Nude CasinoRegular price Sale price $9.99 Save $0.00
LP is Gatefold Jacket + Download Card.
CD is 4 Panel Digipack.
Rotterdam’s Iguana Death Cult hasn’t exactly been shy about causing havoc on whatever stage they set foot. That’s likely been the one constant since establishing their giddy brand of protopunk and garage rock on debut LP The First Stirrings Of Insect Life. Iguana’s pending follow-up Nude Casino marks a swift and sobering departure from the miasma of psychedelics they purvey so fervently. But no less intense: this band has been sharpening their tools, reemerging from their concrete cavern with a ragged and convulsive post-punk attack akin to Devo, The Gun Club, and Richard Hell.
Nude Casino sporadically evokes Iguana Death Cult’s more hedonistic tendencies, but the album’s crisper, more unvarnished sonic makeup illustrates a seething skepticism as a counterbalance. Frontman Jeroen Reek finds himself teetering in demented neurosis between vivid dream states and stark reality. The album’s beating heart is ‘Tuesday’s Lament’, an arresting five-chapter monologue that wrestles with the strains of mortality and belief. As Reek narrates the invasion of existing evils into his phantasmagorical, aquatic dream world, somehow, Iguana Death Cult manage to jam it all into a belter of a melodic hook: “Swimming upstream for the sake of paradise, it’s up there still.” A bashful resolution, albeit one that balances on the edge of fatalism.
Adding a touch of sobriety, both sonically and lyrically, hasn’t stifled Iguana Death Cult daredevil ways the slightest. The mighty triptych of ‘Nude Casino’, ‘Bright Lights’ and ‘Lorraine’ was pretty much written simultaneously, a testament to the off-the-chain chemistry the Dutch quintet has developed over the years. Axe-wielder Tobias Opschoor once again brandishes his resourcefulness for licks that penetrate the skull with charm and impertinence. He is the brains behind Nude Casino’s manic, climax-building pinnacle ‘Nature Calls’, a juggernaut of a track that ironically captures a yearning to drift away from the civilized world. Though more grounded in reality, sonically speaking, ‘Nature Calls’ might be the closest kin to the more surrealist pronouncements of First Stirrings.
Playing an abundance of shows – at small clubs, squats and festivals such as The Great Escape, Lowlands, c/o pop, Plissken and Reeperbahn – has whipped Iguana into even more ferocious live band, and that experience carries over in the recordings. The tandem of Justin Boer (bass) and Arjen van Opstal (drums) is still the engine that drives the group’s helter-skelter horsepower. Jimmy de Kok adds a new melodic dynamic, assaulting the neurons with feverish organs and synths. With yet another erratic element in the fold, Nude Casino invokes something more claustrophobic and barren, tackling themes like sleep paralysis (‘Half Frisian’) and lost innocence (‘Castle In The Sky’).
Indeed, Iguana Death Cult isn’t gleefully surfing that mighty tidal wave anymore, but giving in to destructive currents that enwrap everything in chaos. Nude Casino is an intrusive, spastic affair, streamlined into a propellant, hook-heavy yomps, never more obvious than the cadaverous disco pulse of ‘Carnal Beat Machine’. Like The Clash and Minutemen before them, Iguana Death Cult have embraced the art of rocking the fuck out with all senses and impulses up to eleven. Rapturously sinking in their claws, and never letting go.
Joy Comes In SpiritRegular price Sale price $9.99 Save $0.00
2LP is Gatefold Jacket, Custom Inner Sleeves + Download Card.
CD is Jewel Case.
In a world where art is compromised and commodified, shrunk down and boxed in, Vicktor Taiwò wants us to open up. The vibrant young singer-songwriter traffics in subtle hints and soaring melodies, slow creeps and grand climaxes. Taiwò is on a mission to collect something from himself, and it’s a journey worth following.
It is the frigid winter of the year 2000 and Vicktor Taiwò, an eight year old, accompanied by his mother and siblings, arrive in East London after leaving behind the visceral warmth of Abeokuta, Nigeria behind. Raised in a Christian home, his exposure to performing music came as it does for many with gifted vocal ability; honing skills and crafting harmonies in church choirs.
Years forward and disillusioned by his decision to study Law & Business at university, Vicktor Taiwò makes a choice that alters the course of his life permanently. After encouragement from friends and a brief stint as a frustrated photographer, Taiwò decides on January 1, 2012 precisely - as he does with most things - that he would make music his medium.
Once he started uploading his songs online, listeners caught on quickly. Without label or publisher, he found himself synced on shows like Girls and Dear White People. JUNO, Vicktor’s self-released debut EP, was met with praise by the likes of Vice, Billboard, and Okayplayer for its lean, focused approach to song structure, and for its withering, poetic lyrics.
Even at such an early stage in his development, Taiwò was finding angles that most songwriters would neglect. “At this point, all I really think there is for humans to do is to explore detail,” he says. “To see how infinite an infinitely expanding universe really is, and how small the smallest particle really is.”
His debut album, Joy Comes in Spirit, is at once experimental and comforting – collected shards of soul and style reassembled into something entirely new. Due out on Innovative Leisure, the record introduces a bold new artist willing to take musical and lyrical risks, and to bare himself to an international audience. The result is an arresting, unforgettable work that shrugs off the expectations we have that musicians fit easily into recognizable molds.
A fearless writer, on “Letters I Wrote,” Taiwò opens with a remarkable scene: “If you never see sunlight again / And the sun turns black and makes you so afraid / Can you find the light within to fight the night?” It’s a note to self of course; from Joy Comes in Spirit’s first note, Vicktor is mining his own psyche for its dark depths and hidden crevices, demanding from himself the sort of emotional reaction his work incites in others.
Songs like “Subducta. Psalm 69,” a seven-minute, multi-part epic, echo contemporary hip-hop; “tDS (Surf)” seems designed to be sung around campfires in the distant future; “Supernatural Women” traces 808s & Heartbreak back to its Zappian roots. And “Summon,” one of the record’s highlights, is like if you trapped a troubled spirit in a GameBoy Colour.
Vicktor Taiwò is emotionally complex. His album’s beautiful closer, “Morning Joy,” is redemptive, an optimistic look toward better days. It’s hard not to be optimistic in the face of Taiwò’s talent, the kind of which is rarely harnessed so seamlessly, and at such a young age. He’ll be an artist of consequence for years to come, no matter what outside forces threaten to block his path.
EXHIBITIONISTSRegular price Sale price $12.99 Save $0.00
In the summer of 2010, Superhumanoids was birthed under the hazy air and bright blue skies of Los Angeles. A fascination for electronic sounds, instruments, pedals, and more, aesthetically united Max, Sarah, and Cameron. Like a petri dish growing each day, the band spent their time together intertwining and experimenting with their R&B upbringings and love for pop music.
Exhibitionists is the soundtrack to the last moments of dusk in LA. With swooning guitars, glimmering air, soaring melodies, the setting sun, and melting keyboards, something about the whole thing makes your breath stop short. With each synth and guitar sound being completely made from scratch, the record brings a homegrown feel that encapsulates the thumps of the beating heart and lulls of swaying palm fronds from LA. Despite being wrapped in an electronic blanket, the trio unravels each songs core to take the listener on a journey that highlights the living R&B undertones and driving groove that brings to light the soul of the record. What is found in the sticky air of the city of angels is found here in Exhibitionists, to ease between the spaces of your body, make you dance, and bring you home.
Island UniverseRegular price Sale price $12.99 Save $0.00
Beyond the real deal is the unreal deal, and therein lies Feeding People, a band of teenagers making some of the heaviest psychedelic around decadesafter the 13th Floor Elevators declared their hallucinatory sense of purpose. Feeding People was founded and is headed by nineteen-year-old JessieJones who channels the raw power of Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick and Janis Joplin at her most primal as she leads with strong, almost viciousvocals, bellowing blasphemies as if possessed by spirits with a masked sweetness reminiscent of Billie Holiday. Her siren call reeled in Chris Alfaro ofFree the Robots who produced some of the band’s earliest recordings, all of which were written acoustic and recorded electric in a single take in a’ 6’x10’ walk-in closet with a 4-track recorder and mic stands made of broom handles taped to fire extinguishers.After playing only a couple shows, Feeding People became the second band ever invited to play storied electronic music club Low End Theory, wherethey shared the stage with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. This is the full length LP recorded andproduced by Jonny Bell of The Crystal Antlers and Hanni El Khatib.
Do You Feel Ok?Regular price Sale price $12.98 Save $0.00
CD is a 4 Panel Digipack.
LP comes w/ Digital Download Card.
Do You Feel Ok? It’s a question you can answer with a shake of the head or an hour-long tangent. For Superhumanoids, it’s the title of their sophomore album, but it goes deeper than that.
It’s an inquiry that they kept asking each other throughout recording—a meditation on indecision, the infinite paths available, the dubious and righteous choices you’ve made, the changes in your own life that don’t always parallel those closest to you. It can be an obvious “yes” or “no,” or an existential inquiry without easy answers.
Since their 2013 Innovative Leisure debut, Exhibitions, the LA trio sound like they’ve traveled 30 years forward. Whereas their first album elicited comparisons to artists from the 1980s, Do You Feel Ok? reflects the present in all the power and clarity possible with modern technology.
The synths are phosphorescent. Lead singer Sarah Chernoff’s vocals are sleek, ethereal, and ignore gravitational limitations. With propulsive drum machines and feathery hooks, the band blends futuristic electronic textures with classic regard for songwriting. Superhumanoids are singular, but their grace at switching between dance music and rock recall similar hybrids, Darkside and Caribou.
“In the middle of recording, we went on tour with Erasure and realized that the songs we’d written weren’t achieving the energetic atmosphere we hoped for,” says Max St. John, the band’s synth programmer. When we got home we made the necessary changes to create that energy. We wrote additional songs, we sped up tempos, and made changes to the production that we felt were more exciting.”
All three members, Chernoff, Cameron Parkins, and St. John share writing credits and display a rare chemistry. But the durability of their bond comes from both an inherent connection and having been repeatedly tested.
“When we released our first record we had a lot of expectations, some of which weren’t met. The ensuing disappointment caused strain on our relationships as band mates and friends,” says Parkins, Superhumanoids’ guitarist.“When we got together again to start making music for the second album, our friendships felt re invigorated and our eyes were open as to what to ‘expect’ from releasing an album.”
Their debut found Pitchfork hailing them for their “sleepily epic dream-pop.” The Fader praised their “luxurious radio-friendly songs.”The New York Times' T Magazine called "So Strange" a candidate for song of the summer. But with their second album, they’ve ascended to a different elevation—retaining their pop infectiousness but adding an experimental edge.
Do You Feel Ok? is the leap that comes when a band figures out who they are, how to trust each other, and how to create a sound of their own. It’s fluid, full of movement, and capable of pushing people emotionally. If you’re exhausted from the monotony of Internet consensus and homogenous bands, press play. This can soundtrack summer pool parties or the drive home—when you feel okay and when you don’t.
ParallelsRegular price Sale price $9.99 Save $0.00
LP comes with Custom Inner Sleeve +Download Card.
CD is Jewel Case.
Parallels is the fourth full album released under Jason Chung’s distinctive moniker, Nosaj Thing. Masterfully dimensional, Parallels represents the acclaimed Los Angeles-based electronic producer/composer/performer’s most diverse, vital work yet. As such, Chung sees Parallels represents a kind of redemptive rebirth.
The album’s compellingly elusive, uncategorizable sonics developed out of what he terms a personal & musical “identity crisis.”
According to Chung, working with a group of collaborators on Parallels that combined both longtime friends and new creative partners added “new energy which pushed me not to limit myself. Everything felt fresh and alive.” The title Parallels in fact evokes the intense, intimate duality Nosaj Thing and his collaborators share. Chung is known specifically for his innovative, unexpected musical pairings: Kid Cudi hit up on Nosaj Thing via his MySpace page in 2006, resulting in Chung producing Cudi’s autobiographical classic “The Man on the Moon.” Kendrick Lamar flowed over Nosaj’s ethereal boom bap to create the YouTube gem “Cloud 10”; Chance the Rapper, meanwhile, freaked a Nosaj beat for his 2013 breakout masterpiece “Paranoia” and appeared on Nosaj Thing’s previous LP, 2015’s Fated. Chung and Blonde Redhead vocalist Kazu Makino are also longtime creative partners on each other’s work; her voice appears on Parallels as an otherworldly spirit animating the icily ‘80s-synthetic “How We Do.”
Lazer SwordRegular price Sale price $10.99 Save $0.00
The debut album from Lazer Sword consisting of Lando Kal and Low Limit. With guest appearances by Antipop Consortium’s M. Sayyid, Freestyle Fellowship MC Myka 9, bizarro funk crooner Zackey Force Funk and Bay area hyphy don Turf Talk. Packaged for Double LP and CD format in a futuristic landscape gatefold by Swedish designer, Kilian Eng.