This Just In: Life Will See You Now

There’s a new Jens Lekman album out today! Yessssssss! The description below is pretty lengthy, so I won’t go into too many details, but if you liked Night Falls Over Kortedala and An Argument With Myself, you’ll LOVE Life Will See You Now. Lekman says his last full-length was deliberately slow and sad, and it alienated some listeners who fell in love with his strange stories set against upbeat rhythms and samples. Life Will See You Now brings the energetic weirdness right back to where An Argument… left off. My only complaint is that there isn’t a SCRATCH n SNIFF single for “What’s That Perfume You Wear?” – that would have been extra magical. Check out a video for that track below and aaaaaaaaaaaaaad the other in-stock sounds this week below that! -MLE

Jens Lekman – Life Will See You Now LP
Watch: “What’s That Perfume You Wear?”
“Jens Lekman describes his new record playfully, but also honestly, as ‘a thirties-crisis disco album; it’s an existentialist record, about seeing the consequences of your choices.’ Across three studio albums, the Swedish singer/songwriter and musician has proven not only his flair for telling very personal stories with a sharp self-awareness, but also his skill for balancing depth of emotional expression with droll and often self-deprecating detail. It’s a winning pop combination.

His fourth, Life Will See You Now is a typical Lekman album in several ways: sly humour is key to its heartfelt nature; it inverts pop’s writing norm by making songs with sad concerns sound happy and songs with a happy subject sound sad; and it plays with notions of identity and the self. Life Will See You Now is expansive, the upbeat sound of a revitalised Lekman, who is just one of many characters in his new stories about the magic and messiness of different kinds of relationships. It’s also the result of deliberate steps he took to create this fresh sound.

Although Lekman is present in all of the songs on Life Will See You Now, it’s sometimes as a listener or spectator, rather than solely as the central active figure. Male characters get more of the spotlight than before. Lekman’s previous records have been female-centric, ‘I wanted to see what would happen if I wrote about men. It was inspiring at first, but writing about masculinity went down a very dark path. And there was a sadness that was very real; I had trouble finding stories that weren’t horribly depressing’ he admits. ‘How Can I Tell Him’ is one of a few songs saved from that shelved plan, a touching ode to male friendship that addresses the behavioural boundaries drawn around expressions of intimacy for generations of men.

Another big choice was a decision to experiment with different kinds of rhythms – disco, calypso, samba and bossa nova all get a bespoke twirl in the spotlight – and so he called on producer Ewan Pearson (M83, The Chemical Brothers, Goldfrapp) to help realise his new songs. ‘I was looking for something more rhythmical. That was just what was intriguing me at the time – how you structure rhythms and build changes and time signatures. For me, not being trained in music, to learn a few of the tricks was very fascinating.”

The alluringly offbeat lilt of ‘Our First Fight’ is a perfect example of this subtle shift. More obviously upbeat are ‘What’s That Perfume That You Wear?,’ which features a steel pans sample from Ralph MacDonald’s ‘The Path’ of 1978 – ‘one of my favourite records ever,’ enthuses Lekman – ‘To Know Your Mission’, whose jaunty, sing-along chorus belies its serious subject (self-doubt and indecision versus self-belief and faith) and the irresistibly buoyant ‘How We Met, The Long Version,’ a disco-pop cracker with strings and piano that samples Jackie Stoudemire’s 1983 track, ‘Don’t Stop Dancin.’

The writing of Life Will See You Now was somewhat of an attempt to overcome periods of self-doubt, a process helped by Lekman’s two interim projects – Postcards, in which he committed himself to writing and releasing one song every single week in 2015 and Ghostwriting, where he asked other people for their stories and wrote songs around them, rather than his own experiences. ‘There was a part of me that was really sick of this Jens Lekman character,’ he confesses, ‘and I wanted to write myself out of my songs.’ Jens laughs: ‘After I did the Ghostwriting project I was able to let that go, and also realized how important it is to be in your own songs to be able to communicate an emotion.’

It may be very much inspired by stories told to him by friends and random acquaintances, but for Lekman, Life Will See You Now is still ‘a very personal record.’ In ‘To Know Your Mission,’ the perky Euro-pop number set in August of 1997 that pictures him – or at least, a character called Jens – as a teenager contemplating his future, one line that’s particularly pertinent to his ideas about this singer/songwriter business stands out. ‘In a world of mouths, I want to be an ear,’ croons Lekman, sweetly. ‘If there’s a purpose to this, then that’s why God put me here.’ It’s not a statement of religious belief, just a simple recognition of what he was in some way called to do. Life Will See You Now proves how right he was to listen.”

Hotwire the ferris wheel – new releases, reissues & restocks…
Amy Winehouse – Back To Black LP
Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness LP
Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion 2LP
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Mature Themes LP
Augustus Pablo – King David’s Melody LP
Aura (Led By Joe Kemfa) – Jungle Juice LP
Awa Poulo – Poulo Warali LP
Barrington Levy – Too Experienced LP
Basement Jaxx – The Singles 2LP
Beach Boys – Pet Sounds LP
Beck – Sea Change 2LP
Belle & Sebastian – Dear Catastrophe Waitress 2LP, The Boy With The Arab Strap LP
Big Black – Atomizer LP, Songs About Fucking LP
Bing & Ruth – No Home Of The Mind LP*
Big Pun – Capital Punishment 2LP
Billie Holiday – Golden Hits LP, Lady Sings The Blues LP
Black Keys – Attack and Release LP, Magic Potion LP
Black Star – Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star LP
Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe 2LP
Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago LP
Cavity – After Death LP
Chemical Brothers – Born In The Echoes 2LP, Come With Us 2LP, Dig Your Own Hole 2LP
Cocteau Twins – Heaven Or Las Vegas LP
Com Truise – Galactic Melt 2LP
David Bowie – Blackstar LP
Deadmau5 – W:/2016ALBUM/ 2LP*
Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest LP
Deltron 3030 – Deltron 3030 2LP
Depeche Mode – Songs Of Faith And Devotion LP, Violator LP
Die Antwoord – Mount Ninji And Da Nice Time Kid 2LP
Dr. Dre – The Chronic 2LP
Elastic Bond – Honey Bun LP*
Electric Guest – Plural LP
Emperor – Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk LP*, S/T LP*
Erykah Badu – Baduizm 2LP
Explosions in the Sky – The Wilderness 2LP
Fela Ransome Kuti & Africa 70 – Expensive Shit LP
Flaming Lips – Oczy Mlody LP
Fleetwood Mac – Greatest Hits LP
Frank Sinatra – Songs For Swingin’ Lovers LP
Funkadelic – Finest 2LP, Maggot Brain LP
Gang Starr – Hard To Earn 2LP
Grails – Chalice Hymnal 2LP*
Green Day – Kerplunk! LP
Grimes – Visions LP
Guided By Voices – Alien Lanes LP
Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction LP
Hailu Mergia & The Walias – Tche Belew LP
Hanni El Khatib – Savage Times CD*
Helado Negro – Island Universe Story LP
Holly Hunt – Prometheus EP 12″
Hot Chip – One Life Stand 2LP
Hot Tuna – The Phosphorescent Rat LP*
Husker Du – Flip Your Wig LP
Interpol – Antics LP, Turn On The Bright Lights LP
Jay-Z – The Black Album 2LP, Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life 2LP
Jerry Lee Lewis – Down The Road With Jerry Lee 10”
Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced? LP
John Coltrane – A Love Supreme LP
Johnny Cash – Christmas: There’ll Be Peace In The Valley LP, Now Here’s Johnny LP
Kanye West – 808’s & Heartbreak 2LP+CD, College Dropout 2LP
Kaytranada – 99.9% 2LP
Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid 2LP
Kurt Vile – b’lieve i’m goin down 2LP, Wakin On A Pretty Daze 2LP
Lana Del Rey – Born To Die 2LP
Lemmy – Born To Lose, Live To Win LP
Leon Bridges – Coming Home LP
London O’Connor – Circle Triangle LP*
Majeure – Apex LP*
Michael Jackson – Bad LP, Thriller LP
Mind Over Mirrors -Undying Colors LP
Mission of Burma – Vs. LP
Moby – These Systems Are Failing LP
Moire – No Future 2LP
Molly Burch – Please Be Mine LP*
Neil Young – Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere LP
Nektar – A Tab In The Ocean 2LP*
Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea LP
Nina Simone – Pastel Blues LP
Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine LP, The Downward Spiral 2LP
Oasis – What’s The Story Morning Glory? 2LP
Opeth – Morningrise 2LP, My Arms Your Hearse 2LP
Outkast – Aquemini 3LP
Parquet Courts – Captive Of The Sun 12”*
Pavement – Slanted & Enchanted LP
Pink Floyd – Meddle LP
Pixies – Trompe Le Monde LP
Portishead – S/T 2LP, Third LP
Prince – Purple Rain LP, S/T LP
Purity Ring – Shrines LP
PVT – Spirit LP*
Queen – A Night At The Opera LP, Greatest Hits I 2LP
Radiohead – Kid A 2LP, OK Computer 2LP
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication 2LP, Greatest Hits 2LP, Uplift Mofo Party Plan LP
Robert Randolph & The Family Band – Got Soul LP*
Rodrigo Y Gabriela – 9 Dead Alive  LP
Rolling Stones – Blue & Lonesome 2LP
Run The Jewels – RTJ3 2LP
Ryan Adams – Prisoner CD*, LP*, S/T LP
Sampha – Process LP
Six By Seven – The Closer You Get LP*
Sonic Youth – Experimental Jet Set, Trash And No Star LP
St. Vincent – Strange Mercy LP
Stan Getz – Jazz Samba LP
Strand Of Oaks – Hard Love LP
Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide To Earth LP
Talking Heads – Fear Of Music LP
Tame Impala – Innerspeaker 2LP
Television – Adventure LP, Marquee Moon LP
The Avalanches – Since I Left You 2LP
The Courtneys – The Courtneys II LP*
The Cramps – Smell Of Female LP
The Doors – Waiting For The Sun LP
The Orwells – Terrible Human Being LP*
The Paperhead – Chew LP*
The Pazant Brothers – Skunk Juice LP*
The Standells – Dirty Water LP*
The xx – I See You LP
Thievery Corporation – Saudade LP, The Cosmic Game 2LP, The Mirror Conspiracy 2LP
Tim Darcy – Saturday Night LP*
Treasure Teeth – Transatlantic Consultant/Romantic Impulse CS
TV On The Radio – Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes LP
Various – Be Music: Productions + Mixes By New Order 2LP
Various – Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs Present English Weather 2LP*
Various – Eccentric Soul: The Deep City Label CD
Various – La La Land OST LP
Various – The Man Who Fell To Earth OST 2LP*
Various – Trojan Records Reggae Vol. 1 LP
Various – Trojan Records Rock Steady Vol. 1 LP
Various – Trojan Records Ska Volume 1 LP
Visual Cloaks – Reassemblage LP*
Warpaint – Heads Up LP
Wiegedood – De Doden Hebben Het Goed I LP*
Wu-Tang Clan – Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) LP, Essential Wu-Tang 2LP
Yoko Ono – Plastic Ono Band LP
Yo La Tengo – And Then Nothing Turned Itself… LP

*Indicates new release or new reissue