Indie Exclusive Releases
Most people know Aaron Lee Tasjan as one of the wittiest, most offbeat, brilliant, weed-smokin’ & LSD microdosin’ Americana troubadours writing and singing songs today. And the New York Times, NPR and Rolling Stone will all gladly corroborate. But steel yourselves, folk fans, because he’s about to follow his restless muse straight out from under the weight of everyone’s expectations into the kind of glammy, jingle-jangle power-pop- and- psych-tinged sounds he hasn’t dabbled in since his younger days playing lead guitar for a late-period incarnation of The New York Dolls.
Karma for Cheap is Tasjan’s third LP and second for his label New West Records, based in his current hometown of Nashville. The record was co-produced by ALT and his friends Jeff Trott (Stevie Nicks, Liz Phair, Meiko, Joshua Radin) and Gregory Lattimer (Albert Hammond Jr.) and features Aaron Lee’s road band—guitarist Brian Wright, bassist Tommy Scifres and drummer Seth Earnest—with whom he’s been touring heavily for the last two years.
While the stylistic shift from Tasjan’s palpably stoned ‘70s-country-channeling 2015 debut, In the Blazes, to his more sophisticated, introspective and lushly produced 2016 follow-up, Silver Tears, was relatively incremental, Karma’s rocked-up Brit-pop-influenced Beatles-Bowie-Badfinger vibes underscore a significant departure. The album boldly reminagines these vintage sounds, pushing the boundary of what can be considered Americana.
The roots of Tasjan’s Karma for Cheap, stretch deep, drinking up the sounds of a Southern California childhood spent listening to The Beatles while riding around with his mom at the wheel of their navy blue Volvo station wagon—back to the very first pre-teen year he picked up a six-string and started figuring out all the pretty little chords in those Lennon-McCartney tunes. Back to the pure, blissful unfiltered innocence of falling in love with music for the first time. A huge sonic touchstone for ALT’s new record is The Beatles Anthology, one of his childhood favorites. In songs like “If Not Now When,” “Song Bird” and “The Rest Is Yet to Come,” you can hear echoes of George Harrison’s vibrant guitar riffs and Jeff Lynne’s lavish production on those lo-fi John Lennon demos the surviving Beatles dug up and polished off in the mid ‘90s.
Perhaps the most poignant moment on Karma for Cheap is the anthemic, hypnotic “Heart Slows Down,” a tune rife with musical and lyrical references to the Beatles and Tom Petty, anchored by an unforgettable chorus with a Traveling Wilburys vibe that finds the sweet spot between Tasjan’s two earliest musical heroes. “When I was a kid, my favorite CD to fall asleep to was Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ Greatest Hits, and the last song is a cover of that Thunderclap Newman song ‘Something in the Air.’ From the time I was a little kid to when I was teenager, I used to listen to that song on headphones almost every night—I heard it in that space between wake and sleep so many times. And Tom’s passing—he was a really big hero of mine, so it hit me pretty hard. We were in Seattle playing a show when I heard, and it was a heavy thing to process. But all of those elements are there in ‘Heart Slows Down.’ The chorus, ‘I will always be around,’ is a reminder that all the good you ever got out of listening to this music is still around you. You’ll always have that.”
Aaron Lee Tasjan says he aims to use his music for good, but he’s no protest singer. And Karma for Cheap isn’t some heavy-handed, didactic political record cramming a set of talking points down anyone’s throat. It’s a finely tuned rock & roll seismograph measuring the dark and uncertain vibrations of the time in which it was created. A cracked mirror reflecting back the American zeitgeist in this foul year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Eighteen. With Karma, Tasjan establishes himself as an artist who not only evolves over time, but isn’t afraid to risk reinventing himself completely from one record to the next.
Although civilization’s transition into a cyborg world seems inevitable, there are still those who recognize the beauty and power of a human touch to complement the circumvention. Jack Tatum understands this balance, and through a decade making music as Wild Nothing he has learned to embrace both sides of that dynamic—but perhaps never as distinctly as on Indigo, the fourth Wild Nothing album. On one hand, it is a return to the fresh, transcendent sweep of his debut, 2010’s Gemini, and on the other, a culmination of heights reached, paths traveled, and lessons learned while creating the follow-ups, Nocturne and Life of Pause. Indigo finds Tatum at his most efficient, calculated, and confident—resulting in an artful blend of hi-fi humanity and technology that fires on all circuits and synapses.
To make Indigo, Tatum confronted the Man vs. Machine dichotomy by seizing on the surrounding synergy. Finding the right people to work on the album was integral, as was the proper place to record it. So, Tatum booked four days at legendary Sunset Sound’s Studio. Afterwards, producer Jorge Elbrecht (Ariel Pink, Gang Gang Dance, Japanese Breakfast) and Tatum built out the rest of the album’s sound by adding new parts and repurposing sounds from Tatum’s demos. The resulting Indigo is its own cyborg world, utilizing the artful mechanisms of human touch with the precision of technology to create the classic, pristine sound Tatum had been seeking his entire career. From the opening drum beat, chiming guitar, and sweeping synth of “Letting Go” to Tatum’s Bryan Ferry vocal turn on “Oscillation” to the ’80s-heavy blips, clicks, and strut of “Partners in Motion,” it’s clear that Indigo is at once vintage Wild Nothing and a bold, new leap into a bigger arena.
White Denim's new album 'Performance' collects nine expertly crafted songs that twist and turn, bending genres in the band's unique style. Students of rock music, White Denim has clearly listened to and learned from the best albums ever made from T. Rex to XTC to Little Feat to Jim O'Rourke...but they write songs just dumb enough to drink, dance, and fight to. Rock and roll music that aims for the whole body. Recorded in hometown Austin, Texas in their new Radio Milk studio, Performance displays a band of extraordinary musicians at their creative peak.
The power of words isn’t lost on longstanding Americana triumvirate The Devil Makes Three—Pete Bernhard, Lucia Turino, and Cooper McBean. For as much as they remain rooted in troubadour traditions of wandering folk, Delta blues, whiskey-soaked ragtime, and reckless rock ‘n’ roll, the band nods to the revolutionary unrest of author James Baldwin, the no-holds barred disillusionment of Ernest Hemingway, and Southern Gothic malaise of Flannery O’Connor.
In that respect, their sixth full-length and first of original material since 2013, Chains Are Broken, resembles a dusty leather-bound book of short stories from some bygone era. As the band began writing ideas for Chains Are Broken, they veered off the proverbial path creatively. Instead of their typical revolving cast of collaborators, The Devil Makes Three stuck to its signature power trio, with one addition. This time, they invited touring drummer Stefan Amidon to power the bulk of the percussion.
Another first, they retreated to Sonic Ranch Studios in El Paso, TX a stone’s throw from the Mexican border to record with producer Ted Hutt [Dropkick Murphys].
The incorporation of new sounds as well as the experimentation in space finds the Devil Makes Three crafting a new yet still familiar sound. Coupled with a continued focus on in-depth lyricism that tells a story in every song, Chains Are Broken is a liberating, rump-shaking collection of past, present and future.
Vinyl: $22.98 PRE ORDER
Thank You for Today, Death Cab for Cutie's ninth studio album, was produced and mixed by Rich Costey (Fiona Apple, Franz Ferdinand, Muse), who also produced the band's last album the GRAMMY® nominated Kintsugi. Thank You for Today marks the first Death Cab for Cutie release to see long time bandmates Gibbard, Nick Harmer, and Jason McGerr joined in the studio by new members Dave Depper (Menomena, Fruit Bats, Corin Tucker, Ray Lamontagne) and Zac Rae (My Brightest Diamond, Fiona Apple, Lana Del Rey, Gnarls Barkley). Depper and Rae have both been part of Death Cab's touring band since 2015. Death Cab for Cutie will celebrate their new album with a much anticipated fall tour. Check out the single "Gold Rush"
Vinyl: $24.98 PRE ORDER
1977’s Foreign Affairs takes the jazz and poetry that Tom Waits explored on his earlier albums in a more cinematic direction, foreshadowing his own breakthrough work in the 80s. Opening with the instrumental “Cinny’s Waltz” and featuring some new standards like “Muriel” and “I Never Talk To Strangers”, his dramatic duet with Bette Midler, this album gets into some of Waits’ most ambitious storytelling ever. Foreign Affairs also features the jazzy, colorful “Jack and Neil” and the sweeping, dramatic “Potters Field” as well as classic Waits ballads “Burma Shave” and “Sight for Sore Eyes”.
On her deeply moving debut album At Weddings, Sarah Beth Tomberlin writes with the clarity and wisdom of an artist well beyond her years. Like Julien Baker and Sufjan Stevens, she has a knack for transforming the personal into parable. Like Grouper, she has a feel for the transcendent within the ordinary. Born in Jacksonville, Florida, and now based in Louisville, Kentucky, Tomberlin wrote most of At Weddings while living with her family in southern Illinois during her late teens and early twenties. The daughter of a Baptist pastor, Tomberlin found herself questioning not only her faith, but her identity, her purpose, and her place in the world. In songwriting, she found relief and lucidity she had trouble articulating otherwise. When she was 19, she wrote "Tornado" on her parents' piano, and began to gain confidence in her music. A year later, Tomberlin had enough songs to fill an album. Throughout At Weddings, Tomberlin's lyrics yearn for stability and belonging, a near-universal desire among young people learning to define themselves on their own terms for the first time. The songwriter cites the hymns she grew up singing in church as her greatest musical influence, and while At Weddings in many ways documents the unlearning of her childhood faith, it's easy to hear the devotional quality of sacred music in her songs. The album is laden with reverence for music itself, for the power it has to heal and help people navigate their lives. It is a record about learning to love oneself and others without reservation, from a place of deep sincerity — a lifelong challenge whose tribulations Tomberlin articulates beautifully. "My number one goal with my music is for honesty and transparency that helps other people find ways to exist," she says. With At Weddings, this remarkable young songwriter offers up comfort and wonder in equal measure.
Vinyl: $20.98 PRE ORDER
Out August 3rd
Limited-edition, indie-only. Single LP on “bruiser” vinyl (purple, blue, and black marble). Includes coupon for full download
Four years after releasing their Merge debut, Frozen Letter, Spider Bags return with an LP that ascends to new levels of aural punch and perspective. The years that elapsed between records were crucial in enabling that progress to take place.
Recorded in Memphis at Bunker Audio by Andrew McCalla (who also engineered 2012’s Shake My Head), Someday Everything Will Be Fine leverages the limitations and glory of the Tascam 388, a vintage recording/mixing device that’s acquired a mythos via its association with legendary records by Dinosaur Jr. and others. Unlike the error-erasing editing software Spider Bags frontman Dan McGee has favored in the past, the Tascam’s charms are more immediate, and it has a visceral resonance all its own.
Someday Everything Will Be Fine, which is about the importance of saying f**k it and dancing to a rock and roll record, is an album only Spider Bags could make.
Limited-edition, indie-only. Single LP on pink + yellow marble vinyl in same packaging as standard LP. Includes coupon for full download + 2 extra digital tracks. Limited to 2,500 worldwide.
You may not be able to see the gorgeous landscapes behind Baby Grand, Stuart McLamb’s fourth record as The Love Language, but they’re so essential to the picture you’ll feel them in every note. Started in, of all places, a cavernous Virginia hammock factory, fragmentary demos came alive when splashed by sunshine during a move across the country to California, where the album was completed. “It was something just about being in a new city, and a new light,” McLamb says, “and reopening the sessions, and this demo that I thought was a throwaway, suddenly I’m really feeling it….” You can hear the freedom kick in when the backwoods country shuffle of “Castle in the Sky” explodes into a full-on aughts anthem, equal parts outstretched arms and pumped fists.
New Vinyl: $24.98 Buy
The debut album that started it all is now available with a brand new Reverse Color LP package and very Limited Edition super special color in celebration of the album being certified Platinum by the RIAA. Released on ATO in 2012, Boys & Girls peaked at #6 in the US and earned 3 Grammy nominations for Alabama Shakes including Best New Artist and Best Rock Performance (for "Hold On"). These are special pressings that are destined to become collectors items - get ‘em while they are HOT.
New Vinyl: $21.98 $18.98 Buy
Birds In Row are a melodic/abrasive band from Laval, France. Blurring the lines between hardcore, punk, and related sub-genres, Birds In Row offer something of substantial weight to their listeners. Collectively carrying somber hearts and poignant souls, they navigate through melancholic seas to shape beautifully hook-laden songs unlike anything else out there today. “We Already Lost the World” is their latest, a stunning nine song album that blends post punk and angular rock influences into something emotional and electric. Recorded and mixed by Amaury Sauve at The Apiary, and mastered by Thibault Chaumont at Deviant Lab.
The debut album from accomplished guitarist and songwriter Jason Isbell, formerly of Drive By Truckers (DBT), is reissued with 4 unreleased tracks from the original recording sessions. The addition of those 4 extra songs finds Sirens Of The Ditch clocking in at 15 total tracks. Sirens Of The Ditch's mystical quality can be partially attributed to the FAME recording studio (Aretha Franklin, Duane Allman, Otis Redding) in Isbell’s hometown of Muscle Shoals, AL where the album was recorded. Co-produced by Isbell and Patterson Hood (DBT), Sirens Of The Ditch features Isbell singing lead vocals and playing guitar throughout, joined by Shonna Tucker (Formerly of DBT) on Bass and Brad Morgan (DBT) on drums. Several musicians pop in for cameos including Spooner Oldham and David Hood (Patterson s father) on "Down In A Hole", John Neff (Formerly of DBT) on "Dress Blues" and Patterson himself guests on "Shotgun Wedding". "a strong debut, full of the kind of confident, charismatic songwriting that just can't be taught." - Pitckfork “Isbell could be roots rock’s Flannery O’Connor.” - Spin
New Vinyl: $24.98 Buy
Deafheaven was formed in 2010 by vocalist George Clarke and guitarist Kerry McCoy. They released their debut studio album Roads To Judah in 2011 . They added drummer Daniel Tracy to the group and released their breakthrough album Sunbather in 2013. After rounding out their line up with guitarist Shiv Mehra and bassist Stephen Clark—each subsequent live set felt like a religious experience for the bigger (and bigger) shows that followed. Their third album, and first for ANTI-, 2015’s New Bermuda, was heavier, sturdier, and more grounded in the dirt than Sunbather. They toured extensively to support New Bermuda playing tours and festivals with Lamb Of God, Anthrax, Danzig, and Gojira. Deafheaven’s new album, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, finds them working with old friends again. The Jack Shirley-produced and Nick Steinhardt-art directed (of Touché Amoré) collection gets its title from Graham Greene’s novel The End of the Affair, referencing a moment when someone is looking for love, in all of its imper¬fection and simple beauty. This sentiment is carried throughout the hazy, yearning romanticism of the record with song titles and words as sumptuous as the sounds around them. Clarke describes the composition of Ordinary Corrupt Human Love beginning with “small seeds of healing, repair, and rebirth,” and like each subsequent Deafheaven album, this record is, in fact, a revelation. Defeat has inspired some of our best art. If you survive something terrible, you surface on the other side, walk toward the light, and come back to life. If you’re an artist, this kind of new self-knowledge can lead to creating something universal and remembered, something that can live longer than you do. While Deafheaven have managed to cross over this road in the past, they’ve nailed the feeling wholly with Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, a feeling that comes with experience and wisdom. Yes, everybody deals with hurt, everybody’s been the cause of their own implosions, and everybody has the capacity to overcome and love again. Deafheaven have found a way to externalize all of this, and in making their most complete record to date, they turn it into a balm and a cathartic exorcism.
Founded in 1991 Immortal has often been the bench mark when it comes to quality extreme metal. The Norwegian natives released their debut album “Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism” in 1992. Since then they have released eight full length releases, the last two, “All Shall Fall” (2009) and “Sons of Northern Darkness” (2002), were released on Nuclear Blast.
New Vinyl: $23.98 $20.98 Buy