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Sleep Party People'
LingeringSleep Party People is the brainchild of Brian Batz, a Danish multi-instrumentalist with a boundless imagination. The one-man home recording project took shape in 2008 when Batz began experimenting with an old battered piano in his apartment. Coupled with a strange electronic alteration of his recorded voice, he created eerie, hypnotic sounds and haunting melodies forming the basis of Sleep Party People's self-titled debut album (2010).
With the release of 2012's 'We Were Drifting On A Sad Song' and 2014's 'Floating', Sleep Party People began touring as a five-piece band, gaining the attention of fans worldwide. Without the support of a U.S. label, the band was able to harness a groundswell of attention from far reaches of the globe. Throughout Asia, Eastern Europe, South America, and even parts of the Middle East it's not unusual for SPP shows to draw thousands of spectators.
In 2017, Sleep Party People will release their first album on Joyful Noise, titled 'Lingering'. Written, recorded, produced, and performed by Batz, the new album develops beyond the band's more overtly post-rock efforts. With 'Lingering', Batz has found a voice as a unique songwriter and has captured a singular warmth within his densely layered, futuristically choreographed instrumentation.1. Figures
2. The Missing Steps
3. Fainting Spell
4. Salix And His Soil
5. Lingering Eyes
6. Dissensions (feat. Luster)
8. The Sound Of His Daughter
9. The Sun Will Open Its Core
10. We Are There Together (feat. Beth Hirsch)
11. Odd Forms
12. Vivid Dream$20.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
HauntsI stay up drinking with your ghost every night.
Haunts is full of memories. People you used to know. Rooms where you lived, streets you walked down. The lover you haven't spoken to in years who still lives in your dreams. Because the past is never dead. It's not even past.
Sometimes music is memory. The emotional memory of a songwriter, distilled into a way of viewing the world. Some songwriters are cartographers, mapping an inner landscape of hope and regrets. Each song is an invisible city, populated by ghosts. That is the land, and these are the people, of Tiny Victories' debut full-length album, Haunts.
Tell your ghost to leave me alone-
I can't sleep no more in my own home.
The surprise is that the tone of much of Haunts is joyous, even celebratory. Synths and electronic squiggles crash against pounding beats in ecstatic, orgiastic rhythms. Lyrically, though, the album is a compendium of love and loss. The contrast creates rooms of light and shadow (in "Scott & Zelda" or "Systems") or the oceanic catharsis of a party at the end of the world ("Austin, TX" and "This Revolution").
Tiny Victories' new album is a statement of purpose-and a point of arrival. The songwriting has evolved in a more focused direction, with a tighter structure, while Greg Walters and Cason Kelly continue to build on the experimental sonic architecture that fascinated them in their early days. Synth lines cut through through the dense underbrush of electronic soundscapes, propelled forward by Cason's relentless drumming. Greg's self-assured voice soars above the commotion. Haunts was produced and mixed by industry veteran Alex Aldi (Passion Pit, Holy Ghost!) and mastered by Chris Gehringer (Yeasayer, Chairlift, Jay-Z).
The song ideas were born in bedrooms crowded with samplers, Kaoss Pads and other electronic gadgets. Then the duo moved into Alex Aldi's Brooklyn studio in mid-2013. Aldi's studio was the de facto storage house for Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos' synth collection. Greg and Cason dove into this gear. Much of the record was performed on Angelakos' hardware.
Tiny Victories was formed in 2010 when Greg Walters met Cason Kelly in a Brooklyn bar. Both had played in a variety of other musical projects for years. Otherwise, they were an unlikely duo. Greg was just back from a six-year stint as a foreign correspondent based in Moscow, Russia. He'd covered the original Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, and crisscrossed Siberia in a helicopter chasing after secretive oil company executives. During the Russian-Georgian war, he rode into the zone in a Russian armed personnel carrier as an embedded journalist.
"Journalism and music are both ways of making sense of the world," Greg says. "Journalism looks outward at what's happening around you. Music explores your inner life." Cason had recently moved to New York from Athens, GA, and was doing social work with inner city kids-a different kind of daily struggle. Both were burned out and looking for something new. They each wanted to take their music farther than it had gone before. They decided to start a band.
Their 7 vinyl debut in 2011 was followed by the critically acclaimed 2012 EP, Those Of Us Still Alive. John Schaefer of NPR's Soundcheck picked Tiny Victories as a local band likely to break big nationally, and invited them to do a live show on the air. Momentum began to snowball, culminating in invitations to play Bonnaroo in 2012 and 2013 and a slot on the Bonnaroo 365 tour with White Denim and Maps & Atlases.1. Drinking With Your Ghost
2. Scott & Zelda
4. Let It Burn
5. This Revolution
6. Austin, Tx
7. Proton Pagoda
8. Life Is Boring
9. Our Lady of Route 80
11. You're Gone$11.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
...Ya Know?BMG Rights Management presents Joey Ramone's second solo album, "...Ya Know?", eleven years after his life was cruelly cut short by lymphoma. The tracks were drawn from a cache of demos and unreleased recordings that Joey had cut at various times during the last decade and a half of his life.
His brother, musician Mickey Leigh, executive produced the project. It was of the utmost importance to me that these remaining songs of Joey's be finished properly, and made available for the world to hear, Leigh says of "...Ya Know?", which is comprised primarily of never-before-heard songs written and sung by his brother.
But this is no half-baked grab-bag of odds and ends. Rather, it's a riveting collection of first-rate songs that embody Joey's trademark intensity and wit, and that can stand proudly alongside his most beloved Ramones compositions. It's also a fitting, if belated, follow-up to Joey's first solo album Don't Worry About Me, which was recorded just prior to his death and released the following year.
"...Ya Know?", whose title refers to the phrase that was a ubiquitous staple of Joey's conversation, adds a significant new chapter to the seminal punk icon's hugely influential body of work. Among the many talented people Mickey Leigh and Joey's manager Dave Frey reached out to in bringing "...Ya Know?" to fruition was veteran producer Ed Stasium, who was behind the board for many of the Ramones' greatest albums, including their early classics Leave Home, Rocket to Russia and Road to Ruin.
In addition to producing ten of the album's fifteen tracks, Stasium also contributed instrumentation and vocals to each. The swaggering album-opener Rock 'n' Roll Is the Answer (co-written with Plasmatics guitarist Richie Stotts) will be released as a limited-edition 7" single for Record Store Day on April 21, 2012.
That song and the hometown shout-out New York City demonstrate Joey's knack for channeling his personal passions into bracing anthems. The playfully breezy Make Me Tremble (which Joey wrote and recorded with Dictators founder Andy Shernoff) and the bittersweet acoustic ballad Waiting for That Railroad find him exploring some of the more introspective territory that he'd been unable to visit within the format of his former band.
Elsewhere on "...Ya Know?", I Couldn't Sleep is a collaboration between brothers Joey and Mickey, who also teamed up to record a romantic alternate version of the Ramones' holiday classic Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight) in Joey's apartment. Meanwhile, a previously unreleased reprise of Joey's late-period Ramones tune Life's A Gas ends the album on an appropriately uplifting note.
Also contributing to "...Ya Know?" is an assortment of musicians and producers whose prior relationships with Joey help to give the album an organic vibe that enhances its power and character. The cast of players includes Joan Jett, and Little Steven Van Zandt, who plays guitar on Party Line and wrote the album's poignant liner notes, along with such notables as former Ramones drummer Richie Ramone, Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick, Dennis Diken of the Smithereens, Richie Stotts, Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye, punk survivor Holly Beth Vincent, members of the Ramones' punk-era contemporaries The Dictators, and producers Jean Beauvoir and Joe Blaney.
The resulting album is a brilliant encapsulation of the qualities that made Joey Ramone one of rock's most unlikely, yet most beloved, heroes. Leigh reflects "Over the past eight years I've been getting barrages of emails and Facebook messages from Joey's fans, wanting to know when this album would be coming out. So having it finally become a reality gives me a feeling of triumph, not for me, but for my brother, and for his fans. And there's not the slightest doubt in my mind that people are gonna be blown away by it.1. Rock 'n' Roll Is The Answer
2. Going Nowhere Fast
3. New York City
4. Waiting For That Railroad
5. I Couldn't Sleep
6. What Did I Do To Deserve You?
7. Seven Days of Gloom
8. Eyes of Green
9. Party Line
10. Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)
11. 21st Century Girl
12. There's Got To Be More To Life
13. Make Me Tremble
14. Cabin Fever
15. Life's A Gas$20.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Binary"My last record was very inward-looking," says Ani DiFranco. "I was pregnant and then raising a screaming infant. But now that kid is about to turn four, so I got out of the weeds of personal space and started looking outward again, being more engaged, more big 'P' Political. As an artist, I like to be out in the world, and what initially compelled me was to try to push society to a better place. So when I'm not in heartbreak or motherhood mode, that's where you'll naturally find me."
With her twentieth studio album, Binary, the iconic singer/songwriter/activist/poet/DIY trendsetter returns to territory that brought her to the world's attention more than twenty-five years ago. One of the first artists to create her own label in 1990, she has been recognized among the feminist pantheon for her entrepreneurship, social activism, and outspoken political lyrics. At a time of global chaos and confusion, DiFranco is kicking ass and taking names, with a set of songs offering a wide range of perspective and musical scope.
She describes a moment during the writing of "Play God," an unblinking pro-choice battle cry, as a particular breakthrough. (A live version of the song was included in the anti-Trump "30 Days, 30 Songs" campaign alongside tracks from Death Cab for Cutie, Aimee Mann, Franz Ferdinand, and more.)
"When I wrote the line 'You don't get to play god, man/I do,' I paused and thought, 'Can I say that?,' " she says. "It's not the first time I've thought that, but it's been a while. And in that moment, I thought, 'I'm back, mothafuckas!'"
"When you make a record about family and relationships, people assume you're mommy now and you've lost your edge, and it's going to be all buttercups from here on. So that line had the feeling of 'Take that! My kid is sleeping right now and I want to talk about some shit!"
On Binary, DiFranco tackles the challenge and necessity of teaching non-violence with "Pacifist's Lament" and the need for empathy in "Terrifying Sight." Remarkably, though, these songs-recorded, in her usual fashion, in a couple of short full-sprint sessions spread across several years-were all written prior to the 2016 elections and attendant political turmoil.
"I'm not surprised," says DiFranco. "Over twenty-five years, I've found that my songwriting is often full of premonition. It shows me, in a deep and spooky way, how we know things on levels below consciousness. I write songs and then they happen, and later I realize what they're about. I'm just happy to have some good tools in my toolbox to address what's happening now-the feminist diatribes are turned up nice and high on this record!"
She notes that Binary's title track is key to her intention on this project. "I always title a record from the song that seems to be at its core," she says. "An underlying theme in the songs, and in the feminism I want to engage society with, is the idea that autonomy is a fallacy-nothing exists except in relationship to something else. We are, in some senses individuals with individual liberties and unique powers, but that's only a surface story."
Though this concept is closely tied up in our present-day obsession with technology ("Sitting alone at home, staring at a screen, you can't really know anything, because knowing is engaging," she says), DiFranco also reveals a growing connection to nature and the physical world.
"Every year on Goddess' Green Earth, I understand my relationship to it more," she says. "My early songs were all human drama. I don't think I noticed the bigger picture at all-I was transfixed by power dynamics between people. Now I see that it's largely the providence of women to really embody nature, so I do think I'm getting back to basics, and it's a shift for me."
The backbone of Binary's sound is DiFranco's long-time rhythm section of bassist Todd Sickafoose and drummer Terence Higgins, but on much of the album, the trio is augmented with some all-star guests. "I knew I wanted to involve some of my brilliant friends this time out," she says. "We made some calls and got a party going. That was the idea, to reach out and have some other spirits enter."
Virtuoso violinist Jenny Scheinman and keyboard wizard Ivan Neville both join in for more than half of the record; "they are so captivating and they elevate my shit whenever they come near it," says DiFranco. Other contributors include the legendary Maceo Parker, Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, and Gail Ann Dorsey, longtime bassist for David Bowie. New Orleans resident DiFranco takes special pride in the Crescent City funk spearheaded by natives Higgins and Neville on a number of the tunes. "Their souls are of this place," she says. "The feel they bring is something they got in utero."
For the better part of 2016, DiFranco beat the drum for voter turnout on her "Vote Dammit!" tour, focusing on registering and inspiring people to vote. In the days following the election, fans turned to her for guidance with renewed earnestness, anxious to hear music and wisdom from the longtime activist. Ani encouraged fans to take political action and did the same herself, participating in the Women's March on Washington and performing at the official Women's March after party benefitting Planned Parenthood with The National and Sleater-Kinney.
Binary, of course, is being released into a world in which music distribution and consumption have transformed rapidly and dramatically. For DiFranco, a true pioneer in the music industry with her Righteous Babe label, it's a time to reconsider the possibilities and ambitions of her business.
"While I was precedent-setting at one time with Righteous Babe and my indie crusade, I feel like, in the time it took me to nurse another baby into being, I've fallen behind," she says. "The universe and technology have continued to evolve, and the idea of harnessing technology and crowd-sourcing everything-money, knowledge, revolution-is a very powerful concept that I'm ready to get more involved with. Righteous Babe is starting to grow now into something that will hopefully become avant-garde once again- more of a collective, more dynamic."
"I'm trying to figure it out daily," says Ani DiFranco. "Just like always."1. Binary
2. Pacifist's Lament
4. Play God
7. Even More
10. Terrifying Sight
11. Deferred Gratification$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Tougher Than LeatherToo many people sleep on Tougher Than Leather, Run-DMC's fourth album. But hear us out as we plead the case for this amazing LP.
By 1988 there was a lot more competition in the rap game - Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, Eric B. & Rakim, Ice-T and many more had given Hollis, Queens' prodigal sons lots of competition. But Joe, Darryl, and Jay were still at the top of their game, and hip-hop fans should never let this classic - chiefly produced by their Queens neighbor, DJ and multi-instrumentalist Davy D[MX] - get lost in their crates.
For starters, the album's first single, "Run's House" b/w "Beats To The Rhyme" is arguably the most powerful one-two punch of the trio's career, showing contenders to the rap throne that they could still destroy a beat, tag-teaming with power at any speed. Not to be lost in the shuffle, fans were also reminded on both sides that Jam-Master Jay remained one of the world's best DJs, flexing the pinnacle of what would be called "turntablism" a decade later. Both songs show a musical telepathy between all three that has rarely been equaled.
The second single, "Mary, Mary," driven by an infectious Monkees sample, took a different approach, shrewdly ensuring that pop fans who jumped on the Raising Hell bandwagon had something to chew on. But, like "Walk This Way," the song wasn't just bubblegum - there was an edge to it, and the lyrical gymnastics were very real. It wasn't selling out, it was allowing fans to buy in. "Papa Crazy," driven in concept and by a sample from the Temptations' "Papa Was A Rolling Stone," followed a similar pop-leaning path.
Overall, the lyrical content on the album was a step up from the group's first three LPs. It's easy to infer, looking back, that they were feeling the heat from their younger competitors in the rap game. The genre was changing fast, and they were up to the challenge. On cuts like "Radio Station," they bring substance to the grooves, by attacking Black Radio for its continual denigration of rap. "Tougher Than Leather" reminds the world that they were still the Kings of Rock, with hard guitars to drive the point home. And "They Call Us Run-DMC" and "Soul To Rock And Roll" both bring things back to their early days, with sure-fire park jam rhymes and killer cuts.
Tougher Than Leather, which went platinum up against a lot of competition, perfectly bookends the '80s output of one of the decade's most important groups. It encompasses the full range of the trio's capabilities and reminds us that Run-DMC should never be forgotten as both pioneers and party-rockers. And so, we say, long live Joe, Darryl, and Jay!1. Run's House
2. Mary, Mary
3. They Call Us Run DMC
4. Beats To The Rhyme
5. Radio Station
6. Papa Crazy
7. Tougher Than Leather
8. I'm Not Going Out Like That
9. How'd Ya Do It Dee
10. Miss Elaine
11. Soul To Rock And Roll
12. Ragtime$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now