by DENISE LU
SPOTLIGHT: Broadcast – Berberian Sound Studio [Warp]
British experimental pop outfit Broadcast suffered a great loss when founding member Trish Keenan died two years ago, sending ripple effects throughout the music community. Before she passed away, Keenan already finished some recordings for this soundtrack for independent film Berberian Sound Studio, an homage to 1970’s Italian horror. After her passing, bandmate James Cargill finished the soundtrack, an extremely vivid story that can stand very well on its own. In a way, the tracks are reminiscent of Broadcast’s tranquil yet aberrant hits from earlier in their career, but Berberian Sound Studio pushes boundaries on either end with pops of blood-curdling screams amidst ballads of creepy quiet ambient compositions, all sewn together with ominous whispers.
Pere Ubu – Lady From Shanghai [Fire]
Prolific experimental group Pere Ubu return to add another studio album to their extensive discography. Lady from Shanghai marks the 35th anniversary of the group’s debut, and things are still as off-kilter as ever. Nothing can really beat the stuff of their golden days, but Pere Ubu are nevertheless still constantly turning heads.
Wooden Wand – Blood Oaths of the New Blues [Fire]
Singer-songwriter James Jackson Toth of Wooden Wand concocts a collection of moody and reflective songs with a mildly foreboding undertone. Toth evokes images of vast landscapes and explores personal themes with bare-bone compositions. According to Fire Records, he wanted to “make an album like the kind he would listen to on headphones when he was 14 and discovering hallucinogens.”
Death Cab for Cutie – The Barsuk Years [Artist in Residence]
J Dilla – Donuts [7" box set reissue] [Stones Throw]
VA – Girls – Volume 1: Music from the HBO Original Series [HBO/Fueled by Ramen]