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MacroscopeMACROSCOPE, the fifth album and Mack Avenue
debut by his adventurous trio The Nels Cline Singers,
provides a measure of the long-running group's
staggering range. Captivating and continually
surprising, the album finds the instrumental
trio with the slyly deceptive name veering
in one off-kilter direction only to suddenly be
overwhelmed by another drastic stylistic shift,
often within the space of a single tune.
Serrated psychedelia becomes consumed
by soulful Brasiliana, blissed-out electronica
overwhelmed by garage-rock skronk. Then
there's the wholly unexpected "Red Before
Orange," where a howling Hendrix-inspired solo
suddenly erupts in the middle of a slick lounge-jazz
number, Cline unleashing the inner George
Benson that few of us expected he even had.
"The title MACROSCOPE speaks to the idea of
the mutt within," Cline says, "the fact that I'm
not in any one genre, and never have been.
I was a rock and roll kid, but after hearing
Coltrane and Miles and Weather Report, then
Indian music and Nigerian pop and that sort
of thing, there was no turning back. From that
point on, the idea of purism just was not possible.
Produced by Nels Cline and David Breskin
Nels Cline - guitars, effects, voice, Quintronics Drum Buddy
Scott Amendola - drums, percussion, electronic treatments/loops, mbira
Trevor Dunn - basses, effects
Additional musician guests:
Yuka C. Honda - electric piano, OP-1
Cyro Baptista - percussion universe
Josh Jones - congas, other percussion
Zeena Parkins - electric harp1. Companion Piece
2. Canales' Cabeza
4. Red Before Orange
5. The Wedding Band
6. Macroscopic (for Kusama-san)
7. Climb Down
8. Seven Zed Heaven
9. Hairy Mother
10. Sascha's Book Of Frogs$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
RoomIn a 2013 Q&A with JazzTimes, Lage described the Cline-Lage duo sound
as "200 percent power," and that's exactly what comes through on ROOM:
an inspired collection of originals and collaborative pieces that runs the full
range from intricately composed and complex to free and spontaneous.
Cline builds on the strength of his previous duo work with the likes of
Elliott Sharp, Thurston Moore, Carla Bozulich, Marc Ribot and not
least of all the late West Coast bassist Eric Von Essen. Lage, for
his part, has worked in duo settings with David Grisman, Martin
Taylor, John Abercrombie, Taylor Eigsti and others.
Producers: Nels Cline & Julian Lage
Nels Cline - electric & acoustic guitars
Julian Lage - electric & acoustic guitars1. Abstract 12
3. The Scent Of Light
4. Whispers From Eve
5. Blues, Too
6. Odd End
7. Freesia/The Bond
8. Calder$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Contains CD Of Full Album
The desert is a place of hardship and subtle beauty, a stark world that reveals its secrets slowly and carefully. For the renowned Saharan band TINARIWEN, the desert is their home, their hypnotic and electrifying guitar rock reflecting the complex realities of their homebase in North West Africa. The band releases their new album Emmaar in 2014.
Emmaar is the follow up to the group's 2011 album Tassili, recorded in the Algerian desert with an esteemed cadre of musicians including Wilco's Nels Cline and TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone - the album won a Grammy for Best World Music.
But due to political instability in their homeland, TINARIWEN recorded the new record in another desert: Joshua Tree, California. Created over three weeks in the region known for spaced-out rock 'n' roll and psychedelic cowboy folk, Emmaar showcases an organic feel from the rolling hand drums and meandering guitars of album opener "Toumast Tincha" chants to the galloping beats of the forward-marching "Chaghaybou." "We were not in a proper studio or outside in the desert like Tassili," Ag Leche says, "we built a studio in a big house in Joshua Tree. Everybody in the same room, with no separation. We wanted something which sounded natural and live."
Along with the original members who founded the group in the 1980s (vocalists and guitarists Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni, and Alhassane Ag Touhami) and the younger generation who grew up listening to the band and joined in the 1990s (multi-instrumentalist Eyadou Ag Leche, guitarist Elaga Ag Hamid, and percussionist Said Ag Ayad), a group of American musicians appear on the album. Accompanied by Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, Matt Sweeney from Chavez, Nashville fiddler Fats Kaplin, and poet Saul Williams, Emmaar (mixed by Vance Powell (Jack White, The Dead Weather ) is a richly layered listen solidified by atmospheric textures and gritty guitar-work.1. Toumast Tincha
3. Arhegh Danagh
4. Timadrit In Sahara
5. Imidiwan Ahi Sigdim
7. Sendad Eghlalan
8. Imdiwanin ahi Tifhamam
9. Koud Edhaz Emin
11. Aghregh Medin$22.99Vinyl LP + CD - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
SchmilcoChicago band Wilco's 10th studio album, Schmilco, features 12 new songs written by Jeff Tweedy and is the band's third release on their own dBpm Records. It follows Star Wars, which was released for free and as a surprise in July 2015.
Mostly an acoustic collection, Schmilco bears neither the vicious, fuzz-glam guitars of Star Wars, nor the dazzling, baroque-ish arrangements that fans have come to expect from Wilco. But in their place is a spaciousness and chaos that might feel welcome after 20-some years of enjoyed but now-familiar Wilco releases. It is an intentionally loose affair.
Schmilco finds band leader Tweedy in a state of alienation: how to cope with dissonance between self-identity and the public perception of his band - to maintain an innocence and earnestness even as some have come to see him as more (or less) than human, and Wilco as something other than six musicians?
"I think this record is 'joyously negative'," Tweedy said. "It's sad in a lot of ways but not in any that reach a conclusion of doom or hopelessness I just had a lot of fun being sour about the things that upset me."
On Thursday, Wilco shared "Locator" from the forthcoming album and today shares "If I Ever Was A Child." Both songs are available as an instant download upon pre-ordering the album in the band's store, on iTunes or Amazon.
Recorded at the band's Chicago studio the Loft, Schmilco is produced by Jeff Tweedy and Tom Schick.
Wilco is Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, Nels Cline, Glenn Kotche, Patrick Sansone and Mikael Jorgensen.1. Normal American Kids
2. If I Ever Was A Child
3. Cry All Day
4. Common Sense
6. Someone To Lose
10. Shrug And Destroy
11. We Aren't The World (Safety Girl)
12. Just Say Goodbye$21.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
DistressedThis is the collaboration between avant-jazz legend Nels Cline (Wilco, Thurston Moore, The Geraldine Fibbers) and omnipresent beat freak Zach Hill (Hella, The Ladies, Team Sleep). Sitting somewhere between the most abstract freak-outs of Wilco's more recent material and the looser, more minimalist moments of Hella, Damsel exhibits a surprising amount of control over its chaos. The four improvised pieces here run the gamut from serene electro-acoustic ambience to unhinged, cathartic squall. It's not the sound of losing control so much as it is trusting in an intangible force.1.Enduring Freedom
3.Deathwatch on the American Empire
4.Space Needle$10.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Salt On Sea GlassPetra Haden and Yuka Honda first crossed paths in the '90s when they were members of That Dog and Cibo Matto respectively. Since then they've each had one foot in pop music and one foot in the avant garde.
Petra Haden has released groundbreaking vocal projects Imaginaryland and Petra Haden Sings The Who Sell Out, performed and recorded with Beck, Foo Fighters and The Decemberists.
Yuka Honda has released 3 experimental electronic albums on John Zorn's Tzadik label, while also producing Japanese pop artists, including Miu Sakamoto and Maki Nomiya.
If By Yes' debut album Salt on Sea Glass is guaranteed to seduce you with utterly exquisite and playful sensibilities, futuristic rhythms, other-wordly sounds. Special guests include David Byrne (vocals/lyrics) on Eliza, guitarist Nels Cline and remixes by Keigo Cornelius Oyamada.1. You Feel Right
3. Three As Four
5. Still Breathing
6. In My Dreams
7. Shadow Blind
8. You're Something Else
9. Out Of View
10. Lightning In Your Eyes
11. Adrift$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Disturbing WildlifeInvisible Familiars has announced their debut album, Disturbing Wildlife, will be released on Other Music Recording Co. In conjunction with today's LP reveal, the band premiered album track "Heavenly All" - featuring Nels Cline on guitar - via Bullet. Invisible Familiars signed to Other Music this spring, releasing the 7" single "Clever Devil" b/w "Digger's Invitation" in June. Stereogum called it, "T. Rex in a funhouse of horrors," advising, "Let it cast a spell on you." Invisible Familiars is led by Jared Samuel, a New York City-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has long made his living playing music and supporting a variety of NYC artists - from Sharon Jones to Martha Wainwright, and most recently, Cibo Matto and the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger.
Samuel retreated to the seclusion of a houseboat docked in Jamaica Bay to write the music and words that would become Disturbing Wildlife. It was the first time I'd ever spent more than one day completely by myself, said Samuel, wondering just exactly what is real and then, ultimately, feeling fine. New single Heavenly All is a lyrical treasure map to the transformative and often playful experience of solitude: talking to myself again, cravin heavy metal. Back on land, Samuel enlisted good friend Michael Leonhart (Steely Dan/Yoko Ono) to co-produce the record and gathered a striking group of musicians to help perform it, including Robbie Mangano, Tim Kuhl, Jolie Holland, Yuka Honda & Miho Hatori (Cibo Matto), Nels Cline, Ryan Sawyer, Stuart Bogie (Antibalas), and many more.
Disturbing Wildlife is a record that slinks and slithers through time, defying the notion of genre and embracing the risk of feeling. It never lets the listener pin it down and, instead, returns the favor, holding you still between the sometimes-dream of existence and the exquisite power of Samuel's compositions.1. Clever Devil
2. Elaine Serene
3. Heaven All
4. You And Arrow
5. Bestial Western
6. Act One
7. Disturbing Wildlife
9. Cherryblossom$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
$16.99 $13.42 Save $3.57 (21%)
You Are Always On Our Minds (On Sale)Colored Vinyl
Features legendary Mike Watt (Minutemen, firehose, Stooges) on bass, Thollem McDonas (Nels Cline, Tsigoti, etc ad infinitum) on keyboards/piano, John Dieterich (Deerhoof, Natural Dreamers) on guitar, and Tim Barnes (Silver Jews, Jim O'Rourke) on Drums. Veering between the tightly woven and the completely unhinged, trading deep gulfs of ponderous melancholy with gentle, fractured pop fairytales, this release keeps the listener guessing without ever abandoning their own special brand of earthy hall-of-mirrors music. Cover artwork by Rachel Carns (The Need, King Cobra, Kicking Giant).1. Forces Conspiring
2. Before Our Eyes Arrived
3. We Learned The Unreasoning
4. Thinks This
5. Buoy Buoy
6. They Pretty Right
7. First Shallows
8. Occasional Cracker
9. All Us Conked
10. Forces Perspiring
11. Semina System
12. The Down Moveables
13. Voice Thrower
14. Be The Same
15. Thin Incision Split Decision
16. Slow Choirds
17. We've Got A Long Ways To Go, We're Almost There$16.99 $13.42 Save $3.57 (21%)Colored Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Between The Times And The TidesBetween The Times And The Tides is the first proper, song-oriented studio album from Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo. Recorded with longstanding Sonic Youth producer John Agnello, the album is a shimmering and melodic tapestry of rock sounds.
Ranaldos trademark alternate-tuning guitar work is at the forefront here, but it is amplified by brilliant leadwork from Wilcos Nels Cline on every track. The all-star lineup also includes Sonic Youths Steve Shelley on drums, Alan Licht on guitar, and John Medeski on keyboards. There are also cameos from original Sonic Youth drummer Bob Bert and producer and instrumentalist Jim ORourke.
Between The Times and The Tides is equal parts smart, confident and loose in a manner that recalls some of Matador's favorite rock n' roll projects yet sounds like a fantastic new band that was apparently being assembled right under our noses. With lyrics plumbing Ranaldos childhood and adolescence, its a fascinatingly approachable song collection from one of rocks greatest guitarists. Includes MP3 coupon.1. Waiting On A Dream
2. Off The Wall
3. Xtina As I Knew Her
5. Hammer Blows
6. Fire Island (phases)
7. Lost (plane t Nice)
10. Tomorrow Never Comes$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
I'm Not There (Bob Dylan)I'm Not There is a meta-biographical film re-imaging the life of Bob Dylan as portrayed by six different actors - Marcus Carl Franklin, Ben Whishaw, Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, and Cate Blanchett - in six different phases of the artists life and career.
The 4LP I'm Not There set features songs from and inspired by this film. The new interpretations of Bob Dylan songs are performed by an eclectic cavalcade of acclaimed and celebrated contemporary musicians including Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), Sonic Youth, Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Jack Johnson, Sufjan Stevens, Mark Lanegan and many others!
Many of the album's performances include backing from The Million Dollar Bashers, an ensemble created especially for 'Im Not There' by Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo, featuring Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley, Television guitarist Tom Verlaine, Wilco bassist Nels Cline, guitarist Smokey Hormel, keyboardist John Medeski and long-time Bob Dylan band bassist Tony Garnier. Other tracks on the album feature the alternative-country band Calexico backing up artists.
I'm Not There includes two versions of the enigmatic title track, a new interpretation performed by Sonic Youth and the original Bob Dylan recording, a rare often-bootlegged outtake from The Basement Tapes sessions which has been unavailable on any official release for a long time.LP1
1. Eddie Vedder & Million Dollar Bashers, The - All Along The Watchtower
2. Sonic Youth - I'm Not There
3. Jim James & Calexico - Goin' To Acapulco
4. Richie Havens - Tombstone Blues
5. Stephen Malkmus & Million Dollar Bashers, The - Ballad Of A Thin Man
6. Cat Power - Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
7. John Doe - Pressing On
8. Yo La Tengo - Fourth Time Around
1. Iron & Whine & Calexico - Dark Eyes
2. Karen O & Million Dollar Bashers, The - Highway 61 Revisited
3. Roger Mcguinn & Calexico - One More Cup Of Coffee
4. Mason Jennings - The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
5. Los Lobos - Billy 1
6. Jeff Tweedy - Simple Twist Of Fate
7. Mark Lanegan - Man In The Long Black Coat
8. Willie Nelson & Calexico - Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)
1. Mira Billotte - As I Went Out One Morning
2. Stephen Malkmus & Lee Ranaldo - Can't Leave Her Behind
3. Sufjan Stevens - Ring Them Bells
4. Charlotte Gainsbourg & Calexico - Just Like A Woman
5. Jack Johnson - Mama You've Been On My Mind / A Fraction Of Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie
6. Yo La Tengo - I Wanna Be Your Lover
7. Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova - You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
8. Hold Steady, The - Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?
9. Ramblin' Jack Elliot - Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
10. Black Keys, The - The Wicked Messenger
1. Tom Verlaine & Million Dollar Bashers, The - Cold Irons Bound
2. Mason Jennings - The Times They Are A Changin'
3. Stephen Malkmus & Million Dollar Bashers, The - Maggie's Farm
4. Marcus Carl Franklin - When The Ship Comes In
5. Bob Forrest - Moonshiner
6. John Doe - I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine
7. Antony & The Johnsons - Knockin' On Heaven's Door
8. Bob Dylan With Band, The - I'm Not There$49.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 4 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Sky Blue Sky2-LP Wilco Set also Comes Complete with the CD of the Album!
It's been a while since the last offering from Jeff Tweedy and Co, but three years of slavering from fans is about to be rewarded with this seventh studio album. Well... Sky Blue Sky was well worth the wait! Though Wilco are known as purveyors of alt country rock, Sky Blue Sky is an astounding demonstration of their ability to move between soulful acoustic folk, jazzy blues, country skank and pumping rock. Tweedy has the vocal range of three people, from country lilt to blues ache to folk sweetness - all this often in the space of one song. And what songs they are. 'You Are My Face' is a classic Wilco segue, as a sleepy 'Beatles-esque' ditty is suddenly interrupted with a jazz guitar explosion twinned with Tweedy's achy blues voice before returning seamlessly to piano tinkle and smooth vocals. There are stories of love lost and found, told with originality, humour and sweetness. 'How can I warn you my tongue turns to dust? Lack of disgust doesn't mean that I don't care. It means I'm partially there,' sings Tweedy on the delicately beautiful 'Please Be Patient With Me'. The instrumentation is a mini-rock opera in itself. Glorious riffs, thumping piano and virtuoso guitar solos from Nels Cline are orchestrated with skill, complementing the intricately composed and woven melodies. Simple and soothing, yet rich and rewarding, this is an album you unknowingly yearn for, like a cool hand on a hot forehead. A great album from a band in their prime. Our highest recommedation!
Wilcos first studio album in three years, Sky Blue Sky, has been perhaps the most ardently awaited release of 07. Eager fans had taken to shouting out pleas for information to bandleader Jeff Tweedy during his recent solo acoustic tour, and the web chatter has been virtually deafening. Critic Katie Toms of Londons The Observer addressed fan speculation in an advance review, declaring, with unalloyed delight: Boy, was it worth the wait.... Simple and soothing, yet rich and rewarding, this is an album you unknowingly yearn for, like a cool hand on a hot forehead. A great album from a band in their prime.
Sky Blue Sky is as eloquently straightforward as Wilcos last studio recording, the Grammy-winning A Ghost Is Born, was daringly experimental. Tweedys lyrics deal forthrightly with romantic separation and reconciliation, their bittersweet quality giving way, as the album progresses, to a more uplifting, redemptive mood. Tweedy quite literally banishes the darkness on the penultimate track, the inspiring, gospel-tinged What Lightthe albums first singleand concludes with a deeply affecting, til-death-do-us-part lullaby, On and On and On.
There are hints of early-seventies Southern California folk-rock sweetness in the harmonies throughout the band-produced Sky Blue Sky, a bluesy Allman Brothers feel to the guitar /keyboard interplay, and plenty of brash guitar solos that take songs like You Are My Face and Shake It Off in thrilling, unexpected directions. This is especially good news for the crowds that will fill the Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, this June, where the band plays the first U.S. date of its 2007 world tour in support of Sky Blue Sky. Principal songwriter Tweedy cut these tracks in the bands Chicago studio with members John Stirratt (bass, vocals), Glenn Kotche (drums), Mike Jorgensen (keyboards), Nels Cline (guitars) and Pat Sansone (guitars, keyboards, vocals)all of whom are also becoming notable performers in their own right. A Ghost Is Born co-producer Jim ORourke returns as music contributor.1. Either Way
2. You Are My Face
3. Impossible Germany
4. Sky Blue Sky
5. Side With the Seeds
6. Shake It Off
7. Please Be Patient With Me
8. Hate It Here
9. Leave Me (Like You Found Me)
11. What Light
12. On and on and on$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Duluth Indie-Rock Trio's Ninth Studio Album Charms With Minimalist Chamber Pop, Staggering Textures
Recorded in a Converted Church: Phenomenal Sonics and Presence
Wilco Guitarist Nels Cline Guests on Warm Set That Addresses Relationships
Cmon is the shortest title of any Low album, which seems fitting, as it also ranks among the most succinct and straightforward entries in their variegated discography. Comprised of new material written on and off the road, the ten-song set was recorded in a former Catholic church, aka Sacred Heart Studio (where the band previously crafted 2002s Trust) and co-produced and mixed by Matt Beckley. The band took full advantage of Sacred Hearts high, vaulted ceilings, natural reverb, and audible affinity for organ sounds and group singing. The thunder-crack percussion that peppers the final minute of the slowly unfolding Majesty/Magic is just one example of this dynamic in action. With its jangly guitars and sweet vocal harmonies, opener Try to Sleep sets the albums tone: warmer, fuller and more introspective.
Whereas 2007s Drums and Guns railed against the war in Iraq, Cmon feels like a plea for humanity, decency and common sense in a world gone mad. Singer-guitarist Alan Sparhawk concurs. With the last couple of records, we were grappling with something outside of ourselves. This one feels more like, Well, forget that. Im looking in your eyes right now, and we need to figure out how to get through the next moment, together, as human beings.
Without curtailing their artistry one iota, the trio has made one of its most accessible, affecting albums to date. And while the origins of Cmon may lie in a church in Minnesota, Beckleys apartment in CA and the hearts of the modest individuals who created it, the resulting music has the capacity to resonate deeply with audiences everywhere.1. Try to Sleep
2. You See Everything
5. Especially Me
9. Nothing But Heart
10. Something's Turning Over$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Electric Trim (Pre-Order)Lee Ranaldo has announced details of a brand new album, Electric Trim.
Electric Trim was recorded in New York City and Barcelona in collaboration with producer RaÜl Refree Fernandez and extends the work of Ranaldo's Solo canon, the most recent being his 2013 album, Last Night On Earth.Through his collaboration with Fernandez, Ranaldo moves into some rich new sonic territories and production techniques, experimenting with electronic beats and samples alongside live players.
Ranaldo is a co-founder of Sonic Youth, a visual artist, producer and writer. In addition to Fernandez, he worked with several special guests on Electric Trim, including Sharon Van Etten who sings on six of the tracks and duets on Last Looks and Kid Millions (aka Man Forever) as well as longtime friend and collaborator Nels Cline (Wilco). In addition, the album features Ranaldo's band The Dust (fellow Sonic Youth member Steve Shelley, guitarist Alann Licht, and bassist Tim Luntzel).
Ranaldo collaborated with award-winning New York author Jonathan Lethem (Motherless Brooklyn / The Fortress of Solitude) for lyrics on six of the songs. The American artist Richard Prince, who previously painted the sleeve for Sonic Youth's 2004 album Sonic Nurse, created the artwork for the album.
The nine-track album marks a return to the Mute family for Ranaldo, who says: I'm so excited about this record, it represents new developments and directions for me and I can't wait to hit the road and play this music live. I'm also so pleased to partner with Mute for this release - it's like a homecoming of sorts as Sonic Youth's early records were released on Blast First / Mute. To me, Mute has always been a true artist's label,concentrating first and foremost on the music.LP 1
1. Moroccan Mountains
2. Uncle Skeleton
3. Let's Start Again
4. Last Looks (feat. Sharon Van Etten)
5. Circular (Right as Rain)
1. Electric Trim
3. Thrown Over The Wall
4. New Thing$25.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed PRE-ORDER Buy Now
Psychic Temple IIIt may seem hard to imagine a place where indie rock visionaries like Sufjan Stevens and Castanets' Ray Raposa could meld minds with the genius of Brian Wilson, where death metal pioneer Paul Masvidal might wield his legendary six-string chops on a blissed-out soul ballad, where adventurous young jazz players like Kris Tiner and Devin Hoff share credit with Mars Volta keyboardist Ikey Owens and singer/songwriter Aaron Roche.
Long Beach composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist (not to mention truck driver) Chris Schlarb has not only imagined such a place but has now made it manifest for a second time. Released by Asthmatic Kitty, Psychic Temple II is a labor of love, envisioned by Schlarb to bring his most far-ranging inspirations to life - as he puts it, "a dream ensemble that could never actually exist." The ensemble's sophomore release was painstakingly constructed over more than a year with the cooperation of some of the most progressive musical minds from a staggering variety of genres.
"I love interesting juxtapositions, where you bring together people from different communities," Schlarb says. He cites iconoclastic predecessors like Bill Laswell's ever-changing group Material, which once brought together a young Whitney Houston with jazz legend Archie Shepp and future Soundgarden and Red Hot Chili Peppers producer Michael Beinhorn to cover a song by Hugh Hopper of English prog-rock pioneers Soft Machine. On 2010's Psychic Temple, Schlarb assembled a 29-member ensemble that included Minutemen bassist Mike Watt, vocalist Julianna Barwick, and pianist Mick Rossi of the Philip Glass Ensemble.
"It seems like a crazy combination of people," Schlarb says, "but they're all just musicians. Why not bring them all together? It may not always work, but it's always worth reaching further."
Psychic Temple II reaches beyond the long-form experiments of its predecessor for a more tightly focused yet conceptually dense collection whose songs are no less exploratory for their briefer durations. "I never see the point in continuing to regurgitate," Schlarb says of the new album's unique direction. "What was natural at that time would now feel contrived. I have to keep moving forward."
Schlarb also includes three cover songs by composers who share his boundary-demolishing mindset: Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out," Frank Zappa's "Sofa No. 2," and Brian Wilson's "'Til I Die," a gorgeous, lesser-known Beach Boys song that features vocals by Sufjan Stevens, Castanets' Ray Raposa, and Cryptacize's Nedelle Torrisi.
Psychic Temple had its origins in Create (!), a large improvising ensemble with which Schlarb used to perform. The free-form group would often incorporate multiple drummers, a concept that Schlarb decided to pursue in a more composition-oriented setting. No matter how much Psychic Temple mutates from track to track, the rhythmic possibilities of its two drummers (in this case, Tabor Allen and Andrew Pompey) remain intact.
Schlarb's imaginative leaps are evidenced from the outset of Psychic Temple II, on the intoxicating opening track, "Seventh House." Featuring the sinuous vocals of Sarah Negahdari, who recently served as touring bassist for Silversun Pickups, the song weaves together lyrical and musical references to Neil Young's "Will To Love," to the Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers album Pisces, and to Sheena Easton's notorious Prince-penned pop hit "Sugar Walls."
Then there's "The Starry King Hears Laughter" and "She Is the Golden World," two songs that pay simultaneous homage to poet William Blake and jazz legend Bill Evans; or "Solo in Place," Schlarb's attempt to filter classic soul through his own "weird prism," a missing link between the Isley Brothers and the Alan Parsons Project that features guitar wizard Paul Masvidal of the death metal bands Death and Cynic.
Despite such a mind-blowing array of talent from the farthest reaches of the musical spectrum, Psychic Temple II is a surprisingly cohesive album, a testament to Schlarb's clear controlling vision. "One of the fundamental flaws of modern music is the idea of the record as a pastiche," he says. "With hip-hop and R&R records starting in the '90s, you had ten tracks with ten different producers so every track sounded completely different. There was no aesthetic where you could just put on a record and listen to it beginning to end. I admire people who are control freaks."
Schlarb has wielded control over a number of vastly different projects himself. The New York Observer called his debut solo album, Twilight & Ghost Stories, "40 minutes of avant-garde bliss," while Interoceans, recorded with experimental jazz duo I Heart Lung, was chosen by NPR as one of the top five jazz albums of 2008. He composed the score for Nicklas "Nifflas" Nygren's video game Nightsky and has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and Meet the Composer. In 2001, Schlarb founded the eclectic Sounds Are Active record label, which has released music by the likes of Nels Cline, Mike Watt, and Castanets.1. Seventh House
2. The Starry King Hears Laughter
3. Solo In Place
4. Bird In The Garden
5. 'Til I Die
6. She Is The Golden World
7. Steppin' Out
8. All I Want Is Time
9. Sofa No. 2
10. NO TSURAI
11. Hyacinth Thrash Quarter$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Kicking The Television: Live In Chicago (Box Set) (Out Of Stock)Recorded over four nights in May at The Vic Theatre in Chicago, we finally get a live Wilco album. 'It's really the best it's ever felt,' said Jeff Tweedy, 'I would say at this point, I don't think I've ever been in a band that's felt this connected and unified with this collective vision.' To document that collective vision that band called upon veteran mixing engineer Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dave Matthews, Johnny Cash) to capture the energy, excitement, clarity and musicality that has earned Wilco continued praise for their live shows around the world. Bolstered by experimental guitarist Nels Cline and multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone, Wilco can now move effortlessly from soaring rock anthems like 'Shot in the Arm' to dynamic dazzlers like 'Hummingbird' and 'Muzzle of Bees.' There is a welcoming delicacy that adds beauty to Jeff Tweedy's songs and the late-night ballads. One of America's greatest bands has never sounded better.1. Misunderstood
2. Company in My Back
3. The Late Greats
4. Hell Is Chrome
5. Handshake Drugs
6. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
7. Shot in the Arm
8. At Least That's What You Said
9. Wishful Thinking
10. Jesus, Etc.
11. I'm the Man Who Loves You
12. Kicking Television
13. Via Chicago
15. Muzzle of Bees
16. One by One
17. Airline to Heaven
18. Radio Cure
19. Ashes of American Flags
20. Heavy Metal Drummer
21. Poor Places
22. Spiders (Kidsmoke)
24. Another Man's Done Gone (previously unreleased)
25. How to Fight Loneliness (previously unreleased)
26. Theologians (previously unreleased)
27. Kamera (previously unreleased))
28. Just a Kid (previously unreleased)
29. Outtasite (Outta Mind) (previously unreleased)
30. I'm a Wheel (previously unreleased)$74.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 4 LPs Box Set Sealed Temporarily out of stock