Music Releases 10-05-18

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Ron Gallo

Stardust Birthday Party is about human evolution. Specifically, one humans evolution: mine, Ron Gallo. That’s the name my parents gave me. Hi.

At one point, I was a very lost mid-twenties person living in Philadelphia, in a relationship with someone struggling with mental health issues and crippling heroin addiction. I was asleep. I didn’t know how to handle my life. I was also writing songs for HEAVY META - my “frustrated with humanity” album. I laugh about it all now, but at the time it all felt like an absolute nightmare. It was the perfect doorway to look inside the place I’d been avoiding forever: myself.

Stardust Birthday Party is about what is happening underneath all of this life stuff. My path inward. The details of my path are pointless because everyone’s path is different. It is about me sitting with myself for the first time and confronting the big question “WHAT AM I, REALLY?” It’s about the love and compassion for all things that enters when you find out you are nothing and everything. I think at one point I wanted to change the world, but now I know I can only change myself, or rather just strip away everything that is not me to reveal the only thing that’s ever been there. And that’s what this album is about, it’s me dancing while destroying the person I thought I was, and hopefully forever.

In the liner notes of John Coltrane’s album A Love Supreme (which we pay tribute to on this album) he wrote: “During the year 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music.”

That’s it. That is the pure essence of creativity. Someone embodying what they have realized about themselves and the world that surrounds them. That is why this album exists.

Thank you for letting me share this with you. Ron Gallo

Ron Gallo
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Fucked Up

Double LP on black vinyl in wide spine jacket. Includes 22.75” x 33” 2-sided folded newsprint poster. Includes coupon for full download

“Never sink and never hide / They tried to break our dream, but child: / Joy Stops Time”.  I was sent an unfinished version of Dose Your Dreams so that I might contribute string parts. I couldn’t stop listening to the rough mixes I received. A friend asked me how the record was. I replied, “My God, Fucked Up have made their Screamadelica.”  

And psych-rock-groove it is. The drums mixed wide, propensity for drones, for delay pedal, for repetition, groove. The politics and aesthetics of hardcore married to an “open format” approach to genre. Elements of doo-wop, krautrock, groove, digital hardcore. 

“None of Your Business Man” opens the album in familiar enough territory, a sax-assisted exit from an office space. But things get psychedelic very quickly. By the time the title track arrives, Mike Haliechuk is whispering, wah pedals are in full effect, and we’re wearing oversized t-shirts and pinwheeling. “Accelerate,” the lyrical centerpiece of the album, storms in like Boredoms on a bullet train and dissolves into a digital nightmare. The album closer, “Joy Stops Time,” finds Fucked Up at their most Düsseldorfian, nearly eight minutes of blissful motorik.

At the center of it all is Damian Abraham’s scream—a man chained, a man tortured, a true protagonist. The effect is one of an epic, every chapter attempting its own narrative devices, its own genre hybridization—and it works, it works so insanely well. The drama unfolds like a miniature world of many parts being explored, a map being illuminated, location by location.

As with David Comes to Life, there is a story here. David—who once came to life—is now indentured to a desk job. David meets the elderly Joyce who closes his eyes, opens his mind, and sends him on a spiritual journey. David embarks on his own metaphysical odyssey. He sees a stage adaptation of his own life. He speaks to an angel in a lightbulb. He sees an infinite series of universes as simulations within simulations.

Meanwhile, Lloyd—Joyce’s lover—was sent, decades ago, by Joyce on the same odyssey, but was lost in the void. Lloyd seeks to be found and reunited with his lover. Where will David end up? Will Joyce and Lloyd be reunited?

Dose Your Dreams—meaning: treat your dreams as you would a dream, allow yourself to be lost within them, allow them to open your heart and your mind, enjoy them as you would a drug. Reach out for my hand and pull me close.

—Owen Pallett
June 2018

Fucked Up
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Molly Burch

Molly Burch burst onto the music scene in 2017 with her debut Please Be Mine – a ten-track ode to unrequited romance written after studying Jazz Vocal Performance in Asheville, NC – and earned immediate praise from critics for her smoky, effortless vocals and bleeding-heart lyrics. Following a year of touring all over North America, Europe and the UK alongside the likes of Ought, Alex Cameron, Grizzly Bear and Courtney Barnett amongst others, Burch then returned to Texas to decompress. Finding herself suddenly devoid of stimulation and with nothing but time on her hands, she began anew, bouncing ideas off her bandmate and boyfriend Dailey Toliver – who contributed guitar parts and orchestration suggestions – and, slowly, an album took shape; soon after, First Flower became real.

A walk-through Burch’s most intimate thoughts – broken friendships, sibling relationships, and overwhelming anxiety – First Flower is a bright, beautiful album peppered with moments of triumph with Burch’s voice as strong and dexterous as ever. Opening track “Candy” is a swinging, playful hit, while “Wild” deals with pushing away fear. Title track “First Flower” is classic Burch, a simple love song that makes your skin raise with goosebumps when she breaks into the chorus. But the album’s true stand-out is “To The Boys”, a courageous, sassy fuck-you to her own self-deprecation where she learns to love all the things she hated about herself. “I don’t need to scream to get my point across/I don’t need to yell to know that I’m the boss,” she coos over a sparse guitar riff.

First Flower is a shapely sonic stage to let Burch shine on. The composition and production carefully constructed to compliment and not over power.

Molly Burch
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Phosphorescent

For years, Phosphorescent’s rise was a steady one: tours got a little better, rooms got a little bigger, and with it the music became more intricate, more ambitious in its recording and arrangement. Then came Muchacho, a juggernaut that to date has sold over 100,000 worldwide, with lead single “Song for Zula” now well over 50 million streams. Now, ve years later, Phosphorescent returns with his seventh studio LP, C’est La Vie. Recorded in Nashville at Matthew Houck’s own Spirit Sounds Studio, C’est La Vie reveals a crystallization of what made Muchacho such a breakout — a little sweetness and a little menace, sometimes boot-stomping and sometimes meditative.

A lot of life was lived between these records: Houck became a father (twice), built his studio, escaped New York. And C’est La Vie does have a hefty, career-spanning feel. But there’s a newfound wisdom, too, a deeper well for all that livin’. The magic of Matthew Houck’s music has always been the way he weaves shimmering, almost golden-sounding threads through elemental, salt-of-the-earth sounds. It’s not experimental, exactly, but it’s singular and it’s definitely not traditional. That knack, the through-line across the Phosphorescent catalog, is front and center here.

Phosphorescent
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Cat Power

There are few voices more deeply embedded in the iconography and mythology of American indie rock than that of Chan Marshall. Under the musical nom de plume of Cat Power, Marshall has released music for nearly 25 years now and her prowess as a songwriter, a producer, and most notably—as a voice—has only grown more influential with time. Wanderer, Cat Power’s stunning 10th studio album, marks a pivotal moment in both Chan Marshall’s life and her career. In the six years since the release of 2012’s Sun, Marshall has travelled the world, given birth to a child, and parted ways with her previous record label. Even though it was, in many ways, a period of profound upheaval and radical change, those experiences resulted in a record that is arguably the most assured artistic statement of her career. Produced by Marshall and mixed by Rob Schnapf (Elliott Smith, Beck), the album includes appearances by longtime friends and compatriots, as well as guest vocals courtesy of friend and recent tourmate Lana Del Rey. Wanderer is, in many ways, a quintessential Cat Power record, with Marshall’s clarion voice front and center in a set of songs that remarkably stark and straightforward. But, if old Cat Power records might easily have been viewed as repositories for pain, Wanderer is, at its heart, a testament to the transformative nature of songs, an album-length imagining of alternate paths, redemptions, connections, and open-ended possibility.

Cat Power
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Steve Perry

Legendary singer-songwriter and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Steve Perry makes his long-awaited return with Traces, his first new album in nearly a quarter century.

The famed singer introduces Traces with lead track “No Erasin’” and reassuringly greets fans with the opening line “I know it’s been a long time comin’.” The track is an emotional homecoming, a familiar welcome from the iconic voice and writer of Journey's timeless, global hits including “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Faithfully,” and “Open Arms,” as well as the significant solo success of “Oh Sherrie” and “Foolish Heart.”

Perry says, “Putting 30 years into 10 songs has certainly been an emotional experience for me. I started writing and recording these songs with the creative freedom that I was the only one who would ever hear them. Along the way, I rediscovered my love for music. Each track represents traces of my past, but is also a hopeful look into the future. I invite you to listen with an open heart.”

Produced by Perry alongside co-producer Thom Flowers, Traces is the artist’s most vulnerable and honest recording to date, balancing tremendous loss with enduring hope and beauty. The album is a collection of nine original tracks that encompass the spectrum of human emotion, and also features a beautifully reimagined cover of The Beatles’ “I Need You” It is the work of an artist who has reconnected with his music in a new way.

Steve Perry