Monthly Archive: April 2017

NEW RELEASES April 28, 2017

Willie Nelson: God’s Problem Child
God’s Problem Child is Willie s first album to debut all-new songs since Band of Brothers in 2014. It includes 13 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.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol 2
Original soundtrack to the 2017 motion picture. 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.

John Mellencamp: Sad Clowns & Hillbillies
the 23rd full-length album from heartland rocker John Mellencamp. Sad Clowns & Hillbillies features Carlene Carter, the daughter of June Carter Cash and stepdaughter of Johnny Cash. Sad Clowns & Hillbillies returns Mellencamp to the musical eclecticism that is, itself, a reflection of his wide-ranging musings on life. John Mellencamp is an authentic voice of American music and master storyteller with a commitment to creating traditional rock ‘n’ roll, bittersweet songs of happiness and melancholia, and fervent political dissent. His passions and experiences resonate beautifully in this showcase of his music. Sad Clowns & Hillbillies is produced by John Mellencamp. Sad Clowns & Hillbillies is the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s follow up to 2014’s critically-acclaimed, Plain Spoken, Mellencamp’s fourth consecutive Top 20 album, dating back to 2007’s Freedom Road.

Mary J Blige: Strength of a Woman
the 13th album from the R&B singer/songwriter. The album is her first full length studio release since 2014’s The London Sessions. Strength of a Woman features guest appearances by Kanye West, Quavo, DJ Khaled, Missy Elliot, Prince Charlez, and Kaytranada. Features ‘Thick Of It’, U + Me (Love Lessons)’ and ‘Love Yourself’ (featuring Kanye West) which make up her most honest body of work to date.

New Found Glory: Makes Me Sick
Pop punk legends New Found Glory are back! This year marks the band’s 20 year anniversary, which will be celebrated with this album and a 20 year anniversary tour (appropriately titled 20 Years of Pop Punk) where they will be playing new material along with catalog albums from front to back. With two gold albums under their belts, endless tours, and pop punk hooks unlike any other, 2017 is set to the year of New Found Glory. The Coral Springs, Florida-based band formed in 1997. During their lengthy recording career, the band have released eight studio albums, one live album, two EPs, and three cover albums. Emerging as part of the second wave of pop punk in the late 1990s, music critics consider them a key pioneer of the genre.

Gorillaz: Humanz
Produced by Gorillaz, The Twilight Tone of D /\ P and Remi Kabaka and recorded in London, Paris, New York, Chicago and Jamaica, Humanz comes seven years on from the release of albums The Fall and Plastic Beach. Murdoc Niccals (bass), Noodle (guitar), Russel Hobbs (drums) and 2D (vocals) are – as always – joined by a stellar line up of featured artists which includes Jehnny Beth (Savages), Danny Brown, Benjamin Clementine, de la Soul, D.R.A.M., Peven Everett, Anthony Hamilton, Grace Jones, Zebra Katz, Kelela, Mavis Staples, Vince Staples, Popcaan, Pusha T, Jamie Principle and Kali Uchis among others.

Old Crow Medicine Show: 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde
50 Years of Blonde on Blonde was recorded live at the CMA Theater located inside the historic Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum located in Nashville, TN in May 2016. The album was mixed by Grammy Award-winning Ted Hutt and Ryan Mall. “Fifty years is a long time for a place like Nashville, Tennessee. Time rolls on slowly around here like flotsam and jetsam in the muddy Cumberland River. But certain things have accelerated the pace of our city. And certain people have sent the hands of the clock spinning. Bob Dylan is the greatest of these time-bending, paradigm-shifting Nashville cats,” says Ketch Secor, the primary vocalist of the Old Crow Medicine Show. “By deciding to record his newly found rock n’ roll voice in 1966 Nashville, Bob swung the gates of country music wide open; so wide, in fact, that 50 years later there was still enough of a crack left for Old Crow Medicine Show to sneak it’s banjos and fiddles through the gates with string band swagger.”

Feist: Pleasure
the fifth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Feist. When Feist came out with 2011’s Metals, her underrated follow-up to The Reminder, she made it clear that she was not interested in playing the sparkly, quirky pop singer seen in the “1234” video for the rest of her days. “Built by what we got built for/As much as what we avoid,” she sings, shouting the first line and cooing the second. By the climax, she’s screaming about how pleasure is “what we’re here for” but still hinting at more than just straight-up carnality. She doubles down on the clamor with punkish hiccups, handclaps, and shouty chants. What began as a ruminative peek into why we desire, becomes a kind of rallying cry for how sex is our will. Now that’s the reminder.

Trombone Shorty: Parking Lot Symphony
Trombone Shorty’s Blue Note-debut, Parking Lot Symphony, captures the spirit and the essence of The Big Easy, while redefining it’s sound. Blazing through ’70s funk, rock, hip-hop and R&B, Parking Lot Symphony was produced by Chris Seefried (Andra Day, Fitz and The Tantrums) and features songs co-written by Aloe Blacc, and Alex Ebert (Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros).

Mark Lanegan: Gargoyle
from the alt-rock singer/songwriter and former Screaming Trees frontman. Features guest appearances from long-time collaborators Josh Homme [Queens Of The Stone Age], Greg Dulli [The Afghan Whigs] and Duke Garwood. Early in 2016, Mark was at home in LA, working on some ideas for what might turn into his next album when he got an email from a friend, an English musician named Rob Marshall, thanking Mark for contributing to a new project he was putting together, Humanist. Now Rob was offering to write Mark some music to return the favor: “I was like, Hey man, I’m getting ready to make a record, if you’ve got anything?'” Mark recalls. “Three days later he sent me 10 things!” Within an hour, Mark had written words and vocal lines for two of the pieces Rob had cooked up at Mount Sion Studios in Kent and pinged through the virtual clouds to California. Rob’s music fitted perfectly with the direction Mark had been pondering: in essence, a more expansive progression from the moody Krautrock-influenced electronica textures of his two previous albums, ‘Blues Funeral’ and ‘Phantom Radio’. Eventually, Rob Marshall would co-write six of the songs on the new Mark Lanegan Band album.

Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm
Robert Cray has been bridging the lines between blues, soul and R&B for the past four decades, with five Grammy wins and over 20 acclaimed albums. For the Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm album, the Blues Hall of Famer traveled to Memphis with his friend, renowned Grammy Award winning producer Steve Jordan, to make a classic soul album with Hi Rhythm, the band that helped create that sound. The album opens with a driving, soulful version of Bill Withers’ “The Same Love That Made Me Laugh” that sounds as if it was originally from an old Hi Rhythm recording. When Robert chose two Tony Joe White songs for the album, White, a big fan of Cray, came up from Nashville to sit in. First up is the moving ballad “Aspen, Colorado” (the sister song of his “Rainy Night in Georgia”). The other end of the spectrum is the swirling psychedelia of “Don’t Steal My Love.” The tribute to O.V. Wright and Hi Rhythm is the horn-driven version of “You Must Believe in Yourself.” Known for writing “Mustang Sally” and many other songs, Sir Mac Rice’s “I Don’t Care” follows on the album with an unforgettable hook, and Rice’s funky “Honey Bad” features more guitar brilliance from Cray. Moving into early R&B from the 5 Royales, Robert performs “I’m With You Pt. 1” then turns the guitar loose on “I’m With You PT 2.”

Mew: Visuals
the Danish alternative rock band’s 7th album, and follow up to their critically-acclaimed album, + -[Plus Minus]. Mew frontman Jonas Bjerre has worked on the projections for the band’s live shows since their early days. Usually, the Danish trio finish an album and Bjerre gets to work on the visuals. For their seventh record, though, the singer decided to turn things upside down, working on the visuals first and seeing if they informed the music. The resultant record feels like a culmination for one of rock’s most ambitious and inventive groups: Visuals is where Bjerre and his bandmates, bassist Johan Wohlert and drummer Silas Utke Graae Jørgensen, join the dots of a career that has spanned over two decades. Visuals is Mew at their most compact, their chemistry at it’s most potent. With only one song over five minutes, it’s their most concise album. Bjerre says there was no need for a grand, overarching concept. Each song on Visuals represents it’s own little chapter and story: nothing needed to be overly long. Twenty years into their career, Mew have the irrepressible ebullience of a band on their debut album. Visuals feels like the beginning of a new chapter.

 

NEW RELEASES April 21, 2017

Ray Davies: Americana
solo release from the British Rock icon best known as the main singer/songwriter in The Kinks. This is Ray Davies’ first new album in 10 years. It follows his acclaimed 2013 memoir of the same name, and uses the book as both source material and jumping off point. Davies wrote and arranged all the music on Americana and co-produced the album with Guy Massey and John Jackson with the Jayhawks serving as Davies’ backing band. Americana was recorded in London at Konk Studios, the legendary studio founded by The Kinks in 1973. The album is an autobiographical work, taking inspiration from the vital role America has played in Davies’ life over five decades. It also features a number of short spoken-word passages from the memoir. In Davies’ own words, “America is such a big story, a vast landscape, you can get lost in it. It’s possible in America to go ahead and have a new start somewhere.”

Incubus: 8
It’s been six years since fans were last graced with a new full-length Incubus album and that drought has ended with their aptly titled eighth full length offering, 8. The album was co-produced by Dave Sardy (Slayer, Helmet, Trouble) and Sonny Moore, better known as dubstep icon Skrillex. The album was nearly finished before Moore tweaked the mix on the song “Familiar Faces,” which then spiraled into a full co-production job. Guitarist Michael Einziger commented, “It just kind of energized everybody in the band and we’re really excited about the album, we can’t wait for people to hear it.”

Bee Gees: Timeless
one of the most successful bands of the rock era. The Bee Gees formed in 1958. Their line-up consisted of brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb. The trio were successful for most of their decades of recording music, but they had two distinct periods of exceptional success; as a popular music act in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and as prominent performers of the disco music era in the mid-to-late 1970s. The group sang recognizable three-part tight harmonies; Robin’s clear vibrato lead vocals were a hallmark of their earlier hits, while Barry’s R&B falsetto became their signature sound during the mid-to-late 1970s and 1980s. The Bee Gees wrote all of their own hits, as well as writing and producing several major hits for other artists. The Bee Gees have sold more than 220 million records worldwide, making them one of the world’s best-selling music artists of all time. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. The Bee Gees’ Hall of Fame citation says “Only Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks and Paul McCartney have outsold the Bee Gees.”

Sheryl Crow: Be Myself
the ninth studio album from multi-platinum-selling singer, songwriter, and musician Sheryl Crow. For this album, Crow worked again with producer, musician, and songwriter Jeff Trott, a long-time collaborator throughout her career. Trott co-wrote many of Crow’s classic hits including “If It Makes You Happy” and “My Favorite Mistake.” Crow says her main goal was “to investigate what made my early songs strike people as being authentic and original. So for the first time in my life, I made it a point to sit down and really listen to my old records. I’d drive my kids to school and play the old stuff as I came back home. That helped me remember what it felt like when I was just beginning as an artist. But it wasn’t about repeating myself. It was about revisiting where I came from and seeing where that would take me now.” Be Myself is like each of her preceding releases: thoughtful and candid. It’s unlike them too, mainly in that it represents contradictory movement – a look at the world today powered in part by a return to the energy that first lofted Crow and her music into the limelight.

Brad Paisley: Love and War
the eleventh studio album from the country music superstar. Paisley has received numerous career awards, including three Grammys, two American Music Awards, 14 ACM Awards and 14 CMA Awards (including Entertainer of the Year). The album includes collaborations with Mick Jagger, John Fogerty, Timbaland and Bill Anderson. The album’s single, “Today,” peaked at #1 on the country radio chart.

Imelda May: Life Love Flesh Blood
the fifth studio album by Irish singer and songwriter Imelda May. The album was produced by T Bone Burnett, and features guest appearances by Jools Holland and Jeff Beck. The album marks a new direction for Maywho recently ended her marriage of eighteen years, making Life, Love, Flesh, Blood her most autobiographical record to date. Imelda May began her career in music at 16 by performing with a number of local bands and musician, before she formed her own band in 2002. Although known primarily as a singer, she also plays the bodhrán, guitar, bass guitar and tambourine. Described as “a unique vocal talent,” May is known for her musical style of rockabilly revival and has also been compared to female jazz musicians such as Billie Holiday. She won the Best Female Artist of the Year award at the 2009 Meteor Awards.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band: So It Is
the second album of all original songs by the New Orleans jazz outfit. The album was produced by Dave Sitek from TV on the Radio and contains seven brand new songs. The music on the album was influenced by a recent trip to Cuba. Preservation Hall Jazz Band derives it’s name from the Preservation Hall venue located in New Orleans’ French Quarter. The band is known for performing traditional New Orleans-style jazz. The musicians in the groups have varied during the years since the founding of the hall in the early 1960s. Bands of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band perform at Preservation Hall on 726 St. Peter Street in the French Quarter, and tour around the world for more than 150 days a year.

The Raveonettes: 2016 Atomized
A collection of the acclaimed Danish duo’s twelve monthly 2016 singles which received coverage from NPR, Stereogum, Noisey, Nylon, Brooklyn Vegan, Q. Their 2014 album Pe’ahi reached #5 on Billboard’s “Heatseekers” and received praise from Mojo, NME, Boston Globe. They’ve issued seven albums since 2003, via Columbia, Vice, and their own Beat Dies imprint.

Robyn Hitchcock
the follow up to 2014’s critically acclaimed The Man Upstairs. The new record was recorded in Nashville, Robyn’s new home base in the US, and was produced by Robyn and Brendan Benson (The Raconteurs). This is the first time Robyn has made a full band album in the studio since 2008 and the record features a lot of key players, including Gillian Welch, Emma Swift, Pat Sansone (Wilco, The Autumn Defense) and Grant-Lee Phillips. The psych-rock influence is a callback to his days with The Soft Boys and his early solo albums.

Thank You Friends: Big Star’s Third Live…and more
Thank You Friends: Big Star’s Third Live… and more celebrates the musical legacy of one of rock’s most influential bands – Big Star – and their legendary Third album. Experience this classic of late ’70s power pop through the prism of a collective of immensely talented fans, including members of Wilco, R.E.M., Yo La Tengo, and, of course, Big Star. Following the untimely death of Alex Chilton two days ahead of Big Star’s SXSW performance in 2010, famous friends and fans came from far and wide to play the gig in his honor. Much of that spontaneous ensemble, along with other musical titans, assembled at Glendale, CA’s Alex Theatre in April 2016 to record and film an epic performance. 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.

Regina Carter: Accentuate The Positive (For Ella)
A hundred years after her birth, there are still plenty of lessons to be learned from listening to Ella Fitzgerald. But that’s not the only takeaway that Regina Carter has gleaned from Ella’s storied career. On Ella: Accentuate the Positive, the virtuoso violinist reveals the many aspects of Fitzgerald that have influenced her own remarkable path in music. That translates to an album that avoids the more obvious song choices in favor of more obscure though no less rewarding tunes from deep inside Ella’s bountiful catalogue. Instead of trying to echo Fitzgerald’s own choices and arrangements, or attempting the near impossible task of evoking her beloved voice on the violin, Carter has done what has always set her apart – followed her own dauntless instincts, resulting in a singular new take on both familiar and hidden classics. Carter’s enchantment with Ella Fitzgerald continued from childhood into adulthood and she grew to realize how much technique and virtuosity were involved in producing a sound so warm and inviting. The ability to spark that connection was central to Carter’s choice of songs for Ella: Accentuate the Positive. A master of improvisational jazz violin, Carter’s performances highlight the often overlooked potential of the jazz violin for it’s lyric, melodic and percussive potential.

Ron Sexsmith: The Last Rider
Canadian singer/songwriter, Ron Sexsmith’s status as one of the greatest songwriters of his generation has never been in doubt, even from the moment he released his self-titled major-label debut album in 1995. His career arc since then has in some ways been a study in how that pure ability has been handled in the studio. On his 12 albums, Sexsmith has worked with some of music’s most celebrated producers – Daniel Lanois, Mitchell Froom, Tchad Blake, Ray Kennedy, Martin Terefe, Bob Rock and Jim Scott. With all of that experience, it would stand to reason that Sexsmith has learned a thing or two over the years about how to make a record. The Last Rider features 15 new Sexsmith original songs that are by turns happy, sad, romantic, bittersweet, uplifting, spiritual and witty. Recorded at The Bathouse studio on Lake Ontario near Toronto, sessions for the record were a marked change in approach from Sexsmith’s previous albums, as he recorded it with the musicians he knows best, his touring band – Don Kerr (drums), Jason Mercer (bass), Dave Matheson (keyboards) and Kevin Lacroix (guitar). The album was produced by Ron and Don Kerr, who have been friends and musical collaborators since they worked together as couriers in the late eighties. “I think my sound has always been a combination of the folk singers and British invasion artists I’ve always admired,” says Ron. “At this point, it’s just second nature for me to write short, melodic songs that say everything you want to say. But having my band totally involved on this album maybe brought out more in the songs than on other recent albums. It felt special, anyway.” Although Ron Sexsmith has more music to come that is sure to inspire us, for now The Last Rider is the latest addition to a body of work as impressive as any produced in the past quarter-century. Through truth and simplicity, Sexsmith’s songs help us get closer to the things that make us better people, meaning that an album like The Last Rider is as necessary now as anything he has ever done.

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