Feature ·

[August 7, 2007] Heading to the record store? Here's what's new.

Each week, we preview a handful of notable albums scheduled to hit the shelves, plus offer a full list of the current new releases.



Art in Manila

Set the Woods on Fire

Saddle Creek

Art in Manila is the new musical project of Orenda Fink, who once was one-half of Azure Ray. This is her first new music since her 2005 solo album, Invisible Ones. Fink has long orbited the dense Omaha, Nebraska indie scene, so it's no surprise that many of the city's musicians helped Fink create this debut Art in Manila album. Adrienne Verhoeven, who used to play keyboards in the Anniversary, is also in the band. Set the Woods on Fire was recorded in Omaha with Joel Petersen, who has also worked with the Faint, and it was mixed in Athens, Georgia with Now it's Overhead's Andy LeMaster. ~John Zeiss 



Band: http://www.myspace.com/artinmanila

Label: http://www.saddle-creek.com/

Augie March

Moo, You Bloody Choir


The band Augie March takes its name from the novel by Saul Bellow that opens with the famous quote, "I am an American, Chicago-born," which the members of Wilco were obviously nicking with their first line on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. But the band Augie March hails not from the Windy City but from Melbourne, Australia. This album came out Down Under last year, and its literate pop garnered tons of praise. ~ John Zeiss



Band: http://www.augiemarch.com/

Label: http://www.zombalabelgroup.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/augiemarch


The Remix Game


Bitter:sweet is a guy/girl duo out of Los Angeles that's reminiscent of Zero 7 or Everything But the Girl. Kiran Shahani used to be in Supreme Beings of Leisure and is joined in this new venture by Shana Halligan. This album, as its name might suggest, finds the tracks from Bitter:sweet's debut from last year, The Dating Game, remixed by the band's electro friends and peers, including Thievery Corporation and Nicola Conte. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.bittersweetmusic.com/

Label: http://www.quango.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/thematinggame

The Brunettes

Structure and Cosmetics

Sub Pop

This is quite the week for Sub Pop releases from New Zealand natives. Not only is the label putting out an EP from comedic lotharios Flight of the Conchords, Sub Pop also has the new album from the Brunettes on tap. Structure and Cosmetics is the first Brunettes record to be handled by a U.S. label. A big difference between this duo and the Conchords (besides the fact that, you know, they're actual a band, not just a joke) is that the Brunettes are a guy/girl mix, with Jonathan Bree on guitar, Heather Mansfield on keyboards, and both handling vocals. So unlike Brett and Jemaine singing about trying to get girls, most of the Brunettes' songs are about relationships already in progress. In that, they recall the American pretty-pop duo the Bird and the Bee. Structure and Comestics was partially recorded in Portland, where Bree and Mansfield borrowed gear from their buddies and former touring partners in the Shins. ~John Zeiss




Band: http://www.lilchiefrecords.com/brunettes/index.html

Label: http://www.subpop.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/thebrunettes

"Small Town Crew" MP3: http://www.subpop.com/assets/audio/3457.mp3

Peter Case

Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John

Yep Roc

Peter Case first made a name for himself in the seminal power-pop bands the Nerves and the Plimsouls. He hasn't done too badly for himself as a solo artist, either, collaborating with the likes of T. Bone Burnett, Ry Cooder, Victoria Williams, John Hiatt, Benmont Tench, and Roger McGuinn and inspiring a tribute album on which he was feted by artists including Dave Alvin and Chuck Prophet. Like so much music these days, Case's lyrics on Sleepy John are inspired by the politically turbulent times we live in (see "Million Dollars Bail," "Underneath the Stars," and "Get Away Blues"). Expect plenty of what his label calls "dusty road-poetry" over Case's distinct finger-style guitar work. ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.petercase.com/

Label: http://www.yeproc.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/petercase

Flight of the Conchords

The Distant Future

Sub Pop

Continuing with Flight of the Conchords' ongoing conquering of the world, this week finds Sub Pop releasing an EP of some of the hilarious songs the duo has been making famous recently on the weekly HBO show of the same name. Don't worry about its small size, big fans of Brett and Jemaine: Distant Future is merely a stopgap before a full-length Conchords Sub Pop album, which all who are involved hope to have out by the end of this year. The EP's six tracks are divided evenly into two groups: studio songs and live performances. "Business Time," "If You're Into It," and "Not Crying" come canned, but "The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room," "Robots," and some band banter come with all the verve and élan these New Zealanders bring live. You know what I'm talking about, ladies. ~ John Zeiss



Band: http://www.conchords.co.nz/

Label: http://www.subpop.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/conchords  

Magnolia Electric Co.


Secretly Canadian

Jason Molina might be one of the most prolific singer-songwriters working right now. As a testament to that, here comes a boxed set of Molina's work with Magnolia Electric Co. containing four audio CDs, one DVD, and a medallion with the box cover's image on it. Songs vary from Molina recording alone to him working with backing bands at such legendary places as Memphis's Sun Studios and Steve Albini's Electrical Audio Studio in Chicago. Guests include Andrew Bird and Camper Van Beethoven/Cracker main man David Lowery. The DVD, entitled The Road Becomes What You Leave, tracks the band touring through the desolate upper reaches of Canada. And to think, all of this comes from Molina's second band, which he formed after already making a name for himself in Songs: Ohia. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.magnoliaelectricco.com/

Label: http://www.secretlycanadian.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/magnoliaelectricco  

Mirah and Spectratone International

Share this Place: Stories and Observations


Indie rock needs a good injection of frivolous fun every now and then. Songstress Mirah is now bringing that by joining Lori Goldston and Kyle Hanson of Black Cat Orchestra under the moniker Spectratone International. The stories on Stories are all about creepy, crawly critters. The music was produced by indie stalwarts Phil Elvrum and Steve Fisk, and the CD is enhanced with an animated short film and comes with an illustration book. ~John Zeiss



Label: http://www.krecs.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/coldcoldwater

"Gestation of the Sacred Beetle" MP3: http://www.krecs.com/media/audio/SpctrTn_Gestation.mp3 

Marissa Nadler

Songs III: Bird on the Water


This pretty little album from singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler gets a proper release in the U.S. after being available overseas for quite some time. Nadler hails from the Calvinist, dichotomized land of New England, which is why many of her songs deal with the good and bad impulses that lie within all of us. She attended the Rhode Island School of Design, meeting place of rock legends Talking Heads. Although most of the material Nadler has put out on her past two full-lengths has dealt much with the sadness of relationships, Songs III is tipped as her full-on breakup album. Members of Philadephia's Espers back Nadler throughout the album. And although she doesn't cover Leonard Cohen's "Bird on a Wire," which may have influenced the album's title, she does handle Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat" as well as Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer." ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://marissanadler.com/

Label: http://www.kemado.com/

Audio: http://www.kemado.com/

Okkervil River

The Stage Names


Will Sheff and the rest of the Austin indie-rockers in Okkervil River return with their long-awaited follow-up to the critically acclaimed Black Sheep Boy (2005). The Stage Names, the band's fourth full-length overall, is tipped to be a bit of a brighter affair than the dark, almost-gothic Black Sheep Boy. Listeners can still expect plenty of riveting storytelling from Sheff. Given the record's title, it's no surprise to find him delving into what fame really means, both in general and for a band that has skyrocketed in buzz over the last few years. The band members recorded Stage Names in their hometown with long-time co-producer Brian Beattie and mixed it at Public Hi-Fi Studio, which is run by Spoon drummer Jim Eno. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://jound.com/okkervil

Label: http://www.jagjaguwar.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/okkervilriver

"Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe" MP3: http://www.scjag.com/mp3/jag/ourlifeisnot.mp3


Ghetto Beats on the Surface of the Sun

Temporary Residence

With some bands, what label they're on tells you all you need to know about their sound. If you know that Temporary Residence is also the home of Explosions in the Sky and Maserati, then you know what Tarentel is going to sound like: loud, largely instrumental, massively pummeling. This two-CD set collects songs that were originally recorded right after the sessions that produced Tarentel's 2004 album, We Move Through Weather. Those songs originally saw the light of day on four limited vinyl releases. The label describes the work with phrases like, "A sun-baked cluster of ragged rhythms, splintered sound, and scorched shimmer," and, "A widescreen projection of unspeakable charm and unlikely beauty." ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.tarentel.com/

Label: http://www.temporaryresidence.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/tarentelmusic 


Underground Kingz


A frontrunner for the 2007 I'll-believe-it-when-I-see-it award, UGK's long-awaited "reunion" album has officially been expected since late 2006. And though the delay has been, to my knowledge, unexplained publicly, it may have paid off. The seventh album for these Southern-rap pioneers (and a double album, no less) is beginning to build some 106th & Park-level steam on the strength of the gorgeous "International Player's Anthem" (which features verses from OutKast that'll make stans cc every other stan they cc 'round the comments boards). Perhaps now they'll be known for being more than the guys who spell their names out in that Jay-Z song. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.the-ugks.com/

Label: http://www.zombalabelgroup.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/ugk

*Release dates may change. E-mail brandon@prefixmag.com with corrections or additions.

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