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.”
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.
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.