People of the NorthSub ContraThrill Jockey
People of the North are in fact just two people – drummer Kid Millions and keyboardist/vocalist Bobby Matador of Oneida – but the sheer amount of volume, density, and sound they emit is by a band seemingly much larger.  On “Sub Contra,” their Thrill Jockey debut, the duo concoct a droning type of psychedelia that is always hard to pigeonhole: too much frenetic energy to be krautrock and too lucid to be in the proximity of pure ambience.  It’s also gritty, with decay and wilting sonics just as vital to the sound as drum patterns and organ layers.  Closer “Osage Orange” is the pinnacle of the album, and not just because it peaks at nearly a quarter of an hour.  The track compacts much of what makes “Sub Contra” an invigorating listen: plumes of electronic feedback and polyrhythmic drumming that coalesces into a lattice of sound more intricate and involved than a mere duo should muster.  – Ryan Potts, Experimedia 

People of the North
Sub Contra
Thrill Jockey

People of the North are in fact just two people – drummer Kid Millions and keyboardist/vocalist Bobby Matador of Oneida – but the sheer amount of volume, density, and sound they emit is by a band seemingly much larger.  On “Sub Contra,” their Thrill Jockey debut, the duo concoct a droning type of psychedelia that is always hard to pigeonhole: too much frenetic energy to be krautrock and too lucid to be in the proximity of pure ambience.  It’s also gritty, with decay and wilting sonics just as vital to the sound as drum patterns and organ layers.  Closer “Osage Orange” is the pinnacle of the album, and not just because it peaks at nearly a quarter of an hour.  The track compacts much of what makes “Sub Contra” an invigorating listen: plumes of electronic feedback and polyrhythmic drumming that coalesces into a lattice of sound more intricate and involved than a mere duo should muster. – Ryan Potts, Experimedia 

Jan St. WernerBlaze Colour BurnThrill Jockey
Jan St. Werner hasn’t released an album under his given name since the early ’90s, which is why most people will be more familiar with his work as part of German electronic legends Mouse On Mars.  But what a return it is: “Blaze Colour Burn” is a sound collage work of misshapen contours and forward-thinking experiments that is somehow as composed and deliberate as any classical piece.  Just listing the techniques Jan St. Werner used – not to mention the sounds themselves – could take up an entire paragraph: DSP manipulations, improvisation, soundtrack work, graphic scoring, signal processing, field recordings, digital time stretching, vocal cut ups, and about a hundred other aural methods.  ”Spiazzacorale A” is the most beguiling track on this incredibly diverse and engaging album, placing a snippet of a public orchestra concert in Italy amid searing electronic textures, rippling bell arrangements, and passages of microscopic sonic particles.  ”Blaze Colour Burn” it’s so visionary and imaginatively well executed, don’t be surprised if most electronic fare sounds stale in comparison.  – Ryan Potts, Experimedia 

Jan St. Werner
Blaze Colour Burn
Thrill Jockey

Jan St. Werner hasn’t released an album under his given name since the early ’90s, which is why most people will be more familiar with his work as part of German electronic legends Mouse On Mars.  But what a return it is: “Blaze Colour Burn” is a sound collage work of misshapen contours and forward-thinking experiments that is somehow as composed and deliberate as any classical piece.  Just listing the techniques Jan St. Werner used – not to mention the sounds themselves – could take up an entire paragraph: DSP manipulations, improvisation, soundtrack work, graphic scoring, signal processing, field recordings, digital time stretching, vocal cut ups, and about a hundred other aural methods.  ”Spiazzacorale A” is the most beguiling track on this incredibly diverse and engaging album, placing a snippet of a public orchestra concert in Italy amid searing electronic textures, rippling bell arrangements, and passages of microscopic sonic particles.  ”Blaze Colour Burn” it’s so visionary and imaginatively well executed, don’t be surprised if most electronic fare sounds stale in comparison. – Ryan Potts, Experimedia 

Date PalmsThe Dusted SessionsThrill Jockey
On their Thrill Jockey debut, Date Palms expand and sound better than ever, with founding members Gregg Kowalsky and Marielle Jakobsons adding Ben Bracken on electric bass, Michael Elrod on tanpura, and Noah Philips on electric guitar.  The new instrumentation fits in more seamlessly than anyone could have hoped for: the tanpura pulls and glides along Jakobsons’ violin while the guitar flanges and phases toward textural and melodic accompaniments.  But the bass is the real difference as it gives a warm, sturdy presence that lets the psychedelic flutters and glistening timbres float freely above the grounded low end.  With “The Dusted Sessions” Date Palms seemingly soundtrack a ’70s Western that was never filmed, but if the album is any indication it would have blown minds and blazed unprecedented trails.  – Ryan Potts, Experimedia

Date Palms
The Dusted Sessions
Thrill Jockey

On their Thrill Jockey debut, Date Palms expand and sound better than ever, with founding members Gregg Kowalsky and Marielle Jakobsons adding Ben Bracken on electric bass, Michael Elrod on tanpura, and Noah Philips on electric guitar.  The new instrumentation fits in more seamlessly than anyone could have hoped for: the tanpura pulls and glides along Jakobsons’ violin while the guitar flanges and phases toward textural and melodic accompaniments.  But the bass is the real difference as it gives a warm, sturdy presence that lets the psychedelic flutters and glistening timbres float freely above the grounded low end.  With “The Dusted Sessions” Date Palms seemingly soundtrack a ’70s Western that was never filmed, but if the album is any indication it would have blown minds and blazed unprecedented trails. – Ryan Potts, Experimedia

Wrekmeister HarmoniesYou’ve Always Meant So Much To MeThrill Jockey
Despite the ironic name, the Thrill Jockey debut from Wrekmeister Harmonies is a deadly serious affair that drags the intensity of metal closer to the textural richness of an orchestra.  JR Robinson’s project is unquestionably not the first to aim at such an intersection, but it is one of the most convincing, accomplishing the feat with confidence, dexterity, and profound vision.  ”You’ve Always Meant So Much to Me” is a single 38 minute track that splits itself into two sides of vinyl and is built from an ensemble of Chicago-based experimental and metal musicians that contribute cello, harmonium, electronics, and harp.  To be sure, not the most “metal” of instrumentation, but all that will change.  The first half of “You’ve Always Meant So Much to Me” is decidedly drone-oriented, beginning with minimalist ribbons of electronics and saxophone accompaniment before blossoming into a luminous tone cloud that is thick, dense, and jaw droppingly beautiful.  At 23 minutes in, though, the whole thing seamlessly and unexpectedly tears itself to shreds with cavernous vocal shrieks and guttural blasts of doom-laden distortion.  It returns to a somber ensemble drone at the album’s close, but everything is different, including yourself, after just listening to a thoroughly remarkable and devastating album.  – Ryan Potts, Experimedia

Wrekmeister Harmonies
You’ve Always Meant So Much To Me
Thrill Jockey

Despite the ironic name, the Thrill Jockey debut from Wrekmeister Harmonies is a deadly serious affair that drags the intensity of metal closer to the textural richness of an orchestra.  JR Robinson’s project is unquestionably not the first to aim at such an intersection, but it is one of the most convincing, accomplishing the feat with confidence, dexterity, and profound vision.  ”You’ve Always Meant So Much to Me” is a single 38 minute track that splits itself into two sides of vinyl and is built from an ensemble of Chicago-based experimental and metal musicians that contribute cello, harmonium, electronics, and harp.  To be sure, not the most “metal” of instrumentation, but all that will change.  The first half of “You’ve Always Meant So Much to Me” is decidedly drone-oriented, beginning with minimalist ribbons of electronics and saxophone accompaniment before blossoming into a luminous tone cloud that is thick, dense, and jaw droppingly beautiful.  At 23 minutes in, though, the whole thing seamlessly and unexpectedly tears itself to shreds with cavernous vocal shrieks and guttural blasts of doom-laden distortion.  It returns to a somber ensemble drone at the album’s close, but everything is different, including yourself, after just listening to a thoroughly remarkable and devastating album. – Ryan Potts, Experimedia

PealsWalking FieldThrill Jockey
In their prime Double Dagger were a brash, athletic rock band that rarely toned it down and never turned it down.  But former member Bruce Willen, along with William Cashion of Future Islands, does something unexpected with Peals, the newly formed duo that Thrill Jockey now houses.  ”Walking Field” is laid back, abstract, and almost breezy in its eight songs that fit somewhere between moody rock, classical bells, and ambient manipulations.  It begins at an apex with the opener “Floating Leaf” using processed guitars that loop, dive, and metamorphoze in dreamy arrangements, inching closer towards drone as its eight minutes stretch toward a conclusion.  The remainder of the album delivers on that atmospheric promise with “Walking Field” being a pure sonic delight, perfect for wandering an unknown city or soundtracking spring weather.  – Ryan Potts, Experimedia

Peals
Walking Field
Thrill Jockey

In their prime Double Dagger were a brash, athletic rock band that rarely toned it down and never turned it down.  But former member Bruce Willen, along with William Cashion of Future Islands, does something unexpected with Peals, the newly formed duo that Thrill Jockey now houses.  ”Walking Field” is laid back, abstract, and almost breezy in its eight songs that fit somewhere between moody rock, classical bells, and ambient manipulations.  It begins at an apex with the opener “Floating Leaf” using processed guitars that loop, dive, and metamorphoze in dreamy arrangements, inching closer towards drone as its eight minutes stretch toward a conclusion.  The remainder of the album delivers on that atmospheric promise with “Walking Field” being a pure sonic delight, perfect for wandering an unknown city or soundtracking spring weather. – Ryan Potts, Experimedia

Glenn JonesMy Garden StateThrill Jockey
Lush and gorgeously rendered, Glenn Jones’ guitar playing is something to admire, but unlike that heirloom or keepsake that remains locked away, Jones seems to urge you to get intimate with his music and embrace it warmly.  That’s what it feels to me at least as his unfurling notes seem to contain sage wisdom and comforting vistas to a world short on both.  ”My Garden State” is an ode to his New Jersey home and his family’s roots and oddly that sense of history comes through his twisted tunings and odd fingerpicking in a sublime way.  He is capable of taking on fast paced rags, such as Going Back to East Montgomery,” as well as slowing things to a crawl on the quiet, thunderstorm-laden “Alcouer Gardens,” but more than anything he truly harbors the ability to spin a song, a narrative, or a string in a timeless manner.  – Ryan Potts, Experimedia

Glenn Jones
My Garden State
Thrill Jockey

Lush and gorgeously rendered, Glenn Jones’ guitar playing is something to admire, but unlike that heirloom or keepsake that remains locked away, Jones seems to urge you to get intimate with his music and embrace it warmly.  That’s what it feels to me at least as his unfurling notes seem to contain sage wisdom and comforting vistas to a world short on both.  ”My Garden State” is an ode to his New Jersey home and his family’s roots and oddly that sense of history comes through his twisted tunings and odd fingerpicking in a sublime way.  He is capable of taking on fast paced rags, such as Going Back to East Montgomery,” as well as slowing things to a crawl on the quiet, thunderstorm-laden “Alcouer Gardens,” but more than anything he truly harbors the ability to spin a song, a narrative, or a string in a timeless manner. – Ryan Potts, Experimedia

John ParishScreenplayThrill Jockey
In the music world a soundtrack is a fickle enterprise.  Is it somehow diminished if listened to on its own?  Does it only serve to underscore the images on the screen?  In the case of John Parish’s “Screenplay” the answer to both is a resounding no.  Yet “Screenplay” isn’t a typical soundtrack as its material is culled from several films and sequenced to create a coherent and seamless album.  Parish, a cohort and collaborator with PJ Harvey along with many other like-minded bands, has a terrific ear for mood and melody and that is a common link despite the vast ground that the album covers, from tactile electronic abstraction on “Katja Gives Birth” and the regal, string-imbued “Longfellow” to the distorted Krautrock-isms of “L’Efant D’en Haut.”  Splendidly recorded with a grit and humanity all its own, “Screenplay” eclipses many other formats to become a thoroughly enriching full-length.  – Ryan Potts, Experimedia

John Parish
Screenplay
Thrill Jockey

In the music world a soundtrack is a fickle enterprise.  Is it somehow diminished if listened to on its own?  Does it only serve to underscore the images on the screen?  In the case of John Parish’s “Screenplay” the answer to both is a resounding no.  Yet “Screenplay” isn’t a typical soundtrack as its material is culled from several films and sequenced to create a coherent and seamless album.  Parish, a cohort and collaborator with PJ Harvey along with many other like-minded bands, has a terrific ear for mood and melody and that is a common link despite the vast ground that the album covers, from tactile electronic abstraction on “Katja Gives Birth” and the regal, string-imbued “Longfellow” to the distorted Krautrock-isms of “L’Efant D’en Haut.”  Splendidly recorded with a grit and humanity all its own, “Screenplay” eclipses many other formats to become a thoroughly enriching full-length. – Ryan Potts, Experimedia

ZomesTime WasThrill Jockey
Like Beach House if they were steeped in Eastern influences instead of indie-rock, “Time Was” is a left turn in the trajectory of Zomes, but also one that is welcomed and exciting.  Beginning with his self titled 2008 album, former Lungfish member Asa Osborne started releasing lo-fi records that were somewhere between Terry Riley and keyboard-based pop.  His rapid swatches of frantic ideas were always fascinating, far outstripping their simple progressions with an innate sense of pulsing melody.  ”Time Was” gives those nascent beginnings time to develop in an actual studio while also being aided by vocalist Hanna for the first time on record.  Her addition is about as natural as pairing a voice to an instrumental act could be, with her singing floating atop Osborne’s simple percussion and winding modal organ layers with ease and fluidity.  ”Time Was” is like hearing Zomes in 3D for the first time.  – Ryan Potts, Experimedia

Zomes
Time Was
Thrill Jockey

Like Beach House if they were steeped in Eastern influences instead of indie-rock, “Time Was” is a left turn in the trajectory of Zomes, but also one that is welcomed and exciting.  Beginning with his self titled 2008 album, former Lungfish member Asa Osborne started releasing lo-fi records that were somewhere between Terry Riley and keyboard-based pop.  His rapid swatches of frantic ideas were always fascinating, far outstripping their simple progressions with an innate sense of pulsing melody.  ”Time Was” gives those nascent beginnings time to develop in an actual studio while also being aided by vocalist Hanna for the first time on record.  Her addition is about as natural as pairing a voice to an instrumental act could be, with her singing floating atop Osborne’s simple percussion and winding modal organ layers with ease and fluidity.  ”Time Was” is like hearing Zomes in 3D for the first time. – Ryan Potts, Experimedia

Barn OwlVThrill JockeyGiven how prolific Barn Owl have been in the past, it’s surprisingly to learn that it’s been over 18 months since “Lost in the Glare,” their last proper full-length.  In the interim Jon Porras and Evan Caminiti have issued a variety of solo albums, but the duo has also used that time to augment the sound palette of Barn Owl with electronics and synthesizers.  Thankfully, the same blackened soot and scorched psychedelia are still prevalent, they just reach deeper timbres and more expansive textures.   Change is afoot immediately as “V” enters with “Void Redux,” which is a particularly apt title for an album opener that sees a subtle shift in Barn Owl’s dark sound.  The track is quite minimal, with percussion setting a rhythm for undulating synthesizer streaks and and the duo’s sustained tube amp drones.  It’s almost unassuming, but before long “V” rises to profound peaks and impressive intensity, especially the masterful recording of “Blood Echo.”  Past styles and their contemporary additions are executed to devastating effect on the track as it lumbers, builds, and rises to fill in the gaps between blurred drone, bleak Americana, and roiling black metal.   Closer “The Opulent Decline” matches such intensity.  One of the lengthiest recordings to grace a Barn Owl album, the track originated as a half hour improvisation that was edited down and distilled to 17 minutes that are cosmic in scope and immersive in execution.  It also features the most brazen use of electronic frequencies, beginning with an intro of spectral synths that meet the duo’s more familiar charred guitar lines.  The piece eventually coalesces into a swirling mass of feedback and roving synth textures while a thumping drum machine holds it all together during the stunning climax.  It’s a definitive end to a bold new Barn Owl direction.  – Ryan Potts, Experimedia

Barn Owl
V
Thrill Jockey

Given how prolific Barn Owl have been in the past, it’s surprisingly to learn that it’s been over 18 months since “Lost in the Glare,” their last proper full-length.  In the interim Jon Porras and Evan Caminiti have issued a variety of solo albums, but the duo has also used that time to augment the sound palette of Barn Owl with electronics and synthesizers.  Thankfully, the same blackened soot and scorched psychedelia are still prevalent, they just reach deeper timbres and more expansive textures.  

Change is afoot immediately as “V” enters with “Void Redux,” which is a particularly apt title for an album opener that sees a subtle shift in Barn Owl’s dark sound.  The track is quite minimal, with percussion setting a rhythm for undulating synthesizer streaks and and the duo’s sustained tube amp drones.  It’s almost unassuming, but before long “V” rises to profound peaks and impressive intensity, especially the masterful recording of “Blood Echo.”  Past styles and their contemporary additions are executed to devastating effect on the track as it lumbers, builds, and rises to fill in the gaps between blurred drone, bleak Americana, and roiling black metal.  

Closer “The Opulent Decline” matches such intensity.  One of the lengthiest recordings to grace a Barn Owl album, the track originated as a half hour improvisation that was edited down and distilled to 17 minutes that are cosmic in scope and immersive in execution.  It also features the most brazen use of electronic frequencies, beginning with an intro of spectral synths that meet the duo’s more familiar charred guitar lines.  The piece eventually coalesces into a swirling mass of feedback and roving synth textures while a thumping drum machine holds it all together during the stunning climax.  It’s a definitive end to a bold new Barn Owl direction. – Ryan Potts, Experimedia

Black PusAll My RelationsThrill JockeyBrian Chippendale’s latest solo opus as Black Pus is a battering ram to your skull.  Recorded in a proper studio, “All My Relations” is a sonic juggernaut that pushes boundaries with each forward step.  ”Fly on the Wall” is constant catharsis, blasting out more pent-up stress and rage than anyone thought possible.  It’s relentless.  Just when it feels like there couldn’t possibly be another drop, Chippendale finds a new way to turn up the dial.  Brutality isn’t the name of the game, though.  Chippendale is clearly having the time of his life, smirking all the way through choice cuts like “Hear No Evil” and “Word on the Street.”  Deep bass riffage pummels while polyrhythmic insanity moves like a living, breathing river of percussion.  Everything about “All My Relations” is over the top in the best possible away.  Black Pus will happily assault your eardrums and nurse ‘em back to health in the aftermath.  – Brad Rose, Experimedia

Black Pus
All My Relations
Thrill Jockey

Brian Chippendale’s latest solo opus as Black Pus is a battering ram to your skull.  Recorded in a proper studio, “All My Relations” is a sonic juggernaut that pushes boundaries with each forward step.  ”Fly on the Wall” is constant catharsis, blasting out more pent-up stress and rage than anyone thought possible.  It’s relentless.  Just when it feels like there couldn’t possibly be another drop, Chippendale finds a new way to turn up the dial.  Brutality isn’t the name of the game, though.  Chippendale is clearly having the time of his life, smirking all the way through choice cuts like “Hear No Evil” and “Word on the Street.”  Deep bass riffage pummels while polyrhythmic insanity moves like a living, breathing river of percussion.  Everything about “All My Relations” is over the top in the best possible away.  Black Pus will happily assault your eardrums and nurse ‘em back to health in the aftermath. – Brad Rose, Experimedia