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Alternative & Indie - To be released December 10, 2021 | Drag City Records

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Rock - Released November 12, 2021 | Drag City Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 8, 2021 | Drag City Records

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Pop - Released November 5, 2021 | Drag City Records

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Jazz - Released October 29, 2021 | Drag City Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 22, 2021 | Drag City Records

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Mess Esque combines the talents of Mick Turner of Dirty Three (and numerous other projects over the years) and Helen Franzmann, who records under the name McKisko. They met through a mutual friend and decided to collaborate, though circumstances meant that while they shared a continent -- Australia -- they were only able to work remotely. This is their second album, and the pattern follows that of their first. It pairs the haunting, barely-above-a-whisper vocals of Franzmann with the sympathetic backing of Turner's guitar, bass, organ, and drums. He fills the space behind her wandering words with what sounds like a full complement of like-minded musicians improvising like their brains are connected by ESP. It's sparse and loose, but balanced like a tightrope walker, especially on the tracks that stretch beyond the five-minute mark and reach for Talk Talk-esque realms of feeling. That band is certainly a touchstone for the project, but it also calls to mind late-period Pastels albums or anything from Tenniscoats, two groups who also meld innocence and calm while plumbing great depths of emotion. There is also plenty of Australian DNA running through their veins, with songs like "Forever" coming across like a restrained take on the nocturnal grandeur of Rowland S. Howard's These Immortal Souls or the epic-length "Jupiter" landing with all the gut-wrenching power of Nick Cave's best work, minus the histrionics. Franzmann's vocals are more about nibbling around the edges of emotion, feeling like the last words said before drifting off to sleep or mumbled in a dream. It's a good trick that draws the listener in, beckoning them closer and wrapping them in mystery. Turner never steps on her fragility, bolstering Franzmann's most intimate words with subtle swells of keyboards or gentle stabs of twanging guitar. When she does impart a little more urgency, as on the stunning climax of "Jupiter" or on "Take It Outside," which pushes the tempo and is the most songlike song on the album, Turner matches her with tighter, more synchronous playing. The duo lock together like they've been playing with each other for years, not first-timers, and the level of quiet intensity they achieve is breathtaking and inspiring. © Tim Sendra /TiVo

Pop - Released October 18, 2021 | Drag City Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 15, 2021 | Drag City Records

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Jazz - Released October 14, 2021 | Drag City Records

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Rock - Released October 6, 2021 | Drag City Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 29, 2021 | Drag City Records

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Pop - Released September 15, 2021 | Drag City Records

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Rock - Released September 7, 2021 | Drag City Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 24, 2021 | Drag City Records

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Pop - Released August 9, 2021 | Drag City Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 3, 2021 | Drag City Records

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It's been two years since the last Ty Segall record—which wouldn't be a big deal for anyone else, but we're talking about one of the most prolific musicians of this century (or any other time?). Segall has released 13 records since his start in 2008, not counting ones from his side projects Fuzz and GØGGS, the C.I.A. collaboration with wife Denée, live albums, EPs, cover albums, his production work, the Harry Nilsson and T. Rex tributes, or TV theme compositions. The slight lull hasn't really changed the direction of Segall, a stalwart of the modern California garage rock scene; you can still hear his primary influences on Harmonizer: delightful Skip Spence folk weirdness, Marc Bolan's melodic strut, Syd Barrett's acid damage. While in the past Segall's been known to make the occasional acoustic turn (2013's Sleeper), this time it's cover-to-cover fuzz. (It's also not a mellow record like Goodbye Bread—no ballads allowed here.) There are echoes of Love's woozy-melody psychedelia on "Whisper," and Segall dips pretty faithfully into his garage-noise roots for "Feel Good," letting Denée take over vocals (she sings it like how some '60s futurist would have imagined a 21st-century robot sounding). "Erased" is positively hypnotizing—a warning siren blaring, tattoo drums and a crazy-heavy undertow. "Pictures" travels from freak-out to drone, with a breakdown of video game bloops in between. "Waxman" is '70s metal sludge cut through with blazing guitar, while "Play" sounds like it's borrowing (and deliciously warping) a guitar riff from Free. If that makes it seem all over the place, well, that’s what Segall does best, but there’s always a magical throughline that makes his songs feel like a collection of companions rather than disconnected strangers. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released July 27, 2021 | Drag City Records

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Folk/Americana - Released July 23, 2021 | Drag City Records

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When Alasdair Roberts sings, he sounds as pure a Scottish folkie as you could ever imagine, but listening to him play makes clear he's open to other musical ideas and influences. Collaboration with experimental musicians of several varieties comes second nature to him, and when Roberts was approached by Hans Kjorstad, a fiddler from Norway, he happened upon an especially fruitful creative partner. Kjorstad is one of the founders of Völvur, a Norwegian ensemble who are rooted in native folk but are also well versed in jazz, experimental music, and improvisation, and like Roberts, they can honor the pure roots of folk while toying with its frameworks to find new things inside. Roberts could have hardly asked for a more fitting group of musicians to work with, and on 2021's The Old Fabled River, the fruit of their collaboration, the notion works as well in practice as it did on paper. The curious, sometimes forbidding beauty of both Scottish and Norwegian traditional music is the beating heart of this music, and the musicians rearrange its building blocks so skillfully that on some selections, it takes a while to realize just how far afield they've gone in bending the melodies and adding unexpected tonal flavors to the performances. Four of these eight songs were written by Roberts, while three are traditional numbers, and one is an a cappella performance adapted from a poem by Robert Burns. It speaks well of the new material that in terms of mood and emotional impact, it's hard to tell the centuries-old numbers from the original compositions. If woodwinds and electronics occasionally wander into the arrangements, and the occasional atonal passage floats by, these musicians clearly love and respect this music well enough to rework it with love, not malice, and The Old Fabled River is a moving and inspired collection that followers of both folk and experimental music will find greatly rewarding. © Mark Deming /TiVo

Folk/Americana - Released July 6, 2021 | Drag City Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 25, 2021 | Drag City Records