A Lull “Meat Mountain” (lujo093)

A Lull’s Meat Mountain signifies new freshness, growth and maturity. The Chicago-based band is always changing, trying to evolve from what it was, into something exciting and new. During the recording of Meat Mountain, the quintet sought to achieve more by using less. While previous recordings often relied on creating “walls of sound,” Meat Mountain employs open space as an instrument as well. Most of the core instrumentation was written live, recording demos, rehashing and rebuilding. The band continued to diversify its sound by discovering synth tones that seemed to almost feel like throwback sounds, but new all the same. There was more experimentation with elements such as saxophone solos, flute riffs and even cymbals into the recordings for the first time. The resulting music therein is more sincere and more transparent in Meat Mountain than any of A Lull’s previous work.

After extensive touring throughout 2011 and early 2012 with bands such as Cold War Kids and Gauntlet Hair and the release of A Lull’s debut full length album, 2011′s Confetti, the band dedicated time in early 2012 to record five new songs. The EP was written, recorded, produced & mixed by the band.

Recorded in the unseasonably mild winter months of Chicago in 2012, the songs feel warm, rambunctious and full of warmth and summer. The songs feel tighter, while organic poly-rhythms lend clarity and life to the music. Lyrically, Nigel Evan Dennis sings of simpler things. A woman wearing a summer dress, crooning, the dichotomy between fascination with and the distance from the super models that we idolize. He sings of fighting and friends. Meanwhile, a some other songs tread into darker territory with ruminations on the thought of what it would be like to be kidnapped and the terrifying notion of serial killers and creative inadequacy. Lyrically, the songs of Meat Mountain create pictures of scenes, fears, obsessions, love and longing.

The album artwork was created by scanning a chuck-eye cut of steak. The steak was then cooked to medium doneness and eaten. The artwork for the EP is an attempt at being every bit as iconic as unique. Utilizing illustrations by Bill Connors, the art matches the overall feeling and aesthetic of the EP, somethings that are hopeful, somethings that we are all scared of and something things that are a part of everyday life. Released on single-sided LP, the package was meant to be seen in this scale.

“Meat Mountain” is available June 26, 2012 via Lujo Records.

Pomegranates & Caleb Groh “In Your Face Thieves/Chestnut Attic” (lujo092)

On this LP the listener will find two complete and fully realized EPs corresponding to each side of the 12” and featuring all new and exclusive songs.  Both EPs were recorded with Pomegranates’ friend, 20 year old Caleb Groh, whose vocals appear on a pair of tracks here, while touring in support of One Of Us (2010).  This release boasts some of the most intimate and personal songs of the band’s already prolific career (3 albums and 3 EPs in four years), and takes a unique and important place in their catalog.  Recorded on their own in a home studio, these songs are Pomegranates in their most lo-fi and stripped down form.  Songs are guitar-driven (with the use of this acoustic guitar amp guide), classical in structure, timeless.

Side A features the EP “In Your Face Thieves” with the following tracks:

Softness
Catatonic Crow
Yeah
Jesus
Western Skies

Side B features the EP “Chestnut Attic” (a remixed and re-mastered version of the EP which previously was briefly available on their website for download) with the following tracks:

Track One, In Which Pomegranates Has A Very Good Dream
Morocco Girl
Cleveland Street Blues
Same Skies
Take A Little Time

Yourself and The Air “Who’s Who in the Zoo” EP (lujo089)

Hailing from Chicago’s lower west side, Yourself And The Air combine Midwest atmospherics with the sweeping sprawl of a skyward city built on electricity and steel. Take flight over Lake Michigan and this is your soundtrack. Songs to think to. Songs to dream to. At one moment the infinitesimal line between water and sky, the next the buzzing neons of the boulevard at night, escaping crowded bars for desolate alleys — you and a memory, Yourself And The Air.

Yourself And The Air are three friends who’ve toured a majority of the U.S. and parts of Canada crammed in a van, lugging their own gear, sleeping outside, crashing on fans’ floors, cooking pasta for pals, hopping hotel fences to swim in pools, drawing on the walls of bathroom stalls. They’ve played with the likes of Chairlift, El Perro Del Mar, Peter Bjorn And John and Portugal. The Man, among other artists. And with three EPs under their belt in as many years (¡Hola Mi Cielo! [2006], Cold Outside Brings Heavy Thoughts To Think [2007], Friend Of All Breeds [2008]), Yourself And The Air will release Who’s Who In The Zoo on Lujo Records in the spring of 2011 — their first for a label — which they performed and recorded themselves in one month after thousands of miles of touring took them through 42 American states. Erick Crosby, Jeff Papendorf and Drew Rasmussen holed up in their empty Chicago house, using the comfort and space of their own home as a studio and relying on the very same instruments they grew up with to cut the seven tracks that comprise the 32-minute EP.

Who’s Who In The Zoo finds the band with a renewed sense of confidence while still capturing the effervescent swirl listeners know and love them for — ambient trails followed by blasts of ozone, digging in and out of different aural pleasure centers in effortless cadences. Melodies shimmer like mirages, haunt like ghosts. Reverb guitar notes hang and transfix. Keys float loosely over firmly rooted drums. With Who’s Who In The Zoo, Yourself And The Air have refined their palette and honed their sound, making music that is immediately inviting and brings to mind the spectral state between consciousness and slumber.

A Lull “Confetti” (lujo091)

VINYL LP ONLY

Confetti, the life-affirming debut from Chicago’s quintet, A Lull, grabs your attention from its first explosion and deconstructs you further with each subsequent, colorized blast. The band has spent glorious ages supplementing layers of guitars, bass, electronics and vocals by banging on drums (as well as recording rustling bags of trash, throwing bottles against walls and pounding away at anything in sight), eventually coming to the cacophonous percussion and everything else wall of sound that makes Confetti’s sound unmistakable. The fervor of these endlessly layered, volatile songs is cooled by the voice and lyrics of Nigel Evan Dennis, who covers the grandiosity of each track with his emotionally entangled lyrics. Though the aural tone of Confetti is one of almost overwhelming joy, a sense of longing and regret is palpable between the lines. It’s as if every song is being sung to the face of a loved one at their breaking point. Though their sound is unmistakably their own, the concise romanticism harnessed by A Lull can at times conjure the songwriting ethos of Bon Iver, the instrumental indulgence of Sufjan Stevens or the garishly sensual emotional lift of Explosions In The Sky. Confetti’s sense of hope and musical perfection captivates.

1. Weapons For War
2. Mammals
3. Some Love
4. Dark Stuff
5. White Girl
6. Phem
7. Pregnancy
8. Sidemen
9. Water & Beasts
10. Spread It All Around
11. Aytche