New Releases - 5/19/17

(Sandy) Alex G – Rocket CD/LP+MP3 (Domino)
Rocket is Philadelphia-based artist Alex G's eighth full-length release – an assured statement that follows a slate of humble masterpieces, many of them self-recorded and self-released, stretching from 2010's Race to his 2015’s Beach Music. Amid the Rocket recording process, Alex made headlines for catching the attention of Frank Ocean, who asked him to play guitar on his two 2016 albums, Endless and Blonde. More than any stylistic cues, what Alex took from the experience was a newfound confidence in collaboration. Rocket wears this collaborative spirit proudly, and in its numerous contributors presents a restless sense of musical experimentation - effortlessly jumping from distorted sound collage to dreamy folk music to bouncing Americana. Rocket illustrates a cohesive vision of contemporary American experience; the cast of characters that Alex G inhabits have fun, fall in love, develop obsessions, get in trouble, and – much like rockets themselves – ultimately they burn out.

Basement – Promise Everything [Deluxe Edition] LP+MP3 (Fueled By Ramen)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. This deluxe reissue of Basement's critically adored album includes remixed/remastered versions of the original release's ten songs and four bonus tracks: a cover of The Cardigan's “My Favourite Game,” acoustic versions of “Aquasun,” “Blinded Bye,” and the acoustic track “Cloud,” which originally appeared on a limited run 7”. Limited color vinyl pressing.

Beastmaker – Inside The Skull CD (Rise Above)
The glittering technological future we were all promised has turned into a dystopian nightmare. If music must reflect the times, the hour has plainly come to reject the mainstream status quo and get down to the roots and rhythms of life's elemental heaviness. And that's where Beastmaker come in. Purveyors of some of the most ecstatically thunderous and raw doom metal to emerge in decades, this three-man riffing machine from Fresno, CA, are manifestly the real deal. From the old school evangelism of opener “Evil One” and the warped psychedelia of “Now Howls The Beast” through to the twisted fury and fire of “Psychic Visions” and creepy closer “Sick Sick Demon,” Inside The Skull is not just a muscular hymn to the glory days of heavy metal's genesis and early prosperity: this is a vital, virile and venomous slab of wildly creative but spiritually pure doom devastation, designed to rescue us from the drab harshness of present day reality and transport us somewhere cooler, somewhere better and, in the best way possible, somewhere much heavier.

Biters – The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be CD (Earache)
Recalling the early spirit and danger of rabble-rousing rock heroes, Biters have faithfully built upon their punk heritage and their love of ‘70s rock to deliver music that ignites, incites and excites in equal measure. Possessing a heart full of rock ‘n’ roll, the band play foot stomping, fist pumping, spit-on-the-floor anthems possessed of a fighting spirit that refuses to give in. The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be is an instant rock ‘n’ roll classic that makes the genre exciting and relevant again. “Corporate pop culture and fair-weather fads are just something I'm not interested in. I still choose to play rock ‘n' roll, because I still believe in rock ‘n’ Roll.” -- Tuk Smith, Biters

Childish Gambino – Awaken, My Love! 2xLP (Glassnote)
Released last December on CD – now available on vinyl. As Childish Gambino once again sheds his skin, Awaken, My Love! is a sonic evolution. It has been described as R&B meets Pink Floyd, by one journalist while others have cited an amalgam of rock, funk, and soul influences. It is a groundbreaking next step following the genre blending STN MTN / Kauai mixtape and the twice-Grammy nominated rap album, because the internet.

Crimpshrine – Duct Tape Soup [Reissue/1992] LP (Numero)
Crimpshrine – The Sound Of A New World Being Born [Reissue/1998] LP (Numero)

Before Green Day, Operation Ivy, and Lookout Records put the East Bay's burgeoning punk scene on the map, a trio of Berkeley kids were reinventing the genre with music that was melodic but full of feedback, and a singer who sounded like he gargled glass. Crimpshrine's debut EP was Lookout's fourth release, followed by an album, a second EP, and a slew of split singles and compilation tracks before the band imploded in 1989 after a ridiculous two-and-a-half-month tour in a Ford Pinto hatchback.

Daddy Issues – Deep Dream CD (Infinity Cat)
When singer and guitarist Jenna Moynihan saw the phrase Daddy Issues scribbled on the bathroom wall of a now-defunct Nashville DIY venue, she mistakenly assumed it was the name of an all-girl punk outfit sure to become her next favorite band. Upon realizing that no such band existed, Moynihan and friends Emily Maxwell (drums) and Jenna Mitchell (bass) picked up their instruments, taught themselves how to play and started their own band. Produced by Jake Orrall (JEFF The Brotherhood, Colleen Green), Daddy Issues' full-length debut Deep Dream combines the best of '80s alternative, '90s grunge and '00s pop, tackling the difficulties of friendship, heartbreak, mental health, sexual assault and a number of other issues that come with the package of youth in the modern world.

Daniel Romano – Modern Pressure CD/LP+MP3 (New West)
Daniel Romano is an Ontario-based artist, poet, musician and performer of international acclaim. A genre-defying student of musical experimentation and a brilliant multi-instrumentalist, Romano is acutely well versed in the languages of melody, shape, lyric construction and song arrangement. Apt in its title, Modern Pressure picks up where Mosey left off, boldly asking, “What age is this? What blooming weight do we carry through these stolen streets?” Written in observational scrutiny beneath the overcast atmosphere of 2016, the record vigorously tackles the present-day heaviness we contain in the jotting bones of our guilty expressions. It pleads for the restoration of empathy and resonance, to fill the empty chamber once again.

Do Make Say Think – Stubborn Persistent Illusions CD/2xLP (Constellation)
Do Make Say Think is widely celebrated as one of the preeminent instrumental rock bands of the ‘90s-‘00s. Stubborn Persistent Illusions is the group's first album in eight years - and a brilliant addition to one of the most consistently inventive and critically praised discographies in the ‘post-rock’ canon. The band has been acclaimed as “the supernova in Constellation's stellar network...arguably the finest back catalogue of any currently operating instrumental rock band” (Drowned In Sound), creating “some of the most honest, unpretentious, group-oriented rock of their time” (Popmatters). Among the band's strengths is an ineffable naturalism that avoids anything too woolly, proggy, purist or clichéd, while remaining a fundamentally guitar-driven group whose ornate four-and six-string interplay uniquely balances rockism, pastoralism, and electronic-influenced post-production. Stubborn Persistent Illusions is at once familiar and as fresh as anything DMST has committed to tape; produced and mixed as always by the band itself - a continuing affirmation of the group's DIY ethos and their singular self-production acumen and aesthetic. [180gm double-vinyl edition features an etching on the D-side.]

Iron Maiden – The Complete Albums Collection 1990-2015 3xLP (Sanctuary)
Iron Maiden – No Prayer For The Dying [Reissue/1990] 2xLP (Sanctuary)
Iron Maiden – Fear Of The Dark [Reissue/1992] 2xLP (Sanctuary)
Iron Maiden – The X Factor [Reissue/1995] 2xLP (Sanctuary)
Iron Maiden – Virtual XI [Reissue/1998] 2xLP (Sanctuary)

Unlike the '80s reissues which were cut from the original analogue master tapes, the vinyl audio for this reissue campaign of their ‘90s catalog has been cut from the high-resolution remasters of 2015 when the Maiden catalogue was digitally upgraded.

Jlin – Black Origami CD (Planet Mu)
A percussion-led tour de force, Jlin's long awaited second album Black Origami is a creation that seals her reputation as a unique producer with an exceptional ability to make riveting rhythmic music. The album is driven by a deep creative thirst which she describes as “this driving feeling that I wanted to do something different, something that challenged me to my core.” Spirituality and movement are both at the core of Black Origami, inspired largely by her ongoing collaborations with Indian dancer/movement artist Avril Stormy Unger whom she met and collaborated with at her debut performance for the Unsound festival – “There is a fine line between me entertaining a person and my spirituality. Avril, who collaborates with me by means of dance, feels the exact same way. Movement played a great role in Black Origami. The track ‘Carbon 7’ is very inspired by the way Avril moves and dances. Our rhythms are so in sync at times it kind of scares us. When there is something I can't quite figure out when it comes to my production, it's like she senses it. Her response to me is always ‘You'll figure it out.’ Once I figure it out it's like time and space no longer exist.”

Land Of Talk – Life After Youth CD (Saddle Creek)
Life After Youth is the first Land Of Talk album since 2010's Cloak And Cipher. After taking a few months off after Cloak And Cipher’s touring cycle, frontwoman Elizabeth Powell got back to work on a follow-up. Instead, a series of mishaps - post-tour fatigue, a crashed hard drive with new demos, and her father's stroke in 2013 - turned “a few months” into “a few years.” While caring for her father, Elizabeth fell under the spell of classical, ambient, and Japanese tonkori music, whose meditative quality aided his recovery. Immersing herself in those sounds would change her entire approach to music making; she started writing songs without her trusty guitar, instead building tracks up from synth beds and programmed loops. Life After Youth’s centerpiece track, “Inner Lover,” presents the most radical results of those experiments. It's an audio Rorschach test of a song: key in on the incessant synth pulse underpinning Elizabeth's pleading vocal (“take care of me!”) and the track assumes an ominous intensity. But when you surrender to the relaxed drum counter-rhythm and subliminal harmonies, “Inner Lover” projects a graceful serenity. Even the songs built atop more traditional rock foundations exist in that liminal space between dreaming and waking life, confidence and doubt, raw feelings and soothing sounds.

Linkin Park – One More Light CD (WB)
For any career artist, making new material matter can be the biggest challenge. Inspiration is a fickle thing, and past success often draws a bar that is hard to overcome. But once in a while, unexpectedly, lightning strikes – and an artist we think we know goes somewhere we didn't know was possible. Miraculously, Linkin Park's seventh studio album One More Light does just that. And it doesn't achieve it by being louder or bigger, more avant garde or more dramatic. It achieves it by being more human. One More Light is a moment in time. It's built on personal stories, sweat-stained and reeling from injuries – the product of six voices, each coming clean about their lives and struggles, as if it were the first time. We get an unobstructed view into what makes the band tick as people, fathers, husbands, musicians, and friends. Looking back, there were signs of One More Light in Linkin Park's earlier releases. There has always been a catharsis in the lyrics, and genre-bending in the sounds. One More Light continues that tradition, but with a perspective and craftsmanship that only a band of this caliber could command.

Matisyahu – Undercurrent CD (Fallen Sparks)
Singer-songwriter Matisyahu has been on a journey inward for more than a decade. The journey has been private and public. The journey has at times been explicitly external, even while being driven by internal change. Now, nearly thirteen years after the release of his first studio record, Matisyahu and his band have done something unmatched in his past repertoire; they have crafted that journey into a musically thematic eight-song-movement. The band features longtime guitarist Aaron Dugan, Dub Trio's bassist and drummer Stu Brooks and Joe Tomino, and keyboard virtuoso BigYuki - and the journey starts with them. The band improvised for hours in the studio with Matisyahu watching on as an admirer without singing a single lyric. Out of the improvisations grew melodic themes, rhythmic peaks and valleys, blissful and proto-song guitar passages, deep dub meditations and ultimately an inspired instrumental record unto itself. Only once the band had crafted this musical narrative, did Matisyahu begin to work on a lyrical narrative of his own - one that is simultaneously informed and integrated with the music yet driven by his own personal journey.

Mountain Goats – Goth CD/2xLP+MP3/2xLP+12”+MP3 (Merge)
From Peter Hughes of the Mountain Goats: “The theme this time around is goth, a subject closer to my heart perhaps than that of any Mountain Goats album previous. And while John writes the songs, as he always has, it feels more than ever like he's speaking for all of us in the band, erstwhile goths (raises hand) or otherwise, for these are songs that approach an identity most often associated with youth from a perspective that is inescapably adult. Anyone old enough to have had the experience of finding oneself at sea in a cultural landscape that's suddenly indecipherable will empathize with Pat Travers showing up to a Bauhaus show looking to jam, for example. But underneath the outward humor, there is evident throughout a real tenderness toward, and solidarity with, our former fellow travelers – the friends whose bands never made it out of Fender's Ballroom, the Gene Loves Jezebels of the world – the ones whose gothic paths were overtaken by the realities of life, or of its opposite. It's something we talk about a lot, how fortunate and grateful we are to share this work, a career that's become something more rewarding and fulfilling than I think any of us could have imagined. We all know how easily it could've gone the other way, and indeed for a long time did.” [Deluxe color vinyl edition cut at 45rpm and including a bonus 12” also available.] 

Nathaniel Rateliff – In Memory Of Loss [2010] 2xLP (Rounder)
Before Nathaniel Rateliff was topping charts around the world with his hit song, “S.O.B.,” he was a solo singer-songwriter, who made his debut with 2010's In Memory Of Loss. With deeply personal and introspective lyrics, critics drew comparisons to early Bob Dylan and drew high praise from The Telegraph (UK) who called it “highly promising.”

Nick Hakim – Green Twins CD (ATO)
The story of Nick Hakim's debut album Green Twins truly began when, armed with the masters for his critically acclaimed Where Will We Go Pt. I & II EPs, Hakim moved from Boston to Brooklyn, spending his time fleshing out unfinished ideas in his bedroom. He came up with lyrics on the spot while playing the live circuit, recording sketches and lyrics on voice memos and a four-track cassette recorder, and embracing the local community of musicians by performing with bands like Jesse And Forever and Onyx Collective. From there, Green Twins came about as a sum of its parts: Hakim took the demo recordings to studios in New York, Philadelphia and London and built on them, keeping the original essence of the songs intact. Hakim says of Green Twins, “I felt the need to push my creativity in a different way than I had on the EPs.” The record draws from influences spanning Robert Wyatt, Marvin Gaye and Shuggie Otis to My Bloody Valentine. “We wanted to imagine what it would have sounded like if RZA had produced a Portishead album. We experimented with engineering techniques from Phil Spector and Al Green's Back Up Train, drum programming from RZA and Outkast, and were listening to a lot of The Impressions, John Lennon, Wu-Tang, Madlib, and Screaming Jay Hawkins.”

Papa Roach – Crooked Teeth CD (Eleven Seven)
Papa Roach have never taken the easy way out and they aren't going to start now. Over the past two decades the group have established themselves as true trendsetters in heavy music: They've been nominated for two Grammy Awards, toured the globe with everyone from Eminem to Marilyn Manson and crafted the nü metal anthem “Last Resort,” which is still in heavy rotation on rock radio seventeen years after its original release. However, the group's tenth full-length Crooked Teeth sees the band returning to their humble – and hungry – roots. From the instantly infectious nature of the title track to the atmospheric sheen of the moody ballad “Periscope” (featuring Skylar Grey) and the acoustic/hip-hop rock mashup of “Sunrise Trailer Park” (featuring Machine Gun Kelly adding a verse to Shaddix's rap) Crooked Teeth displays the various sides of Papa Roach and illustrates why they've managed to remain relevant while other musical trends ebb and flow. 

Pokey LaFarge – Manic Revelations CD/LP (Rounder)
Pokey LaFarge tries to make sense of trouble he's seen and trouble he's been in. This is the Great Why of his unending passion for songwriting. Each chord, each riff shades the stories he sets up in his lyrics, always in search of the purest truth within the 10 forlorn, haunting melodies on Manic Revelations. A musician, a storyteller, a narrator of the messy, unkempt American experience...Pokey LaFarge sits, he watches, he writes. Everything that's worth happening happens in his songs. From the broad social narrative of “Riot In The Streets” to the internal tension of “Must Be A Reason” and “Bad Dreams” to the profound alienation of “Silent Movie,” these Manic Revelations are questions, they are answers, they are an epoch for Pokey LaFarge. Album single ‘Silent Movie’ “is just the sort of refreshing breeze we could all use in these harsh days, blowing in on shambling guitars and sighing horns. As the instrumentation calms your worried mind, LaFarge reminds you to keep in touch with the things that actually make life worth living because, when all is said is done, we only get one shot at this. ‘Growing up is a scam/ The truth is a lie,’ he sings. ‘Better of staying a child/ Till the day you die’” – Consequence Of Sound. [Limited edition 180gm transparent blue vinyl pressing also available.]

Soundtrack – Singles [OST/Reissue/1992] 2xCD/2xLP+CD (Sony Legacy)
The newly expanded, 25th Anniversary Edition of the Singles soundtrack features the album's original 13 tracks, newly mastered, with a bonus CD of rarities and unreleased tracks. The new bonus CD (also included on the double-vinyl edition) features previously unreleased recordings by Mudhoney, Paul Westerberg, Mike McCready and Chris Cornell in addition to rarities such as Cornell's 1992 EP Poncier (debuting an early rendition of “Spoonman”) and tracks from the film not included on the original soundtrack album. This expanded edition includes, for the first time on CD, “Touch Me I'm Dick,” the signature track from Singles performed by Citizen Dick (a fictional band created for the film featuring frontman Matt Dillon backed by Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament).

The Steel Woods – Straw In The Wind LP (Woods Music)
Straw In The Wind is the debut album from Nashville-based rock band The Steel Woods, a commanding musical force that blends an amalgam of influences with a Southern-infused foundation. The group's sound is a hybrid of rock, blues, folk, gospel, heavy metal, Americana, soul and bluegrass.

Tedeschi Trucks Band – Live From The Fox Oakland 3xLP+MP3 (Fantasy/Concord)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. In September of 2016, Tedeschi Trucks Band set out for the West Coast to make a live album. After 10 shows, there was no shortage of great music to choose from, but for everyone on the tour, one night stood out from the rest: September 9th at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. Live From The Fox Oakland is a live double album that David Fricke calls “a new peak in the continuing story of a great American rock & roll family band.”

Tiger’s Jaw – Spin CD (Black Cement/Atlantic)
Making yourself vulnerable isn't easy but it often makes for lasting art and that is certainly true of Tigers Jaw's fifth full-length, Spin. The album marks a new chapter for the Scranton, PA-based indie rock band for many reasons: Not only is it the first collection of songs that was completely written and recorded solely by Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins, but it was also the first time they had a full month in the studio without having to worry about outside responsibilities. Furthermore it's the inaugural release on Atlantic's new imprint Black Cement, a label spearheaded by longtime collaborator Will Yip who returned to the production helm for Spin. All of these factors converged to create an album that sounds more fully formed than anything Tigers Jaw have done in the past and simultaneously establishes them as a band whose appeal truly transcends genres. Over the course of twelve tracks, the album moves from the sweetly syncopated, fuzzed-out bliss of the opener “Follows” to the midtempo melodicism of "June" and liltingly lovely ballad "Bullet.” Profoundly personal and vibrantly textured, Spin exhibits Walsh and Collins' remarkable ability to capture the sentiments and complexities of a moment through melody and introspection. [Vinyl edition due June 23rd.]

Wavves – You’re Welcome CD/LP (Ghostramp)
The word “brat” has followed Nathan Williams around for almost a decade, but at the age of 30, with a fully-fledged business to his name, as well as the ongoing success of band Wavves, his rebellious streak has proven not just purposeful but pretty damn inspiring. You're Welcome is the soundtrack to this new lease of freedom. It's Williams' tongue-in-cheek rebirth as a self-released, self-actualized, self-promoting punk kingpin, and despite putting his money where his uncensored mouth is, he's emerged not just unscathed but with the upper hand. You're Welcome is mostly comprised of Williams' oddball, sample-led brainstorms: he came up with 40 tracks, now whittled down to twelve, fat-free punk zingers. A sample nerd, Williams delved into his obsession with 1950s doo-wop and – surprisingly – international folk, including Cambodian pop and '70s psychedelia from South America. The results make for one of the most diverse and intricate Wavves records yet. “Come To The Valley” contains a Phil Spector meets Beach Boys '60s high school dance vibe, whereas title track “You're Welcome” riffs on sound effects that could almost originate from Bizarro World, never mind Cambodia. [Limited color vinyl pressing also available.]

New Releases - 5/12/17

Art Pepper – The Art Pepper Quartet [Reissue/1957] CD (Omnivore)
Recorded in late 1956 and released in early 1957, the same year as the landmark Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section, The Art Pepper Quartet (Art Pepper: saxophone, Russ Freeman: piano, Ben Tucker: bass, Gary Frommer: drums) is back for its 60th anniversary. Pawelski. In addition to the album’s seven classics, this remaster includes five bonus tracks—alternate takes of “Pepper Pot” and “Blues At Twilight” (originally issued in 1990 in Japan) and a journey through the creation of “Val’s Pal” (including previously unheard incomplete takes and false starts) via three more tracks. New liner notes from Laurie Pepper trace the story of how her (and many folks’) favorite Art Pepper record was not only conceived, but ended up back where it belongs—with Art’s estate, and in the eyes, ears, and hands of jazz lovers everywhere.

Between The Buried & Me – Coma Ecliptic Live 2xLP (Metal Blade)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. Between The Buried & Me performed their 2015 Coma Ecliptic in its entirety live on October 4, 2016 at The Observatory North Park in San Diego, CA.

Christopher Paul Stelling – Itinerant Arias LP+MP3 (ANTI-)
Released last week on CD – now available on vinyl. There is a fearless quality to the music of Christopher Paul Stelling. A voice that sounds both old and young, an effortless yet intricate finger-picking guitar style and lyrics that are both dramatic, and intensely confessional. It’s a sound that channels the restless spirit of a young man who left home to travel the country, haunting and impassioned songs formed by endless nights alone on stage with a guitar, playing to packed houses, other times to nearly empty rooms. Stelling estimates that he’s played over four hundred shows in just the past three years. It places him within a longstanding tradition that serves to nurture one’s character and art.

Colter Wall – Colter Wall CD (Young Mary’s Record Co.)
Husky voiced 21-year old Canadian singer-songwriter Colter Wall releases his self-titled debut album. Helmed by Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb, Colter Wall was recorded at Nashville's historic RCA Studio A. In addition to Wall on vocals and acoustic guitar and Cobb on acoustic guitar, the album features Chris Powell (Brent Cobb, Jamey Johnson) on drums, Robbie Turner (Waylon Jennings, Chris Stapleton) on pedal steel and Mike Webb (Southern Family) on piano. A native of Swift Current, Saskatchewan Canada, Wall's sound is comprised of resonate and raw baritone vocals, folk and bluegrass style guitar and banjo picking, steady kick-drum stomping, and visually provoking, storytelling lyrics. Since debuting in 2015 with the release of his EP, Imaginary Appalachia, Wall has received overwhelming acclaim – Steve Earle declares, “Colter Wall is bar-none the best young singer-songwriter I've seen in twenty years,” while Rick Rubin, who recently signed Wall to his American Songs publishing company, proclaims, “Colter sings and writes songs in ways seemingly lost in time. There is an agelessness about him so unusual in someone so young.”

David Bowie/Trevor Jones – Labyrinth [Reissue/1986] LP (Capitol)
New remastered vinyl reissue of the soundtrack to the Jim Henson film featuring David Bowie, returning to vinyl for the first time since its original 1986 release.

Don Bryant – Don’t Give Up On Love CD/LP (Fat Possum)
Memphis soul original and Hi Records hit man Don Bryant returns to music with Don't Give Up On Love. Recorded in honor of his wife of 43 years, the soul legend Ann Peebles, the collection is Bryant's first release in decades. From the opening vamps of the classic “A Nickel And A Nail,” it's evident that Don Bryant, at 74 years old, is in prime fighting shape and as versatile a performer as ever – sensual and expressive on “It Was Jealousy,” swaggering and suave on “One Ain't Enough,” and swept up by the grandeur of the Almighty on “How Do I Get There?” These ten songs – including seven Bryant-penned originals – show a soul survivor in action, exhibiting the kind of sharp vocal acumen that can only be honed by years spent on the road and in the studio.

Dreamcar – Dreamcar CD (Columbia)
There's something romantic about a band's early days. A sense of innocence, optimism, and wonder courses through the music. In the summer of 2014, No Doubt's Tony Kanal (bass), Tom Dumont (guitar), and Adrian Young (drums) and singer Davey Havok (AFI, Blakq Audio) began writing and demoing music together. Without telling a soul outside of their significant others, the four musicians clandestinely moved into a cramped downtown Los Angeles rehearsal spot and revved up what would become Dreamcar. When Havok heard the first four demos, the music immediately resonated, transporting him back to his childhood fascination with the celebrated New Romantic movement. Rife with shimmering guitar tones, percussive slap bass, bombastic drums, and a neon-lit dancefloor dreaminess, Dreamcar gleefully nods to the decade of Boy George and Back To The Future through a kaleidoscope of wisdom. The first single “Kill For Candy” instantly enchants with its upbeat energy and sweet, saccharine chant punctuated by a twisting and turning guitar and driving rhythms. The album swings between the Frankie Goes To Hollywood-style risqué spoken narrative of “On The Charts” to the delicate longing of the synth-washed “Slip On The Moon” where Havok pleads, “Just look for me, I will look for you.” “Born To Lie” builds from a breathy verse into an expansive refrain, while the opener “After I Confess” sees his hypnotic and haunting vocal soar over airy and open soundscapes.

Jake La Botz – Sunnyside CD (Hi-Style)
Jake La Botz's story seems entirely too cinematic to be true. On his album Sunnyside, Jake's songs are heavily informed by his life, one that wraps shades of Merle Haggard, Charles Bukowski, Jim Jarmusch, and Sid Vicious all in one. La Botz learned from pre-war blues masters such as David Honeyboy Edwards and Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis, but Sunnyside makes a sonic move well beyond string blues. Sunnyside was produced by Jimmy Sutton at Hi-Style Studios in Chicago, whose previous production work includes albums for JD McPherson and Pokey LaFarge. The rock ‘n’ roll groove is paramount throughout, propelled by driving bass and drums, ethereal piano, and doo-wop inspired gang vocals. This isn't your dad's blues music - it's roughhewn by La Botz's stories from the more shadowy corners of America, with an unforgettable atmosphere that hangs like thick smoke and lingers long after the first listen. [Vinyl edition due June 16.]

Jazzmeia Horn – A Social Call CD (Prestige)
Jazzmeia Horn - winner of both the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition and Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition - releases her highly-anticipated debut recording A Social Call, an album that reveals a talent ready to take its place alongside the best headlining jazz vocalists of today. The album features 10 tracks composed of originals and covers. “On this superb recording, a highlight might be the medley of ‘Medley: Afro Blues / Eye See You / Wade In The Water.’ It begins with an imaginative, tour de force reworking of the Mongo Santamaria classic, initially performed as a duet with Jennings before the rhythm enters and has some operatic vocalizing at the upper reaches of her extensive range. This segues into a spoken social commentary rap before transitioning into the spiritual with gutbucket trombone also heard. The album closes with a lively and uplifting cover of Mary J. Blige's ‘I'm Going Down.’ Again, she her vocal soars while she delivers a message for brothers and sisters to hold on and stay strong in trying times. Jazzmeia Horn is a most gifted singer whose originality, horn-like phrasing, timbre and timing will enthrall listeners on this auspicious debut.” – In A Blue Mood

Los Colognes – The Wave CD/LP (Big Deal Media)
One of the highest and rarest aspirations in popular music is to reach for the transcendental, to access the spirit. On the third album The Wave by Nashville based Los Colognes, they succeed just this - in breaking through the confines of everyday pop song lyricism to tell a sort of holistic story. It's not a concept piece, but it's a brooding and still joyful song cycle filled with philosophical rumination, effortless hooks, inspiring musicianship, and expansive arrangements. It's an album perfectly suited of the current zeitgeist of unease and hope. It is an album about archetypes and about the everyday. There are allusions to the Great Flood, to Plato's Cave, to Poe, to the hero's quest so iconically defined by Joseph Campbell. There are recurring metaphors about the water, about the vastness of the ocean and the delicate balance between riding the wave and being pulled under. There is struggle, there is dread, there is hope, there is ultimately the knowledge only gained by a journey. It's an album about attempting to gain acceptance with the flow of adulthood, life in the music business, the changing awareness that only time and maturity can hand to someone.

Panic! At The Disco – A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out [Reissue/2005] LP (Fueled By Ramen)
Vinyl reissue of the double platinum Vaudeville-meets-pop-punk full-length debut from the Las Vegas, NV pop/punk band

Paramore – After Laughter CD (Fueled By Ramen/WB)
Paramore are back with their fifth album and first in four years. After Laughter marks the return of drummer Zac Farro, who quit the band in 2010. The album also represents the first-time Paramore recorded an LP in their native Nashville, with the group laying down the album at the city's famed RCA Studio B with producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen. In an interview with The New York Times, the band cites Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, Cyndi Lauper and Blondie, as influences on the new album. “We’ve gotten to a point with our new music where we don’t really want to headbang anymore,” guitarist Taylor York said. Singer Hayley Williams revealed it was a difficult process getting to this point, due to various personnel changes, lawsuits and personal issues. “You can run on the fumes of being a teenager for as long as you want, but eventually life hits you really hard,” Williams explained. “I didn’t even know if we were going to make another record. There was a moment when I didn’t even want it to happen. Then it was like, I want it to happen, but I don’t know how we’re going to do it.”

Paul Weller – A Kind Of Revolution CD (Parlophone)
Weller releases his eagerly awaited thirteenth studio album A Kind Revolution -- ten absolute classic modern Paul Weller songs (expanded double-CD and five-piece 10” vinyl editions contain both an instrumental version of the album as well as eight remixes and the non-album track “Alpha”). By “modern Paul Weller songs” we mean, instantly recognizable but in no way predictable. He doesn't make a “kind of” album, he fits together all his influences - rock, R&B, soul, jazz, funk, folk...whatever - and builds a song from them, delivering something that drifts through genres unselfconsciously and at ease. Two great examples of this are two of the most reflective, contemplative songs, “Long Long Road” and “Hopper,” which in lesser hands might have been delivered as ballads, but Weller adds so much texture and color to each that they defy categorization. With great age comes great wisdom...

PWR BTTM – Pageant CD/LP+MP3 (Polyvinyl)
“Every episode of RuPaul's Drag Race — reality TV's finest drag queen competition — ends the same way. Host and judge RuPaul turns to the assembled queens and says, with an air of total sincerity: ‘If you can't love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?’ The sentimental send-off is corny, but it comprises a powerful truth about being queer: In a world where LGBT identity can get you fired from your job, or kicked out of your home — or jailed or even killed — the act of loving yourself (and loving the capacity of queerness to upset entrenched norms) can be radical. Pageant, the sophomore album from pop-punk duo PWR BTTM, may as well take RuPaul's question as a mission statement. Over 13 tracks, the duo fleshes out its razor-sharp pop-punk sound while exploring the challenges and rewards of queer self-actualization. Many tracks include horns and flutes, and some even feature the operatic vocals of Hopkins' mother. The album feels larger and more mainstage-ready than the band's earlier music, while retaining the intimacy fostered during years of performing in dorm rooms and basement venues. Most importantly, PWR BTTM hasn't lost its sense of joy: the kind that inundates the songs' singalong hooks, cascades from Hopkins's flamboyantly extravagant guitar solos and sparkles in Bruce's campy, swaggering humor” – NPR. [Limited color vinyl pressing also available.]

Soundtrack – The Bob’s Burgers Music Album 2xCD/3xLP+7”MP3 (Sub Pop)
The Bob's Burgers Music Album features 109 songs from the first 107 episodes of the show (all six existing seasons), plus five special cover versions of songs from the show. Originally broadcast within the episodes – and often in abbreviated form – these songs appear here in their freestanding glory for the first time. The Bob's Burgers Music Album – in both its standard edition and its impressive deluxe edition – is a must-have for any fan of the show (and, really, any sentient life-form). The album features the main cast members – Bob (Jon Benjamin) and Linda (John Roberts) and their children Tina (Dan Mintz), Gene (Eugene Mirman) and Louise (Kristen Schaal) – singing original songs that build on the show's unique sense of humor. Also featured are many of the show's recurring and special guests, from comedians like Aziz Ansari, Sarah Silverman, Kevin Kline, Bill Hader, Zack Galifianakis, and Fred Armisen, to musical guests Cyndi Lauper and Carly Simon. Includes five never-aired “Bob's Buskers” cover versions of songs from the show performed by St. Vincent, The National, Lapsley, and Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields. [Limited Deluxe “condiment” color vinyl pressing also available.]

Todd Rundgren – White Knight CD (Cleopatra)
Veteran producer, pioneering performer and legendary songwriter Todd Rundgren returns with a new album featuring a stellar line-up of all-star guest performers. White Knight showcases Rundgren's incredibly diverse range of styles from soulful art rock to ambient synth pop and includes performances from Rundgren's equally diverse musical companions such as Trent Reznor, Donald Fagen (Steely Dan), Joe Walsh (The Eagles), Daryl Hall, Dam Funk, Joe Satriani, Robyn and others. Rundgren says: “It's easy to get used to playing to your own audience, even if you are absorbing and experimenting with new ideas. I wanted to collaborate not just for the musical possibilities, but also to play for new audiences and expose my fans to the range of artists I enjoy working with.”

Zac Brown Band – Welcome Home CD (New Elektra)
“Zac Brown isn’t just trying to sell records, he’s selling a way of life, a Southern Fried way of life, and he’s doing it very successfully. He and his band are as tight as a small community and they play a highly professional, appealingly commercial country style. His voice is a warm, comforting aubergine and the tunes are homespun and inclusive. There was a feeling they over elaborated on their last couple of albums, so on Welcome Home they are back to the simplicity of their breakthrough, The Foundation, with some songs completed in one take. It’s very skillfully produced and very easy on the ear. Ten tracks, forty minutes, job done. This is music with its feet firmly on the ground. Welcome Home evokes a family gathering in the sunshine, barbecue smoking away, a few beers being drunk, children and dogs running around. Then, dad fishes out his guitar, uncle Jimmy places his fiddle under his chin, cousin Clay tickles an ivory and they are away until the sun sets” – The Afterword.

New Releases - 5/5/17

Afghan Whigs – In Spades CD/LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
From its evocative cover art to the troubled spirits haunting its halls, In Spades casts a spell that challenges the listener to unpack its dark metaphors and spectral imagery. On the one hand, it is as quintessentially Afghan Whigs as anything the group has ever done – fulfilling its original mandate to explore the missing link between howling Midwestern punk like Die Kreuzen and Hüsker Dü, The Temptations’ psychedelic soul symphonies, and the expansive hard-rock tapestries of Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd. At the same time, this new record continues to push beyond anything in the Whigs’ previous repertoire – another trademark, along with the explosive group dynamic captured on the recording. “This is the first time since Black Love [the Whigs’ 1996 noir masterpiece] that we’ve done a full-blown band album,” Greg Dulli says. The joys, sorrows, and upheavals of innocence and experience echo throughout In Spades: it powerfully documents where The Afghan Whigs have been, and where they might go next.

At The Drive-In – in·ter a·li·a CD (Rise)
“Ever had that feeling when introducing a friend to a band you love – the envy that they get to discover them for the first time, to hear it with fresh ears? Well, At The Drive In are making a comeback almost two decades after Relationship Of Command with in•ter a•li•a. It feels like in•ter a•li•a quite literally picks up where At The Drive In left off, with familiar chord attacks from Omar Rodriguez Lopez and the yelping emotion of Cedric Bixler. ‘No Wolf Like The Present’ and leading single ‘Governed By Contagions’ could have come directly from the band’s 2000 release, with the exception of the slightly more solid production. It’s still got the post-‘90s prog obsession, but it’s been cleaned up a bit. in•ter a•li•a does avoid being overly nostalgic with tracks like ‘Pendulum In A Peasant Dress’ and ‘Incurably Innocent’ which seem in turn to swing At The Drive In’s new release from one side to the other of their sonic spectrum. ‘Pendulum…’ takes the stuttering skat-like vocal performance of Bixler to an extreme, while ‘…Innocent’ seems closer to ‘I Brought You My Bullets…’ era My Chemical Romance – and no that’s not a bad thing, get over it” – Skateism. [Limited color vinyl pressing also available.]

Bad Brains – Build A Nation [Reissue/2007] LP (Megaforce)
2007's Build A Nation served as Bad Brains' first proper studio album in over a decade and featured all of the original members: HR, Darryl Jenifer, Dr. Know and Earl Hudson. Produced by long-time fan, Adam Yauch aka MCA of the Beastie Boys, Build A Nation was a rock-solid return to form for the band who helped define American punk and hardcore music.

Blondie – Pollinator CD/LP+MP3 (BMG)
Pollinator is Blondie’s 11th album. Alongside original band members Chris Stein, Debbie Harry and drummer Clem Burke, the album also features contributions from Johnny Marr, Sia, Dev Hynes, Charli XCX, Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio), Nick Valensi (The Strokes) and The Gregory Brothers. “Pollinator starts strong with four hook-driven tracks, each a unique pop offering accented by song-launching drumrolls, funk-inspired riffs, and plenty of synth for ears to swim in. Joan Jett duets with Debbie Harry on album opener ‘Doom Or Destiny,’ a fitting match that pairs the rough edge in Jett’s voice to Harry’s sweeter croon. She’s not the only guest, not by a long shot, and it’s the corollary talent that winds up making Pollinator such a success” – Consequence Of Sound. [Limited edition color vinyl pressing also available.]

Bonny ‘Prince’ Billy – Best Troubador LP (Drag City)
With Best Troubador, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy pays homage to a long-time and forever hero, the late Merle Haggard. A singer who, some 25 years previously, first performed in public by playing a Merle Haggard song, Bonny has often cited Merle's work in performance, on records and in conversation with anyone who was around, even talking to Merle himself for Filter magazine in 2009. The songs sung on Best Troubador are pulled from all over -- from Haggard's third album in 1967 through to his 47th in 2011 -- but this is no simple hits compilation. Capable only of occupying a shared space between himself and Merle Haggard, Bonny chose personal favorites, singing the songs he wanted to sing, to find Merle and himself together in the music. Only two of Hag's thirty-eight (!) country number ones are included, and only two others that charted at all. Seven of the sixteen songs are from his later period, after his long run at the top of the country charts had ended, but before encroaching mortality could finally cease the singular and indefatigable creativity of Merle Haggard.

Cayetana - New Kind Of Normal LP (Plum)
Coupling expertly crafted, hooky pop songs like lead single “Mesa,” with sparse, dark, and deeply emotional synth-laden tracks like “World,” New Kind Of Normal is a record that captures quiet moments of crushing vulnerability and the hardened highs of personal strength with equal grace.

Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Betty’s Blends Volume 3: Self-Rising, Southern Blends 2xCD (Silver Arrow)
Chris Robinson Brotherhood's acclaimed live album series Betty's Blends returns with Volume 3: Self-Rising, Southern Blends. Recorded and mixed live from the soundboard by legendary Grateful Dead archivist and recording engineer Betty Cantor Jackson, this latest edition captures the CRB on a Southern swing through Atlanta, Raleigh and Charleston in November 2015. The set includes original staple CRB material like “Clear Blue Sky,” “Roan County Banjo” and “Oak Apple Day,” but focuses on the band's sprawling selection of cover material ranging from Allen Toussaint's “Get Out Of My Life Woman” to the Leiber/Stoller classic “I'm A Hog For You,” Bob Dylan's “She Belongs To Me” to the Slim Harpo rarity “The Music’s Hot.” It also marks the first release in the series with current CRB drummer, Tony Leone. In Robinson's own words, “With Betty, we trust her sonic sensibilities and give her the space and freedom to do what the woman does, and what she does is beautiful and unique. It’s the stuff rock ‘n' roll dreams and recordings are made of.”

Chris Stapleton – From A Room: Volume 1 CD/LP+MP3 (Mercury Nashville)
Chris Stapleton follows up his Grammy award-winning 2015 debut Traveller with not one but two albums in 2017. From A Room: Volume 1 is the first, while the second installment From A Room: Volume 2 will appear later in the year. “I'm real proud of this record,” Stapleton exclaimed at a record release party at RCA Studio A in Nashville, TN. “We made it right here in (RCA Studio A) like the last one. We camped out in here...and had a lot of fun recording things.” Produced by Dave Cobb and recorded live with Stapleton's band, the nine-track affair includes eight originals co-written by Stapleton and the lone cover “Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning” which has been recorded by Willie Nelson. Chris' soulful vocals and understated guitar work are supported here by Cobb on acoustic guitar, Morgane Stapleton on harmony vocals, J.T. Cure on bass, Derek Mixon on drums, Mickey Raphael on harmonica, Robby Turner on pedal steel, and Mike Webb on keys.

Descendents – Everything Sucks [Reissue/1996] LP+7” (Epitaph)
Deluxe 20th Anniversary edition of Descendents 1996 masterwork pressed on 180gm vinyl including a 7” with a pair of unreleased bonus tracks.

Grateful Dead - Cornell 5/8/77 3xCD/5xLP (Grateful Dead)
Cornell 5/8/77 was recorded live directly from the soundboards by Betty Cantor-Jackson. After several years the master tapes were seemingly lost for good, but that all changed at the end of 2016. The lost tapes, or lost “Betty boards” as they are commonly known, finally made their way back home to the Grateful Dead vault, making it possible to officially bring the world this legendary show just in time for its 40th Anniversary.

Hoops – Routines CD/LP (Fat Possum)
Bloomington, IN based four-piece band Hoops craft hyper-melodic songs, built around power-pop chords, deceptively complex drum patterns, and rock-anthem sentiments that hide some tellingly dark thoughts. Three of the four members write and sing, each a frontman and a sideman simultaneously. During a live show, the bandmates can be seen frequently swapping instruments and positions on stage. The setup isn't democratic so much as it is simply adaptable and committed: doing what the song demands, getting the sound just right. Hoops' full-length debut, Routines is a bittersweet and honest record that sounds both warmly familiar and jarringly distinctive.

Ho99o9 – United States Of Horror CD/2xLP+MP3
(Toys Have Powers/999 Deathkult) Originally from Newark and currently residing in LA, Ho99o9 (pronounced Horror) mix the ferocious sounds of hardcore and punk with politically charged hip-hop. “Ho99o9—theOGM (Jean) and Yeti Bones (Eaddy)—seem to have an innate understanding of punk iconography and why logos and imagery is so important for fans to connect with a band’s message on an emotional level. The visual side of their image feels fresh and authentic and they look like very modern rockstars. The sound of their new album United States Of Horror puts me in mind of the Boredoms, Skinny Puppy or Brainiac at their most abrasive and yes, Bad Brains, although I hasten to add that I say this because both bands are bone-crushingly intense, not because of anything necessarily ‘Afro punk’ related, although there is that, too, naturally” – Dangerous Minds. [Limited color vinyl pressed at 45rpm also available.]

Little Dragon – Season High CD (Loma Vista/Concord)
Gothenburg, Sweden Grammy-nominated electro-pop outfit Little Dragon follow-up their acclaimed 2014 album Nabuma Rubberband with Season High co-produced by James Ford who also mixed the record. Consequence Of Sound called lead single “High” a “warm slice of alternative R&B” while equally as captivating second single “Sweet” is a saccharine-induced dance floor number framed by lead singer Yukimi's lush vocals. Yukimi muses, “We want to exist in our own bubble where we can stay curious about sounds. The magic feeling that sounds can sprinkle over any boring day is what got us all hooked. That feeling of escapism...maybe because Gothenburg is a grey place for most of the year, our curse and blessing is that we never quite succeed.”

John Moreland – Big Bad Luv CD/LP (4AD)
Big Bad Love marks a change in Moreland's sound and outlook on life. With lyrics that are as intense and unfiltered as his earlier work, Moreland delves into finding peace within. He also branches out sonically, which is injected with a heavier dose of rock ‘n’ roll.

Mac DeMarco – This Old Dog CD/LP+MP3 (Captured Tracks)
Before you ancients out there turn your heads and scoff at the premise of a twenty-something rock-and-roll goofball calling himself an old-anything, consider this: said perpetrator, he who answers to the name Mac DeMarco, has spent the better part of his time thus far writing, recording, and releasing an album of his own music pretty much every calendar flip, and pretty much on his own. This Old Dog makes for his fifth in just over half a decade -- bringing the total to three LPs and two EPs. According to the DMV, MacBriare Samuel Lanyon DeMarco is 26. But in working-dog years, ol' Mac here could easily qualify for social security. To stay gold, turns out all he needed was some new tricks. [Limited edition white vinyl pressing also available.]

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Lovely Creatures: The Best Of Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds (1984-2014) 2xCD/3xCD+DVD/3xLP (Mute)
Lovely Creatures was compiled by Nick Cave and founding member Mick Harvey, with help from the current Bad Seeds. Band members past and present raided their personal archives to provide previously unseen photos and memorabilia which have been collected into a beautiful hardcover book, along with a series of original essays. The book is available as part of the limited edition Super Deluxe album collection that also comes with a two-hour DVD containing rare and unseen archive footage. Lovely Creatures is available in four formats, all featuring personal and rare photographs of the band. “There are some people out there who just don’t know where to start with The Bad Seeds. Others know the catalogue better than I do! This release is designed to be a way into three decades of music making. That’s a lot of songs. The songs we have chosen are the ones that have stuck around, for whatever reason. Some songs are those that demand to be played live. Others are lesser songs that are personal favorites of ours. Others are just too big and have too much history to leave out. And there are those that didn’t make it, poor things. They are the ones you must discover by yourselves.” -- Nick Cave

Perfume Genius - No Shape LP+MP3 (Matador)
2014’s Too Bright showcased Mike Hadreas stepping out saucily onto a bigger stage, expressing, with the production help of Portishead’s Adrian Utley, emotions arranged all along the slippery continuum from rage to irony to love. Here in 13 new ferocious and sophisticated tracks, Mike Hadreas and his collaborators blow through church music, makeout music, an array of the gothier radio popular formats, rhythm and blues, art pop, krautrock, queer soul, the RCA Studio B sound, and then also collect some of the sounds that only exist inside Freddy Krueger. [Limited color vinyl pressing also available.]

Slowdive – Slowdive CD/LP+MP3 (Dead Oceans)
UK shoegaze pioneers Slowdive enter their second act and offer up a fourth studio opus, their first in 22 years. Self-titled with quiet confidence, Slowdive's stargazing alchemy is set to further entrance the faithful while beguiling a legion of fresh ears. Deftly swerving what co-vocalist/guitarist Rachel Goswell terms “a trip down memory lane,” these eight new tracks are simultaneously expansive and the sonic pathfinders' most direct material to date. “It's poppier than I thought it was going to be,” notes principal songwriter Neil Halstead, who was the primary architect of 1995's previous full-length transmission Pygmalion. This time out the group dynamic was all-important. "When you're in a band and you do three records, there's a continuous flow and a development. For us, that flow re-started with us playing live again and that has continued into the record.” “There's a different energy about it,” adds drummer Simon Scott. “It took ages to get back together and write songs and for it to click in the studio, but this album doesn't feel like a bolt-on -- it's got an energy that's as vibrant as Souvlaki and Just For A Day. It feels very relevant to now.” [Limited edition silver vinyl pressing also available.]

Sun Ra – Singles 2 3xLP+MP3 (Strut)
The second volume of definitive singles released by jazz maverick Sun Ra during his Earth years, spanning 1962 to 1991.

Taj Mahal + Keb’ Mo’ – TajMo LP (Concord)
TajMo is a collaboration between two generations of blues giants, converging their singular talents for the first time ever on an album of original songs and covers, featuring cameos from Bonnie Raitt, Joe Walsh, Sheila E., Lizz Wright, and many more. TajMo brings out the best in both artists, with the pair merging their distinctive voices, personalities and guitar styles to create vibrant, immediate music that's firmly rooted in tradition yet ruled by a playful sense of adventure. “Don't Leave Me Here” is a love letter to the south that sounds like an instant classic, and “Soul” interweaves world music with blues in a way that only Taj could pull off. Taj and Keb' put a soulful spin on Mayer's “Waiting On The World To Change,” on which Raitt lends her unmistakable vocals. The 11-song set also includes covers of John Mayer and The Who.

The Sword – Greetings From… CD/LP (Razor & Tie)
There's an unspoken edict handed down through the ages when it comes to rock bands: there are no rules. Austin, Texas metal luminaries The Sword – John Cronise (vocals, guitar), Kyle Shutt (guitar), Bryan Richie (bass), and Santiago Vela III (drums) – cut out boundaries since day one. Their style never stood predicated on a trend or a template. They always create what feels right and let the results speak for themselves. Greetings From... is a collection of nine live tracks spanning the band's career. From Age Of Winters to their latest, High Country, Greeting From... creates a seamlessly crafted cocktail showcasing the music of The Sword throughout the past decade.

U2 – 18 Singles [2006] 2xLP (Interscope)
18 Singles is U2's most recent greatest hits album. Originally released in 2006 and featuring two new songs, “The Saints Are Coming” (with Green Day) and “Window In The Skies.”

New Releases - 4/28/17

All That Remains – Madness CD (Razor & Tie)
Madness is the eighth studio album by All That Remains and it was produced by Grammy award winning Howard Benson (Halestorm, In Flames, Chris Cornell) and co-produced by Mike Plotnikoff. This album is full of undeniable hooks, incisive riffs, electronic samples and a variety of vocal styles. Integrating personal experiences, political rants and controversial commentary with music that s just as confrontational, Madness is an unapologetic showcase of honesty and ingenuity. All That Remains have created 50 minutes of attitude-laden music with a combination of rock, metal, ballads, and a cover of “Thunder Rolls” by Garth Brooks. “We really wanted this record to be different,” said vocalist Phil Labonte, explaining the inclusion of electronic samples and the dramatic juxtaposition between roaring chaos and accessible craftsmanship. “We wanted to really push ourselves and push the boundaries of what we’re allowed to do.” [Vinyl edition due May 12th.]

BNQT – Volume 1 CD/LP (Dualtone)
“BNQT is billed as the new supergroup, although that seems a little grandiose a term for a project fashioned out of the remnants of moderately successful indie bands you probably remember from your teens. This effort sees Midlake’s Eric Pulido (supported by McKenzie Smith, Joey McClellan and Jesse Chandler) merge with Band of Horses’ Ben Bridwell, Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos, Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle, and Travis’ Fran Healy. Volume 1 sounds very much like you would imagine music made by a mash-up of late ’90s-early-2000s indie groups might sound: meandering and nostalgic with a clean, crisp production that really showcases the instrumentals. I love the upbeat opener ‘Restart’, and the surreal love song ‘Hey Banana’, in which you can’t quite work out, by the end of the song, whether Banana is someone he wants to fuck or kill. Or maybe actually Banana is the small child who does a cameo midway through. Whatever. I liked it.” – Loud & Quiet

Feist – Pleasure CD/2xLP (Interscope)
Feist's first album in six years reflects on secrets and shame, loneliness and tenderness, care and fatigue and is at its core a study on self-awareness. In addition to reaffirming Feist as a cagily inventive guitar player, Pleasure threads her shape-shifting and often haunting vocals into sparse and raw arrangements.

Gorillaz – Humanz CD/2xCD/2xLP+MP3/14x12”+MP3 (WB)
Being a virtual band was always part of the sales pitch of Gorillaz, the pairing of the Blur musician Damon Albarn and the illustrator Jamie Hewlett, which has been releasing hip-hop-influenced concept albums since 2001. And yet with Humanz, the fifth Gorillaz album and the first since 2010, Mr. Albarn found himself at the center of a decidedly real-world conundrum. To unify the album and its many collaborators, he tried to imagine an apocalyptic event — the election of Donald J. Trump — and the possible reactions to it. Then he convened some of the most vibrant talent in hip-hop, R&B, house, reggae and more: the pointed rappers Pusha T and Vince Staples, the nimble singer Peven Everett, the dancehall tear-jerker Popcaan, the early house music innovator Jamie Principle, the soul legend Mavis Staples and many more. [Available in Regular, Deluxe, and Super Deluxe editions. Deluxe CD edition features a five-track bonus disc. The Super Deluxe vinyl box set is presented across 14 individual pieces of different color 12” vinyl, packaged in individually art-worked sleeves. Each piece of vinyl features an album track, backed with an exclusive alternative version. The box also includes a 54-page, cloth-bound, foil-blocked, hardback book featuring exclusive Gorillaz artwork by Jamie Hewlett plus a download card, all housed in a bespoke 12" vinyl case.]

J. Cole – 4 Your Eyez Only LP (Dreamville/Roc Nation/Interscope)
Released last December on CD – now available on vinyl. Multi-platinum-selling North Carolina rapper J. Cole's newest release 4 Your Eyez Only serves as his fourth consecutive No. 1 album following 2011's Cole World, 2013's Born Sinner and 2014's Forest Hills Drive. Sticking with tradition Your Eyez Only contains zero features with Cole owning every writing credit.

Jimmy Urine – The Cinematic Sounds Of Jimmy Urine CD/LP (The End)
For over a decade, Mindless Self Indulgence, a four-member outfit based out of New York City featuring frontman Jimmy Urine, have been whipping crowds of eager fans in to furious riots with their heart-pounding electro-punk and death-defying stage antics. Over the years, they developed a devoted following, spawned bidding wars between major labels, and earned a reputation as a tough live act to follow, from clubs to arenas. With MSI currently on hiatus, Jimmy Urine is extending his creative palette in movie soundtracks and video game music including “Metronomicon,” “I Want To Be Human,” “The Hive” and more. These songs and more have been collected on The Cinematic Sounds Of Jimmy Urine.

Mew – Visuals CD/LP+MP3 (PIAS America)
Visuals is Mew at their most compact, their chemistry at its most potent. With only one song over five minutes, it's their most concise album. Frontman Jonas Bjerre says there was no need for a grand, overarching concept. Each song on Visuals represents its own little chapter and story: nothing needed to be overly long. The discordant stomp of “Candy Pieces All Smeared Out” sums up the emotional to and fro and captivating contrariness at the heart of Visuals: it's an album that's both nostalgic and contemporary, that looks back whilst marching forward. The blissful glide of “In A Better Place” is a prime example of the impulsive environment that the songs were written in, whilst the atmospheric rock of “Ay Ay Ay” was based around a choir part that Bjerre had come up with a few years ago. Bjerre says that the celebratory groove of “Learn Our Crystals” “is one of our weirdest songs.” Poppy and fantastical, it had a familiar feeling to the singer as soon as he wrote it. The soulful sway of “Shoulders” has an R&B feel to it, whilst the band had earmarked the mesmerizing intricacy of “Carry Me To Safety” as the album's closer as soon as it'd been written.

Pinegrove – Everything So Far CD/LP+MP3 (Run For Cover)
An anthology of all of Pinegrove’s output up to the point of their breakout Run For Cover Records full-length, Cardinal.

Sylvan Esso – What Now CD/LP (Loma Vista/Concord)
“Deceptively simple” encapsulates Sylvan Esso’s entire brand. You can plumb the hidden depths of their work, or not; they’re going to have a good time either way. Over 10 tracks on the duo’s sophomore album, What Now, Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn unravel familiar themes of physicality and immediacy, building on and complementing, but never managing to overtake, their debut’s aggressive minimalism. The tricky thing is that their sound is distinctive and largely theirs alone: It is Sanborn’s electronic beats and burbles that manage to never feel cluttered or heavy, coupled with Meath’s lyrics, dripping with urgency and delivered in her flawless croon. “Die Young” is one of the album’s truest gems, an unexpectedly sweet love song about readjusting plans for an early death to accommodate a promising relationship. It seems hard to imagine that anyone who isn’t overtly suicidal would assume their death would happen in a fire or a “crash off a ravine,” as Meath posits, but she sells it; more than any other track, this one sticks with me.” – Consequence Of Sound

U2 – How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb [Reissue/2004] LP (Interscope)
U2's 11th studio album is back in print on vinyl.

Various Artists – Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 CD (Walt Disney)
Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel Studios' Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team's adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill's true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes' aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand. This time our heroes are accompanied by classic tracks from Electric Light Orchestra, Sweet, Fleetwood Mac, Sam Cooke, Glen Campbell, George Harrison, Cheap Trick, Cat Stevens, Parliament, and more.

Willie Nelson – God’s Problem Child CD/LP (Legacy)
God's Problem Child is Willie’s first album to debut all-new songs since Band Of Brothers in 2014. It includes 13 new songs, including seven recently written by Willie and Buddy Cannon, his longtime collaborator and producer. The album's title track, penned by Jamey Johnson and Tony Joe White, includes vocals by both writers and the legendary Leon Russell (on what may be Russell’s very last recording). Closing the album is “He Won't Ever Be Gone,” a song written by Gary Nicholson that pays tribute to Willie's outlaw country comrade, Merle Haggard. “While remaining endlessly prolific, Nelson has always looked at the album as a totemic work, collecting songs in ways that add up to something bigger than the individual pieces. Let’s not forget that this is the songwriter who crafted one of country music’s first concept records (1971’s Yesterday’s Wine) and one of its first crossover standards collections (1978’s Stardust). God’s Problem Child continues that tradition—approaching life and love from angles that can only result from a career spent studying both with a restless sense of wonder. It’s the kind of perspective that most songwriters can only dream of attaining: for Willie Nelson, it’s just another day at the office.” – Uncut

New Releases - 4/21/17

Andrew Combs – Canyons Of My Mind LP (New West)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. Dallas native Andrew Combs, for years regarded as one of the more promising young singers and songwriters in Music City, has inked a deal with New West Records. Combs’ maiden album for the label, Canyons Of My Mind, is an 11-song set that was produced by Skylar Wilson and Jordan Lehning and recorded at Battle Tapes Studio in East Nashville. “Canyons Of My Mind is a collection of songs, all put together, that embodies the idea of a young man growing older. The album consists of the customary songs about lost love and travel, but also hits on more mature issues, such as environmental awareness, spirituality, mental illness, and political exploitation. Taking on a more introspective and controlling role in the writing and recording process, I dug deep inside my own heart and mind to create what I think is a good illustration of a man becoming more comfortable in his own skin” -- Andrew Combs.

Big Star – Thank You Friends: Big Star’s Third Live …And More 2xCD (Concord)
Experience Big Star’s Third album through the prism of a collective of immensely talented musicians. While the band may not be Big Star per se, the fabled group's sole surviving original member, Jody Stephens, heads an amazing cast, whose membership includes latter-day Big Star alumni Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of the Posies, R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, Let's Active's Mitch Easter, Chris Stamey of the dB's, and others. Jeff Tweedy and Pat Sansone of Wilco, Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo, Robyn Hitchcock, Dan Wilson of Semisonic, Benmont Tench from Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Jessica Pratt, Brett Harris, Django Haskins, and Skylar Gudasz are among the guests who were joined by a full chamber orchestra helmed by the Kronos Quartet, performing scores created directly from the original multi-track tapes from Ardent Studios for this event. Carl Marsh, who wrote the original orchestrations, conducted.

The Black Angels – Death Song CD/LP+MP3 (Partisan)
Death Song is the Austin psych-rock band’s first full-length release in four years. Written and recorded in large part during the recent election cycle, the music here serves as part protest, part emotional catharsis in a climate dominated by division, anxiety and unease. “Currency,” a strong contender for the heaviest song the band has ever put to wax, meditates on the governing role the monetary system plays in our lives, while slow-building psychedelic earworm “Half Believing” questions the nature and confusing realities of devotion. Recorded between Seattle and Austin, Death Song features production from Phil Ek (Father John Misty, Fleet Foxes, The Shins). The 11-track collection offers a sharply honed elaboration on their signature sound -- menacing fuzz guitar and cutting wordplay, steeped in a murky hallucinatory dream.

Boss Hog – Brood X CD/LP (In The Red)
Recently released on vinyl – now available on CD. Boss Hog returns from the wild with their most subversive record — this is the seductive soundtrack for the second coming of militant rock ‘n’ roll, and the groove has never been stronger. Brood X — emerging from the dirty streets of New York City after seventeen years of gestation — is a futuristic brew of 21st century blues, toxic punk rock beat music, and hyper-focused, outer-space psycho assaults. Thermonuclear chanteuse Cristina Martinez blisters the hypocrites, the haters, the heartless, and the clueless hangers-on with a full-tilt microphone attack. A sex-bomb salvo for troubled times, Martinez gives voice to America’s pain while pulling no punches.

David Bowie – No Plan 12”+MP3 (Sony)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. The No Plan EP features single “Lazarus” from Blackstar backed with three final, non-album tracks recorded during the Blackstar sessions. Limited color and laser etched vinyl pressings available.

Isis – Live VII 2xLP (Ipecac)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. A full live set from Isis' final Australian tour in 2010. The 9-track set features material from their fifth and last album Wavering Radiant, as well as select highlights from the band's additional four full-lengths. Although rooted heavy metal and the punk/hardcore aesthetic, Isis' music relies just as heavily on ambience, atmosphere, and tone as it does complexity and aggression.

Overcoats – Young CD/LP (Arts & Crafts)
Overcoats is the New York-based female duo of Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell. Their debut album Young captures a sound rich in minimalism and melody: songs of connection and tension, on the depths of love and challenges of family. Overcoats' music draws strength from vulnerability, finding light through darkness, and the catharsis of simple, honest songwriting.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band – So It Is CD/LP+MP3 (Legacy/Sony)
So It Is finds the classic PHJB sound invigorated by a number of fresh influences, not least among them the band's 2015 life-changing trip to Cuba. “In Cuba, all of a sudden we were face to face with our musical counterparts,” says bandleader/composer/bassist Ben Jaffe. “There's been a connection between Cuba and New Orleans since day one – we're family. A gigantic light bulb went off and we realized that New Orleans music is not just a thing by itself; it's part of something much bigger. It was almost like having a religious epiphany.” Producer David Sitek, a founder of art rock innovators TV On The Radio, offered both a keen modern perspective and a profound respect for the band's storied history. Upon arriving in New Orleans to meet with the band, Sitek recalls he and Jaffe accidentally stumbling into one of the city's famed second-line parades. “I was struck by the visceral energy of the live music all around, this spontaneous joy, everything so immediate,” he says. “I knew I had to make sure that feeling came out of the studio. It needed to be alive. It needed to sound dangerous.” The music on So It Is, penned largely by Jaffe and 84-year-old saxophonist Charlie Gabriel, stirs together that variety of influences like classic New Orleans cuisine. Longtime members Jaffe, Gabriel, Clint Maedgen and Ronell Johnson were joined by Walter Harris, Branden Lewis and Kyle Roussel, and the new blood hastened the journey into new musical territory.

Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers ‎– She's The One: Songs And Music From The Motion Picture [Reissue/1996] LP (WB)
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers – Echo [Reissue/1999] 2xLP (WB)
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers – The Last DJ [Reissue/2002] 2xLP (WB)
Tom Petty – Highway Companion [Reissue/2006] 2xLP (WB)
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers – Mojo [Reissue/2010] 2xLP (WB)

Back in print on vinyl.

Weedeater – God Luck And Good Speed [Reissue/2007] LP (Season Of Mist)
Limited gatefold clear vinyl reissue.

New Releases - 4/7/17

Andrew Combs – Canyons Of My Mind CD (New West)
Dallas native Andrew Combs, for years regarded as one of the more promising young singers and songwriters in Music City, has inked a deal with New West Records. Combs’ maiden album for the label, Canyons Of My Mind, is an 11-song set that was produced by Skylar Wilson and Jordan Lehning and recorded at Battle Tapes Studio in East Nashville. “Canyons Of My Mind is a collection of songs, all put together, that embodies the idea of a young man growing older. The album consists of the customary songs about lost love and travel, but also hits on more mature issues, such as environmental awareness, spirituality, mental illness, and political exploitation. Taking on a more introspective and controlling role in the writing and recording process, I dug deep inside my own heart and mind to create what I think is a good illustration of a man becoming more comfortable in his own skin” -- Andrew Combs. [Vinyl edition due April 21.]

Cold War Kids – LA Divine CD/LP (Capitol)
On their sixth album LA Divine, Cold War Kids pay tribute to Los Angeles and all its strange glory. The follow-up to 2014's Hold My Home, Cold War Kids’ latest is slightly tongue-in-cheek in its title. “In many ways LA is the least divine city, the most hedonistic and irreverent and disconnected from history,” says Cold War Kids singer/guitarist/pianist Nathan Willett. Still, LA Divine embodies the Long Beach-bred band's endless fascination with their adopted hometown. “LA's so massive, I feel like I'm always finding something new in it,” says bassist Matt Maust. “It's an incredibly weird place, and I'm happy to have made a record that totally honors that weirdness.” With its sonic palette inspired by everything from Frank Ocean's Blonde to Florence & The Machine to Alabama Shakes, LA Divine merges artful, hook-minded production with Cold War Kids' classic post-punk grit. And in his lyrics, Willett offers both raw vulnerability and layered complexity, bringing his heart-on-sleeve sensibilities to songs exploring long-lasting love.

Father John Misty – Pure Comedy CD/2xLP (Sub Pop)
Father John Misty is the brainchild of singer-songwriter Josh Tillman. Tillman has released two widely acclaimed albums – Fear Fun (2012) and I Love You, Honeybear (2015) – and the recent “Real Love Baby” single as Father John Misty, and recently contributed to songs by Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Kid Cudi. Pure Comedy, his third album, is a complex, often sardonic, and, equally often, touching meditation on the confounding folly of modern humanity. “Joshua Michael Tillman, a.k.a. sentient-thinking emoji Father John Misty, recently performed two songs on Saturday Night Live that questioned two of the bedrocks of Western civilization: entertainment and religion. ‘Total Entertainment Forever’ and ‘Pure Comedy,’ both from Pure Comedy, are thought-provoking, tongue-in-cheek criticisms of societal opiates. Given the state of American political discourse right now, Tillman's booking on late night's premier stage — which typically hosts musicians much more popular than the Los Angeles-based songwriter — was a clear message from the SNL staff bookers.” – NPR

Future Islands – The Far Field CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (4AD)
With string and horn arrangements by Patrick McMinn, The Far Field is the first Future Islands record to feature live drums by Michael Lowry, who joined the band prior to their sensational performance of “Seasons (Waiting On You)” on David Letterman’s late night TV show. Blondie’s Debbie Harry also makes a guest appearance, in a duet with Herring on penultimate track “Shadows.” Across The Far Field’s twelve chest-pounding love songs and odes to the road, Future Islands brilliantly expresses the band’s central themes they’ve been exploring for the last decade: that there is power in emotional vulnerability, that one can find a way to laugh and cry in the same breath – and be stronger for it. [Limited white color vinyl pressing available.]

Joey Bada$$ - All-AmeriKKKan Bada$$ CD/LP+MP3 (Cinematic Music Group)
The sophomore album from the Brooklyn emcee features guest appearances by ScHoolboy Q, J. Cole, Styles P, Meechy Darko Flatbush Zombies and members the Pro Era crew. A mix of indie and street, rapper Joey Bada$$ rose to fame by releasing mixtapes and joining the hip-hop collective Pro Era with fellow MC Capital Steez. Born in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn, Joey began performing under the name JayOhVee, but changed it to Joey Bada$$ before the Pro Era crew signed to the Cinematic Music label in 2012. “With his sophomore album, a new sound and a clearer outlook on the problems of the world around him, Joey Bada$$ is ready for the next level. All-AmeriKKKan Bada$$ addresses social conflict with an astuteness that recalls J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar, two rappers who also broke through half a decade ago. Songs like the ironically-titled lead single ‘Land Of The Free,’ defiantly hopeful “For My People’ and the call to arms of album-closer ‘AmeriKKKan Idol’ straddle the line between justified anger and practical resistance, laying out a world view that is more balanced than reactionary.” – Billboard

Mike + The Mechanics – Let Me Fly CD/LP (The End)
Mike + The Mechanics (Mike Rutherford, Andrew Roachford, Tim Howar, Gary Wallis, Luke Juby and Anthony Drennan) return with their eighth studio album. “In 1985, we were having the best time in Genesis,” Rutherford says in a press release announcing the album. “But after 28 years, myself [and fellow Genesis members] Phil [Collins] and Tony [Banks] wanted variety, so we ran our band and our solo careers side by side happily for many years. To be honest, it saved Genesis. The fact I’m still doing it with the Mechanics just makes me smile.” Let Me Fly is the second record to feature the current Mike and the Mechanics lineup, which coalesced around singers Andrew Roachford and Tim Howar in 2010. Keyboardist Luke Juby, drummer Gary Wallis and guitarist Anthony Drennan round out the band. Vocalist Paul Young (who sang the hit singles “All I Need Is A Miracle” and “Taken In”) died in 2000; Paul Carrack (“Silent Running,” “The Living Years”) left in 2004, around the time the band took a break. Let Me Fly is their first new studio album in six years, following 2011’s The Road.

The New Pornographers – Whiteout Conditions CD/LP (Concord)
“Cohesive.” It's a word New Pornographers founder A.C. Newman still sounds a little bit surprised to say as he describes the band's seventh album, Whiteout Conditions. It's a quality that you wouldn't necessarily intuitively associate with a so-called supergroup that, by its very collective nature, seems bound to have a good deal of stylistic variance built into the formula (or lack of it). Can an outfit built on the appeal of multiple frontmen and frontwomen develop a signature sound after all? Maybe, and maybe better late than never. “On other records,” says Newman, “it felt like sometimes it was very clear: oh, this is a fast one with me singing, and then the next would be a slow song with Neko (Case) singing. And I've always liked that in a White Album kind of way - being a band that just does whatever the hell they want from track to track. But when we did Brill Bruisers (the band's previous album, released in 2014), it was the first time where I thought: Let's try to make a cohesive record. Let’s try to give it a sound and see how focused we can make it. And on this record, I think we went a lot farther down that road.” [Limited white color vinyl pressing also available.]

Rihanna – Music Of The Sun [2005] 2xLP (Def Jam)
Rihanna – Rated R [2009] 2xLP (Def Jam)
Rihanna – Loud [2010] 2xLP (Def Jam)
Rihanna – Talk That Talk [2011] LP (Def Jam)
Rihanna – Unapologetic [2012] 2xLP (Def Jam)

Five of Rihanna's studio albums are available on vinyl individually (all were previously collected in her discography-spanning 15xLP vinyl box set released last December).

Syd – Fin LP (Sony)
Fin is the first solo album from The Internet frontwoman and producer Syd. The album features production from Melo X (Lemonade), Hit Boy, Haze, and Rahki, and is full of dark R&B bravado anchored by Syd's smooth-as-silk voice.

Timber Timbre – Sincerely, Future Pollution CD (City Slang)
Timber Timbre's music has always traced a shadowed path, using cues of the past to fuse the sound of a distant, haunted now. Its fourth record, Sincerely, Future Pollution, is the cinema of a dazzling dystopia, rattled by the science fiction of this bluntly nonfictional time. Taylor Kirk and co-composers Mathieu Charbonneau and Simon Trottier, together with drummer Olivier Fairfield, offer their most daring artistic work yet. With the palette of archetypal synthesizers at La Frette studio outside Paris, the long-time collaborators took a unique approach to Timber Timbre's characteristic sonic invention. The first single, “Sewer Blues,” is an ironclad groove marked by plodding, heavy rhythm, cavernous delay, and a backdrop of starry synthesizers. Sincerely, Future Pollution is a romance of neoteric machines and dark, futuristic hues, with promise as beautiful as it is unsettling. Covering a spectrum of new age to popular French disco revival, the sound is synthetic, exotic, yet familiar, with Kirk's chilling croon and the mid-apocalyptic setting of his poetry. This is Timber Timbre's document of our generation's degeneration and disarray: Signed and sealed.

Record Store Day 2017!

We are less than three weeks away from the 10th anniversary of Record Store Day (4/22)! It's about time we let you in on all the details for our craziest day of the year. We'll have a bunch other stuff going on in addition to the limited releases including:

- DJ sets from Mayor William Bell, Suaze, RyNea Soul, Jesse Phillips (St. Paul & The Broken Bones), & The Audiovore!
- Limited edition "Live At Seasick Records" vinyl LP featuring Null & GT benefitting Girls Rock Bham
- Limited edition screen printed posters & t-shirts from Yellowhammer Creative!
- Shave ice from Ono Ice!
- Free coffee from Crestwood Coffee!
- Free donuts!
- Turntable giveaway in conjunction with Birmingham Mountain Radio! 
- Ticket giveaways to Sloss Fest, Brian Wilson, & more!

Doors will open at 8AM. Record Store Day releases are first come, first served.

New Releases - 3/31/17

Aimee Mann – Mental Illness CD (SuperEgo)
“The title of Aimee Mann’s latest solo effort, her ninth, registers like a punch to the gut. In a world full of self-consciously clever and willfully obtuse album titles, Mental Illness is the equivalent of washing someone’s mouth out with soap. It’s not something you mull over or analyze in search of some hidden subtext or meaning. Instead, it smacks of cold reality. In an interview with Rolling Stone in January, Mann called Mental Illness the ‘saddest, slowest’ record of her 35-plus-year career. She’s not kidding. Her latest collection finds her singing love-spurned tales of heartache, anger, and remorse, giving the emotionally loaded title some added weight. But that doesn’t mean that Mann isn’t putting us on, at least a little bit. ‘I mean, calling it Mental Illness makes me laugh, because it is true,’ she said. ‘It’s so blunt that it’s funny.’ But while she might be having fun with us, she’s nonetheless created a remarkable character sketch. For 44 minutes, Mann slips into the skin of someone walking an emotional tightrope, and it’s an act she pulls off with grace and conviction. Mental Illness lays its hurt and sadness out so effectively that it’s hard to completely accept it as pure fiction. But even if we’re to take Mann’s word for it that these songs were created with some personal distance, it’s still no less powerful of a record” – Rolling Stone.

Bob Dylan – Triplicate 3xCD/3xLP (Columbia/Sony)
Triplicate is 38th studio set from Bob Dylan, and features 30 brand-new recordings of classic American tunes and marking the first triple-length set of the artist's illustrious career. The titles of the individual ten-track discs are ‘Til The Sun Goes Down, Devil Dolls and Comin' Home Late. For the set, Dylan assembled his touring band in Hollywood's Capitol studios to record hand-chosen songs from an array of American songwriters such as Charles Strouse and Lee Adams (“Once Upon A Time”), Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler (“Stormy Weather”), Harold Hupfield (“As Time Goes By”) and Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh (“The Best Is Yet To Come”). According to Bob Dylan, “I am finding these great songs to be a tremendous source of inspiration that has led me to one of my most satisfying periods in the studio. I've hit upon new ways to uncover and interpret these songs that are right in line with the best recordings of my own songs, and my band and I really seemed to hit our stride on every level with Triplicate.”

Coco Hames – Coco Hames CD/LP+MP3 (Merge)
Though it’s the first album released under her name, Coco Hames is no wide-eyed ingénue. As the singer, songwriter, frontwoman, and indomitable force behind beloved garage-pop combo The Ettes, she blazed a memorable trail across the ’00s underground. Following a final bittersweet album and tour in 2011, Hames decided to bring the curtain down on the Ettes’ run, but never lost the urge to write new songs. “The thing I loved, that I was always drawn to—the magic of creating something out of a fleeting idea and a few chords,” says Hames. “That passion never left me. I began to realize I had more that I wanted to write, and a lot more that I needed to say.” Hunkering down at Nashville’s The Bomb Shelter studio, Hames co-produced her eponymous debut with Andrija Tokic, who’d helped sire career-making albums for Alabama Shakes and Hurray For The Riff Raff, among others. Playing guitar, piano, and electric harpsichord, Hames was aided in her effort by a pair of longtime pals in bassist Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather) and drummer Julian Dorio (The Whigs, Eagles Of Death Metal). Lead guitar was supplied by young Nashville hotshot Adam Meisterhans (The Weight, JP5) while other friends and musical foils contributed, including veteran keyboard/organ wizard Dave Amels of Reigning Sound. Hames also enlisted top Music City vocalists Carey Kotsionis (Bobby Bare, Jr., Clem Snide) and Third Man artist Lillie Mae Rische (Jack White, Jypsi) to form an angelic mini-choir for the sessions.

Death – Human [Reissue/1991] LP (Relapse)
Vinyl reissue of Death’s legendary fourth album. Limited metallic gold color pressing also available.

Goldfrapp – Silver Eye LP (Mute)
Silver Eye, Goldfrapp’s seventh album, is dance music that evokes a pagan ritual rather than a club soundtrack. Cold, metallic electronics with a hot current of blood running through them. A 21st century moon dance.

Mastodon – Emperor Of Sand CD/2xLP (Reprise)
Emperor Of Sand finds Mastodon returning to a deeply imaginative and complex conceptual storyline that ponders the nature of time. Threading together the myth of a man sentenced to death in a majestically malevolent desert, the band conjures the grains of a musical and lyrical odyssey slipping quickly through a cosmic hourglass. “Emperor Of Sand is like the grim reaper,” says drummer/vocalist Brann Dailor. “Sand represents time. If you or anyone you know has ever received a terminal diagnosis, the first thought is about time. Invariably, you ask, ‘How much time is left?’” “We're reflecting on mortality,” adds bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders. “To that end, the album ties into our entire discography. It's 17 years in the making, but it's also a direct reaction to the last two years. We tend to draw inspiration from very real things in our lives.” Emperor Of Sand was recorded at The Quarry Recording Studio in Kennesaw, just outside Mastodon's hometown of Atlanta, with producer Brendan O'Brien (Pearl Jam, Neil Young, AC/DC, Rage Against The Machine), who first worked with Mastodon on their seminal 2009 album Crack The Skye.

The Mavericks – Brand New Day CD/LP (Mono Mundo Recordings)
More than two decades into a career that’s always avoided the predictable path, the Mavericks – whose Tex-Mex twang, Cuban-influenced country and retro rock made them unlikely stars in the mid- ‘90s and critical darlings during later years – turn another corner with the new album Brand New Day. “We’re gonna love all our troubles away,” Raul Malo sings on the title track, whose throwback, symphonic sweep recalls the wall of sound arrangements of the 1960s. Malo pulls double duty as frontman and Phil Spector-ish producer, stacking the song high with bells, horns, harmonies and plenty of four-on-the-floor stomp. Also pitching in are three longtime Mavericks — drummer Paul Deakin, guitarist Eddie Perez and keys man Jerry Dale McFadden — and co-producer Niko Bolas, who helped birth songs like Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World” and Don Henley’s “The Boys Of Summer.”

Nelly Furtado – The Ride CD/2xLP (Nelstar Music)
The Ride is the Canadian musician Nelly Furtado’s sixth album and first studio set in five years. Speaking to Cosmopolitan about her latest venture, Furtado said: “I came [into the studio] broken. I came there really empty. As cliché as it is, when you're really going through it, it can be so good for songwriting. I hate saying that, because then people feel like they have to go through adversity to write good stuff, which I don't think is true ... but I'm hands down more proud of these lyrics than any I've ever written.” She claimed in a Twitter Q&A that The Ride is similar in style and tone to 2000 hit album Whoa, Nelly. On the album’s second single, “Pipe Dreams,” the singer goes for an airier, lighter sound than the previously released synth-pop dance track “Islands Of Me,” which she debuted two months ago. “Don't sell me no pipe dreams,” she sings on the track. “I want to live in a kaleidoscope.” Speaking with The Fader, which premiered the song, Furtado had this to say about the album and single. “A lot of [The Ride] touches on [the false hope of dreaming], in terms of sanity versus reality,” she said. “The comedown, the hangover after the rush, and how you put the pieces back together, and how you make amends with the realer parts of life.”

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Once More With Feeling 2xDVD (Bad Seeds Ltd.)
One More Time Feeling is a feature film about the making of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ acclaimed Skeleton Tree directed by Andrew Dominik (Chopper, The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford). Visually unique, One More Time With Feeling is a stark, fragile and raw documentary. Shot in 3D, color and black & white, the film probes the deeply personal circumstances surrounding the making of Skeleton Tree (the band’s 16th studio album) and features interviews and live performances by the band in the studio, along with interjected voice-over commentary by Nick Cave. This double-disc release features three exclusive short films from Andrew Dominik. “An undeniably moving contemplation of shattering loss… a tremendously moving collage.” -- The Guardian

Pile – A Hairshirt Of Purpose CD/LP (Exploding In Sound)
Never afraid to switch styles, Pile’s music has morphed over the years, embracing both the ferocious and gentle sides of punk, indie, folk, and noise rock, delivering their own brand of gnarled intensity.

Sneaks – It’s A Myth CD (Merge)
With little more than a bass, drum machine, and deadpan vocals, Sneaks, a.k.a. Eva Moolchan, makes minimalist music that takes up space—something she herself has made a point of doing in the male-heavy Washington, D.C., DIY punk scene that has been her home. It’s A Myth builds on Sneaks’ playfully stark approach to post-punk, which, as her hometown City Paper described it, causes listeners to go “from curious to provoked to hungry.” Like most of Sneaks’ music, album closer “Future” is in constant gyroscopic movement—thumping rhythm cutting around deep bass, spoken-word patterns somersaulting through image fragments, childhood nostalgia, and cryptic wordplay. Moolchan calls Sneaks “a character” that she’s playing, and there’s certainly an element of mystery around the persona and her riddles. But it’s also all her, born out of full solo creative control after stints in a number of D.C. bands. “When I'm writing songs, it's actually pretty selfish, because it's like, this is what I need to hear right now in my life,” she has said.