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Mid-Air Thief // Crumbling

We're thrilled to share the latest addition to the family with the signing of Mid-Air Thief and the reissue of their electronic-infused folk album, Crumbling. Already released everywhere digitally, pre-orders for vinyl, CD, and cassette launch today, and will ship on September 20, 2019.

♫ Listen to Crumbling today on your preferred platform.

Although sung almost entirely in Korean, Mid-Air Thief's cult-acclaimed album Crumbling, exhibits a distinct universality, merging disparate sounds and styles into a cohesive, electronic-infused folk amalgam that tactfully blurs the lines between organic and synthetic. Listeners are led through enrapturing passages of swirling melodies underscored with eloquent plucks, strums, and bursts of bubbly glitches. Individual phrases drift into one another as if in a dream, cohered by guest vocalist Summer Soul's entrancing hooks and vocal soundscapes. Crumbling is a compelling accomplishment of both composition and production, bending as it does to its unique contours of consonance and dissonance, always resolving to a place of calm and beauty.

art by 신혜정


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Alfred. // Like You!! Released

Topshelf Records is excited to share the latest addition to the family with the release of Alfred.'s Like You!!, out today in collaboration with Citrus City Records.

♫ Listen to Like You!! today on your preferred platform.

Like You!! is the deeply multifaceted debut album by Richmond, VA's Alfred. Its warbly bell tones, expertly chopped melodic samples, and slow-mo hip-hop grooves form the instrumental base for the "darkgospel" singer/rapper Aaron Brown.

While Like You!! only clocks in at eight total tracks, its various producers and guest collaborators lend a striking sonic diversity to the overall work. Jazzy yet supple Dilla-reminiscent cuts such as "Tales of a Queer Rapscallion" contrast starkly with those like "GAMES," where Alfred.'s signature darkgospel stylings shine through most expressly. The record's wide spectrum is further emboldened by the substance of Brown's lyricism and personal convictions, taking cues from their genuine curiosity with the world around them, and blending that with their grief, hurt, hopes, and joys.

Ultimately, Alfred. strives to maintain their fondness of personal connection, symbolized in their favorite line of the album, taken from the song "Like You! (Yes, You)": "My hobby is functioning with my posse and I know that I get weird and loud but somewhere deep, deep down I was just tryna be like you."

"I wrote this for everyone and anyone that I've ever got to love, hold and admire from a far. For people who misperceive and for those I misperceive, for the honor of my family and wound in my sides that are my blood ties. I send love to all of you in some tiny way every time I rhyme. Lovers, friends, teacher, haters, strangers, acquaintances, enemies, oppressors all alike some way some how I'm thinking about you. I want peace and do not know how to attain it for even myself, and some days all I have is my song. Dramatic and long winded but I mean it."

- Alfred.

art by Aaron Brown

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LITE // Multiple: Sixth Studio Album Released

Multiple, out today, is the sixth full length record by the prolific maximalists known as LITE. Over the past 16 years, the Japanese quartet has established itself as one of the most influential groups across a host of subgenres. Though usually referred to by touchstones such as "math-rock" or "post-rock," LITE has developed an uncanny ability to fuse their influences into their own unmistakable dialect that defies generic genre classification.

♫ Listen to Multiple today on your preferred platform.

At times, Multiple’s compositions can place listeners at the junction of unlikely stylistic intersections. Conversating funk riffs will interweave with challenging rhythmic phrasing, blurring the lines between lead sections, obscuring where passages begin and end. LITE's distinct voice is emphasized in tracks such as "Double" and "4mg Warmth," where melodies meander incessantly, constantly taking the listener to new territory.

While many LITE songs unfold at breakneck pace, others entertain entirely different worlds altogether. In songs "Ring" and "Blizzard," the band tests the limits of their abilities with slowed-down, genre-bending forays into hip-hop and dub. On "Ring," LITE collaborated with rapper Maco Marets and singer Utena Kobayashi, where the latter's talents were also tapped for the song's ethereal steelpan section. As LITE has shown over nearly two decades, there exists no style that they cannot master or otherwise weave into their designs.

Multiple is now out digitally on Topshelf Records. Pre-order physicals today via the Topshelf Records store, to be released on September 6, 2019.

art by Misato Iwamoto (Hello Stranger)

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May Recap // New Releases and a Healthy Handful of Summer Tours

We recently announced two incredibly unique records, both of which will be out in the first week of June. Learn a little more about the records below and make sure to pre-save and pre-order if you like what you hear!

As well, a healthy handful of Topshelf artists will be on tour this summer. From Ratboys to the legendary toe, there will be loads of shows you won't want to sleep on! Check out dates and other info below.

Alfred. photo by Ethan Hickerson / LITE photo by Riki Yamada

Recently announced albums

Alfred. - LIKE YOU!!

release: June 7, 2019

LIKE YOU!! is the deeply multifaceted debut album by Richmond, VA's Alfred. Its warbly bell tones, expertly chopped melodic samples, and slow-mo hip-hop grooves form the instrumental base for the "darkgospel" singer/rapper Aaron Brown. Jazzy yet supple Dilla-reminiscent cuts contrast starkly with songs that boast Alfred.'s signature darkgospel stylings, the juxtaposition of which makes for a compelling, spectrum-crossing album.

listen to the whole album ahead of its official release

watch the double video for "Tales of a Queer Rapscallion" and "Like You! (Yes, You)"

learn more about Alfred.

pre-order LIKE YOU!!

LITE - Multiple

release: June 5, 2019

Multiple is the sixth full length record by the prolific maximalists known as LITE. Over the past 16 years, the Japanese quartet has established itself as one of the most influential groups across a host of subgenres. Though usually referred to by touchstones such as "math-rock" or "post-rock," LITE has developed an uncanny ability to fuse their influences into their own unmistakable dialect that defies generic genre classification.

listen to the latest single, "Double"

listen to the lead single, "Temple"

learn more about LITE

pre-order Multiple

Tours

Don't you love when tons of great gigs underscore the vibrance of summer? Check out our tour playlist to get a sampling of the Topshelf artists and their tourmates who are currently on the road, and read on for the full scoop on all the tours going down.

listen on spotify

listen on apple music

toe just announced two US shows in August

toe tour info

No Vacation began their full US tour this week, and will fly out to Europe for an extended tour in July

No Vacation tour info

Bellows will be on tour with Gabby's World in July, with a slew of west coast dates

Bellows tour info

Alfred. will be doing a short run of shows in July

Alfred. tour info

Queen of Jeans will hit the road with The Menzingers and The Sidekicks in July

Queen of Jeans tour info

Ratboys will begin the second leg of their tour with PUP in June

Ratboys tour info

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toe // US Shows Announced

The widely venerated group toe have announced a pair of US shows in New York City and Los Angeles toward the end of this summer. While the band won't be touring on a new release, their most recent record, Our Latest Number, is still less than a year old. Give it a rinse, check the show dates below, and RSVP accordingly!

Dates:

photo by Rozette Rago

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LITE // Multiple Announced

This week we're ecstatic to announce the sixth full length record, Multiple, from the prolific group LITE, to be released digitally on June 5, 2019, and physically on September 6, 2019. Pre-order the album today via our store, and read more about the album below while you listen to the lead single, "Temple."


Over the past 16 years, the Japanese quartet has established itself as one of the most influential groups across a host of subgenres. Though usually referred to by touchstones such as "math-rock" or "post-rock," LITE has developed an uncanny ability to fuse their influences into their own unmistakable dialect that defies generic genre classification.

At times, Multiple’s compositions can place listeners at the junction of unlikely stylistic intersections. Conversating funk riffs will interweave with challenging rhythmic phrasing, blurring the lines between lead sections, obscuring where passages begin and end. LITE's distinct voice is emphasized in tracks such as "Double" and "4mg Warmth," where melodies meander incessantly, constantly taking the listener to new territory.

While many LITE songs unfold at breakneck pace, others entertain entirely different worlds altogether. In songs "Ring" and "Blizzard," the band tests the limits of their abilities with slowed-down, genre-bending forays into hip-hop and dub. On "Ring," LITE collaborated with rapper Maco Marets and singer Utena Kobayashi, where the latter's talents were also tapped for the song's ethereal steelpan section. As LITE has shown over nearly two decades, there exists no style that they cannot master or otherwise weave into their designs.

upcoming tour dates:

  • May 25, 2019 - Tokyo, Japan @ Shimokitazawa SOUND CRUISING 2019
  • June 18, 2019 - Guangzhou, China @ MAO LIVEHOUSE
  • June 19, 2019 - Shenzhen, China @ B10 LIVE
  • June 20, 2019 - Hangzhou, China @ MAO LIVEHOUSE
  • June 21, 2019 - Shanghai, China @ MAO LIVEHOUSE
  • June 22, 2019 - Beijing, China @ OMNI SPACE
  • July 04, 2019 - Nagoya, Japan @ JAMMIN'
  • July 05, 2019 - Osaka, Japan @ Shangri-La
  • July 13, 2019 - Tokyo, Japan @ WWW X

art by Misato Iwamoto (Hello Stranger)

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Alfred. // Like You!!

Today we're excited to reveal the latest addition to the Topshelf family with the announcement of Alfred.'s Like You!!, to be released in collaboration with Citrus City Records on June 7, 2019. The record will be released with a special zine designed by the artist. Enjoy the album in full today, alongside the two-part music video for "Tales of a Queer Rapscallion" and "Like You! (Yes, You)."

listen on bandcamplisten on soundcloud

pre-order the cassette or zine

pre-order the cassette and zine bundle

Like You!! is the deeply multifaceted debut album by Richmond, VA's Alfred. Its warbly bell tones, expertly chopped melodic samples, and slow-mo hip-hop grooves form the instrumental base for the "darkgospel" singer/rapper Aaron Brown.

While Like You!! only clocks in at eight total tracks, its various producers and guest collaborators lend a striking sonic diversity to the overall work. Jazzy yet supple Dilla-reminiscent cuts such as "Tales of a Queer Rapscallion" contrast starkly with those like "GAMES," where Alfred.'s signature darkgospel stylings shine through most expressly. The record's wide spectrum is further emboldened by the substance of Brown's lyricism and personal convictions, taking cues from their genuine curiosity with the world around them, and blending that with their grief, hurt, hopes, and joys.

Ultimately, Alfred. strives to maintain their fondness of personal connection, symbolized in their favorite line of the album, taken from the song "Like You! (Yes, You)": "My hobby is functioning with my posse and I know that I get weird and loud but somewhere deep, deep down I was just tryna be like you."


Alfred. will also go on a short tour this summer with Citrus City Records labelmate Shormey ( * )

  • July 14, 2019 - College Park/Annapolis, MD *
  • July 15, 2019 - Albany, NY *
  • July 16, 2019 - Burlington, VT *
  • July 17, 2019 - Boston, MA *
  • July 18, 2019 - Pittsburgh, PA *
  • July 19, 2019 - Reston, VA *
  • July 20, 2019 - Brooklyn, NY
  • July 21, 2019 - Philadelphia, PA
  • July 22, 2019 - Washington, DC


photo by Ethan Hickerson (@ethandoesthings)

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Bellows // "Rosebush" Official Music Video and Interview with Lillie West (Lala Lala)

Yesterday the new video for Bellows's "Rosebush" was premiered at Talkhouse alongside an extensive, wonderfully in-depth conversation between Oliver Kalb (Bellows) and Lillie West (Lala Lala). The pair's conversation touched on creative processes, songwriting, and their shared affinity for the band Why?. Enjoy the video below with a few words from Oliver about the origins of "Rosebush."

Bellows will be on tour this summer with Gabby's World, which will include a rare run of west coast dates. Make sure to mark your calendars!

"The song "Rosebush" is basically about being an artist," explains Oliver Kalb, frontperson and principal songwriter of the project known as Bellows. As with much of Kalb's recent record, The Rose Gardener, "Rosebush" explores the doubled-edges of artmaking, revealing uncomfortable self-truths in pursuit of beauty and happiness. Kalb elaborates on this concept as "a big romantic extended metaphor about pursuing beauty despite the pain it can bring — I'm chasing this rose monster through the woods, trying my hardest to get to it, but it's kind of unattainable. At the end of the video I just become a rose myself, a creature indistinguishable from the inspiration I'm trying to chase."

Directed by Dan Shure of Charly Bliss, the video follows Kalb's portrayal of his album's eponymous character and a sentient rosebush. Inspired in part by the characters of Noel Fielding, the rosebush character is meant to "tread a line between being funny and being sort of horrifying."

Having always admired Charly Bliss for making theatrical, narrative-led music videos, pairing up with Dan Shure was the perfect opportunity to capture this sort of fun, larger-than-life energy that could act as a further extension of the central metaphor of "Rosebush," encapsulating the complicated intersections of inspiration and output. As Kalb confesses, "it can feel that way to be an artist sometimes, like after you fall deeply into art for enough time, there's no essential person you are anymore outside of your relentless pursuit of something beautiful or meaningful."

Ultimately, this pursuit may boil down to a persisting sense of childlike wonderment with the world, chasing sensations as they come and go, growing simply through trial and error. Perhaps this is what Kalb alludes to in the coda of "Rosebush," singing, "like a child I need these roses / though thorns enclose them / I reach out my hand and try to hold."

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Giraffes? Giraffes! // Memory Lame (Realized)

Today we are releasing a special treat from the raucous and wildly influential duo GIRAFFES? GIRAFFES!, entitled Memory Lame (Realized).

In the band's words:

HEY MUSIC NERDS AND OTHER AESTHETIC COMPLETISTS! Want to know a secret? :D Our album MEMORY LAME is really one continuous piece of music! We broke it up to be more easily absorbed- but every movement locks into the next for an immersive aural experience. To celebrate the one-year anniversary of its release, Topshelf Records let us reassemble the monster and is digitally releasing our original vision as: Memory Lame (Realized)

To honor this anniversary of the original release, Memory Lame, all variants of the album in our store will be 20% off from today, April 26, through Sunday, April 28. The discount will be automatically applied in your cart.

Part autobiography, part fiction, Memory Lame (Realized) is a hallucinatory story and soundtrack about the mind. How we perceive and remember, unwittingly absorb, and accidentally appropriate.

Originally released in the form of six tracks composed of 37 chapters, Memory Lame is being re-released in its true form: one continuous piece of music! It follows an incident on a beach, where our narrator is bound on a labyrinthine adventure traveling back through memories, time, and space. It's a journey that examines existence, explores universal themes, and is laced with musical and literary references.

Amazingly produced and performed by just two people, GIRAFFES? GIRAFFES! harmonize guitars, drums, loops, pedals, and vocals to create a surreal musical landscape. Filled with orchestral-style movements, the music seamlessly flows from post-rock to math-rock, from drones to dream pop. The sheer scope of this wildly textured album, steeped in evocative beauty, proves to be an attention-commanding cerebral experience. This is Memory Lame (Realized).

» Stream Memory Lame (Realized) today on your favorite platform.

art by Kenneth Topham

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SXSW Photo Diaries

As is becoming tradition, we gave several of our bands some disposable cameras to play with while down at SXSW this year. Our favorite purple publication, The Grey Estates, deemed the photographic results to be worthy enough for a series of photo diaries, all of which we've collected here for your enjoyment. Click through below for a few words from each artist about their time in Austin. (Warning: lots of cute pics!)

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#another michael
#bellows
#doe
#elephant gym
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