Release Date Buffet: October 2018

October 5th 2018

AlunaGeorge – Champagne Eyes EP
Label: Self Released
Producer: George Reid
Genre: Alternative R&B, Synthpop

AlunaGeorge kicked off their freshly independent career with a rather standard affair of alternative rhythm and beat music. Paradoxical, but no less true; Not a single cut lacks in snap beats, reverb and filtered vocals. Not a single piece dares venture further than three-and-a-half minutes. Not a single piece has lyrics beyond body-rock and soul-motion. This isn’t a complaint. This is just the truth: standard affairs for standard fare. Still, an EP of such is much more welcome then say, a whole album. Enjoy it for two listens, and then move on; the heart will thank you grow fonder.

Cat Power – Wanderer
Label: Domino
Producer: Self-Produced
Genre: Singer/Songwriter, Indie Folk

What was it that Q-Tip said? “Industry rule number 4080, record company people are shady?” And whether they smoked crack or not, I can’t believe Matador did this. I can’t believe they told Cat Power to make a record like Adele. And all’s fair, Cat Power did make a very piano-heavy record. But here’s the difference: Cat Power is an engine on her own—she hires people to work with out of choice—Adele needs people out of necessity. So where the latter is a stageshow, immaculate and powerful in production, the former is a chamber rock peer. The cuts on Wanderer were made with no observers in mind and damnit, that’s just fine for the rest of us, Matador.

/u/giraffeking on the indieheads subreddit compiles a fantastic list of independent music, rock or otherwise, here

October, 12th 2018

The Dodos – Certainty Waves
Label: Polyvinyl
Producer. Self-Produced
Genre: Indie Rock base, Psychedelic Folk side and some Metal garnish

No really, if a modern mid-life crisis had a record. This would be it. It’s got everything, the speedmetal and grunge phases of your teenagerdom, the worldbeat psychonaut traveller stage of your twenties and then a weirdly out-of-the-blues obsession for country from your thirties. Except, it’s no so weird for The Dodos who have been pounding the dirt-trail some miles now since their formation. What is weird though is how cow the metal tendencies to allow for the folk to really work it’s expansive magic. They’re the only Folk-Metal band I’ve heard of where the Folk so thoroughly controls the Metal and not the other way around.

Kurt Vile – Bottle It In
Label: Matador
Producer: Rob Schnapf, Shawn Everett, Peter Katis
Genres: Folk Rock, Singer-Songwriter

This is a Kurt Vile record defined by its dogged defiance. Like all those old Seventies guitar-auteur albums piled and stacked and heaped up in haystacks at any old garage sale, street market or flea-fair galore. Look, it even has a ready-worn disc impression on the jacket! Oh yes, this record anticipates sunbathing and warping to summer heat as a pastime, and I’m kind of jealous. That’s a sense of purpose that I wish for on the daily. Dogged defiance to have a day. Which sort of makes it, like, any Kurt Vile record, really, this one just didn’t faff about it and hoped that I got all my bandshirt-and-jeans kicks out before I bring it back to barter for another. But then that’s problem: I wouldn’t want to give up a record so honest in the first place. Damnit, Kurt.

St. Vincent – MassEducation
Stripped down rendition of Masseduction
Label: Loma Vista
Producers: Self-Produced with Thomas Bartlett
Genre: Art Pop, Piano Rock

There are times when the great mysteries of the universe can be confronted. That time is roughly between one and 3 AM-in-the-fucking-morning if your brain is anything like mine. And that’s just when mysteries such as “is there a God?” or “Who’s really watching the Watchmen?” or “Why did American English drop all those u’s’ or “Is jam or jelly?” or even “Did we really need an all acoustic record of St. Vincent’s MASSeduction?” All these questions are quite intimately related with my insomnia, none the least because Annie Clark could have just released an EP and sated the curious. She could have then washed her hands clean of the universe and been done with it. But no, she didn’t and instead what fans now have is an all-acoustic long-player of a stitched seamless from two-days’ worth private concert sessions with piano maestro Thomas Barlett. And instead of moping about it, wrestling half-clothed in my bed with it, I’ve just decided to just lay back and enjoy it. Whether by divine inspiration or simply dumb luck, we’ve a record that is sonically superior to its own source material. And that—just like creating a living, breathing, ever-expanding soup of consciousness that spans across an infinite time-space continuum—is a really fucking hard thing to do.

/u/giraffeking on the indieheads subreddit compiles a fantastic list of independent music, rock or otherwise, here

October 19th, 2018

Esperanza Spalding – 12 Little Spells
Label: Concord
Producer: Self-Produced with Matthew Stevens and Justin Tyson
Genre: Vocal Jazz, Jazzpop

This is not a good Spalding record. Oh it sure, it’s serviceable. It features a jazz darling that is expanding boundaries akin to Kamasi Washington. But instead of expanding it via pushing the circles of musicality and listenability further and further away on the venn diagram, Spalding has taken a different approach and begs a different question? How little records of coffeeshop jazz can a artist can throw out before she is permanently and unequivocally jailed in with the part-time baristas and liquid granny shit expressos. Because this record doesn’t aspire for much—a noted difference from its two immediate predecessors, Exposure and Emily,s D+Evolution. Let’s all forget the padding on the back that this is a rainy day jazz record and just say it: its predecessors may have been funky and fizzled at points, but at least they weren’t as bland as that extra-lite breakfast sandwich, Karen.

Greta Van Fleet – Anthem of the Peaceful Army
Label: Republic
Producers: Marton Young, Al Sutton, Herschel Boone
Genre: Hard Rock, Blues Rock

Well. It was a chance; a chance that the brothers Kiszka and li’l Danny Wagner might differentiate themselves from the obvious influences of Zeppelin, Zeppelin, Zeppelin and… Zeppelin. And what do we have here but a band that doesn’t just want the crown, but wants the role. Rampaging stadium riffs in the style of “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” big bruising basslines that daze and confusion, slow burn ballads delivered like a handwritten thank you letter to their one and only gal they could never not love. It’s all there, in the music. But to keep it fresh to a limit, it sounds as if Josh Kiszka has been listening to the other Zeppelinites, namely Guns ’n’ Roses and Coheed and Cambria. The range reaches, but is no longer a tower of vocal power—it’s tinny and high strung and it makes me wonder when they start covering “Welcome Home” and “Sweet Child o’ Mine” in concerts. But this all low-hanging fruit, my ears will really pique when they start ripping off lightly borrow from Muddy Waters, Skip James and Howlin’ Wolf.

Rüfüs Du Sol – Solace
Label: Reprise
Producers: Self-Produced with Jason Evigan
Genre: Deep House, Synthpop

Give it enough time and this ambient house record might just grow on you. Actually, give it enough time and anything ambient starts to reveal the cosine-wrinkles whisper-by- whisper. Such is their wont. I didn’t just fall in love the Jamie xx deep cuts on Coexist and In Colour from a single listen, I let them invade my life and sooth me to sleep and bandage me up while in need of emotional rescue. So it feels just plain wrong to be callous to Rüfüs Du Sol’s attempt when I haven’t let it ooze over me like in my mental and sentimental sloppiness. But I won’t lie, their downtempo house style still hasn’t got old. It was just the right balance between active and chill. Just enough to let the good times roll. This record, however, is for going home and *yawn* passing… zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

/u/giraffeking on the indieheads subreddit compiles a fantastic list of independent music, rock or otherwise, here

October 26th, 2018

Ty Segall – Fudge Sandwich (Cover Album)
Label: In the Red
Producer: Self-Produced
Genre: Garage Rock, Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic garage artists are a very productive lot of people. Like holy shit, Ty Segall, King Gizzard and UMO must just be taking turns locking themselves into basements around the world and mastering cassette tape master after cassette tape master of solid genre-records. At least Segall took it easy this time and just repurposed everyone from The Dils to George Clinton to to Neil Young to Sparks to the Dead. For the most part it works, making psychedelic into punk, punk into neo-psychedelia, funk into garage and garage into… well even headier garage. But there is one curious track: the opening cover of “Low Rider;” a baritone affair of grinding, grinding and more grinding guitar riffs. And it’s doubly confusing because the rest of the record sounds nothing like it. It’s an awkwardly heavy opener, cover or not.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – IC-01 Hanoi
Label: Jagjaguwar
Producer: Self-Produced
Genre: Neo-Psychedelia, Jazz Fusion

Yep. Jazz Fusion. In Hanoi. Vietnam. Why am I listing all of these things? Because make more sense that what is actually on this record. And it makes more sense than how I feel about it. This record noodles, thrashes and then just fizzles at ends both weird and well, unexpectedly expected. But from “Hanoi 4” on to the end, a nice cadence takes to the record. Like, maybe you were in Hanoi. Like, maybe you were in the building that this record finding the air to breath, yes. And maybe you could hear the sound seeping through the walls. And maybe you would think, well, “that’d be an interesting long-player, just needs some—nay, a lot—of work.” And maybe Nielson would say at that very moment: “fuck that, let’s just record it and slap it on them black discs.” And I really admire that. That he would have left it as a sketch. Even if it’s not their best, it definitely settles an itch that I never knew I had until “Hanoi-6” came out flaming in lo-fi jazz fusion drag. And maybe my inner Seventies Miles Davis junkie thanks you, Mr. Nielson, maybe he thanks you very much, sitting there behind a cheshire smile, ascot tie and sequin sunglasses. Aw well, he always was a crazed junkie, anyhow.

/u/giraffeking on the indieheads subreddit compiles a fantastic list of independent music, rock or otherwise, here

HipHopDX has an incredible interactive month-by-month releases widget here

AllMusic also does its fair share of listing, providing a good sieve for good records here

And Consequence of Sound will prep you for next week with a summary list here

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About BenJamsToo

A young dude with an old soul from Portland, OR but currently teaching and writing in rural France. A lover of rock n roll since his mother first spun The Police’s “Roxanne,” he’s also dabbler in soul, funk, jazz, blues, electronic and hip-hop. Perhaps it’s easier to list what he doesn’t like; most gangster rap, country-western and modern metal disagrees with his stomach. Spends all day wondering what Ruban Nielson eats for breakfast, why Danger Mouse hasn't made a through and through GOOD record since St. Elsewhere, if Kamasi Washington is the Kanye West of jazz and just what the hell people hear in mumble rap. Between those things he writes for Atwood and his own blog, Come here for the nice clean thoughts; go there for the ramblings of an insane man.