The Vaselines / Sex with an X - SP889
Formed in Glasgow in 1987, The Vaselines released two singles and one album (Dum Dum on the 53rd and 3rd label) and then split up in 1989 (in the same week their album was released). They might have faded into obscurity but for the intervention of a certain band from Seattle. Nirvana covered three Vaselines songs, helping to fuel a growing after-the-fact appreciation of their seedy, two-and-a-half chord, garage pop manifesto. Founding members Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee remained musically active between then and now: the former with Captain America aka Eugenius and finally as a solo artist; McKee with Painkillers and Suckle. Eugene and Frances also collaborated intermittently in the intervening years and, in 2008, toured America (including a stand-out appearance at Sub Pop’s 20th anniversary festival, SP20), Brazil and Japan and played some UK festivals. The Vaselines “re-connected” with wildly appreciative audiences who had blinked and missed them the first time round. Buoyed by the success of their live return, the two punk rock chums decided to go back into the studio.
The new Vaselines album, Sex with an X, was recorded outside Manchester at the Analogue Catalogue studio in Mossley with Julie McLarnon engineering and produced by Jamie Watson (who also produced that first album Dum Dum). The Vaselines ca. 2010 is Eugene and Frances with guest musicians Stevie Jackson and Bob Kildea from Belle & Sebastian on guitar and bass, and Michael McGaughrin from the 1990s on drums. It may have taken The Vaselines 20 years to get round to making this baby, but it was worth the wait—bringing their solo careers to a climax. The irony has not been lost. Who says indie music can’t be fun? No hand-wringing on these tracks—just good clean smut with a twist of bitter. The Vaselines will tour the US in October, 2010.
If you are among the first 200 people to pre-order Sex with an X by September 14th, you’ll receive a bonus 7" featuring “White Chapel” b/w “Picked a Cherry”, demos both recorded by Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub)—the latter not available on the new record.
Released: September 14, 2010
Kelley Stoltz / To Dreamers - SP890
Kelley Stoltz, now a veritable godfather to the burgeoning San Francisco under/over-ground (folks like Thee Oh Sees, Sonny & the Sunsets, The Fresh & Onlys), has blazed a path since the late ‘90s as a home-recording guru and multi-instrumentalist. And, while Stoltz’s nigh-religious reverence for all things Beatles, Beach Boys and Kinks has been at the fore on recent albums Below the Branches, Sub Pop) and Circular Sounds, Sub Pop), his new album, To Dreamers, blends a bit more post-punk abandon into its layered everyman pop. This new album maintains the kaleidoscopic core of sounds heard on Kelley’s previous records, while making inroads into new sonic terrains.
No slouch on the live front, he was asked to open the Raconteurs first US tour in 2006, toured the USA and Europe with the Dirtbombs in 2008, and through a twist of volcano ash-cloud karma, was the support act to childhood heroes Echo and the Bunnymen, in 2010.
It’s not unreasonable to suggest that the entire reason behind music itself is to dream. From the young kid strumming a tennis racket along with the Ramones, to the box seats at the opera, the goal is the same. What music does and should do is allow us to lose ourselves and be transported, to find the mystical land where milk and honey meets Xanadu. See where you go with this new Kelley Stoltz record—an album of tunes oddly familiar and yet surprising, like a dream itself.
Released: October 12, 2010
No Age / Everything in Between - SP892
Recorded in Los Angeles from the end of 2009 and into 2010, Everything in Between is the new album from No Age, the duo of Dean Spunt and Randy Randall. They emerged from former band Wives in 2005, to become No Age, worldwide glowing talismans for the DIY art-punk scene in LA, now famously known as having its epicenter at The Smell, a clubhouse where art-life/music-life welded and inspired a creative movement and attitude which has fertilized a purple patch of likeminded punkers and artists around the globe. Since the release of Weirdo Rippers, their 2007 debut album (on FatCat Records), through Nouns, the band’s 2008 follow-up on Sub Pop, and beyond, No Age has earned enthusiastic notice from an incredibly wide array of sources; from Pitchfork to The New Yorker (“Let It Rip,” Nov. 19, 2007), and found themselves unlikely Grammy nominees (for Best Recording Packaging in 2008). No Age have risen from sweaty basement shows and art galleries to having their songs blast off the walls of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), to performing at unconventional spaces both close to home and abroad.
And Everything in Between is a bold step in their creative evolution. It is a culmination of reflecting upon life’s ruptures and triumphs; the process of moving through these moments banged and bruised, yet better off for the wear and tear. They’ve pushed themselves in challenging and different directions, deconstructing their weird-out pop songs while still maintaining their original aesthetic and intent. Everything in Between sees No Age expand on the emotional force at the core of their catchy song-writing through tone, structure, noise, and samples. And, it’s their best record yet.
Released: September 28, 2010
Foals / Total Life Forever - SP875
In April of 2008, we at Sub Pop Records had the good fortune to release the US version of Antidotes, the debut album by Oxford, UK quintet Foals. Antidotes was a special album. Two years on from that impressive introduction, a choice has been made–-rather than contort Antidotes’ lithesome guitars into ever more elaborate patterns, Total Life Forever is the sound of a band settling into and surveying the decay of old protocols. With this new album, Foals strip their sound back and turn themselves inside out searching for that invisible human thing. The result is an album as persuasive emotionally as Antidotes was physically. Whereas that album constantly reinforced its own presence by filling the air with yelping and polyrhythm, tracks on Total Life Forever such as disarming opener “Blue Blood,” “2 Trees” and the astonishing “Black Gold” are happier to leave gaps for the listener to explore in mind’s ear and eye. Written primarily in the basement of their Oxford HQ (“The House of Supreme Mathematics”) and recorded in Gothenburg with former Clor man Luke Smith, Total Life Forever finds Foals singing rather than shouting, emotional as well as functional. The band’s soul-search reveals new antidotes found in infinite, internal spaces rather than carved violently upon the air–-Total Life Forever feels more the work of artists than artisans. It’s a triumph that they’ve managed to remain a band of progress and propulsion while investigating that vast, dark space lurking inside themselves-–that gap between ribs where “nature, or god or whatever you wanna call it, will come in.”
Black vinyl is the only color still available for this release.
Released: June 15, 2010
Jaill / That's How We Burn - SP891
Vincent Kircher, Austin Dutmer, Andrew Harris and Ryan Adams are a somewhat sneaky, rarely sleazy group of guys from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Together, they are Jaill, a self-described psych-pop combo who play with undeniable guts. Kircher and Dutmer started the band back in 2002 and in early 2009, the band released There’s No Sky (Oh My My), a 12-song LP (at just over 30 minutes) that is irresistibly catchy, moving, dirty, sarcastic, and new. Recorded nervously in the leaky basement of an old funeral home, with overdubs finished over a year’s time at home, There’s No Sky caught the attention of Sub Pop, with stand-out tracks like “Always Wrong” and “Beggar Sincere.” Recalling the glory of 90s lo-fi pop, these songs possess a sinewy tension honed from years of basement shows and a palpable, gritty rock sense born of enduring cold, cold Midwest winter months. Recorded at his Mystery Room studio with Justin Perkins, this new Jaill album, That’s How We Burn, finds the band wrapping its head and arms more solidly around a sound they’ve been building up for nearly a decade. Their ‘Sconnie sensibilities lend to a laid-back but creatively effortless brand of pop: bright guitars and amped-up energy skipping like a stone over Kircher’s dense lyrics, only to sink into momentary mellow moments. That’s How We Burn is sure to make the girls freak, the guys geek, and all the lovers weak in the knees.
If you pre-order That’s How We Burn by July 27th, you’ll receive a free Jaill patch handmade by the same glorious hands who made this unquestionably buyable record.
Released: July 27, 2010
Wolf Parade / EXPO 86 - SP870
Recorded and mixed at Hotel2Tango, with Howard Bilerman, in late February and early March of 2010, EXPO 86 is the name of the new and third album by Montreal’s Wolf Parade. EXPO 86 follows the band’s 2008 album At Mount Zoomer, which itself followed their 2005 debut, Apologies to the Queen Mary. Read the full bio for EXPO 86 here.
If you pre-order EXPO 86 by June 29th and are among the first 600 people to do so, you will receive a free limited edition set of two magnets featuring artwork from the new album. We’re talking top quality, strikingly handsome magnets—your fridge is gonna be stoked!
Released: June 29, 2010
Blitzen Trapper / Destroyer of the Void - SP825
Blitzen Trapper is based in Portland, OR. There are six of them in the band and they’ve been together since 2000. Over the course of their four full-length albums to date, including their revelatory 2008 Sub Pop release Furr, front man Eric Earley’s considerable poetic talents and his band’s hard-earned chops have gained them a growing international audience. The band’s continuing exploration of American music that spans from the ‘60s folk movement to the country sounds of the ’70s, to the pop balladry and prog rock of the ’80s has earned it notice ranging from Rolling Stone magazine to late-night network television to Yo Gabba Gabba, among a great many others. In January 2009 and again in January 2010, Earley and a few of his bandmates entered the attic studio of lauded Portland musician and studio engineer Mike Coykendall (Bright Eyes, M Ward, She & Him) to work on what would become Destroyer of the Void. And the resulting new album takes Blitzen Trapper further than ever before, building on the band’s seamless marriage of the familiar and the fantastic to, literally, create an otherworldly experience.
Released: June 8, 2010
Damien Jurado / Rehearsals for Departure - SP440
Rehearsals for Departure is Damien Jurado’s second album on Sub Pop. And it’s a stunner.
If you were to take the promising moments from Damien Jurado’s first album, Waters Ave. S., and factor in a few years’ worth of maturity, it still wouldn’t add up to this spectacular achievement. The Evergreen State’s self-tagged “urban folksinger” has sharpened his songwriting skills and streamlined his musical attack. Simple, finger-picked acoustic guitar graces most of the tracks and when matched with Jurado’s nasal whine (which shares a few adenoids with Freedy Johnston) creates a genuine emotional intensity. “Ohio” is the perfectly shaped tale of a girl abducted from her mother and made to live with her father in a faraway city. The lament is perfectly underpinned by the harmonica of Richard Smokovich, who also adds an extra-rough ferocity to the complete-band numbers (“Honey Baby,” “Letters & Drawings”). The Posies’ Ken Stringfellow produces and adds a full complement of instruments, ranging from guitar, organ, and piano to mellotron and concertina. One of the year’s best, for sure.—Rob O’Connor
Released: March 9, 1999
CocoRosie / Grey Oceans - SP880
CocoRosie are two American-born sisters, Sierra and Bianca, who started making music together in Paris in 2003. Their first album, La Maison de Mon Rêve, was released in 2004 and their second album, Noah’s Ark, followed in 2005. Their third and, to now, most recent album, The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn, came out in 2007. All three of these albums were released worldwide on Touch and Go Records and earned positive critical acclaim both overseas and at home.
The nomadic duo (currently and temporarily residing in New Mexico) spent much of 2008 writing and recording in Buenos Aires, Melbourne, Berlin, New York, and Paris, finding amazing and diverse musicians to collaborate along the way. The result is their 11-song Sub Pop debut, Grey Oceans, due out May 11th, 2010.
The cover art for the vinyl LP version of Grey Oceans is different from that of the CD version. You can see the Grey Oceans LP cover art here!
Please note that the blue vinyl is SOLD OUT and all orders will be sent the black vinyl version only.
Released: May 11, 2010
Male Bonding / Nothing Hurts - SP854
Emerging from the fertile D.I.Y. rock scene in Dalston, a gentrification-proof London neighborhood with ample “lo-fi” bands and Turkish restaurants, noise-pop trio Male Bonding plays fast. Nothing Hurts, the band’s first full-length, gets it done in half an hour, and most songs clock in at around two minutes. But, there’s much more to Male Bonding than high-speed, high-impact punk. If you will know their velocity, you will remember their melodies. Every song on Nothing Hurts, whether a clipped, snarling rock anthem (“All Things This Way,” “Crooked Scene,” “Pumpkin”) or something more foggy and contemplative (“Franklin,” “Worse to Come”), carries a hook that’s immediate and permanent. Nothing Hurts was recorded in the fall of 2009 in New York and mixed and mastered by Pete Lyman at Infrasonic Sound.
Released: May 11, 2010
Dum Dum Girls / I Will Be - SP840
I Will Be is the debut full-length by the Dum Dum Girls. Produced by Dee Dee and Richard Gottehrer (Strangeloves, Voidoids, Blondie, The Go-Gos and, more recently, The Raveonettes), I Will Be is neither lo-fi nor too polished. Just under thirty minutes with eleven songs, it’s a short tribute to love, fun and the classic pop form of the ’60s girl groups and early punk rockers.
Released: March 30, 2010
David Cross / Shut Up, You Fucking Baby! - SP590
Shut Up, You Fucking Baby! is Sub Pop’s first-ever intentional comedy release. This 2-CD set was recorded during a sold-out spring/summer 2002 national tour (of rock clubs, with opening bands, as opposed to our nation’s sad network of comedy clubs). Cross is sharp, incisive and extremely funny. David Cross was one half of the Mr. Show dynasty and during his illustrious career, hs has played recurring roles on the TV programs Arrested Development and The Colbert Report, and won an Emmy Award for his contributions to The Ben Stiller Show. He has also starred in such films as Waiting for Guffman, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the Bob Dylan fantasy I’m Not There (in which he portrayed Allen Ginsberg), and Kung Fu Panda.
Released: 2002-11-05 (2xCD), 2003-08-18 (LP), 2002-11-05 (MP3s)
Happy Birthday / Happy Birthday - SP850
Happy Birthday is Kyle Thomas (aka King Tuff), Chris Weisman, and Ruth Garbus. They formed in November 2008 to play one show at the punk-space “Tinderbox”(RIP), in their hometown Brattleboro, Vermont. Kyle needed a band to play his new pop songs because he was too scared to play by himself. They enjoyed playing with eachother so much that they decided to keep doing it.
Kyle sings and plays lead guitar. The songs are mostly his, but the band arranges and finishes them together. He is also a painter and drawer and loves top 40, shoes, texting, comic books, etc. Ruth Garbus plays drums and sings. She also makes her own music and art. Chris Weisman plays “inverted-tuning” guitar, bass, and sings. He makes 4-track songs, enjoys reading and writing, and is a guitar teacher.
Released: March 16, 2010
The Ruby Suns / Fight Softly - SP863
The prime mover of The Ruby Suns, Ryan McPhun has literally traveled around the world to arrive at Fight Softly, the band’s 2nd album for Sub Pop, and 3rd overall. McPhun possesses (or is possessed by…) a voracious musical mind and this new album is the kind of head-spinning combination of big-picture vision and sumptuous detail that only comes from an artist with an urgent need to express all the stuff he’s seen. And you can dance to it! Fight Softly veers from the path set by its predecessor, the 2008 release Sea Lion. Thematically, it’s not as wide-eyed or lighthearted, picking apart the relationships faced as we pass through the world—-with our surroundings, each other, ourselves. Sonically, it remains as beat-centric, though these beats are deliciously artificial—-stretched and compacted and distorted beyond recognition. Melodies are scuzzy and digital, no guitars strummed or basses plucked. McPhun’s soulful upper-register croon, swallowed into the mix, replaces group chants and full-throated singalongs. Rather than an album of clearly-drawn influences, Fight Softly is a unique, inscrutable synthesis, more itself than anything else.
If you pre-order Fight Softly by March 2nd, you’ll get $2 off the CD or gate-fold LP (that’s a $10 CD or $12 LP)!
Released: March 2, 2010
Dear Companion is a collaboration between three Kentucky musicians; the songs were written and performed by Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore, produced by and featuring Yim Yames of My Morning Jacket and Monsters of Folk. Recorded in the first half of 2009 in their home state, Dear Companion explores their ties to the place they love and aims to draw attention to the problem of Mountaintop Removal coal mining (MTR) and its impact on the people and heritage of central Appalachia. A portion of the proceeds from Dear Companion will benefit Appalachian Voices, an organization devoted to ending MTR and finding a better way forward. Ben and Daniel will tour together around the record’s release–dates are still TBD, but will be posted here when they’re available: Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore tour dates. Daniel’s debut album, Stray Age, produced by Joe Chiccarelli, came out in October 2008 on Sub Pop. Ben’s debut album, Learning to Bend, was released in June of 2008 on sonaBlast!
Released: February 16, 2010
The Album Leaf / A Chorus of Storytellers - SP805
A Chorus of Storytellers was recorded by Ryan Hadlock in the frosty month of February 2009 at Bear Creek Studio just outside of Seattle. It was mixed in the decidedly warmer month of June in Reykjavik, Iceland by Birgir Jon Birgisson. Those paying attention will notice that this is nearly the same way their last album Into the Blue Again was recorded. There is, however, one fundamental difference between this and every other album The Album Leaf has ever recorded. For the first time in five albums, The Album Leaf recorded as a whole band. In the past, almost every instrument was performed by principal songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jimmy LaValle. This time the whole band was invited to participate and the result is their best record yet.
If you pre-order A Chorus of Storytellers, you’ll receive The Enchanted Hill, a 2007 EP/tour Video from The Album Leaf. This is a while supplies last sort of thing, so this deal is limited to the first two hundred orders.
Released: February 2, 2010
Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni ba / I Speak Fula - SBL-72001
Malian maestro Bassekou Kouyate is a virtuoso picker and musical visionary whose work blurs the lines between West African and American roots music. Bassekou’s instrument, the ngoni, is a “spike lute” and an ancestor of the banjo, sharing its taut-skinned drum body, percussive attack, and varied picking techniques. Since 2005, Bassekou has led Ngoni Ba, the first-ever group built around not one but four ngonis—-all played by members of his family.
Bassekou’s longtime friend and booster Lucy Duran (a BBC radio host, record producer, and Mande music scholar) produced the band’s debut, Segu Blue. Before long, Bassekou and Ngoni Ba were touring Europe and in high demand. I Speak Fula builds on the success of Segu Blue. Its 11 tracks provide a star-studded tour of pan-Malian music, including collaborations with Toumani Diabaté, griot vocal legend Kasse Mady Diabaté, master of the horse-hair soku fiddle Zoumana Tereta, and guitar phenomenon Vieux Farka Toure, Ali’s precociously talented son. The release of I Speak Fula and Ngoni Ba’s first U.S. tour mark the latest leg of an extraordinary musical journey.
I Speak Fula is the first release on Next Ambiance, a new label founded by Jon Kertzer host of KEXP’s Best Ambiance Radio show and Sub Pop co-founder Jon Poneman, and the newest addition to the Sub Pop family. Next Ambiance continues the musical exploration of Best Ambiance, with an emphasis on mind-blowing and life-changing artists with no particular regional or cultural bias.
“Contender for African album of the year.” (5 stars) Uncut
“This is a cracker.” (4 stars) Mojo
“Spectacular.” BBC online
“Truly irresistible.” Music Week
“Fizzes with energy.” (4 stars) Observer Music Monthly
“There’s unlikely to be a better African album this year.” (5 stars) Evening Standard
“Ferociously powerful album … Superb.” The Independent (Album of the Week)
“Soon the world will speak Fula.” Metro
If you like vinyl and want this record on vinyl, go here.
Released: 2010-02-02 (CD), 2010-02-16 (MP3s)
AFCGT / AFCGT (Sub Pop LP) - SP843
Drooling Hillbilly Metal, Sea Urchin Psychedelia, Yukon Freak Thrash, and Beatnik Swamp Drone are musical genres, like dozens of others, which are in the infancy of their developments. Yet someone has finally harnessed the inside track to claiming a few of these elusive styles as their own creations. AFCGT is a rather convenient vernacular for A Frames and Climax Golden Twins but if you’re hopeful that the usual sources are stocked with facts and figures about this outfit, think again. There’s not much information available on AFCGT. The cretinous calliope that is AFCGT descends from a decrepit longhouse on the shores of a dark lake where the self-inflicted wounds from a windy forest of flailing, whipping branches gave birth to the white heat oddities from this their self-titled new album on Sub Pop Records. Conjoined a little over two years ago, the group has already been dishing out vinyl; recording a 10-inch EP, a full-length LP, and appearing on a 7-inch compilation not to mention a few super-limited CDRs thrown in for kicks. With 3 electric guitars, a bass guitar, and a drum kit they manage to emulate the decaying soundtrack of an international airport with all the trimmings; accidental runway collisions, air traffic control extremism, unauthorized handling of cargo, and bitching passengers at checkpoint screenings. AFCGT will be available as both a vinyl LP (with bonus 7-inch single!) and as a digital album (without bonus 7-inch single!), though not as a compact disc.
Released: January 26, 2010
Retribution Gospel Choir / 2 - SP856
Retribution Gospel Choir is a rock trio founded in 2007. The group features Alan Sparhawk on guitar and vocals, Steve Garrington on bass and Eric Pollard on drums and vocals. Alan also fronts the band Low with his wife, Mimi Parker, and Steve also plays bass in Low. 2 is Retribution Gospel Choir’s 2nd full-length and Sub Pop debut! Eric Swanson recorded these performances at Sacred Heart Studio in Duluth, Minnesota, and Matt Beckley mixed the recordings at Faux Rock in Sherman Oaks, California.
Released: January 26, 2010
Beach House / Teen Dream - SP845
Recorded in upstate New York, in a converted church called Dreamland with producer/engineer Chris Coady (who has worked with TV on the Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Blonde Redhead, and a bunch of others) Teen Dream is the third album from the Baltimore-based duo Beach House, and their Sub Pop debut. The new album gives voice to a full universe of unbridled imagination, and the manifestation of Teen Dream has been a welcomed and all-consuming obsession for Beach House the past 9-12 months. Both the CD and LP formats of Teen Dream will arrive packaged with a companion DVD featuring a video for each song on the album, each by a different director.
Released: January 26, 2010
Nirvana / Bleach: Deluxe Edition - SP834
Marking the 20th Anniversary of Nirvana’s debut album, Sub Pop will re-issue the Platinum Certified Bleach on November 3, 2009. This expanded CD/double-LP will include a never-before-released live performance, special packaging and the first run of the double-LP will be on 180g white vinyl (the first run of the original LP was also on white vinyl). Both formats will be available for pre-order here at subpop.com leading up to this edition’s release.
Originally recorded over three sessions with producer Jack Endino at Seattle’s Reciprocal Recording Studios in December 1988 and January 1989, Bleach was released in June of ‘89 and remains unequivocally/unsurprisingly Sub Pop’s very favorite Nirvana full-length. The album initially sold 40,000 copies, but was brought into the international spotlight following the release and worldwide success of their 1991 sophomore effort, Nevermind. Subsequently Bleach went on to sell 1.7 million copies in the US alone, according to Nielsen SoundScan. This 20th Anniversary Edition has been re-mastered from the original tapes at Sterling Sound in a session overseen by producer Jack Endino.
This edition will include an unreleased live recording of a complete February 9th, 1990 show at the Pine Street Theatre in Portland, Oregon. The show features performances of “Love Buzz,” “About a Girl” and a cover of The Vaselines’ song “Molly’s Lips” and has been re-mixed from the original tapes by Endino (complete track listing below). A 52-page CD /16-page LP booklet which includes candid photos of the band not previously released to the public will also be included in this deluxe edition.
A notice to Vinyl-buyers: this is a very weighty collection of records and images and nice packaging. What I’m clumsily saying is, if you’re in America, choose UPS shipping as your shipping method. It’s going to be more cost-effective than USPS (unless you’re in the Seattle area).
Released: November 3, 2009
There is so much that could be said regarding Flight of the Conchords. How they hail from New Zealand, the island nation with multiple postal services. Or that, after winning a Best Comedy Album Grammy for The Distant Future in 2007, they were nominated for a second Best Comedy Album Grammy in 2008, but were actually relieved not to win again—-because meaningless trophies really do seem important when you only have one, and have to fight over who gets to keep it. And that during the recently-completed second season of their popular HBO television series, fans could download new songs immediately after they debuted on-air. Or that this same popular HBO television series (conveniently also called Flight of the Conchords) was recently nominated for what-sure-seems-like-a-record-breaking 6 Emmys.
But all that is mere background, fact-based information that, while, granted, is largely true, impressive, and odd, doesn’t really allow us to serve up the steaming plate of rich, delicious and hopefully irresistibly persuasive description for which we (or our hired writers) are somewhat known in certain circles. And so: While Flight of the Conchords hammered out their reputation from behind the relative safety of acoustic guitars, blithely billed as a “folk comedy” act, nowadays their musical style runs rampant, unchecked. Judging from the range displayed here on I Told You I Was Freaky, Flight of the Conchords have yet to unearth a genre which can withstand their artistry. Unflinching in their lyrical stance, sophisticated with their arrangements, crafting melodies which always lodge firmly in the frontal lobe: Flight of the Conchords have created 13 best-selling ringtones, humbly masquerading as songs. Their rhymes are fearless, their thesauruses dog-eared. Only cool, confident specimens of manhood such as these could drop three-dollar vocabulary busters like “dungarees” and “pantaloons” while still mesmerizing the ladies with their undulating “Sugalumps.” Vivid imagery? Check: The ardent “Angels” should spur listeners to think twice the next time they consider catching a snowflake on their tongues. Better still, the amorous odyssey of the album’s zenith, “We’re Both in Love with a Sexy Lady,” unfolds before the listener’s very ears in real time; Flight of the Conchords are making history, and You! Are! There!
I Told You I Was Freaky is, among a great many other things, a genre-tripping tour de force and includes three songs from the second series of the show which are otherwise as yet unreleased (“Rambling Through the Avenues of Time,” “Too Many Dicks (On the Dance Floor)” and “You Don’t Have to Be a Prostitute”).
Released: October 20, 2009
No Age / Losing Feeling - SP835
Losing Feeling is a new 4-song EP from our Southern Californian friends No Age. All four songs were written in the band’s practice space. “Genie” was even recorded there; the other three were recorded at Infrasonic Sound. All of it took place in Los Angeles. Losing Feeling will be available as a 12" vinyl EP and as magical, invisible, digital files, but not as a compact disc.
Released: October 6, 2009
Pens / Hey Friend, What You Doing? - SBL-76071
Spunky debut from homegrown girl urchins. Riot girl spawned a generation of female dominated bands that sounded like they had the weight of the world on their shoulders. That, definitely, is not PENS. Product of a London scene steeped in the lo-fidelity and ecstatic exuberance of US bands like No Age and Times New Viking, this all-girl trio rattle through tales of delinquency like “High in the Cinema” with barely a second’s reflection. Luckily, these scuzzy punk nuggets cranked out on budget organ and tinny guitar largely succeed in transmitting the spirit of excitement they were surely conceived in.
~ Louis Pattinson / UNCUT
Released: September 15, 2009
Grand Archives / Keep in Mind Frankenstein - SP803
Grand Archives’ second full-length album, like much of its predecessor, was crafted at Paradise Sound in Index, WA with help from producer Ben Kersten (who also recorded The Grand Archives, the band’s 2008 debut). A few friends dropped by during recording. Brooke’s former Carissa’s Wierd cohorts, Jenn Ghetto and Sera Cahoone, sang backing vocals. The gorgeous streaks of pedal steel across the wistful sweep of “Oslo Novelist” come courtesy of Jason Kardong. For the most part, Grand Archives played everything. Especially the weird bits. It’s a little darker than the first record and opens with the bittersweet elegy “Topsy’s Revenge,” inspired by the infamous 1903 newsreel footage of Thomas Edison electrocuting a rogue Coney Island elephant. Songs like “Dig That Crazy Grave,” a buoyant ditty redolent of Southern California and summer afternoons, and the insistent, soaring Silver Among the Gold find their place here as well. It’s an album made up of disparate elements artfully fit together and brought to life with affecting results: Keep in Mind Frankenstein.
Released: September 15, 2009
Sunny Day Real Estate / LP2 (2009 Edition) - SP852
This is the 2009 reissue of Sunny Day Real Estate’s 1995 sophomore album, commonly, and largely unofficially, referred to as either LP2 or The Pink Album. We’ve been going with LP2 for a while now and plan to stick with it. This 2009 edition has been re-mastered and includes the bonus tracks “Spade and Parade” and “Bucket of Chicken,” as well as newly written liner notes.
If you’re not already familiar with LP2, there’s a thorough and thoughtful review here.
Released: September 15, 2009
Sunny Day Real Estate / Diary (2009 Edition) - SP846
This is the 2009 reissue of Sunny Day Real Estate’s 1994 debut album Diary. This edition has been re-mastered and includes the bonus tracks “8” and “9,” as well as newly written liner notes. The LP reissue of Diary will be on two pieces of BLACK vinyl.
If you don’t already know Diary, here’s a review!
Released: September 15, 2009
Blitzen Trapper / Black River Killer - SP820
As its title would lead one to believe, the Black River Killer EP contains the disturbing and great song “Black River Killer” from Blitzen Trapper’s excellent Sept. ’08 full-length album Furr. What is perhaps less evident from the title is that it also contains 6 more songs that have been, up to now, only available as a CDR that Blitzen Trapper has been selling at their live performances for the past year or so.
Released: 2009-08-25 (CD-EP), 2009-08-25 (MP3 EP), 2009-10-06 (12 inch EP)
Pissed Jeans / King of Jeans - SP818
If 2005’s Shallow was Pissed Jeans coping with moving out of their parents’ homes, and 2007’s Hope for Men their initial reaction to the mechanical lifestyle of a wage-earner, King of Jeans is their formal and uneasy acceptance of adulthood, by way of one hell of a rock record. Working with renowned producer Alex Newport (who holds a Fudge Tunnel pedigree and has worked with such luminaries as At the Drive-In, The Locust and Sepultura), Pissed Jeans have pushed further into the raw, minimal core of heavy rock music with King of Jeans. Masters of the mundane, beasts of the banal, high priests of the humdrum: these four, white, male high school graduates hardly look further than their own appendages for artistic inspiration, content to execute their own brand of brash and heavy punk music in the Joe Carducci-approved standard rock formation of guitar, bass, drums and vocals. From simple minds and simple fabrics comes this King of Jeans. And there can be only one.
Released: August 18, 2009