When one thinks of The Dream Syndicate, it's not just the wild abandon with which singer/guitarist Steve Wynn, drummer Dennis Duck, bassist Mark Walton, and lead guitarist Jason Victor perform - it's the carefully constructed songwriting of Wynn that comes to mind. By now every rock critic in the country has predetermined who he or she feels Wynn reminds them of and what they think of that style of songs. This time, don't! Which brings us to The Universe Inside. Every article or review ever written will claim "this is new and different" - well, it is! Just look at the song lengths: 20:27, 7:36, 8:56, 9:55 and 10:53. Ok, sure - the Syndicate have occasionally committed a long song to vinyl, "John Coltrane Stereo Blues" was 9 minutes with live versions over the ten-minute mark. For the first time, every song is a group songwriting effort. What seeps in are Dennis Duck's knowledge of European avant-garde music, Jason Victor's passion for 70s prog, Mark Walton's experience in Southern-fried music collectives and Wynn's love of vintage electric jazz. The dazzling display of album cover artwork alone should clue you into the changes. But don't take our word for it. Dive in!
LP version. Red and white splatter vinyl; Housed in a gatefold sleeve designed by Steve Lippert.Reissue of Sleaford Mods' 2015 album Key Markets on Extreme Eating. Mastered by Matt Colton at Alchemy. Everything else was done by Sleaford Mods.
Coming October 11th: the debut solo record from Kim Gordon. With a career spanning nearly four decades, Kim Gordon is one of the most prolific and visionary artists working today. A co-founder of the legendary Sonic Youth, Gordon has performed all over the world, collaborating with many of music’s most exciting figures including Tony Conrad, Ikue Mori, Julie Cafritz and Stephen Malkmus. Most recently, Gordon has been hitting the road with Body/Head, her spellbinding partnership with artist and musician Bill Nace. Despite the exhaustive nature of her résumé, the most reliable aspect of Gordon’s music may be its resistance to formula. Songs discover themselves as they unspool, each one performing a test of the medium’s possibilities and limits. Her command is astonishing, but Gordon’s artistic curiosity remains the guiding force behind her music. It makes sense that this “American idea” (as Gordon says on the agitated rock track “Air BnB”) of purchasing utopia permeates the record, as no place is this phenomenon more apparent than Los Angeles, where Gordon was born and recently returned to after several lifetimes on the east coast. It was a move precipitated by a number of seismic shifts in her personal life and undoubtedly plays a role in No Home Record’s fascination with transience. The album opens with the restless “Sketch Artist,” where Gordon sings about “dreaming in a tent” as the music shutters and skips like scenery through a car window. “Even Earthquake,” perhaps the record’s most straightforward track embodies this mood; Gordon’s voice wavering like watercolor: “If I could cry and shake for you / I’d lay awake for you / I got sand in my heart for you,” guitar strokes blending into one another as they bleed out across an unstable page. Front to back, No Home Record is an expert operation in the uncanny. You don’t simply listen to Gordon’s music; you experience it.
Traditional Techniques is new phase folk music for new phase folks, with Malkmus as attuned as ever to the rhythms of the ever-evolving lingual slipstream. Instead of roses, briars, and long black veils, prepare for owns, cracked emojis, and shadowbans. Centered around the songwriter's 12-string acoustic guitar, and informed by a half-century of folk-rock reference points, Traditional Techniques is the product of Malkmus and engineer/arranger Chris Funk (The Decemberists). Playing guitar is friend-to-all-heads Matt Sweeney (Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Chavez, too many others to count), who'd previously crossed paths with Malkmus on the opposite end of the longhairs' map of the world, most lately gnarling out together back east in the jam conglomerate Endless Boogie.
New Vinyl: $31.98 Buy
Over the last decade, Real Estate have crafted warm yet meticulous pop-minded music, specializing in soaring melodies that are sentimentally evocative and unmistakably their own. The Main Thing dives further into the musical dichotomies they're known for'lilting, bright guitar lines set against emotionally nuanced lyrics, complex arrangements conveyed breezily. What emerges is a superlative collection of interrogative songs as full of depth, strangeness and contradictions as they are lifting hooks.