AESOP ROCK “Appleseed” RHYMESAYERS
Available now. The explosion of indie Hip Hop labels in the early 1990s resulted in an ongoing snowball effect that started to shift the narrative around an artist's need to sign to a major label. Coincidentally, quality home recording equipment was also becoming more easily accessible and, with the rising popularity of CD-R technology, this allowed artists to write, record, and manufacture their own albums right at home. "Appleseed" was a highly celebrated and influential release from that era, cementing Aesop Rock as a new face whose talent could not be denied. The album explores creative concepts with inventive writing and strippeddown yet melodic and melancholic production. Finally, 21 years after its debut, "Appleseed" officially returns, now available on all digital platforms, as well as on vinyl for the first time!
LUMP “Animal” CHRYSALIS
Available now. Lump began in 2018, with a collaboration between Mike Lindsay - a Mercury Prize-winning producer and co-founder of band Tunng, and the GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter Laura Marling. As with the first album, Marling would arrive in the studio without having heard any of Lindsay's music, with the hope that it would bring the lyrics an immediacy and a spontaneity. Having begun studying for a Masters in psychoanalysis, she found she drew heavily on her course texts for this album's lyrics as well as on half-memories, family stories, strange dreams; things she had read, or been told or imagined. "Animal" was a word Marling threw into a lyric simply to meet a rhythm. But it seemed to capture the mood of the record, and of the band as a whole. "There's a little bit of a theme of hedonism on the album, of desires running wild," she says.
ANIKA “Change” SACRED BONES
Available now. When asked to describe the circumstances that influenced her beautifully fraught new work, Berlin-based musician Annika Henderson - better known simply as Anika - quickly articulates a set of feelings and unpredictable circumstances that are familiar to anyone who tried to make art - or simply tried to live through - the recent global pandemic. Given that it has been 11 years since the release of her last solo album, 2010 cult-favorite "Anika", the artist suddenly found herself with a lot to say. Recorded at a time when literally everyone in the world was being forced to take stock, rethink, and reimagine their own place in the cosmos of things, Anika provides the wisened perspective of an outsider. Despite the subject matter and the circumstances around its creation, "Change" itself is ultimately a treatise on optimism.
DEVENDRA BANHART AND NOAH GEORGESON “Refuge” DEAD OCEANS
Available now. "Refuge" is a meditation collaboration from Devendra Banhart and Noah Georgeson. Last spring, they started to make a record that was like nothing they had made before - an ambient album that would be both a haven from a suddenly terrified world and a heartfelt musical dialogue between two artists who have been friends and collaborators for over two decades. Noah, whose production and mixing credits include Joanna Newsom and the Strokes, came on board as coproducer of Devendra's 2005 album "Cripple Crow" and they have been working together ever since. They realised that they had a similar history in the New Age subculture of the 1980s: a world of meditation, Eastern music, the Bhagavad Gita and The Whole Earth Catalog. "Refuge" is an album of profound meditative beauty which offers the listener a muchneeded sense of peace and renewal.
EL MICHELS AFFAIR MEETS LIAM BAILEY “Ekundayo Inversions” BIG CROWN
Available now. There has always been a Reggae influence in the music of El Michels Affair. While recording Liam Bailey's 2020 "Ekundayo" album, they did some straight forward reggae tunes inspired by different eras alongside some modern R&B tracks that would fit more comfortably next to Frank Ocean than Jacob Miller. It is this same notion that old and new can live so comfortably together that birthed the idea of "Ekundayo Inversions". One of the highlights of Ekundayo Inversions is a guest appearance from the legendary Lee "Scratch" Perry on the "Ugly Truth" version. At the end of the day, "Ekundayo Inversions" is a testament to how strong the original songs are. Whether they're in R&B style, reggae style, stripped down to their bare bones, or loaded with production, the songs will move you.
BOB’S BURGERS “The Bob’s Burgers Music Album Vol. 2” SUB POP
August 20. "The Bob's Burgers Music Album Vol. 2" includes nearly every single musical morsel from seasons 7 through 9. This 90-song smorgasbord will feature the Belcher family as well as the show's numerous recurring and special guests. This includes actors, comedians, and musicians Adam Driver, Tiffany Haddish, Jenny Slate, Daveed Diggs, Max Greenfield, Toddrick Hall, Aparna Nancherla, and Matt Berninger (of the National). For fans of the show, enjoying the music of Bob's Burgers on its own is both an irresistible to-go bag and ultimately a world unto itself. Lose yourself in the strangely epic disco celebration "Hot Pants Rain Dance", sing along with the musical theatre gem, "The Wedding Is My Warzone", or do whatever you're gonna do to "Sexy Little Tiger", but don't miss "The Bob's Burgers Music Album Vol. 2".
BIG RED MACHINE “How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?” JAGJAGUWAR
August 27. Aaron Dessner has consistently sought an emotional outlet and deep human connection through music - be it as a primary songwriter in The National, a founder and architect of beloved collaborationdriven music festivals, or collaborator on two critically acclaimed and chart-topping Taylor Swift albums. On "How Long Do You Think It's Gonna Last?," the second album from Dessner's ever-morphing project with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, many of Dessner's collaborators and friends show up, continuing the reciprocal exchange of ideas that has come to define his creative community. Songs feature guest vocals and writing contributions from artist friends including Fleet Foxes' Robin Pecknold, Anaïs Mitchell, Ben Howard and This Is The Kit, Naeem, Sharon Van Etten, Lisa Hannigan, and My Brightest Diamond's Shara Nova and Taylor Swift on “Birch” and “Renegade.” The latter song was recorded March 2021, the same week when Swift and Dessner took home the GRAMMY for Album of the Year for “folklore.” "This is all music I generated, but it is interesting to hear how different people relate to it, or how different voices collide with it," Dessner says. "That's what makes it special.”
LOW “Hey What” SUB POP
September 10. Focusing on their craft, staying out of the fray, and holding fast their faith to find new ways to express the discord and delight of being alive, to turn the duality of existence into hymns we can share, Low present "Hey What". These ten pieces - each built around their own instantaneous, undeniable hook - are turbocharged by the vivid textures that surround them. The ineffable, familiar harmonies of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker break through the chaos like a life raft. Layers of distorted sound accrete with each new verse - building, breaking, colossal then restrained, a solemn vow only whispered. "Hey What" is Low's thirteenth full-length release in twenty-seven years, and their third with producer BJ Burton.
SHAD “Tao” SECRET CITY
October 1. Over the course of five records to date, JUNO Award-winning Toronto rapper Shad has used an array of old-school tools to tackle modern problems, addressing the indignities and absurdities of our world through a shapeshfiting melange of boom-bap breaks, dusty soul samples, jazzy improvisation, and 10 dollar words rolled into thousand-dollar rhymes. But after weaving his myriad musical and philosophical interests into a narrative socio-political song cycle - 2018's "A Short Story About a War" - Shad began building his sixth record, "TAO", from a much simpler concept: an image of a circle. Though, in true Shad fashion, he saw something much more profound within its basic round boundaries. "TAO" allows Shad to return to his "natural strike zone" of more playful, block-rocking bops - the sort of tracks that might make you smile and snicker even as they unpack such thorny topics as race, capitalism, and technological dependency.
SUUNS “The Witness” SECRET CITY
September 3. SUUNS' fifth full-length album "The Witness" once again marks a shrewdly offbeat left turn. The tried-and-true narrative for a band of this nature is always to ‘move to the deep end' or ‘out of the comfort zone'. In some ways that rings true on "The Witness", though one could say these eight movements actually show SUUNS in their most comfortable, candid state. Self-recorded and self-produced over the majority of 2020 - a year of strife, solitude and reflection - "The Witness" finds the band holding a magnifying glass over their own default state of playing and performing. It's a swift departure from previous album "Felt", which exults in harvesting haphazard ideas in their embryonic, demoed versions, as if letting loose a glorious firework display into the heavens.
KLÔ PELGAG “Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs” SECRET CITY
Available now. Singer-songwriter Klô Pelgag has received endless praise since the release of her album Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs. Now, the opus has become one of the ten albums on the short list of the prestigious Polaris Music Prize this year. The influential American journalist Anthony Fantano reviewed the album on his YouTube channel, The Needle Drop — a first for a francophone album. “There are tons of beautiful creative highlights on every corner of this project.” Exclaim! awarded the album four stars. “Wise violins and crazy piano coexist in a heady, harmonic, Kate Bushian album, which features very original vocals as always” (Longueur d'ondes). Notre-Dame-des-SeptDouleurs also won a JUNO award in the “Album Artwork of the Year” category. Don't miss Klô Pelgag in concert this Fall: October 23 – Sherbrooke, QC @ Théâtre Granada / October 29 - Val-d'Or, QC @ Théâtre Télébec.