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UPCOMING RELEASES

Latest Additions:

South Rail - Stars EP (5/6)
PHOX - S/T (6/24)
Sara Lowes - The Joy of Waiting (TBA)
Johnossi - Transitions (4/29)
Emma Ruth Rundle - Some Heavy Ocean (5/20)
Birdy - Fire Within (6/3 U.S.)
The Milk Carton Kids - Live from Lincoln Theatre DVD (4/29)
Bebel Gilberto - Tudo! (7/29)
Sara Swenson - Runway Lights (Summer TBA)
Challenger - Back to Bellevue (5/27)
Jay Brannan - Always, Then, and Now (7/15)
The Shilohs - S/T (5/13)
Wilsen - Magnolia EP (5/19)
Amber States - Saratoga EP (4/28)
Mimicking Birds - Eons (5/13)
Mark Chadwick (Levellers) - Moment (6/16)
Mary Gauthier - Trouble & Love (6/10)
You Are Wolf - Hawk to the Hunting Gone (5/6 UK)
Blair Dunlop - House of Jacks (5/26)
Beverly Craven - Change of Heart (6/17 UK)
Lonely the Brave - The Day's War (6/3)
Eleanor McEvoy - Stuff (5/12)
Heather Peace - The Thin Line (6/9 UK)
George Ezra - TBA (6/23 UK)
James Taylor - TBA (8/19)
Rival Sons - Great Western Valkyrie (6/10)
Meshell Ndegeocello - Comet, Come to Me (6/3)
Paul Weller - More Modern Classics (6/3)
Daughter - Live @ Air (4/15)
Imelda May - Tribal (7/29)
The Roots - And Then You Shoot Your Cousin (5/19)
Phillip Phillips - Behind the Light (5/19)
Nick Mulvey - First Mind (9/16 U.S.)
The Peach Kings - Mojo Thunder EP (6/3)
Ed Sheeran - x (multiply) (6/23)
Puss N Boots (Norah Jones) - No Fools, No Fun (7/15)

April 15

Afghan Whigs - Do To the Beast
Amatorski - From Clay Figures
Amaya Laucirica - Sway (4/18 AUS)
Bobby Bare Jr. - Undefeated
Bruce Springsteen - American Beauty EP (4/19)
Dan Wilson - Love Without Fear
 Daughter - Live @ Air
Dinah Thorpe - Lullabies & Wake Up Calls
Elizaveta - Hero EP
Emerson Hart (Tonic) - Beauty In Disrepair
Horse Thief - Fear In Bliss
Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) - Homo Erraticus
Ingrid Michaelson - Lights Out
Jessica Lea Mayfield - Make My Head Sing...
Jim Kroft - Lunatic Lullabies (UK)
Justin Currie - Lower Reaches
Justin Nozuka - Ulysees
Marika Hackman - Deaf Heat EP
Matthew & The Atlas - Other Rivers (UK)
Needtobreathe - Rivers In the Wasteland
Paolo Nutini - Caustic Love (UK)
Ramona Lisa (Chairlift's Caroline Polachek) - Arcadia
Rodney Crowell - Tarpaper Sky
The Bee Gees - The WB Years 1987-1991 Box
The Both (Aimee Mann, Ted Leo) - S/T
The Secret Sisters - Put Your Needle Down
Thee Oh Sees - Drop
Vaudeville Etiquette - Debutantes and Dealers
Wallis Bird - Architecture (UK)
Woods - With Light & With Love

April 22

Black Prairie (Decemberists) - Fortune
Dwight & Nicole - Shine On
EELS - The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett
Fear Of Men - Loom
 G. Love & Special Sauce - Sugar
Hedley - Wild Life
Justin Rutledge - Daredevil (Tragically Hip Songs)
Keb' Mo' - BLUESAmericana
Little Daylight - TBA
Little Feat - Live in Holland 1976
Margot & The Nuclear So and Sos - Sling Shot to Heaven
Sharon Corr - The Same Sun
The Madden Brothers (Good Charlotte) - TBA
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - Days of Abandon
To Kill A King - Cannibals With Cutlery (U.S.)
Tom and Hebron - Zoyugo

April 29

Amber States - Saratoga EP
Archie Powell & The Exports - Back In Black
Ben Watt - Hendra
Brigitte DeMeyer - Savannah Road (4/29)
Broken Twin - May
Caitlin Park - The Sleeper (5/2 AUS)
Chris Robinson Brotherhood - Phosphorescent Harvest
Curtis Stigers - Hooray For Lovers
Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz) - Everyday Robots
Dave Keller - Soul Changes
Edward David Anderson - Lies & Wishes
Fiona Bevan - Talk To Strangers
Ghost of A Saber Tooth Tiger (Sean Lennon) - Midnight Sun
Hafdis Huld - Home
Johnossi - Transitions
Little Hurricane - Gold Fever
Pink Mountaintops - Get Back
Prefab Sprout - Crimson/Red (U.S.)
Rodrigo y Gabriela - 9 Dead Alive
Sam Morrow - Ephemeral
The Currys - Follow
The Howlin' Brothers - Trouble
 The Milk Carton Kids - Live from Lincoln Theatre DVD
The Old 97's - Most Messed Up
Tommy Malone (Subdudes) - Poor Boy
Wye Oak - Shriek 

April TBA

Imogen Heap - Sparks
Neil Young - A Letter Home

May 6

Ben Harper/Ellen Chase-Verdries - Childhood Home
Brian Eno/Karl Hyde - Someday World
Current Swell - Ulysses
Gabrielle Aplin - English Rain EP (U.S.) 
  Gregg Allman & Various Artists - All My Friends (CD/DVD)
Gruff Rhys - American Interior
Jenny Scheinman - The Littlest Prisoner
Kina Grannis - Elements
Leisure Cruise (Dave Hodge, Leah Segal) - S/T
Liam Finn - The Nihilist
Lily Allen - Sheezus
Luke Elliot - Provisions
Lykke Li - I Never Learn
Natalie Merchant - S/T
Nikki Lane - All or Nothin'
Pacifika - Amor Planeta
Papercuts - Life Among the Savages
Rachel Taylor Brown - Falimy
Rae Morris - Do You Even Know? EP (UK)
Ray LaMontagne - Supernova
Roddy Frame (Aztec Camera) - Seven Dials (UK)
Sarah McLachlan - Shine On
South Rail - Stars EP
The Horrors - Luminous
Thomas Dybdahl - What's Left Is Forever (US)
Tiny Ruins - Brightly Painted One
tUnE-yArDs - Nikki Nack
Willie Watson - Folk Singer, Vol. 1
Wooden Wand - Farmers Corner
You Are Wolf - Hawk to the Hunting Gone (UK)

May 13

Amen Dunes - Love
Braid - No Coast
Carrie Elkin & Danny Schmidt - For Keeps
Collin Herring - Some Knives
Eleanor McEvoy - Stuff
Jake Bugg - Messed Up Kids EP (UK)
Jeremy Fisher - The Lemon Squeeze
Jesse Denaro - Dear, Love
Joseph Arthur - Lou (Lou Reed Tribute)
Kris Delmhorst - Blood Test
La Sera - Hour of the Dawn
Little Dragon - Nabuma Underground
Megson - In A Box 
Mimicking Birds - Eons
Mirah - Changing Light
Molly Beanland - Night Dreams
Little Dragon - Nabuma Rubberband
Nick Mulvey - First Mind
Owen Pallett - In Conflict
Rhodes - The Morning EP (5/11 UK)
Swans - To Be Kind 
Sylvan Esso - S/T
The Black Keys - Turn Blue
The Shilohs - S/T
The Trouble With Templeton - Rookie
Tom The Lion - Sleep
Tori Amos - Unrepentant Geraldines
Walter Martin (The Walkmen) - We're All Young Together

May 20

Bry Webb - Free Will
Cara Dillon - A Thousand Hearts (UK)
Coldplay - Ghost Stories
Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) - Upside Down Mountain
Emma Ruth Rundle - Some Heavy Ocean
Haley Bonar - Last War
Hundreds - Aftermath
Jolie Holland - Wine Dark Sea
Kenny Wayne Shepherd - Going Home
LCD Soundsystem - The Long Goodbye: Live @ Madison Sq. Garden
Malka Spigel - Gliding EP
Nightmare & The Cat - Simple
Oasis - Definitely Maybe 20th Anniv. Ed.
Phillip Phillips - Behind the Light
Smoke Fairies - S/T
Syd Arthur - Sound Mirror
The Roots - And Then You Shoot Your Cousin
Wilsen - Magnolia EP (5/18)
Yann Tiersen - Infinity

May 27

Amy LaVere - Runaway's Diary
Blair Dunlop - House of Jacks
Challenger - Back to Bellevue
John Fullbright - Songs
John Illsley (Dire Straits) - Testing the Waters
Little Barrie - Shadow
Madison - The Bright Light EP
Matthew Barber - Big Romance
Miniature Tigers - Cruel Runnings
moe. - No Guts, No Glory
Sharon Van Etten - Are We There
Teleman - Breakfast
The Ghost Wolves - Man, Woman, Beast
Zoe Muth & The Lost High Rollers - World of Strangers

May TBA

Bridie Jackson & The Arbour - New Skin
Erlend Øye (Kings of Convenience) - Legao
Lana Del Rey - Ultraviolence

June 3

Alice Boman - EP II
BANKS - Goddess (Full Length Debut) 
Birdy - Fire Within (U.S.)
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Only Run
Echo & The Bunnymen - Meteorites (4/28 UK)
Ethan Johns - The Reckoning (Prod: Ryan Adams)
Hamilton Leithauser (The Walkmen) - Black Hours
Howling Bells - Heartstrings
James - La Petite Mort
JD McPherson - TBA
Joe Henry - Invisible Hour
Josh Record - Pillars (UK)
Kan Wakan - Moving On
Lonely the Brave - The Day's War
Matisyahu - Akeda
Meshell Ndegeocello - Comet, Come to Me
Paul Weller - More Modern Classics
Peter Murphy - Lion
Sam Smith - In the Lonely Hour
Sleep Party People - Floating
The Donkeys - TBA 
   The Peach Kings - Mojo Thunder EP
The Pierces - Creation
The Shoe (w/ Jena Malone) - I'm OK

June 10

Bob Mould - Beauty & Ruin
Cowboy Mouth - Go
First Aid Kit - Stay Gold
Glass Aniimals - Zaba
Got A Girl - I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff Now
Heather Peace - The Thin Line (UK)
Jose James - While You Were Sleeping
Jack White - Lazaretto
Mary Gauthier - Trouble & Love
O.A.R. - The Rockville LP
Passenger - Whispers
Rival Sons - Great Western Valkyrie
The Who - Quadrophenia Live In London
Tomas Barfod - Love Me

June 17

Beverly Craven - Change of Heart (UK)
Glass Towers - Halcyon Days
Lewis Watson - The Morning
Mark Chadwick (Levellers) - Moment
The Antlers - Familiars
The Felice Brothers - Favorite Waitress      

June 24

Ed Sheeran - x (multiply)
George Ezra - TBA (UK)
PHOX - S/T

Beyond

Allen Stone - TBA (Summer)
As Animals - S/T
Bebel Gilberto - Tudo! (7/29)
Ben Ottewell (Gomez) - Rattlebag (TBA)
Charlene Soraia - Love Is The Law (TBA)
Dear Plastic - The Thieves Are Babes (TBA)
Deluka - BONDS EP (Spring TBA)
Don Henley - Cass County (TBA)
Ellis Paul - Chasing Beauty (TBA)
Empires - Orphans (TBA)
Haroula Rose - Here The Blue River (TBA)
Imelda May - Tribal (7/29)
James Taylor - TBA (8/19)
Jay Brannan - Always, Then, and Now (7/15)
Jonah Tolchin - Clover Road (Summer TBA)
Kite Club - Fresh Air for Humans (TBA)
Kris Delmhorst - Blood Test (Spring TBA)
Little Daylight - TBD (7/15)
Miranda Lee Richards - Echoes of the Dreamtime (TBA)
Morrissey - World Peace Is None of Your Business (Summer)
  Nick Mulvey - First Mind (9/16 U.S.)
Peter Himmelman - The Boat That Carries Us (TBA)
Puss N Boots (Norah Jones) - No Fools, No Fun (7/15)
Rich Robinson (Black Crowes) - The Ceaseless Sight (TBA)
Sara Lowes - The Joy of Waiting (TBA)
Sara Swenson - Runway Lights (Summer TBA)
Sasha Siem - Most of the Boys (TBA)
Scott Matthews - Home Pt. 1 (TBA)
Slow Club - Complete Surrender (7/14)
The Felice Brothers - Favorite Waitress
The Good Natured - Prism (Summer TBA)
The Vespers - Sisters and Brothers (TBA
Tiny Ruins - Brightly Painted One (TBA)
Toby Lightman - Every Kind of People (TBA)
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Hypnotic Eye (Summer TBA)
Wakey! Wakey! - All It Takes Is A Little Love (TBA)
Winterpills - Echolalia (Covers) (TBA) 
Woman's Hour - Conversations (7/15)

All titles and dates subject to change! Correction? Addition?

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Thursday
Apr042013

Denison Witmer - S/T

For fifteen years singer/songwriter Denison Witmer has lived just off the mainstream musical grid, creating a half-dozen albums of low-keyed folk/pop -- what he terms "quiet music" -- and touring and recording with friends like Sufjan Stephens and Rosie Thomas. So it's revealing that Witmer would now release his seventh simply titled Denison Witmer (April 30, Asthmatic Kitty), the successor to last year's fine The Ones Who Wait. At some point in a creative musician's career there's a "taking stock" of one's path or journey -- what has come before and what lies ahead. For Witmer, who took time off to care for his dying father while taking on the role of father himself, the reflection has brought both comfort and confidence to his craft. Or as he puts it describing the song "Constant Muse," "deciding to keep doing something that chose me, rather than I chose it—and now, choosing it." Unhurried and delicate even in stark relief, Witmer's songs slowly reveal nuanced melodies that pull you close to savor each perfect chord and turn of a phrase. Stream "Right Behind You" and read more below...

Denison Witmer - 'Constant Muse' (from Denison Witmer)

Denison Witmer - 'Right Behind You' (from Denison Witmer)

"Let go a little."

It's a line from Denison Witmer's latest album, Denison Witmer, but it's also the lesson that the singer-songwriter has learned from his first fifteen years of underground success. The release of his self-titled disc—his ninth full-length—comes as an occasion to reflect on what he's learned from a career in music: to be patient, to trust in happy accidents, and to admit every once in a while that he isn't totally in control.

In a way, even the start of his musical career was an accident. Hoping to print a hundred or so copies of his first CD, Safe Away (1998)a teenaged Denison found himself stuck with ten times that many, and went on his first tour in an attempt to keep the extras from going to waste. He sold the whole thousand, including one copy that found its way into the hands of the Burnt Toast Vinyl label, and a recording project intended for a tiny audience turned into a full-fledged album release.

The title of his seventh album, Are You a Dreamer? (Militia, 2005), offers a clue to Denison's songwriting process.  According to Denison, music—or life—is sometimes like a dream, the connections between one idea and another, or one moment and the next, making sense on an intuitive level rather than a rational one.

But that's the beauty of a dream:  "I like it when things don't necessarily add up," says Denison, "and I'm okay with that, when things spin a little bit out of control."  And when his songwriting follows along with that intuitive logic, "instead of necessarily guiding it," he says, "for me, those have always been the most successful moments creatively."

But calamity struck while Denison was working on the follow-up to his eighth album, 2008's Carry the Weight (Militia). His father fell terminally ill, and Denison took a break from music-making in order to care for him.  He helped friend and producer Devin Greenwood build the Honey Jar, a recording studio in Brooklyn, and when he finally returned to finish the EP he had started recording, he instead found himself putting together enough material for a full-length—The Ones Who Wait (Asthmatic Kitty, 2012)a whole album created, in a sense, by accident.

Co-owning a studio has made it possible for him to create a recording using the same intuitive processes that drive his songwriting, rather than showing up with a strict plan for his time in the studio, to bring in trusted collaborators like Greenwood, Sufjan Stevens, and Rosie Thomas, and give them free reign to realize his music.  It has given him the control he needs, in other words, to relinquish control.

For Denison Witmer, Denison takes the same spirit of quiet acceptance that he has brought to life's mysteries, happy accidents, and even calamities, and turns it towards—as the title might suggest—himself. Citing inspirations as different as Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet and the life of knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey, he reflects on the life he's led, from his earliest days on the road.

"One day I put out an album, and then I was packing up my car and going on tour.  Then ten years in," he says, "I was still doing the same thing."  The song "Constant Muse" is about those first years:  "I think it's the most direct song on this album, about deciding to keep doing something that chose me, rather than I chose it—and now, choosing it."

Having lost a father, Denison is now father to a son of his own, named Asa, and the new album looks towards the future as much as it reflects upon the past. In another one of those happy accidents, a friend introduced him to a song called "Asa" that just happens to weave the name's different meanings ("healer" in Hebrew, "morning" in Japanese, and so on) into the album's themes of comfort and consolation.

In an age of flashy pop hits that give off more light than heat, Denison's music is, like his career, a slow burn, but it offers an enduring warmth. He makes "quiet music" (his words), intimate and introspective, that trusts his audience to bring something of themselves to it.

It's an open-ended, patient approach to songwriting. "You could be whatever you want," goes the first verse of Denison Witmer's "Made Out for This"—"but I know that you're feeling older." It could be addressed to the listener, or to a lover, or even to Denison himself. But the second verse sounds less like a love song than a hymn: "I follow the light as it moves," Denison sings, "And I'm still making my way back to the river." And while the verses offer reassurance, the refrain is nagged by doubt: "What if I'm just not made out for this?"

He doesn't offer easy answers.  "I guess what's encouraging to me," says Denison, "is that you hear sometimes people, who you never thought they had any doubts about what they're doing, have some doubts."

At the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, given a chance to survey the work of one of his artistic heroes, Denison experienced a small epiphany: no one ever thinks of the obscure, early paintings when they think of the name Van Gogh, but those famous, late masterpieces would have been impossible without them.  Even when he was making drawings for art school, Van Gogh was already Van Gogh.

"Looking over the arc of a career, there are moments when you got it right and moments where you didn't," says Denison. "For me, music's always about the process.  It's not always about the final product; it's more about the journey.  You work song by song and album by album in pursuit of something—I really try to trust that approach."

 Denison Witmer, the album, brings Denison Witmer, the artist, one step closer to that something.

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