Filed Under:npr first listen

LISTEN // Small Black Streams ‘Best Blues’ Via NPR Music


Small Black’s new album, Best Blues, is currently streaming via NPR Music’s First Listen series ahead of its October 16th release on Jagjaguwar. The band’s third full-length release was written and recorded at their Brooklyn home studio and mixed by Nicholas Vernhes (War on Drugs, Deerhunter) of Rare Book Room Studio. Lead single “Boys Life” is an absolute stunner having racked up over 480,000 Spotify plays and 332,000 SoundCloud streams and spending ample time in Sirius XMU’s Top 10 and on the Hype Machine popular chart. Best Blues finds Small Black in their sweet spot: the smoky intersection of considered and vulnerable songwriting and loose, almost nonchalant ambience.

The addition of piano flourishes, trumpet (Darby Cicci of The Antlers), hidden acoustic guitars and Kaede Ford’s ethereal vocals provide new dimensions to the band’s already expansive sonic palette. Cut-to-the-chase rippers “Back at Belle’s” and “Checkpoints” embody and build on the group’s signature gritty yet focused electronic sound. While the more pastoral tracks, such as “Between Leos,” and “XX Century,” skeletally based on recorded improvisations, find the band painting a more nuanced, assured aural portrait. The repeating of the line “twentieth century” on closer “XX Century” serves as a coda for the album, offering a simple summation of what Best Blues intent has been from the opening Casio stab: an attempt to re-examine the past, but also one to let it go.

Order Best Blues:
Jagjaguwar // iTunes // Amazon // Support your local record store

(more info and tix here)

Sun. Oct. 11 – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
Tue. Oct. 13 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl *
Wed. Oct. 14 – New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa *
Fri. Oct. 16 – Austin, TX @ Red 7 *
Sat. Oct. 17 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada *
Sun. Oct. 18 – San Antonio, TX @ 502 Bar *
Tue. Oct. 20 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar *
Wed. Oct. 21 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah *
Fri. Oct. 23 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy Theatre *
Sat. Oct. 24 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent *
Mon. Oct. 26 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge *
Tue. Oct. 27 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret *
Wed. Oct. 28 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile – Back Bar *
Thu. Oct. 29 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux *
Fri. Oct. 30 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge *
Sat. Oct. 31 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge *
Mon. Nov. 2 – Kansas City, MO @ The Tank Room *
Tue. Nov. 3 – Iowa City, IA @ The Mill *
Wed. Nov. 4 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St Entry *
Fri. Nov. 6 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall *
Sat. Nov. 7 – Detroit, MI @ UFO Factory *
Sun. Nov. 8 – Toronto, ON @ The Garrison *
Tue. Nov. 10 – Montreal, QC @ La Sala Rossa *
Wed. Nov. 11 – Burlington, VT @ Signal Kitchen *
Thu. Nov. 12 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall *
Fri. Nov. 20 – Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right *
Sat. Nov. 21 – Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right *

* w/ Painted Palms

LISTEN // Unknown Mortal Orchestra ‘Multi-Love’ Streaming on NPR ‘First Listen’ and CBC ‘First Play’


Next week marks the release of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s third and most revolutionary full-length, Multi-Love, out 5/26 on Jagjaguwar. This week, NPR Music is sharing a stream of the record one-week prior to release via their First Listen feature, while, in Canada, CBC First Play is sharing the record with their audience. Also, for those who haven’t come across it yet, Pitchfork published an amazing and revealing look into the life and inspiration of frontman Ruban Nielson; it’s a MUST READ.

UMO just completed a stretch of warm-up shows in the Pacific Northwest in preparation for a six-week tour of Europe and the US, and by all accounts, impressed mightily. The Eugene Weekly said UMO

“proved versatile and adaptive, unafraid of pinning a disco undercarriage to the raw, ethereal fuzz of their live sound. This is a talented band on the upswing, and they compel movement.”

Be sure to catch the band on their upcoming tour, and don’t wait to get tickets, as shows are selling out in advance.



LISTEN UP // UMO’s ‘II’ Streaming at NPR First Listen

Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s album is now available for streaming! Head to NPR’s First Listen to hear II in its entirety. Like what’s playing? Make your way to SC Distribution or iTunes to pre-order the album, out officially Tuesday, February 5.


“II still traffics in, and thrives on, its air of strangeness and unknowability, but that just makes its moments of shimmery warmth that much sweeter.” – Stephen Thompson at NPR

The Motorway by The Besnard Lakes
Golden Lion by The Besnard Lakes
Boys Life by Small Black
No One Wants It To Happen To You by Small Black
Back At Belle's by Small Black
Words by Sharon Van Etten
Druganaut by Black Mountain
Black Mountain (Demo) by Black Mountain
Surrender by Briana Marela
I Don't Want to Let You Down by Sharon Van Etten
Just Like Blood by Sharon Van Etten

Necessary Evil by Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Dani by Briana Marela

Boys Life by Small Black

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