Feature ·

[February 5, 2008] 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.


Air Traffic

Fractured Life


It’s a classic rock story. Band of young Brits meets while in college. The lads start making music together. The sound clicks, and the band blows up. It’s happened many times before, and it happened again with Air Traffic. The band is helmed by Chris Wall, whose music ties together the rural sounds of his hometown of Bournemouth, Wessex, with the Celtic shades of his Irish background. (An uncle of Wall’s is a well-known folk singer in Cork.) While he and some classmates were in London, where they were supposed to be focusing on their studies, they instead crafted a demo that produced a bidding war over the band. ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.myspace.com/airtraffic

Label: http://www.astralwerks.com


Foxy Brown

Brooklyn's Don Diva


"You can only help somebody to a certain point; then you gotta let them help themselves and hopefully you’ll meet back up." ~ Jay-Z, "On and On," xxlmag.com(http://www.xxlmag.com/online/?p=15841)


Show and prove is what they used to say. So, it's a little disappointing to watch peers from that school of thought seemingly lose sight (or hearing) of that. It's a new day, and apparently catching daps from the starfuckocracy is considered a merit. Join the vultures and come circle 'round the corpse: Here lies another dead emcee. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.myspace.com/foxboogiebrown

Label: http://www.kochrecords.com


Basia Bulat

Oh, My Darling

Rough Trade/Beggars Group

Make room in the music world for yet another cute Canuck female singer-songwriter. Following in the jaunty, peppy footsteps of Feist comes Basia Bulat. This, her debut, has been available outside the U.S. since last year and is now coming to America with the bonus track, “In the Night.” My Darling was recorded and produced by Howard Bilerman, who has done similar work for Arcade Fire and British Sea Power. Before breaking out on her own, Bulat toured as a backing vocalist with the Veils. ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.basiabulat.com

Label: http://www.beggarsgroupusa.com

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


Jason Collett

Here’s to Being Here

Arts & Crafts

Here’s to Being Here finds Jason Collett stepping out with a solo album, much like his Broken Social Scene bandmate Kevin Drew did last year. Just because this one doesn’t sport the “Broken Social Scene presents” label doesn’t mean that Collett completely crafted the record himself. Like any good member of that band, he got plenty of friends to help him out. Those include Andrew Whiteman of both BSS and Apostle of Hustle, Liam O’Neill of the Stills, and Collett’s backing band, Paso Mino. The album was put down in Toronto with producer Howie Beck. ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.myspace.com/jasoncollettmusic

Label: http://www.arts-crafts.ca


Dead Meadow

Old Growth


Dead Meadow’s sound is alive with the vitality and fuzziness of classic blues-rock, like that of bands from Black Sabbath to Black Mountain. The band -- originally from Washington, D.C., but now residing in Los Angeles -- first started work on Old Growth at drummer Stephen McCarty’s family estate in rural Indiana, a spooky place where the musicians reportedly heard unexplained noises. The album was then recorded in a studio on L.A.’s Sunset Strip where the Doors once recorded, where apparently the ghost of Jim Morrison still stalks the halls. So it’s justified when the members of Dead Meadow swear that a supernatural occurrence known as Electronic Voice Phenomena can be detected on Old Growth. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://deadmeadow.com

Label: http://www.matadorrecords.com

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

“What Needs Must Be” MP3: http://www.matadorrecords.com/mpeg/dead_meadow/dead_meadow_what_needs.mp3

“I’m Gone” MP3: http://www.matadorrecords.com/mpeg/dead_meadow/dead_meadow_im_gone.mp3


Clutchy Hopkins

Walking Backwards


Following the surprise success of rediscovering cult phenomenon Darondo in 2007, Ubiquity continues to mine the weird, random breaks world and uncovers Clutchy Hopkins. Possibly more mercurial and enigmatic than the indescribable Darondo, Hopkins holds the distinction of having both a murky and sketchy history (that no one can credibly corroborate) and extensive documentation through three websites (whoisclutchyhopkins.com; myspace.com/whoisclutchyhopkins; and clutchyhopkins.blogspot.com) and a growing YouTube presence(http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=clutchy+hopkins&search=Search). And his album isn't even out yet. Call it M.I.A. hype for the Wax Poetics set. Be sure to give this a spin, so you too can join the chorus responding to the question: "Just who is Clutchy Hopkins?" ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.whoisclutchyhopkins.com

Label: http://www.ubiquityrecords.com

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


Hot Chip

Made in the Dark


Is Hot Chip too smart for its own good? They create music that taps into the current tidal wave of information and influences without sacrificing emotion. Yet, does this thought first cross the mind of the average listener? No, and thankfully not. The band understands and appreciates the importance of Bounce, a point made glaringly clear in between their meek debut, Coming on Strong, and the widely lauded and floor-shaking The Warning. Judging by the physicality of the latest album's song titles -- "Shake a Fist," "Beandable Poseable," "Wrestlers" -- it seems like Hot Chip is ready to bring your ass to the floor again and set your mind free. ~Dan Nishimoto



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

Label: http://www.astralwerks.com

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



“Holy Tears”


Hard to believe that smarty-pants metal quintet Isis hit ten years old in 2007. While most normal people celebrate their first decade of existence with ice cream cake and visits to the petting zoo, Isis is handing out two enhanced CD singles as party favors. The A-side of the first single features “Holy Tears,” from Isis’s excellent 2006 album, In the Absence of Truth. It’s complemented by “Not in Rivers, But in Drops,” as remixed by sludge pioneers (and Isis labelmates) the Melvins. A live recording and video for “Holy Tears” pad out the release. Ain’t life grand? It’s Isis’s birthday, but you get the presents. ~Etan Rosenbloom



Artist: http://www.isistheband.com

Label: http://www.ipecac.com

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/sgnl05


Lightspeed Champion

Falling Off the Lavender Bridge


Lightspeed Champion is the performing name of Dev Hynes, formerly of Test Icicles. In his current incarnation, Hynes treads a quieter, more folky path than that of his scuzzy, fuzzy onetime band. Born in Texas but raised in the U.K., Hynes headed to the musical metropolis of Omaha, Nebraska, to create Falling off the Lavender Bridge (a piece of infrastructure Becky Stark is surely familiar with). The album features a cast of Omaha all-stars, including Mike Mogis (who also produced the album), the Faint’s Clark Baechle, Bright Eyes’ Nate Walcott, and members of Cursive and Tilly and the Wall. Falling is full of witty ditties like “Devil Tricks for a Bitch” and “Everyone I Know Is Listening to Crunk.” ~John Zeiss



Artist: www.lightspeedchampion.com

Label: http://www.dominorecordco.us

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


Bob Mould

District Line


Indie-rock icon Bob Mould continues to add to his killer track record. The ex-Husker Du and Sugar frontman a while ago left one musical mecca, Minneapolis, behind for another, Washington, D.C. And he’s begun to surround himself with some of the big names from the D.C. music scene. This is the second Mould solo CD, after 2005’s Body of Song, to feature Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty. Also returning from Body of Song is cellist Amy Domingues. District Line, Mould’s first album for Anti-, was recorded in a D.C. warehouse. Lyrically, the album finds Mould relating tales of his new home town and grappling with getting older, which makes it “hard to be an angry young man,” as he sings on “Return to Dust.” ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.bobmould.com

Label: http://www.anti.com

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


Nada Surf



Nada Surf has survived the popularity of its ‘90s novelty “Popular” to become a bona fide indie-rock mainstay. Perhaps that’s why this album is titled Lucky. The band must have serendipity on its side, as few could’ve predicted the Nada Surf would still be around at this point, much less releasing records on ace label Barsuk alongside the likes of Menomena and Mates of State. Through it all, Nada Surf has remained anchored in the emotional, confessional songwriting of Matthew Caws. Lucky is the follow-up to 2005’s well-received The Weight Is a Gift. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.nadasurf.com

Label: http://www.barsuk.com

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

“See These Bones” MP3: http://barsukmusic.blaireau.net/NadaSurf_SeeTheseBones.mp3




Hydra Head

Enigmatic guitar virtuoso Mick Barr busts out another set of brainy instrumental tracks on ANNWN, his second record released as Ocrilim. While Barr’s membership in Orthrelm, the Flying Luttenbachers, Shred Earthship, Crom-Tech and zillions of other projects involved collaborations with like-minded folks, his solo work as Ocrilim does away with any possibility of the “too many cooks” phenomenon and instead finds him multitracking his avant-guitar madness to hypnotic effect. Barr is one of the most prolific shredders currently rockin’ the six-string, so it’s no surprise that ANNWN offers a full seventy-eight minutes of metallic, modern classical-infused Barrisms. Which is either a godsend or a major cause for concern, depending on your tolerance for Barr’s brand of musical topiary. ~Etan Rosenbloom



Artist: http://www.ocrilim.com

Label: http://www.hydrahead.com

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




All Is Well

Bedroom Community

Samamidon is a musical project helmed by a man named, yes, Sam Amidon. You may know Amidon from his occasional playing with Doveman (who you may know from his occasional playing with the National). This is Vermont native Amidon’s third album and first for Icelandic imprint Bedroom Community. He’s joined by labelmates Nico Mulhy and Ben Frost. All Is Well is filled with the banjo and fiddle sounds Amidon grew up surrounded by in his rural mountain hometown and contains some reworked traditional folk songs. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.samamidon.com

Label: http://www.bedroomcommunity.net

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


Steve Reid Ensemble



Fast forward to the 3:16 mark of Domino Records' docu-promo for drummer Steve Reid's Daxaar and you will be treated to three minutes that summarize this effort: musicians enjoying the process of discovery. This joy is at the heart of Reid's first trip back to the homeland (Dakar, Senegal, to be specific), as opposed to the numerous socio-political-artistic subtexts possible. Fun for both the adventurous and the casually interested. ~Dan Nishimoto



Label: http://www.dominorecordco.us


Kelley Stoltz

Circular Sounds

Sub Pop

It’s a testament to the strength and depth of Sub Pop’s roster that almost every week brings another quality release from the label. Up this week: the latest from Kelley Stoltz. Stoltz says he’s been slowly moving up the musical ladder from the lo-fi fuzz of 2004’s Antique Glow to the “mid-fi” sounds of 2006’s Below the Branches to this, his most fleshed-out work to date. Stoltz says he’s now at a “mid-hi” level of sophistication. Still, Stoltz crafted Circular on his own in his home studio in San Francisco. The album’s songs have a bit more of a bluesy-rock kick than previous Stoltz material. Stoltz has gotten plenty of critical acclaim in the British press and has picked up large followings in Australia and Sweden.  ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.kelleystoltz.com

Label: http://www.subpop.com

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

“Your Reverie” MP3: http://www.subpop.com/assets/audio/3987.mp3


Paul Weller

Wild Wood [Reissue]

Yep Roc

Paul Weller had always been known for his literate, masculine music -- call him rock's Hemingway -- but his second solo album, Wild Wood, added "mature" to his resume of (admittedly obvious) superlatives. The 1993 album trafficked both the singer-songwriter's myriad influences (already a diverse palette of classic British rock, rhythm ’n’ blues and soul that only broadened further to incorporate folk rock and other sunnier sounds from the '60s) and his increasingly introspective writing in a previously unrealized way. Its reissue -- boosted now with a second disc of B-sides, demos, and assorted accoutrements -- is a welcome reminder of how affective rock can be. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.paulweller.com

Label: http://www.yeproc.com

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

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

Sorry commenting was broken for awhile there. Should be working again now!

/site_media/uploads/images/users/pill/mm_broccolijpg.JPG pill

So I'm confused about the Foxy Brown blurb... are you saying that her career in general has declinded, or have actually heard THIS new album and it's bad?

/site_media/uploads/images/users/prefix/no-user-pic.gif noise redux

pretty big week of releases. i liked the hot chip more on repeated listens.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

Yeah, I like the Hot Chip album a lot. It's fun and funny and funky. Against all odds, those nerdy Brits can really get the party started.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/broctoon/jar.jpg broctoon

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