In a news item about the upcoming Merge Records anniversary show, we made a offhand, joking remark about singer/songwriter Richard Buckner. In the spirit of reconciliation, we’ll kick off this update by letting offended fans know that Merge will reissue three of Buckner’s out-of-print records, 1995’s Bloomed (download mp3 of “Gauzy Dress In The Sun”), 2000’s The Hill (download mp3 of “Emily Sparks”) and 2002’s Impasse (download mp3 of “Born In To Giving Up”), on March 10 … Did you know that April 18 is Record Store Day? While you’re out shopping for our present, Wilco is releasing its Ashes Of American Flags concert DVD (Nonesuch) that day to indie stores. Sharp readers know that’s a Saturday; April 28, a Tuesday, is when evil corporate retailers officially get the thing in their shops … Brit-rockers Art Brut’s third LP, Art Brut Vs. Satan (Downtown), is out May 12. Among the intriguing factoids about the record: Black Francis produced it, and it contains songs called “The Replacements” and “Alcoholics Unanimous” … Great NYC trio Nada Surf (pictured) continues its love affair with vinyl by reissuing 1998’s The Proximity Effect (download mp3 of “Hyperspace”), 2003’s Let Go (download mp3 of “Blonde On Blonde”) and 2005’s The Weight Is A Gift (download mp3 of “Do It Again”) on wax April 14 via the Barsuk label. Previously out of print on vinyl individually, the LPs were part of the band’s career-spanning, five-album vinyl boxed set last November… Legendary Australian psych-poppers the Church return with the cleverly named Untitled #23 (Second Motion/Orthodox) in late May … In a weak segue, the also-legendary Meat Puppets drop Sewn Together (Megaforce) on May 12. The Kirkwood brothers (Curt on guitar, Cris on bass) are joined by drummer Ted Marcus … L.A.’s Silversun Pickups hope to avoid the sophomore slump with their second LP, Swoon, out April 14 (Dangerbird). If you’re a gamer, look for the exclusive Silversun Pickups Track Pack for Guitar Hero World Tour in April, with three downloadable tracks (two from Swoon) … Glaswegian combo Camera Obscura’s My Maudlin Career (4AD) is out April 21. The record’s single, “French Navy,” will be released a week prior, but download an mp3 of the album’s title track now … MAGNET faves the Veils, um, unveil Sun Gangs on April 7 (Rough Trade). The LP was produced by Graham Sutton (Jarvis Cocker, British Sea Power) … The National announced an eight-date tour, starting May 21 in Toronto and ending May 29 in Philadelphia. The NYC band is promising new songs in the setlist.
The Veils’ “Three Sisters” from Sun Gangs: http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/ThreeSisters.mp3
All you guys (and trust me, you are all guys) who are bummed about David Berman’s Silver Jews implosion and Bill Callahan’s ruination of your hopes for a pre-release leak, buck up. Because: a) your girlfriend especially doesn’t want to hear that music today, and b) Chicago singer/songwriter Owen Ashworth (a.k.a. Casiotone For The Painfully Alone) has an elegant bummer of a track from his forthcoming album (Vs. Children, out April 7 on Tomlab) available for free download here.
“With the money in the backseat, baby, we could buy a house,” sings Ashworth. “And raise a little family on Schlitz and Mickey Mouse.” And they said romance was dead. Stream below.
“Optimist Vs. The Silent Alarm (When The Saints Go Marching In)”:
Brett and Rennie Sparks, the Southern-gothic country duo known as the Handsome Family, will release Honey Moon in April, a month in which they will also celebrate 20 years of marriage. Anyone who’s seen the loving spectacle that is the Handsome Family’s live show/comedy act/spousal insult marathon realizes that these two asylum escapees (Rennie paints pet portraits; we suspect Brett is on heavy medication) know more about love than any of us ever will. Brett and Rennie are weirder and more wonderful than any characters in a Tom Waits song, so when they give you a valentine, you should take it and bury it in a patch of land in the center of a corn maze. Download an mp3 of album track “Darling, My Darling” here or stream the song below.
The members of Brooklyn synth-rock outfit Mobius Band aren’t just going to give you a free mp3 that they already had lying around; no, they’ve recorded a six-song Valentine’s Day-themed covers EP and are all but placing it on your hard drive. These guys are like overconsiderate, extra-thoughtful boyfriends, and for that we should kill them, but we’re merciful and slow to complete tasks. Click here to get Empire Of Love, the aforementioned EP. What songs are covered on it? Why, that information is right here:
Empire Of Love Tracklist:
1. Say You Will (Kanye West)
2. Love Hurts (The Everly Brothers)
3. Lullaby (Dixie Chicks)
4. Satellite (TV On The Radio)
5. At My Window (Townes Van Zandt)
6. You Don’t Know How It Feels (Tom Petty)
This Valentine’s Day weekend, barely legal mp3s will run wild and free across the Internet. Many bands are offering free downloads of songs from upcoming albums, and we’ll be compiling and posting them here as they roll in. On deck so far is new material from Aidan Moffat (from Arab Strap), the Handsome Family, Mobius Band and Casiotone For The Painfully Alone (how apropos). Remember: You’re never alone if you have a killer mixtape (and maybe some ditchweed and an Xbox).
Aidan Moffat was, and is, a miserable Scottish bastard best known for his membership in Arab Strap, the drunk, evil, foul-mouthed and generally more fun cousin of Glasgow mates Belle And Sebastian back in the Scottish-pop golden era. How To Get To Heaven From Scotland (Chemikal Underground), his latest LP under the name Aidan Moffat And The Best-Ofs, is out next month. Download an mp3 of album track “Big Blonde” here or stream the song below.