Five Albums Out Today Worth Hearing: Phoenix, Sufjan Stevens, Big Thief, and More

Plus London Grammar and Kirin J Callinan

Jun 09, 2017 Bookmark and Share


Here we highlight five albums due out today that we feel are most worth hearing. We have also included Amazon links for each album. If you click through those links and buy the album (or anything else on Amazon once you've clicked through) then Amazon rewards us with a sales percentage. So buy that album you were likely going to purchase anyway, but also help support one of America's last truly independent print music magazines.

Big Thief: Capacity (Saddle Creek)

Big Thief just released their debut album, Masterpiece, last May on Saddle Creek, but they have already have their sophomore album, Capacity, coming out today, also on Saddle Creek. Previously they shared the snowy video for the album's first single "Mythological Beauty," the audio for "Shark Smile," and the poetic and haunting "Mary."

Big Thief's singer/songwriter/guitarist Adrianne Lenker had this to say about the album in a previous press release: "There is a darker darkness and a lighter light on this album. The songs search for a deeper level of self-acceptance, to embrace the world within and without. I think Masterpiece began that process, as a first reaction from inside the pain, and Capacity continues that examination with a wider perspective."

Read our review of Capacity.

Buy the album here.

 

Kirin J Callinan: Bravado (Terrible Records)

Australian experimental musician Kirin J Callinan is releasing his sophomore album, Bravado, today via Terrible Records. Previously he shared the slightly NSFW and highly amusing Cuba-shot video for "S.A.D." (which stands for "Song About Drugs"). He also shared the album's title track, a funny mockumentary video for Bravado track "Telling Me This," and two more songs from the album, "Down 2 Hang," which features James Chance, and "Living Each Day," which features Connan Mockasin, as well as an amusing video for "Living Each Day" that featured Callinan and Mockasin riding a shark, among other things.

Bravado features a slew of other special guests, including Weyes Blood, Mac DeMarco, Owen Pallett, Sean Nicholas Savage, Jorge Elbrecht, and others. The "Telling Me This" mockumentary was a Behind the Music style spoof called Off the Record that featured Callinan talking about the song, along with fellow musicians, including Mac DeMarco, Mark Ronson, Weyes Blood, Jack Black, Jay Watson (Tame Impala, Gum, POND), Sebastien Teller, Ladyhawke, and others. Callinan's debut album, Embracism, came out in 2013 and in 2015 he released a video for a new song featuring Connan Mockasin, "The Teacher," which isn't featured on the new album.

Buy the album here.

 

 

 

London Grammar: Truth Is a Beautiful Thing (Metal & Dust/Columbia)

British trio London Grammar are releasing their sophomore album, Truth Is a Beautiful Thing, today via Metal & Dust/Columbia. Previously they had shared the album's first two singles, "Rooting For You" and "Big Picture," along with a video for "Big Picture." They also performed "Big Picture" on The Late Late Show with James Corden and shared "Oh Woman Oh Man," as well as a remix of the song by Detroit artist/producer MK (aka Marc Kinchen). They also shared a live video for "Hell to the Liars" and two videos for "Oh Woman Oh Man."

The album is the follow-up to 2013's debut, If You Wait, and was produced by Paul Epworth (Florence and the Machine, Bloc Party), Greg Kurstin (Sia, Beck), Tim Bran and Roy Kerr, and Jon Hopkins. 

Read our review of Truth Is a Beautiful Thing.

Read our interview with London Grammar about Truth Is a Beautiful Thing.

Buy the album here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phoenix: Ti Amo (Glassnote)

France's Phoenix are releasing a new album, Ti Amo, today via Glassnote. They have already shared its first single, shiny album opener "J-Boy," performed the song on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and shared a video for the song. They also shared a lyric video for the album's title track, "Ti Amo," and the audio for the relaxed "Goodbye Soleil," plus a video for "Goodbye Soleil."

Phoenix previously issued a statement about Ti Amo, saying it's "an album about simple pure emotions: love, desire, lust and innocence, it's also a record about our European, Latin roots, a fantasized version of Italy: a lost paradise made of eternal Roman summers (hyper-light, hyper-clarity, pistachio gelato), juke-boxes on the beach, Monica Vitti and Marcello Mastroiani, fearless desire and Antique marble statues."

Phoenix last released an album in 2013 with Bankrupt!. Ti Amo was recorded in an old Paris opera house near the Pompidou Center. Starting in 2014 the band took over the top floor of the building that is now a museum, concert hall, and tech incubator.

Read our review of Ti Amo. 

Buy the album here.

 

 

Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner, and James McAlister: Planetarium (4AD)

Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner (of The National), and James McAlister have all teamed up for a new collaborative album, Planetarium. It's out today via 4AD. They previously shared "Saturn," via its video, "Mercury," via its lyric video, and a video for "Venus." They also performed "Mercury" for NPR.

The project started several years ago when Dutch concert hall Muziekgebouw Eindhoven commissioned Muhly to compose a new piece and he asked his friends Stevens, Dessner, and McAlister to collaborate on it. Stevens and McAlister took the live recordings and adapted them into a studio recording. "We had recorded all the arrangements and the live parts in a studio after our last performance," said Stevens in a previous press release. "So years later when we all kind of settled down, we said, 'let's open Pandora's box.'"

The press release described the album as such: "Planetarium unites Stevens' vocals, McAlister's beats, Dessner's guitar performance, and Muhly's instrumental compositions-part rock odyssey, part electronic experiment, part classical opus.... Conceptually, Planetarium revolves around the cosmic ideas Stevens' lyrics explore: mythology, astrology, science, astronomy and the intricacies of human consciousness."

Read our review of Planetarium. 

Buy the album here.

 

 

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