Indie Exclusive Releases
On Fast Idol, LA-based Black Marble reaches back through time to connect with the forgotten bedroom kids of the analogue era, the halcyon days of icy hooks and warbly synths. Harmonies are piped in across the expanse of space, and lyrics capture conversations that seem to come from another room, repeat an accusation overheard, or speak as if in sleep of interpersonal struggles distilled down to one subconscious phrase. At the same time, percussive elements feel forward and cut through the mix with toms counting off the measures like a lost tribe broadcasting through the bass and tops of a basement club soundsystem.
Melodies roll with the fizz and charm of Jacno and phrases repeated are electric torchlight ballads sung after hours in William Gibson’s San Francisco. ‘Somewhere’ opens in sombre herald, before dropping into a fast freeway tempo; the glassy synths and crisp beats cut through the anxious moods on ‘Bodies’ and ‘Try’ sits in a lineage with cult bands like Asylum Party. ‘The Garden’ is a journey through a post-apocalyptic cityscape, earthed by the pulse of a drum machine whereas ‘Ship To Shore’ could be a lost Oppenheimer Analysis B-side, and the album’s closer ‘Brighter and Bigger’ catches a sentiment like The Dadacomputer has learned to feel emotions. He captures the loneliness of Ray Bradbury’s atomic-era sci-fi and the apocalyptic but revolutionary spirit of Godard’s Sympathy for the Devil, as in ‘Preoccupation’, the beating heart of the album, which conjures ambivalent scenes of an empty world and the comfort to be found in a shared humanity.
Emerging from the early 2000s New York synth scene, Black Marble carried on the tradition of early synthwave pioneers like Martin Dupont and Modern Art who repurposed synths once reserved for expensive studios and stadium rock superstars. Seeking to channel this spirit, Black Marble recalls the gauzy tape wow and flutter of The Membranes and the warbling VCO of Futurisk, carrying on a sound that seeks to channel the future while imprinting residue of the past.
Hand Habits, the project of Los Angeles-based musician Meg Duffy (they/them), is back with their new album Fun House - the most ambitious Hand Habits album to date. Produced by Sasami Ashworth (SASAMI) and engineered by Kyle Thomas (King Tuff), the record was not intended as a reaction to the pandemic, but it was very much the result of taking a difficult, if much-needed, moment of pause. Emboldened by going into therapy and coaxed by Ashworth to push the songs into unexpected new shapes, the resulting music is more acutely personal and stylistically adventurous than anything you’ve heard from Hand Habits before. The push/pull of styles, paired with songs that move deftly between the present and past, give the record a wildly diverse, hall of mirrors quality that befits its name. Where previous Hand Habits records could be fairly insular affairs, Fun House feels ebullient, lush, a fully-realized conversation.
EVERY TIME I DIE is a loud rock institution committed to leaving an outpouring of chaotic passion and blissful malcontent all over their records and on the stage. With boiling charisma and unrelenting energy to spare, the Buffalo, NY band manages not one but two near-impossible tasks. They’ve survived two decades as an underground entity cherished for coloring outside the lines, and contrary to most career arcs, continually improving with each successive album as they charge ahead. ETID makes a glorious hardcore-punk noise. Alchemized by a swampy summoning of Southern rock and coarse poetry, the music swirls beneath sardonic and clever wordplay, cementing them as leaders, not followers.
The band’s ninth studio album, Radical, is 16 tracks of peak-ETID, including raucous new anthems. They deliver what you have come to know and love and then diverge into new paths. To say that “All This And War” featuring guest vocals by Josh Scogins from The ‘68 is absolute brutal heaviness is an understatement. It’s an addictive punch in the face, you’ll want on repeat. The boys then run off to explore the dark haunted woods of a more somber and melodic side in the track “Thing With Feathers” featuring Andy Hull from Manchester Orchestra.
Radical proves with every track that it is a distillation of the strengths of their past, injected with their unyielding revelry and signature sarcasm while cognizant – and fiercely combative – of the present state of world affairs.
“It really was super natural”, laughs Duncan Troast, explaining how he and Nick Corson came to form The Convenience, and though he means it was as organic as breathing, the music these two conjure is from an alternate reality. Pulling from a pastiche of 80’s sounds and their own rolodex of future pop flourishes, their new album Accelerator sounds like a late-night disco party on a distant outpost, a sea of dancing bodies illuminated by an alien moon.
The two met at New Orleans’ Loyola University, where they eventually joined the rising pop group Video Age, and before long, were spending the downtime between tours exploring what their own music could sound like. Their early efforts showed promise, but when held next to the iridescent glow of their new material, it’s clear there was a fundamental shift.
“There was a disconnect from the music that we were making, and the breadth of the music that we loved”, explains Corson,“I was relearning how to write songs.” The two went back to the music that made them truly feel alive, pouring over records by Stevie Wonder, Prince, NSYNC, “trying to figure out why it felt so good”.
The result of those efforts is a singular album packed with visceral, immediate pleasure; body music for a plastic pop future. “I had a hard time learning how to do things the right way, and just wanted to make a mess”, says Corson, thinking back on his earliest experiments with songwriting and production. You can hear that spirit in the brief snippets of noise that dot the record, but the immaculate pop songs here make it clear - whatever they’re doing is working. At its core, Accelerator is a celebration of friendship, and the transportive power of music. It’s an ode to the joy of dancing, of loving just to have loved, and becoming who you are.
The Let It Be album has been newly mixed by producer Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell. All the new Let It Be releases feature the new stereo mix of the album as guided by the original "reproduced for disc" version by Phil Spector and sourced directly from the original session and rooftop performance eight-track tapes. Now available on Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Picture Disc vinyl.
The Pretty Reckless’ fourth full-length album, 'Death By Rock And Roll,’ is proving to be the band’s most ambitious release yet. With earliest ideas for the album tracing back to 2017, Taylor Momsen and co had to write through the heartbreaking loss of Chris Cornell, who was one of frontwoman Taylor Momsen’s musical muses. Shortly after, producer and longtime collaborator Kato Khandwala passed in a motorcycle accident. Despite the setbacks, the group pushed through the tragedy to complete the record; as soon as the band released the titular first single, they were launched into the spotlight once again. “Death By Rock And Roll” became the band’s fifth #1 song at Active Rock radio, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished by a female-fronted band. The album also features the singles “And So It Went” (featuring Tom Morello), “Only Love Can Save Me Now (featuring Matt Cameron and Kim Thayil)” and “25.”
Pokey LaFarge’s 7th studio solo album, In the Blossom of Their Shade, showcases the positivity of coming out of the darkness and into the light. When the 2020 global pandemic hit, LaFarge’s rigorous work ethic powered him through the potentially challenging creative period. As days became a couple months, songs blossomed from embryonic ideas into full-formed ones and he was ready to move on, which typified his mindset as a working artist. With this record LaFarge captures the thematic notion of being the perfect summer afternoon soundtrack...the type of music you want to listen to while having a cocktail with your significant other. It makes sense musically as well — LaFarge intentionally crafted songs that created space and have melodies that can glide throughout a composition that’s a far cry from the swing and blues-infused songs of his earlier work. LaFarge is an artist who refuses to rest on his laurels and compromise. He’s always motivated and ready to create. With In the Blossom of Their Shade the album is one of LaFarge’s strongest and most mature efforts to date.
Platinum-certified singer/songwriter and producer Chelsea Cutler reveals her anxiously awaited sophomore album, When I Close My Eyes, releasing October 15. As Chelsea gears up to album release, she is on a co-headlining “Stay Next To Me Tour” with Quinn XCII, which includes 2 upcoming sold-out shows at New York’s iconic Radio City Music Hall. Indie Exclusive Signed CD. Limited Edition.
The Record Company have outgrown the home recording of previous records and enlisted producer Dave Sardy (Fall Out Boy, A Perfect Circle, Modest Mouse) to work with them on their third studio album, Play Loud. The result is a sonic growth both in music and in songwriting, highlighting an ever-evolving band bringing rock back to the masses.
Vinyl: $26.98 PREORDER
In December of 2020, The Wild Feathers hauled off to a pre-civil war built cabin in VanLeer, TN where the ideas and songs from Alvarado met for the very first time. In the past, the band typically liked to collect all the tunes they’ve written over the past year, brainstorm, conceptualize, and rehearse isolated in a cabin before heading into the studio. This time for their 4th studio album, they decided to bring the studio to the cabin. The guys spent a week jamming and creating while having the ability to capture the performances while they were fresh. Produced by the band, Alvarado is the truest representation of The Wild Feathers to date. No outside musicians, no outside opinions, just us playing our new songs in a room with the best mics they could find.
Vinyl: $26.98 PREORDER
Back in September 2020, OSEES performed a blistering set out in the desert at Pappy & Harriet’s California, which aired on the LEVITATION Sessions streaming series. Pressed on glorious 12" swirl colored vinyl, each record includes a bonus encore 7” with the final track from the show, "Block Of Ice" pressed on Milky-Clear vinyl.
"During this particularly hard year (2020), it was a pleasure to work with our good friends over at Levitation and Pappy and Harriet's to reach out to some of our fans, if only for a fleeting hour. This is the proper plastic that came from that evening. We are trying to keep some of our favorite haunts, dives, glorious old venues and bars open through this triail, as it's obvious the lizards that make up the current administration have no real interest in extending any realistic help to struggling businesses. Take care, be well and keep your eyes on the horizon." - John Dwyer
OSEES return for another blistering LEVITATION Session, this time from the depths of a cavernous Los Angeles factory. The performance features a fresh batch of tracks spanning over a decade of the band's expansive discography with a handful of never-before-played-live tunes & some new surprises and is presented in its entirety here, pressed on a glorious Double 12" vinyl LP!
“OSEES pine for our fans and friends out there in the world, so we have come together for another stream with the mighty Levitation. I personally got stoned and stuck my face into the muck of our past catalog to bob for some dusty tumescent gems. There will be some oldies, and some moldies and some surprises along the way. I’m quite happy with how this one turned out. Shot in an insane old factory warehouse in Los Angeles (it looks like a fight scene set from Point Blank or the John Wick trilogy :) If you had told me a year ago we'd be doing these streams now i would have thought you were crazy, but, egg on my face, and here we are. I’m so glad to have this little thing to share a moment with y’all until we can meet face to face on the field of battle again. Mastered by the Guru JJ Golden, it will hopefully turn some frowns inside out and upside down....grossssss” - John Dwyer
Mica Tenenbaum and Matthew Lewin began their musical journey together over 10 years ago in a Miami after-school music program. Connecting through their shared music tastes, the two formed a band that endured until the two parted ways for college. Not long afterward, Tenenbaum and Lewin reconnected and formed what we now know as the indie-pop duo Magdalena Bay.
The duo released their EP truly moments before the pandemic pervaded through North America, bringing their tour to an abrupt end. Resiliency illustrated at its peak, Magdalena Bay dipped their heads into a focused timeline, coming out of the pandemic with their debut album, Mercurial World. Magdalena Bay peruses the sound of experimental pop, crafting a synthy world that shatters genres and bends time to the pair’s will, elevating their sound to match their philosophical reflections. Lewin shared, “We spend all of our time together, and in some ways Mercurial World is about that particular sense of madness in containment. We live together and make art together; this immerses you in our creative, insular universe.”
Billy Bragg will be releasing a pandemic blues LP on 10/8 via Cooking Vinyl. This is his 10th studio album. The Million Things That Never Happened was produced by Romeo Stodart and Dave Izumi at Echo Zoo studio in Eastbourne, England. Bragg wrote the entire album solo, aside from “Ten Mysterious Photos That Can’t Be Explained,” which he co-wrote with his son Jack Valero.
To emerge from a global pandemic with a renewed sense of situational awareness, hard won insight, and a new album is the kind of move we’ve come to expect from THRICE over the last twenty years. With Horizons/East, Dustin Kensrue and his bandmates address, with candor and courage, the fragile and awkward arrangements that pass for civilization, while inviting us to dwell more knowingly within our own lives. Without surrendering any of the energy and hard edge of their previous albums, they’ve given us a profoundly meditative work which serves as a musical summons to everyday attentiveness.
Since forming THRICE with guitarist Teppei Teranishi, bassist Eddie Breckenridge, and drummer Riley Breckenridge in 1998, Kensrue has never been one to back down from a mental fight. This mood is set by the opening synth-driven number “Color of the Sky,” which sounds well-suited to accompany the closing credits of the Stranger Things season finale. Think Flying Lotus giving way to Elbow and setting the listener down in a new dimension. A self-recorded effort, Horizons/East conveys a palpable sense of danger, determination, and possibility.
Colors II - Between the Buried and Me - - Fourteen years after releasing their progressive metalcore masterpiece, Colors, Between the Buried and Me have returned with it's epic sequel, Colors II.
Why Do Birds Sing? is the 5th studio album from the textbook American cult band, Violent Femmes. It was their last studio album with original drummer, Victor DeLorenzo. Featuring the fan favorite “American Music,” which reached #2 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Chart, as well as a cover of Culture Club’s “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me.” “The momentum of the song [“American Music”] and the album that spawned it provided a springboard for the band to bona fide cult status.” – Rolling Stone.
One of the top emerging artists across all genres of music, Billy Strings has made his most ambitious album to date with Renewal, a 16-song collection that effortlessly positions him as a singular talent—one who reveres the history of the acoustic music that inspired him, while pushing it forward into new spaces and audiences through his incredible live shows.
Serving as a reflection of Strings’ diverse musical influences, Renewal reaches well beyond bluegrass with elements of heavy metal, jam bands, psychedelic music and classic rock—even though it’s still primarily an acoustic record. The album follows his Grammy Award-winning project, Home, as well as industry recognition ranging from Pollstar’s Breakthrough Artist of the Pandemic to the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitar Player of the Year and New Artist of the Year.
“I’ve learned, you’ve just got to let the song do its thing,” shares Strings. “So that’s what I try to do—write songs and let them come out however they do.”
Canyons are places of mystery and beauty. The interesting thing is, while they are one of the great wonders in the history of planet earth and attract scientists of all kinds of disciplines, they have also been a popular retreat for artists and musicians. You will have heard of Topanga Canyon, Rickie Lee Jones and Chicago recorded here. Laurel Canyon is even more well known, a mythical place where Crosby, Stills & Nash developed their unique vocal sound while hanging around Mama Cass' place. Or was it in Joni Mitchell's house on Lookout Mountain? Ok, you get the picture. There is something unexplainable, almost magical going on in canyons.
Maybe that's why Andy Platts and Shawn Lee were thinking of "Canyons" when they wrote and recorded their third album as Young Gun Silver Fox. With "West End Coast" and "AM Waves" these two very talented musicians, singers, songwriters, arrangers and producers already explored all things Westcoast, AOR, Soft rock and Boogie. But-especially if you are into the golden age of this sound running from circa 1976 to 1984-you will be aware that there is no return once you started digging these unconditional musical delights with their timeless compositions, untouchable musicianship and refined arrangements. The great albums from that era appeared when punk broke and the musical establishment was shaken to the ground. Today they sound more up to date than ever. Who would have thought back then?
On "Canyons" Young Gun Silver Fox turned it up to eleven. They are nothing but "Kids" cruising in the fast lane, totally over the top searching for the "Dream Woman", touching down in Tokyo caught in a "Long Distance Love Affair", imagining the theme for a lost 70s TV series starring "Danny Jamaica", being on the winning side in a "Private Paradise", getting deep and soulful in "Things We Left Unsaid" and wondering how to spread "All This Love". Their bass lines, sound layers, brass arrangements and harmony vocals are immaculate. Everything fits perfectly. Just like this. "Who Needs Words" when everything is crystal clear? Exactly!
Brandi Carlile's new album, In These Silent Days, October 2021 via Low Country Sound/Elektra Records. It's the follow-up to her 2018 album By The Way, I Forgive You, and she recorded it at Nashville's RCA Studio A with producers Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings. Tim Hanseroth (vocals, bass), Phil Hanseroth (vocals, guitar), Cobb (guitar, percussion), Jennings (piano, organ, synth), Chris Powell (drums, percussion), and Josh Neumann (strings) all appear on the album, and Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of Lucius make a guest appearance, adding backing vocals to "You And Me On The Rock."
In Pond’s universe nothing stays still for long. Although no one who heard 2019’s “Tasmania” could possibly describe its pulsating psych - pop as straight, Pond wanted to try a more spontaneous way of working for their next record.
Taking a leaf out of krautrock outliers Can’s book, at the start of 2020, Pond embarked on a series of totally off-the-cuff jam sessions from which songs and ideas could be pulled out.
Given the pace at which ideas whizz past your head, it makes for a dizzying listen. Opener Song For Agnes explodes out the speakers like an intergalactic rock opera, running a synapse-tingling gauntlet through bubbling synth pop, 80s hair metal and blissed out saxophone before you know what’s hit you.
It’s an apposite curtain-raiser for an album that can encompass pounding techno (Human Touch), elastic hipped robo-funk (America’s Cup), tripped out motorik (Czech Locomotive) and acres more besides without even topping for breath. Take lead single Pink Lunettes, which opens up thumping like ESG eight hours into a session at Berghain before climbing aboard a gargantuan synthship and disappearing off over the horizon.
Lyrically, too, 9 takes Pond into uncharted territory. Allbrook’s songs here take a more impressionistic tack than before, resulting in both the hilarious one-liners within Human Touch’s gonzoid thrash (sample lyric: “she was jacking a car but she seemed quite nice so I let her use the toilet in my place”) and the social and environmental concerns of blissed out closer Toast, which addressed both last year’s bush fires and the appalling wealth divide in Allbrook’s childhood home in Western Australia.
Above all though, what you get from “9” is a sense of creative abandon and just plain fun. If it was only a fraction as enjoyable to make as it is to listen to then they must have been having a hoot.
Vinyl: $20.98 PREORDER
To say In Heaven is about conquering grief would be oversimplifying everything Tim Showalter has achieved on the eighth studio album from Strand of Oaks. A stunning, hopeful reflection on love, loss, and enlightenment, In Heaven is a triumph in music making, and a preeminent addition to the Strand of Oaks discography.
In late 2018, Showalter’s wife, Sue, lost her mother in a car accident. Soon after, Stan, the cat they both adored, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Showalter quit drinking so he could take better care of his wife and help rebuild the life they shared. And within months, they decided to pack up and move across the country from Philadelphia to Austin, Texas. It was an irrational decision made at the height of a terrible time, but it’s one that shaped so much of what In Heaven is about.
In Heaven was recorded in October 2020 with Kevin Ratterman at Invisible Creature in Los Angeles. Carl Broemel (My Morning Jacket) is featured on guitar throughout the record, while James Iha (The Smashing Pumpkins) contributed vocals and guitar for “Easter.” Bo Koster (MMJ, Roger Waters) provided keyboards, Cedric LeMoyne (Alanis Morrissette, Remy Zero) bass, Scott Moore violin, and Ratterman monstrous drums. Showalter also played a lot of synth on this record, which he hasn’t done since 2014’s HEAL. With clean sounds, Jeff Lynne-esque acoustics, and sophisticated songwriting, he approached In Heaven in a more poised and pop-leaning way than his past releases.
“I wanted to strive for something greater than what I thought I was capable of.”
The result is something extraordinary, as Showalter has crafted a poignant narrative that transcends his personal experiences and achieves a universality rooted not only in loss but joy, celebration, and newfound strength. The gorgeous opener “Galacticana” finds him telling us “I don’t want to drag you down,” a reassurance that his intentions lie in uplifting. But there’s a duality present throughout In Heaven that is palpable, as felt on “Easter,” an exuberant pop anthem featuring jaunty guitar and ethereal vocals courtesy of Iha, that both celebrates Showalter’s new life and references his efforts to “stop the boat from sinking.” It’s a powerful sentiment echoed in slow burner “Hurry,” which showcases some exceptional shredding by Broemel, and beyond, as Showalter explores mortality and a heightened sense of his own existence, intensified by a world where he no longer uses alcohol to cope.
Pairing smart, imaginative lyrics and striking arrangements, tracks like “Carbon” and its magnificent violin stand out, as does “Sister Saturn” with its funky, sinuous groove, and the sublime “Horses at Night,” which features one of Showalter’s most exquisite melodies to date. There’s also a discernible current running through In Heaven of homage to some notable losses in music—John Prine, Jeff Buckley, and Jimi Hendrix all play a part—for In Heaven is about moving beyond sadness or anger to a state of gratitude that we ever had these people to begin with. And while every song provides some clue to Showalter’s personal heaven, the jubilant “Jimi and Stan” says it all, wherein Hendrix and his beloved cat Stan are hanging out, going to shows, and looking at stars together.
And as our musical odyssey ends in the warm embrace of “Under Heaven,” the weight of everything Showalter has manifested—the beauty, and the sadness, and the immensity of it all—hits with tremendous impact. But any sense of hopelessness or melancholy yields to a different feeling entirely, just as he intended. Perhaps we’re feeling stronger, more prepared for something. Or maybe it’s just a reminder: call your parents, text your friends, hug your pets. Listen to your favorite records. And think about what it means to be alive.
Austin indie folk duo make their Grand Jury debut with True Love. Recorded over winter 2020 in LA with Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Bon Iver, etc.). This album is about growth and nostalgia. Both band members got married. One had a kid. They’ve found themselves individually away from the band, but settling into their most creatively fertile moment as a duo. Artwork by Bradley Pinkerton (Harry Styles, The Weeknd, etc.).
John Prine's 2005 album, Fair & Square, available on LP from Oh Boy Records. Winner of the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album.
Vinyl: $21.98 PREORDER
Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie has teamed up with solo artist and Savages vocalist Jehnny Beth to release the collaborative album Utopian Ashes, due July 2, 2021 via Third Man Records. The album is heralded by lead single "Remember We Were Lovers" alongside an official video by Douglas Hart (The Horrors, Paul Weller).
Vinyl: $38.98 PREORDER
I’ll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute to the Velvet Underground & Nico, is a contemporary tribute to the Velvets debut, with each of the album’s songs performed by one of the band’s noteworthy artistic descendants. Featured artists include Kurt Vile & the Violators, Sharon Van Etten, Iggy Pop & Matt Sweeney, Michael Stipe, Matt Berninger of The National, Courtney Barnett, King Princess, Fontaines D.C. and more. Wide Spine Jacket. Indie Exclusive Yellow 2 LP.