Pop Culture

Albums Out Today: The Last Dinner Party, J Mascis, Liquid Mike, Vera Sola, and More

In this segment, we showcase the most notable albums out each week. Here are the albums out on February 2, 2024:


The Last Dinner Party, Prelude to Ecstasy

The Last Dinner Party have released their debut album, Prelude to Ecstasy, today via Island. The 12-track LP includes the previously unveiled tracks ‘Nothing Matters’, ‘Sinner’, ‘My Lady of Mercy’, ‘On Your Side’, and ‘Caesar on a TV Screen’. “Ecstasy is a pendulum which swings between the extremes of human emotion, from the ecstasy of passion to the sublimity of pain, and it is this concept which binds our album together,” the band said in a press release. “This is an archeology of ourselves; you can exhume our collective and individual experiences and influences from within its fabric. We exorcised guitars for their solos, laid bare confessions directly from diary pages, and summoned an orchestra to bring our vision to life. It is our greatest honour and pride to present this offering to the world, it is everything we are.”


J Mascis, What Do We Do Now

J Mascis has returned with a new solo album, What Do We Do Now, via Sub Pop. The follow-up to 2018’s Elastic Days was recorded at Mascis’ Bisquiteen studio in Western Massachusetts and features the early singles ‘Can’t Believe We’re Here’‘Set Me Down’, and ‘Right Behind You’. “When I’m writing for the band, I’m always trying to think of doing things Lou and Murph would fit into,” Mascis said in a statement. “For myself, I’m thinking more about what I can do with just an acoustic guitar, even for the leads. Of course, this time, I added full drums and electric leads, although the rhythm parts are still all acoustic. Usually, I try to do the solo stuff more simply so I can play it by myself, but I really wanted to add the drums. Once that started, everything else just fell into place. So it ended up sounding a lot more like a band record. I dunno why I did that exactly, but it’s just what happened.”


Liquid Mike, Paul Bunyan’s Slingshot

Liquid Mike – the Michigan-based power pop outfit led by guitarist and vocalist Mike Maple – have dropped their latest album, Paul Bunyan’s Slingshot. Featuring the advance tracks ‘K2’ and ‘American Caveman’, the album takes its name from an obscure art piece in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that a teenager drunkenly cut in half one night. “I’ve always thought it was funny how many Midwest towns claim to be the home of Paul Bunyan or have some sort of connection to him because they’re always the smallest little towns,” Maple explained. “This album is about living in a place like that.”


Vera Sola, Peacemaker

Vera Sola has put out her second album and first in five years, Peacemaker. The Shades follow-up was recorded in Nashville over the fall of 2019 with co-producer Kenneth Patten.”The Colt Single Action Army…the Peace-maker…is the gun that quote-unquote tamed the American West,” Sola explained. “So it has this thematic resonance with the thrust of the record, as well as a personal significance to my family lineage of old west gun slingers. It’s the ultimate irony—not only in the sense of peace made violently, but also in that it’s this beautiful word that wraps around something horrible. It really gets to the complexity of the music. That complexity is important to me, that staring down and reintegrating of the shadow is important to me. It’s a reclamation.”


Runnner, Stardust

Runnner has unveiled a new ambient LP, Starsdust, following up 2023’s Like Dying Stars, We’re Reaching Out. It spans twelve songs, including the previously released ‘ten’ and ‘eleven’. “I made one rule for myself while making this record and it was that I wasn’t allowed to record any new audio,” Noah Weinman explained in press materials. “Every sound on this album is a repurposed stem from Like Dying Stars, We’re Reaching Out. I was allowed to pitch, flip, stretch, and chop anything I wanted, but everything had to begin from something already recorded for the last album.”


Kirin J Callinan, If I Could Sing

Kirin J Callinan is back with If I Could Sing, his first collection of original material since 2017’s Bravado. Following 2019’s covers album Return to Center, the LP was previewed by the singles ‘Young Drunk Driver’, ‘ANÆMIC ADONIS (you made me a promise)’, ‘Eternally Hateful’, and ‘Crazier Idea’. The Australian singer-songwriter was set to release the record last June, and some fans got to hear it via a listening session and USB drives distributed at his live shows. Since releasing Bravado, Callinan has also worked on Caroline Polachek’s Desire, I Want To Turn Into You and Mark Ronson’s Uptown Special.


J. Robbins, Basilisk

Jawbox’s J. Robbins has issued a new solo album, Basilisk, via Dischord. Robbins engineered, mixed, and produced the record, which was recorded between 2021 and 2022 with the assistance of Brooks Harlan (bass), Darren Zentek (drums), Gordon Withers (cello and guitar), John Haggerty (guitar) and Dave Hadley (pedal steel). “The musical connection had always already been there, but the energy that came from all being in the same room doing this together – something we had just spent a year wondering if we’d ever get to do again — was wonderful,” he said in a statement. “It felt like having been lost in the desert, and then finding an oasis. I’ve never been so happy with a session — both the results and the experience, and the outcome was exactly what I had wanted: something more stripped down and very immediate.”


Plantoid, Terrapath

Released via Bella Union, Terrapath is the debut album by Brighton band Plantoid. Combining progressive rock, jazz, and folk, the LP was preceded by the singles ‘Modulator’, ‘Dog’s Life’, and ‘Pressure’. “Sometimes, when we play the record as a whole, it sort of feels like we’re entering this universe that we’ve created,” singer Chloe Spence reflected in a statement. “The sounds, the art, and where our minds go while we’re playing the album takes us to this alien planet that no humans have reached.” Drummer Louis Bradshaw added, in a way many of the songs on this album are about everything we’ve all amounted to in life at this point, lyrically and musically. The album marks a new direction and a homage to our past selves.”


Other albums out today:

Vijay Iyer Trio, Compassion; Maria W Horn, Panoptikon; Toechter, Epic Wonder; Lee “Scratch” Perry, King Perry; Topographies, Interior Spring; Lao, Chapultepec; L Devine, Digital Heartifacts; Gabby Barrett, Chapter & Verse; KMFDM, Let Go; Slope, Freak Dreams; Slope, Freak Dreams; Ian Wellman, The Night the Stars Fell.

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