Wooden Nickel

Now Hear This

Now Hear This

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Produced and mixed by Dan Molad, Wildewoman (The New Recordings) re-imagines and expands Lucius’ sparkling debut album, enhancing its instrumentation and deepening these remarkable songs. The new, 13-track set features friends Marcus Mumford on “Go Home (The New Recording),” and Devon Gilfillian on “Tempest (The New Recording).” The CD and vinyl version also features close friend and collaborator Brandi Carlile on the previously unreleased fan favorite “Housewarming (The New Recording).”

LUCIUS - Wildewoman - (The New Recordings) [CD]
$13.98
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Almost out of necessity, Les Savy Fav’s sixth LP was born in a pocket reality: singer Tim Harrington’s Brooklyn attic. “A freaky barn,” as he calls it, the room was built over the ruins of black mold and plywood, a de facto studio. Different from anywhere they’d ever recorded, the space allowed for a much-needed rebirth for the long-running post-hardcore band. In that in-between, they pieced together what would become their latest evolution, OUI, LSF, growing the album’s title and cover art out of a patch of grass. “The record grew organically — literally and figuratively,” Harrington notes wryly. 

 

It’s impossible to talk about Les Savy Fav’s latest without acknowledging that it’s been more than 10 years since the guys released 2010’s Root for Ruin. But it’s not like they had a messy breakup or quit to become bankers. They just had a lot of living to do. “When we finished our last record, there was a sense that if we were going to do more, we wanted to do something more ambitious,” Harrington says. “I think it took us a while to even get in a space where that was possible.” In the interim, the band has been busy building growing their families, taking and losing jobs, and living through the various ecstatic and hideous aspects of growing older. Remember, these five men — Harrington, Seth Jabour, Syd Butler, Harrison Haynes, Andrew Reuland — have been friends and collaborators since 1995, when they attended Rhode Island School of Design. 

 

The resulting album is a glorious mix of tragedy and comedy — studded with nods to the band’s eclectic musical taste — delightfully weird and utterly them, tripping from ghostly bops to ruminations on love and loss to some seriously debauched and crazy nights. A decade may have passed, but Les Savy Fav is still growing — like their musical range, like the seeds that grew into their album art, like their legacy. Here’s to 10 more years of delicious lunacy.

Les Savy Fav - OUI, LSF [CD]
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Making a bold return, genre-defying, North Carolina-bred quartet and live sensations Rainbow Kitten Surprise will unveil their first full-length album in six years, LOVE HATE MUSIC BOX, on May 10, 2024 via Elektra Entertainment. After years of struggling with her own mental health that resulted in writer’s block, on-stage episodes, and tour cancellations, RKS singer/songwriter/frontperson Ela Melo was properly diagnosed and treated in 2023, vastly improving her quality of life. As if suddenly struck by creative intervention, songs once again poured out of her, writing at least one a day for an entire year and forming the backbone of their 22-track opus LOVE HATE MUSIC BOX. This epic mosaic of sound and emotion was fully realized once the band - guitarists Bozzy Keller and Ethan Goodpaster, drummer Jess Haney and former bassist Charlie Holt- reconvened in the studio, adding another dimension sonically. Produced by Daniel Tashian (Kacey Musgraves) along with Konrad Snyder (Noah Kahan) and Melo, the much-anticipated album ponders life’s ups and downs, and traces the turbulent trajectory of  relationships, painted out loud in hues of pop, electronic, rock, and hip-hop. As such, it finds the musicians at their most vulnerable, vibrant, and vital.  From “Peter Pan” through the finale “Thanks For Coming,” LOVE HATE MUSIC BOX unspools a cohesive vision all-around. Among the many highlights, they notably teamed up with GRAMMY® Award-winning multiplatinum supernova Kacey Musgraves on the impassioned “Overtime.”

Rainbow Kitten Surprise - Love Hate Music Box [CD]
$14.98
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Gatefold altpack. In one sense, it's easy for artists-songwriters, specifically-to express their feelings in their work. After all, that's what the lyrics are for! But it's much harder to convey emotional energy in how you play, slash at the guitar, and the structure of the music itself. That's precisely why Girl and Girl's Sub Pop debut, Call A Doctor, feels like such a vital, electrifying shock to the senses. Not since the early work of Car Seat Headrest or Conor Oberst's widescreen emotional brutality as Bright Eyes has indie rock managed to come across as this intimate and grandiose, as the Australian quartet led by Kai James lay a lifetime's worth of woes-mental health, the human race's planned obsolescence if you've been living on this cursed rock you know what we're getting at-across a canvas of indie rock that feels both timeless and in-the-moment.An audacious and aggressively tuneful blast of a record, Call A Doctor is an unforgettable first bow from Girl and Girl, whose origins lie in James and guitarist Jayden Williams jamming in his mother's garage in the afternoon after school. One afternoon, James' Aunty Liss headed down to their practice space after walking her dog and asked if she could sit in on drums. "It sounded really great," James recalls. "We begged her to stay, and she said, 'I'll stay until you find another drummer.' We wore her down, and she eventually became a permanent member." After bassist Fraser Bell joined to round things out, Girl and Girl hit the road and began to make a name for themselves beyond the Australian bush, eventually signing to Sub Pop off the strength of word of mouth. Call A Doctor came together quickly soon after, largely recorded in marathon sessions in a two-story industrial complex over the course of two weeks. "That added to the intensity of the album," James says about the frenzied creative process overseen by producer Burke Reid. "I can hear the stress in the record, which is good because that's what it's about-being tense, tied up, and in your own head."Call A Doctor's eleven songs-spanning sweeping guitar epics and wry acoustic shuffles to spiky punk maneuvers and the type of raw, adoringly unvarnished indie-pop associated with legendary PacNW label K Records-are literally plucked from James' personal history, as he reworked older recordings with newer lyrics reflecting his past struggles as well as new anxieties that emerged prior to the album's recording. "I've struggled with mental health for a lot of my life," he explains, "and I went through a particularly difficult patch when we were making the album; the band had started to get some attention, and I felt an enormous amount of pressure to live up to it.""This record is about an individual who's too far in their head, trying to get out," James continues while discussing Call A Doctor's overall outlook-specifically the snapshot it offers of it's creator. But even though this record deals with uneasy topics we all know well from within ourselves, it's important to emphasize how teeming with life Girl and Girl's music is. There's a brazen, bold sense of humor to this stuff, an undeniable brightness to the darkness that makes it impossible not to be drawn in as a listener. Feeling down never sounded so goddamn good.
Girl & Girl - Call A Doctor
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Experience the triumphant return of singer-songwriter mxmtoon's iconic masterpiece and debut album, the masquerade, as it celebrates its 5th anniversary. Out now via AWAL Recordings, this special edition pays homage to the unwavering passion and raw emotion that captured hearts worldwide upon its initial release. This original 10-track album is now being released alongside an intimate collection of acoustic recordings, inviting you to rediscover the soulful essence of mxmtoon's musical genius. "i can’t believe it’s been five years of this record! the masquerade forever changed my life when i first released it, and it continues to find new meaning and life every day since thanks to the people who support it. i’m so grateful for the journey i’ve embarked on these past five years and i owe so much to these songs for getting me here. i’m so thankful for your continuous support too as i’ve not only released more music, but grown up alongside you. it’s the greatest privilege of my life to learn about who i am and share the songs i write with such good company. happy birthday to the masquerade :) much love, maia"

mxmtoon - THE MASQUERADE [2 LP]
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Written and produced by Andra, Nando Raio, Shay Godwin, Charles Jones, Dave Wood, Jacques Pierre, Kevin Randolph, Jon Decuir, Jayla Darden, Kendra Foster, and Jesus Delgadillo. Mixed and engineered by Caleb Morris, Spencer Guerra, and John Kercy. Cassandra (Cherith), titled after her birth name and this season of her life, is her most personal body of work to date. In this project, Andra examines every iteration of love: lost, gained, rekindled, interpersonal, and with "God". She sings about her personal experiences with intense love, gut-wrenching heartbreak, death & rebirth, reclamation, and spiritual growth.
Day, Andra - Cassandra (Cherith)
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"I was in a dream, but now I can see that change is the only law."With a credo adapted from science fiction author Octavia E. Butler, an album title from a collection of metaphysical poetry, and an expansion in consciousness brought on by personal crisis, guitarist and songwriter Shana Cleveland learns to embrace a changing world with unconditional love on News of the Universe, the new full-length from California rock band La Luz.News of the Universe is a record born of calamity, a work of dark, beautiful psychedelia reflecting Cleveland's experience of having her world blown apart by a breast cancer diagnosis just two years after the birth of her son. It's also a portrait of a band in flux, marking the first appearance for drummer Audrey Johnson and the final ones from longtime members bassist Lena Simon and keyboardist Alice Sandahl, whose contributions add a bittersweet edge to a record that is both elegy for an old world and cosmic road map to a strange new one.But is there any band in the world more suited to capturing the chaos of change in all it's messy beauty than La Luz? Formed by Cleveland in 2012, La Luz is beloved for their ability to balance bedlam and bliss, each new record another fine-tuning of the band's mix of swaggering riffs with angelic vocals borrowed from doo-wop and folk; a band so reliably great that it makes the huge step forward in confidence and sheer musicality that is News of the Universe all the more formidable. Cleveland, also a writer and painter, has developed into a truly original songwriter with her own canon of haunted psychedelia. Yet if Cleveland has spent years writing songs about ghosts, what lurks in the shadows of News of the Universe is nothing less than death itself. "There are moments on this album that sound to me like the last frantic confession before an asteroid destroys the earth," says Cleveland. The powerful sense of openness that permeates News of the Universe is at least partially due to the fact that it is a record made entirely by women-from the performing, writing, and producing all the way through to the recording, engineering, and mastering. Working with producer Maryam Qudos (Spacemoth), the all-female environment allowed Cleveland to feel safe tapping into difficult places and expressing hard emotions women are socialized to suppress. Unashamedly vulnerable, unabashedly feminine, and undeniably triumphant, News of the Universe is another knockout record from a band so reliably great that it has perhaps led people to overlook how pioneering La Luz really are: women of color in indie music forging their own path by following their own artistic star into galaxies beyond current musical trends, always led by an earnest belief in the cosmic power of love and a great riff. Never is that more true than on News of the Universe, which might be La Luz's most brutal record to date but also their most blissful.
La Luz - News Of The Universe
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After an impressive 2010s run of albums that earned him a devoted fanbase, accolades from outlets like The New York Times, Fresh Air, and Pitchfork, and a place in the upper echelon of modern Americana singer-songwriters, John Moreland has already taken two unexpected turns this decade, both of which highlight his fierce artistic independence. First, he released a brilliant and sonically layered folk-electronica meditation on modern alienation, 2022’s Birds In The Ceiling, that took some of his fans by surprise. Then, after wrapping up a difficult tour behind that record in November 2022, he stopped working entirely. He took an entire year off from playing shows and didn’t use a smartphone for 6 months. “At the end of that year, I was just like ‘Nobody call me’. I needed to not do anything for a while and just process,” Moreland says. After nearly a decade in the limelight, constantly jostled by the expectations of his audience, the music industry, and anonymous strangers online, he carved out some time to rest, heal, and reflect for the first time.

The result of that unplugged year at home is 2024’s Visitor, a folk-rock record that is intimate, immediate, deeply thoughtful, and catchy as hell. Moreland recorded the album at his home in Bixby, Oklahoma, in only ten days, playing nearly every instrument himself (his wife Pearl Rachinsky sang on one song, and his longtime collaborator John Calvin Abney contributed a guitar solo), as well as engineering and mixing the album. “Simplicity and immediacy felt very important to the process,” he says.

This is a return to the approach Moreland took on his breakthrough albums, 2013’s In The Throes and 2015’s High On Tulsa Heat, both of which were largely self-recorded at home with a small cadre of additional musicians. Echoes of these early albums can be heard on Visitor (Moreland makes a passing reference to In The Throes’ opening track “I Need You To Tell Me Who I Am” in two different songs on Visitor), which finds Moreland shutting out the noisy world outside, and the even noisier digital world in his pocket, to reconnect with a muse that’s had to increasingly compete for his attention in the intervening years. Visitor charts his journey back to this muse. If Birds In The Ceiling’s theme was alienation, Visitor’s theme is un-alienation.

John Moreland - Visitor [CD]
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"Light Of Death" is the 15 song sophomore album from Umbra Vitae. Recorded by Kurt Ballou and Zach Weeks at God City Studios and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege. "Leave Of Absence" emerges with a spine-chilling violin swell before erupting into duel guitar driven madness courtesy of Sean Martin (Twitching Tongues, ex-Hatebreed) and Mike McKenzie (The Red Chord). Umbra Vitae stay redlined with "Belief Is Obsolete" and "Clear Cutter", showcasing the electrifying rhythm section of Jon Rice (Uncle Acid, Tsjuder) and Greg Weeks (The Red Chord). Hook-laden "Anti-Spirit Machine" then takes center stage as a war cry for the downtrodden. From here Umbra Vitae continue to smash and thrash everything in sight. The discordant "Reality In Retrograde" races with a grinding blur into the lumbering "Past Tense" and darkly seductive "Velvet Black". Two songs that are metallic heaviness incarnate. "Twenty-Twenty Vision", "Algorithm Of Fear", and "Empty Vessel" then pick up the intensity, propelled by the poignant lyrical themes and inhuman vocal deliveries of Jacob Bannon (Converge). Lastly, the trinity of slow-crawl "Cause & Effect", ultra-violent "Deep End", and whirlwind "Nature vs. Nurture" continue to bludgeon, ushering in the interlinked "Fatal Flaw" and "Light Of Death" as the vicious finale to this modern metal masterpiece.

Umbra Vitae - Light Of Death [CD]
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“Not a lot of people talk about the true origins of bluegrass music,” says Swamp Dogg, “but it came from Black people. The banjo, the washtub, all that stuff started with African Americans. We were playing it before it even had a name.”

Blackgrass, Swamp Dogg’s remarkable new album, is no history lesson, though. Produced by Ryan Olson (Bon Iver, Poliça) and recorded with an all-star band including Noam Pikelny, Sierra Hull, Jerry Douglas, Chris Scruggs, Billy Contreras, and Kenny Vaughan, the collection is a riotous blend of past and present, mixing the sacred and the profane in typical Swamp Dogg fashion as it blurs the lines between folk, roots, country, blues, and soul. The tracklist is an eclectic one—brand new originals and vintage Swamp Dogg classics sit side by side with reimaginings of ’70s R&B hits and timeless ’50s pop tunes—but the performances are thoroughly cohesive, filtering everything through a progressive Appalachian lens that nods to tradition without ever being bound by it. Special guests like Margo Price, Jenny Lewis, Justin Vernon, and The Cactus Blossoms all add to the excitement here, but it’s ultimately the 81-year-old Swamp Dogg’s delivery—sly and playful and full of genuine joy and ache—that steals the show. The result is a record that’s as reverent as it is raunchy, a collection that challenges conventional notions of genre and race while at the same time celebrating the music that helped make Swamp Dogg the beloved iconoclast he’s known as today.

Swamp Dogg - Blackgrass: From West Virginia to 125th St [CD]
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Before you come into the world you should know // there are things that will hurt and things that won’t // like scraping your knees on the asphalt // and the freedom right before you fell// nobody tells it like it is // they say ‘isn’t it lovely,’ and ‘buck up kid,’ // but you learn how to breathe just by doing it // how to dream until you believe yourself
Living Thing, the newest full length album from Oregon based songwriter Anna Tivel, is an arcing dive into the existential. Written through the tumultuous eyes of 2020 and recorded in Eau Claire, WI in profound collaboration with long time friend and producer Shane Leonard, these are songs of struggle and aliveness expressed with great joy.
“I wrote feverishly in the strange chaos of that year, suddenly out of work and attempting to understand the shifting human fabric, the depth of desperation and the overwhelming tenacity of spirit. The resulting songs felt rhythmic and vital, with more melody and soaring chorus than I’ve explored in the past. There was no way and no means to gather a full band, and I brought the songs to Shane’s doorstep knowing and fully trusting the skill and exuberance of his creative imagination. Shane stripped everything down to the studs and we rebuilt it together, just the two of us for a month in his garage studio, Shane dreaming up each sonic layer while I chased the lyrics to one last double chorus.”
The album takes off with the song ‘Silver Flame,’ a sweeping embrace of uncertainty. ‘Satellites and angel voices // yesterday tried to destroy us // morning came up golden anyhow // maybe there’s a great creator // a far off planet trying to save us // but we’ve just got each other for now.’ Tivel is a writer drawn to seminal questions, and this album is no exception. She illuminates the seeking rather than clinging to conviction. What is it that makes us human? What are we for? How do we move as we reach toward each other, change our minds, learn to love? The nine songs that make up ‘Living Thing’ look deep into the core and do so with groove and energy. Shane brought a dynamic vigor to the table, drawing the tender lyrical thoughts into a more potent sound world. He acted as producer, engineer, band, and trusted creative comrade, even mixing the album on his analog board, playing the faders like an instrument in an inspired momentary performance of each song.
“Shane gave his whole beautiful heart and mind to this record and I’ve never had such a freeing and powerful collaborative experience. I learned so much from watching him explore in the studio. We followed the rules of improv, said yes and tried every idea that percolated – sampled an 8 track symphony backward, looped wine glasses and lighters, read poetry into lofi microphones, and recorded a thunderstorm into a tape machine. Shane went on eternal drum tone quests, chased intricate melodic bass lines, and gently encouraged me to let go and sing from a deeper place. I love this record because it feels like a joyous musical conversation with a close friend about the big vast mystery of being alive.”
 
Nobody tells it like it is // they say don’t blow around on a different wind // but you’re gone and you’re not even listening // they were wrong and the wind is a living thing // and you’re taking a picture you won’t forget // something real and the way you remember it // you’ll be everything, you’ll be riotous // what a feeling to be alive
Anna Tivel - Living Thing
$12.98

        
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