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Alternative & Indie - Released July 31, 2020 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 3, 2020 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 15, 2020 | Jagjaguwar

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Beck lent him his songwriting. Sufjan Stevens covered his songs. James Blake, Bon Iver, Flume and Andrew Bird invited him onto their albums. And Solange Knowles, St. Vincent and Erykah Badu hang out with him: Moses Sumney is a powerful and fascinating magnet. The futuristic soulman’s aura was confirmed in 2017 on his debut album Aromanticism, an impeccable work of lustful, intelligent R&B carried by a gospel-soaked voice and a strong yet troubled personality. Underscoring the duality of his daily life and his struggles with schizophrenia, Moses Sumney sees double with Græ. He has created this ambitious second album (released in two parts, three months apart) by dipping his brush into a wide-ranging palette: soul, pop, jazz, rock, R&B, folk. Even the title - neither black nor white - amplifies the feeling of being in-between...Now based in Asheville, North Carolina, the Californian (who lived in Accra, Ghana between the ages of 10 and 16) articulates ideas in two-headed sounds. His sexuality as his origins, his virility as his fragility, his falsetto as his hoarse voice, luxury as purity, acoustic guitar as synths, it’s all there. The first part is lyrical, grandiloquent and warm, bordering on baroque soul. The second is more peaceful and weightless. He flits from one thing to another with such ease that it’s never confusing or disorientating. As Sumney said in an interview, pop culture has made the patriarchy waver to the point that we forget masculinity is not necessarily a bad thing: Græ proves it in a whirlwind of eclecticism where his voice serves as a solid common thread. Like on Gagarin, where he revisits From Gagarins Point of View by E.S.T., the late Swedish jazz pianist Esbjörn Svensson’s trio. Or when he invites Jill Scott to sing (recite) the intro to jill/jack. James Blake and Daniel Lopatin a.k.a. Oneohtrix Point Never appear in this vast symphony, one so rich that you hear something new each time you listen. It would be too simplistic to consider Græ the album of Prince 2.0, since he feeds on a thousand sounds. In this grey area, Moses Sumney already has his own crown. And his reign has only just begun... © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 12, 2020 | Jagjaguwar

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International Pop - Released January 16, 2020 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 17, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 2, 2018 | Jagjaguwar

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Spencer Krug, the leader of Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown, has been releasing solo material under the handle Moonface since 2011. In advance of the release of Moonface's 2018 album This One's for the Dancer & This One's for the Dancer's Bouquet, Krug announced that it would be his last Moonface project, and that any future solo work would be issued under his own name. It's tempting to view This One's for the Dancer & This One's for the Dancer's Bouquet as a summing up for the Moonface era, or possibly as a way to clear out the project's odds and ends. In the press materials for This One's for the Dancer, Krug revealed that the album was compiled from material originally recorded for two different albums, using different collaborators and recorded at different times and places. While the material coheres well enough, the songs reflect two points of view -- some of the songs are written from the perspective of Spencer Krug himself, while the others reflect the thoughts of a Minotaur trapped in a maze who wants to forgive the fellow mythological figures responsible for its plight. In both sets of songs, repetitive keyboard patterns create a steady pulse and melodic anchor. In Krug's numbers, the singing is bold in its Bowie-esque delivery and booms out over the accompaniment, which includes periodic interjections from a sax player. Elsewhere, the voice of the Minotaur is distorted and low in the mix, while the keyboards square off against energetic percussion that includes steel drums and marimba along with trap drums. While it's not too hard to sort out the shifting perspectives of the tunes, it's often quite difficult to figure out what the Minotaur is supposed to be saying, which makes for a sometimes uncomfortable contrast to the soul-bearing theatricalism of Krug's tunes. Either way, This One's for the Dancer & This One's for the Dancer's Bouquet is an album that is sometimes compelling in its hypnotic, minimalist sonic constructs but repeats itself too often to be as effective as it could have been. And some judicious editing would have served this music well; this simply didn't need to be a double album. (And it's possible that the material would have been better served in its original form as two separate albums rather than grafted together as it was here.) There's much to admire in This One's for the Dancer & This One's for the Dancer's Bouquet, but the good ideas don't always sustain themselves in the execution, and perhaps the coming Spencer Krug projects will reflect a concision and clarity of focus that is not always apparent here. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 10, 2018 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 4, 2015 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 25, 2014 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 25, 2013 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 28, 2013 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 13, 2012 | Jagjaguwar

Booklet
When Sharon Van Etten issued the ironically titled seven-song Epic in 2009, it stood in stark contrast to her 2007 debut, Because I Was in Love. On the latter record, she employed a full-on rock band, her songwriting gained a more defined precision, and her singing voice -- even at its most vulnerable -- seemed to speak with a confidence that didn't seem to need any frame of reference other than its own. Tramp is titled for the period of post-relationship uncertainty and the period of homelessness Van Etten experienced during its 14-month recording process. Produced by the National's Aaron Dessner, who puts the songwriter's fine singing voice front and center, it features guest appearances by Zach Condon, Julianna Barwick, and more. "Warsaw," with its jagged electric guitars, bass, halting keyboards, and primitive, tom-tom heavy drums, is a shambling illustration of what's to be found here. Van Etten's protagonist is still vulnerable, but she wills herself toward a horizon past it. Likewise, the set's first single "Serpents," with its rumbling guitars and cracking snares, frankly discusses being physically and emotionally abused, but it comes from the other side, her protagonist is out of the situation, refusing to be a victim. Jenn Wassner's backing vocals in every line transform this into an anthem of survival. Not everything here falls down the rock & roll rabbit hole, however. Acoustically driven ballads such as "Kevin's," "All I Can," and "Leonard" highlight her subject's character defects and vulnerabilities as well as those of her significant other's. Van Etten's lyrics accuse as much as they confess and empathize. More often than not, her subject is the one who leaves, rather than the one left; the reasons are myriad: betrayal, co-dependency, a willingness toward an emotional freedom that allows love itself to dictate what it expects. There is great beauty on Tramp, especially in its last third; from the jaunty, acoustic stroll of "We Are Fine" to the multi-textured, nearly psych-pop of "I'm Wrong," to the airy, drifting closer "Joke or a Lie." For all this, Van Etten skirts the edges of giving us a great album without actually delivering one. Perhaps it's the exhaustive, confessional nature of its songs, its reliance on three basic melodic ideas, or even its length. Whatever the reason(s), Tramp doesn't quite fulfill its considerable promise. But this isn't a criticism; Van Etten is still a young, developing songwriter who gets more sophisticated with each album. As such, Tramp offers plenty for listeners to enjoy as she goes. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 10, 2012 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 2, 2011 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 7, 2011 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 26, 2011 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 22, 2011 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 14, 2011 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 8, 2011 | Jagjaguwar