New Release Round-Up 09-08-17
THE NATIONAL - Sleep Well Beast - 4AD
"Albums by The National are like your friendly neighborhood lush: In just an hour or so, they’re able to drink you under the table, say something profound enough to make the whole bar weep, then stumble out into the pre-dawn, proud and ashamed in equal measure. They also tend to be sneaky, both lyrically and musically—it’s kind of their trick, to insinuate themselves slowly over time, appearing at first to be more meditative and less hooky than they actually are. The band’s seventh album in just shy of 20 years as a band is more direct with both its words and sounds. That makes sense, given these angry, depressing times: There’s not a lot of room for resignation or even patience when it feels like the world—political for sure, and in the case of this album, personal—is falling apart. Can those things be spun into relevant, redemptive music? That’s tricky business, but in the case of The National, turmoil has always been potent fuel, and Sleep Well Beast is the band’s fifth album in a row that feels essential, connected, and unflinching." - The A.V. Club
MOGWAI - Every Country's Sun - Temporary Residence
Every Country's Sun takes two decades of Mogwai's signature, contrasting sounds – towering intensity, pastoral introspection, synth-rock minimalism, DNA-detonating volume – and distills it, beautifully, into 56 concise minutes of gracious elegance, hymnal trance-rock, and transcendental euphoria. Produced by psych-rock luminary Dave Fridmann, it's a structural soundscape built from stark foundations up; from a gentle, twinkling, synth-rock spectre to a solid, blown-out, skyward-thrusting obelisk. There's percussive, dream-state electronics (“Coolverine”), church organs as chariots of existential fire (“Brain Sweeties”), tremulous, foreboding bleeping – possibly from a dying android (“AKA 47”). Their most transportive album yet, it also hosts their most fully realized art-pop sing-along of their storied history, “Party In The Dark,” a head-spinning disco-dream double-helix echoing New Order and The Flaming Lips, featuring Braithwaite's seldom-heard melodic vocals declaring he's “directionless and innocent, searching for another piece of mind”. This is music as a keep-out chrysalis, protective audio armor through exalting organs and portentous, dissonant guitar fuzz warping at the edges, bending the world inside-out into a reality in which you’d much rather live. The last three songs ascend into explosive exorcism, closing with the colossal “Every Country’s Sun,” its searching intensity whooshing towards infinity in a dazzling cosmic crescendo.
JACK JOHNSON - All The Light Above It Too - Republic
Jack Johnson returns with his 8th album, All The Light Above It Too. The album is being led by first single "My Mind Is For Sale" which hit the airwaves in July, followed by a run of North American tour dates. Jack will also embark on a run of dates in the Southeast following album release.
ODESZA - A Moment Apart - Counter Records
ODESZA (Harrison Mills, Clayton Knight) is one of the most celebrated groups in electronic music, winning over fans online and at their consistently sold-out live shows. This week they release their new 16-track album A Moment Apart on Counter Records (a Ninja Tune imprint) with a world tour to immediately follow. A Moment Apart represents ODESZA's growth, delivering a more mature sound through weighted atmospheres, shimmering synth lines and familiar feelings of nostalgia, optimism and hope. The albums featured guests include Leon Bridges, Regina Spektor, and RY X, creating an eclectic mix that showcases ODESZA's dynamic range.
TORI AMOS - Native Invader - Decca
Native Invader is the celebrated singer-songwriter Tori Amos' hotly-anticipated new album on Decca Records. Tori's confessional style of writing sees her continue to push boundaries with her music. Her messages of empowerment, tenderness, acerbic assertiveness and her utterly peerless sound speaks to audiences across the globe. In this new album, Tori delves even deeper into her personal experiences, and the standard is there to be seen.
CHAD VANGAALEN - Light Information - Sub Pop
From the beautiful mind of Chad VanGaalen comes Light Information. While alienation has always been a theme of VanGaalen’s music, Light Information draws on a new kind of wisdom–and anxiety–gained as he watches his kids growing up. “Being a parent has given me a sort of alternate perspective, worrying about exposure to a new type of consciousness that’s happening through the internet,” he says. “I didn’t have that growing up, and I’m maybe trying to preserve a little bit of that selfishly for my kids.” Throughout the dark-wave reverb of Light Information are stories of paranoia, disembodiment, and isolation–but there’s also playfulness, empathy, and intimacy.
For more information on these and other releases out this week, check out our New Releases charts by week section and don't forget that many of these titles are also available on vinyl.