Monday, July 15, 2019

Audra Releases 'Wish No Harm' - First New Song in 10 Years

On Friday, July 12th, my band Audra released our first new song in 10 years! 'Wish No Harm' is the first single from the upcoming album Dear Tired Friends (August 23, 2019). The album includes 10 songs and features Lycia's Mike VanPortfleet on lead guitar for the song 'Planet Of Me.'

You can download or stream 'Wish No Harm' at your favorite digital outlet (Spotify, iTunes/Apple Music, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube), or get it free with a Pre-Order of the new album at our Bandcamp Page.

Dear Tired Friends will be available in 3 limited edition formats: Ultra Clear Vinyl (150 copies), Black Vinyl (100 copies) and Digipak CD (300 copies). Take a look at those beauties below.

Have a listen to 'Wish No Harm' at one of the links below, or use the embedded Bandcamp player:

Audra Dear Tired Friends Black Vinyl
Audra Dear Tired Friends CD

Friday, July 5, 2019

The Best Albums of 2019 (so far)

Dear Dedicated Life on this Planet Followers, although there hasn't been any new content since the Best Albums of 2018 post, there was no possible way that we wouldn't compile a mid-year list for you (and ourselves - it's fun!) Life has been extremely busy - I'm getting ready to release a new Audra album, just got back from an amazing performance in Germany and also contributed to the new Unto Ashes record. Time flies and now here we are in the first week of July 2019. As usual, Sarah and I asked a bunch of our friends to share their lists with us. It's an eclectic batch, for which you will surely find some new gems to discover! Don't miss the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page. Thanks for stopping by. - Bret

Bret Helm
Life on this Planet | Audra

10. Ioanna Gika - Thalassa
09. Operators - Radiant Dawn
08. The Cranberries - In the End
07. The Ocean Blue - Kings and Queens / Knaves and Thieves
06. Adrian Borland - Lovefield
05. Tamaryn - Dreaming the Dark
04. Unto Ashes - Pretty haunted things
03. Strand of Oaks - Eraserland
02. Desperate Journalist - In Search of the Miraculous
01. Sólveig Matthildur - Constantly in Love

About My #1Constantly in Love is the sophomore album from Sólveig Matthildur (the keyboardist from the Icelandic trio Kaelan Mikla). I just performed at the same festival (Wave-Gotik Treffen) as her band, but unfortunately I wasn't able to make it to the venue in time to catch them. I've since made up for it in repeated listens of this haunting, sonic collection. My favorite track - Tómas - starts the playlist at the bottom of this post. It's a scroll & a click away and will suspend you in an aura somewhere within the realm of The Knife, if they were siphoned through a season of Twin Peaks. Please give it a spin and support all of the artists on my list.

Sarah Quarrie Helm
Life on this Planet

10. Cold Showers - Motionless
09. Richard Hawley - Further
08. Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising
07. Sólveig Matthildur - Constantly in Love
06. The Twilight Sad - It Won/t Be Like This All the Time
05. Desperate Journalist - In Search of the Miraculous
04. Strand of Oaks - Eraserland
03. Hatchie - Keepsake
02. Tamaryn - Dreaming the Dark
01. Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow

About My #1: If you refer back to my Best of 2014 lists Sharon Van Etten's Are We There was at the top. Five years later with Remind Me Tomorrow, she earns that spot yet again. This woman can tell a story. Her trademark layers of evocative harmonies are at the forefront as expected, atmospheric yet raw. While the songwriting and melodies stay true to her previous works, this 5th studio album has evolved in composition. Her customary folk-rock ballad repertoire has expanded into anthem territory particularly with "Seventeen" which has added rock value from Brian Reitzell who played drums for Redd Kross & Air as well as supervised super cool Sofia Coppola movie soundtracks like Marie Antoinette and scored the cancelled-way-too-soon tv series Hannibal. The instrumentation broadened to include electronic components like synths, drum machine, droning, loops and theremin, such as on my favorite track "Jupiter 4" (included in the playlist) where Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu lends his hand with some goosebump-worthy vibes. She's racked up some eclectic influences these past few years going on tour with Nick Cave and acting in The OA as well as an episode of the new Twin Peaks. If you're normally not the singer-songwriter type, you will be pleasantly surprised by this album as it really blurs the genre lines into dark americana electronic folk indie alternative heartland rock. The album is best not listened to passively and with white wine over ice.

Jaymz Todd
Phoenix, Arizona

10. Operators - Radiant Dawn
09. Hatchie - Keepsake
08. Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow
07. Schemes - s/t
06. Hayden Thorpe - Diviner
05. Anderson .Paak - Ventura
04. Helado Negro - This is How You Smile
03. Bill Baird - Daily Ever Dawning
02. Horse Jumper of Love - "So Divine"
01. Ellis - The Fuzz

About My #1In the first part of Nov. 2018, the lady and I found out we would be having our first child. Excited, we started coming up with names. Having both sets of our parents giving birth to girls before boys, we pictured ourselves following in this same tradition and having a girl. The name at the top of the list was Ellis, picked from the middle name of Tracee Ellis Ross of Girlfriends/Blackish fame - I also liked the name Casio, Cassie for short, but the lady was really gunning for Ellis and I started to grow fond of it myself. 

While googling the name Ellis I came across a band from Toronto, Canada and a week later Fat Possum records officially released their album. That same week we found out the gender of our baby...a boy. We weren’t expecting a boy but this was still great news and either gender is hella worth it. And now knowing the gender of our child we found that our excitement grew.

On a whim, I stopped by one of our local record stores, found the album and purchased. At home, I mentioned to the lady that though we weren’t going to have a baby girl named Ellis — at least not yet — we could still relish in this album with a female singer named Linnea Siggelkow (L.S.), in a band appropriately titled Ellis. 

Linnea’s voice has a soft sing whisper that at times can draw comparisons to that of Alison Shaw from the Cranes. Sonically, the album is drenched in pure fuzz and dreamy distortion. The songs, though all a little short, serve a brilliant purpose, never getting old, and encouraging multiple listens in one sitting. Check it! 

Jesse Deitermann | DJ Dreampop Jesse
Phoenix, Arizona

10. Stella Donnelly - Beware of the Dogs
09. Wyldest - Dream Chaos
08. Ancient Pools - Cosine
07. The Twilight Sad - It Won/t Be Like This All the Time
06. Sleeper - The Modern Age
05. Soft Blue Shimmer - Nothing Happens Here
04. Be Forest - Knocturne
03. The Proper Ornaments - 6 Lenins
02. Hatchie - Keepsake
01. The Ocean Blue - Kings and Queens / Knaves and Thieves

About My #1: Going back to the early 90s we had KTCL in Colorado which was the radio station  that played everything I wanted to hear at that point: The Smiths, Depeche Mode, The Cure, The Sand Rubies and The Ocean Blue. Moving forward to 1996 I finally got my chance to see The Ocean Blue with labelmates (Owls). I was hooked on their clean sound which kept me coming back for more until they disappeared for a bit. Kings and Queens / Knaves and Thieves for me sounds like an album that was recorded over years. The opener "Kings and Queens" definitely is from later in their recording sessions and a favorite of mine. "It Takes So Long" sounds like an early song and completely wonderful along with "Paraguay, My Love" and "Therein Lies the Problem with My Life." I really love this album. It doesn't sound like an album that was thrown together, it had taken time to work on it. This will definitely be on my favorite albums of the year list.

Keith Creighton
Seattle, Washington | Popdose

10. Piroshka - Brickbat
09. Robert Forster (ex Go-Betweens) - Inferno
08. The Chorades - What We Breathe In
07. Madonna - Madame X
06. Holden Laurence - Rewire
05. Mark Ronson - Late Night Feelings
04. Stray Cats - 40
03. Prince - Originals
02. Haley Reinhart - Lo-Fi Soul
01. The Ocean Blue - Kings and Queens / Knaves and Thieves

About My #1This list may be almost instantly obsolete, as the coming months will see new releases by The Black Keys, Angela Perley, Taylor Swift, A Flock of Seagulls, K.Flay, Kaiser Chiefs, The Futureheads, Sleater-Kinney, Charli XCX, Violent Femmes and more (my head spins just thinking about it).

My list so far excludes a few dozen other worthy titles (including The Raconteurs, Ladytron, UNKLE, Lux Prima), but both my Top 10 and Top 50 so far follow the same theme: artists I’ve loved for years that are still on top of their game, and some rising stars. Piroshka (a supergroup featuring members of Lush and Elastica) is the sole 90’s throwback, while most acts on my list took root in the 80s. Holden Laurence (who also plays guitar in The Modern Electric) could have easily been a Sire Records new wave act in the 80s, alongside The Ocean Blue, The Smiths, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Wild Swans and Madonna. Haley Reinhart has been mining more than 100 years of sounds on her adventurous albums and side-hustles (including songs with Jeff Goldblum and members of The Doors). The Chorades is a somewhat new group from the East Coast that reminds me of vintage Split Enz and Crowded House filtered through late 90’s Brit Pop. Finally, there’s been enough ink to fill a digital ocean about how awesome the Prince record is – if only the estate would release two such albums per year. Sad I won’t likely live to hear much of the gold in Prince’s vault. 

The Ocean Blue comes out on top because their shimmering dream pop sound is perfection as always – few bands can claim a near spotless catalog the way they do. David Schelzel’s lyrics speak to where I am in life while younger listeners will take away something completely different from it. David and I discussed this at length in a recent interview. As we get older, in this youth obsessed culture and job market where Generation X has been all but discarded, it’s nice to see our generation can still pack a punch when it comes to music. And nowhere in my Top 50 albums so far will you ever hear someone scream “DJ Khaled!!!!” while someone else is trying to sing.

Sean Benham
Chicago, Illinois

10. Christopher Willits - Sunset
09. Earthen Sea - Grass and Trees
08. Fennesz - Agora
07. The Mattson 2 - Paradise
06. Memorex Memories - In Motion EP
05. Mac DeMarco - Here Comes the Cowboy
04. Deep Cut - Different Planet
03. Sasami - s/t
02. Com Truise - Persuasion System
01. Bibio - Ribbons

About My #1There’s been a lot of great electronic albums this year, and they overwhelmingly made my top ten for best albums in 2019 so far. Ribbons, Bibio’s tenth release, is no exception to this. Stephen James Wilkinson once again creates another intense and thought-provoking album. His sound is a mix of folk and electronic -- a dreamy acoustic throwback to the pastoral songwriters of the 1970s with a synthesized flavor of Wendy Carlos on tracks like "Pretty Ribbons" and "Lovely Flowers." The album starts out with "Beret Girl," an acoustic ballad that makes you feel like you’re daydreaming on the top of a hill, listening to the river water flow and birds sing. From then on you are hooked on another journey through the colorful mind of Bibio.

John Magness
Uttoxeter, England

10. SOAK - Grim Town
09. Edwyn Collins - Badbea
08. Unto Ashes - Pretty haunted things
07. Childcare - Wabi-Sabi
06. Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul - Summer of Sorcery
05. The Goat Roper Rodeo Band - Tall Grass
04. Julia Jacklin - Crushing
03. Beirut - Gallipoli
02. Richard Hawley - Further
01. Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars

About My #1My list is culled from 17 albums. I wished I'd kept a running total but I didn't so maybe I've missed something that I considered essential at the time. Whilst I love vinyl I'm not a luddite and I use AppleMusic ALOT! So I listen to a lot of albums that I might not buy physically. I have most of the above though. Number 1 was pretty easy. It nearly didn't make it by virtue of the fact it was released on 14th June. The first album of new music from Bruce Springsteen since 2014. To be honest I wasn't excited about its release.....I thought with his last 4 albums since Magic (2007) while none of them were bad albums they didn't seem to capture a certain something. I've loved Western Stars since first listen and it's the first album I've felt that way about since 2002s The Rising and prior to that Tunnel of Love in 1987. I've listened to it numerous times already. So what is it like? There is an assumption that it is a country album, but it isn't really. It's clearly influenced by wide open spaces, desert and long driving (what Bruce album isn't fundamentally). It's about being alone in a big place, but not lonely, and the sense of sun and desert is palpable. The big surpise to me was the musical references. I picked up Glen Campbell (much missed). He had the ability to sound "big" with his guitar playing and Bruce captures that "twang" a number of times. There isn't a bad song on it. This year I've listened to a lot of music I haven't heard before which is the beauty of a platform like AppleMusic (other streamers are available!!!). If I read about it I follow the curiosity.

Rob Clark
Rockford, Illinois

(in order of release date)
10. Steve Mason - About the Light
09. Mercury Rev - Bobbie Gentry's The Delta Sweete Revisited
08. Andrew Bird - My Finest Work Yet
07. Gang of Four - Happy Now
06. Jade Bird - s/t
05. Aldous Harding - Designer
04. Vampire Weekend - Father of the Bride
03. Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes - End of Suffering
02. The Waterboys - Where the Action Is
01. Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars

About My #1I’m not sure that one of these has risen to my #1 spot yet. I’ve probably spent the most time listening to the Mercury Rev, Vampire Weekend, and Waterboys albums so far this year. The newest albums on my radar are the Steve Mason and Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes albums. Honestly, though, I feel like everything here carries fairly equal weight for me right now. Hence my inability to rank them as yet.

Tim Brown
London, England

10. The National - I Am Easy to Find
09. Loyle Carner - Not Waving, But Drowning
08. Jack Savoretti - Singing to Strangers
07. Dido - Still On My Mind
06. Solange - When I Get Home
05. Maggie Rogers - Heard It in a Past Life
04. Billie Eilish - When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
03. Ezra Collective - You Can't Steal My Joy
02. Tallest Man on Earth - I Love You. It's a Fever Dream
01. Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars

About My #1A new Bruce album is always cause for celebration and this one definitely doesn’t disappoint. To be honest nothing much he does ever feels like a let down to me and this most certainly doesn’t. From the gorgeous artwork through to the last melancholic chord, it’s a work of pure beauty. I’ve listened to pretty much nothing else since I got it, enjoying soaking in those gravelly tones, beautiful lyrics and wistful melodies. I’ve never been to the States but this album certainly transported me there in my mind. Just gorgeous.

Mike Keddy
Western Massachusetts

10. Be Forest - Knocturne
09. Black Flower - Future Flora
08. The National - I Am Easy to Find
07. Vampire Weekend - Father of the Bride
06. Swervedriver - Future Ruins
05. Fontaines D.C. - Dogrel
04. Thom Yorke - ANIMA
03. Mdou Moctar - Ilana (The Creator)
02. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Fishing for Fishies
01. The Comet is Coming - Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery

About My #1Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery, by the wonderfully talented group The Comet Is Coming, has been battling it out amongst some of my all time favorites to grab the number one position on my best of 2019 so far list. Led by saxophone player Shabaka Hutchings, The Comet Is Coming have a sound all their own. Their style could be described as cosmic space jazz with funk and electronic elements in the mix as well. Released on the great Impulse! label, Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery is an incredibly inventive album that will surely stand amongst some of Impulse’s best. Even if you aren’t into jazz you should do yourself a favor and check this one just might get sucked in.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Best Albums of 2018

Happy New Year! With work on the upcoming Audra album, other musical projects and life in general, free time has been scarce around these parts. Our apologies for the lack of new content on the site... but here is the feature that we've prepared for all year: The Best Albums of 2018: our 9th Annual Edition. A huge thank you to all of the good people that contributed the lists below. Each person selected & ranked their 10 favorite albums, and then we've compiled a track from each in a Spotify playlist (it's all the way at the bottom of this post). As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts and opinions. Let us know whose list you relate to the most and please share your own Top Ten with us. Okay here we go - The Best Albums of 2018 - Bret & sarahQ

Bret Helm
Life on this Planet | Audra

10. Steve Perry - Traces
09. Preoccupations - New Material
08. Devon Welsh - Dream Songs
07. James - Living in Extraordinary Times
06. Lycia - In Flickers
05. Wax Idols - Happy Ending
04. Robyn - Honey
03. Hilary Woods - Colt
02. Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour
01. Suede - The Blue Hour

About My #1Suede is a rarity. Very few bands can return from a break-up and produce work that can proudly stand alongside their best. Along with 2013's Bloodsports and 2016's Night Thoughts, Suede have been nothing short of brilliant in their second run. And now this - The Blue Hour. Upon first listen, it doesn't have the immediately-accessible singles ala "Trash" or "The Drowners" - however it has the true 'you need to listen to it in its entirety' album experience. I liken it to a blend of the lush grandiosity of their sophomore album Dog Man Star with the ambition, continuity and intensity of Pink Floyd's The Wall. The Blue Hour really clicked for me while accompanying a reading of the autobiography of Suede's Brett Anderson - an absolutely stunning memoir on his years leading up to the success of the band. Understanding his life a bit better peeled back the layers of not only this album, but his (and the band's) entire catalog.

I'd also like to take a moment to reflect on a few other albums I selected. If you missed my discourse on the new (and apparently final) Wax Idols' album, please spend a moment here. You may be asking yourself, ''Is the #10 pick the same Steve Perry that fronted Journey?" Hell yeah, it is. I'd also recommend you to read about the backstory of that album's creation and then listen to a song like "No More Cryin'" or "We're Still Here" - way emotional. Lycia's In Flickers could possibly be my favorite of theirs. And I can't say enough about the greatness of Kacey Musgraves' third LP. Golden Hour very well may have clocked in the most listens of anything on my list - it's only been 5 years since her debut, so it's going to be exciting to witness her continuing musical trajectory.

"You're never alone, your life is golden. Golden." (from Suede's "Life is Golden")

Sarah Quarrie Helm
Life on this Planet

10. Robyn - Honey
09. Them Are Us Too - Amends
08. IAMX - Alive in New Light
07. ACTORS - It Will Come to You
06. Preoccupations - New Material
05. Lycia - In Flickers
04. Still Corners - Slow Air
03. Mitski - Be the Cowboy
02. First Aid Kit - Ruins
01. Anna Calvi - Hunter

About My #1: Anna Calvi's third album Hunter charges head first out of the gate. Her voice is one of the most expressive you will come by. Whether she is vocally gliding with vulnerability or howling with dominance, every song is a powerful statement channeling masculinity and femininity as fluid sensuality. Boldly composed and cinematically arranged, you'll find yourself humming these melodies and relating to emotions beyond the bounds of stereotypical gender roles. This album makes me want to wear red, drink red wine and enjoy being an intricate Person.

Sean Benham
Chicago, Illinois

10. Cat Power - Wanderer
09. Yo La Tengo - There's a Riot Going On
08. Snail Mail - Lush
07. MGMT - Little Dark Age
06. Vinyl Williams - Opal
05. CUTS - A Gradual Decline
04. Sunstack Jones - s/t
03. Soccer Mommy - Clean
02. Beak> - >>>
01. Film School - Bright to Death

About My #1I started following Film School in 2003 when their Alwaysnever EP came out. I would consider this band the second wave of shoegaze rock. The track "Ms Connection" at the time was nothing less great than material written by bands like Slowdive or My Bloody Valentine in the early 90s. By 2011 I assumed this band had finished, but over the past couple of years they resurrected themselves on Instagram and started shooting photos of practices and studio material, so I knew something was up! Eight years later since Fission, they’ve released an epic piece of work. While I consider Fission their weakest album, Bright to Death set themselves back on course and has the greatness of Hideout and their 2006 self-titled debut.

Rob Clark
Rockford, Illinois

10. Shame - Songs of Praise
08. Ezra Furman - Transangelic Exodus
07. Death Cab for Cutie - Thank You for Today
06. Wye Oak - The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs
05. GoGo Penguin - A Humdrum Star
04. Belly - DOVE
03. Frank Turner - Be More Kind
02. Angelique Kidjo - Remain in Light
01. LOCKS - Skeletal Blues

About My #1Gloriously acoustic murder ballads and death shanties from an English/Irish London-based four piece band likely as influenced by Tom Waits as Nick Cave. They had me under their spell with my first listen to the song, “Skin,” but every song on this album is a gothic-blues gem.

Keith Creighton
Seattle, Washington

09. Halo Circus - Robots and Wranglers
08. Steven Page - Discipline: Heal Thy Self Pt. II
07. The Interrupters - Fight the Good Fight
06. Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper - A Star is Born OST
05. Paul McCartney - Egypt Station
04. The Motels - The Last Beautiful Days
02. Smoking Popes - Into the Agony
01. Johnny Marr - Call the Comet

About My #1With Moz totally off the deep end, I no longer care that The Smiths are never, ever, ever getting back together. Marr more than made up for it with an absolutely smashing album that scratches the itch for fans wanting new albums by The Chameleons, Whipping Boy or the Comsat Angels more than anything Smithsish. He's really found his voice as a lead singer and while there's no earworm single on this album, the whole listen is a perfect ride featuring enough twists and turns to keep you hooked from first track to last without tuning out or clicking elsewhere. 

I just noticed that six of my ten selections feature artists working outside of the bands or platforms that made them famous: Brücken and Froese are from Propaganda and Tangerine Dream respectively; Halo Circus features Allison Iraheta who has been one of the most exciting singers to emerge from American Idol. Page's prolific solo work totally eclipses the post-Page albums by Barenaked Ladies. Laura Jane Grace signed to alt country powerhouse Bloodshot Records only to release one of the most visceral punk albums of her career (three Against Me! albums have topped my year end lists in their respective years). 

Other notable mentions this year: worthy returns by Belly (Dove) and Culture Club (Life actually one-ups the beloved/derided Arctic Monkeys' Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino album as a dreamy lounge fest). The Reverend Horton Heat recently released Whole New Life, their best album since the Al Jourgensen-produced Liquor in the Front.

John Magness
Uttoxeter, England

10. Okkervil River - In the Rainbow Rain
09. Blossoms - Cool Like You
08. Manic Street Preachers - Resistance is Futile
07. Tunng - Songs You Make at Night
06. James - Living in Extraordinary Times
05. The Magic Numbers - Outsiders
04. Jools Holland & Marc Almond - A Lovely Life to Live
03. Tracey Thorn - Record
02. Paul Weller - True Meanings
01. Young Gun Silver Fox - AM Waves

About My #1When we contributed our Best of 2018 So Far back in June it came as a bit of a shock that I hadn't actually been listening to much new stuff so the list was more like a list of what I'd listened to that was released in 2018 rather than a "best of." I started using Apple Music a lot more to listen to things I'd heard or read about. I first heard Blossoms in Jack Wills and "Shazammed" it. I first read about Young Gun Silver Fox in Record Collector magazine. AM Waves gives the game away with the title. It's as if the last 40 years never happened. If this had been declared a lost classic recorded in 1977 and finally seeing the light of day you wouldn't be surprised. It breaks no new ground whatsoever. There are traces of the Doobie Brothers and Hall & Oates throughout and I love the album because of it. It was a pretty difficult decision to place it above Paul Weller but I think the Modfather will make it onto a few lists so YGSF got the final vote.

Mike Keddy
Western Massachusetts

10. Interpol - Marauder
09. Pinkshinyultrablast - Miserable Miracles
07. Beach House - 7
06. Sons of Kemet - Your Queen is a Reptile
05. Preoccupations - New Material
04. Kids See Ghosts - s/t
03. Mildlife - Phase
02. Landing - Bells in New Towns
01. Khruangbin - Con Todo el Mundo

About My #1Khruangbin’s (pronounced Krung bin) Con Todo El Mundo has gone wire to wire as my favorite release from 2018. My number two came close but it was this one that I just listened to more and will be the record I immediately think of when I look back on 2018. A superb listen all the way through. I have yet to tire of this record and I can’t imagine that happening anytime soon. Check it out.

Jaymz Todd
Phoenix, Arizona

10. De Lux - More Disco Songs About Love
09. Ava Luna - Moon 2
08. Estelle - Lovers Rock
07. Richard Swift - The Hex
06. Young Fathers - Cocoa Sugar
05. Leon Bridges - Good Thing
04. Goat Girl - s/t
03. James - Living in Extraordinary Times
02. Robyn - Honey
01. SSION - O

About My #1Throwing homage to the 80’s and 90’s cool of yesteryear, ‘O’, the third ‘official’ full-length album from audio-visual maestro Cody Critcheloe’s long running musical project, SSION, pulls out a tsunami of colorful textures and paints them in a darkly melancholic sludge of gloss.

The album plays like the best haphazard musical selections from a jukebox opening with a sweet & gloomy retelling of Roy Orbison’s "As Big As I Can Dream," then quickly jumps into the Madonna worship dance pop brilliance of "Comeback" and 180s to a quick punk-infused cover of the Germ’s “Forming” – and that’s in the first seven minutes. After which the album mixes in a generous helping of dance-punk, noise-pop, glo-fi, queerpop, freak-folk and 90s alternative thrash (with special appearances from Ariel Pink, Devendra Banhart, Sky Ferreira, Hole’s Patty Schemel, Róisín Murphy and MNDR). There’s something to be said about the layering of atmospherics on this album and the textures throughout. With every listen you can hear a new pocket of sound, a joke or an underlying conversation. Through it all the songs remain unforgettable, energetic and ridiculously tongue-in-cheek.

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