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.