Easy Street Records

Top 25 Staff Picks 2023

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As Cut Worms, songwriter Max Clarke's contemporary vision of American heritage rock-n-roll is both pristine and askew. He's been called a modern Buddy Holly and Everly Brothers while also being tagged as "Lynchian." Since 2016, this vision has made Cut Worms fans of Nick Lowe, Norah Jones, Wilco and other notable powerhouse artists. And on his self-titled third album, we find Clarke refining his craft down to it's most crucial elements. Produced and performed almost entirely by Clarke, it's both a return to Cut Worms home-recorded debut EP 'Alien Sunset' and imbued with all the hi-fi lessons learned during the Memphis sessions of his epic, 2020 2xLP 'Nobody Lives Hear Anymore.' Declarations of love, vitriol for our crazy-making culture wars, a love letter to the late Bobby Fuller - all with a reverb spring, brass swing and pureness of heart that seem to reject our post-modern hall of LED mirrors. It's all executed so very well it almost feels otherworldly. Clarke's voice is truly singular in the year 2023 - disarming and timeless.
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For over a decade, Dean Johnson’s rustic tenor and simply strummed acoustic guitar have been perking up ears around the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Johnson has gradually built a devoted fan base — strictly through live performances and word of mouth — singing existential cowboy waltzes, ballads about wishing one could find a way out of heaven, honest confessionals, and other heartbreakers from a unique perspective. 
 
The phrase “hidden gem” would seem appropriate here, but it’s a misnomer when talking about Dean Johnson. He shines bright, in plain sight, and it was only a matter of time before people stopped to take a look. Dean’s gentle and passionate approach to songwriting has inspired many, and his work provides the listener the opportunity to believe once more that a song can be more than the sum of its parts. If you catch even a phrase of his melodies or the sobering tone of his voice, it waltzes its way into your heart like a letter written, signed, sealed, and delivered just for you. 
 
His debut album 'Nothing for Me, Please' (Mama Bird Recording Co.) was recorded at Mashed Potato Records in New Orleans with the help of Sam Gelband and Charlie Meyer, Dean’s bandmates in The Sons of Rainier; as well as Mashed Potato regulars Sam Doores (The Deslondes), Duff Thompson and Steph Green. The record is a hazy, relaxed daydream – anthems for those who know the sweetness and coldness of quiet moments, the power and the pain of love. Whether you’ve been waiting patiently these many for Dean to release these songs, or you’re just now coming across his work for the first time, the name Dean Johnson, much like his songs, won’t soon leave your mind.

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Slowdive

everything is alive [LP]

Vinyl: $24.99 UNAVAILABLE

everything is aliveSlowdive’s 5th record, is exactly what the title suggests: an exploration into the shimmering nature of life and the universal touch points within it. 

While there are parts of this record that could sit neatly next to the atmospheric quality of 1995’s Pygmalioneverything is alive also manages to break down the boundaries of what’s come before it. Spanning psychedelic soundscapes, pulsating 80’s electronic elements and John Cale inspired journeys, the album lands immediately as something made for 2023 and beyond. 

For a genre that is often thought of as divisive, and often warrants introspection, here Slowdive show their craft as the masters of it by pushing it outwards, beyond the singular; the end result being a record which feels as emotional and cathartic as it is hopeful.

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Rustin’ in the Rain is the eagerly anticipated new album from singer-songwriter Tyler Childers. This collection of new songs is Childers’ sixth studio album, and the follow up to his critically acclaimed release Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven?. 

Rustin’ in the Rain is produced by Childers alongside his longtime band The Food Stamps, and the album features the heartfelt single “In Your Love,” which Tyler first teased to fans earlier in 2023 during his Bonnaroo Music Festival performance.

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Jenny Lewis’ fifth solo album, Joy’All arrives June 9th. Joy’All finds the singer-songwriter embarking on a new era, in a new town – and on a new label, as she joins the iconic roster of Blue Note/Capitol Records. While Joy’All pulls from a bounty of sonic inspiration – from classic soul to ‘90s R&B, as well as country and classic singer-songwriter records – the album’s rich, intimate and warm live sound is the hallmark of eight-time GRAMMY-winning producer Dave Cobb. Recorded at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A, Joy’All includes new single “Psychos” and the previously released single “Puppy and a Truck.”

Jenny Lewis - Joy'All [Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Green LP]
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Chaos For The Fly is the debut solo album from Grian Chatten, vocalist of Dublin’s critically-acclaimed band Fontaines D.C. Rare moments of respite from a relentless touring schedule afforded Chatten the opportunity to start work on something for himself, occupying a completely different headspace from his hugely successful work within Fontaines D.C. Co-produced by the band’s longstanding producer Dan Carey, the album is arguably the most poetic we’ve heard from Chatten. Each song here has a sweep of colour and textures that breathe life into his lucid tales. Over its nine tracks, Chaos For The Fly is a record that takes in all of life’s rich emotions, transporting the listener to a place you not only want to visit, but will find yourself returning to again and again. It's been a tremendous run for Fontaines D.C., debuting at number one in both the UK and Ireland with their third album, the critically acclaimed and Ivor Novello nominated Skinty Fia, and taking home the BRIT award for International Group of the Year. It followed 2020’s A Hero’s Death, which was nominated for Best Rock Album at the 2021 Grammys, and their debut, 2019’s Dogrel, which was nominated for both the Mercury Music Prize and Ireland’s Choice Music Prize.
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Did you know that there's a tunnel under Ocean Blvd is the ninth studio album from acclaimed singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey, comprising 16 tracks and interludes with features including Father John Misty, Tommy Genesis, Jon Batiste, Bleachers and more. It follows the prolific artist's 2021 albums Chemtrails Over The Country Club and Blue Banisters.

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Limited copper colored vinyl LP pressing. 2023 release. Desire, I Want to Turn Into You is the fourth studio album by singer-songwriter and producer Caroline Polachek, and second under her given name. Features the singles "Bunny Is a Rider", "Billions", "Sunset", "Welcome to My Island", and "Blood and Butter".
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Jessie Ware releases her 5th studio album That! Feels Good! on April 28, 2023. It’s the follow-up to 2020’s What’s Your Pleasure? which proved her status as one of the U.K.’s most influential artists and became her highest charting album to date. Last year saw Jessie support juggernaut Harry Styles in the U.S. on tour, gain 2.4 billion global streams and complete a fantastic run of live shows, including career-defining sets at Glastonbury and Primavera Sound. Jessie Ware continues to cement herself as a formidable force at the forefront of pop.

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“I imagine myself playing these songs in a small club that is slowly burning,” says A. Savage of his second solo record, Several Songs about Fire. After more than a decade in New York, the co-frontman of Parquet Courts has left the city, marking his exit with a masterpiece of maturity and a worthy corollary to his first solo venture, 2017’s Thawing Dawn. “Fire is something you have to escape from. This album is a burning building, and these songs are things I’d leave behind to save myself.” Produced by John Parish on a 1” 16-track in just ten days in Bristol and studded by the support of Cate Le Bon and Jack Cooper (Modern Nature, Ultimate Painting) as well as saxophonist Euan Hinshelwood (Cate Le Bon), drummer Dylan Hadley (Kamikaze Palm Tree, White Fence), and violinist Magdalena McLean (Caroline), Savage’s outsize gifts as a lyricist and observer – a quality Parish calls “an emotional openness guarded by a laconic wit" – shine. Worrying questions of wealth and poverty, self and other, Savage displays the poet’s gift of knowing when to narrate and when to vanish, leaving the listener to their own emotional privacy rather than instructing them how to feel. The end result is tantamount to psychic odyssey, with “Elvis in the Army” placing us in a subterranean venue where the livid, ratifying cymbal raises the room’s blood pressure and “Mountain Time”, evoking an austere waltz playing in a desolate house, returning those listening to life. Influenced by Sybille Baier and Townes Van Zandt, Savage joins a canon of songwriters constantly dilating aperture and perspective. In rendering the signage of laundromats and threats of debt collectors as glistering and totemic as the scope of mountains, rivers, seas, and skies, Savage finds hopes and curses in equal measure.

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In the summer of 2021, Geese emerged from out of nowhere, sparking a hype cycle unlike anything that had been seen for a young American rock band in recent memory. Suddenly a band that had previously planned to release some music, break up, and go away to college was touring the world. And during this entire process, that very same band everyone was getting to know ceased to exist. On a practical level, Geese are still the group we were introduced to in 2021. But spiritually, Geese have returned as an entirely different prospect. Their new album 3D Country is the sound of a restless, adventurous band redefining themselves. Anyone who has seen Geese live recently might’ve noticed the band adopted a different vibe onstage — more of a volcanic, unpredictable aesthetic. It turns out that wasn’t a flipside to the recordings of Projector, but foreshadowing that there was more to the story. Knowing they were now beyond teenage basement experiments and were instead making something for an audience who would hear it, Geese felt emboldened. “When we were writing Projector it was about narrowing the scope, trying to do more with less,” Gus Green says. “When we started writing for 3D Country we were trying to do a lot more and seeing what worked and what didn’t.” At the same time, they’re well aware of how significant a departure they’ve made. “As music listeners, we all appreciate bands who change over time, and are comfortable with risk,” Cameron Winter adds. It wasn’t necessarily a given that Geese would overhaul their sound, but with age came new adventures and interests. “Maybe the last record was our teenage angst and 3D Country is our newfound twenty-something arrogance,” he quips.

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Sometimes, Mitski says, it feels like life would be easier without hope, or a soul, or love. But when she closes her eyes and thinks about what’s truly hers, what can’t be repossessed or demolished, she sees love. “The best thing I ever did in my life was to love people,” Mitski says. “I wish I could leave behind all the love I have, after I die, so that I can shine all this goodness, all this good love that I’ve created onto other people.” She hopes her newest album, The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We, will continue to shine that love long after she’s gone. Listening to it, that’s precisely how it feels: like a love that’s haunting the land.

“This is my most American album,” Mitski says about her seventh record, and the music feels like a profound act of witnessing this country, in all of its private sorrows and painful contradictions. In this album, which is sonically Mitski’s most expansive, epic, and wise, the songs seem to be introducing wounds and then actively healing them. Here, love is time-traveling to bless our tender days, like the light from a distant star.

The album is full of the ache of the grown- up, seemingly mundane heartbreaks and joys that are often unsung but feel enormous. It’s a tiny epic. From the bottom of a glass, to a driveway slushy with memory and snow, to a freight train barreling through the Midwest, and all the way to the moon, it feels like everything, and everyone, is crying out, screaming in pain, arching towards love. Love is that inhospitable land, beckoning us and then rejecting us. To love this place — this earth, this America, this body — takes active work. It might be impossible. The best things are.

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Laufey

Bewitched [LP]

Vinyl: $27.99 UNAVAILABLE

AUTOGRAPHED COPIES ARE NOW SOLD OUT

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3-time GRAMMY® award winning recording artist olivia rodrigo will release her new album, GUTS, on september 8th via geffen records. available to pre-order now.

GUTS was recorded with producer daniel nigro, who also collaborated with her on SOUR, her chart-topping, 4x platinum debut album.

“for me, this album is about growing pains and about trying to figure out who I am at this point in my life and exactly what I want to say in my songs."

Olivia Rodrigo - GUTS [Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Lavender LP]
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Andy Shauf’s songs unfold like short fiction: they’re densely layered with colorful characters and a rich emotional depth. On his new studio album Norm, Andy Shauf’s songwriting veers decidedly more oblique, hinting at sinister happenings and dark motivations. The result: an intoxicating collection of mellifluous melodies and beguiling lyrics. Levitating, synth-laden atmospherics drive Shauf’s storytelling on ‘Norm,’ mixed by Neal Pogue (Tyler, the Creator).

In 2016, The Party catapulted Andy Shauf to indie notoriety, followed by 2020’s The Neon Skyline which landed Andy Shauf performances on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and CBS This Morning: Saturday, a Polaris Prize nomination, and mentions on several best-of lists — among them, a track on Barack Obama’s playlist and praise from Pitch- fork, The Atlantic, Esquire, Stereogum, and more.

Andy Shauf - Norm [Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Eco Mix LP]
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Endless Summer Vacation is the eagerly anticipated new album from recording artist, songwriter, and trailblazer Miley Cyrus. This collection is Miley’s eighth studio album, and the follow up to 2020’s album, Plastic Hearts. 2023 finds Miley the strongest and most confident she’s ever been, with the music and imagery of Endless Summer Vacation serving as a reflection of that. The album was recorded in Los Angeles and produced with Kid Harpoon, Greg Kurstin, Mike WiLL Made-It and Tyler Johnson.

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Enveletration is a mix of the words: envelopment and penetration. Conceptually it is kind of a late-night space out thought trap around the perceived power dynamic of sexual organs, inside out body parts, matter density within a void, atomic structures that are analogous to solar systems, and other weird human-cosmic relations that will really eat your brain if you think on them for a while. It’s basically imposter syndrome for all of humanity relative to the universe.
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"‘In Times New Roman...’, the 8th studio album from Queens of the Stone Age is raw, brutal & rough around the edges but with a refinement that reveals itself further with each successive listen — and QOTSA founder Joshua Homme’s lyrics are as witty and withering than ever. The results are instantly identifiable ; QOTSA’s sonic signature, expanded and embellished with new and unprecedented twists in virtually every song, a live in-a-room recording that showcases a band at the height of their creative powers.

‘In Times New Roman...’ is a party for the obscene and the clean, the outcasts and the weirdos, and anyone and everyone in between. One of the most important bands in recent rock history is B A C K but it’s no exaggeration to call this album a devastating rebirth."

Queens Of The Stone Age - In Times New Roman... [2LP]
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The new self-titled album from singer-songwriter-producer Zach Bryan is an expansive yet intimate 16-track set that explores the Grammy-nominated artist's Oklahoma roots as well as his vast and varied confluence of musical and literary influences. Written and produced by Bryan himself, his new album is a raw and unfiltered communique from the songs' creator directly to the heart of his global audience. - The album boasts appearances from The Lumineers on the song "Spotless," country superstar Kacey Musgraves on album highlight "I Remember Everything," as well as features from Sierra Ferrell on "Holy Roller" and The War and Treaty on "Hey Driver." Other standout tracks, which capture Bryan's honest and relatable storytelling and poignant delivery, are "El Dorado," "Tourniquet," and album-closer "Oklahoma Son."
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Since announcing their arrival with debut album in 1991, Blur went on to revolutionise the sound of English popular music with six successive UK #1 albums and a string of Top 10 singles, including two No 1s, helping to propel the band to mass popularity at home and abroad. One of the biggest British bands of the last three decades, Blur have released eight studio albums and collected ten NME Awards, six Q Awards, five BRIT Awards and an Ivor Novello Award, and played live to millions of devoted fans across the globe.

Whilst they are an iconic band, the new music truly feels like they have re-invented their sound for 2023 and we should really amplify the commercial viability and youthful leaning sound to reach new audiences.

The album is truly incredible body of work which is beautifully layered, with real stand-out singles which is understandably described by the band as one of their best creations.

Blur - The Ballad of Darren [Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Blue LP]
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Kassa Overall is a Grammy-nominated musician, emcee, singer, producer and drummer who melds avant-garde experimentation with hip-hop production techniques to tilt the nexus of jazz and rap in unmapped directions. On his Warp Records debut, ANIMALS, Kassa pushes his kaleidoscopic, subversive vision further. He layers Roland 808s against avant-garde drumming in the vein of his mentors Elvin Jones and Billy Hart, the latter of whom he studied with at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Virtuoso musos appear alongside rap poets, including Danny Brown, Wiki, Lil B, and Shabazz Palaces. Top-flight jazz improvisation weaves in and out of orchestral string arrangements by Jherek Bischoff. The album’s diverse, all-star roster of collaborators includes several of his close friends, like vocalists Nick Hakim, Laura Mvula, Francis and the Lights, and jazz stars like Theo Croker and Vijay Iyer.

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