New Releases for April 12, 2019
(For the list of April 13 Record Store Day releases, please click HERE)
Anderson .Paak – Ventura CD (12 Tone)
While he was working on Oxnard, the ever-ambitious Anderson .Paak was recording Ventura at the same time. As he explains it, both albums showcase the duality that has inspired the Grammy-award winning artist throughout his career. “Growing up in Oxnard gave me the grit and the church to find this voice of mine. One town over I went further and found my depth. [I] held one [album] back because that would have been too many songs to perform live.” Now with a more soulful sound representative of the beautiful, scenic Ventura, Anderson .Paak gives us “King James”, “Make It Better”, and more – with features including Smokey Robinson, André 3000, Nate Dogg among others.
Band Of Skulls – Love Is All You Love CD/LP (Silva Screen)
In what seem like an unusual move for a traditional rock band, Band Of Skulls hired producer Richard X for their latest album Love Is All You Love. He has encouraged the band to experiment and add some electronic elements to their sound. It is still a rock album, but with an extra pop punch. “Just seconds into opening track ‘Carnivorous’ you realize this is not entirely the BoS you are familiar with. A throbbing bass line, Arabesque guitar hook and unashamedly electronic sheen…this is your invitation from the Band Of Skulls to join them for a new musical enterprise. ‘Sound Of You’ is a downright sexy torch song for the 21st century. Putting Richardson’s soulful pleading vocal front and center over a pumping bass line and Marsden’s R&B guitar licks on acid. This is an album highlight to be sure. As is ‘We’re Alive’ a thundering Glam rocking piece of cotton candy that might well have put a smile on Marc Bolan’s face, its chorus virtually commanding you (‘Come On… Come On’) to sing along. This is pop music as it should be, as it could be if more artists were willing to test their limits. Music that is catchy enough to sing along to yet complex enough to make you want to listen to it again and again.” – Concert Guide
Bars Of Gold – Shelters CD/LP (Equal Vision)
Consisting of members of seminal post-hardcore band Bear vs. Shark and Detroit experimental mainstays Wildcatting, Bars Of Gold have honed in on their frenetic, guitar-driven post-rock with the addition of a fourth guitarist, John Gaviglio, longtime friend of the band and ex-Bear vs. Shark guitarist. Add in Marc Paffi’s urgent howls and you have an ambient post-rock record with torrential rhythms, a melodic foray of extremely keen sensibilities for dynamics melded with an underlying realized anxiety. Six years since their highly lauded Wheels LP, Bars Of Gold are never one to rush a good thing and it’s apparent in the carefully considered music within the tracks of Shelters, an album that’s fortified in friendship and family and borders on musical telepathy.
Bibio – Ribbons CD/LP+MP3 (Warp)
Following his ambient atmospheric project, Phantom Brickworks, Stephen Wilkinson returns to the path of structured songwriting last explored on 2016’s A Mineral Love. Bibio’s Ribbons yields folkloric charm with an organic palette, incorporating a mostly acoustic-led approach exploring ‘60s and ‘70s psychedelia, soul, ambient, electronic and field recordings. A self-taught musician, singer and producer, Wilkinson plays nearly all the instrumental parts on the album and unveils new instruments to his palette, bringing in mandolins, fiddle and other stringed instruments. But, while the sonics of the album are based around acoustic and other traditional instruments, the title is extracted from the most electronic-leaning track on the album: “Pretty Ribbons And Lovely Flowers”. On the track, haunting, processed female vocals illuminate a route through dark ambiance and a repeating earthy distorted chord sequence. [Limited purple colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Budos Band – V CD/LP+MP3 (Daptone)
As menacing and unhinged as ever, the pride of Staten Island is back with their fifth full-length offering, V. Raw and absent of the modern technological trappings, the Budos Band picks up where they left off with 2014’s Burnt Offering, and finds the group expanding on the brooding, fuzz-fueled riffs, whilst harkening back to the Ethiopian inspired rhythms and percussive proclivity that put them on the map in the first place. “Old Engine Oil”, a rocker at heart, kicks things into gear and delivers a high-octane burst of Budos mayhem. “The Enchanter” serves up a classic dose of upbeat Afro-soul, drenched in a venomous assault of wall-melting proportions that leads you to the “Spider Web”, a rumbling ode to the Cowbell Colossus whose punctuated horn stabs take you on an untamed ride to the dark side of the spoon. “Peak Of Eternal Night”, whose odd time signature and haunting horns transport the listener to the peak of a menacing otherworldly landscape, a style further explored on “Ghost Talk”, a guitar driven groover that gives way to an organ-washed space ritual beneath sun-summoning trumpet blasts.
T Bone Burnett/Jay Bellerose/Keefus Ciancia – The Invisible Light: Acoustic Space CD/2xLP (Verve)
Acoustic Space is the first full-length installment in The Invisible Light trilogy helmed by Grammy- and Oscar-winning producer T Bone Burnett in collaboration with percussionist Jay Bellerose and artist, composer, producer and musician Keefus Ciancia. The albums explore the idea that society has been subject to over a century of electronic programming, a “programming pandemic,” which is causing us to lose our ability to differentiate fact from fiction. Burnett describes the trilogy as “an experimental song cycle” which consists of a single piece of poetry broken down into distinct songs. The Invisible Light is a fusion of trance, electronic, folk, tribal and global music. At the heart of this trilogy is technology and how it has advanced significantly throughout the course of the last century with radio, film, television and the internet serving as central parts of our lives. In acoustic space, people hear from every direction at once, the center is everywhere, and there is no border.
The Chemical Brothers – No Geography CD/2xLP (Astralwerks)
No Geography is The Chemical Brothers’ long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s UK chart-topping and Grammy-nominated Born In The Echoes. To realize the album, the duo built tracks using vocal samples; voices were wound tightly into music that Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons found themselves following wherever it led them. Snatches of dialogue from the late ‘60s experimental Dial-A-Poem project were chosen that reflected the mood in the studio. No Geography is introduced by “Free Yourself” (dubbed “a euphoric, multi-faceted odyssey of blistering synths and deep grooves” by Rolling Stone), “MAH” (described as “a short & bloody ride into our modern media psychosis” by The Guardian) and “Got To Keep On”, a striking groovy and disco-inspired track which proves once again what The Chemical Brothers are capable of when it comes to the diversity of their production skills.
Culture – The Nighthawk Recordings CD (Omnivore Recordings)
The Nighthawk Recordings is a seven-track EP from reggae legend Culture, featuring four previously unissued tracks. Culture began recording in 1976 with an early cut of “This Time” which was only released on an obscure Jamaican single. Composed in response to the state of emergency declared by the Jamaican government in that year, the early recording is a tame and lyrically altered version of the original song as finally presented on this album. The first three tracks were recorded in 1981 with backing by the Roots Radics. The remaining tracks were taped in 1983 with backup by The Wailers band.
Melissa Etheridge – The Medicine Show CD/LP (Concord)
The Medicine Show deals with universal themes of renewal, reconciliation, reckoning, compassion and, most profoundly, healing. Through the songs she processed the deep fears and hurting she saw in the nation on collective and personal levels; “Shaking” about national anxiety, “Here Comes The Pain”, personalizing the opioid crisis, the unifying “Human Chain” about the hope for healing, and the rocking, anthemic “Love Will Live”. More highlights include the album-closer, “Last Hello” drawing on the incredible strengths and courage shown by the survivors of the Parkland school shootings, and the infectious “Wild And Lonely”, and “Faded By Design”, exploring themes of her past with a new perspective. For the recording, Shanks teamed Melissa with drummer Victor Indrizzo, bassist Chris Chaney and keyboardist Max Hart. The sessions were done largely live in studio, capturing the raw emotion of the material, the performances rocking with bold colors.
Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel CD/LP (Partisan)
Dogrel is the full-length debut album from Dublin, Ireland band Fontaines D.C. It spits, it snarls, it snaps with the very best of them. But also, it yearns, like the greatest Irish music must do. In songs like the almost unbearably sad “Dublin City Sky” there is a marriage of the lyrical to the poetic tradition that bears comparison not just with MacGowan’s (the Pogues) best work, but echoes the exquisite heartbreak of Luke Kelly’s timeless reading of Kavanagh’s “On Raglan Road”. From the short, sharp opener “Big” (surely rivaling The Stone Roses’ “I Wanna Be Adored” as an irresistible opening statement of self-confident intent) Dogrel delightfully surprises at every turn. The singles sit fully at ease along much more complex, emotionally loaded pieces such as “Roy’s Tune” and “The Lotts”, both examples of a bruised but unbowed melancholia which is the album’s true genome.
The Frights – Live At The Observatory CD (Epitaph)
Live At The Observatory is a document of The Frights’ sold-out kick off show of their Hypochondriac headline tour in Santa Ana on September 8, 2018. The live album features 14 songs spanning the band’s complete catalog. After opening with the anthemic frenzy of “Kids” (from their 2016 sophomore effort You Are Going To Hate This), the band delivers full-tilt fan favorites like “Cold” and “Crust Bucket”, then turns tender on acoustic-guitar-driven tracks like “Hold Me Down” and the painfully vulnerable “Alone”, both from their 2018 album, Hypochondriac. Throughout, the love and solidarity from the crowd is palpable, their shared confession giving way to something way more fun and more powerful than ordinary catharsis. [Vinyl edition due in June.]
Glen Hansard – This Wild Willing CD/2xLP (ANTI-)
This Wild Willing is Glen Hansard’s fourth solo album, a collection of songs which finds the Irish musician marrying the sonic inventiveness of the best of his work in The Frames with the discipline he has found as a songwriter in his solo career. It was written and created in Paris, France with more than 24 musicians collaborating on the album. From his partners in The Frames (Joe Doyle) and Swell Season (Marketa Irglova & Joe Doyle), to his touring family of players, to three Iranian brothers he met in Paris (the Kroshravesh brothers), Glen brought together a group of global talents who each left an indelible mark on this recording. Lead track “I’ll Be You, Be Me” sees Hansard weighing the risks of vulnerability, his restrained vocal masking the fury of the underlying instrumental’s building storm.
Bruce Hornsby – Absolute Zero CD/LP (Zappo Productions)
Absolute Zero is Grammy award winning pianist, singer and songwriter Bruce Hornsby’s fourth studio album as a soloist. Aquarium Drunkard spoke with Hornsby about the album and notes, “Hornsby’s new album furthers his commitment to chasing inspiration, no matter what unlikely places he may end up doing so. From the harmony-laced title song to the Steve Reich-ian ‘Fractals’ to the cresting anthem ‘Voyager One’, the record is defiantly unclassifiable. One gets the sense that’s the goal. While many musicians settle into an artistic groove, 33 years removed from his commercial breakthrough, Absolute Zero finds Hornsby exploring sound as boldly as ever.” Predominantly produced by Hornsby, the 10-track album includes added production from Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Tony Berg (Phoebe Bridgers, Andrew Bird, Public Image Ltd.) and Brad Cook (Sharon Van Etten, Hiss Golden Messenger). Absolute Zero also includes musical contributions from yMusic, The Staves, Blake Mills, Jack DeJohnette, Sean Carey, The Orchestra Of St. Hanks (Frost School/University Of Miami), Hornsby’s longtime band The Noisemakers and more. [A limited indie-store exclusive vinyl pressing is available.]
Norah Jones – Begin Again CD/LP (Blue Note)
“Begin Again compiles seven original tracks, the majority of which Jones already has released. Like Esperanza Spalding, Jones’ artistic restlessness seems intertwined with eschewing the traditional ways that albums have been made, packaged and promoted. Her collaborators on this set include Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, keyboardist Thomas Bartlett and drummer Brian Blade. ‘My Heart Is Full’ pairs Bartlett’s piano, keyboards and synthesizer with Jones’ layered vocals for a memorable studio creation that’s spare, yet haunting. ‘Begin Again’ is a rocker with these pointed lyrics: ‘Can a nation built on blood find its way out of the mud?/ Will the people at the top lose their way enough to stop?/ Can we begin again?’ Jones—playing piano, celeste and acoustic guitar—pursues an Americana vibe with co-writer Tweedy on ‘A Song With No Name’. Another tune written with Tweedy, ‘Wintertime’, will appeal to fans of Jones’ 2004 album, Feels Like Home. On ‘Just A Little Bit’, Jones’ yearning vocal and insistent piano riffs are augmented by poignant trumpet work from Dave Guy. Overall, the charming Begin Again isn’t a grand statement; it’s a document of an artist seeing where the winding path takes her.
Lang Lang – The Piano Book CD/2xLP (Deutsche Grammophon)
One of the world’s biggest classical stars, Lang Lang, returns with his brand-new solo album – a collection of pieces which first inspired him to play the piano and led him on his path to international stardom. Piano Book gathers together many of the miniatures that generations of amateur pianists have grown up with. Lang Lang holds them in the highest regard, believing them to be classics in their own right. He wants to encourage piano students across the world to fully appreciate them. As well as works by the great composers – such as Beethoven’s Für Elise, Debussy’s Clair de lune and J.S. Bach’s Prelude in C Major from The Well-Tempered Clavier – Lang Lang has included some modern classics that are familiar from TV and movies like Yann Tiersen’s La valse d’Amélie, Max Richter’s The Departure and Ryuichi Sakamoto’s music for Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. These are pieces Lang Lang has encountered through his work with students all over the world and have become part of his favorite works for piano.
Pet Shop Boys – Inner Sanctum 2xCD+DVD+Blu-ray (x2 Recordings/AWAL)
Pet Shop Boys breathtaking show Inner Sanctum was filmed at London’s Royal Opera House during a sold-out run in 2018 summer. The duo’s acclaimed production, first presented at the Royal Opera House in 2016 over four sold-out shows, was reprised at the venue for a further four nights in July 2018 as part of their Super tour. Staged by long-term PSB designer Es Devlin and choreographer/director Lynne Page, the show was filmed by director David Barnard. Filmed on July 27th and 28th, 2018, the full-length film on DVD and Blu-ray is accompanied by two CDs of the complete audio of the live show plus a bonus feature of PSB live at Rock In Rio, which was recorded on September 17th, 2017 at the Brazilian festival. The Inner Sanctum production won rave reviews for a musical and visual extravaganza which brought lasers, dazzling choreography and immersive visuals and stage design to the ornate surroundings of the Royal Opera House for an electrifying show. The set-list featured contemporary PSB material from their last two albums Super and Electric mixed with many PSB’s classic hits from their back catalogue.
Eli “Paperboy” Reed – 99 Cent Dreams CD/LP (Yep Roc)
With the release of his new record, 99 Cent Dreams, Eli “Paperboy” Reed begins his second decade as an artist much in the same way he began his first: in love with soul music. Reed is ten years wiser this time around, writing with the kind of freewheeling confidence. The result is the finest of his career. Cut at the legendary Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis, TN, and produced by Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price), 99 Cent Dreams is exuberant, a celebration of life delivered by an ecstatic messenger. Reed’s arrangements on the album are lean, filtering vintage R&B, soul, and gospel through the heart of a modern songwriter. His stunning voice remains front and center, but his performances have matured, a sign perhaps of the newfound perspective he’s gained with fatherhood. Fueled by love and hope, this is a collection that, despite its moments of loneliness and pain, ultimately insists on seeing the bigger picture, on recognizing each day for the gift that it is.
Emily Reo – Only You Can See It CD/LP+MP3 (Carpark)
Only You Can See It is a devastatingly beautiful collection of prismatic pop songs reckoning with the complexity of self-possession. Following the release of her acclaimed 2013 full-length Olive Juice, Reo spent five years writing, recording, arranging, producing and mixing these ten songs—at her apartment in Brooklyn, and at various studios and friends’ homes around New York. It’s her most intricate web of poetry yet, with prismacolor melodies winding through a vast pop vision. Reo employs her classical vocal training more than ever, her sweeping falsetto delivering double-time verses brimming in metaphor and mesmerizing layered soundscapes alike. For over a decade, Reo’s vocoder pop songs have played with the space between natural and metallic sounds—with every turn of her voice sounding sweeping, symphonic.
Sunn O))) – Life Metal CD/2xLP (Southern Lord)
Special RSD 2019 release available 4/13/19 Limited CD and transparent orange colored double vinyl. “Playing minimal metal at maximum volume, sound wave masseurs Sunn O))) are now entering their 21st year as the ne plus ultra of suffocating drone. Still searching for the most accurate representation of their famed, body-vibrating live performances, their eighth album, Life Metal, was recorded to tape with famed engineer Steve Albini. The result is an enveloping LP that trades their doomier inclinations for something a little more triumphant. Hildur Guðnadóttir of Icelandic art-rock staples Múm lends breathy coo, penetrating cello drone, and the esoteric halldorophone; composer Anthony Pateras accompanies the band on a Stuttgart pipe organ; and Silkworm co-founder Tim Midyett provides support on bass and baritone guitar. At the same time as they made Life Metal, the band and Albini recorded a parallel album: ‘a second more meditative LP titled Pyroclasts … which will be revealed in the autumn 2019.’” — Stereogum
John Paul White – The Hurting Kind CD/LP (Single Lock)
Leading up to the sessions for his third solo album The Hurting Kind, Grammy Award-winner John Paul White was inspired by artists like Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison, Chet Atkins and Bill Porter. Drawing on these timeless influences, White sought out classic writers like Whisperin’ Bill Anderson and Bobby Braddock to collaborate with. With The Hurting Kind, White draws on the lush, orchestrated music made in Nashville in the early 1960s, writing about overwhelming love, unraveling relationships and the fading memory of a loved one. “I approached this album differently on the songwriting side before I ever got into the studio,” says White. “I really wanted there to be a torch song quality to it, the classic timeless quality. To not be afraid of the big note, and not be afraid of the drama.”
BTS – Map Of The Soul: Persona CD (Bihit)
New release from the South Korean pop superstars.
Bill Frisell/Thomas Morgan – Epistrophy CD (ECM)
Further poetic takes on pieces from the duo’s beloved Americana songbook (“All In Fun”, “Red River Valley”, “Save The Last Dance For Me”), as well as another intense version of a composition by Paul Motian (“Mumbo Jumbo”), an artist whom both the guitarist and bassist knew well. [Vinyl edition due April 19.]
Damien Jurado – In The Shape Of A Storm CD (Mama Bird)
Speaking about the films that influenced his fourteenth album, In The Shape Of A Storm, Damien Jurado tosses out a list of favorites – American Graffiti, Paris, Texas, The Last Picture Show – films in which settings serve as silent, omniscient characters. But inquire about the curious way he writes songs, the hazy manner by which he seems to channel them from beyond the beyond, and the cinematic reference point he reaches for is a surprising one. [Vinyl edition due April 26.]
Aaron Lewis – State I’m In CD/LP (Valory)
Known for his outspokenness, impassioned live show and outlaw country tunes, Aaron Lewis is back with a new album.
Shovels & Rope – By Blood CD/LP (Dualtone Music Group)
The alt-country duo made up of husband/wife team Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent return with new album, a gritty, powerful look into their lives and the world around them, with tender songs commenting on their relationship, and human stories weaving throughout. “Shovels & Rope have always fit comfortably under the ever-expanding Americana umbrella, though here there’s more rock ‘n’ roll, and its lots of fun.” – Paste
Sun Kil Moon – I Also Want To Die In New Orleans CD (Caldo Verde)
“Though it occasionally suffers from over-ambition, the jazzy I Also Want To Die In New Orleans is another helping of admirable personal and social commentary from Mark Kozelek.” – The Needle Drop
X – Wild Gift [Reissue/1981] CD/LP (Fat Possum)
X – Under The Big Black Sun [Reissue/1982] CD/LP (Fat Possum)
X – More Fun In The New World [Reissue/1983] CD/LP (Fat Possum)
Four decades after their inception, one thing is clear: X was not only one of the most influential bands to crash out of the punk movement of the late ’70s, but the group’s music continues to be sonically groundbreaking today. Songs written during the group’s inception are as relevant and inventive today as they were in 1977. The band’s early albums, Los Angeles, produced by Ray Manzarek of the Doors, Wild Gift, and Under The Big Black Sun explored dark love and an even darker L.A. with the unflinching eye of a Raymond Chandler novel. Subsequent efforts like More Fun In The New World found the band continuing to grow musically and politically, fearlessly mixing genres without ever losing its center.
Herbie Hancock – Fat Albert Rotunda [Reissue/1969] LP (Antarctica Starts Here)
Herbie Hancock – Mwandishi [Reissue/1971] LP (Antarctica Starts Here)
Herbie Hancock – Crossings [Reissue/1972] LP (Antarctica Starts Here)
If Fat Albert Rotunda sounds like the most fun Herbie Hancock had in his early years as a band leader, it should. He composed the music for the pilot of the children’s television show Fat Albert, redirecting the post-bop jazz he honed-in a five-year stint with the Miles Davis Quintet towards the R&B and funk styles with which he was becoming enamored. Stretching out from the R&B / jazz fusion of Fat Albert Rotunda, the pianist would draw inspiration from his time with Miles Davis (whose classic Bitches Brew came out in 1970) as well as through the creative relationship he had formed with producer David Rubinson (known for his work with Moby Grape and Santana).
Over The Rhine – Love & Revelation LP+MP3 (Great Speckled Dog)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. Critically acclaimed husband and wife duo Over The Rhine celebrates 30 years of making understated yet emotionally-charged music with Love & Revelation. Self-produced and releasing on their own Great Speckled Dog label, Over The Rhine’s first new music in four years finds the beloved duo in a deeply reflective place, contemplating both personal loss and the wavering of Americas collective compass.
Reignwolf – Hear Me Out LP (Reignwolf)
With appearances at major music festivals such as Coachella, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits and Glastonbury and high-profile opening slots for some of the most influential bands including Black Sabbath and Pixies, Reignwolf have made a name for themselves worldwide without ever releasing a record… until now.
XXXTentacion – Skins LP+MP3 (Bad Vibes Forever)
Limited blue and black splatter colored vinyl pressing of this posthumous album from the late rapper.