New Releases for February 21, 2020
Best Coast – Always Tomorrow CD/LP (Concord)
Inspired by the ‘70s, L.A.-based duo Best Coast expand their signature indie pop sound into a harmonic blend of melodic guitars and keyboards as warm and refreshing as a California breeze. Multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno, along with the irrepressible Bethany Cosentino, combine to bring her masterful storytelling to new heights, crafting their most eloquent and reflective album to date.
Greg Dulli – Random Desire CD/2xLP (BMG)
For the last 30 years Greg Dulli, frontman of The Afghan Whigs and The Twilight Singers, has been the poet laureate of the bizarre whims and cruel tangents of desire. A foremost authority on the sell-your-soul rewards of carnal lust, the high voltage epiphanies of chemical enhancement, and the serotonin lows left in their wake. Therein lies Random Desire,the first solo album under Dulli’s own name. Opener, “Pantomima,” sets the tone from the sardonic taunts of the album’s first bars: desolation, come and get it. Clocking in at a lean 37 minutes, Random Desire is a clinic put on by a veteran master operating at the height of his powers, offering evidence of the hard-fought and weary wisdom learned from setbacks and victories alike.
Grimes – Miss Anthropocene CD/LP+MP3 (4AD)
Canadian artist Claire Boucher aka Grimes follows-up 2015’s Art Angels with her highly-anticipated fifth studio album, Miss Anthropocene. An amalgamation of three albums Grimes recorded over the past three years, Miss Anthropocene is based on a neologism commonly used in scientific circles. Misanthropocene refers to both the misanthrope’s loathing of humanity and the Anthropocene era in which our planet is dominated by human activity. The 10-track collection is introduced by the breathy and beat driven “Violence” and atmospheric “So Heavy I Fell Through The Earth.”
Sonny Landreth – Blacktop Run CD/LP (Mascot Label Group)
A percussive burst of acoustic resonator guitar pushes the narrator on a journey “between the life I left and the edge of next” in the title cut of guitarist, songwriter and bandleader Sonny Landreth’s new album Blacktop Run. As the singer feels the wind at his back, a rising bass line intersects Landreth’s vocalizing to stretch the fingerpicked tune into Far Eastern melodicism. The south Louisiana artist’s groundbreaking work has long mixed familiarity with experimentation, and his latest ten-song collection stretches from hard-edged electric instrumentals to wistful acoustic ballads.
Pat Metheny – From This Place CD/2xLP (Nonesuch)
Pat Metheny’s first album of new material since 2014’s Kin (←→), From This Place features ten new self-penned original compositions, and finds the revered guitarist joined by his long-time drummer, Antonio Sanchez, Malaysian/Australian bassist Linda May Han Oh, and British pianist Gwilym Simcock as well as the Hollywood Studio Symphony conducted by Joel McNeely. Additional special guests include Meshell Ndegeocello (vocals), Gregoire Maret (harmonica), and Luis Conte (percussion). “From This Place is one of the records I have been waiting to make my whole life,” Metheny says. “It is a kind of musical culmination, reflecting a wide range of expressions that have interested me over the years, scaled across a large canvas, presented in a way that offers the kind of opportunities for communication that can only be earned with a group of musicians who have spent hundreds of nights together on the bandstand.”
Agnes Obel – Myopia CD/LP (Blue Note)
For almost a decade, Danish singer-songwriter Agnes Obel has been one of the most independent and original artists in contemporary music. Following the same principles as with her previous albums (Philharmonics, Aventine and Citizen Of Glass), which she completed as a one-woman project in her own Berlin home studio, Obel has been under self-imposed creative isolation with the removal of all outside influences and distraction in the writing, recording and mixing process of Myopia.
Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man CD/LP (Epic)
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Ozzy Osbourne returns with Ordinary Man, his first new solo music in almost ten years. Preceded by the tracks “Under The Graveyard” and “Straight To Hell” with Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, the album was recorded in Los Angeles and features producer Andrew Watt on guitars, Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses) on bass and Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) on drums. Beyond the core band, Ordinary Man features an A-list of guest collaborators including Elton John, Post Malone, and Tom Morello. [Limited edition vinyl picture disc pressing also available. Indie store exclusive free litho with purchase (limited supply)].
Katie Pruitt – Expectations CD/LP (Rounder)
Emerging singer, songwriter, and musician Katie Pruitt releases her highly anticipated debut album, Expectations. Rolling Stone praises, “There’s something wonderfully nostalgic about Katie Pruitt’s ‘Expectations’. The chorus-pedaled guitar tone wouldn’t be out of place on a Tears For Fears album, while the arrangement – full of pop hooks, layered harmonies and reverb-heavy riffs – rustles up the timeless, infinite feeling of being young and limitless,” while American Songwriter declares, “The single demonstrates what Pruitt does best: blend indie rock, Americana and solid songwriting.”
Purr – Like New CD (ANTI-)
Purr began in 2017 as the second project from New York City born, raised and forever-based songwriting partners Eliza Barry Callahan and Jack Staffen. Purr builds upon an ageless, classic sound that at once looks at the past while leaning into their own, individual future – with Staffen’s and Callahan’s vocals humming at the center. While the band is heavily rooted in New York City, the album was recorded at Rado’s East Los Angeles studio with and takes on a distinctly west coast feel which glows with a sunny warmth, whirrs with breeziness and is at times a little noir too.
David Starr – Beauty & Ruin CD/LP (David Starr)
Americana artist David Starr embarks on a new musical and literary adventure with a collection of songs inspired by Of What Was, Nothing Is Left, a novel written by his grandfather in 1972. Beauty And Ruin, recorded in Nashville, is produced and arranged by John Oates (Hall & Oates) and co-produced by David Starr and David Kalmusky. After working with Oates on his 2017 The Head And Heart EP, David approached him with the idea: what if we gave several of our favorite songwriters a copy of the book and asked them to write for a concept album based on the story? Starr and Oates collaborated with a group of incredible artists on the project, including Jim Lauderdale, Wood Newton, Dana Cooper, Doug and Telisha Williams (Wild Ponies), Irene Kelley, and Shelley Rae Korntved.
Sweet Lizzy Project – Technicolor CD/LP (Mono Mundo)
Every debut album represents a journey, but few have come as far or struggled so tenaciously for the chance to be heard on their own terms as Cuba’s Sweet Lizzy Project. The five-piece rock band built a strong following in its native Havana with scant resources or infrastructure to support them, in a cultural setting where they could never be entirely themselves. When American roots rockers The Mavericks’ lead singer Raul Malo, whose parents emigrated from Cuba in 1960, got to know the band, he sponsored them for US work visas and signed them to their record company in late 2017. The band made the bold decision to move to Nashville, where they recorded Technicolor at Blackbird Studios. The feisty, infectious album draws on several eras of rock and pop, adding subtle Latin undertones.
Wilsen – Ruiner CD/LP (Secret City)
Wilsen is the Brooklyn-based trio of Tamsin Wilson (guitar/vocals), Johnny Simon Jr. (guitar), and Drew Arndt (bass). Ruiner is their second album and follow-up to 2017’s I Go Missing In My Sleep. With producer Andrew Sarlo (Bon Iver, Big Thief, SASAMI) at the helm, Ruiner dissolves both the heavy reverb and ethereal moments found on their first recording by instead letting the band’s essentials – drums, bass, guitar, and vocals – have center stage.
Courtney Barnett – MTV Unplugged: Live In Melbourne CD/LP (Mom + Pop Music)
On October 22nd Courtney Barnett performed a unique and special show at the invitation of MTV Australia in her hometown of Melbourne. The Unplugged performance features Barnett as you’ve never heard her before; warm, vulnerable and emotional. [Limited blue colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Califone – Echo Mine CD/LP (Jealous Butcher)
Echo Mine is Califone’s score to Robyn Mineko Williams’ dance. The movement and the music started together and grew together, like two clear entities. At times totally intertwined and at other times bouncing off one another, sort of like reflections. But, somehow, always connected and listening.
Miles Davis – Birth Of The Cool: Music From And Inspired By Birth Of The Cool, A Film By Sanley Nelson CD/LP (Sony Legacy)
The definitive audio companion to the critically-acclaimed new documentary. The soundtrack is an essential Miles Davis playlist for seasoned fans and new listeners alike, lovingly curated by the director and paired with short audio excerpts from the film for a unique listening experience. It brings together recordings and performances spanning labels and the artist’s musical evolution-from “Donna Lee” to “Moon Dreams” from the groundbreaking 1949 Capitol sessions that were ultimately collected on the album Birth Of The Cool, through the seminal 1950s pieces for Columbia that revolutionized the worlds of jazz and popular music.
Demons & Wizards – III CD/2xLP (Century Media)
Third album from the power metal unit led by Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer and Blind Guardian’s Hansi Kürsch.
Guided By Voices – Surrender Your Poppy Field CD/LP (GBV Inc.)
Starting off the year with a 100-song marathon in Los Angeles on New Year’s Eve, Robert Pollard is setting a mighty high bar for Guided By Voices in 2020. Following three acclaimed and stylistically distinct full-length albums in 2019, Surrender Your Poppy Field is a head-spinning tour de force: a bit of everything… plus more.
Sarah Harmer – Are You Gone CD/LP (Arts & Crafts)
Multi-award-winning, platinum-selling singer-songwriter and environmental activist Sarah Harmer releases Are You Gone, her first album in a decade. A deeply personal and political collection of songs motivated by the beauty of life, the urgency of the climate crisis, and the question of loss, Sarah calls the album a spiritual successor of sorts to her acclaimed 2000 debut, You Were Here, which made many year-end critics’ lists, and which TIME called the year’s best debut album.
King Krule – Man Alive! CD/LP (True Panther Sounds)
Like any great artist on the rise, Archy Marshall’s life is moving fast. There’s a lot to catch up on, after 2017’s sprawling masterpiece, The OOZ, broke through amid Mercury Prize nominations and mind-blowing media plaudits. Unlike that record, Man Alive! doesn’t aim to present any kind of narrative thread, or Brexit-era state-of-the-nation address; just a collection of snapshots and stories, artfully sequenced into a dazzlingly coherent whole.
Six Organs Of Admittance – Companion Rises CD/LP (Drag City)
Ben Chasny mixes synths and digital processing techniques with his spacey guitar folk to lift his song-craft further out, while bringing it strangely full circle at the same time, sounding at times like Dark Noontide-era and other times likes something all-new. Exquisitely arranged and rich with harmonic exploration, the album presents a handful of folk-tales whose theme can best be stated as ‘Stellar-Gnostic.’ Sci-folk in the right place at the right time for the new decade.
Fruit Bats & Vetiver – In Real Life: Live At Spacebomb Studios LP (Spacebomb Arc)
Limited custard colored vinyl pressing. In Real Life documents this musical partnership between Fruit Bats and Vetiver as part of the ongoing Live At Spacebomb series.
Lightning Bolt – Ride The Skies [Reissue/2001] LP+MP3 (Thrill Jockey)
Compared to their 1999 eponymous debut, Ride The Skies is cleaner and tighter as it was recorded in studio rather than live. Which is not to say this is boring or sanitized in any way; Lightning Bolt never fail to make magic, filling a space with loud, raw sound. [Limited colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Oh Wonder – No One Else Can Wear Your Crown LP (Republic)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl
Thin Lizzy – Nightlife [Reissue/1974] LP+MP3 (Mercury)
Thin Lizzy – Fighting [Reissue/1975] LP+MP3 (Mercury)
Thin Lizzy – Jailbreak [Reissue/1976] LP+MP3 (Mercury)
Thin Lizzy – Johnny The Fox [Reissue/1977] LP+MP3 (Mercury)
Thin Lizzy – Bad Reputation [Reissue/1977] LP+MP3 (Mercury)
Vinyl reissues of the Irish hard rock band’s fourth-through-eighth studio albums.