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Alternatif et Indé - Released December 25, 2017 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternatif et Indé - Released April 17, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternatif et Indé - 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
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i,i

Alternatif et Indé - Released August 9, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

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“There’s similarities and tributaries through all the Bon Iver records leading to this one and that still flow through this one. It’s an expansive sound”. This is how Justin Vernon, the driving force behind Bon Iver, defines his fourth studio album. 12 years of his life have passed, during which his project went from the wintry solitude of For Emma, Forever Ago, to the chamber-pop spring of its eponymous record, to the feverish summer glitch storm of 22, A Million. This fourth season didn’t come easy, either. The promotional tour for the aforementioned third album ended abruptly, due to Vernon’s struggle with anxiety and depression. i,i was created in that aftermath, as a synthesis of his career – a multi-layered autumn where sonic landscapes flow one into the other, and impressionistic instrumentals, glitchy samples and vocal harmonies pile on top of each other seamlessly, before being torn away to reveal the bare bones canvas lying beneath. This retrospective approach to his music is interlaced with cryptic lyrics that seem to ponder Vernon’s misanthropic tendencies: “I should've known / That I shouldn't hide/ To compromise and to covet/ All what’s inside “ he mourns on the electro-folk crescendo of Faith, undercut by growling bass and haunting background vocals. On the album closer RABi, which is a play on the words “I could rob, bye bye”, Bon Iver seems to find peace at last, in a side nod to listeners: “Sun light feels good now, don't it? And I don't have a leaving plan/ But something's gotta ease your mind/ But it's all fine, or it's all crime anyway “. It’s a cathartic finish, for a troubled artist who seems to have temporarily fought off his demons, as well as the audience – we who’ve followed him and applauded him since the beginning. © Alexis Renaudat/Qobuz
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Alternatif et Indé - Released October 4, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

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Three years after My Woman, an album which saw her move even further away from her main influences (Cat Power, Hope Sandoval from Mazzy Star, Kate Bush, PJ Harvey) as she pursued her grungy indie folk (which incorporated Americana and vintage sounds) Angel Olsen has signed a more silky, shimmering and even luxurious production here. There are no commercial compromises in All Mirrors, just a clear desire to soak her music in less troubled waters… The sound is bigger, the arrangements more elaborate and the instrumentation even includes strings, again impeccably measured. Much like Annie Clark a.k.a. St Vincent, Olsen blends a powerful explosion of fury and strong self-acceptance, boosted by impressive melodies. The American is also at ease in moving from dark atmospheres to almost playful sequences. A stylistic richness that becomes even greater each time you listen to it. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternatif et Indé - Released January 18, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

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Sharon Van Etten waited five years before releasing a follow up to Are We There, her 2014 album on which she brilliantly juggled between the legacies of Cat Power, Nick Cave, John Cale, Joan As Police Woman, St Vincent, Feist and Fiona Apple. It’s a record on which she was, above all, herself. She confirms this with Remind Me Tomorrow which was conceived when her schedule was overflowing between a role in the series The OA, the writing of the soundtrack for Katherine Dieckmann’s film Strange Weather, the music for comedian Tig Notaro’s show, preparing for a psychology degree, an appearance in the series Twin Peaks and the birth of her first child!Energy is at the heart of this 2019 vintage record on which John Congleton handled the the arrangements. The producer is without a doubt at the forefront of the more rhythmic sequences rather than the more accustomed ones, such as the single Comeback Kid. With less minimalist reflections and more assertive affirmations, Sharon Van Etten hasn’t lost her uniqueness along the way. And what she has added here doesn’t alter the original taste too much. Congleton knew how to find the perfect sound texture to make the singer’s gothic folk universe all the more powerful and charming. With this album one of the most talented artists of her generation continues to grow. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternatif et Indé - Released January 24, 2020 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternatif et Indé - To be released May 15, 2020 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternatif et Indé - Released April 26, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

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You’d expect nothing less from these two. Sam France and Jonathan Rado, the wacky duo who have come to embody the psychedelic rock scene of the late 2010s with their verbose creativity, have released their fifth record. But is it their best? It certainly is in terms of maturity. The lack-luster …And Star Power (2014) left much to be desired due to its trippy and hallucinogenic sound that appeared to rip off Todd Rundgen. The following album Hang (2017) was a vast improvement and not far off the classic We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic (2013). Sam and Jonathan will soon be entering their thirties; their faces have matured along with their rock’n’roll sound. “How does it feel to be livin’ a lie” sings Sam on Livin’ a lie before he concludes “We should just be friends” on The Conclusion. The duo has aged, mixed things up, and above all, wizened.Rado has practically become an invaluable and omnipresent member of the world of indie rock: he has worked as a producer for the Lemon Twigs and has been called in for assistance by artists such as Alex Cameron and Father John Misty. He is also responsible for the production of Weyes Blood’s impressive Titanic Rising. With such a résumé Rado is, indeed, indispensable. With Seeing Other People, the duo displays an eighties rock-funk sound, like MGMT had done with Little Dark Age; an arsenal of synths (Face the Facts), a new voice (that of a weathered seducer on Mona) and their own new sense of orchestration (Livin’ a lie). The melodies, while less forceful, are more complex and richer. One wonders what they will achieve in their forties. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Alternatif et Indé - Released April 6, 2018 | Jagjaguwar

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If Ruban Nielson were an animal, he'd most certainly be an octopus, due to his many-limbed approach to music and his ability to squeeze into the narrow spaces between genres. Sex & Food finds Nielson and Unknown Mortal Orchestra displaying the same versatility, albeit with the rounded edge of Multi-Love traded in for a spikier fourth album. Nielson has always been hard to pin down; he operates on the fringes of certain genres, leaning in to borrow ideas but warping them enough that they would feel out of place side by side with their influences. The record touches on many of his trademark styles, including folk, R&B, and funk, but adds a dose of riff-centric rock. However, while it's true that he can weld both the loud and quiet ends of the spectrum, it's still his softer side that shines brightest. The fuzzier approach heard on "Major League Chemicals" and "American Guilt" is degraded and grating by design, obfuscating the all-out nature of both tracks. This is rectified by the time "Hunnybee" rolls around -- the first major highlight -- which manages to take a softer approach yet includes a standout guitar solo. The soft guitar prevails throughout "Chronos Feast on His Children," highlighting Nielson's penchant for contrast, as it leads directly into "American Guilt" with all its scuzz and vigor. Multi-Love included a handful of funkier cuts, but here it falls to "Everyone Acts Crazy Nowadays" to remind you that this specific side of his songwriting hasn't faded entirely; the same can be said for the R&B-skimming "Not in Love We're Just High." It's hard to fault the album overall; even though there's a trend for magpie-esque records, Sex & Food still has an instantly identifiable sound. It may not reach the peaks of the Orchestra's previous album but it's stuffed with ideas and proves that Nielson's consistently shifting tone finds creative strength where others might stretch themselves too thin. ~ Liam Martin
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Alternatif et Indé - Released August 5, 2016 | Jagjaguwar

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Arriving four years after 2012's I Bet on Sky -- the longest stretch of time between albums since Dinosaur Jr. became an active band again in 2007 -- Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not doesn't offer any surface surprises, at least not along the lines of the roaring reunion of 2007's Beyond, or the keyboard colorings of I Bet on Sky. That's not to say Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not doesn't surprise, because it does -- namely, it shocks by sounding as vital as Dinosaur Jr. ever has. Deciding to not to build upon the expansive textures of I Bet on Sky, the trio nevertheless sounds vividly oversaturated throughout Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not. Certainly, J Mascis generates these brilliant colors through his guitar, with his riffs buzzing against each other and providing dense contrast to his piercing, lyrical solos, but the vigor of Lou Barlow and Murph is equally bracing. Beneath the fuzz, there are dexterous rhythms -- often, there's considerable air to the roar, making the music almost groove -- which gives Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not a visceral thrill, and if that's all it delivers it'd be enough, but the tunes are among the strongest sets of songs Mascis and Barlow have ever written. As always, Barlow gets two numbers, but the heavy jangle of "Love Is…" and the stuttering, bone-tired closer "Left/Right" complement Mascis, who alternates between hooky-heavy pop, weary urban country, and creeping sludge. While none of these may be new, the execution of it all, from composition to performance, means that Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not feels fresh, which is quite an achievement for a band approaching the tenth anniversary of its reunion. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released June 7, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

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It's hard to say where this falls on the "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" spectrum, but comic, actor, and musician Tim Heidecker's 2019 album What the Brokenhearted Do may be the most inspired example to date of how to respond to Internet trolling. Heidecker makes no secret of his leftist politics in his social media posts or on his albums Too Dumb for Suicide: Tim Heidecker's Trump Songs and Cainthology: Songs in the Key of Cain. For reasons best known to themselves, some folks who didn't care for Heidecker's dislike of Donald Trump began spreading a rumor that Heidecker's wife had gotten so sick of his leftist ways that she left him, with someone going so far as to fake divorce papers and post them online. Heidecker's response was curious but inspired: he wrote an album of breakup songs about a man struggling with divorce, even though Heidecker was and remains happily married. What the Brokenhearted Do may have started as some sort of joke (no great surprise coming from the co-creator of Awesome Show, Great Job!), but by the time he finished, Heidecker had created a superb homage to the downbeat side of '70s soft rock. Jonathan Rado of Foxygen helped Heidecker record What the Brokenhearted Do, and while the two have incorporated some subtle elements of parody in these songs (the Neil Young guitars in "Finally Getting Over" and the mention of "this place that Billy Joel sang about" in "Funeral Shoes"), in both melody and lyrics most of this music sounds sweetly bummed out enough that it could easily pass as the real thing, especially the masterful "I Don't Think About You Much Anymore." Heidecker's voice is good, not great, but his phrasing and sense of drama is superb, and his delivery points to the likes of Harry Nilsson, Steely Dan, Jackson Browne, and James Taylor as he struggles with the anger, frustration, and depression of a man suddenly alone. "When I Get Up" sounds jaunty on the surface, but it's a knowing study of the nature of depression when you take a second look. And the production and arrangements approximate the sounds of the era with a knowing skill and affection. Heidecker has walked a similar musical path on 2016's In Glendale and in his recordings with Davin Wood, but What the Brokenhearted Do is his finest album to date, moving past parody or homage into a place that comes within throwing distance of the masters of this particular sound. Heidecker's spouse may have to leave him for real if he's ever going to top this. ~ Mark Deming
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Alternatif et Indé - Released May 4, 2018 | Jagjaguwar

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Loving the music of the Everly Brothers is something that scores of music fans have done over the years; most of those fans were content to spin the duo's records and enjoy their haunting vocal harmonies and achingly romantic songs. Cut Worms' Max Clarke took his love of the Everlys one step further, and on his debut album, Hollow Ground, re-creates their vintage sound on a set of ten songs that have all the heart and soul of the brothers' best work. With producers Jonathan Rado and Jason Finkel helping out, Clarke plays most of the instruments, vocally plays the role of both Phil and Don, and masterfully straddles the line between soda shop-sweet pop and richly twangy country as Hollow Ground's mix of jangling uptempo tracks, quiet ballads loaded with lap and pedal steel, and swaying midtempo doo wop roll by like the best songs on a greatest-hits album. While there is a lot of stylistic variety from song to song, Clarke's keening tenor is a consistent presence that cuts through the reverb and echo like an arrow shot from a long-lost lover. He can strut lightly through peppy songs ("How It Can Be"), croon with deep pools of feeling on slow songs ("Like Going Down Sideways"), get old-time country blue on barroom ballads ("Hanging Your Picture Up to Dry"), and even get a little bit gruff on the album's toughest rocker ("Cash for Gold"). It's a powerhouse vocal performance that's matched by the music he whips up and the production finesse applied by Rado and Finkel. Hollow Ground is the real deal cooked up by someone who not only loves the Everlys, but understands what made them great and is able to re-create it with an easygoing flair. It's a wonderful debut, and even if Clarke and Cut Worms veer away from this sound in the future, at least he will have left the world this one slice of genius retro-pop ~ Tim Sendra
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Alternatif et Indé - Released March 23, 2018 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternatif et Indé - Released September 16, 2016 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternatif et Indé - Released October 26, 2018 | Jagjaguwar

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IC-01 Hanoi is quite different from anything else in the Unknown Mortal Orchestra catalog. While in Vietnam recording the 2018 album Sex & Food, group leader Ruban Nielson, his brother drummer Kody Nielson, and bassist Jacob Portrait took some time out from the sessions to lay down some electric jazz tracks. They were joined by Vietnamese musician Minh Nguyen and the Nielsons' dad, Chris, on flügelhorn, saxophone, and keys. The result was seven songs that are heavily influenced by electric Miles Davis records like On the Corner, only flavored with Vietnamese sounds and spiced by Ruban's fuzzy guitar wanderings. The record is split between short expressionist pieces that meander peacefully, letting Nguyen's flute and percussion come to the fore, and free-flowing jazz-funk workouts that sound haunted and wired. The record is anchored by "Hanoi 6," a lengthy deep-groove ballad that features Nguyen's Đàn môi (a kind of bamboo jaw harp) setting the spooky atmosphere and Chris Nielson unspooling a long, expressive solo. This last track is the most effective of the batch because it really takes flight and sounds fully realized. The moodily psychedelic "Hanoi 2," which showcases Ruban's spiky, drowned-in-EFX electric guitar skills, is the next longest and most realized piece; the rest of the album sounds like sketches of a moment in time that are good to hear once, but don't stand up to repeated listens. Overall, IC-01 Hanoi is interesting and shows that the band does have impressive range, but it's not quite an essential piece of the UMO puzzle. ~ Tim Sendra
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Alternatif et Indé - Released September 8, 2017 | Jagjaguwar

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Saturn Over Sunset is the debut of Midnight Sister, a duo formed by classically trained musician Ari Balouzian and artist/filmmaker/then-Sunset Boulevard shopgirl Juliana Giraffe. The San Fernando Valley natives met when Balouzian scored a short film by Giraffe and her sister. Balouzian later sent Giraffe some instrumental music, which she returned after adding vocals in GarageBand, and they liked the results. Balouzian's first foray into pop aside from arranging for Tobias Jesso, Jr. and Alex Izenberg (who co-produces here), and Giraffe's first music project, Midnight Sister give the impression of old souls rather than newcomers in their twenties. The album took inspiration from the local characters and mythology of Los Angeles. The resulting slinky, off-kilter chamber tunes blend elements of Baroque pop, Mancini, noir, and David Lynch diner-booth surrealism for an absorbing set of experimental pop. Giraffe's husky, tunefully murmured delivery helps set a dreamlike atmosphere as glockenspiel, vintage keyboard tones, strings, and haphazard computer noise converge on opener "Canary," a waltz somewhere on the music box-fairground organ spectrum. Later, woodwinds, strings, and piano paint a lo-fi cabaret on "Showgirl," and funky bass, handclaps, and out-of-tune piano distinguish "Shimmy" ("Shimmy the sweat off my neck/Shape it so you understand"). Elsewhere and just as fanciful, "The View from Gilligan's Island" is an instrumental with ominous keyboards and strings and improvised drums. Highly stylized but memorable for both its unusual palette and what are ultimately consistently good songs (for outright earworms, don't miss "Blue Cigar" and "Daddy Long Legs"), Saturn Over Sunset is recommended for anyone intrigued by the idea of retrofuturist anti-pop. ~ Marcy Donelson
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Pop - Released November 8, 2017 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternatif et Indé - Released September 13, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternatif et Indé - Released September 26, 2018 | Jagjaguwar

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