Rock

Live At Goose Lake: August 8th, 1970 (CD)

Released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the performance, Live at Goose Lake: August 8th, 1970, is the rare release that rewrites history. The apocryphal tale of The Stooges performance at the Goose Lake festival has been told many times over the past five decades: bassist Dave Alexander spaces out in front of 200,000 attendees; he does not play a single note on stage. He is fired by Iggy Pop immediately following the gig and thus starts the beginning of the end of the seminal proto-punk band. But what if that wasn’t true? Found buried in the basement of a Michigan farmhouse, the 1/4” stereo two-track tape of The Stooges complete performance at Goose Lake on August 8th, 1970 has been found and you can now own it. Not only is this the last performance of the original Stooges line-up, but it is the only known soundboard recording of said line-up. Playing the entirety of their 1970 masterpiece Fun House, everything about this record is revelatory. And guess what? Alexander actually did play bass during this performance and, despite failures on some songs, he was damn solid on others.

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Song For Our Daughter (CD)

In the midst of uncharted global chaos, Laura Marling offers a sense of purpose, clarity, and calm with her seventh album, Song for Our Daughter. Her richest collection to date, Marling has layered up lush string arrangements and a grand sense of pop scale to these songs, but without losing any of the intimacy or reverence she’s known for in her previous work.

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Purple Noon (CD)

Washed Out, the Atlanta-based producer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Ernest Greene, delivers his most accessible creation to date with his fourth album, Purple Noon. With each release, Greene has approached his evolving project with meticulous detail and a steadfast vision. Greene wrote, recorded, and produced Purple Noon following a brief stint of writing for other artists (most notably Sudan Archives). His time writing for others enabled Greene to explore genres like R&B and modern pop. These brighter, more robust sounds made their way into the songs of Purple Noon and mark a new chapter for Greene. The vocals are front and center, tempos are slower, beats bolder…you can hear the luxuriousness of Sade, the sonic bombast of Phil Collins, and the lush atmosphere of the Balearic beat classics. Mediterranean coastlines inspired Purple Noon, and Greene pays tribute to the region’s distinct island culture using it as a backdrop to tell stories of passion, love, and loss. Purple Noon’s title comes from the 1960 film based on the novel The Talented Mister Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, and much like romantic Hollywood epics, the melodrama throughout this album is strong. Purple Noon adds a layer of emotional intensity to the escapism of Washed Out’s oeuvre, taking the music to dazzling new heights.

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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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Womb (CD)

Social distancing may be the M.O. of 2020 (and beyond?), but Purity Ring are as well-equipped as anyone to deal with it. After all, the electronic duo’s songwriting process evolved out of emailing files to each other over thousands of miles away, with Corin Roddick handling production duties and Megan James writing and recording the lyrics. For the group who once dubbed themselves as “future pop,” their third album arrives in the most dystopic of circumstances -- a milieu that would seem fittingly soundtracked by Purity Ring’s otherworldly, clashing textures. Yet Womb finds the duo bringing their sound back down to earth a bit. Songs such as “peacefall” and “stardew” are almost straightforward electro pop, the latter especially sounding like a dancefloor favorite that was specifically designed to mellow a whole crowd of revelers peaking on MDMA. If the sounds are unfamiliarly warm and welcoming, the lyrics still delve into the same eerie, often bloody imagery that James has made her calling card, delivered with the same cooing voice to lullaby effect. No matter how sweet and inviting these hooks may be, a sense of digital abstraction pervades the emotion behind Womb. Pop music for a brave new world.

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I Disagree (CD)

Enigmatic internet phenomenon Poppy goes metal for the deeply weird, boundary-pushing I Disagree. Poppy’s vocals are still sweet as candy, but her sonic toolkit has gotten quite a bit darker, more aggressive, and louder. That’s right -- this is Poppy’s metal record. Imagine bubblegum vocals over furious riffs, where sugary melodic moments turn unexpectedly into horrifying screams. That’s I Disagree! Poppy’s always been a distinctive figure in the world of pop and this time she demonstrates her ability to bring surprise and strangeness to the well-trodden realm of heavy metal. Interesting and unexpected.

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Set My Heart On Fire Immediately (CD)

The fifth studio album from Perfume Genius explores masculinity through themes of love, sex, memory, and the body. Mike Hadreas channels American pop music history on this journey with nods to everyone from Cyndi Lauper to Elvis. This stylistically diverse release features contributions from musicians Jim Keltner, Pino Palladino, and Matt Chamberlin.

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