Shabazz Palaces new full-length The Don of Diamond Dreams will be available April 17th, 2020 worldwide on Sub Pop. The 10-track album includes the highlights “Fast Learner (ft. Purple Tape Nate),” “Chocolate Souffle,” “Bad Bitch Walking (ft. Stas THEE Boss),” and “Thanking The Girls,” with additional contributions from singer/keyboardist Darrius Willrich, percussionist Carlos Niño, Knife Knights collaborator OCnotes, saxophonist Carlos Overall, and bassist Evan Flory-Barnes.
Stream the lead track “Fast Learner (ft. Purple Tape Nate)” here now.
Shabazz Palaces will tour extensively in 2020 in support of The Don of Diamond Dreams. Live dates will be announced soon.
The Don of Diamond Dreams was recorded throughout 2019 and produced by Shabazz Palaces at Protect and Exalt: A Black Space in Seattle, mixed and engineered by Erik Blood with mixing assistance from Andy Kravitz at Studio 4 Labs in Venice, California, and mastered by Scott Sedillo at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Los Angeles.
The Don of Diamond Dreams is now available for preorder from Sub Pop.
Preorders of the LP through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers in North America will receive the limited Loser edition on clear vinyl with a silver swirl (while supplies last). All LP preorders through the Sub Pop Mega Mart will also receive The Mushroom, a 90-page, 8x8 inch zine from the elusive author TTT, inspired by The Don of Diamond Dreams (the book will also be available for purchase at Shabazz Palaces live shows).
[Pictured above: The Mushroom zine]
Meanwhile, LP preorders through select independent retailers in the U.K. and Europe will receive the limited Loser edition on sky blue vinyl (also, while supplies last). There will also be a new T-shirt design available.
The Don of Diamond Dreams
1. Portal North: Panthera
2. Ad Ventures
3. Fast Learner (ft. Purple Tape Nate)
5. Chocolate Souffle
6. Portal South: Micah
7. Bad Bitch Walking (ft. Stas THEE Boss)
8. Money Yoga (ft. Darrius)
9. Thanking The Girls
10. Reg Walks By The Looking Glass (ft. Carlos Overall)
[Photo Credit: Patrick O’Brien-Smith]
About Shabazz Palaces The Don of Diamond Dreams:
Cruise the city in a night ship, dressed to kill in the Seville. Float down waterfalls and fountains, reclined on some pimp shit. The time zone ghost returns to paint a picture that echoes through infinity. The sun is put to rest, the soliloquy is killer bee. A diamond purpose lying beneath the surface. Nothing is ever what it seems, but forever is the theme. It’s time. Shabazz Palaces are back with yet another classic of divine mathematics design. More dazzling Afrofuturist sutras to illuminate distant constellations with sacred abstractions. Enter The Don of Diamond Dreams, raw and uncut, but glowing with 10,000 karat shine.
If you adhere to the corporeal limitations of space and chronology, it’s been roughly a decade since Shabazz Palaces first shook the ramparts with their debut stylistic revolution, Black Up – which Pitchfork named as one of the Best of the 2010s, hailing it as an “album of impossible vision.” But the project masterminded by vocalist and producer Ishmael Butler has never conformed to gravitational consideration or terrestrial measurement. They are heirs to the astral imagination of Sun Ra and George Clinton, Octavia Butler and Alice Coltrane. If they technically claim residence in Seattle, their sound emanates much closer to Alpha Centauri than Alki Beach.
In his unstinting drive to reimagine hip-hop, Butler remains one of the preeminent visionaries of the last quarter-century. His first album with Digable Planets, Reachin (A New Refutation of Time and Space), nodded at Miles Davis in the first half of its title, but 27 years later, he has become one of the most vaunted inheritors of the trumpet deity’s rarefied legacy – still innovating as he enters his fourth decade as a working musician – splintering, rebuilding, and expanding the possibilities of sound. He has collaborated with like-minded visionaries Flying Lotus and Thundercat, Battles and Animal Collective. While all-timers like Radiohead and Lauryn Hill have invited him to join them on tour.
It remains impossible to accurately describe a Shabazz Palaces album without lapsing into cosmic tropes. Yet sometimes clichés are stand-ins for eternal truths. Therein, The Don of Diamond Dreams embodies a futuristic manifestation of ancient myth, full of robotic vocoder and warped auto-tune, Funkadelic refracted into different dimensions, weird portals and warm nocturnal joy rides alongside the coast (a reflection of it being mixed near the beach in California). The synthesizers are alien but the drums speak a universal language. It is hip-hop, dub, jazz, R&B, soul, funk, African, experimental, and occasionally even pop. But over the course of five albums, Shabazz Palaces have conceived the fluid boundaries of their own one-band genre.
Even though the construction of the album is meticulous, it’s a startling masterpiece of improvisation and instinct. It’s both cerebral and automatic, with Butler jotting down phrases and ideas in his phone and eventually shaping them into amorphous abstract expressionist canvasses. If anything, their latest illustrates Butler’s gift for being a conduit of sounds and experience. It’s partially shaped by his own reflection on being a parent and watching his son, Jazz, become internationally renowned as the artist, Lil Tracy. If you listen closely, you can hear the interplay between father and son, as Butler does what is impossible for most veteran artists: he absorbs the sounds of today’s youth, but filters it through his own fractured lens, spitting back convex poems with wild cadences, freestyling with the wisdom of age and the frenetic passion of someone still trying to show and prove. It’s confident and suffused with the thing that defines almost all great art: the willingness to risk attempting something new.
There is “Ad Ventures,” a shout out to Butler’s crew, The Black Constellation. The beat operates like a melodic free jazz hymn, with Ish boasting about Ethiopian carats and watching lakes from a theological terrace. It’s an imagistic rendering of their tours through Europe in sprinter vans, blitzing from place to place and absorbing every detail. Featuring Purple Tape Nate, “Fast Learner” offers odd splendor, spoken word reveries and flexes that wriggle through a wrinkle in time. The synthesizers sound like New Age from the 37th century crossed with 90s R&B, the drums are slow and seething. On top of that, Butler laid a guitar line down and auto-tune harmonies that instantiate the feeling of driving along PCH at night.
“Wet” is a freestyle of sorts with Ish offering his own twist on contemporary rap cadences but making it sound like an underwater Atlantis symphony. There are Based God shoutouts and fuzzy guitars that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Ariel Pink album. “Chocolate Souffle” is some god-level shit-talking in the way that only Butler could do: replete with Maurice Chevalier allusions and admissions of being an “elitist at the zenith of slick demeanor.” While “Thanking the Girls” might be the most poignant song in the Shabazz catalog, a song that acknowledges the myriad positive ways in which women have shaped Butler’s life. The second verse is dedicated to his two daughters and the pride which they engender. Of course, this is a Shabazz Palaces song so the beat sounds like a riff on Panda Bear distilled through a bent futuristic boom-bap prism.
In some respects, it’s difficult to consider the possibility that this might be the best Shabazz Palaces album yet. Very few musicians have ever peaked in their fifth decade on earth, but whoever said they were actually from earth? It’s wrong to say that Shabazz Palaces have gone beyond the looking glass. This time they’ve shattered it entirely and created a brilliant new universe in each one of the shards.
Redd Kross, Julia Jacklin, Guerilla Toss added to the upcoming Sub Pop Singles Club Vol. 5 series, now open for subscriptions over here.
Two new singles from the Sub Pop Singles Club Vol. 4 are now available on all digital music services.
Japanese psychedelic rock group Kikagaku Moyo present a stunning, hypnotic cover of the traditional folk song “Gypsy Davey,” as arranged by Sandy Denny’s band Fotheringay in 1970, backed with a new, original song called “Mushi No Uta.” Both tracks were recorded in 2019 at Wilton Way Studio in London, and the single features cover art by Portland, OR artist Hailee Va.
About Kikagaku Moyo:
Kikagaku Moyo started in the summer of 2012 busking on the streets of Tokyo. Though the band started as a free music collective, it quickly evolved into a tight group of multi-instrumentalists. Kikagaku Moyo call their sound psychedelic because it encompasses a broad spectrum of influence. Their music incorporates elements of classical Indian music, Krautrock, Traditional Folk, and 70s Rock. Most importantly their music is about freedom of the mind and body and building a bridge between the supernatural and the present. Improvisation is a key element to their sound. Go & Tomo run their own record label Guruguru Brain currently based in Amsterdam. Guruguru Brain has released about 10 artists from Asia including Kikagaku Moyo since 2014.
Terry is a band from Australia. Divide Terry in half and you split the genders, into quarters and you get Amy Hill (also of Constant Mongrel, School Of Radiant Living, Primo), Xanthe Waite (Primo), Zephyr Pavey (Eastlink, Total Control, Russell St Bombings) and Al Montfort (UV Race, Dick Diver, Total Control). Guitars, bass, drums, all four sing. Terry are busy people and Terry is a particularly active project too, having released three EPs, three albums and conducted three European tours with the help of London’s Upset! The Rhythm before having a crack at the American market with this spiffy single for Sub Pop subscribers.
Vol. 5 of the Sub Pop Singles Club, which runs April, 2020 through February, 2021, is currently open for subscriptions, and we are excited to announce that acclaimed Australian singer-songwriter Julian Jacklin, glam/punk/pop/psych-rock legends Redd Kross, and art-rockers Guerilla Toss will be included in the series alongside previously announced artists Father John Misty, Ohmme, Sumac, Y La Bamba, Clarke and the Himselfs, L.O.T.I.O.N. Multinational Corporation, TEKE::TEKE, and more TBA. Subscribers to Vol. 5 will also get a sharp-looking box in which they can store their singles. We strongly advise interested parties to subscribe now before we sell out (of subscriptions; the other kind of selling out happened long ago).
About the Sub Pop Singles Club
Intermittently, since 1988, Sub Pop has roped artists into letting us release a couple of their songs on the 7” vinyl format, resulting in releases by Nirvana, Soundgarden, L7, The White Stripes, Bright Eyes, and a ton more. We then shipped these singles to people who had the forethought to subscribe, in advance, to the Singles Club. Many of these singles have since become very rare and sought-after. (Ok, so a few haven’t, but who’s counting?) Most recently, we somehow pulled off the Sub Pop Singles Club Vol. 4, running from April 2019-February 2020 (and totally closed for subscriptions since February, so don’t ask!). You can hear many of the past Singles Club releases via the Sub Pop Singles Club Playlist.
The Sub Pop Singles Club Vol. 5 will keep this fine tradition of excellent new music and logistical headaches going for yet another year. These singles are one-time, limited pressings with exclusive tracks by each artist. Subscribe now or assuredly regret later!
What do you get with a subscription?
- Approximately 24 amazing, exclusive songs by your new favorite musicians! Artists confirmed so far include Julian Jacklin, Redd Kross, Guerilla Toss, Father John Misty, Ohmme, Sumac, Y La Bamba, Clarke and the Himselfs, L.O.T.I.O.N. Multinational Corporation, and TEKE::TEKE. More TBA!
- 12 vinyl 7” singles pressed by our friends at Third Man Pressing, with artful packaging lovingly designed by the musicians and the Sub Pop art department!
- A nice box to store them all in!
- An official Sub Pop Singles Club Vol. 5 membership card!
- Coolness! Conversation pieces! Things to have and hold over people who don’t have them! Relatives and acquaintances who are surprised to find out they still make those things! And other side-effects of record collecting!
$130 for the U.S.
$170 for Canada
$185 for Mexico
$195 for the rest of the world.
Shipping is included in each of those prices.
The official music video for Orville Peck’s “Queen of the Rodeo” is premiering today. Directed by Austin Peters (Haim, Chvrches, Bastille), the video also features a special interlude version of Peck’s song “Roses Are Falling.”
Both songs come from Peck’s critically acclaimed debut album Pony, out now on Sub Pop Records. In celebration of the album, Peck will continue his extensive U.S. tour this spring including stops at Seattle’s Showbox, San Francisco’s The Independent, Las Vegas’ Brooklyn Bowl, San Diego’s Humphrey’s and New Orleans’ Music Box Theatre among several others. Peck will also perform at both Coachella and Stagecoach festivals this spring, one of the select few artists performing at both events. Tickets for these shows are on-sale now via https://www.orvillepeck.com/tour.
Sub Pop is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Night Flight Plus streaming service. Night Flight Plus members can now watch fifty Sub Pop videos with new introductions by the show’s original host Pat Prescott. Featured artists include Weyes Blood, Mudhoney, Sleater-Kinney, Orville Peck, and more.
Check out Night Flight’s official Sub Pop playlist here on Spotify.
Remembered by millions, Night Flight aired on the USA network from 11 PM–4 AM and is credited with breaking numerous alternative and avant-garde musicians and directors to TV audiences around the country. (Night Flight premiered four months before MTV). As DEVO’s Mark Mothersbaugh recalls, “Night Flight was one of the cool shows to be seen on, and it was a big deal to us to get the opportunity.”
The brand relaunched in 2016 as an on-demand streaming service offering exclusive access to the original 1980s episodes as well as an eclectic collection of cult films, music documentaries, and concerts. The new Sub Pop partnership allows users to stream current and legacy Sub Pop music videos adapted to the show’s original format.
Night Flight’s pioneering “Take Off” format featured artists and genres in “blocks” which helped cultivate the high cultural literacy Night Flight is now most known for today. An essential platform for discovery, Night Flight is honored to expose its loyal following to the music and video art of both new and legacy Sub Pop artists.
Stuart S. Shapiro, Night Flight Creator, and CEO said: “Sub Pop is the quintessential independent label and Night Flight has always been dedicated to the discovery and support of emerging and alternative music artists. We are thrilled that Sub Pop is our first label featured on NF Plus and expect to make a big push to all the others.”
Night Flight Plus is available on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and online. Subscription info is over here.