New Releases - 3/17/17

Conor Oberst – Salutations CD/LP (Nonesuch)
Salutations is a companion piece to 2016's lauded Ruminations. When Oberst wrote and recorded the songs on Ruminations, entirely solo—with just voice, piano, guitar and harmonica—he intended to ultimately record them with a full band. In the midst of putting together that band—upstate New York's The Felice Brothers plus the legendary drummer Jim Keltner (Neil Young, Jackson Browne, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and many more)—the passionate responses Oberst was getting to those first solo recordings encouraged him to release the songs as-is, in their original sparse form. The Sunday Times of London called it “the rawest album yet from the forever troubled one-time voice of a generation” and “political and very, very personal,” saying Oberst is “one of the best songwriters around.” Salutations includes full-band versions of the ten songs from Ruminations, plus seven additional songs. Guest contributions come courtesy of Jim James, Blake Mills, Maria Taylor, M Ward, Gillian Welch, Gus Seyffert, Pearl Charles, Nathaniel Walcott, and Jonathan Wilson.

Counting Crows – Recovering The Satellites [Reissue/1993] 2xLP (Geffen)

The Creation – Action Painting 2xCD/2xLP (Numero)
Presented here for the first time are the complete Creation studio recordings. All 42 tracks (CD version, 24 tracks on the vinyl) have been remastered from the original tapes by Shel Talmy, and given fresh stereo mixes where previously unavailable. New essays by Dean Rudland and Alec Palao tell the band's story and dive into their complete studio sessions. Scores of previously unpublished photographs adorn the accompanying 80-page hard bound book. We've rounded the whole package out with four tracks by pre-Creation freakbeat quartet the Mark Four, making Action Painting the definitive collection of this legendary UK band.”

Depeche Mode – Spirit 2xLP (Columbia)
Spirit is the new album from Depeche Mode, and the band's 14th studio release. It marks the band's first collaboration with producer James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco (Foals, Florence & The Machine, Arctic Monkeys). “‘We're living in a time of real change,’ says Depeche Mode singer Dave Gahan, a vision of intensity dressed head-to-toe in black. ‘As I get older, the things going on in the world affect me more. I think about my kids and what they're growing up into. My daughter, Rosie, was deeply affected by the election last year. ... She just sobbed, and I was like, ‘Wow.’ That sense of worry informed Gahan and his Depeche Mode bandmates while writing Spirit, as many of the LP’s 12 songs deal directly with the general Weltschmerz circulating the planet lately. The record's first single, the Gore-penned ‘Where's The Revolution?’ is a slow-building number which features fuzzy synths, and serves as a call-to-arms as Gahan sings, ‘The train is coming/Get on board,’ along with the title question. It's a mood that continues in another Spirit song ‘Backwards.’ It opens with Gahan singing, ‘We are the bigots/We have not allowed/We have no respect/We have lost control.’ It goes on to lambaste some people's ‘caveman mentality’ and how others ‘feel nothing inside,’ amid jabbing keyboards and pounding rhythms and complete with Gore's backing vocals. ‘If we want things to change, a revolution, we need to talk about it and about caring about what goes on in the world,’ Gahan says” – Rolling Stone. [CD is available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds a bonus disc of remixes. Double-vinyl LP edition features an etching on Side D.]

Gary Clark Jr. – Live/ North America 2016 CD/2xLP
(WB) Live North America 2016 was recorded absolutely live, with no overdubs. What you hear is how it went down. The album includes all new and unreleased live recordings from Gary Clark Jr's 2016 tour in support of his internationally acclaimed The Story Of Sonny Boy Slim. It features several songs from that album, including “The Healing,” “Grinder,” “Our Love,” “Cold-Blooded,” and “Shake,” featuring Leon Bridges and his saxophonist Jeff Dazey. The set is characterized by raw soul and funk, classic solo and blues performances, and several lengthy, tour de force guitar jams. It includes two previously unreleased covers, Jimmy Reed's “Honest I Do” and Elmore James' “My Baby's Gone” as well as “You Saved Me” and “When My Train Pulls In” -- fan favorites from Clark's debut Blak And Blu. Much like the great blues, jazz, and soul legends of past, these recordings are lightening in a bottle - historical moments in time for an artist who is ever morphing and one of the truly great improvisers of his generation.

Julien Baker – Funeral Pyre b/w Distant Solar System 7”+MP3 (Matador)
“Memphis, TN-based songwriter Julien Baker is the latest addition to the renowned Matador Records roster. The 21-year-old’s devastating, delicate, plaintive, vulnerable debut album, Sprained Ankle (I could keep going with the adjectives, but really, ‘striking’ might be my favorite, as the music completely captivated us and left us no choice but to add it to our roster), which was released in 2015. A previously unreleased song ‘Funeral Pyre,’ is the title-track and A-side for Baker’s new 7”. Only Baker can make such a darkly macabre subject so heartbreakingly gorgeous, her signature hushed-yet- lofty vocals soaring over a quietly fingerpicked melody, crescendoing into layered, almost-orchestral beauty.

Pinback – Some Offcell Voices CD/LP+MP3 (Temporary Residence)
In the early days of Pinback, they were known mostly as two lauded musicians who spent their spare time away from their primary projects (Three Mile Pilot, Thingy, Heavy Vegetable) to hone their home recording skills while experimenting with ideas, tones, and instrumentation that didn't quite fit into those primary projects. Pinback hadn't yet become their day job; it hadn't yet become a well-oiled five-piece touring machine; and it had no idea where it was going to go. In retrospect, that earnest curiosity is what makes those early Pinback recordings so resonant and so unique, and what separated them from every indie rock band of this century. Every bit as powerful and expressive as their first two albums, the 1999 EP, Some Voices, and the 2003 EP, Offcell, famously bucked the perception of EPs as outtakes and toss-offs. What were ostensibly minor stopgaps between albums became massive fan favorites and staples of Pinback's live show. Having never been released on vinyl, it's only fitting that we revisit these poignant recordings - and take the opportunity to painstakingly remaster and repackage them into the full-length album that never was, the aptly named Some Offcell Voices.

Real Estate – In Mind CD/LP+MP3 (Domino)
In Mind is the fourth album from the NJ dream pop group, their first to feature Julian Lynch on guitar, and produced by Cole M.G.N. Long respected for their deft lyrical hand and gorgeous melodies, In Mind builds upon the Real Estate’s reputation for crafting perfect songs and carries them even deeper into the pantheon of great songwriters. Here they fine-tune the winsome songwriting and profound earnestness that made previous albums—Real Estate, Days, and Atlas—so beloved, and pushes their craft in compelling new directions. Written primarily by guitarist/vocalist Martin Courtney, In Mind offers a mild shifting of the gears, positing a band engaged in the push/pull of burgeoning adulthood. Reflecting a change in lineup, changes in geography, and a general desire to move forward without looking back, the record recasts the band in a new light—one that replaces the ennui of teen suburbia with an adult version.

Spoon – Hot Thoughts CD/LP+MP3 (Matador)
“In a career that spans more than 20 years, Spoon has perfected a kind of ruthlessly airtight efficiency: Every few years, the Austin band returns with a new batch of perfectly compact three-minute pop-rock songs. As consistent as it is beloved, Spoon never fails to hit its mark — delivered forcefully, and with hooks for days. If the title track on the band’s ninth album Hot Thoughts is any indication, that impeccably chosen palette's got a few new colors. Thanks in part, no doubt, to Dave Fridmann joining the band as a co-producer, ‘Hot Thoughts’ has a rangy, swirly sparkle to it, portending an album that spreads out for a bit of a journey” – NPR. [Limited red color vinyl pressing also available.]