Thursday, April 17, 2008

Porcupine Tree - We Lost The Skyline - 180 Gram LP

Live instore, park avenue, orlando, 4th oct 2007.

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Whiskeytown - Strangers Almanac - 180 Gram Double LP

Released for the first time on vinyl, includes five previously unrelased bonus tracks from their live KCRW radio appearance.

1997's Strangers Almanac was Whiskeytown's major-label debut and the album that first introduced Ryan Adams to a wide audience, but at the same time it marked the beginning of the end for the group. When Whiskeytown went into the studio to record Strangers Almanac, the band had undergone the first of what would become a long line of personnel shakeups, and in addition to Adams, the only proper members of the group on hand for the sessions were violinist and vocalist Caitlin Cary and guitarist Phil Wandscher; session musicians filled out the lineup, while the new rhythm section, Jeff Rice (bass) and Steve Terry (drums), was hired only two weeks before recording began. Despite its chaotic creation, Strangers Almanac sounds stronger and more cohesive than its ragged but forceful indie predecessor, Faithless Street, and there's a deeper resonance in Adams' tales of wasted nights and wasted lives, such as "Inn Town," "Losering," and "Dancing with the Women at the Bar." Strangers Almanac doesn't rock as hard as Whiskeytown's earlier material, but when the guitars kick into high gear on "Yesterday's News" and "Waiting to Derail," it reveals just how good a match Adams and Wandscher were, and "Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight" and "16 Days" are as strong and moving as their country gestures got. However, though Strangers Almanac starts strong, most of the best material is used up by the two-thirds mark, and editing one or two tunes from the final innings would have done this album a world of good. Regardless of its faults, Strangers Almanac captures Whiskeytown when they still had some business calling themselves a band rather than just Ryan Adams' backing musicians, and the glorious world-weariness of its best moments makes it a far more satisfying listen than most of what would follow once Adams struck out on his own. - AMG

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David J. & The Glossines - The Bottle, The Book Or The Dollar Bill - Limited edition colored vinyl 7" + DVD

A Note from David J (of Bauhaus and Love and Rockets)
‘The Bottle, The Book or The Dollar Bill’ A collaboration between David J & The Glossines.

This record ( a special limited edition 45 rpm 7” single ) was never intended to be a charity record but as Amber of the Glossines developed a serious throat condition following it’s recording, that is now what it is.

Proceeds will go towards the necessary surgery ( Amber has no health insurance ).

Get well soon, Amber!

David J


The single is limited to 1000 individually numbered copies.

The colored vinyl version (exclusive to Aural Exploits) includes a bonus DVD (not available with the black vinyl version) with a music video and documentary of the release.

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My Bloody Valentine - Loveless - Limited edition 180 gram colored vinyl LP

Finally they have arrived and are now shipping!
Aural Exploits are pleased to be able to offer My Bloody Valentine's classic Loveless as a special, exclusive numbered limited edition of 1000 copies pressed on 180 Gram red vinyl.

This will be strictly limited to a one time pressing of 1000 copies and sure to become a collectors item as this is the first time ever on colored vinyl. Features the original artwork, released in a gatefold sleeve.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Kills - Midnight Boom - includes download LP

This duo subtly and organically fuses pop, glam, blues, art-punk, and hip-hop in a manner that flits between light and dark, funny and morbid, experimental and cute. The result is a short, sharp twelve track album of sensual, fresh, and atmospheric songs. A reminder that no one on earth makes rock 'n' roll quite like The Kills. Previous albums "No Wow" and "Keep On Your Mean Side" have sold over 70,000.

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Jay Reatard - See/Saw / Screaming Hand 7" Single

The first in the series of increasingly limited 7" singles from the forthcoming Matador full length release.

The upcoming matador full length is being released across 7" singles prior to the release of the album. Each of the singles will be released in a more limited edition than the previous one - so start collecting them now before it's too late!

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Death In June - The Rule Of Thirds - Picture disc Double 10" / Double 10" vinyl

Available on regular vinyl or as a picture disc - both on 2 x 10" discs.

Returning with the first Death In June album in over three years, creative linchpin/sole constant Douglas Pearce finds himself in the happy circumstance of being — for the first time since the band's semi-industrial beginnings in the post-punk era circa 1980 — in an artistic circumstance where what he does is actually in tune with the times. Pearce long ago came up with the term "Neo-folk" to describe the dark, gothy acoustic vibe of recent Death In June releases, but The Rule of Thirds would also fit nicely in the "new weird folk" or "acid folk" bins next to artists like Devendra Banhart or Joanna Newsom. The basic soundscape of The Rule of Thirds is a single, prominent, close-miked acoustic guitar and Pearce's echo-drenched vocals, delivered in his usual doomy baritone, with interpolations from found-sound tapes in English and German, mostly at the beginnings and endings of songs. The funny thing is, the connection between Death In June's current contemporaries and The Rule of Thirds also suddenly makes plain an obvious musical antecedent that has largely been ignored by many of Pearce's longtime fans: there are songs on this album, particularly "The Glass Coffin" and the unexpectedly catchy "Good Mourning Son," that would fit perfectly on any Pink Floyd album between Ummagumma and Obscured By Clouds. As a result, The Rule of Thirds is in some ways the quintessential Death In June album, because it places this band firmly into a continuum of dark psychedelia that's a more natural fit for Pearce's moody esoterica than the usual comparisons to Bauhaus, Nick Cave and the like. - AMG

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Mountain Goats - We Shall All Be Healed - includes download LP

If possible, the Mountain Goats' We Shall All Be Healed is an even bigger, lusher-sounding work than Tallahassee, the group's 4AD debut and the debut of their more polished production style. Whether or not this approach is somehow less authentic or more invasive than the ultra lo-fi sound of John Darnielle and company's earlier albums is up for debate, but, as with Tallahassee, it's a choice that works well for this particular set of songs. In fact, the lush strings and pianos that grace the album only make Darnielle's relentlessly strummed guitars and unadorned vocals sound even more strikingly plain. On Tallahassee, the Mountain Goats used their newfound polish to emphasize the album's decaying Southern gothic romance; We Shall All Be Healed sounds bright and crisp, burning with righteous anger that is fueled by Darnielle's sardonic humor. Beginning with "Slow West Vultures"' rapid-fire acoustic guitars and snippets of forced laughter and shattering glass, the album makes full use of its widescreen production; "Linda Blair Was Born Innocent" is searching and sad, using touches of Americana without sounding hidebound to that sound. As with all of his Mountain Goats work, We Shall All Be Healed has a passion lacking in a lot of music that is much louder. Darnielle's high, insistent voice, punctuated by his relentless strumming, is particularly intense on the talky, funny "Palmcorder Yajna." The oddly rousing "The Young Thousands" manages to be atmospheric and direct at the same time, and on "Home Again Garden Grove" Darnielle sounds like a veteran returning home. The album's softer songs retain that intensity: "All Up the Seething Coast" is quiet and mostly spoken word, but it recalls the calm before the storm more than the coffeehouse. "Cotton" is a sad and lovely song "for the people who tell their families they're sorry for things that they can't and won't be sorry for," and the cryptically lovely "Your Belgian Things" allows the listener to piece together a tumultuous story from Darnielle's recollections: "I can see you in my sleep/Playing the points for all you're worth/Walking gingerly across/The bruised earth." As musically and lyrically accomplished as We Shall All Be Healed is, it's not quite as gripping or rich as the best of the Mountain Goats' earlier work or Tallahassee, but that's relative; on its own terms, the album is still profoundly smart and profoundly emotional. - AMG

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Mountain Goats - Tallahasse - includes download LP

On Tallahassee, the Mountain Goats' 4AD debut, John Darnielle strips his music of the tape hiss that surrounded his previous work like a security blanket made of static, opting for a clean sound that emphasizes the album's sometimes stinging, sometimes sublimely beautiful words and melodies — call it spite and polish. Though the lo-fi soulfulness that gave his songs an extra, homemade charm before is missed, it wouldn't have fit the ambitious tale he sets out to tell here: the album revolves around a troubled husband and wife who move to Tallahassee to run away from themselves and, ultimately, drink themselves to death. Darnielle has written about this couple before, but Tallahassee takes their relationship — and his songwriting — to a new level of vulnerability and intensity. Even among albums chronicling difficult and dying relationships, such as Blood on the Tracks, Shoot Out the Lights, and, more recently, Sea Change, Tallahassee takes a unique approach. Far from being morose or wallowing in sorrow, the album celebrates both the peaks and the valleys of a turbulent relationship; it's less like an autopsy of a love affair than an affectionate, occasionally drunken and rowdy, wake for it. Being such a conceptual album, the lyrics carry much of Tallahassee's weight. Darnielle is up to the challenge, crafting lines that range from the title track's eloquently simple "What did I come down here for? You" to "No Children"'s wickedly funny "I hope that our few remaining friends give up on trying to save us/I hope we come up with a fail-safe plot to piss off the dumb few who forgave us." Lyrics like "We're throwing off sparks/What will I do when I don't have you/To hold onto in the dark?" from "Oceanographer's Choice" convey deeper and more ambivalent emotions altogether; the richness of detail in Darnielle's lyrics makes you wish you could read Tallahassee as well as listen to it — it's like the Great American Novel condensed into an album (and the prologue that comes with the album gives a tantalizing glimpse of what this story could be in book form). The album is literary as well as literate; songs like the aforementioned "No Children," which appropriately enough sounds like a cross between a sea shanty and a drinking song, conjure up visions of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald crashing a party hosted by Tennessee Williams. Though Darnielle's lyrics are what make Tallahassee so compelling, the album is also musically impressive, ranging from prickly, dysfunctional love songs like "Southwood Plantation Road" and "International Small Arms Traffic Blues" — a deceptively pretty song that likens the couple's love to global conflicts and covert arms dealing — to gentle lulls like "Peacocks" to the cathartic "See America Right." Each of the album's songs, in their own way, convey a rare and honest blend of love and frustration that isn't heard nearly enough in any kind of music. "Idylls of the King," which sounds a bit like an indie rock response to "Aguas del Marco," celebrates the wife's eyes as "Twin volcanos/Bad ideas dancing around in there," while the oddly sprightly finale "Alpha Rat's Nest" raises more questions than it answers: what relationship is truly "bad" if both parties go in with their eyes open? Throughout it all, Darnielle's folky twang gives an added authenticity and urgency to his tales of war, peace, love, and hate all living underneath the same roof. Ultimately, Tallahassee is about the staying power, for better or worse, of his couple's love; likewise, the album itself has plenty of staying power, only getting better and growing richer with each listen. - AMG

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Jeff Buckley - Grace - 180 Gram LP

Jeff Buckley was many things, but humble wasn't one of them. Grace is an audacious debut album, filled with sweeping choruses, bombastic arrangements, searching lyrics, and above all, the richly textured voice of Buckley himself, which resembled a cross between Robert Plant, Van Morrison, and his father Tim. And that's a fair starting point for his music: Grace sounds like a Led Zeppelin album written by an ambitious folkie with a fondness for lounge jazz. At his best — the soaring title track, "Last Goodbye," and the mournful "Lover, You Should've Come Over" — Buckley's grasp met his reach with startling results; at its worst, Grace is merely promising.

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Queens Of The Stone Age - Songs For The Deaf - Red marbled vinyl Double LP

Certain people would have you believe that Queens of the Stone Age's third album, Songs for the Deaf, is the return of real rock — a bonecrushing work of boundless imagination, the cornerstone in a new era of great rock, much like Nevermind was a decade beforehand. These people, coincidentally, happen to be in the same group that criticizes the Strokes and the White Stripes, claiming that those two bands are nothing but hype, while shamelessly indulging in breathless hyperbole whenever they speak a single word about QOTSA. Anybody who heard Songs prior to its release claimed it was the greatest rock album in years, at least the greatest since Rated R, setting up expectations impossibly high for this very good album. To begin with, this ain't accessible — not because the music is out-there or unfamiliar (lots of Cream filtered through garage rock, prog-metal, album rock, and punk does not make one a Borbetomagus, nor does it make it "imaginative," either), but because it is so insular, so concerned with pleasing themselves with what they play that they don't give a damn for the audience. This extends to the production, which sounds like a stoned joke gone awry as it compresses and flattens every instrument as if it were coming out of a cheap AM car radio. Sure, that might be the point — the album begins with radio chatter, and there are lots of jokey asides by a fake DJ — but Deaf winds up being entirely too evenhanded and samey, since every guitar has the same beefy, mid-range, no-treble tone and Dave Grohl (aka the Most Powerful Drummer in the Universe) is pushed to the background, never sounding loud, never giving this music the muscle it needs. As such, it becomes tiring to listen to — too much at the same frequency, all hitting the ear in a way that doesn't result in blissful submission, just numbness undercut with a desire to have some texture in this album. Once you get around this — which is an effort; unlike, say, the Strokes' Is This It?, whose thin production worked aesthetically and enhanced the songs, this sound cuts QOTSA off at the knees — there indeed is plenty to enjoy here since the band is very good. They're exceptional players, especially augmented here by Grohl on drums, Mark Lanegan on vocals, and Dean Ween on guitar, plus they're very good songwriters, whether they're writing technically intricate riff-rockers or throwbacks to Nuggets. All of this is sorely missing from most guitar rock these days, whether it's indie rock or insipid alt-metal, so it's little wonder that so many fans of great guitar rock flock to this, regardless of its flaws. But that doesn't erase the fact that, above all, QOTSA is a muso band — a band for musicians and those who have listened to too much music. Why else did the greatest drummer and greatest guitarist in '90s alt-rock (Dave Grohl and Dean Ween, respectively) anxiously join this ever-shifting collective? They wanted to play with the prodigiously talented Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri, two musicians who share their taste and willingness to jam. It results in interesting music and an album that, for all of its flaws, is still easily one of the best rock records of 2002. But, to be needlessly reductive, the analogy runs a little like this — QOTSA is King Crimson and the White Stripes are the Rolling Stones. Which one is "better" is entirely a matter of taste, but which one do you think plays to a larger audience, and is more about "real" rock? - AMG

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Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker - Limited edition 180 Gram (Pre-order) Double LP exclusive to Aural Exploits

Aural Exploits is proud to be able to offer a special exclusive version of the upcoming Cobraside re-issue of Ryan Adam's "Heartbreaker". We have commissioned an exclusive 180 gram audiophile pressing limited to 500 individually numbered copies (all other versions will be regular vinyl).
Scheduled for release June 5th, 2008 (subject to delay)

Re-issued on double vinyl in a gatefold sleeve, includes bonus photos and lyrics not included on the UK Cooking vinyl version.

Remastered by Bernie Grundmann from the original analog tapes.

Artwork subject to minor changes.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Various Artists - Visionaire Sound Boxset

Visionaire SOUND consists of five 12-inch vinyl records, imprinted with images (picture discs), containing approximately 100 minutes of sound content featuring audio experiments, unreleased songs, samples, and spoken word pieces. The 5 records are packaged inside a domed case that also houses a custom-made MINI Clubman "Vinyl Killer" Record Player: a battery-operated toy car containing speakers and a needle. As the little car drives along the records groove, it plays each track, acting as a fully portable record player and sound system. The issue also includes 2 CD's with all the sound content, and a booklet of credits and instructions.

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Foxboro Hot Tubs - Mother Mary 7" Single

The Foxboro Hot Tubs made their inconspicuous debut in December 2007, when three songs were posted on the band's website. While the Hot Tubs' identity was kept secret, several influential bloggers and news outlets claimed the group was actually a side project for all three members of Green Day, who had recently retreated from the public eye to work on their American Idiot follow-up. Such rumors had yet to be confirmed when a track from the band's Stop Drop and Roll EP, "Mother Mary," entered the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks charts and climbed to number 16. Whoever the Foxboro Hot Tubs were, their tuneful take on garage rock (equally indebted to the Stooges, the Hives, and Tommy James) proved to be quite popular, and fans awaited the release of the group's full-length debut in April 2008.

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