Anohni It's All over Now, Baby Blue b/w Be My Husband The songs mark Anohni’s first new music since the 2019 charity single ‘KARMA’, a collaboration with Jade Bell and J. Ralph. A viscous embrace, a pulsating pouring out, Anohni’s voice is above all else a vessel for political armament. On 2016’s Hopelessness, her voice bombarded with explicit illustration of Obama-era atrocities -- of war crimes, of apocalyptic climate change, of patriarchal violence. Now sharing a dual cover set, she casts a subtler, but no less powerful incantation towards change. The original tracks dating to 1965, a year marked by the Selma marches, the Watts Rebellion, and the landmark Voting Rights Act, illuminate the eerily parallel struggles of this year. Anohni’s rendition of ‘It’s All Over Now...’ reads as a hopeful, future goodbye to times dominated by oppression. With ‘Be My Husband,” textually woven with marital submission and want for acceptance, she examines our reliance on the very systems that fail us. In borrowing these songs, Anohni adopts their history along with her contemporary interpretations, respecting the lineage of the people’s movement while calling for its continuance today. “When Biden said ‘Americans don’t want revolution, they want a return to decency,’ he was wrong,” she explained. “We all know deep down that the continuation of our civilizations for much longer will require seismic change.” Secretly Canadian 7"
Skullcrusher Skullcrusher Skullcrusher is, by all accounts, an exploration of the ways you become yourself when you aren’t looking – and how that feels once you start paying attention. It’s a quiet power; a hushed celebration of the tiny, understated subtleties that culminate into knowing yourself. On her debut EP, songwriter Helen Ballentine offers an airy, intense, and unflinchingly open collection of songs written about – and from – one of life’s in-between gray areas, a stretch of uncertainty and unemployment, and the subsequent search for identity. Here, as Skullcrusher, Ballentine grapples with how to communicate her private self to an audience. The four dark, dreamy songs on her debut EP were influenced by a strange-but-fitting amalgamation of media consumed in the immediate aftermath of quitting her 9-5. There’s Valerie and her Week of Wonders, the Czech new-wave film that went on to inform Skullcrusher’s aesthetic. There’s Ballentine’s love of fantasy and surrealism, her appreciation of the way fantasy novels juxtapose beauty and violence. Skullcrusher’s understated energy radiates with the atmosphere of waking up to the quiet terror of shapeless, structureless days, but it finds power in eschewing the pressures of careerism and a vapid culture of productivity. Instead, as Skullcrusher, Ballentine has the audacity to be comfortable enough with herself, and to simply accept the unknown as her life. Secretly Canadian 12"
Whitney Candid Covers have long been an integral part of Whitney's ethos. Ever since the band first formed in a Chicago apartment in 2014, tackling songs by the Everly Brothers, Allen Toussaint, and more played an important part in the songwriting process for their breakthrough 2016 debut Light Upon The Lake. Since then, their takes on NRBQ's "Magnet" and Neil Young's "On the Way Home" have become live staples, an essential and communal part of their sets. Their love for the music that makes up their deepest influences has always been genuine and tangible. Following their acclaimed sophomore 2019 album Forever Turned Around, Whitney have decided to return with a loving tribute to songs that have been formative and lasting to the entire band. Candid is a 10-song collection boasting covers of artists like Kelela, David Byrne, John Denver, SWV, and others but it's also a band challenging themselves to explore more than their musical comfort zone. "This could've been as simple as saying we really love these songs and we love our bandmates and making a covers record just felt right but it truly became an exploration into how we can evolve as a band going forward,” says drummer and singer Julien Ehrlich. Recorded in January and February of 2020 over multiple sessions at Treehouse Studios in Chicago and Flora Recording and Playback in Portland, Candid finally sees the full touring band in a recording studio together. "This is the first time we really saw what the live iteration of Whitney sounds like in a studio. It was a really celebratory vibe and everyone in the room fed off each other's energy," says guitarist Max Kakacek. It's the band's best reflection so far of their triumphant live show as most of these renditions were recorded live. Featuring keyboardist Malcolm Brown, bassist Josiah Marshall, trumpeter Will Miller, as well as guitarists Print Chouteau and Ziyad Asrar, the entire live unit is firing at all cylinders thanks to its tight-knit and road-tested relationship. Secretly Canadian CD | LP
Jason Molina Eight Gates Indies exclusive LP is on 'shortcake splash' (red/splash) coloured vinyl. Sometime in 2006 or 2007, Jason Molina moved from the midwest to London. Separated from his bandmates and friends and never one for idleness, Molina explored his new home with fervor. Sometimes he’d head out on foot, often with no destination in mind. Other times, he’d pick a random tube stop and find his way back home. He’d pick up on arcane trivia about London’s rich history, and if the historical factoids weren’t available — or weren’t quite to his liking — Molina was quite comfortable conjuring his own history. His adoration of The Great American Tall Tales like John Henry and Paul Bunyan’s blue ox Babe stretched across the Atlantic, where he created his own personal Tall Tales. And when he learned of the London Wall’s seven gates (itself a misconception), Molina went ahead and called it eight, carving out a gate just for himself. The eighth gate was Molina’s way into London, a gate only passable in the mind. Fast forward to 2008, Molina set off on an experimental solo tour through Europe. While in Northern Italy, Molina claimed to have been bitten by a rare, poisonous spider. A debilitating bout of illness ensued. “I was in the hospital here in London,” Molina wrote in a letter. “Saw six doctors and a Dr. House-type guy. They are all mystified by it, but I am allowed to be at home, where I am taking a dozen scary Hantavirus type pills a day that are all to supposedly help — but they make me feel like shit.” There is no record of a single doctor visit, not any prescription record for these medications. It is entirely plausible there was no spider and that whatever was keeping him indoors during this time was entirely self-induced. While at home, he of course wrote songs. Molina also claimed that during this time, he fed several bright green parrots that would gather in his yard. While often associated with a greyscale sensibility, Molina was oft-clad in a Hawaiian shirt and had, at least in part, selected the name Songs: Ohia for his first project as a nod to Hawaii’s ‘Ohi’a lehua flower. Which is all to say, the tropical element the parakeets brought to those sick days delighted Molina. He made short, crude field recordings of them with his trusty four-track. Only once Molina was officially on the mend and re-exploring the streets of London would he learn that those parrots had their own fabled tale. Back in the 60s, Jimi Hendrix — in a moment of psychedelic clarity — released his pair of lime green ring-necked parakeets from their cage, setting them free into the London sky. Now, their decendents are spotted regularly around certain parts of the city. Or so we’re told. Eight Gates is the last collection of solo studio recordings Molina made before he passed from complications related to alcoholism in 2013. Recorded in London around the time of the supposed spider bite and Jimi’s supposed parakeets, some of the songs (“Whispered Away,” “Thistle Blue”) are fully-realized — dark, moody textures that call to mind his earlier work on The Lioness. Knowing what we know about those parakeets and their peppered presence on the recordings, one can’t help but think of that colorful tree of birds on Talk Talk’s classic Laughing Stock, certainly a spiritual guide for much of the set. Other songs (“She Says,” “The Crossroads and The Emptiness”) lay in a more unfinished states, acoustic takes that call to mind Molina’s Let Me Go Let Me Go Let Me Go, and still tethered to Molina’s humorous studio banter. You remember how young Molina was, and how weighty this art was for such a young man. On the closer, “The Crossroads and The Emptiness,” Molina snaps at the engineer before tearing into a song in which he sings of his birthday (December 30), a palm reading and the great emptiness with which he always wrestled. It is a perfect closer and, in many ways, the eighth gate incarnate: mythical, passable only in the mind, built for himself and partway imaginary but shared, thankfully, with us. Secretly Canadian CD | LP
Explosions In The Sky Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever The second full length album from the instrumental rock / post-rock legends Explosions In The Sky, originally released in 2001. Ambiguity seems to be one of the disc's greater appeals. Depending upon your mood, the album can document good versus evil, existential insignificance versus blissful ignorance, war versus peace, or whatever other contrasting forces best suit your life at the moment. Where so many lyricists fail in exacting the perfect sentiment, Explosions in the Sky have crafted a record comprised solely of ever-changing blanks to be filled in. And though each of these tracks supposedly tells stories, one needs only draw upon their own life to understand the pathos explored. May these songs become a soundtrack to your vanity. - Pitchfork Secretly Canadian CD | LP
Suuns Felt [LRS20] This is an exclusive and limited 'Love Record Stores 2020' release and will be available to order from Saturday 20th June, strictly one per customer. New Two Tone vinyl edition of Suuns album, Felt.. You can hear this freedom flowing through the 11 tracks on Felt. It’s both a continuation and rebirth, the Montreal quartet returning to beloved local facility Breakglass Studios (where they cut their first two albums (Zeroes QC and Images Du Futur) with Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes) but this time recording themselves at their own pace, over five fertile sessions spanning several months. A simultaneous stretching out and honing in, mixed to audiophile perfection by St Vincent producer John Congleton (helmer of Hold/Still), who flew up especially from Dallas to deploy his award-winning skills in situ. Suuns are proud of their roots in Canada’s most socialist province, while sonically standing apart from Quebec’s string-swept, accordion-driven, choral chamber indie scene. Quebecois natives Shemie and Joseph Yarmush founded the group just over a decade ago, the latter having moved to Montreal from a nearby village. The only member not to be formally schooled in jazz, guitarist Yarmush studied photography and utilized his visual training to help realize Shemie’s novel concept for the eye-catching album artwork. Secretly Canadian LP
Damien Jurado Where Shall You Take Me [LRS20] This is an exclusive and limited 'Love Record Stores 2020' release and will be available to order from Saturday 20th June, strictly one per customer. Deluxe 2xLP vinyl reissue, incorporating unreleased basement reel demos, and the Just In Time For Something EP (never before released on vinyl). Damien Jurado is the sort of songwriter who straddles rock's past and future, and with each record contributes a new chapter to an ever-fruitful body of work. Before we move onto the next chapter, we look back at his first album with Secretly Canadian. An instant classic when released in 2003, Where Shall You Take Me? was his fifth full-length, and is a beautiful collection of ten Raymond Carver-esque vignettes terror and bliss in Middle America. Arriving two decades after Springsteen's Nebraska, Jurado put the darker, more complicated side of the heartland back on the map with his tales of young love (some requited; some not), innocent fun and bloodshed. Mostly acoustic with very sparse band arrangements - with the notable exception being the old live favourite Texas to Ohio, which sounds like a Scarecrow-era Mellencamp hit - Jurado displayed the songwriting talent that turns back the hands of time to a place in which his tunes sound like they've been floating around, passed down from generation to generation. Secretly Canadian LP