Album Picks: Charles Bradley, Explosions in the Sky, Bleached, Andrew Bird, Frankie Cosmos

Posted by Billy Gil, April 1, 2016 11:49am | Post a Comment

Charles Bradley - Changes

Soul master Charles Bradley’s third album for Daptone is a knockout. Beginning with a genuine interlude of “God Bless America,” the album positions Bradley as someone who has gone though career and personal difficulty and come out on top, sounding upbeat and grateful to be alive and working. On “Good to Be Back Home,” Bradley flips things to explore the dual nature of home and what that means, singing of being back in the land where he was born, “sometimes it hurt so bad, sometimes, so good,” before unleashing a howl that better expresses the notion than any words could. That passion runs through the heartfelt and extremely affecting love songs like “Nobody But You.” Throughout, the Menahan Street Band’s expertly played and recorded horns and jazz grooves deliver the ideal backdrop, while there’s some experimentation beyond classic soul on tracks like “Ain’t Gonna Give It Up,” its moog and bass-drum-heavy groove reminiscent of krautrockers like Can. And if you don’t get goosebumps during Bradley’s cover of Black Sabbath ballad “Changes,” check your pulse. A playful flexibility within the carefully cultivated classic soul sound Bradley and many Daptone artists work within proves to be incredibly fruitful here. It’s Bradley’s best release yet from his second wind, as Bradley remains an expert at getting to the heart of soul music.

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20 Albums to Look for in Spring

Posted by Billy Gil, March 8, 2016 11:47am | Post a Comment


Hey! It’s almost spring. That means a ton of great albums are on the way. Check out this list of 20 that we’re looking forward to.

The Joy FormidableHitch
Out March 25

The alt-rock trio’s third album was recorded in the band’s native Wales. Check out the fun video for “The Last Thing on my Mind” below, which flips the tables on the female objectification. (It’s kinda NSFW.)

Bob MouldPatch the Sky
Out March 25

The former lead singer of Husker Du and Sugar’s latest album is a “triumph of opposing forces and properties” from “the master of balancing personal darkness with melodic brightness,” according to a press release. Watch the video for the introspective “Voices in My Head” below.


Yo GottiThe Art of Hustle
Out March 25

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10 Records From the FYF Fest Lineup

Posted by Billy Gil, September 2, 2011 05:10pm | Post a Comment

FYF Fest is this weekend — tickets are still available here — at the LA Historic State Park Saturday. The lineup features Descendents, Death From Above 1979, Explosions in the Sky, Broken Social Scene, Guided By Voices, the Dead Milkmen, Girls, No Age and more. Check back here later this weekend for my review of the event, including a preview show at Los Globos (!) tonight with Chromatics and Glass Candy. F yeah, indeed. (BT dubs, I'll always link to a record first, then a CD if I can't find it on record.)

In preparation, I made a list of 10 great records from the lineup of the show. Check it out.

Guided By Voices – Propeller

Lots of people know Alien Lanes and Bee Thousand (get them now if you don't!) but Propeller is another solid-to-great GBV album with great shoutalong chorus four-track gems like “Exit Flagger.” They'd release stronger material later on, but this charmingly lo-fi album was self-released at the same time Nirvana's Nevermind and a bunch of grunge albums would change the alternative landscape forever. While out of step then, it sounds positively prescient now.


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out this week 4/19 & 4/26...explosions in the sky...holy ghost...craft spells...

Posted by Brad Schelden, May 6, 2011 06:22pm | Post a Comment
The releases just keep coming -- I seriously can barely keep up! One of my favorites is finally back with a new album: Explosions In the Sky! They have been around for over ten years now, which is hard to believe. They put out their first album, How Strange, Innocence, in 2000, and it has been 4 years since their last brilliant album, All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone. It would be very easy for you to have never heard of Explosions in the Sky because they are one of those quiet little bands that have managed to become very popular without anyone really noticing. Their fans are fanatical and devoted and they wait in the explosions in the sky take care take care take caresidelines patiently for each new album to come out. I don't want to bore you too much with my love for this band, so if you want to read more about them and my love for them...check out my blog about their last album, All of A Sudden I Miss Everyone, from 2007. The new album is called Take Care Take Care Take Care. Explosions In The Sky is an all instrumental group. You can call it post rock if you want, or post instrumental rock. They are one of the bands that I listen to alone, one of those bands I listen to when I need to think or process my life. Their music is my therapist, I guess, although sometimes all I can think about when I listen to them is how good they are! Check them out for yourself.

Listen to "Trembling Hands" by Explosions In The Sky from the new album Take Care Take Care Take Care...

I sometimes consider dance music one of my guilty pleasures. I don't know why I should be embarrassed -- I have loved dance music forever and it just makes me happy. You shouldn't be guilty about things that make you happy, right? And I have loved new wave and synth music since I can remember liking music so I am quick to fall in love with anything that has a hint of new wave. If any song involves some keyboards then I will probably fall for it, like I have quickly fallen for albums by The Juan Maclean, M83, Booka Shade, & The Junior Boys. Holy Ghost! have just put out a new album on DFA. I am a big fan of the exclamation point; I probably use it too much (!). But I do love that their band name has an exclamation point in it and I am a big fan of this album. It is super fun and perhaps can become your guilty pleasure, too -- but, really, don't feel too guilty!

Listen to "Wait and See" by Holy Ghost! from their new self titled album Holy Ghost!...

With all these new releases I almost missed the debut album from Craft Spells and I try not to miss anything on Captured Tracks since I have loved everything that they have put out in the last couple of years. I, of course, picked up a copy of their Record Store Day Wake tribute 7" box and had already fallen in love with Wild Nothing and Soft Moon, but Craft Spells are just as good. They make dreamy dream pop. Shoegazey Shoegaze. They for sure remind me of early songs by The Magnetic Fields and are sort of what I always wanted The Magnetic Fields to turn into: Imagine New Order mixed with The Magnetic Fields. And yes, it is that good. You need to become a fan of my new favorite band -- Craft Spells are made for people like you and me! The best thing about Craft Spells is that they are super young and it is amazing to me how good they can be already. These guys make The Pains of Being Pure At Heart look old. Craft Spells are just one more great thing about Seattle. One more great thing about Captured Tracks!

And don't forget: We are offering up FREE SHIPPING on again so you can buy any of the albums listed above or below and get them packed and shipped with care right to your front door. And you don't even have to pay for shipping! And you don't have to buy 2 1/2 albums to qualify for free shipping, either. You really have no reason to not be supporting your favorite bands and falling in love with these albums. Just do it...

also out 4/19...

The Fall
by The Gorillaz

Head & the Heart
by Head & the Heart

Who Kill
by The Tune-Yards

also out 4/26...

Start & Complete
by About Group

All At Once
by Airborne Toxic Event

Some Days
by Matthew Cooper

Lungs: Deluxe Edition
by Florence & the Machine

Secret Walls
by The Fresh & Onlys

Hard Bargain
by Emmylou Harris

January EP
 by Here We Go Magic

Holy Ghost!
by Holy Ghost!

Wit's End
by Cass McCombs

Only She Chapters
by Prefuse 73

Dancer Equired
by Times New Viking

out today 3/11...the photographic...

Posted by Brad Schelden, March 12, 2008 09:00pm | Post a Comment

Maybe I am bit selfish or egocentric but I think sometimes that certain releases come out just for me. It makes me feel special. We all have our special little secret bands we like and it is always exciting to hear some new band for the first time, especially when you feel like you may already like every band that you are ever going to like.

I have been really obsessed with the Explosions in the Sky for the last couple of years. It is nice to have an instrumental album to escape into every once in a while, for the times you don't really want to hear anybody talking and just need time alone to think for yourself.  It helps me focus myself and think about my life. I often use electronic music on these types of days, but sometimes that gets a little too intense and I need some more smooth instrumental music. I really am starting to sound like some smooth jazz new age dude right now. What is going on? I guess it is sort of like some dude that is into crazy free jazz but every once in a while just needs some smooth jazz. I guess I really should not compare instrumental rock music to smooth jazz. It really is in its own category. I have really worn out my Explosions in the Sky albums, so I was excited to find the new band The Photographic. Their debut album Pictures of a Changing World comes out today. They come from the land of Louisville, Kentucky. And they really sound nothing like smooth jazz.

I seem to go through phases of liking music from one area of the world. For a while I seemed to be listening to a lot of music coming out of Austin, Texas. At the end of last year I was really obsessed with music coming out of Sweden. I don't intentionally go out and try to find bands from one certain city or country, it just sort of happens-- so it might just happen that I all of sudden start liking a bunch of Louisville bands. I thought I would check to make sure I already don't. I did also find out some interesting facts about the city.

Louisville was founded in 1778 and was named after the great King Louis XVI. I am quickly realizing I know very little about Louisville or Kentucky in general, although I did have a pen pal in elementary school who was from Louisville-- but that was a long time ago. I may try and find those letters to find out what he told me about the great Louisville. Maybe he ended up being in the band The Photographic. I knew that Hunter S. Thompson was from Kentucky, but I had no idea this is also where Tom Cruise came from. I also didn't know that the first ever hand transplant took place in Louisville. I didn't really even know that there had been a first hand transplant. One of the characters on the TV show Prison Break had sewn his own hand back on, but that did not work out so well for him. I guess he should have gone to Kentucky.

Will Oldham was born in Louisville. Slint are also from Louisville. A whole lot of folk and country hasalso come from Kentucky, as you would expect. Loretta Lynn and her sister Crystal Gayle. The Everly Brothers, The Judds, Dwight Yoakam, Billy Ray Cyrus and Ricky Skaggs all come from Kentucky. But there is also another one of my new favorites. My Morning Jacket also comes from the land of Louisville, and although the band has been putting out albums for years, it really took the movie I'm Not There to get me to finally listen to them. Rodan, Freakwater, and Gastr del Sol are also from Louisville, so I have been liking some of the music of Louisville but just not knowing it, which is often the case.  I really do love this new album by The Photographic. I have been listening to it a lot over the last couple of days. You will either like it or you won't. You've really got to be ready for some mellow instrumental post-rocky sort of music. If you are a fan of the Explosions or Mogwai or Mono, then you will like them. Think of it as smooth instrumental post rock. There is another sort of similar band with an album out today. They are called Them Roaring Twenties. They are from Chicago. I don't have the album yet, but I like what I have heard so far. They sort of sound like a band like Hella or The Numbers mixed with a Mogwai/Explosions in the Sky type band. I like it.

I just got back from Disneyland this last weekend. I had not been in a couple weeks but I had to go check it out since Amoeba was just up against Disneyland in a contest sort of competition that Los Angeles Magazine is running. You should go to the website and vote right now --  it is basically a contest to pick the best thing about Los Angeles. It probably will not make much sense unless you have spent a significant part of your life in Los Angeles. The first round is over -- we beat Disneyland but are now up against In N Out. I figured Disneyland would be the hardest to beat even though Disneyland is in Orange County and not Los Angeles. I voted for Amoeba of course, but I do really love myself some Disneyland. Curt was down for a visit and I made him run around the park all day and go on almost every ride. We even went on the Buzz Lightyear Toy Story ride. And we went to the wonderful "Enchanted Tiki Room." I had not been to this animatronic "show" in a long time, but it is just as weird and amazing as I remember. I wish I had a room like this in my house that I could go into whenever I was feeling a little sad. I seriously think a lot of people could deal without yoga and therapy if they just spent some time in the Tiki Room.

I have also been wanting to get one of those silhouette cut outs that you can get on Main Street in Disneyland. Ever since my pal at the Haight St. store got one with her boyfriend I knew that I had to get one. The cut out of Curt came out better than I did, but you can tell it's me because of the glasses. My head really is not that big, but the little old lady that made it was awesome and seriously cut it out in like one minute.

Also out today...

Eleventh Hour by Del the Funky Homosapien

Staying In by Diskjokke

Hello Voyager by Evangelista

Funky Nassau: The Compass Point Story

Obzen by Meshuggah

Ego Trippin by Snoop Dogg

Future Sandwich by Them Roaring Twenties

Alopecia by Why?
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