Feature ·

[September 11, 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.



Animal Collective

Strawberry Jam


Album number eight for these squawkers has technically been available since early July when it was leaked online. But the quartet appeared undeterred, criticizing not the morality of the act but rather its incompleteness: Instead of leaking a handful of tracks, why weren't all of them disseminated? More than two months later, the official release makes its debut. Now you can quit squinting at that tiny .jpg and get the actual cover art. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.myanimalhome.net

Label:  http://www.dominorecordco.us

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

Baby Elephant

Turn My Teeth Up!

Godforsaken Music

Leave it to Prince Paul to come up with yet another interesting musical project. The man behind the production of De La Soul's great early work and the creation of Handsome Boy Modeling School has now given birth to a Baby Elephant. That's Paul's new venture with keyboard legend Bernie Worrell and long-time collaborator Newkirk. As with most recent Prince Paul projects, you can expect a lot of guest appearances. On Turn My Teeth Up!, they come from the likes of David Byrne (who Worrell worked with on Stop Making Sense), George Clinton (again, no stranger to Worrell), Nona Hendryx, and Yellowman. ~John Zeiss



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

Label: http://www.godforsakenmusic.com/

Black Francis


Cooking Vinyl

Here we have Frank Black, lead singer of indie legends the Pixies, returning to recording under his Black Francis moniker. Accordingly, Bluefinger should return to the rawer, punkier edge of early Pixies material. The album was inspired by the legend of Dutch artist Herman Brood, who was a musician and painter. Brood dated Nina Hagen, lived a hard-drugging lifestyle for many years, and, after going sober, became terminally ill. He ended his life by his own hands in 2001. Black covers one of Brood's songs, "You Can't Break a Heart and Have It," and puts in ten of his own originals. He was joined in recording the album by bassist Dan Schmid of the Visible Men and drummer Jason Carter of Guards of Metropolis. ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.frankblack.net/

Label: http://www.cookingvinyl.com/

Black Lips

Good Bad, Not Evil


Evidently, all it takes is to earn the "Hardest Working" superlative(http://video.on.nytimes.com/?fr_story=2f2aaf87dff4ef1400e5ed5b4c06f55be51520b9) these days is to spend a day picking out free swag, doing photo shoots and playing some music. Surely, James would approve of passing the cape to the Black Lips. Not to steal all of the group's thunder, the Georgian natives play raucous rock rife with swill-beer hangovers and morning-commute angst. Now, in the good company of Vice Records, the group seemingly hopes to inseminate its snotty riffage into the MP3 players of an entire hipster generation. Prospects? Unlikely the marshmallow-mouthed title will replace DMC's quotable, but fair chance that the Lips' fifth will help get someone else busy, y'all. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.vicerecords.com/blacklips.php

Label: http://www.vicerecords.com/blacklips.php

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

Eugene Blacknell

We Can't Take Life for Granted

Luv N'Haight

Kicking off Luv N'Haight's top-shelf rarities comp Trippin': The Groove Merchant Compilation, Eugene Blacknell's break-laden "Gettin' Down" was the perfect re-introduction to this overlooked artist. The Bay Area-based guitarist and songwriter made notable achievements as an artist and as an activist, thus cementing his reputation in his hometown. Finally, Ubiquity's exhaustive compilation of his works will bring his story to a broader light. Collecting recordings from the '60s to the '80s, We Can't Take Life for Granted promises to paint a comprehensive picture of a Bay Area institution. ~Dan Nishimoto



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

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

Vic Chesnutt

North Star Deserter


Vic Chesnutt has engendered admiration from his fellow tunesmiths. You might remember the tribute album he inspired back in the '90s that found the likes of R.E.M., Sparklehorse, and even Madonna covering Chesnutt's tunes. Here, he's joined by a veritable all-star team of Canadian experimental musicians, including members of Godspeed You Black Emperor, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band, and other Canuck collectives. Oh, and some American musicians get in on the collaboration as well, including Guy Picciotto of Fugazi fame, who also helped produce the album. Filmmaker Jem Cohen had a hand in bringing all the musicians together in Montreal's Hotel2Tango studio. ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.vicchesnutt.com/

Label: http://www.cstrecords.com/

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

The Deadly Syndrome

The Ortolan

Dim Mak

Los Angeles label Dim Mak tends to be known as a home for dance-punk artists. (The label is run by superstar DJ Steve Aoki.) But the Deadly Syndrome creates a more traditional, guitar-based alt-rock sound that has been compared to that of Neil Young, Elliott Smith, and Wilco. As the album's cover might suggest, an Ortolan is a type of bird. ~ John Zeiss



Band: http://www.thedeadlysyndrome.com/

Label: http://www.dimmak.com/

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

Dirty Projectors

Rise Above

Dead Oceans

This Dirty Projectors project has divisiveness written all over it. The album finds the band reinterpreting Black Flag's landmark 1981 debut, Damaged. But it's not necessarily a cover album or straightforward remake. Main Dirty Projector Dave Longstreth said he was inspired to make the album after coming across an old cassette case of his that used to hold Damaged. Problem was, the cassette itself was no longer there. So Longstreth headed into the studio to recreate the album's music from what he remembered. Big Black Flag fans, as Longstreth obviously is, will probably either love or loathe the results. Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear helped Longstreth craft the album. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.westernvinyl.com/dirty_projectors.htm

Label: http://www.deadoceans.com/

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




Eulogies is the new musical project helmed by Peter Walker, who has recorded solo for Los Angeles-based Dangerbird Records. Walker calls the band the next logical step in his progression after going it alone for a while. He got production help on this Eulogies debut from Hrishikesh Hirway, who you may know from yet another Dangerbird band, the One AM Radio. (Talk about keeping it all in the family.) The record was mixed by John Goodmanson, who has also worked with Sleater-Kinney and Blonde Redhead. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://eulogiesmusic.com/

Label: http://www.dangerbirdrecords.com/

Audio: http://myspace.com/eulogiesmusic

50 Cent



Cover: http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/31P+TbxYOEL._SS500_.jpg

See Curtis(http://www.mad.tv/images/img/artists2/50_cent/gq50.jpg) go(http://earthhopenetwork.net/bush%20art/bush_monkey.jpg). See Curtis(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/50_Cent#New_York_rappers) promote(http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021007-8.html). See Curtis(http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20217246) with foot-in-mouth(http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3570845.stm). See Curtis(http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1567100/20070814/50_cent.jhtml) redirect(http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/24/AR2007082401020.html). See Curtis(http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/53/M80Q.html) go(http://www.georgewbush.org/), indeed. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.50cent.com/

Label: http://www.interscope.com/

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/50cent

The Good Life

Help Wanted Nights

Saddle Creek

It's a testament to a singer-songwriter's skill if he or she heads up not one but two great bands. And so it is with Tim Kasher, the main force behind both Cursive and the Good Life. Help Wanted Nights is the Good Life's fourth full-length. It's on Saddle Creek and, as such, was put down in Omaha, Nebraska, with resident Saddle Creek studio whiz extraordinaire A.J. Mogis helping out with the recording process. Kasher says these songs go along with a screenplay he's written, and accordingly they are all set in the same small-town bar. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.saddle-creek.com/html/goodlife_frame.html

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

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

The Go! Team

Proof of Youth

Sub Pop

The British party-starting collective is now signed to Sub Pop, but who isn't these days (hello, No Age and Blitzen Trapper). Proof of Youth is the follow-up to 2005's critically acclaimed breakthrough, Thunder, Lightning, Strike. Whereas that album relied heavily on samples, Proof of Youth was recorded largely live in the studio by the band. Some of the block-rockin' beats on the album feature guest appearances by the likes of Chuck D., the Rapper's Delight Club, Solex, Marina Vello from Bonde do Role, the Double Dutch Divas, and the Frederick Douglas All-Star Cheer Team. ~John Zeiss



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

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

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

Joy Division

Unknown Pleasures; Closer; Still [reissues]


Joy Division is arguably the single most influential band among bands of the 2000s. From singer Ian Curtis's stark outlook on life to the band's functional marriage of dance rhythms and punk aesthetics, Joy Division has been referenced widely with varying degrees of blatancy: from Interpol to She Wants Revenge. Given this impact, the upcoming biopic and accompanying album reissues are to be met with a resounding "Finally!" That said, the campaign seems to have played its tortoise card wisely: the feature-length film Closer was made under the careful direction of famed photographer and old Joy Division associate Anton Corbijn(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nyVWxv6Q40), and the ever-reliable Rhino Records handled the music repackaging. The band's two albums and posthumous compilation are the centerpieces and now also include live recordings from four of the band's shows (Manchester, London, High Wycombe and West Hampstead). ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://joydivision.homestead.com/

Label: http://www.rhino.com/

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

Le Loup

The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nation's Millennium General Assembly

Le Loup

That lengthy album title comes from outsider artist James Hampton (and was later picked up as the moniker for a book of poetry by Denis Johnson, author of Jesus' Son). Le Loup, led by James Simkoff, comes from that fertile breeding ground of American indie music, Washington, D.C. Even more art is referenced throughout the album, which is reportedly influenced by Dante's The Inferno, with songs including "Canto I" and "Canto XXVI" corresponding with the first and last chapters of that epic poem. With all these complex influences on the band's sound, it's no surprise to find that Le Loup itself is a complex musical project, consisting of eight musicians plying polyphonic sounds. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://leloupmusic.net/BIRDS/index.html

Label: http://hardlyart.com/ 

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

Oakley Hall

I'll Follow You


It may surprise some that Oakley Hall hails from mucho metropolitan New York City. The band plies a brand of Americana that seems like it should come from somewhere much more rural. Accordingly, Oakley Hall has recently toured with the likes of Bright Eyes and Gillian Welch. This is the band's fourth full-length and first for Merge. They released two albums last year on the Secretly Candian/Jagjaguwar-affiliated imprint Brah, Gypsum Strings and Second Guessing. I'll Follow You was recorded by Nicolas Vernhes, who has also done studio work for the likes of Silver Jews and Fiery Furnaces. ~John Zeiss



Band: http://www.oakleyhall.net/

Label: http://www.mergerecords.com/

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

Emma Pollock

Watch the Fireworks


Remember the Delgados? How sorely missed is that band's brand of lush, beautiful art rock? Now we'll get to relive at least some of the Delgados' magic: Emma Pollock, one of the former members of that band, is releasing her first solo album. And we shouldn't expect the sound of Watch the Fireworks to stray too far from the Delgados' cinematic timbre, although early reports have Pollock also throwing in the country-pop influences of people like Dusty Springfield and Petula Clark. The album was produced by Victor Van Vugt, who has also worked with Mojave 3, Nick Cave, and Beth Orton. ~John Zeiss



Artist: http://www.emmapollock.com/

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

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


Love's Miracle


Los Angeles noise-rock duo Qui scored one of the biggest musical coups in a long while when it got David Yow, legendary howling madman frontman of Scratch Acid and the Jesus Lizard, to join. This is the first full-length Qui album featuring Yow on vocals, after a limited-release single in 2006. The original twosome, guitarist/singer Matt Cronk and drummer/vocalist Matt Christensen, released Qui's debut, Baby Kisses, in 2003. ~John Zeiss



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

Label: http://www.ipecac.com/ 

Shout Out Louds

Our Ill Wills


Get ready for more sweet-sounding Swedish indie rock -- and this one is a double dose. Not only does the band Shout Out Lands hail from Sweden, but another musical Swede, Bjorn Yttling (the Bjorn of Peter Bjorn and John) produced Our Ill Wills. This is the group's first album for Merge and the follow-up to 2005's Howl Howl Gaff Gaff, which came out on Capitol. ~John Zeiss



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

Label: http://www.mergerecords.com/

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

Various Artists

The War: A Ken Burns Film

Sony Soundtrack

A considerable world apart from Bryan Tyler's score, the soundtrack to Ken Burns's upcoming PBS documentary on the Second World War promises another extensive journey through American history. The upcoming series(http://www.pbs.org/thewar/) explores World War II through Burns's trademark quasi-people's history perspective. As such, considerable measures were taken to ensure a soundtrack consisting of more than the popular swing-time hits (some of which are included, including numbers by Ellington, Goodman and Basie) commonly associated with this era. Instead, the soundtrack makes broad references to then-contemporary musical culture (from Copland to "The Death of Falstaff" from Laurence Olivier's 1944 version of Henry V) to modern interpretations of the film's themes (Norah Jones, Yo-Yo Ma, and erstwhile companion Wynton Marsalis all contribute or interpret new pieces). The package also includes a twenty-four-page booklet featuring an essay by Burns and rare images from the period. The soundtrack will be released simultaneously alongside three companion compilations: Sentimental Journey: Hits from the Second World War; I'm Beginning to See the Light: Dance Hits form the Second World War; and Songs Without Words: Classical Music from The War. ~Dan Nishimoto



Label: http://millennium.sonymusic.com/

Video: http://www.pbs.org/thewar/video_clips.htm

Kanye West



Not sure how it happened, but after producing a run of minor hits for Roc-A-Fella, Kanye went and made an album for himself that won a couple Grammys and made him a star. Before I could erase the name "Kayne" from my memory, he went and made another album, won another Grammy, and became an icon in the Wedding Hall of Fame(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_Digger). Since then, West has kept busy: speaking up on a national disaster, criticizing homophobia, and getting sued. All to say the artist's ascent to celebrity has been dizzying and exceptional -- mostly because his musical track record has been relatively consistent. Hell, even his recent freestyles(http://youtube.com/watch?v=vOGymJUUse0) have been sounding pretty nice. So, damn the molasses pace of the dextromethorphan-laced first single "Can't Tell Me Nothing," Graduation is upon us, and it's likely to get hectic. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.kanyewest.com/

Label: http://www.rocafella.com/

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

Michael Yonkers


De Stijl

Following the successful reissue of Michael Yonkers's first album, Microminiature Love (recorded in 1968), De Stijl again teams with Sub Pop to re-release Michael Yonkers' 1969 follow-up, Grimwood. Although Yonkers is known in certain circles, particularly around his home in Minneapolis, among die-hard psyche-rock collectors and instrument enthusiasts (he became known for his custom guitar modifications), his fame has remained elusive, which has subsequently made his music hard to come by. The incredibly rare Grimwood was scantly available even at the time of recording: Yonkers did not release the album until the mid-'70s, but very few copies were actually sold. Fans of Microminiature should be forewarned that Grimwood is an entirely different beast. That said, while the psyche freak-outs have been replaced with quiet guitar plucking, Yonkers's off-kilter sensibility remains intact, and his playing is impeccable. ~Dan Nishimoto



Artist: http://www.michaelyonkers.com/

Label: http://destijlrecs.com/

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

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

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