New Releases for February 7, 2020
Green Day – Father Of All… CD/LP (Reprise)
Five-time Grammy Award-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Green Day unleash their soul-inflected new single “Father Of All…”, – complete with a falsetto turn from frontman Billie Joe Armstrong – which is the lead track of their new thirteenth studio album of the same name. It’s the band’s first album of new music since 2016’s Revolution Radio. Citing Kendrick Lamar and old-school Motown as influences, Armstrong revealed to Billboard that, “It’s very high energy – 10 songs in 26 minutes. I like to feel some sense of joy, living through the chaos of [this] era.” [Limited indie store exclusive colored vinyl pressing also available.]
The Homesick – The Big Exercise CD/LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
The Big Exercise, the second album by Dutch band The Homesick, finds the group keenly second-guessing their core chemistry as a live unit, imbuing their angular post-punk workouts with baroque elements such as piano, acoustic guitar, percussion, and even clarinet. “It’s the opposite of trying to translate recorded music to the stage,” guitarist Elias Elgersma comments. “We were already playing these songs live for quite some time, so for this album, we wanted to unlock the potential of these songs further in the studio.” Opening track “What’s In Store” was in part inspired by bassist Jaap Van der Velde’s unprompted deep dive into the world of national anthems, making his own attempt to conjure a similarly timeless melody. The song seamlessly bleeds into the chivalrous prance of “Children’s Day” and the fragmented “Pawing”, righteously encouraging Erik Woudwijk’s nimble, cerebral drumming to become the band’s driving force. The headstrong wanderlust of The Big Exercise is fitting, given The Homesick’s exodus as a small-town Dutch band ready to trot the world.
The Lone Bellow – Half Moon Light CD/LP (Dualtone)
Half Moon Light is an artistic triumph worked toward for years, earned not by individual posturing, but by collective determination and natural growth. With earthy three-part harmonies and songwriting as provocative as it is honest, The Lone Bellow creates sparks that make a stranger’s life matter or bring our sense of childlike wonder roaring back. On Half Moon Light, the trio mix light and dark to muster a complex ode to memory, a call for hope, and an exercise in empathy. Anchored in the acoustic storytelling that first so endeared the band to fans and critics, Half Moon Light also takes more chances, experimenting with textures and instrumental fillips to create a full-bodied music experience. The 15-track album touches on personal topics like family, loss, overcoming struggle, and letting things go. The band expertly traverses several moods throughout, going from gentle, soothing lows to enormous, sweeping highs, and their musicianship shines through in every track.
John Moreland – LP5 CD/LP (Old Omens)
Over the last half a dozen years or so, John Moreland’s honesty has stunned us – and stung. He addressed pain we didn’t even realize we had into his songs, and we sang along. And we felt better. But there has always been far more to Moreland than sad songs. Today, his earthbound poetry remains potent, but in addition to his world-weary candor, Moreland’s music smolders with gentle wisdom, flashes of wit and joy, and compassion. And once again, as we listen, we feel better. A masterful display of songwriting by one of today’s best young practitioners of the art form, LP5’s experimentations with instrumentation and sounds capture an artist whose confidence has grown, all without abandoning the hardy roots rock bed and the lyrics – first approach Moreland’s work demands. There is no grand or alarming stylistic departure here – just different textures and background layers that add muscly new dimensions to Moreland’s heretofore instrumentally sparse recordings. [Limited indie store exclusive colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Nada Surf – Never Not Together CD/LP+MP3 (Barsuk)
Never Not Together sees Nada Surf continuing to pursue their humanistic vision of the world through hooky, catchy rock songs with sharply drawn, yet tenderly felt, lyrics. Recorded earlier this year at the legendary Rockfield Studios in Monmouthshire, Wales, the wide-ranging collection revels in the group’s ability to evoke and reflect grand and intricately wrought emotions, whether through sweeping guitar solos or hushed-whisper vocals. Songs like the spectacular “Looking For You” and the shimmering mid-tempo “Just Wait” are empathetic, warm, and powerfully urgent, marked by songwriter Matthew Caws’ ongoing lyrical quest for 21st century love and connection. “We’re all together, and that’s just the way it is, and the way it always will be,” says Caws. “That’s the sacred truth of it.”
Chris & Rich Robinson – Brothers Of A Feather: Live At The Roxy CD/2xLP (Silver Arrow)
In April 2006 during a break in The Black Crowes’ touring schedule, Chris and Rich Robinson performed a string of their first-ever full-length acoustic duo dates – in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Austin. Billed as Brothers Of A Feather: An Acoustic Evening with Chris & Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes, the 12 concerts – all of which sold out in minutes – earned critical acclaim and were highlighted by three shows at The Roxy in Los Angeles, CA. At these acoustic shows, Chris and Rich reached deep into their repertoire of Black Crowes favorites and also performed new songs (the previously unreleased “Magic Rooster Blues”, “Cold Boy Smile”) plus material from their respective solo catalogs (Chris’ “Someday Past The Sunset”; Rich’s “Forgiven Song” and “Leave It Alone”) and various covers. These full-length acoustic shows gave Chris and Rich the opportunity, as singers and songwriters, to lend a new intimacy to their body of material as well as the cover songs that are an integral part of Black Crowes live performances.
Spanish Love Songs – Brave Faces Everyone CD/LP (Pure Noise)
Steeped in the same detail-rich storytelling of Bruce Springsteen, The Menzingers and Manchester Orchestra and filtered through the band’s sweat-soaked punk fervor, the songs on Spanish Love Songs’ third album, ‘represent the situations Dylan Slocum and his bandmates – guitarist Kyle McAulay, bassist Trevor Dietrich, drummer Ruben Duarte and keyboardist Meredith Van Woert – experienced during 30-some weeks of rigorous touring during the Schmaltz album cycle. These are character stories set in small-town America and anxious urban jungles alike, unfurling heartbreaking tales of addiction, depression, debt and death juxtaposed alongside looming societal bogeys like mass shootings, the opioid epidemic and climate change. They’re all at once personal vignettes and universal truths of life in the 2010s, the lines blurred between Slocum’s own experiences and those of his friends and acquaintances. [Limited indie store exclusive colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Christopher Paul Stelling – Best Of Luck CD/LP (ANTI-)
Impassioned singer and virtuosic guitar player Christopher Paul Stelling returns with his fifth album, Best Of Luck, produced by Ben Harper. Harper says he instantly recognized a kindred spirit in Stelling’s virtuosic finger picking and soulful delivery. “It was like finding a John Fahey or Leo Kottke that was a really great singer,” he explains. Throughout Best Of Luck, discontent and self-doubt are transformed into messages of resilience and hope. It is a supremely accessible and finely crafted record that deftly merges genres. Harper, who has previously produced records by Mavis Staples, Rickie Lee Jones, The Blind Boys Of Alabama and others, recruited an all-star rhythm section with Jimmy Paxson (Stevie Nicks, Dixie Chicks) on drums and upright bass player Mike Valerio (Randy Newman, L.A. Philharmonic) to lend a versatility and finesse. “I really believe Best Of Luck is the intersection where folk and soul meet,” Harper said. [Limited indie store exclusive colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Stone Temple Pilots – Perdida CD/LP (Rhino)
Stone Temple Pilots embark upon a new sonic adventure with Perdida, the band’s first-ever acoustic album. It features 10 deeply personal songs that weave introspective lyrics together with unexpected instruments to take listeners on an emotional and musical journey through letting go and starting over. The album features guitarist Dean DeLeo, bassist Robert DeLeo, drummer Eric Kretz and vocalist Jeff Gutt, who joined STP in 2017. Dean says the album’s title (Spanish for “loss”) foreshadows its somber mood. Perdida is as much a musical journey as it is an emotional one thanks the touches of flute, alto saxophone, vintage keyboards, guitarrón and Marxophone featured throughout. “I’ve always loved how different instruments can accentuate a song in unexpected ways,” Robert adds. “Working with other musicians on this album was such a joy because it gave us a rare opportunity to hear our songs through someone else’s ears.”
Antibalas – Fu Chronicles CD/LP+MP3 (Daptone)
Over the years, different members of Antibalas have traded production and composition duties from album to album. On the new record – Fu Chronicles – Amayo leads us through a thrilling sonic journey of kung fu meets Afrobeat, weaving together the strands of Edo and Yoruba cultural memory from Nigeria with his training and study in Chinese martial arts. Recorded in the summer of 2018, over seventeen musicians and singers crammed into the storied Daptone House of Soul in Bushwick, Brooklyn to record the massive body of work.
Ásgeir – Sátt CD/LP (One Little Indian)
Ásgeir – Bury The Moon CD/LP (One Little Indian)
New release from the Icelandic artist. Bury The Moon was prompted by a stay in a remote Icelandic summerhouse, just Ásgeir, his equipment, and a broken heart. Returning with a series of acoustic sketches, he set about turning these into sparse, atmospheric songs with the aid of some key lyrical collaborators – including his father, a noted poet.
The Cadillac Three – Country Fuzz CD/2xLP (Big Machine)
Powerhouse Nashville country-rock trio The Cadillac Three kick off 2020 with their fourth full-length studio album. Country Fuzz adds to the catalogue of hard-rocking releases by the Cadillac Three which began with their self-titled debut of 2012.
Isobel Campbell – There Is No Other CD/LP (Cooking Vinyl)
“After many twists and turns, trials and tribulations, I am back on boogie street,” says onetime Belle & Sebastian member Isobel Campbell regarding her first solo album in over 13 years.
Envy – The Fallen Crimson CD/2xLP (Temporary Residence)
The first new studio album in five years from the iconic and influential Japanese post-hardcore band.
God Dethroned – Illuminati CD (Metal Blade)
“The immutable power of the Netherlands’ greatest blackened death metal band rings true on their new album, God Dethroned.”
Innocence Mission – See You Tomorrow CD/LP (Therese)
Beloved Pennsylvania band The Innocence Mission, led by Karen and Don Peris, return with an exquisite and touching new album.
Daniel Johnston – Fun [Reissue/1994] LP (ORG Music)
Daniel Johnston’s major label debut Fun was originally released in 1994 on Atlantic Records while he was housed in a mental institution. Featuring some of Daniel’s finest songwriting and boasting the most accessible sound of his eccentric and deep catalog, producer Paul Leary (Butthole Surfers) eloquently preserves the singer/songwriter’s earnest appeal and wraps it in sympathetic musical support.
Khruangbin & Leon Bridges – Texas Sun EP CDEP/12” (Dead Oceans)
Driving anywhere in Texas can cost you half a day, easy. For example, it’ll take you over four hours just to get from R&B singer Leon Bridges’ hometown of Fort Worth down to Houston, where the psychedelic wanderers in Khruangbin hail from. On Texas Sun, these two members of the state’s musical vanguard meet up somewhere in the middle of that scene, in the mythical nexus of Texas’ past, present, and future – a dreamy badlands where genres blur as seamlessly as the terrain.
Mark Kozelek with Ben Boye and Jim White – 2 CD (Caldo Verde)
2 is, of course, a sequel to 2017’s Mark Kozelek With Ben Boye And Jim White, which saw him teaming up with Chicago multi-instrumentalist Boye and Dirty Three drummer White. Recorded and mixed in San Francisco, Buffalo, New Orleans, February through August 2019.
Oh Wonder – No One Else Can Wear Your Crown CD (Republic)
Oh Wonder is one of the UK’s best-kept secrets. Written and self-produced in the group’s own home studio before being co-mixed with Cenzo Townshend (Bat For Lashes, Christine & The Queens, Jungle), No One Else Can Wear Your Crown explores a host of different emotions and experiences – some forged on the road on their last world tour, others from taking a break and reflecting on all that they’ve accomplished as a band so far. [Deluxe CD edition includes five bonus acoustic tracks. Vinyl edition due February 21.]
Gil Scott-Heron – I’m New Here (10th Anniversary Expanded Edition) CD/2xLP (XL)
Gil Scott-Heron – We’re New Again – A Reimagining by Makaya McCraven CD/LP (XL)
In February 2010, the late, legendary musician, poet and author Gil Scott-Heron released his thirteenth, and last, studio album. First conceptualized in 2005, and ultimately produced by XL Recordings head Richard Russell during New York recording sessions that commenced in January 2008, I’m New Here was Scott-Heron’s first album in thirteen years and found him sounding as vital, boundary-pushing and insightful as ever before. This expanded edition features two unreleased tracks – a cover of Richie Havens’ “Handsome Johnny” and a previously unheard Scott-Heron song “King Henry IV” – as well as a selection of other recordings from the original album sessions. We’re New Again is a unique reinterpretation of the album by acclaimed jazz musician Makaya McCraven.
Supersuckers – Play That Rock ‘N’ Roll CD (Acetate)
Raw, immediate and often hilarious, Play That Rock ‘N’ Roll is the album a band makes after slugging it out on the road for thirty years (barring a one-year hiatus while Eddie battled throat cancer). No frills, no guest stars and no collaborations, the album earns the listener’s ear – The Supersuckers have lived this shit and you can feel it. [Vinyl edition due March 13.]
The Steeldrivers – Bad For You CD/LP (Big Machine)
The fifth album from Nashville’s hard-edged bluegrass band The Steeldrivers arrives after a period of triumph and adaptation. The band’s 2015 release, The Muscle Shoals Recordings, won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album.
that dog. – Old CD/LP (UMe)
Released last year on vinyl – now available on CD. Old LP is the fourth album from the L.A.-based alt-rock band and their first studio release in 22 years. that dog. formed in 1991 and dissolved in 1997, reunited in 2011. The band originally consisted of Anna Waronker on lead vocals and guitar, Rachel Haden on bass guitar and vocals, her sister Petra Haden on violin and vocals, and Tony Maxwell on drums. Petra has since left the band. Their punk power pop songs were full of hooks and many layered vocal harmonies and was initially signed to 4AD’s boutique label Guernica before inking a US deal with DGC.
Dust – The Fall Of All Things LP (Supreme Chaos)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. With The Fall Of All Things, the doom veterans Dust from Bielefeld hit us with their fourth album and tear everything down without any compromises. Their ultra-heavy mixture of doom, metal, sludge and rock with lots of corners and edges wafts out of the speakers in the form of five overlong songs. [Limited colored vinyl pressing also available.]