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At 21, mxmtoon stands tall as one of the brightest and most engaging voices of her generation. rising is the sophomore album from the Oakland-raised, Brooklyn-based artist known for her dreamy pop and introspective lyricism. The album is a new chapter and gorgeous evolution of the sound that launched her career 5 years ago but with a more mature and complex lens. Featuring the singles "mona lisa", "sad disco," and "victim of nostalgia", rising represents the culmination of a trilogy that also includes dawn and dusk, the dual EPs she released in 2020. Cassette edition comes on clear tape.
Emerald Sea, the third album from New York-based audiovisual projectSound of Ceres, tells the story of how the universe comes to know itself.Rendered in dynamic, ambitious orchestral passages, it forms the basis of future stage performances intended to draw its half-submerged narrative into the visual sphere. In its dreamlike impressions, it could also be the soundtrack to a long-forgotten early musical film - an experience that delighted and transported audiences and then vanished from record, surviving only in the imprint of memory.
Written in three acts, Emerald Sea follows two deities who trail each other through the furthest reaches of experience. There is the Universe, all that exists, voiced by performance artist Marina Abramović. And there is Venus, transformer of matter and avatar of love, sung by the group's lead vocalist Karen Hover (who goes by k).
Through a dazzling suite of songs inspired by Les Baxter's midcentury exotica, Maurice Ravel's balletDaphnis et Chloé, and Gustav Holst's The Planets, Emerald Sea studies intimacy on both an interpersonal scale and a cosmological one. Connection and severance, joy and grief, wonder and bewilderment all tumble through its scope. In the widest frame, the universe begins, meets itself, and ends. In the closest frame, two people encounter each other, grow close, and then separate. These stories are two views of the same fractal. In every intimacy human beings cultivate, every rush of connection, no matter how fleeting, we reenact the universe for ourselves.
"I envisioned myself journeying through these different realms -- space, the land, the sea, the heavens -- and following Marina's character," says k. "I always saw her as a shadow figure that I couldn’t quite figure out."
In its current cycle, Sound of Ceres is Derrick Bozich, songwriter, harpist, and flautist; Jacob Graham, synthesist, costumer, and light designer; K Hover, vocalist, lyricist, costumer, and choreographer; andRyan Hover, songwriter and producer. They recorded Emerald Sea in collaboration with Jon Sonneberg at Ka-Boom studio in Ohio. It was mixed by Nicholas Principe and mastered by Kramer.
Ryan says, "The album’s story is an allegory for the emergence of mind and meaning from the matter of the universe, and its eventual fading, with a glimmer of hope at the end."
When you receive it, when its sounds in motion light up your mind's eye, it is created in collaboration with you.
Tell All Your Friends is the groundbreaking debut album from Long Island’s Taking Back Sunday. Boasting the hit singles “Cute Without The ‘E’ (Cut From The Team),” “Great Romances of the 20th Century” and “You’re So Last Summer,” the album is highly acclaimed and has influenced artists of all sizes and genres over the last 20 years. This 20th Anniversary Edition of the album includes four previously unreleased demos.
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Diamond Star Halos is the brand new album from Def Leppard, their first since their chart topping self-titled Def Leppard record in 2015. Written by the band over the past two years it features 15 tracks including the anthemic, stadium-ready singles “Kick” and “Fire It Up”, with guest vocals from Alison Krauss on “This Guitar” and “Lifeless”. The album title references T. Rex’s “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” with nods to T.Rex, David Bowie and Mott The Hoople across the album, which mixes the sound of their classic spirit with modern fire. The limited edition cassette features a black & white cover with color logo, packaged in a fluorescent red body and clear case.
Following 2019’s critically-acclaimed sophomore album, I Spent the Winter Writing Songs About Getting Better, Proper. is making their return with The Great American Novel.
“The Great American Novel is a concept album about how Black genius, specifically my own, goes ignored, is relentlessly contested, or just gets completely snuffed out before it can flourish,” says vocalist Erik Garlington (he/him). “This record is a concept album that’s meant to read like a book; every song is a chapter following the protagonist through their 20s. Imagine a queer, Black Holden Caufield-type coming up in the 2010s.”
The result is an album that is both lyrically and musically heavy, the former something fans have come to expect from Garlington’s unflinchingly honest lyrical content, but the latter something that’s refreshingly new. Channeling the heavier music he listened to during his adolescence—from post-hardcore outfit At the Drive-In to progressive metal band System of a Down—Garlington and the rest of Proper.—bassist Natasha Johnson (she/her) and drummer Elijah Watson (he/they)—push themselves in ways they haven’t before, culminating in an ambitious project that showcases the new sonic territory the band is heading in.
Produced and recorded by Bartees Strange and mixed and mastered by Brian DiMeglio, The Great American Novel clocks in at fifteen tracks including “Huerta,” which explores Garlington’s Mexican heritage, and “Red, White and Blue,” a commentary on the imbalance between the United States’ everyday citizens and elite class. The songs reflect the overall tone of The Great American Novel:abrasive, powerful, and beautifully poignant.
“At the end of the day, what I wanted to do with this record is take Proper. in a direction that would surprise people on first listen, but end up making complete sense on the second or third listen. I think a lot of bands tend to go more pop but I wanted to make something both challenging and undeniably catchy,” Garlington said. “It all goes back to Black genius and how it’s ingested by the predominantly cishet, white male crowd. If they’re going to be a voyeur to the Black experience, I wanted to strip away all the cheeky song titles, lyrical inside jokes, and optimistic singalongs. I want them to hear this record and learn about our identity crises, our aimlessness, how many friends and family we know that are dead or in jail by 25. How, at eight we were told we were gifted but by 11 we were told we’re dangerous.”
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Indie Exclusive Cassette w/ alternate cover art
Dawn FM is the fifth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter The Weeknd. The album is narrated by Jim Carrey, and features guest appearances from Tyler, the Creator and Lil Wayne. The production was handled by The Weeknd himself alongside Oneohtrix Point Never-who produced the majority of the tracks-as well as Max Martin, Oscar Holter, Calvin Harris, and Swedish House Mafia, among others. The album serves as a follow-up to The Weeknd's fourth studio album, After Hours (2020).
Giving the World Away, the sophomore album from Hatchie, is the truest introduction to the songwriter/bassist at the helm of the project, Harriette Pilbeam. Produced by Jorge Elbrecht, Giving the World Away is Hatchie’s most thunderous, sprawling work yet. Featuring input from longtime Hatchie collaborator Joe Agius, it takes the celestial, shimmering shoegaze and pop sensibilities of her earlier releases, but with the volume knob cranked up tenfold. Built out with percussion from Beach House drummer James Barone, it’s synthed-out, sonic opulence, a more structured and ornate musicality with traces of ‘90s trip-hop and acid house influences.
Pilbeam initially intended for these songs to go in a higher-energy direction. She had the distinct vision of a Hatchie show turned dance party, inviting more movement and vibrancy into her live shows. But then, between Covid and the lockdowns in Australia, Pilbeam retreated more into herself, and that introspection and self-discovery served as the true inspiration for the record. Again and again across Giving the World Away, she returns to that same theme of dismantling internalized shame and finding gratitude and steadiness, and finally being able to trust herself.
Giving the World Away is an album about self-confidence, about the strange time in young adulthood where you begin to finally be able to see yourself clearly. Incisive and probing, Giving the World Away is the clearest look at Pilbeam yet, and a relic of the power and bravery that spring forth from embracing vulnerability and putting your heart on the line.
Kadi Yombo, published in 1989, is the most successful album in the quest for a fusion between tradition and modernity in Bwiti harp music of the Tsogho people of Gabon. Combining beating rattles with a layer of synthesizers, Papé Nziengui blends in a contrapuntal dialogue characteristic of harp playing: male song in appeal and female choir in response, male voice of the musical arc and rhythms of female worship. But above all it’s Tsogho ritual music and modern studio orchestration. The result is an initiatory itinerary of 10 musical pieces which are all milestones likely to be simultaneously listened to, danced, meditated on, and soon acclaimed. In the years since, Nziengui has traveled he world from Lagos to Paris, from Tokyo to Cordoba, from Brussels to Mexico City to become a true icon, the emblem of Gabonese music.
Like Bob Dylan, "electrifying" folk and Bob Marley mixing rock with reggae, some purists have criticized Nziengui for having distorted the music of harp by imposing a cross with modern instruments. They even went so far as to claim that Nziengui was just an average harpist covering his shortcomings with stunts that were only good for impressing neophytes; like playing a harp placed upside down behind his back or playing two or three harps simultaneously. Sincere convictions or venomous defamations, in any case, Nziengui never gave in to such attacks, imposing himself on the contrary to pay homage to the elders (Yves Mouenga, Jean Honoré Miabé, Vickoss Ekondo) while instructing the maximum of young people. He is thus the promoter of many young talents, the most prominent of which is certainly his nephew Jean Pierre Mingongué. In a conservative society where the sacred is confused with secrecy, exposing the mysteries of Bwiti in broad daylight can be punished by exclusion or even execution.
Papé Nziengui has always claimed that he faces such risks because he never felt enslaved to a community that governs his life, that regulates his conduct, that has a right of censorship over his activities. Like Ravi Shankar, the famous sitarist, Papé Nziengui is a man of rupture but also of openness, a transmitter of culture. As proof, he has established himself in Libreville, Gabo’s capital, as the main harpist for sessions and concerts, accompanying the greatest national artists (Akendengué, Rompavè, Annie-Flore Batchiellilys, Les Champs sur la Lowé, etc.) as well as foreign artists (Papa Wemba, Manu Dibango, Kassav', Toups Bebey, etc.). In 1988, he was the first harpist to release an album in the form of a cassette produced by the French Cultural Center (Papé Nziengui, Chants et Musiques Tsogho). At the same time, he created his own group (Bovenga), combining traditional music instruments (musical bow, drums, various percussion instruments, etc.) in the framework of a true national orchestra, which gave the first concert and the first tours of a traditional music that was both modern and dynamic, thus "democratizing" the harp, to the dismay of certain purists.
On the other hand, in modern music, dominated by the logic of profit or even commercialism, artistic creation must often be adjusted for a specific audience based on reason rather than heart. But instead of allowing himself to be distorted, Papé Nziengui has always tried to produce music that is not a caricature, worthy in its expression as in its content, of the sacredness and transcendence of the music of the Origins. This is what makes Nziengui—not only the musician, but the man—someone whose age hasn’t altered any of his freshness or authenticity
On Barbara, the sophomore album from Brooklyn-based songwriter and producer Barrie, she battles the loss of a parent, the start of a new relationship, and the impulse to separate herself from her music. This result is a beautifully peculiar, and quietly ambitious collection of synth-pop, art-pop, indie rock and folk songs that reflect a willingness to let listeners into her world.
Two events redefined Barrie Lindsay’s life and shaped the direction of Barbara. In the summer of 2019, she met her now-wife, the musician Gabby Smith. Simultaneously, Lindsay’s father learned that his lung cancer had worsened. In January of 2020, she moved home to Ipswich to spend time with the family and begin work on her new album. Three months later became nine, thanks to the pandemic. Lindsay wroteBarbara while quarantining with Smith in Maine, while her father was dying, and she was falling in love.
Lindsay finds catharsis from the ambivalent desperation of losing a parent on the album’s centerpiece, “Dig”. You can hear her newfound boldness as she wails the son’s central refrain, giving herself over to emotion: “I can’t get enough of you / Where did you come from?” Despite the grief, personal and collective on Lindsay’s mind while making Barbara, she often pauses to embrace joy. “Jenny”, is a simple acoustic guitar ode to meeting Smith. Similarly, her fantasy of a romantic but bloodied afternoon, “Quarry” sounds eerie and aqueous before erupting into a euphoric geyser of synth and drums.
“Barbara isn’t an album specifically about grief or love. It’s just an album where I let myself actually feel my emotions,” Lindsay says. “That was something I’d never done before in music.” Barbara is our on March 25, 2022 via Winspear.
Ghost one of the most esteemed and celebrated rock bands in the world today return with their fifth psalm, IMPERA, fronted by the newly anointed Papa Emeritus IV. A dozen songs take on themes of isolation and demigod worship, as well as colonization of both space and mind. And all with the infectious hooky brand of rock their fans have grown accustomed.
Defying expectations is standard operating procedure for El Ten Eleven. Seriously, who would expect two instrumentalists to create such a large and complex sound? But thanks to inventive arrangements and a masterful use of looping, Kristian Dunn (bass/guitar) and Tim Fogarty (drums) developed a pulsating sound full of atmospheric intensity. They’ve also crafted an incredibly durable career, and the duo credit the ongoing interest in their debut album as the foundation for that success.
The music of El Ten Eleven has been embraced by fans of many genres — from math rock, to jazz, to lo-fi hip-hop. The duo’s sound is sharply evocative in mood and feeling, yet simultaneously abstract and meditative. The combination of these qualities has stimulated the imagination of the group’s fans and gives space for listeners to assign their own value and meaning to the sounds. “I’m aiming for emotional impact when I come up with songs,” Dunn explained. “Does it move me? Does it make me feel something? Sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it's technically interesting but it doesn't make me feel anything. But I don't want music that's interesting. I want music that's emotionally resonate.”
Further details their next full-length album, produced by Sonny DiPerri (DIIV, Portugal. The Man) won’t be announced until 2022, but the SoCal pair have shared a preview with the release of “New Year’s Eve”, a song about cautious optimism. “It was written while the pandemic seemed to have a chance of ending and there was lots of political change in the air. But even the most well laid plans for New Year's Eve celebrations often end up being disappointing, thus the metaphor.”