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