Jul 2020

Beyond The Pale (CD)

This is the first original music from Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker since 2009. The "JARV IS" band was originally formed to play at the Sigur Ros "Norður og Niður" festival in Iceland in 2017. As they continued to play shows, they recorded their live sets so that they could monitor how the songs were developing, and eventually used these recordings as the basis for Beyond the Pale. Overdubs and vocals were later added at Narcissus Studios in Neasden, London. Cocker’s lyrics are as witty as ever, perhaps turbo-charged to meet current hard times, and the arrangements and hooks are just as strong as in the Pulp days, if not more inventive for hybridizing live with digital production.

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XOXO (CD)

In classic Jayhawks fashion, the songs on XOXO mix the influence of American roots music with British invasion and jangly power-pop. There's also a newfound vitality at play, an invigoration of confidence and energy. The result is an album that, just like the band's lush harmonies, brings multiple distinctive voices together into a singular whole. This is a collection that finds unity in individuality and identity in reinvention.

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Pure X (CD)

Pure X is back after six years with their fourth album, a shimmering and swirling self-titled work of vintage sounds recorded live in single takes. It’s their most focused work to date, with vocals clear and smooth as a summer day, and a rhythm section like a night train chugging through the desert. Pure X weaves together their old sound, all the delays and distortion, and mixes it with a new optimism of straight-ahead melody.

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Jump Rope Gazers (CD)

New Zealand’s The Beths are back with a second album, tackling themes of anxiety and self-doubt with effervescent power pop choruses and rousing backup vocals. Jump Rope Gazers presents an upbeat, hook-filled indie sound stacked with girl-group style vocals, yet it also stares down all the hard parts of living in communion with other people. Jean-Paul Sartre may have said "Hell is other people," but to The Beths, the cathartic experience that can come from sharing stressful situations with your friends is a kind of heaven.

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Ultimate Success Today [Translucent Blue Vinyl] (LP)

Protomartyr's fifth album, Ultimate Success Today, continues to expand on the Detroit band’s own special brand of Midwestern post-punk emo angst. Ambient drones, industrial riffs, and electric buzzing sift into alt-pop of shimmering beauty. Just like their city of origin, Protomartyr's sound resilient, raw, and surprising.

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