Announcing two new albums from Thor Harris' Thor & Friends, 3 & 4.
In actuality, we are RE-announcing these two records because both were included in Thor Harris 2019 Artist in Residence box set. As those copies are well sold out, we thought these two were too good not to release widely. Set to release September 4, these two records feature new alternate art and different color vinyl. Purchase al la carte or discounted as a bundle!
Thor & Friends, 3 is the band's third LP. Thor writes, “This record was made over several years and in many locations. Only by the grace of the brilliant Jeremy Barnes was it all sewn together into this fantastic tapestry of sound you are lucky to now behold.” Musicians who played on this record include, Jennifer Wasner, Tuvan throat singing is Soriah, Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost of A Hawk and a Hacksaw, John Dieterich from Deerhoof, Thierry Amar and Tim Herzog from Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Adam Torres, Michael Gira, Jarboe, Stine Janvin Motland, John Congleton and many others.
Thor & Friends, 4 is the band’s fourth LP. Thor writes, “Thor & Friends is a collective of musicians. Some players are classically trained, others are punk musicians with no reading skills, just spirit and will. Through friendship and musical collaboration, this album brings together Craig Ross, Alan and Mimi from Low, Bill Callahan, and Jolie Holland; strings from the likes of Mollie Fischer, Travis Weller, Lindsey Verrill, Andrea Calderón, and Nino Soberon; and even more instrumentation from Jeff Johnston on saw, Christopher Cundy, Andrea Belfi, and Adam Harding.”
Thor & Friends3 is available onKlaus Blue Vinyl, CD & Digital Thor & Friends4 is available on Medicine Mint Vinyl, CD & Digital
The Church of Noise is a non-profit community, founded by Joyful Noise Recordings' staff and artists. The purpose of Church of Noise is to financially support adventurous music – specifically music that might not otherwise exist in a purely capitalist system.
In 1986 hair metal was king. Bands like Bon Jovi, Poison, Van Halen, Def Leppard, Motley Crüe, and Ratt ruled the airwaves...and spawned a thousand copycat bands and millions of head-banging teenage fans. At the same time, evangelical Christians—in an attempt to distance themselves from the hedonistic subculture of metal and preach the Gospel—promoted a cottage industry of Christian metal bands.
1986 was the peak of this push. While super-group Stryper found fame outside of Evangelical circles, dozens of “white metal” bands thrived within the wholesome Christian youth group culture of sprawling suburban America. 316 is one of those bands.
Today JNR is releasing this archival 7", featuring "Commando For Christ" b/w "Girl (I Love Jesus Too)" – on Purple Vinyl, limited to 316 hand-numbered copies.
Today is Juneteenth, the day in which we celebrate the end of slavery in the United States. But especially this year, we are reminded that there is so much more work to do for social equality.
To assist the movement for social justice, we have collaborated with several artists on new benefit release today. Each of the titles below are Bandcamp-only digital releases (at least initially). These releases are digital-only due to the timeliness of the cause, and using Bandcamp as our platform due to the fact that Bandcamp is donating their portion of all sales to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Also today, all of JNR and Artist proceeds will be donated to Black Lives Matter.
Please support these important causes by donating and downloading the incredible music below!
Deerhoof & Wadada Leo Smith
To Be Surrounded By Beautiful, Curious, Breathing, Laughing Flesh Is Enough
Sharing its name with a line from Walt Whitman's "I Sing The Body Electric" the new live album captures the band of Satomi Matsuzaki, Ed Rodriguez, John Dieterich, and Greg Saunier in peak form, and culminates in a thrilling five-song collaborative set with legendary avant-garde jazz trumpeter/composer Wadada Leo Smith as part of New York City’s Winter Jazzfest at Le Poisson Rouge. 100% of album proceeds benefit Black Lives Matter.
Wadada Leo Smith says of the organization: "Black Lives Matter has been doing fantastic work in keeping the rights and the liberty issues up-front in the minds of the Americans and international peoples. I think that BLM organization is an excellent place to give support to and to help bring democratic practices into the American society. Since in today’s world, true democracy is not practiced anywhere on the planet. Human Rights is a colossal type of event for anyone to realize, and it’s hard to do. But it must be done and I believe it can be achieved. What makes it so hard is that true democratic principles demand that all human beings respect the rights of others, and that we develop the capacity to share the wealth, the power and the earth and the sky together, with the condition that we collectively work to build a peaceful world. For all of us!"
Saunier adds: "Part of what makes touring life so great was how unpredictable it is. All the unexpected encounters, promoters and audiences and performers willing to take a risk. That's what playing together with Wadada was for us. The corporate world seems to want to define 'musician' as 'internet content competitor' but the actual people who make music have to find ways out of that trap. That's why I'm touched that a master improviser like Wadada would bring up true democracy. To me, democracy and improvisation are linked, and they appear spontaneously at times like these, when strangers come together to take action, and there is no rulebook."
The otherworldly Thor Harris has offered a new single from Thor & Friends, "Mystery Train ("Lower" remix)". This track is off Thor & Friends - '4' which was offered as part of our 2019 Artist in Residence, and will get a wide release this year (shhh secrets). This mix features vocals from Low and Jolie Holland.
We are pleased to present June's 2020 White Label Series selection Like A Villain, Bast as chosen by Rafiq Bhatia of Son Lux.
Like A Villain Bast (June 01, 2020)
A Song About Romance
My Dog Ate It
Death as a Way
I Want to Believe
“There’s an uncanny feeling that I sometimes get when listening to some of my favorite musicians—John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix immediately spring to mind. It’s a sense of confrontation with truth, one that cuts right through the noise of life and hits me straight in the chest. There is a transcendence in it—their persistence in the face of physical struggle allows these artists to surge past the confines of their instruments and express something more deeply human. Their playing feels vocal.
I’ve never encountered a vocalist that expresses that kind of near-prophetic balance between beauty and pain in quite the same way as Like A Villain. The opening, eponymous cut from Bast feels like a primer on it. In fact, at several points along this 2014 album’s 37 minutes, I feel like Holland Andrews’ voice shares something simultaneously more visceral and more ethereal than much else I can remember.
”Complex, rich emotionality inspires my work, as well as finding the sweet spot where catharsis is discovered through dissonance and resonance to cultivate healing,” they write. “Having the capacity to perform with complete freedom and the pursued mastery of what I'm trying to do is what keeps me creating.”
What makes music feel spiritual? For me at least, the answer has to do with the extent to which a song encourages the listener to confront death, time, and impermanence vs. distracting from those things. Bast goes there without blinking. We hope you’ll take a listen.”
- Rafiq Bhatia of Son Lux
We are sold out of our subscriptions for this year, so we encourage you to follow Like A Villain and buy from the artist!
Last week was an intense week, in an unprecedented year, and we hope that this bit of news might bring a little lightness to your day: JNR and Helvetia (formed by Jason Albertini in 2005) announce new LP This Devastating Map, out Friday, August 7, 2020.
While Duster (co-founded by Albertini) dwells in a broken down space station lost to the cosmos, Helvetiaʼs sound is decidedly more earthbound: guitars sparkle and soar beyond their means with hushed vocals transcribing aching personal struggles. This Devastating Map is full of unlikely hooks and odd shapes that desire repeat listening
VIP VINYL is limited to 350 hand-numbered copies pressed on Black/Milky Clear with Pink Splatter vinyl.
Written By Joyful Noise Recordings - April 30 2020
We are pleased to present May's 2020 White Label Series selection Extra, F R double Eas chosen by Bobb Bruno.
Extra F R double E (May 01, 2020)
Forward to Mono
The End of Summer
The Medley I Warned You About
Do You Know What You’re Saying, Eddie?
Over and Overdub
From Me to the World
Free in Time
“I'm so excited to see F R double E finally on vinyl! I've seen Extra play so many incredible shows here in Los Angeles and have enjoyed this album for many years. It sounds like a lost gem from the heyday of vinyl and now it can be enjoyed by all on the proper format. Thank you Adam Harding and Joyful Noise for inviting me to be a part of this great series and lastly to Jim Mills for making such great music. Cheers!”
- Bobb Bruno
We are sold out of our subscriptions for this year, so we encourage you to follow Extra and buy from the artist! BANDCAMP / FACEBOOK / WEBSITE
If you are a White Label Subscriber, check the White Label Digital Downloads page to grab the digital:
Written By Joyful Noise Recordings - April 29 2020
Greetings from quarantine!
We are very excited to announce that the legendary musician, producer, and Shimmy-Disc label founder KRAMER will be our 2020 Artist in Residence!
This 2020 Artist in Residence is unique among past years in that we are not just choosing a composer/performer, we are instead choosing someone who works with and through other artists. As a producer and label-head, Kramer has cultivated incredible art in a way that very few human beings ever have. Especially in these dark times, we think that his communal approach to creating art is vital.
Over the last four decades, Kramer has produced/performed/cultivated work from the likes of Daniel Johnston, Low, Will Oldham, Butthole Surfers, Sufjan Stevens, Bongwater, John Zorn, Jad Fair/Half Japanese, Galaxie 500, Luna, Danielson, Urge Overkill, Pussy Galore, King Missile, and even Gwar...
Here are some details on everything included in this year's residency: *
Box Set includes 5 limited edition 12" vinyl records, pressed on deluxe colored vinyl.
Features music from 5 distinct musical projects, each created/curated by Kramer.
Top-loading printed box also includes unique art-print, signed by Kramer.
Co-released with the legendary Shimmy-Disc Records.
These 5 titles contained in the Box Set the will be the first 5 albums released by Kramer's reborn label.
Each LP is being mixed on the historic Universal Audio 610 console that was used by Brian Wilson to create Smile, and the Pet Sounds stereo mixes, among other classic albums.
Digital delivery includes monthly email updates from Kramer, each containing new digital audio from his various projects, complete with digital downloads in lossless WAV + AIFF + MP3.
Your purchase not only supports JNR and Kramer, but also supports countless bands who will benefit from the re-emergence of Shimmy-Disc (one of the most important and fiercely adventurous labels of all time)
Joyful Noise's Artist In Residence series grants prolific artists space to stretch out, in the form of a year-long subscription style body of work. Joyful Noise works with the artist creating material throughout the year, periodically releasing projects digitally, culminating in an extensive physical box set. Previous artist participants include Deerhoof, Thor Harris, Rob Crow, Tim Kinsella, and Jad Fair.
Get to know Kramer
In a career spanning four decades, Kramer has positioned himself as one of the defining figures in post-punk music, while establishing Shimmy-Disc as one of the most influential independent labels of late 20th Century music. As part of Kramer’s residency with Joyful Noise Recordings, he’ll be creating a 5 LP box set and relaunching the Shimmy-Disc label, which has been dormant for over twenty years.
Kramer’s work in music covers a vast spectrum of sound, unified only by an unwavering commitment to experimentation and collaboration. Even a straight telling of Kramer’s bio reads like a wild tall tale. He’s toured as a member of The Fugs, and Butthole Surfers. He’s played bass for GG Allin, and live mixed Sun Ra. Kramer has produced records for dozens of artists, including Daniel Johnston, White Zombie, and Low. Through Shimmy-Disc, Kramer released albums from a fascinating roster of artists that includes Ween, gore metal heroes Gwar, King Missile, and Japan’s noise rock masters the Boredoms. There’s perhaps no other living figure with a greater connection to outsider music than Kramer.
While Kramer has operated successfully in the extreme margins of music, he’s also demonstrated an equal mastery of pop music, producing influential recordings from artists like Galaxie 500 and Will Oldham. Kramer even scored a bonafide hit in 1994, handling production duties for Urge Overkill’s take on Neil Diamonds’ "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon.” That song was featured on Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction soundtrack, and climbed up to a #59 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
Kramer first rose to prominence in the late 1970s performing with New York Gong, a side-project connected to ex-Soft Machine guitarist Daevid Allen’s prog rock warhorse Gong. The 1980s saw Kramer co-founding a number of significant groups, including Shockabilly, Bongwater, and Captain Howdy, a collaboration with famed magician Penn Jillette. But the creation of the Shimmy-Disc label in 1987 would prove to be one of Kramer’s most enduring projects. With Shimmy-Disc, Kramer coalesced his varied talents as a producer, curator, and musician into one inextricably linked whole. In the words of Joyful Noise Recordings’ founder Karl Hofstetter, “his label became his art medium.”
“I tried to release stuff no one else wanted to release,” Kramer says of his work with Shimmy-Disc. “I decided that I just wasn't going to stand for seeing all this great music I was producing languish unreleased, passing into obscurity and nothingness right before my very eyes. I knew that there would never be anything I could do about a work of art falling into obscurity, but I could certainly rise to the occasion and challenge the specter of nothingness by starting a record company and releasing the music myself, on vinyl. At least then it wouldn't be nothing. There had to be the opportunity, at least, to listen, or not listen. So I started Shimmy-Disc.”
Hofstetter considers Kramer’s talent for production as one of the artist’s most potent skills. “Kramer is a visionary. He sees greatness in other artists, and he draws that out of them in a really special way.” Kramer views his work as a producer in almost spiritual terms. “It's all about love,” he shares. “Producing, if it can be reduced to a single-word definition, is giving. And one cannot possibly give one's all, without love. I freely admit that if there's no love, I’m not going to do my best work. Daniel Johnston knew that, and so do I, thanks in great part to him. Working beside great artists changes you. I could make a list of them that goes back over forty years. I'm 61 now. I haven't forgotten a moment of it. Nothing is lost. Time wears us down, concealing us from our selves. It's the artist's job to reveal himself, or herself, to find where the gold is buried. It’s producer's job to help the artist dig it up.”
Kramer’s residency with Joyful Noise Recordings will incorporate all aspects of his creative expression. “I’m devoting the entirety of 2020 to the Artist-In-Residence series for Joyful Noise Recordings,” Kramer explains. “I’ll be focusing on my work as an artist and collaborator, precisely as I did when Shimmy-Disc was operational in the ‘80s and ’90s.”
The bulk of Kramer’s work for the Artist-In-Residence series will revolve around the creation of a 5 LP box set. While some details for the box set collection have yet to be worked out, Kramer provided an overview of the first project. “The first LP in the box set is Let It Come Down, a collaboration between myself and vocalist Xan Tyler. I’d been hearing Xan's voice in my dreams for decades, so you can imagine the shock I experienced when I first heard her voice while awake. I invited her to work with me on an LP of songs I'd been working on for a long, long time.”
Kramer emphasized that production for the box set will utilize a historic piece of studio gear. “Each LP is being mixed on the same Universal Audio 610 console that Brian Wilson created Smile, and the Pet Sounds stereo remixes on. This is the same console from Bill Putnam's United Western Recorders on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood that drew hundreds of the greatest artists of the ‘60s to its doors. Love’s Forever Changes was recorded and mixed on this console. This is an opportunity unlike any I've ever had before. It's also a god-like ideal for my re-entry into the analog realm, which is where Shimmy-Disc began in 1987; with tape machines and vinyl LPs. It's thrilling to be back in the land of vacuum tubes and vintage analog circuitry, on the same console that gave birth to some of our most precious musical memories. It really is like being born again.” There’s no doubt that 2020 is a strange year to launch a project of this scale - or really, any project at all. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted nearly all aspects of our daily lives. But for Kramer, the drive to create remains a paramount element of the human experience. “Make Art, make Love, die. With or without this virus, this is what we do. It's all we can do.”
Written By Joyful Noise Recordings - April 02 2020
White Label Series - April 2020
We are pleased to present April's 2020 White Label Series selection Weasel Walter, Curses as chosen by Lydia Lunch.
Weasel Walter - Curses (April 01, 2020)
1. Curse Against Humanity - 20:39 2. Cursed In Eternity - 20:06
"Weasel Walter has released hundreds of recordings, played thousands of shows, worked with an unbelievably diverse array of musicians and refuses the confines of any one genre of music always bringing a ferocious intensity to whatever format he deems to create in. With Curses, a solo recording, he expands the boundaries he refuses to abide by once more... Mysterious, spooky. sexy. One for the ladies? Perhaps...if they like the idea that what waits in the basement ...waits patiently for them. Curses plays like a musical teaser to a creepy drive-in stalker film from a time and place that can not be named. As words alone fail to express the vast musical terrain this master has traversed, a simple paragraph alone will not describe the visions the listener may experience when seduced into the lush interior of this unique release."
—Lydia Lunch, Curator
If you are a White Label Subscriber, check the White Label Digital Downloads page to grab the digital:
Written By Joyful Noise Recordings - March 25 2020
Good news: Deerhoof will be providing the soundtrack to the apocalypse! The band's new album, Future Teenage Cave Artists, is coming May 29, and is now available for pre-order.
Borne of self-isolation and deprivation, Future Teenage Cave Artists is about resilience and the persistence of hope in a future beyond any reasonable justification for it. It's a strange world we find ourselves in today, and it's clear that Deerhoof has been considering these apocalyptic possibilities of societal collapse for a long while... Deerhoof always seems to be ahead of the curve.
Today we are releasing the album’s first two singles—the title track and “The Loved One”– to give you the first taste of the complex cocktail of emotions that make up this remarkable record. The album is available on Blood Vinyl, CD, Cassette, Digital, and VIP Limited Edition Vinyl (limited to 500 hand-numbered copies on Blood & Bone colored vinyl, which includes a secret 5" lathe-cut bonus record.)
VIP Edition, limited to 500 hand-numbered copies on Blood & Bone colored vinyl. Each copy includes a secret 5" lathe-cut record, containing unique unreleased audio [no two records are alike].
Lyric Video for "Future Teenage Cave Artists", directed by Ryan Hover & Allison Durst
Full Album Description, by Benjamin Piekut:
"Deerhoof is a weapon loaded with the future." - Agustín Fernández Mallo, Spanish physicist and writer
Normal is never coming back. Whether by a collective dismantling or sheer collapse, our old illusions are being hollowed out. Over the past couple of years, Deerhoof has been asking themselves if there was any music they could create that expressed how the rapidly changing future might actually feel. The finished product, Future Teenage Cave Artists, finds Deerhoof in a revolutionary mood, but also haunted by memories of a lost world and every failed attempt to save it. People already cut loose from the system, already surviving with new ways of life—these hopeful heroes are Deerhoof’s inspiration. These are the Future Teenage Cave Artists.
Faithful listeners will recognize a certain alienated but transformational figure who shows up in Deerhoof songs going back to their earliest days. Take the narrator of “The Perfect Me” from 2007’s Friend Opportunity: an orphaned but eager soul attempting to entice other wounded wanderers who might lack a home, a clan, a family, a history. But on Future Teenage Cave Artists our protagonist is threatened by terror lurking around every corner. Add to that the fact that our “cast-off queen,” our “maniac,” our “terrible daughter” are watching themselves get orphaned in real time by an older generation in power that would rather see life on Earth destroyed than give up archaic systems of capital.
Like a lot of the inimitable music they have released over the last quarter-century, the Deerhoof of Future Teenage Cave Artists (Satomi Matsuzaki on bass and vocals, Ed Rodriguez and John Dieterich on guitars, and Greg Saunier on drums, vocals and piano) stitches together fragments of R&B and classic rock and transforms them into a new language of revolution, forgoing verse-chorus structures for dream logic and blind intuition. But what makes this album different is its intimacy—the blues riffs and slide guitars are joined by soft, rickety pianos and whispered three-part harmonies.
In this sense, FTCA inverts the formula of Deerhoof’s last album, Mountain Moves, which invited a wide community of collaborators to band together in an open celebration of solidarity. The new one, on the other hand, is borne of self-isolation and deprivation. It’s the sound of a sparkling, manic musical intelligence being disconnected from a nourishing public and devouring itself inside its own cocoon: a desperate lunge at metamorphosis.
At times FTCA indeed sounds as if the band has retreated to the caves, recording with unreliable electricity and insecure food supplies. Guitar pedals malfunction mid-take, reverbs chop off mid-tail, drum fills collapse mid-phrase. Some musical moments, as gorgeous and touching as anything Deerhoof has ever written, stop short for no apparent reason, giving way to queasy smudges of sound. Many of the instruments and voices were recorded with nothing more than the built-in mic of a laptop. Harsh splices make no effort to hide the seams. Hard panning leaves many of these imperfections weirdly naked in the mix.
In this way FTCA joins a storied lineage of pop records that expose the insular and reclusive nature of recording itself. Like Let It Be, There's a Riot Goin' On, or Sister Lovers, this record is its own “making-of.” Absence is a central character in the drama. For every heartwarming melody or pile-up of parade drums or shard of loopy guitar noise, there is musical acknowledgement of the toll that a constant threat of cataclysm takes on mental health. This is a sonic and lyric funeral for a way of life that is never coming back—an afterparty, back when the doomsday clock hit midnight. There are raucous toasts to the departed in high style, as sassy and spasmodic as anything they've done—see Side A; there are moments of profound sadness, maximally small, descending into madness, shrieking with loss—see Side B. All funerals remind us that life goes on, somehow.
In that time after the end times, it’s not only the food systems, energy systems, and political systems that will have to be rebuilt. Myths, stories, and rituals we use to make sense of the world are up for revision, too. Might not agile networks of mutual aid be our best example of civilization, and our makeshift DIY basement shows be the real high art? One answer might be found in the two-and-a-half decades that this improbable combination of personalities and backgrounds we call Deerhoof has spent on stage, cultivating quick-wittedness and improvisation. This is a record about resilience and the persistence of hope in a future beyond any reasonable justification for it. Like so many young people today, Deerhoof seems to be already living in that future.
Deerhoof Future Teenage Cave Artists By: Benjamin Piekut