Feature ·

[May 22, 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.



Meg Baird

Dear Companion

Drag City

Meg Baird is a founding member of Espers. The sound on her solo album doesn't stray far at all from that of her band's. Drag City is repping it as a small wonder. No lush instrumentation. No big name guest musicians. Just Meg and her guitar making beautiful music. ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.megbaird.com/

Label: http://www.dragcity.com/

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




The members of Battles have been building a name for themselves by teasing music fans with a string of EPs. Mirrored is their much-anticipated debut full-length. The band's members have interesting pasts. Drummer John Stanier pounded the skins for Helmet and Tomahawk. Ian Williams played keyboards in Pittsburgh's Don Caballero. Dave Konopka was in the band Lynx. And lead singer Tyondai Braxton's father was an avant-garde jazz musician. Early buzz calls Mirrored quintessential man-machine music and possibly one of 2007's best albums. ~John Zeiss



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

Label: http://www.warprecords.com/

Jeff Buckley

So Real: Songs from Jeff Buckley


Much like Elliott Smith, Jeff Buckley's premature passing was severely sad. And, again like Smith, his music is being released posthumously. So Real contains less unreleased material than the recent Smith release New Moon. Two songs here are rarities: an acoustic version of the title track, before only available on a Japanese import; and a cover of the Smiths' "I Know It's Over" that never aired on a Smiths tribute radio broadcast. In addition to those, fans get Buckley favorites including "Last Goodbye," "Grace," "Lover You Should Have Come Over," and Buckley's sublimely gorgeous cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." ~ John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.jeffbuckley.com/

Label: http://www.sonymusic.com/

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

Handsome Furs

Plague Park

Sub Pop

Oh, these crazy Canadian bands and all their side projects. Will there ever be any end to them? As long as they keep producing quality product, do we really want there to be? Handsome Furs is the band formed by Wolf Parade's Dan Boeckner and his fiancee, Alexei Perry. This is the duo's first album, and it's being released by Sub Pop, which also houses Wolf Parade. The label describes Plague Park as "dark and minimal and catchy as shit" -- one hell of a subversively ringing endorsement. ~ John Zeiss



Band: http://www.handsomefurs.com/

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

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

"What We Had" MP3: http://www.subpop.com/assets/audio/3237.mp3

"Dumb Animals" video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LitP_0wutqc  

Hot Chip

DJ Kicks


Keeping buzz on the band hot, Hot Chip is the latest act to release a DJ Kicks compilation. Past Kicks compilation-cullers have included Annie and Four Tet. For their musical merry-go-round, the Brit boys in Hot Chip have picked selections from Tom Ze, New Order, Audion, Joe Jackson, and Ray Charles. Oh, and they also throw in a new track of their own, the quite catchy "My Piano." Kick out the dance-floor jams, indeed. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.hotchip.co.uk/

Album: http://www.dj-kicks.com/hotchip/

Label: http://www.k7.com/welcome.php

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

The National


Beggars Banquet

Buzz has been building for a while about the National's follow-up to its breakthrough 2005 album, Alligator, the band's first for Beggars Banquet. Boxer finds the National expanding its sound in intriguing ways. Padma Newsome of the Clogs was brought in to provide orchestral arrangements. The artists Doveman, Vincent Moon, and Marla Hansen also contribute, as does some guy who's made a couple of albums about American states in the last few years -- Sufjan something, I believe. ~ John Zeiss



Band: http://www.americanmary.com/

Label: http://www.beggars.com/us

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

"Fake Empire": http://www.beggarsgroupusa.com/mp3/thenational_fakeempire.mp3

Parts and Labor



This week brings new releases from both Parts and Labor and Shapes and Sizes. Try not to get the two confused. Parts and Labor is a New York City noise outfit releasing its sophomore album, following up on last year's Stay Afraid. With age comes growth, and Mapmaker finds Parts and Labor adding elements to the band's sound. There's flute from Natalja Kent of the Good Good as well as the contributions of a honking horn section. The album was recorded by the musical team known as the Brothers, which has also done work for !!! and Oxford Collapse. Among Mapmaker's twelve tracks is a cover of the Minutemen's "King of the Hill." ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.partsandlabor.net/

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

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

"Fractured Skies" MP3: http://www.scjag.com/mp3/jag/fracturedskies.mp3  

Shapes and Sizes

Split Lips, Winning Hips, A Shiner

Asthmatic Kitty

Fugazi may be best known as progenitors of post-punk, but the idealistic band's noblest achievement may have been its democratic approach to songwriting. Few groups, even among the most critically lauded (Radiohead comes to mind), have balanced creative input with a consistent output. Undaunted, the four bright musicians behind Shapes and Sizes took up the challenge and crafted one of 2006's most notable albums in its eponymous debut. Though the British Columbian group's rabble-rousing demeanor made its debut a more careening, expansive affair, the four approached each song with equal zeal. Even after that brief effort, it became clear what the group's "sound" was: fun. The quartet has moved again, this time form Vancouver to Montreal, but promises another kaleidoscopic pop explosion from the four corners of Shapes and Sizes' collective mind. ~Dan Nishimoto



Band: http://www.shapesandsizes.ca/

Label: http://asthmatickitty.com/main.php

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


Comments of the Inner Chorus

Full-Time Hobby

In Time-Life's mini-series History of Rock 'n' Roll, David Bowie remarked that in spite of advances in music technology, there would be a point when musicians would yearn for the organic. Bowie may have been correct in pointing out our periodic fleets of retro fancy, but he also could not have predicted the myriad ways technology would allow us to look back. Amid the recent revival of all things folk and acoustic has been a smattering of musicians who use technology to reinterpret past traditions. Similar to the way Pentangle and Fairport Convention used the music modes of the day (jazz, blues, rhythm & blues) to reopen ages-old melodies, artists/groups like Fog and Tunng use today's tools to continue that examination. The latter group has only arisen in the last few years but already showed a deep appreciation of song craft and technical mastery on its 2005 debut, This is . . . Tunng; the omphaloskeptically titled follow-up promises to build on this momentum. ~Dan Nishimoto



Band: http://www.shapesandsizes.ca/

Label: http://asthmatickitty.com/main.php

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

Afrika Bambaataa: Death Mix 3 (Paul Winley)

Amandine: Solace in Sore Hands (Fat Cat)

Amber Pacific: Truth in Sincerity (Hopeless)

Amel Larrieux: Lovely Standards (Bliss Life)

American Catapult: Trees of Mystery (Cooking Vinyl)

Andrew Pekler: Cue (Kranky)

Astrid Swan: Poverina (Minty Fresh)

Battles: Mirrored (Warp)

The Beach Boys:    Warmth of the Sun (Capitol)

Beenie Man: Monsters of Dancehall (Greensleeves)

Ben + Vesper: All This Could Kill You (Sounds Familyre)

Ben Watt: Buzzin' Fly, Vol. 4 (Buzzin Fly UK)

Benni Hemm Hemm: Kajak (Morr Music / M.M.)

Birds of Avalon: Bazaar Bazaar (Volcom)

Black Moth Super Rainbow: Dandelion Gum (Graveface)

Black Strobe: Shining Bright Star [CD 1] (Play Louder)

Boris/Michio Kurihara: Rainbow (Blue Chopsticks)

The Bravery: Sun and the Moon (Island)

Cashis: County Hounds (Shady)

Chris Lowe: Black Life 2: The Next Thing Smokin (Green Streets Ent)

The Dear and Departed: Something Quite Peculiar (Record Collection)

Death Ambient: Drunken Forest (Tzadik)

DJ Kentaro: Enter (Ninja Tune

DJ Ricardo: Out.Anthems, Vol. 2 (Ultra)

edibleRed: Welcome to My Bad Behavior (Select / Ada)

Erasure: Light at the End of the World (Mute U.S.)

Handsome Furs: Plague Park (Sub Pop)

Hayseed Dixie: Weapons of Grass Destruction (Cooking Vinyl)

Him: Uneasy Listening, Vol. 2 (Republic)

Hot Chip: DJ Kicks (K7)

Jeff Buckley: So Real: Songs from Jeff Buckley (Sony)

Jerry Lee Lewis: Jerry Lee Lewis: Platinum Artist Series (St. Clair)

Joan Osborne: Breakfast in Bed (Time Life)

Joey Negro: Back in the Box 

Killing Joke: Bootleg Vinyl Archive, Vol. 1 (Candlelight)

Killing Joke: Bootleg Vinyl Archive, Vol. 2 (Candlelight)

KRS-One/Marley Marl: Hip Hop Lives (Koch)

Kurupt: Presents Tangled Toughs: Philly 2 Cali (Traffic Ent.)

Loudin Wainwright III: Strange Weirdos: Music from and Inspired by the Fi (Concord)

The Maccabees: Colour It In (Geffen)

Maroon 5: It Won't Be Soon Before Long      

Massacre: Lonely Heart (Tzadik)

Meg Baird: Dear Companion (Drag City)

Miracle Fortress: Five Roses (Secret City)

Motor: Unhuman (Mute U.S.)

The National: Boxer(Beggars Banquet)

Ozzy Osbourne: Black Rain (Epic)

Parts & Labor: Mapmaker (Jagjaguwar)

Paul Brody: For the Moment (Tzadik)

The Queers: Don't Back Down (Asian Man)

Scorpions: Lonesome Crow

Shapes and Sizes: Split Lips, Winning Hips, A Shiner (Asthmatic Kitty)

Stars: Do You Trust Your Friends? (Arts & Crafts)

Styles P: Phantom Sessions (Streetcore)

Tim Armstrong: Poet's Life [Bonus DVD] (Hellcat)

U.S.D.A./Young Jeezy: Young Jeezy Presents U.S.D.A.: Cold Summer (Def Jam)

The Used: Lies for the Liars (Reprise / Wea)

Various Artists: Trill Entertainment Present: The Trill Fam Album (Asylum)

Voxtrot: Voxtrot (Play Louder)

Wheat: Everyday I Said a Prayer for Kathy and Made a One (Empyrean)

White Rabbits: Fort Nightly (Say Hey)

Woody Guthrie: Hard Travelin' Man (Rev-Ola Bandstand)

Z Trip/Lateef: Ahead of the Curve  

Z-Ro: Power [Chopped & Screwed] (Rap-A-Lot)D

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

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