New Releases for August 28, 2020
CDs + Vinyl:
The Allman Betts Band – Bless Your Heart CD (BMG)
If Down To The River was the sound of The Allman Betts Band’s combustible sparks igniting, then Bless Your Heart is their bonfire, built for the summer of 2020 and beyond; a double-album follow-up fueled by road-forged camaraderie and telepathic musical intensity, vibrantly reflecting the individual and collective experiences of these seven, all drawing inspiration from the band’s symbolic hometown – a place Devon Allman calls “the United States of Americana.” A conflagration of influences and invention, confidence and ambition, Bless Your Heart captures a vast, panoramic scope throughout a baker’s dozen of modern rock. [Vinyl edition due October 9.]
Arca – KiCk i CD/LP (XL Recordings)
Recently released on vinyl – now available on CD. Produced and recorded by Arca, KiCk i defines a new era of multiplex harmony for the Venezuelan artist, singer, DJ, performer and experimental music composer. Featuring guest appearances by Björk, Rosalía, Shygirl and Sophie, KiCk i is a celebration not only of the joy Arca’s been able to find in her life, but the sometimes arduous journey it took for her to find it. Her struggles to reconcile her Venezuelan heritage and her trans Latinx identity emerge as reggaetón and pop en Español. “I don’t want to be tied to one genre,” Arca says. “I don’t want to be labeled as one thing.”
The Avett Brothers – The Third Gleam CD (Loma Vista)
Grammy Award-nominees The Avett Brothers release the highly-anticipated third installment in their ongoing Gleam series. The Third Gleam marks a return to The Avett Brothers’ roots, both sonically and in form with Seth and Scott Avett playing as a trio with longtime bassist Bob Crawford, and follows in the band’s tradition of sharing what’s on their minds and in their hearts as their lives, and the world around them, continue to evolve. Seth and Scott express that while The Third Gleam was recorded ahead of the pandemic and social reform movements that have swept the nation, the new music captures their personal experiences and perspectives on themes that are undeniably universal and timely. Throughout the eight-song collection, the band delves into isolation, incarceration, and injustice, as well as resilience, redemption, and love, offering a gleam of hope in a dark and uncertain time.
Toni Braxton – Spell My Name CD (Island)
Multi-Platinum, Grammy-winning megastar Toni Braxton releases her new album, Spell My Name, which includes the hit single, “Do It” as well as a new version with Missy Elliot, and fan-favorite “Dance”.
Disclosure – Energy CD/2xLP (Capitol)
Grammy and Mercury Music Prize-nominated U.K. duo Disclosure (brothers Guy & Howard Lawrence) release their third album, Energy, featuring a global spectrum of talented artists including, for the first time, rappers. Appearances from Mick Jenkins, ChannelTres, Aminé and slowthai sit comfortably alongside the legend that is Common. Other features include the inimitable Kelis, who opens the album, and Fatoumata Diawara, who the boys have also linked up with previously. Cameroon’s Blick Bassy brings his own flow to the table while a powerhouse team of Kehlani and Syd ease the pace with their contribution. Through an epic process of creation and distillation the path to producing their shortest, most direct album – 11 songs, 39 minutes – ran through around 200 tracks: everything from drum loops to fully realized songs.
Ruston Kelly – Shape & Destroy CD/LP (Rounder)
With his sophomore album, Shape & Destroy, Nashville-based artist Ruston Kelly documents his experience in maintaining sobriety, and finally facing the demons that led him to drug abuse in the first place. But while Kelly recounts that journey with an unvarnished honesty, his grace and conviction as an artist ultimately turn Shape & Destroy into a work of unlikely transcendence. Kelly says, “Making this record definitely taught me that I don’t want to be selfish: I want to channel something larger than myself and give myself to the process as fully as possible, because these songs also become the story of whoever hears them. Whatever someone might get out of listening to this record and hearing me express myself in this way, it’s completely theirs.” Features guest contributions from Kacey Musgraves, Gena Johnson and Abby Kelly.
Kem – Love Always Wins CD (Motown)
Seventh album from the internationally renowned, three-time Grammy-nominated R&B singer/songwriter.
Bettye LaVette – Blackbirds CD/LP (Verve)
Blackbirds, whose release will coincide with Bettye LaVette’s induction into the Blues Music Hall of Fame, represents another step in the 5x Grammy-nominated vocalist’s artistic evolution. Working again with Things Have Changed producer Steve Jordan, who also plays drums, and a group of celebrated musicians (Smokey Hormel on guitar, Monty Croft on vibes, bassist Tom Barney and veteran keyboardist Leon Pendarvis), LaVette delivers impassioned readings of songs associated with African American female vocalists of the 1950s. In curating the songs for Blackbirds, LaVette has established a dialogue with the great women who preceded her while reaffirming herself as a vital, living presence.
Ledisi – The Wild Card CD (BMG)
New album from the R&B singer/songwriter.
Metallica & San Francisco Symphony – S&M2 2xCD/4xLP/2xCD+DVD/2xCD+Blu-ray (Blackened Recordings)
S&M2 is a landmark release in the Metallica catalogue, both sonically and visually. Produced by Greg Fidelman with James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, the S&M2 live album captures more than two and a half hours of James, Lars, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo joining forces with the nearly 80-strong San Francisco Symphony, legendary Musical Director of the orchestra Michael Tilson Thomas, and conductor Edwin Outwater. The concert film is a brand-new edit done by Joe Hutching (Through The Never) and both the audio (newly remixed and remastered) and visuals have been taken to the next level from the October 2019 theatrical version that played in over 3,700 cinemas worldwide.
Jason Mraz – Looking For The Good CD/2xLP (BMG)
Jason Mraz’s new album begins and ends with the same phrase: “look for the good.” Those four words are not just a lyric or the title of his seventh studio album, but also an all-encompassing world philosophy for the musician, who believes that in dark and challenging times we should search for something positive. While the songs on Look For The Good harken back to Mraz’s formative releases, including his 2002 debut Waiting For My Rocket To Come and 2005’s Mr. A-Z, the album looks forward, hinting at a musician who isn’t bound by genre or expectation.
My Morning Jacket – The Waterfall II CD/LP (ATO
The Waterfall II completes The Waterfall, My Morning Jacket’s acclaimed 2015 record. Originally intended to be a sprawling triple album, the band were advised to hold back and keep some of it on the shelf. Frontman Jim James says, “this is simply the second half of a long snapshot of life for me as a writer in the years leading up to 2014, and the life of us as a band as we lived and worked in and around Stinson Beach, CA during these recording sessions.” [Limited clear vinyl pressing and limited 180gm orange and green colored vinyl pressing also available.]
My Morning Jacket – Z [Reissue/2005] 2xLP+MP3 (ATO)
Limited 15th anniversary purple colored vinyl reissue. My Morning Jacket has built a reputation as a group who consistently challenges the paradigms in which they are placed. From psychedelic to soul to classic rock & roll, MMJ’s range has remained steadfast throughout the band’s 20 plus years. While much of the John Leckie (XTC, Radiohead) produced Z (2005) came as a shock, even the surprises should seem perfectly natural in hindsight. The combination of the hushed, indie balladry of their early records with the spacious guitar rock of 2003 breakout It Still Moves was to be expected, but here they deliver newer, more exotic rhythms and textures, which made it clear that this was a great band, doing great things, who were maybe playing it safe previously.
Necrot – Mortal CD/LP (Tankcrimes)
Bay Area death metal/punk trio Necrot deliver their long-anticipated second full-length, Mortal. Recorded by Grammy award winning engineer Greg Wilkinson (High On Fire, Autopsy) and mastered by Alan Douches (Cannibal Corpse, Cattle Decapitation, Mastodon) at West West Side, the follow-up to the band’s critically adored Blood Offerings is at once earth rupturing and memorable, spewing forth seven tracks of meticulously executed vile and maniacal death metal supremacy. Easily their most precise performance to date, Mortal foams at its mouth with Chad Gailey’s destructive rhythms, Sonny Reinhardt’s intricate guitar leads, and the guttural domination of vocalist/bassist Luca Indrio.
Needtobreathe – Out Of Body CD/LP (Elektra)
Seventh album from the Christian rock band.
Angel Olsen – Whole New Mess CD/LP+MP3 (Jagjaguwar)
An intimate and vulnerable emotional portrait that shows her grappling with a period of personal tumult, Whole New Mess presents Angel Olsen working through her open wounds and raw nerves with just a few guitars and some microphones, isolated in a century-old church in the Pacific Northwest. It follows All Mirrors, Olsen’s grand 2019 masterpiece (and a top 10 critically acclaimed record). At least 9 of the 11 songs should sound familiar to anyone who has heard All Mirrors. “Lark,” “Summer,” “Chance” – they’re all here, at least in some skeletal form and with slightly different titles. But these are not the demos for All Mirrors. Instead, Whole New Mess is its own record with its own immovable mood. [Limited clear smoke tranluscent vinyl pressing also available.]
Ondara – Folk N’ Roll Vol. 1: Tales Of Isolation CD (Verve Forecast)
Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter J.S. Ondara, now mononymously known as Ondara, releases Folk N’ Roll Vol 1: Tales Of Isolation, a new collection of songs written in direct response to the current global pandemic. The album was composed and produced by Ondara while in lockdown in Minneapolis over the course of a week, and came out of Ondara’s deep need to create as a form of therapy during this incredibly uncertain time. [Vinyl edition due September 18.]
Katy Perry – Smile CD/LP (Capitol)
Colorful pop princess Katy Perry follows-up 2017’s Witness with the new studio album, Smile which she describes as “finding the light at the end of the tunnel” and her “journey towards the light, with stories of resilience, hope, and love.”
Pig Destroyer – The Octagonal Stairway CDEP/12” (Relapse)
Pig Destroyer return with a new EP. A blistering dose of grindcore, harsh noise, and industrial swagger, The Octagonal Stairway features six new tracks from the legendary band, B-side noise tracks, and a special appearance from Igor Cavalera. [Limited colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Gregory Porter – All Rise CD/2xLP/3xLP (Blue Note)
Gregory Porter, the world’s best-selling contemporary jazz/soul artist, releases his sixth studio album, All Rise. The record marks a return to Porter’s beloved original songwriting – heart-on-sleeve lyrics imbued with everyday philosophy and real-life detail, set to a stirring mix of jazz, soul, blues and gospel.
PVRIS – Use Me CD/LP (WB)
PVRIS deliver their highly-anticipated third studio album Use Me. On the new record, frontwoman, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer Lynn Gunn steps into a new chapter, as she owns her role as PVRIS’ leader and sole architect. The result is 11 pop conjurations of glitchy beat-craft, airy guitars, and spell-binding vocals. [Limited indie store exclusive violet colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Bobby Rush – Rawer Than Raw CD/LP (Deep Rush)
Bobby Rush pays homage to the great bluesmen from Mississippi on his 27th studio album, Rawer Than Raw. This is Rush, stripped down – just his guitar, harmonica, singing, and foot tapping. There’s a song from Skip James, Robert Johnson, Sonny Boy Williamson, Willie Dixon, and Howlin’ Wolf. One song is Public Domain originally recorded for the Library of Congress by Alan Lomax, but later made famous by Muddy Waters (“Honey Bee, Sail On”). Rawer Than Raw is the follow up to 2019’s Grammy nominated Sitting On Top Of The Blues and showcases Bobby Rush in his truest form without a backing band.
Seether – Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum CD/2xLP (Fantasy)
Produced by Shaun Morgan and engineered and mixed by Matt Hyde (Deftones, AFI), Seether’s new album Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum, (which translates to “If you want peace, prepare for war”) was recorded in Nashville, TN over two months in December 2019 and January 2020. The follow-up to 2017’s Poison The Parish, Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum is the eighth album of the band’s illustrious career and features Shaun Morgan’s, aggressive, highly melodic songwriting, some of the most expressive, politically charged music he’s ever made.
Elliott Smith – Elliot Smith [Expanded 25th Anniversary Edition] 2xCD/2xLP (Kill Rock Stars)
When Elliott Smith’s self-titled second album came out in 1995, it was ignored by the press but championed by artists from the Beastie Boys to Fugazi. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Elliott Smith, the Kill Rock Stars label is releasing a special deluxe package, which includes a new remastering of the original record; a 52-page hardcover book of previously unseen photographs by JJ Gonson with handwritten lyrics, and reminiscences from Smith’s friends and colleagues; and a bonus disc documenting the earliest-known recording of Smith performing as a solo act.
Toots and The Maytals – Got To Be Tough CD/LP (BMG)
Reggae pioneers Toots and The Maytals release their first original studio album in more than 10 years following 2010’s Flip And Twist. With Toots taking on horn and production duties himself, Got To Be Tough features Sly Dunbar on drums, Zak Starkey on guitar, and Cyril Neville on percussion. The album also includes a cover of Bob Marley’s “Three Little Bird” with Ziggy Marley. “This album is speaking out about injustices while pointing to a better time,” Hibbert tells Rolling Stone. “This album is teaching a path to recovery and a step to better days on the journey ahead. Got To Be Tough is a bind builder of positive objectives.”
Walter Trout – Ordinary Madness CD/2xLP (Provogue)
For Walter Trout, there is no ‘us’ and ‘them’. Across his five-decade career, the great bluesman’s music has always been a lifeline and call-to-arms, reminding listeners they are not alone. Now, as the world seeks solace from a tragedy that has touched us all, he comes armed with a boundary-exploring new studio album and eleven searing, honest songs that bring his fans even closer. “There’s a lot of extraordinary madness going on right now,” considers Trout, of the COVID-19 crisis. “This album started because I was dealing with the flaws and weakness inside me. But it ended up being about everyone.”
Molly Tuttle – but I’d rather be with you CD/LP (Compass)
In March 2020, Nashville-based artist Molly Tuttle experienced the devastating tornado that tore through much of East Nashville, followed by the global pandemic. Tuttle, who grew up in California and has toured as a solo artist for years, suddenly found herself – along with the rest of the musician community – sheltering at home. She found solace in revisiting favorite songs in an attempt to “remind myself why I love music.” She conceptualized an idea for a record with renowned L.A. producer Tony Berg (Phoebe Bridgers, Andrew Bird) to be recorded over 2,000 miles apart. Tuttle taught herself how to use Pro Tools, recorded and engineered all of her parts alone at home before sending them to Berg in Los Angeles, who enlisted legendary session musicians to add instrumentation in their respective home studios. The result is 10 tracks that cross the musical spectrum and the decades, from FKA Twigs to Cat Stevens, from Rancid to Karen Dalton. [Limited indie store exclusive vinyl pressing.]
Venom – Sons Of Satan CD/2xLP (Sanctuary)
Often cited by bands such as Metallica, Behemoth, Celtic Frost and Mayhem as major influences, Venom is one of the most revered bands of their generation. Sons Of Satan is collection of the band’s early demo material from the period 1979 to 1983; 15 previously unreleased tracks from Venom’s formative years. Includes sleeve notes featuring new interviews with Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon plus rare and unseen photos from the bands early years.
Colter Wall – Western Swing & Waltzes And Other Punchy Songs CD (La Honda)
The music industry is no stranger to cowboys – but it’s been a long while since any with an authentic affinity for the North American West came along and carried around a love for heroes like Ramblin’ Jack Elliot and Ian Tyson. Enter 24-year-old Colter Wall, whose dusty baritone voice and deep well of stories are almost single-handedly carrying traditional western music into the future. Wall’s approach is that of a preservationist, pure as the prairie wind, and is on full display on his new self-produced album Western Swing & WaltzesA Other Punchy Songs. Wall’s 10-track ode to the themes and labors of western life picks up where his last album left off, with a reverence for his “working cowboy kin” and a whole mess of cowboy songs.
Mandy Barnett – A Nashville Songbook LP (BMG)
Released last week on CD – now available on vinyl.
Dashboard Confessional – The Swiss Army Romance [Reissue/2000] LP (Hidden Note)
Vinyl reissue of the emo band’s debut album. [Limited red colored pressing also available.]
Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto – Getz/Gilberto [Reissue/1964] LP (Verve)
Limited 180gm vinyl pressing in deluxe gatefold jacket. The marvelous album, Getz/Gilberto, had a profound influence upon the face of jazz and American popular music. The stunning 1964 collaboration between Stan Getz, one of the most respected tenor saxophonists of the era, and the remarkable Brazilian guitarist Joao Gilberto, launched the bossa nova craze and the career of Joao’s wife Astrud Gilberto with iconic hit “The Girl from Ipanema”.