Feature ·

[October 9, 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.



Ed Askew

Little Eyes

De Stijl

Clint Simonson's little Minneapolis-based label, De Stijl, has recently been in the business of reviving the careers of psych-rock singer songwriters. The label recently put out Grimwood by Michael Yonkers, which was recorded thirty-five years ago. Now comes Little Eyes, which Ed Askew recorded thirty years ago. Askew released his debut, Ask the Unicorn, on the ESP label in 1969. As he was crafting Little Eyes, ESP folded, leaving the album unreleased. The proto-freak-folk album consists mainly of Askew singing and playing a Martin Tipple, a rare stringed instrument. Fans of Jandek and Daniel Johnston should take note. ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.myspace.com/84367059

Label: http://www.destijlrecs.com/  

Band of Horses

Cease to Begin

Sub Pop

Following quickly on the heels of a revelatory debut, Everything All the Time (2006), comes the sophomore set from Ben Bridwell and his Band of Horses (which is a quite completely new group). Cease to Begin is tipped to bear more of an influence from Bridwell's native South Carolina; the cover's moon and shadow are meant to make the shape of a palmetto tree, which is featured prominently on the state's flag. Phil Ek again gave the band production help, as he did on Everything All the Time. Although Band of Horses didn't decide to go with the hilarious album title "Pastor of Muppets," the band hasn't lost all of its sense of humor. One song is titled "Detlef Schrempf," the name of an obscure retired basketball player. And the band hasn't lost sight of its ace card: Bridwell's vibrant voice soaring over anthemic guitar chords, as witness on first single "Is There a Ghost." ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.bandofhorses.com/

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

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


The Flying Club Cup

Ba Da Bing!

Seems this is the big week for big second albums. Not only is Band of Horses trying to avoid the post-super-buzzed-debut sophomore slump, Beirut is as well. Wunderkind Zach Condon is still front and center in the brassy ensemble that is Beirut, singing and playing any number of exotic horns. The Flying Club Cup is tipped to have a strong French flavor (Condon keeps a residence in Paris), leaving behind much of the gypsy trappings of 2006's Gulag Orkestar. Condon got help on the album's musical arrangements from Final Fantasy's Owen Pallet, and some of Flying was put down in the same church that Arcade Fire recorded Neon Bible in. Other parts of the album were recorded in New Mexico with A Hawk and a Hacksaw's Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.beirutband.com/

Label: http://www.badabingrecords.com/

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

Café Tacuba


Universal Latino

Travel junkies often obsess over differences more than similarities. As humbling as it would be to opine about the universality of the human experience, the process of differentiation is nevertheless welcome, because it marks the uniqueness of each culture. Take the appropriation of music forms, for example. A typical description of an American "underground" band may go something like this: "New Order hooks up with Pet Sounds-era Brian Wilson to produce the revived Clash." Although the same description could be used for Mexico City-based Café Tacuba's new single "Volver a Comenzar," the two would likely sound nothing alike. Care to expand your horizons? The roc en español superstars are six albums deep now. ~Dan Nishimoto



Band: http://www.cafetacuba.com.mx/

Label: http://www.universalmusica.com/


Modern Tribe


From the band's MySpace page: "Celebration's music is both timely and severely relevant. Their songs posit an embrace of Dionysian mysteries as the only feasible way forward from the ever-increasing weight of global political and economic evil and the debris of civilization grown to proportions that threaten to stifle the spiritual essence of human existence." In other words, album two will be for fans of uncontrollably slinky dancing(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyLGtc0HAgA), fuzzy arpeggios, shiny things, lots of drugs, elbow-length gloves, dark (or bright) eyeliner, and flowers. Pretty, delicate flowers. ~Dan Nishimoto



Band: http://ilovecelebrationmusic.com/

Label: http://www.4ad.com/

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


With My Left Hand I Raise the Dead


I don't know about having any curative powers, but Thomas "Doveman" Bartlett's left and right hand sure do play a pretty piano. Bartlett has recently tickled the ivories for the likes of the National, Antony and the Johnsons, Miho Hatori, and David Byrne. In Doveman, he's joined by similarly experienced musicians. Drummer Dougie Bown has played with Iggy Pop, and trumpeter Peter Ecklund has played with Loudon Wainwright III and Madeline Peyroux. The band describes its sound as "insomnia pop" and "lamp rock." Bartlett's vocals are breathy and whispered, as opposed to his pal Matt Berninger's earnest insistence. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.dovemanmusic.com/

Label: http://www.brassland.org/

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


Grass Geysers . . . Carbon Clouds

Touch and Go

A noisy threesome with a Japanese girl on vocals? Deerhoof isn't the only band that has been rocking that particular lineup as of late. Enon is another band with a similar sound. The band's minimalist racket returns with Grass Geysers . . . Carbon Clouds, Enon's first record of new material since 2003's Hocus Pocus. The band remains anchored in the vision of John Schmersal, who has also produced work by the likes of Annuals and Thunderbirds are Now! You may have also caught the band among the many guests on the latest Les Savvy Fav record. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.enon.tv/

Label: http://www.touchandgorecords.com/

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

Extra Golden

Hera Ma Nono

Thrill Jockey

Hera Ma Nono is the second full length from Extra Golden. The first single is called "Obama," and not just for political timeliness. Folks associated with Illinois senator and presidential hopeful Barack Obama were instrumental in helping secure visas for Extra Golden members Opiyo Bilongo and Onyango Wuod Omari. Those two joined Ian Eagleson and Alex Minoff in the United States for a string of live performances, and then the band went into the studio to record the music that ended up on Hera. The result is an eclectic mix of American rock 'n' roll and Kenyan benga music. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.extragolden.com/

Label: http://www.thrilljockey.com/

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

The Fiery Furnaces

Widow City

Thrill Jockey

Widow City is the latest opus of art rock from the siblings Freidberger. If you're expecting a sudden turn to accessible pop music, expect otherwise. The album is tipped to be as impenetrable and esoteric as every Fiery Furnaces record that came before it: plenty of Eleanor's wordy rants over Matthew's rangy instrumental explorations. This is the duo's first work for Thrill Jockey. Robert D'Amico, who has been the band's touring drummer for a while now, manned the kit, and drummer John McEntire (Tortoise, the Sea and Cake) mixed the album. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.thefieryfurnaces.com/

Label: http://www.thrilljockey.com/

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

Shawn Lee & The Ping Pong Orchestra

Hits the Hits


Multi-instrumentalist Shawn Lee has built a career on obscure grooves from the past, but his latest idea to swing his way through today's hits may be his most accessible. Covering Amy Winehouse ("Rehab"), Gwen Stefani ("Let Me Blow Your Mind") and Justin Timberlake ("Rock Your Body") through the lens of piano soul-jazz (OutKast's "Hey Ya"), spy flick sitars (Missy Elliott's "Get Ur Freak On") and surf guitars (Britney Spears' "Toxic") could either be the tackiest project he has undertaken or the most inspired. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.shawnlee.net/

Label: http://www.ubiquityrecords.com/

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

Jens Lekman

Night Falls over Kortedala

Secretly Canadian

Swedish indie rock soldiers on, in continuance of its recent hipster dominance, with this new album from Jens Lekman. Kortedala is a neighborhood in Lekman's hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden. It's a small place in a small pond, and so much of the music on Night Falls over Kortedala aches with the romantic yearning to escape such claustrophobic environs. Fellow Swedes Frida Hyvonen and Sarah Assbring guest on the record. And like previous Lekman albums, this one lifts most of its musical background from disco and soul records.  ~John Zeiss 



Artist: http://www.jenslekman.com/

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

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

Samara Lubelski

Parallel Suns

The Social Registry

Samara Lubelski is a woman of the world. Well-versed in the current psych-folk phenomenon, she's crafted musical works of her own while aiding those of others. Lubelski began work on Parallel Suns in Germany with members of the band Metabolismus, and she finished up work on the record in New York City with other experimental musicians. Lubelski has served as a studio engineer for the likes of the Fiery Furnaces and Magik Markers and played with acts including White Magic and Jackie-O Motherfucker. She can also be heard on Thurston Moore's recent solo album. ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://samaralubelski.com/

Label: http://www.thesocialregistry.com/

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

Cass McCombs

Dropping the Writ


Cass McCombs is a well-traveled singer-songwriter, and his music shows the influences of where he's been. His first two records reflected the life he lived in New York City around September 11. His most recent album, 2005's PREfection, was recorded during an icy Michigan winter and took on the concept of troubled relationships. Dropping the Writ was recorded in the sunnier confines of Southern California; that may explain why the songs here tend to be wittier and lighter. McCombs, who has played with a shifting array of musicians, will tour this fall with Ariel Pink, with both singers sharing some of the same band members. ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.cassmccombs.com/

Label: http://www.dominorecordco.us/

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

Moving Units

Hexes for Exes


The dance-rock genre is usually associated with New York City, but Los Angeles also has plenty of bands plying that Gang of Four/Joy Division-inspired sound. Arguably foremost among those acts is Moving Units. Blake Miller and his band now have a fourth member, guitarist Victor Velazquez. Moving Units has certainly moved plenty of bodies on plenty of L.A. dance floors, and so the band will surely know what it sings of on these songs, which are tipped to be about the City of Angels' vibrant nightlife. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.movingunits.net/

Label: http://www.metropolis-records.com/

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

Scout Niblett

This Fool Can Die Now

Too Pure

Big names abound on Scout Niblett's fourth full-length. This Fool Can Die Now was recorded by Steve Albini in his famed Electrical Audio studio in Chicago. Indie singing legend (and current hip-hop video star) Will Oldham duets with Niblett on four of This Fool's fourteen songs. Two of those duets are covers; Niblett and Oldham reinterpret Van Morrison's "Comfort You" and Marilyn Monroe's "River of No Return." ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.scoutniblett.com/

Label: http://www.toopure.com/

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

9th Wonder

Dream Merchant Vol. 2

Six Hole/Hall of Justus

While fans mourn the break-up of recent undie upstarts Little Brother and as emcees Phonte and Big Pooh air out their feelings(http://www.xxlmag.com/online/?p=9038), producer 9th Wonder has laid low. Understandably so, because the man has been busy producing both major international acts (Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige) and upcoming talent (Median and Tru Life), teaching (http://web.nccu.edu/hiphop/index.php) at North Carolina Central University and helping cultivate underprivileged talent at a local record label P'Tones (http://www.ptonesrecords.com/home.php). And, when he's not keeping so busy, he's wrapping up his first compilation album. As expected, guests cover a broad range of undie faves (Sean Price, Mos Def, Jean Grae, Saigon), whom he will undoubtedly use as "a platform for his beats." Peep hiphopdx.com to hear album snippets(http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/audio/id.2798/title.9th-wonder-dream-merchant-2-snippets). ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.9thwonder.com/

Label: http://www.hallofjustus.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/9thwondermusic

Old Time Relijun

Catharsis in Crisis


Catharsis in Crisis is the closing chapter in a trilogy of albums that started with Old Time Relijun's Lost Light (released in 2004) and continued with 2012 (in 2005). The band compares connections between the three albums to the weaved-together webs of a Jorge Louis Borges story. K Records founder and indie twee legend Calvin Johnson recorded the album in his Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia, Washington. Final mixing on the album was handled by Steve Fisk. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.krecs.com/oldtimerelijun

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

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


In Rainbows

(No Label)

The band is relieved to be able to do it. Fans are excited at the prospect. Industry haters are relishing the act. Industry insiders are disgusted, or dizzy with one or some of the aforementioned sentiments, depending on whom you ask. Yes, once again, a Radiohead album will mean something different, depending on whom you ask. So, what's the fuss? While the band's seventh record promises few musical surprises -- much of the material has been performed in concert -- In Rainbows elevates the group's use of spectacle to distribute music. And what better commercial and critical darling to pull this off than Radiohead? Oh, yeah http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/5913)...
PS - The record will likely receive a traditional major label release in late 2007 or early 2008.
~Dan Nishimoto

Sunset Rubdown

Random Spirit Lover


Spencer Krug could easily be faulted for his inability to focus on one band. Before Frog Eyes had a fair chance to take off alongside national peers Arcade Fire, Krug hastily organized his soon-to-be-principle-breadwinner Wolf Parade, as well as Swan Lake, his project with Dan Bejar (Destroyer) and Carey Mercer (Frog Eyes). Although Wolf Parade has driven the indie Internets nuts, he has proven more prolific with his "solo project" Sunset Rubdown. Enjoyable as all this is, the brother maintains a highly estimable sense of quality control. Hence, Sunset Rubdown's third record of jangly, throaty pop arrives to open arms. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://sunsetrubdown.net/

Label: http://www.absolutelykosher.co/

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

Robert Wyatt

Comic Oopera


"Greeks divided things into comedy and tragedy, and 'comedy' didn't mean 'funny,' it meant just, 'about human foibles.' . . . So this is about human foibles. . . . I'm not looking for new gods." ~ Robert Wyatt


Robert Wyatt, a founder of Soft Machine, is renowned in musician circles as an expert writer of songs, employer of collage, exploder of sound, and flipper of pop conventions -- he is both a peer and an influence on Brian Eno, appeared on a Björk record, and was written up enthusiastically by a member of Hot Chip. Yet he's virtually unknown to most music listeners. So it is with an odd sense of wonder that Wyatt pushes toward his fourth decade of recording and quietly releases Comic Opera. The three-act piece is built on the live interactions of Wyatt, Eno, Phil Manzanera, Paul Weller and other major noodlers, yet it practically aspires to be so unlike any contemporary musical reference point that who would want to listen? Exactly. Highly recommended. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.strongcomet.com/wyatt

Label: http://www.dominorecordco.com/

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

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

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thanks ..and thanks for the mention. Ed

Ed Askew

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