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Steve Gunn “Time Off” (Paradise Of Bachelors)
Yet another defining masterpiece courtesy of the peerless North Carolina record label Paradise Of Bachelors. Previously, in April, the label issued Hiss Golden Messenger’s sublime “Haw” LP, while this summer heralds the release of yet another milestone in Steve Gunn’s incredible “Time Off”. New York-based Gunn is also behind the acclaimed Gunn-Truscinski Duo (Three Lobed Recordings) where Gunn – on guitar – is joined by legendary drummer and percussionist John Truscinski (X.0.4, GHQ). Over the years, Gunn has also added his guitar talents to Kurt Vile’s band The Violators. “Time Off” features the trio of Gunn (guitars, vocals), John Truscinski (drums, percussion) and Justin Tripp (bass). Gunn’s guitar playing draws from the songbooks of Fahey, Basho, Bull, Harper and Chapman, while his vocals are reminiscent of early Wilco and Califone’s Tim Rutili. “Time Off” sees Gunn create some of the most vital music of recent times.

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R.E.M. “Reckoning” (I.R.S.)
As part of our Calexico contributions – where each member has been choosing their most prized album – R.E.M.’s 1984 classic second LP “Reckoning” was chosen by Calexico frontman Joey Burns. Follow-up to “Murmer”, “Reckoning” would embody the live sound of the band – who had toured extensively the year previously – and is characterized by Michael Stipe’s darker subject matter in his lyrics. As Joey Burns himself said, “They captured a mood and energy that was compelling. Peter Buck’s drone guitar style resonated with my style as well as the foggy vocals of Michael Stipe. There was a mystique and depth with the layers of their instrumentation and vocals that I appreciated.”

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Postiljonen ‘Skyer’ (Best Fit Recordings)
Stockholm-based trio Postiljonen (Daniel Sjörs, Joel Nyström Holm, and Mia Bøe) released their stunning debut “Skyer” (translates to “Clouds”) this year to widespread critical acclaim. The band showcase a wonderful pop sensibility throughout the album’s ten tracks, creating gorgeous gleaming pop songs in the process. The album can be listened in full here. 

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Pure Bathing Culture ‘Moon Tides’ (Memphis Industries)
Portland Oregon-based duo Pure Bathing Culture comprises of Daniel Hindman and Sarah Versprille who had previously played with Andy Cabic’s folk band Vetiver. The duo have thus far released their debut self-titled EP on Father/Daughter Records, and have also exclusively covered “Dreams” for a special Fleetwood Mac edition of Mojo magazine. The band have recorded with songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Richard Swift at his National Freedom studio. “Moon Tides” will be released on 19th August on Memphis Industries.

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DJ Koze “Amygdala” (Pampa)
When the end-of-year lists are being compiled, the wonderful “Amygdala” LP by DJ Koze is sure to find its way to the top of many’s favourite album for 2013. DJ Koze is German producer Stefan Kozella, and “Amygdala” is Koze’s first new solo material for almost a decade. Featuring a number of special guest vocalists (Caribou and Daphni’s Dan Snaith, Matthew Dear and Apparat’s Sascha Ring) the real star is Kozella whose genre-defying soundscapes and incredible lyrics make “Amygdala” the compelling gem that it truly is. As album opener “Track ID Anyone?” says: “We need to eat and we need to sleep and we need music.” The album can be streamed in full here.

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Forrests “Wilder” (Blast First Petite)
Dublin-based electronic duo Forrests’ incredible “Wilder” EP is amongst the finest electronic material out there, recalling Hebden’s Four Tet, Bristol’s Fuck Buttons and fellow-Dublin electronic duo White Collar Boy. Released on the Blast First Petite label on July 8th of this month, the EP consists of a stunning array of hypnotic beats, irresistible grooves and an impressively wide range of sonic textures. Forrests are as adept with the creation of gorgeously subtle, ambient shape-shifting sounds (the two-minute “Symmetries” and closer “Latitude” recalling Ulrich Schnauss’s “Far Away Trains” LP) as well as more hypnotic and immediate tracks such as the dreamy, rhythmic “Tarifa”. The EP can be streamed here.

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After Dark 2 (Italians Do It Better)
Johnny Jewel’s “After Dark” series of compilations features the impressive Italians Do It Better label and is – as always – a wonderful showcase of the artists on the label. Featuring Glass Candy, Desire, Chromatics, Symmetry and Mike Simonetti, the tracks are slick, timeless and (unquestionably) über-cool. Personal favorites on the label are “Night Drive” and “Kill For Love” by Chromatics and “Themes For An Imaginary Film” by Desire.
The “After Dark 2” set can be heard in full here.

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borngräber & strüver “Clouds” (m=minimal)
Berlin duo borngräber & strüver have established themselves as one of the most compelling and impressive of electronic/ambient artists working today. “Clouds” comprises tracks written over a period of over a decade (2000 to 2012) and features chamber music compositions merging with an array of influences such as minimal, classic, baroque and pop. Also essential are borngräber & strüver’s “urlaub” and “In G” albums, now being issued by Berlin label m=minimal in one set.

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Greg Haines “Where We Were” (Denovali)
This May marked Berlin-based Greg Haines’s most innovative album yet. “Where We Were” signals a departure in Haines’s previous works, markedly in his use of tape-worn synthesizers (and subsequent omission of strings). Much like friend and composer Frahm’s recent recordings (“Juno” EP on Erased Tapes) Haines seeks to create blissful and rhythmically driven pieces. The album is an ode to the handmade where the world of analogue sounds replaces digital technologies. Gripping, enriching and meticulous in execution and delivery.

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Fuck Buttons “Slow Focus” (ATP)
Benjamin Power and Andrew Hung make their hugely anticipated return since 2009’s Andrew Weatherall produced “Tarot Sport”. “Slow Focus”, the Bristol-based band’s third studio album, is self-produced and it’s seven tracks feature an unforgettable array of sonic textures and an endless amount of hidden realms. Not only the band’s best album, but one of the finest albums this year has produced.

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Younger Than Yesterday: Reckoning / Double Nickels On The Dime

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Calexico’s Joey Burns reveals the albums that inspired him on his musical path for Part Four of our Calexico “Younger Than Yesterday” series. Joey Burns is someone who I look up to the most in music. As the singer-songwriter in one of American music’s finest bands, Calexico, he has given us a wealth of awe-inspiring songs, encompassing a world of sound and ocean of emotion. The music flows directly to the heart, just like the river that flows into the sea. A connection that runs deep. It has done so ever since Calexico’s debut ‘Spoke’ was released back in ’97. The road map can be traced back earlier, to another space and time, namely Giant Sand. Howe Gelb as Dylan and Joey alongside John Convertino forming the finest rhythm sections to have graced these lands. It is the unspoken connection between these two beautiful souls that forms the inner flame in all of what Calexico do, now and forevermore.  

Words: Joey Burns, Illustration: Craig Carry

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For me it is hard to decide on one. There are several that have factored in my development over the years. Early on it was R.E.M.’s “Reckoning”. They captured a mood and energy that was compelling. Peter Buck’s drone guitar style resonated with my style as well as the foggy vocals of Michael Stipe. There was a mystique and depth with the layers of their instrumentation and vocals that I appreciated and wound up being a sort of blue print along with records by The Minutemen’s “Double Nickels on the Dime”.

Growing up in the south bay of Los Angeles I got to see The Minutemen perform a few times and their live shows were always best. They blew doors off of any band I have ever seen especially in those days of my teens and early twenties. “Double Nickels on the dime” goes deep. They do their angst punk songs, social-political writing, tripped out journal entries with free jazz accompaniment, and straight up deliver the best bizarre hybrid punk music I have ever heard. They weren’t afraid to be brutally honest about who they were, and who they wanted to be, and by doing so influenced me in my do-it-yourself approach to the music I would make later on down the road.

minutemen_craigcarry

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Artist: R.E.M.
Title: Reckoning
Label: IRS
Year: 1984

Tracks: Harborcoat; 7 Chinese Bros.; So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry); Pretty Persuasion; Time After Time (Annelise); Second Guessing; Letter Never Sent; Camera; (Don’t Go Back To) Rockville; Little America.

Personnel: Drums, percussion, backing vocals: Bill Berry; Guitar: Peter Buck; Bass guitar, backing vocals: Mike Mills; Vocals, harmonica: Michael Stipe; Producers: Don Dixon & Mitch Easter; All songs: Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe.

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Artist: Minutemen
Title: Double Nickels On The Dime
Label: SST
Year: 1984

Tracks: D.’s Car Jam/Anxious Mo-Fo; Theatre Is the Life of You; Viet Nam; Cohesion; It’s Expected I’m Gone; #1 Hit Song; Two Beads at the End; Do You Want New Wave or Dou Want the Truth?; Don’t Look Now; Shit from an Old Notebook; Nature Without Man; One Reporters Opinion; Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing; Maybe Partying Will Help; Toadies; Retreat; Big Foist; God Bows to Math; Corona; Glory of Man; Take 5, D.; My Heart and the Real World; History Lesson, Pt. 2; You Need the Glory; Roar of the Masses Could Be Farts; West Germany; Politics of Time; Themselves; Please Don’t Be Gentle With Me; Nothing Indeed; No Exchange; There Ain’t Shit on T.V. Tonight; This Ain’t No Picnic; Spillage; Untitled Song for Latin America; Jesus and Tequila; June 16th; Storm in My House; Martin’s Story; Doctor Wu; World According to Nouns; Love Dance; Three Car Jam.

Personnel: Guitar, vocals: D. Boon; Bass guitar, vocals: Mike Watt; Drums: George Hurley; Engineer & Producer: Ethan James.

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Calexico recorded a cover version of Minutemen’s “Corona” for their “Convict Pool” E.P., released in 2004 during their extensive EU and US tours promoting their 2003 studio album “Feast Of Wire”. Live, the band have often covered both “Corona” and “Jesus and Tequila” from Minuteman’s “Double Nickels On The Dime”. Most recently, “Corona” has been included on Calexico’s “Ancienne Belgique Vol 2”, the live tour album featuring the band’s performance recorded in Brussels on September 19th 2012.
On 11 March 2012 Calexico’s Joey Burns and John Convertino provided the rhythm section for the in-house band at a special R.E.M. tribute concert at Carnegie Hall. Guests on the night included The Feelies, Patti Smith, Throwing Muses and the late Vic Chesnutt.

Calexico continue their European summer tour and have also announced live dates in Australia & New Zealand for September/October 2013. (See all tour dates here).

“Algiers” is available now on City Slang (EU) and Anti (US). “Maybe On Monday” EP is out now.

http://www.casadecalexico.com

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