American rock singer-guitarist John Murry is touring Australia in January 2014 promoting his album The Graceless Age. Photo: Dara Munnis.




It took four years and a near-fatal drug overdose to make, but John Murry’s alternative folk album The Graceless Age on his own Evangeline Recording Co label has turned out a real corker.

So much so that its 10 effectively crafted and produced songs have earned it a place in the top 50 albums of 2013 nominated by respected rock publications like Uncut and Mojo Magazine.
It starts off strongly with The Ballad Of The Pajama Kid with catchy harmonies, a bit of brass and a slow lilting rock feel. The musician from Tupelo, Mississippi, intercuts the songs with audio grabs - Jimmie Rodgers singing Miss The Mississippi And You is a pleasant surprise - and these add interesting layers to his material, especially in the standout track of the whole collection, the majestic 10-minute Little Coloured Balloons.
This song deals with Murry’s drug overdose in a San Francisco hotel. It is eloquent and elegant ballad on a par with Neil Young’s Needle And The Damage Done or Bert Jansch’s Needle Of Death, only told from the inside. It’s bleak, summed up in its chorus: “You say this ain’t what I am, but this what I do to warn your ghosts away. I know you don’t believe in magic - nobody does any more.”
The impact of the overdose is played out with a recording of his aunt relating how the family went to the hospital and finally welcomed him home again
Murry’s voice has a distinctive catch in it, almost like a little break. Imagine Mark Knopfler without the headband and with a smoky south accent.
Penny Nails has a great chorus with layered harmonies and some great guitar riffs.
There’s a painful honesty about all the material. His life became “unbuttoned” and fell apart when his marriage failed. This could be a recipe for a gloomy, self-indulgent whinge but on the contrary there’s much to admire and enjoy about his work.
There are some outstanding musicians filling out Murry’s voice and electric guitar and the songs themselves capture the listener and stay in the memory. Credits include Chuck Prophet and Bob Frank (dubbed “the best songwriter you’ve never heard”) who collaborated with Murry on his 2005 album World Without End.
If there is a criticism it is that it has a limp ending. All the best tracks have been spun by the time you get If I’m To Blame and Thorn Tree In The Garden - a ballad of lost love with a twee piano part and a vocal track which sounds like an out-take from a John Lennon-Phil Spector project.
Perhaps it would have been better to end the collection with a stronger track like Things We Lost In The Fire, with its building guitar-driven outro.
Murry made the album out of “a fool’s need to create something to avoid madness and lunacy”. He has created something special with The Graceless Age. You can get it at JB Hi Fi for $21.99.
Murry will be here as part of the Sydney Festival, appearing at Sydney Town Hall on Thursday, January 16 and at Lennox Theatre, Parramatta on Friday, January 17.

American rock singer-guitarist John Murry is touring Australia in January 2014 promoting his album The Graceless Age. Photo: Dara Munnis.

It took four years and a near-fatal drug overdose to make, but John Murry’s alternative folk album The Graceless Age on his own Evangeline Recording Co label has turned out a real corker.

So much so that its 10 effectively crafted and produced songs have earned it a place in the top 50 albums of 2013 nominated by respected rock publications like Uncut and Mojo Magazine.

It starts off strongly with The Ballad Of The Pajama Kid with catchy harmonies, a bit of brass and a slow lilting rock feel. The musician from Tupelo, Mississippi, intercuts the songs with audio grabs - Jimmie Rodgers singing Miss The Mississippi And You is a pleasant surprise - and these add interesting layers to his material, especially in the standout track of the whole collection, the majestic 10-minute Little Coloured Balloons.

This song deals with Murry’s drug overdose in a San Francisco hotel. It is eloquent and elegant ballad on a par with Neil Young’s Needle And The Damage Done or Bert Jansch’s Needle Of Death, only told from the inside. It’s bleak, summed up in its chorus: “You say this ain’t what I am, but this what I do to warn your ghosts away. I know you don’t believe in magic - nobody does any more.”

The impact of the overdose is played out with a recording of his aunt relating how the family went to the hospital and finally welcomed him home again

Murry’s voice has a distinctive catch in it, almost like a little break. Imagine Mark Knopfler without the headband and with a smoky south accent.

Penny Nails has a great chorus with layered harmonies and some great guitar riffs.

There’s a painful honesty about all the material. His life became “unbuttoned” and fell apart when his marriage failed. This could be a recipe for a gloomy, self-indulgent whinge but on the contrary there’s much to admire and enjoy about his work.

There are some outstanding musicians filling out Murry’s voice and electric guitar and the songs themselves capture the listener and stay in the memory. Credits include Chuck Prophet and Bob Frank (dubbed “the best songwriter you’ve never heard”) who collaborated with Murry on his 2005 album World Without End.

If there is a criticism it is that it has a limp ending. All the best tracks have been spun by the time you get If I’m To Blame and Thorn Tree In The Garden - a ballad of lost love with a twee piano part and a vocal track which sounds like an out-take from a John Lennon-Phil Spector project.

Perhaps it would have been better to end the collection with a stronger track like Things We Lost In The Fire, with its building guitar-driven outro.

Murry made the album out of “a fool’s need to create something to avoid madness and lunacy”. He has created something special with The Graceless Age. You can get it at JB Hi Fi for $21.99.

Murry will be here as part of the Sydney Festival, appearing at Sydney Town Hall on Thursday, January 16 and at Lennox Theatre, Parramatta on Friday, January 17.

Este livro é da autoria de Joaquim Paulo, português e que lançou em Outubro de 2008, o livro Jazz Covers pela Taschen. Foi apresentado no dia 24 desse mesmo mês, na loja da Taschen em Los Angeles (EUA) e, segundo o seu autor, é “um documento da história do jazz e revelador de como a componente gráfica teve uma ligação muito importante com a música”.
Os discos foram escolhidos a partir da colecção pessoal de 25.000 títulos de Joaquim Paulo, profissional ligado à rádio em Portugal há mais de vinte anos e, mais recentemente, fundador da editora Mad About Records. Considerando esta obra “um projecto de vida”, Joaquim Paulo trabalhou neste livro ao longo dos últimos dois anos, seleccionando os discos e compilando testemunhos de personalidades-chave para contar a história do jazz. São os casos de Rudy Van Gelder, o engenheiro de som que gravou álbuns para a Blue Note ou para a Prestige, o produtor de jazz Creed Taylor e o designer Bob Ciano.
Joaquim Paulo propôs o projecto à Taschen, porque queria uma editora “que tivesse um grande cuidado gráfico" e foi o próprio fundador da editora alemã, Benedict Taschen, que viabilizou a edição. "A escolha dos discos foi muito difícil, ficaram muitos de fora, mas os critérios foram a importância histórica, o grafismo e a raridade, porque há muitos que não têm edição em CD”, explicou Joaquim Paulo, que pondera realizar um segundo volume dedicado ao tema.
Apesar de o jazz remeter invariavelmente para os Estados Unidos, a escolha de Joaquim Paulo é geograficamente ampla, com a inclusão de discos da Argentina, Brasil, Polónia, Roménia ou Reino Unido. Da galeria de eleitos fazem parte Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Count Basie, Art Blakey, Bill Evans, Ella Fitzgerald e Chick Corea, mas também Stan Getz, Claus Ogerman, Teuo Nakamura, Vince Guaraldi, Moacir Santos e Maurice Vander.
Muitos dos discos foram seleccionados também por revelarem uma “cumplicidade entre os designers e os músicos. Há uma sintonia entre o que a capa mostra e a música, sobretudo dos anos 1950 e 1960”, comentou Joaquim Paulo. A escolha, que exclui artistas portugueses, vai apenas até aos anos 1990, por causa do declínio das edições de música em vinyl e da rápida ascensão do digital, como o CD. Depois do lançamento nos Estados Unidos,
 Jazz Covers foi apresentado no dia 28 de Outubro na FNAC Chiado, em Lisboa.
Ao longo de 500 páginas, Jazz Covers agrupa 700 capas de discos em vinyl de jazz de 1940 a 1990, devidamente acompanhados pela contextualização histórica de cada um bem como a respectiva ficha técnica. Este livro é um daqueles objectos de carácter intemporal, de leitura e degustação moderada, progressiva. Para se ir lendo, para se ir consultando.

Este livro é da autoria de Joaquim Paulo, português e que lançou em Outubro de 2008, o livro Jazz Covers pela Taschen. Foi apresentado no dia 24 desse mesmo mês, na loja da Taschen em Los Angeles (EUA) e, segundo o seu autor, é “um documento da história do jazz e revelador de como a componente gráfica teve uma ligação muito importante com a música”.

Os discos foram escolhidos a partir da colecção pessoal de 25.000 títulos de Joaquim Paulo, profissional ligado à rádio em Portugal há mais de vinte anos e, mais recentemente, fundador da editora Mad About Records. Considerando esta obra “um projecto de vida”, Joaquim Paulo trabalhou neste livro ao longo dos últimos dois anos, seleccionando os discos e compilando testemunhos de personalidades-chave para contar a história do jazz. São os casos de Rudy Van Gelder, o engenheiro de som que gravou álbuns para a Blue Note ou para a Prestige, o produtor de jazz Creed Taylor e o designer Bob Ciano.

Joaquim Paulo propôs o projecto à Taschen, porque queria uma editora “que tivesse um grande cuidado gráfico" e foi o próprio fundador da editora alemã, Benedict Taschen, que viabilizou a edição. "A escolha dos discos foi muito difícil, ficaram muitos de fora, mas os critérios foram a importância histórica, o grafismo e a raridade, porque há muitos que não têm edição em CD”, explicou Joaquim Paulo, que pondera realizar um segundo volume dedicado ao tema.

Apesar de o jazz remeter invariavelmente para os Estados Unidos, a escolha de Joaquim Paulo é geograficamente ampla, com a inclusão de discos da Argentina, Brasil, Polónia, Roménia ou Reino Unido. Da galeria de eleitos fazem parte Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Count Basie, Art Blakey, Bill Evans, Ella Fitzgerald e Chick Corea, mas também Stan Getz, Claus Ogerman, Teuo Nakamura, Vince Guaraldi, Moacir Santos e Maurice Vander.

Muitos dos discos foram seleccionados também por revelarem uma “cumplicidade entre os designers e os músicos. Há uma sintonia entre o que a capa mostra e a música, sobretudo dos anos 1950 e 1960”, comentou Joaquim Paulo. A escolha, que exclui artistas portugueses, vai apenas até aos anos 1990, por causa do declínio das edições de música em vinyl e da rápida ascensão do digital, como o CD. Depois do lançamento nos Estados Unidos,

 Jazz Covers foi apresentado no dia 28 de Outubro na FNAC Chiado, em Lisboa.

Ao longo de 500 páginas, Jazz Covers agrupa 700 capas de discos em vinyl de jazz de 1940 a 1990, devidamente acompanhados pela contextualização histórica de cada um bem como a respectiva ficha técnica. Este livro é um daqueles objectos de carácter intemporal, de leitura e degustação moderada, progressiva. Para se ir lendo, para se ir consultando.

Vinyl mania
Jazz LP covers from the 1940s to 1990s
This volume features a broad selection of jazz record covers, from the 1940s through the decline of LP production in the early 1990s. Each cover is accompanied by a fact sheet listing performer and album name, art director, photographer, illustrator, year, label, and more.

Special features for jazz lovers include a top-10 favorite records list by leading jazz DJs such as King Britt, Michael McFadden, Gilles Peterson, Andre Torres, and Rainer Trüby, as well as interviews with legendary jazz personalities Rudy Van Gelder (sound engineer who recorded for many labels such as Blue Note, Impulse!, and Prestige), Creed Taylor (founder of many labels and one of the best jazz producers ever, credited also for bringing bossa nova to the US and fusing it with jazz), Michael Cuscuna (Blue Note jazz producer and catalog researcher, responsible for its most successful re-editions), Bob Ciano (designer at the CTI Label, founded in the 70s by Creed Taylor, and one of the greatest cover designers ever), Fred Cohen, (the owner of New York’s Jazz Record Center store with an encyclopedic knowledge of jazz music), and Ashley Kahn (writer, critic, and journalist for jazz whose books include A Love Supreme, Kind of Blue, and The House That Trane Built).

This new edition features 2 volumes in a slipcase. The author:
Joaquim Paulo is a consultant for major labels and directs a number of radio stations in Portugal. He started collecting vinyl at 15, and flies to London, Paris, New York and São Paulo to enrich his collection of over 25,000 LPs. He lives and works in Lisbon and dedicates his free time to recovering old and rare recordings.

Vinyl mania

Jazz LP covers from the 1940s to 1990s

This volume features a broad selection of jazz record covers, from the 1940s through the decline of LP production in the early 1990s. Each cover is accompanied by a fact sheet listing performer and album name, art director, photographer, illustrator, year, label, and more.

Special features for jazz lovers include a top-10 favorite records list by leading jazz DJs such as King Britt, Michael McFadden, Gilles Peterson, Andre Torres, and Rainer Trüby, as well as interviews with legendary jazz personalities Rudy Van Gelder (sound engineer who recorded for many labels such as Blue Note, Impulse!, and Prestige), Creed Taylor (founder of many labels and one of the best jazz producers ever, credited also for bringing bossa nova to the US and fusing it with jazz), Michael Cuscuna (Blue Note jazz producer and catalog researcher, responsible for its most successful re-editions), Bob Ciano (designer at the CTI Label, founded in the 70s by Creed Taylor, and one of the greatest cover designers ever), Fred Cohen, (the owner of New York’s Jazz Record Center store with an encyclopedic knowledge of jazz music), and Ashley Kahn (writer, critic, and journalist for jazz whose books include A Love Supreme, Kind of Blue, and The House That Trane Built).

This new edition features 2 volumes in a slipcase. The author:

Joaquim Paulo is a consultant for major labels and directs a number of radio stations in Portugal. He started collecting vinyl at 15, and flies to London, Paris, New York and São Paulo to enrich his collection of over 25,000 LPs. He lives and works in Lisbon and dedicates his free time to recovering old and rare recordings.

Record covers are a sign of our life and times. Like the music on the discs, they address such issues as love, life, death, fashion, and rebellion. For music fans the covers are the expression of a period, of a particular time in their lives. Many are works of art and have become as famous as the music they stand for—Andy Warhol’s covers, for example, including the banana he designed for The Velvet Underground.This special edition of Record Covers presents a selection of the best 60s to 90s rock album covers from music archivist, disc jockey, journalist, and ex-record publicity executive Michael Ochs`s enormous private collection. Both a trip down memory lane and a study in the evolution of cover art, this is a sweeping look at an under-appreciated art form.
The author:Michael Ochs developed an addiction to rock and roll in the early fifties. To feed his habit, Ochs headed the publicity departments of Columbia, Shelter, and ABC Records in the 60s and 70s. He has also been a disc jockey, taught a rock-history course for UCLA and written for such magazines as Rock, Melody Maker, Cashbox,and Crawdaddy. Michael Ochs established the Michael Ochs Archives in the mid-70s. The archives currently house millions of photographs and over 100,000 albums and singles.
Record covers are a sign of our life and times. Like the music on the discs, they address such issues as love, life, death, fashion, and rebellion. For music fans the covers are the expression of a period, of a particular time in their lives. Many are works of art and have become as famous as the music they stand for—Andy Warhol’s covers, for example, including the banana he designed for The Velvet Underground.

This special edition of Record Covers presents a selection of the best 60s to 90s rock album covers from music archivist, disc jockey, journalist, and ex-record publicity executive Michael Ochs`s enormous private collection. Both a trip down memory lane and a study in the evolution of cover art, this is a sweeping look at an under-appreciated art form.
The author:
Michael Ochs developed an addiction to rock and roll in the early fifties. To feed his habit, Ochs headed the publicity departments of Columbia, Shelter, and ABC Records in the 60s and 70s. He has also been a disc jockey, taught a rock-history course for UCLA and written for such magazines as Rock, Melody Maker, Cashbox,and CrawdaddyMichael Ochs established the Michael Ochs Archives in the mid-70s. The archives currently house millions of photographs and over 100,000 albums and singles.

Since the ’70s, Alice Cohen has made a name for herself in the independent music scene through a number of genre-hopping projects, most famously The Vels and Die Monster Die. As the decades go on, her music career has become more focused through her solo releases, but she has branched out through visual art. Cohen is an exploratory creator who manages a universe of collage-crafty stop-motion animations which, as of late, have become increasingly collaborative and ambitious. In this retrospective, we speak with Cohen about her creative process as well as take a look at highlights in her last half-decade of music video work.
When creating a music video for a band, Cohen’s process begins initially with a discussion where both parties offer up their own ideas and expectations. Following that, an amount of trust is required, as Cohen uses her instinctual approach to interpret a band’s musical ideas in a visual way.
“I… assume that they trust my instincts, since they’ve seen my work already and have an idea what it looks like…” explains Cohen, who says that she follows a similar process of creation for her own work as well as those of others. “I’ve never had to explain or translate to any of the people I’ve worked with; if they don’t like the way a section look, I will change it or take it out. But we will decide ahead of time the vibe we are going for, and then the details develop as we go.”
Cohen had been fascinated with collage art from a very young age, but it was around 2007 that a friend suggested she “make the collages move”. He told her then of an Intro to Animation class at the School of Visual Arts; Cohen ended up attending the same class for several years, and all of her first animations and music videos were made at SVA. Eventually, this class led her to create a studio at home, where she currently works.
Most of Cohen’s videos have their basis in stop-motion animation that is then processed extensively with color-keying and layering. Equal parts raw, vintage, and feminine, the bulk of the found images she uses are drawn from thrift stores, flea markets, old books, and random objects left on the street. Like her process itself, which is most often guided by a “feel” as opposed to rigidly planned processes, Cohen prefers to leave the bulk of her process up to random discovery and experimentation.
“I don’t print things out from the internet but instead like to find the actual raw materials, ‘by chance’,” she explains.” Then I cut out the images right from the book, or take the books to a copy shop and make tons of copies — blow things up, or reduce them, colorize them, all on the copy machine. Once I have the cut outs, I plan scenes — make backgrounds, and see how I will arrange the cut-outs on top“I like images that contain mystery… strange rooms from old books and glamorous ladies of the ’30s and ’40s… and the way printing and inks were different in the past. The colors and papers have a richness that you don’t see anymore… What appeals to me is the potency in the image — the object itself, or the mysterious atmosphere it holds. A truly beautiful image has the power open up this whole inner world; it’s like a visual ‘key’ that unlocks and fires up your imagination.”
- Alice Cohen, on images she gravitates towards.”
In the near future, one can expect Cohen’s work to become even more expansive and deliberate, as she has newfound desires to work more with film, costumes, actors, and make-up, as well as create semi-narrative pieces and impressionistic documentaries. Her short film, “Perfumes of Venus”, has been released recently, and fans of her music can expect a new release in 2015.

Since the ’70s, Alice Cohen has made a name for herself in the independent music scene through a number of genre-hopping projects, most famously The Vels and Die Monster Die. As the decades go on, her music career has become more focused through her solo releases, but she has branched out through visual art. Cohen is an exploratory creator who manages a universe of collage-crafty stop-motion animations which, as of late, have become increasingly collaborative and ambitious. In this retrospective, we speak with Cohen about her creative process as well as take a look at highlights in her last half-decade of music video work.

When creating a music video for a band, Cohen’s process begins initially with a discussion where both parties offer up their own ideas and expectations. Following that, an amount of trust is required, as Cohen uses her instinctual approach to interpret a band’s musical ideas in a visual way.

“I… assume that they trust my instincts, since they’ve seen my work already and have an idea what it looks like…” explains Cohen, who says that she follows a similar process of creation for her own work as well as those of others. “I’ve never had to explain or translate to any of the people I’ve worked with; if they don’t like the way a section look, I will change it or take it out. But we will decide ahead of time the vibe we are going for, and then the details develop as we go.”

Cohen had been fascinated with collage art from a very young age, but it was around 2007 that a friend suggested she “make the collages move”. He told her then of an Intro to Animation class at the School of Visual Arts; Cohen ended up attending the same class for several years, and all of her first animations and music videos were made at SVA. Eventually, this class led her to create a studio at home, where she currently works.

Most of Cohen’s videos have their basis in stop-motion animation that is then processed extensively with color-keying and layering. Equal parts raw, vintage, and feminine, the bulk of the found images she uses are drawn from thrift stores, flea markets, old books, and random objects left on the street. Like her process itself, which is most often guided by a “feel” as opposed to rigidly planned processes, Cohen prefers to leave the bulk of her process up to random discovery and experimentation.

“I don’t print things out from the internet but instead like to find the actual raw materials, ‘by chance’,” she explains.” Then I cut out the images right from the book, or take the books to a copy shop and make tons of copies — blow things up, or reduce them, colorize them, all on the copy machine. Once I have the cut outs, I plan scenes — make backgrounds, and see how I will arrange the cut-outs on top“I like images that contain mystery… strange rooms from old books and glamorous ladies of the ’30s and ’40s… and the way printing and inks were different in the past. The colors and papers have a richness that you don’t see anymore… What appeals to me is the potency in the image — the object itself, or the mysterious atmosphere it holds. A truly beautiful image has the power open up this whole inner world; it’s like a visual ‘key’ that unlocks and fires up your imagination.”

- Alice Cohen, on images she gravitates towards.”

In the near future, one can expect Cohen’s work to become even more expansive and deliberate, as she has newfound desires to work more with film, costumes, actors, and make-up, as well as create semi-narrative pieces and impressionistic documentaries. Her short film, “Perfumes of Venus”, has been released recently, and fans of her music can expect a new release in 2015.

Liars’ 2012 full-length, WIXIW, dwelled in doubt and anxiety, pressed against a curtain of murky fragility. Even if one only looks at the cover art for the band’s latest follow-up, Mess — a robust mass of multihued string that looks like the Love Forever Changes hydra head grew dreadlocks — it’s evident that in 2014, the band is in a more positive, confident, and even silly headspace. Mess‘s stock in trade is industrial dance music — and although Liars’ beats are as primal as they’ve always been, their music is now a little too emotionally in-check to properly identify as synth-punk.
Singer and guitarist Angus Andrew’s focus on Mess is putting problematic issues to beneficial use, on-trend with current popular strains of psychology devoted to mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy. In mindfulness meditation, one learns to accept a thought without judgment, to live in the present and simply notice what can’t be noticed when one’s head is mired in past events or nerves over future events. Cognitive behavioral therapy holds that our patterns of thinking — the way we catastrophize situations and make grand leaps in logic toward negative outcomes — can be changed by naming them, taking away their control over our lives. The question, then, is whether these trends have merit.
“I think it depends on where a person is at in their personal life, and how much this negativity is distorting a path to self-cultivation and development of their individual perspective,” explains Liars co-founder Aaron Hemphill (guitar, synthesizer, percussion). “I don’t think all negativity has something useful to be found in it, nor do I believe all negativity should be converted into positivity in order for it to be useful. Sometimes the only proactive thing to do is follow negative tendencies until the bitter end of the tunnel.”

We don’t outgrow hard feelings- “Left Speaker Blown”

Liars’ 2012 full-length, WIXIWdwelled in doubt and anxiety, pressed against a curtain of murky fragility. Even if one only looks at the cover art for the band’s latest follow-up, Mess — a robust mass of multihued string that looks like the Love Forever Changes hydra head grew dreadlocks — it’s evident that in 2014, the band is in a more positive, confident, and even silly headspace. Mess‘s stock in trade is industrial dance music — and although Liars’ beats are as primal as they’ve always been, their music is now a little too emotionally in-check to properly identify as synth-punk.

Singer and guitarist Angus Andrew’s focus on Mess is putting problematic issues to beneficial use, on-trend with current popular strains of psychology devoted to mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy. In mindfulness meditation, one learns to accept a thought without judgment, to live in the present and simply notice what can’t be noticed when one’s head is mired in past events or nerves over future events. Cognitive behavioral therapy holds that our patterns of thinking — the way we catastrophize situations and make grand leaps in logic toward negative outcomes — can be changed by naming them, taking away their control over our lives. The question, then, is whether these trends have merit.

“I think it depends on where a person is at in their personal life, and how much this negativity is distorting a path to self-cultivation and development of their individual perspective,” explains Liars co-founder Aaron Hemphill (guitar, synthesizer, percussion). “I don’t think all negativity has something useful to be found in it, nor do I believe all negativity should be converted into positivity in order for it to be useful. Sometimes the only proactive thing to do is follow negative tendencies until the bitter end of the tunnel.”

We don’t outgrow hard feelings
- “Left Speaker Blown”

LiarsMess[Mute]March 25, 2014
Every Liars album brings surprises, and one of their most shocking left turns yet came in the form of 2012’s WIXIW, a melancholic album about leaving and regret that found the three-piece delving deep into the cold, industrial sounds of early electronic music. The cover for that album was as spartan as the music that accompanied it, and the blown-out-colored-yarn-wig cover of the band’s follow-up, Mess, suggests that they’re taking their electronic fixations to more colorful level. The shout-along vibes of first single “Mess on a Mission” suggests a return to their more abrasive tendencies, proving yet again that it’s impossible to pin these guys down.
Larry Fitzmaurice

Liars
Mess
[Mute]
March 25, 2014

Every Liars album brings surprises, and one of their most shocking left turns yet came in the form of 2012’s WIXIW, a melancholic album about leaving and regret that found the three-piece delving deep into the cold, industrial sounds of early electronic music. The cover for that album was as spartan as the music that accompanied it, and the blown-out-colored-yarn-wig cover of the band’s follow-up, Mess, suggests that they’re taking their electronic fixations to more colorful level. The shout-along vibes of first single “Mess on a Mission” suggests a return to their more abrasive tendencies, proving yet again that it’s impossible to pin these guys down.

Larry Fitzmaurice

Joanna Newsom
How does America’s favorite harpist follow up a masterfully labyrinthine 124-minute triple album? With any luck, we’ll learn the answer this year. As the four-year gap between 2006’s Ys and 2010’s Have One on Me attests, Joanna Newsom works on nobody’s schedule but her own. But given the fact that she’s been trying out new material live—she played a few new songs at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival, including the arresting “Look and Despair”—there’s reason to hope this could be the year she puts out her fourth full-length release.
Lindsay Zoladz

Joanna Newsom

How does America’s favorite harpist follow up a masterfully labyrinthine 124-minute triple album? With any luck, we’ll learn the answer this year. As the four-year gap between 2006’s Ys and 2010’s Have One on Me attests, Joanna Newsom works on nobody’s schedule but her own. But given the fact that she’s been trying out new material live—she played a few new songs at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival, including the arresting “Look and Despair”—there’s reason to hope this could be the year she puts out her fourth full-length release.

Lindsay Zoladz

EMAThe Future’s Void[Matador]Spring
“‘Satellites’ explores the places where everyone has equal access but is under constant surveillance,” Erika M. Anderson says about the first single off her sophomore album The Future’s Void—an industrial-tinged, menacingly paranoid track that draws on Cold War imagery (“I remember when the world was divided by a wall of concrete and a curtain of iron”) but also feels timely in light of recent controversies about the NSA. EMA’s 2011 album Past Life Martyred Saints was one of the most original debuts of that year, and now that she’s signed to indie heavyweight Matador, The Future’s Void could bring Anderson’s poetic, droning sound to an even larger audience.
Lindsay Zoladz

EMA
The Future’s Void
[Matador]
Spring

“‘Satellites’ explores the places where everyone has equal access but is under constant surveillance,” Erika M. Anderson says about the first single off her sophomore album The Future’s Void—an industrial-tinged, menacingly paranoid track that draws on Cold War imagery (“I remember when the world was divided by a wall of concrete and a curtain of iron”) but also feels timely in light of recent controversies about the NSA. EMA’s 2011 album Past Life Martyred Saints was one of the most original debuts of that year, and now that she’s signed to indie heavyweight Matador, The Future’s Void could bring Anderson’s poetic, droning sound to an even larger audience.

Lindsay Zoladz