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Here are a few things that have been released in April:
Eliza Gilkyson: 2020
Produced by Eliza’s son, Cisco Ryder, 2020 features songs designed to be audience sing-a-longs in the Pete Seeger tradition of motivational political anthems from the call for unity of “Peace in Our Hearts,” to condemnations of President Trump’s policies with “Sooner or Later” and “My Heart Aches.” Gilkyson also recorded two folk favorites: Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” and Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.” Gilkyson’s new song, “Beach Haven,” was drawn from a letter written by Woody Guthrie in 1952 directed to Beach Haven Apartment’s landlord Fred Trump (POTUS’ father) regarding his racist, segregationist renter policies. The song is Guthrie’s invitation to Trump to “open your doors” and “rip out the strangling red tape” that keeps the apartment from embracing all races.
The Strokes:The New Abnormal
is the sixth studio album by The Strokes. Produced by Rick Rubin, it is their first album in seven years, following Comedown Machine (2013), and their first release since the Future Present Past EP (2016). The album artwork features the 1981 painting Bird on Money by American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. The New Abnormal is packed full of the razor-sharp hooks, vintage vibes and NYC cool that made the Strokes an early-2000s phenomenon.
Joe Satriani: Shapeshifting
the 18th studio album from the acclaimed guitarist. The single ‘Nineteen Eighty’ is a song that harks back to the period of his first band, the Squares, and to the sounds of that time. “I’ve always been a huge fan of Eddie Van Halen,” Satriani says. “In my mind, he just crystalized that era. The late ’70s and early ’80s, he kind of saved rock guitar. So that’s what I would have been doing.”
Thundercat: It Is What It Is
produced by Flying Lotus and Thundercat, features musical contributions from Ty Dolla $ign, Childish Gambino, Lil B, Kamasi Washington, Steve Lacy, Steve Arrington, BADBADNOTGOOD, Louis Cole and Zack Fox. It Is What It Is follows his game-changing third album Drunk (2017). That record completed his transition from virtuoso bassist to bonafide star and cemented his reputation as a unique voice that transcends genre. ‘This album is about love, loss, life and the ups and downs that come with that,’ Bruner says. ‘It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, but at different points in life you come across places that you don’t necessarily understand’ some things just aren’t meant to be understood.’
It’s been 20 years since I Am Shelby Lynne, the album which earned her a Best New Artist Grammy nod. This time, Shelby Lynne, her debut Thirty Tigers release, removes the “I Am” and gets direct to the heart of the singer-songwriter-instrumentalist who gives it her name. This is an album of mostly solo, spare but emotionally rich, original torch songs done the only way this idiosyncratic artist knows how – at once tortured and vulnerable, with intimate feelings laid bare, but ultimately offering hope that there’s a light in the darkness. Recalling her 2008 Dusty Springfield tribute, Just a Little Lovin’, recorded with the late Grammy-winning producer Phil Ramone at the same Capitol Studios where the new album was mixed, the soulful Shelby Lynne is her most personal, autobiographical statement yet on the dual, push-pull nature of love: at once close enough to touch, but also a frustrating tease that can both seduce and abandon.
David Bromberg: Big Road
CD + DVD combo. 2020 release. Multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter David Bromberg isn’t standing still. He is still pushing boundaries, still an iconoclast, still unapologetically unique, as he continues to explore his life’s journey via a path that might be considered ‘asymmetrical’. His musical expression is still inimitable and his scope of knowledge is encyclopedic. On Big Road, Bromberg and his band were determined to give fans ‘something of value’ – in other words, a tangible, content-rich package of music, film, text and photos. The result is a substantive music/video release, featuring 12 new tracks, five hi-def performance videos and a mini-documentary detailing the album’s creation.
Verminous is The Black Dahlia Murder’s
most dynamic, rousing and emotional release to date, and it achieves this without compromising one iota of heaviness. “I think this is the biggest evolutionary leap we’ve ever taken from one album to the next. We stoked the creative fires with 2017′s Nightbringers and it’s gone much further now in Verminous,” states vocalist Trevor Strnad. “It’s a very colorful, moody, and charismatic album that experiments with new sounds and ideas without losing the cutthroat Black Dahlia edge. There is a lot of minutiae to digest. Plenty of delicious little Easter eggs woven into the fabric of each song. Each one is a living, breathing entity that will stand on it’s own as some of the best music this band has ever created.”
Steep Canyon Rangers: Be Still Moses
These Grammy winners and perennial chart toppers from North Carolina have been Steve Martin’s longtime musical companions. Now, the Rangers can add the Asheville Symphony to their list of collaborators; together, they breathe new life into the band’s favorites “Easy to Love,” “Radio,” “Be Still Moses” (featuring Boyz II Men), “Call the Captain,” “Let Me Out of This Town,” “Blow Me Away” and more. Listen to these inspired new orchestral arrangements on CD or first-edition transparent blue vinyl! Yep Roc.
Rock Bottom Rhapsody – Pokey LaFarge
– ‘The man singing these songs isn’t exactly the same man who wrote them,’ says Pokey LaFarge of Rock Bottom Rhapsody. In early 2018, LaFarge relocated from his longtime home base of St. Louis, Missouri, to Los Angeles, California. New songs came quickly to LaFarge in his new environment, but new temptations soon found him, as well. LaFarge admits that he experienced a significant ‘fall from grace’ during the last months of 2018. Shortly before the recording of Rock Bottom Rhapsody began, LaFarge experienced a spiritual awakening ‘ and the faith he re-embraced in his hour of darkness helped to buoy him through the making of the album. Despite the trying period that preceded it’s recording, Rock Bottom Rhapsody is ultimately far more uplifting and life-affirming than it’s title would suggest. ‘Did it add something to the record? It certainly did. I mean, I don’t know if it made it better; it just is what it is. It’s not up to me to decide if people are going to feel that’
John Anderson: Years
John Anderson is celebrating his four-decade career the album Years. Dan Auerbach co-produced this album by the country-music legend and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer. The Blake Shelton collaboration “Tuesday I’ll Be Gone” joins “I’m Still Hangin’ On,” “Celebrate,” “Years,” “What’s a Man Got to Do,” “Wild and Free” and more. Both Anderson and Auerbach were deeply inspired by these sessions full of songs about the prospect of death and the celebration of life.
The Monkees: The Mike & Micky Show
Produced by The Monkees’ archivist Andrew Sandoval and mixed by Christian Nesmith, The Monkees – The Mike & Micky Show Live was recorded live in March 2019. The collection includes performances of all three of the band’s #1 hits: “Last Train To Clarksville,” “I’m A Believer” and “Daydream Believer.” In addition to those hits, the live album also spotlights many of Nesmith’s finest compositions, including several songs that were never performed live during the Monkees’ heyday, like “St. Matthew” and “Auntie’s Municipal Court.” Other Nesmith-penned tunes on the collection include live versions of “The Girl I Knew Somewhere,” “Listen To The Band,” “Papa Gene’s Blues,” “You Just May Be The One” and “You Told Me.” Dolenz takes the spotlight singing hits like “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “Randy Scouse Git,” “Mary, Mary,” “Goin’ Down,” “For Pete’s Sake,” and “Porpoise Song.” The collection also features live versions of “Me & Magdelena” and “Birth Of An Accidental Hipster” from The Monkees’ most-recent studio album, Good Times (2016).
M. Ward: Migration Stories
“It was in winter 18/19 – I flew to Montreal to meet with Tim Kingsbury, Richard Reed Parry, Craig Silvey and Teddy Impakt at Le Studio Du Arcade Fire. It was a fine time with a dream team in a city I love. Winter in beautiful Quebec. Les semaines les plus froides de ma vie.
I had a bunch of demos that were inspired by migration stories I had heard from friends or read in newspapers while on tour in Europe and North America. I remember being struck by the similarities of the stories I heard from both continents and how really only the names of the powerful and the powerless had changed – thinking, “Is this the future? Is this our future?” Some time went by, the stories wove together and I remember them now closer to characters in a dream of how people could treat each other than any kind of front-page news realism. I think music subconsciously – whether writing or listening – is a filter for me – helping to process all the bad news into something new to build from – some records to me are like self-fulfilling prophecies – visualizing change to wish something into being – those records inspired this one.” – M. Ward
Testament: Titans of Creation
Returning with their thirteenth studio album Testament’s “Titans of Creation” contains twelve tracks of unstoppable energy from these originators of Bay Area Thrash! Loyal to the roots of the genre they helped define Testament bring alluring brilliant and progressive ingredients to this new release an exciting new album in their consistently heavy and inspiring cannon