New Releases: May 23

By MIK DAVIS,

Guest list for FlyLo’s latest is Who’s Who

FLYING LOTUS

Flamagra

[LP/DLX LP/CD](Warp)

On his latest opus, FlyLo stretches the definition of his music to encompass any and all artists he draws inspiration from. Like a more EDM/Hip-Hop Brian Eno, he is a collaborator/constructor. The guest list alone is enough to blow minds: Anderson.Paak (the soulful coo on their single "More,") David Lynch (his narrator for the central bead of the album's theme about mythic fire,) Toro Y Moi, Tierra Whack, George Clinton, Denzel Curry, Solange and of course, Thundercat. 

"Flamagra" is some deep layered funk that shows FlyLo moving even farther away from Electronics toward encapsulating a more organic dreamlike experience.

Justin Townes Earle

The Saint of Lost Causes

[LP/CD](New West)

Mavis Staples

We Get By

[LP/CD](Anti-)

Here’s a pair of socially-relevant albums for the edgy Americana fans of the world this week.

For his ninth album, Justin Townes Earle does his level best to make an album that sounds nothing like his father, but does channel his rage with the same daring. Earle tries on the atmospheric Blues for the bracing title cut where he beautifully illustrates apathy and pain.

Elsewhere, his threadbare country ("Ain't Got No Money") and hobbling bounce ("Don't Drink The Water") seem written to meet expectations. However, when he opens up a narrative conversation (the beautiful sway of "Over Alameda" and the smooth "Ahi Esta Mi Nina,") he breaks fresh new ground.

On the verge of 80, Mavis Staples can truly do no wrong. Her voice is just as powerful as it always was and she knows just how to say a lot with very few words.

After a pair of stellar records with Jeff Tweedy as producer, she goes for a more visceral sound with Ben Harper. "Change" swings hard with Harper's guitar rumble providing the perfect foil. When Harper joins her for the rising Soul of "We Get By" they ease together Gospel's simplicity and the music she made famous with her family.

Finally, when they rev up the tempo, Staples and her backup singer bring home a beauty of a new Gospel song in "Sometime." While most of Mavis' career has been about finding her own voice, "We Get By" plays best when it rouses the spirits of her storied past.

Amyl and the Sniffers

[LP/CD](ATO)

When Rock bands find a charismatic lead singer and everything else falls in place around them, it is an earthshaking experience. Australia's Amyl and the Sniffers bring back Punk's caustic edge while unmuzzling brutal riffs and sledgehammer drums.

Like the Stooges reborn, this is guttural, simple music built to make you veer from side-to-side. Singer Amy Taylor leads the band into battle like they may never come back. In just 29 minutes, they rifle through singles ("Some Mutts (Can't Be Muzzled)" and "Cup of Destiny,") while new tracks like the blistering "Monsoon Rock" paint the most vivid picture yet of Melbourne's powderkeg Punk scene.

 

Petrol Girls

Cut & Stitch

[LP/CD](Hassle)

The Glove

No Blades No Bones

[10” EP](Louder Than War)

With citizenship split between Austria and Bristol, UK, Petrol Girls make the case for a new branch of female-led Post-Punk Math Rock. Singer Ren Aldridge is the latest in the long tradition of no-nonsense, all-or-nothing, barbaric yawp. Blatantly political and yet carrying the implications of Art, Petrol Girls pound away at conventionalism with a battering ram band. Like predecessors Fugazi, their music is martial (the opener "The Sound is a bonecrusher.) Yet the band winds riffs into spires of abstract melody and rhythm like classic At The Drive-In (the jackhammer single "Big Mouth.") Yet what holds the group and the album together are how carefully bits of speech (The masterfully written "Intro" builds quietly to the fever pitch needed to jumpstart "The Sound") and noise ("Looming") thanks to producer Peter Miles. The leaping back and forth makes "Cut & Stitch" one wild ride with possibly the best album conclusion of the year. 

Liverpool's The Glove is not quite Punk or even Rock for that matter. Armed with only guitar, drums and two intertwined voices that sound like banshees poised to attack, the four tracks of "No Blades No Bones" are still quite the jolt to the system. As primitive and primordial as they may seem on paper (and first listen,) there is something inherently dangerous about a band that uses minimalism to effectively frame their poetry. This is not "poetry set to music," this is that nexus where the primal screams of poetry and music join forces to unleash what lies within. A promising debut.

SEBADOH - Act Surprised [LP/CD](Dangerbird)

The Lo-Fi music of the Nineties is often ignored in the history of Alternative rundowns. While the nostalgia for this era continues to grow quietly behind newer bands, it is really fantastic to hear a band after years just pick up and play like they never left. Lou Barlow and Jason Loewenstein trade songs just like before and their writing identities melded back together with ease. "Act Surprised" makes no lean toward Modern Rock, these three know just when to stomp on the gas and tap the brakes. The bouncy "Follow The Breath," the sincerely anthemic "Medicate" and the timely "Raging River" are single-worthy. "Act Surprised" throwbacks to the heyday of R.E.M. and (of course) Dinosaur Jr. while serving as a reminder that this is the latest in a catalog that should not be overlooked.

CATE LE BON - Reward [LP/CD](Mexican Summer)

Fresh from co-producing one of the year's best albums from Deerhunter, the Welsh singer Le Bon takes solace in her piano and voice. Before you think this is yet another dreary confessional record, listen to her buoyant single "Home To You." Rubbery bass, simple drums and layers of Le Bon's voice tangle with a wealth of otherworldly sounds. While she does not wish to sound "romantic" in the traditional sense, just hearing melodies pour out of her is enthralling. the ebullient "Daylight Matters" should be in a David Lynch movie, while "The Light" is just beautiful.

REISSUE OF THE WEEK

LEE MOSES - How Much Longer Must I Wait-Singles and Rarities 1965-1972 [LP/CD](Future Days/Light In The Attic)

In Soul music, timing is everything. For Georgian Lee Moses, he arrived just a moment too late. His gruff but sweet voice gave us just one album 1971's "Time and Place." For the first time ever, we are able to hear what led to that lost Soul classic. His three 1967 singles with Musicor all tanked (probably due to being too rough around the edges.) The major groundbreaker in that set was "Bad Girl" (heard here with its missing Part Two that proves you can never have too much of a good thing,) a song so incendiary it would still be years ahead of its time after its revival thanks to HBO's "Girls." These 16 songs are truly the start of "Southern Soul," less refined than the radio hits and as real as it gets.