Something For The Weekend – New Vinyl Out 1 June
Something For The Weekend: Long Live Vinyl’s pick of the new releases on vinyl out on 1 June, including Father John Misty’s fourth album – God’s Favorite Customer, reviewed in full.
Father John Misty
God’s Favorite Customer
It’s a third full-length album in four years from Josh Tillman’s ever beguiling alter-ego – and while last year’s Pure Comedy was a challenging, at times impenetrable, listen – spanning 74 minutes and reflecting on the darkness engulfing politics, climate change and humanity at large – this time, the tone is often more summery. At least on the surface. For beneath all the three-minute songs and woozy Lennon-esque harmonies, God’s Favorite Customer, written largely in New York in summer 2016 and early 2017, is an album that examines heartache, separation and the fleeting, giddy allure of freedom from all angles. As ever with a Father John Misty record, the line between autobiography and multifarious observations through sometimes ironic lenses is opaque. The outstanding ‘White Album’-evoking opener Hangout At The Gallows, with majestic cello and Harrison-esque lead guitar, ponders the big questions: “What’s your politics, what’s your religion?” against uncharacteristically breezy “yeah yeah yeahs”. Mr. Tillman barely breaks the three-minute mark, a tale of misadventure which also finds him in unusually chirpy form: “I’m feeling good, damn I’m feeling so fine/ I’m living in a cloud above an island in my mind”
Just Dumb Enough To Try returns to Pure Comedy’s more sombre territory, a reflective farewell with aching slide guitar and a brief, fizzing solo: “I’m just dumb enough to try to keep you in my life for a little while longer/ I’m insane enough to think I’m going to get out with my skin and start my life again”. Its abrupt ending frames its devastating beauty, while Please Don’t Die deals with more fear of loss: “One more cryptic message, thinking that I might end it/ Oh God you must have woken up to me saying that it’s all too much/ I’ll take it easy with the morbid stuff”. Another sub-three-minute spin, Disappointing Diamonds Are The Rarest Of Them All sounds unlike anything Tillman’s done to date, and not dissimilar from Elliott Smith with its slapback falsetto, jaunty piano chords and exultant brass.
The title track probes the relationship between sin and forgiveness, a searching, earnest chorus checked by Tillman’s accompanying sense of wit and irony: “Beware the man who has everything/ Everything that he wants/ You can spot him from a mile away/ His gold chain and only one pair of socks”. The Songwriter is a sparse piano ballad, Tillman again playing with perspectives on the dissolution of a relationship: “What would it sound like if you were the songwriter, and loving me was your unsung masterpiece?”. He closes a record that’s as good as anything he’s made with three more questions that hint at reconciliation: “I think the end of it all may look a lot like the beginning/ We’re passed around from hand to hand, screaming for no particular reason/ The company gets pretty thin, so we start to shed all our distinctions/ So why not me? Why not you? Why not now?”
Oneohtrix Point Never
Eclecticism has long been at the root of Daniel Lopatin’s OPN project. The bricolage essence of the ‘vaporwave’ genre he became synonymous with is based on edit-based manipulations such as ‘chop and screw’, used to create something new, often out of pre-existing material. What has given Lopatin longevity, however (including a great score for the 2017 Robert Pattinson-starring Good Time) is his ability to supersede technique and transmute the practice into something new altogether: something personal. This is still twisted, warbled, jagged electronics spliced with sci-fi-influenced ambience, but he shifts things from the moving Black Snow to the terrifying Warning in a way that feels deeply planted in narrative, despite its head-spinning and varied traverse through genres, tones, paces and textures. From eerie synthesiser lines to throbbing industrial beats, Age Of rarely sits still for a moment, but remains an engrossing, challenging, yet rewarding listen.
Rhymes Of An Hour
After playing their first shows in five years, Hope Sandoval’s sublime dream-pop architects return with their first recorded music since 2014, a four-track EP featuring three new tracks and an alternative version of So Tonight That I Might See from 1993’s album of the same name. That record gave us the dreamy Fade In To You.
Case’s first solo album in five years follows collaborative projects with KD Lang, Laura Veirs and The New Pornographers. It was co-produced in Stockholm with Bjorn Yttlin of Peter Bjorn & John and features Lang, Veirs, Beth Ditto and Mark Lanegan. While recording the record Case’s home in the US burned down. Case kicks off a European tour in October.
Laura Marling and Tunng founder Mike Lindsay release their debut album as LUMP on Dead Oceans. In writing the album, Marling was inspired by inspired by early 20th century surrealism and absurdist poets Edward Lear and Ivor Cutler. The duo play a pair of album launch shows at Oslo in Hackney on 5 June.
Fly Agaric Records
“It’s Morcheeba!” a voice announces as the title track of the London duo’s ninth album begins, stating the obvious in a fashion that will no doubt provoke sniggers from cynics. That the voice belongs to Roots Manuva, though, should silence any doubters, especially when he adds: “We are together! In unity!” Despite Roots’ reintroduction of the hip-hop influences sidelined in Skye|Ross, Blaze Away remains largely true to Morcheeba’s laid-back roots: Never Undo’s slick, bass-heavy groove deliciously showcases Skye Edwards’ honeyed voice, as does Sweet L.A., where she’s accompanied only by Rhodes piano, while Love Dub confirms that they do indeed. Musical mastermind Paul Godfrey also verifies his chops with ingeniously understated slide guitar on Find Another Way, while French star Benjamin Biolay brings additional sophistication to Paris Sur Mer, and Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner provides lyrics for the nimble It’s Summertime. They’re hardly ‘blazing’ here, but Morcheeba still smoulder admirably.
Says Bella Union founder Simon Raymonde: “An absolutely superb new album from one of the UK’s most underrated mavericks. Imagine Robert Wyatt, High Llamas, Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne and Todd Rundgen all in one magnificent human. That’s Crayola Lectern. Superb arrangements throughout, (I am sure I even heard a kazoo amongst some trumpets!) and in common with all the above I suppose, a sense of adventure and playfulness is evident throughout. One of my favourites of the year so far.”
Atlanta’s tireless garage punks The Coathangers have cranked out five full-lengths and well over a dozen singles, splits, and EPs. Their quest for enchantment prompted The Coathangers: 2 Nights of Magic, a free two-night stand at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach, California replete with magicians, tarot card readings, burlesque dancers, palm readers, and a giant paper mache rabbit. Out of those shows came LIVE, the first Coathangers release to document the band in their natural habitat. “It’s kinda trippy, this record,” says guitarist/vocalist Julia Kugel. “It’s like our anthology… our entire career in 38 minutes.”