Indie Exclusive Releases
The surprise companion to The National’s April release First Two Pages of Frankenstein, Laugh Track is the band’s most freewheeling, all-hands-on-deck album in years. If Frankenstein represented a rebuilding of trust between group members after 20+ years together, the vibrant, exploratory Laugh Track is both the product of that faith and a new statement of intent. Reveling in the license to radically upend its creative process, The National honed most of this material in live performances on tour, and captured those invigorated versions in impromptu sessions at producer Tucker Martine’s Portland studio. Two nights later in Vancouver, the nearly eight-minute album closer “Smoke Detector” was recorded during soundcheck, completing a body of work bristling with spontaneity and vintage rock energy that makes a perfect complement to the songs found on its more introspective predecessor.
Vinyl: $29.98 Buy
Deafheaven’s monolithic second LP Sunbather, was not only a massive success in 2013, it created a radical shift in heavy music culture, an acceptance of the genre by previous outsiders, and a trailblazing sound that heretofore hadn’t been heard outside of learned circles. It was a reville introducing the changing of the guard in metal, featuring phenomenal reviews across the board, and breaking the mold used by buttoned-up indie types and false-flag musical dilettantes intent on keeping the status quo. A maverick release in every facet, the cornerstone for the triumph that is Sunbather truly lies in its world class songwriting. From the opening anthem “Dream House,'' it's clear to see that Deafheaven was soaring triumphantly into the unknown, through the emotional highs and lows, the fire and rain, and onto the unseen road ahead. Lyrically, Sunbather examines themes of existentialism, diving headfirst into the abyss, and the pursuit of self-discovery. The album's title itself is similar in scope, representing the embrace of the light and movement out of the dark unknown. Sunbather takes influence from the majesty of early Emperor and underground US heroes Weakling, the dark beauty of France’s Alcest, the introspective nature of post-rock and shoegaze gods like Mogwai and Slowdive, as well as the DIY spirit of punk ranging from Fugazi to Man is the Bastard to create a new realm for their emotional and expansive epics. The result is the nihilism and icy darkness found in black metal melding perfectly with the pensive, ethereal nature of shoegaze and the expansive dramatics of post-rock to create a new landscape. By juxtaposing propulsive and harsh blast beats and riffs against soaring melody, Deafheaven had refocused the blind-hate nature found at the kernel of black metal into a melancholic and singular journey to explore the unknown. Considering metal’s staunchly negative relationship with the press, Deafheaven’s Sunbather was nothing less than a true triumph. An immediate success at the time of it’s release, Sunbather blasted through the glass ceiling that limited so many other heavy music bands before them. Lauded by virtually every major critical outlet, Sunbather is the picture perfect ideal of a music darling– leading to sold out shows around the globe in increasing numbers. Sunbather would eventually become a year end favorite, repeatedly named one of the best albums of 2013 and landing on top 10 lists that were previously alien to heavy music– outlets like Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, the New York Times and the like. And while the critics were dogpiling on the compliments, the conservative nature of heavy metal could not help but spin things in the opposite direction. As the saying goes, ‘the first one through the door catches all the bullets.’ “The easy answer was it was totally positive and overwhelming,” says founding guitarist Kerry McCoy with a bit of a chuckle when asked about his feelings about the response to Sunbather. “But in actuality it was also kind of frustrating. We were grateful for the positive notes, but there were people who thought we were the worst thing to ever happen to metal and others who thought that we claimed to invent the genre. Neither were true.” In addition to the game-changing musical approach, the band’s aesthetics were nothing if not utterly controversial as well. Designer Nick Steinhardt’s striking cover with use of a highly stylized font and a pale pink as the chosen color is not only a masterstroke in contemporary design, it was a true middle finger to the black metal establishment– one that prided itself on a lo-fi black and white aesthetic. The bright and easily recognizable cover openly positioned the album as a true outsider unafraid to duck genre boundaries. Formed in 2010 in San Francisco, California with the core duo of George Clarke and McCoy, the pair completed their debut demo with Jack Shirley, who would eventually helm Sunbather, releasing it on limited cassette. The cassette became an underground phenomenon, leading to a record deal with Deathwish Inc who released the cassette in limited numbers on seven-inch. After recruiting a live band, the five piece recorded their debut LP Roads to Judah and embarked on a series of shorter tours to promote the release. When the time came for the follow-up, the band slimmed back down to the original duo and added drummer Daniel Tracey– creating what many believe to be one of the most important musical statements of the ‘10s. The release would be their third with Jack Shirley. “Honestly, Sunbather gave us a career,” says McCoy with candor. “Before then we were working jobs and had these grandiose dreams, but that was the record that turned us into a real band. Because of that record, we ended up meeting a lot of people around the world that changed our lives and set us on the path we’re on now.” Ten years later, Deafheaven is nothing less than a mammoth and live touring juggernaut, with fans across the far reaches of the earth and a flawless live lineup of Shiv Mehra on guitar (joined in 2013) and Chris Johnson on bass (2017) in addition to Clarke, McCoy and Tracey. One of the most important and original rock bands of the past fifteen years, the long-awaited reissue of this pivotal release celebrates its tenth anniversary with a fresh shine and coat of paint– a newly remixed and remastered sound by original producer Jack Shirley with available spacial audio, an updated look to the packaging in all formats courtesy of the album’s original designer Nick Steinhardt, and deluxe color vinyl that includes a gatefold jacket with spot UV printing and 2 full-color printed inner sleeves. Whether a newbie to this colossal record or a familiar party, the anniversary edition is a crucial addition to the collection of any erudite music fan.
Vinyl: $20.98 Buy
Daneshevskaya (Dawn-eh-shev-sky-uh), the project of New York’s Anna Beckerman, writes songs steeped in the folklore of her own personal history. Her artist (and real middle) name comes from her Russian-Jewish great-grandmother, a person whose presence she has always felt although their paths never crossed in real life. Beckerman grew up in a musical family; her father is a music professor, her mother studied opera and her own songs often feel spiritual, less so by any religious connotation and more as a hymn-like, archival record of Beckerman’s own past, present and future.
“I’m still learning how to experience joy, how to be free, how to be comfortable in my own skin,” says Jaime Wyatt. “A lot of us grow up feeling like we have to hide who we are just to be accepted, but that comes from a place of fear and judgment. I wrote these songs as a way of letting go of all that, as permission to feel good.”
Feel Good, Wyatt’s extraordinary new album, is more than just a permission slip, though: it’s an invitation. Recorded with Black Pumas’ Adrian Quesada, the record is bold and ecstatic, built on tight, intoxicating grooves that belie the songs’ substantial emotional stakes. Wyatt’s writing is raw and intuitive here, tapping into the deep recesses of her subconscious as she reckons with grief and growth, and her delivery is visceral to match, cutting straight to the bone with equal parts sensitivity and swagger. Taken as a whole, the collection stands as a radical act of creative liberation from an artist already known for pushing limits, a genre-defying work of healing and self-love that tips its cap to everything from Al Green and Otis Redding to Waylon Jennings and Bobbie Gentry in its relentless pursuit of peace and pleasure.
Vinyl: $50.99 Buy
Duran Duran return with their new album Danse Macabre. The 13 song collection features: three brand new songs; haunting covers of songs by artists such as Billie Eilish, Talking Heads, The Rolling Stones and The Specials; and new versions of Duran Duran classics from their own catalog. It also includes a rare b-side and fan favorite: “Secret Oktober 31st”. Guest artists include producer, guitarist and composer Nile Rodgers, Victoria De Angelis of Måneskin and former band members Andy Taylor and Warren Cuccurullo. Exquisitely packaged with a fold-out poster, the record features images adapted from a collection of authentic vintage séance photos that band member Nick Rhodes sourced at auction.
As they set to work on their highly awaited sophomore album, Black Pumas broadened their palette to include a dazzling expanse of musical forms: heavenly hybrids of soul and symphonic pop, mind-bending excursions into jazz-funk and psychedelia, starry-eyed love songs that feel dropped from the cosmos. The debut was nominated for 7 Grammys and reached one million album equivalents. Chronicles Of A Diamond arrives as the fullest expression yet of their frenetic creativity and limitless vision.
Vinyl: $22.98 Buy
Jenny from Thebes began its life as many albums by the Mountain Goats do, with John Darnielle playing the piano until a lyric emerged. That lyric, “Jenny was a warrior / Jenny was a thief / Jenny hit the corner clinic begging for relief,” became “Jenny III,” a song which laid down a challenge he’d never taken up before: writing a sequel to one of his most beloved albums. The Mountain Goats’ catalog is thick with recurring characters—Jenny, who originally appears in the All Hail West Texas track bearing her name, as well as in “Straight Six” from Jam Eater Blues and Transcendental Youth side two jam “Night Light,” is one of these, someone who enters a song unexpectedly, pricking up the ears of fans who are keen on continuing the various narrative threads running through the Mountain Goats’ discography before vanishing into the mist. In these songs, Jenny is largely defined by her absence, and she is given that definition by other characters. She is running from something. These features are beguiling, both to the characters who’ve told her story so far and to the listener. They invite certain questions: Who is Jenny, really? What is she running from? Well, she’s a warrior and a thief, and, this being an album by the Mountain Goats, it’s a safe bet whatever she’s fleeing is something bad. Something catastrophically bad. Jenny from Thebes is the story of Jenny, her southwestern ranch style house, the people for whom that house is a place of safety, and the west Texas town that is uncomfortable with its existence. It is a story about the individual and society, about safety and shelter and those who choose to provide care when nobody else will. This is what a follow-up to All Hail West Texas entails. But if you think about the Mountain Goats as they were in 2001, when Darnielle wrote and recorded that album on his own, mostly into his Panasonic RX-FT500 boombox, and how they are now as the recording and touring outfit of Darnielle, Peter Hughes, Matt Douglas, and Jon Wurster, you may find yourself asking how. That occurred to Darnielle, too. “If we’re going to do a sequel to a record that was recorded almost entirely on a boombox,” he asks, “why not do the opposite and make it as big as possible?” Decamping to Tulsa, Oklahoma’s legendary The Church Studio with Grammy-winning producer/engineer Trina Shoemaker (Sheryl Crow’s The Globe Sessions), that is exactly what the Mountain Goats did. Jenny from Thebes is a lush collection of showtunes, pushing Darnielle as a vocalist and the Mountain Goats as a band, broadening their sonic palette once again by leaning into influences like Godspell, Jim Steinman, and The Cars. The resulting album cuts a path that is simultaneously full of allusions longtime Mountain Goats fans will spin entire mythologies from while also being their most inviting record for those who’ve yet to be converted to the cause. Lifted by Matt Douglas’ horn and string arrangements, the dreamy guitar of Bully leader (and Bleed Out producer) Alicia Bognanno, and backing vocals from Kathy Valentine of The Go-Go’s (“Only One Way,” “Same as Cash,” “Going to Dallas”) and Matt Nathanson (“Fresh Tattoo”), the album is a widescreen musical in scope, a melodrama of richly detailed characters and sweeping emotions. Explaining the title of the album, Darnielle notes that Jenny is not unlike a character from Greek literature, someone on the verge of an unimaginable tragedy whose signs and portents will not make themselves known to her until she finds herself amidst the wreckage. “These things never happen in isolation,” he says. “One bad event leads to and is the reason for another bad event. Jenny should know that you can’t keep a safehouse in a west Texas town, but she’s too wrapped up in the process and has to go through the loss to understand how it happened.” Whether or not she comes to understand how it happened, the events of Jenny from Thebes set Jenny on the run. A woman and her custom yellow and black Kawasaki held in the memories of a vanishing few, someone who held the gate for as long as she could, as a warrior might, before disappearing into the night like a thief.
Vinyl: $27.98 Buy
Year of The Knife have announced their new album, No Love Lost, due out October 27th from Pure Noise Records. The album finds Year of The Knife at their most sonically honed with nine lean and vicious songs that clock in at a blistering 20 minutes. Recorded by Kurt Ballou (Nails, The Armed, Code Orange), No Love Lost sounds truly massive, a crushing amalgam of hardcore and death metal influences that demands your attention and stays with you long after its concise runtime.
To mark the album's announcement, Year of The Knife have shared two new singles, the 86 second "Wish" and 48 second "Last Laugh," highlighting both the economy of songwriting and the level aggression found on No Love Lost. Both tracks also include guest vocals from some of heavy music's greatest, with the former featuring Devin Swank of Sanguisugabogg and the latter featuring Dylan Walker of Full of Hell.
In late June, Year of The Knife were involved in a car accident while on tour. All four members endured serious injuries, especially vocalist Madison Watkins, who suffered many broken bones and a traumatic brain injury. No Love Lost sounds even more urgent and defiant in light of the band's recent circumstances, and profits from the album's sales will be going directly to the members' ongoing recovery efforts.
Not many heroes of indie folk have won an Oscar or created the basis of a successful stage musical, but Glen Hansard is an artist who can wear both of those feathers in his cap. As a member of the Frames and the Swell Season, Hansard won acclaim for his literate, intelligent, and passionate songwriting and his nuanced vocals, and he’s gone on to win similar accolades as a solo artist. Hansard first gained an audience for the limber but emphatic indie rock he created as a member of the Frames, then gained international fame with fellow singer and songwriter Markéta Irglová in the duo the Swell Season, whose emotionally open, primarily acoustic indie folk became the centerpiece of the award-winning independent romantic drama Once. After going out on his own with his 2012 solo debut, Rhythm and Repose, Hansard has shown a stylistic diversity as he embraced the sound of ‘70s singer/songwriters on 2015’s Didn’t He Ramble, vintage soul on 2018’s Between Two Shores, and an eclectic swing between subtle folk and noisy indie rock on 2019’s This Wild Willing.
Glen Hansard now presents All That Was East Is West Of Me Now, his first solo album in 5 years. The album demonstrates the Oscar-win-ning singer-songwriter’s unique ability to blend Irish folk with modern rock & the punch of his storied live shows, of which The Guardian says, “Hansard’s powerful voice, whether raw with passion or tender with regret, shines above arrangements bursting with swagger.”
Heading back to the band’s studio in London, Bombay Bicycle Club have lovingly crafted album six – My Big Day. It’s a powerful, expansive body of work, replete with an irrepressible dose of joy. My Big Day also found the band’s studio door wedged open for a collaborative experience, inviting the likes of Jay Som, Nilüfer Yanya, and Holly Humberstone and Damon Albarn who all feature. On first listen, Bombay Bicycle Club have opened up the curtains and let this revelatory set of vibrant, joyous compositions bask in the sunshine. It’s an album that means business, sculpted by one of Britain’s best guitar bands.
Vinyl: $26.98 Buy
Vinyl: $39.98 Buy
Goodnight, God Bless, I Love U, Delete. presents an enchanting blend of personal reflections and diverse ideas, offering a glimpse into the captivating creative journey of Chino Moreno and Shaun Lopez as ††† (Crosses). Throughout the album, they skillfully craft immersive soundscapes that evoke a profound sense of emotion and empathy, a testament to their close-knit collaboration and enduring friendship over decades. Moreno and Lopez embrace atmospheric electronic textures, adorned with both intricate and minimalistic arrangements, all amplified by Moreno’s mesmerizing vocals. The result is a tour de force which boasts features from EL-P and Robert Smith adding even more depth and richness to the music. The themes explored in Goodnight, God Bless, I Love U, Delete. oscillate between optimism and dark romanticism, showcasing the duo's ability to traverse contrasting emotions and eclectic musical styles delivering a truly magnificent body of work.
This 3LP set on purple smoke vinyl captures the original band lineup of Black Sabbath live from their 1997 reunion tour, and features 16 live performances of their greatest hits remastered from the original source tapes, along with 2 remixed bonus tracks. Indie Retail/D2C exclusive on purple smoke vinyl.
Wisely armed with bliss to fight our age of calamity, LA psych-kraut explorers Hooveriii return with their pastoral and expansive new album “Pointe.” “Pointe” is not the sound of Hooveriii maturing. It’s the sound of a band at the height of their power ascending.
Metric’s relentless pursuit of timeless songwriting and fiercely independent ethos have cemented their place as one of the most essential and ahead-of-the-curve bands of the last two decades. By constantly upping themselves across nine unpredictable and adventurous studio albums, the trailblazing Toronto outfit founded by songwriting and production partners Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw along with bandmates Joshua Winstead and Joules Scott Key is proof that you can amass an untouchable catalog without ever signing to a major label or changing your lineup. Their latest LP, Formentera II, out October 13 via their label Metric Music International and Thirty Tigers, is a testament to their singular purpose. It stands among their best and most genre-defying work and closes the 18-song cycle started by 2022’s critically acclaimed Formentera.
Vinyl: $21.98 Buy
2023 is really starting to heat up for rock band Beartooth, now with 1.2 billion career streams, over 800,000 records sold, “Best International Artist” win at the Heavy Music Awards 2022, and recent nomination for ‘Best Heavy Record’ for their US radio hit single “Riptide” at the A2IM Libera Awards. Beartooth hit the top of both the Billboard Mainstream Rock & US Active Rock radio charts in May 2023, landing at #1 with their Papa Roach collab single “Cut The Line”. Thus begins a new era for the band, marked by their most successful UK & European spring headline tour (headlining at Wembley Arena), and 2-month US Co-Headline tour with Trivium, top billing at Sonic Temple Festival and “Sunshine!” fan track release in April (currently #1 on SiriusXM Octane’s Big Uns Countdown). Beartooth now prepare to release their biggest and most commercial rock record to date, as follow-up to their 2021 chart topping album “Below” which debuted at #30 on the Billboard 200 and cleaned up on Luminate’s US Sales charts (#1 Alternative, Rock, and Hard Rock, #2 Vinyl, Independent and Current Album sales).
Artist Quote on Album: “The Surface” “Beartooth’s entire discography has been snapshots of my inner monologue and emotional state over the years with a recurring theme, depression and self loathing. It’s been tough to understand why I’ve felt the way I do for so long. During the pandemic I was faced with 2 distinct paths in life. One, I continue doing nothing to manage the realities of my mental health and continue down a path of self destruction, ultimately ending in my demise. Two, choose to do the work needed to maintain a healthier relationship with myself, no matter how difficult or painful.
This album is the story of my beginnings in the new world I’ve created for myself. One focused on health, self love, positivity, understanding, hard work, and most of all second chances. At the end of the day, life is short for all of us. We can’t escape the end, so why not make friends with it and live in a world focused on living a personally fulfilling life.” – Caleb Shomo of Beartooth