)
Lodged between medieval times and modern metal, Apocalypse Orchestra weaves a faceted tapestry of music, with tones of ancient drone instruments entwining with heavy guitars.
Mulatu Astatke – Mulatu Of Ethiopia [Reissue/1972] CD/LP (Strut)
Recorded in New York, Mulatu Of Ethiopia arrived at a time when Astatke had begun to master the delicate fusion of styles needed to create Ethio jazz. “I left the UK for America and studied at Berklee College in Boston. I learnt the technical aspects of jazz and gained a beautiful understanding of many different types of music. That’s where I got my tools. Berklee really shook me up.”
Beastmaker – Inside The Skull CD/LP (Rise Above)
The glittering technological future we were all promised has turned into a dystopian nightmare. If music must reflect the times, the hour has plainly come to reject the mainstream status quo and get down to the roots and rhythms of life’s elemental heaviness. And that’s where Beastmaker come in. Purveyors of some of the most ecstatically thunderous and raw doom metal to emerge in decades, this three-man riffing machine from Fresno, CA, are manifestly the real deal. From the old school evangelism of opener “Evil One” and the warped psychedelia of “Now Howls The Beast” through to the twisted fury and fire of “Psychic Visions” and creepy closer “Sick Sick Demon,” Inside The Skull is not just a muscular hymn to the glory days of heavy metal’s genesis and early prosperity: this is a vital, virile and venomous slab of wildly creative but spiritually pure doom devastation, designed to rescue us from the drab harshness of present day reality and transport us somewhere cooler, somewhere better and, in the best way possible, somewhere much heavier.
Selwyn Birchwood – Pick Your Poison CD (Alligator)
Selwyn Birchwood is among the most extraordinary young stars in the blues. His deep familiarity with blues tradition allows him to bust the genre wide open, adding new sounds, colors and textures all delivered with a revival tent preacher’s fervor and a natural storyteller’s charisma.
Biters – The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be CD/LP (Earache)
Recalling the early spirit and danger of rabble-rousing rock heroes, Biters have faithfully built upon their punk heritage and their love of ‘70s rock to deliver music that ignites, incites and excites in equal measure. Possessing a heart full of rock ‘n’ roll, the band play foot stomping, fist pumping, spit-on-the-floor anthems possessed of a fighting spirit that refuses to give in. The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be is an instant rock ‘n’ roll classic that makes the genre exciting and relevant again. “Corporate pop culture and fair-weather fads are just something I’m not interested in. I still choose to play rock ‘n’ roll, because I still believe in rock ‘n’ Roll.” — Tuk Smith, Biters
Blink 182 – California [Deluxe Edition] 2xCD/2xLP+MP3 (BMG Rights Management)
Expanded edition of the pop-punk band’s 2016 release featuring 11 new studio tracks and an acoustic version of the hit single “Bored To Death.”
Blonde Ambition – Slow All Over CD/LP+MP3 (Swoon City Music)
Slow All Over, the debut album from eclectic musician Brian Harding’s new project Blond Ambition, is a laser-focused work filled with danceable moments of percussive, head-nodding rhythmic bombast paired with catchy synth and guitar-laden hooks, deliberate and slow-burning pace, and subtly emotive melody. Blond Ambition takes respectful cues from the early disco/dance/avant-garde downtown scene of ‘70s and ’80s New York, the pastiche-sampling art rock of bands like World Party and Big Audio Dynamite, and even the Grateful Dead. Harding also cites his stint as a bartender in an NYC nightclub for exposing him to the house and dance scenes that changed the way he looks at making music. The percussive, kitchen sink catchiness of “Shasta” sets the mood early, with Harding crooning over sunny, almost tropical hooks reminiscent of Here My Dear era Marvin Gaye. The fuzzed-out tone and jangly verses of “Houses Of Reason” build confidently into a rock-solid piece of songwriting with its assured refrain of “We got everything we needed/It’s a funny way to get there,” and despite the song’s defined structure its “jam” qualities never drift. There’s no template at play here, but the intention remains precise.
Buffalo Tom – Let Me Come Over [Reissue/1992] CD/2xLP (Beggars Banquet)
25th Anniversary Edition featuring the original album plus a previously unreleased live show from 1992. Previously loosely linked with fellow travelers Dinosaur Jr. and Uncle Tupelo via a similar three-piece format, stunning depth of songwriting and association with Boston’s Fort Apache Studios – it’s not hard to imagine Buffalo Tom wanted to stake a claim stylistically with their third album, Let Me Come Over.
The Builders And The Butchers – The Spark CD/LP (Badman Recording Co.)
The Portland-based folk rock band return with their fifth full-length effort.