New Releases for June 28, 2019
The Alarm – Sigma CD/LP (Twenty First Century)
Sigma acts as a sequel to 2018’s Equals and features musical contributions from original Alarm guitarist Dave Sharp and Billy Duffy from The Cult. The album features a vast array of instrumentation that The Alarm currently has at its disposal, with guitarist James Stevenson playing both guitar and bass through a unique combination of pedals, double neck, six and four string instrumentation. Charismatic drummer Smiley drives the rhythm unit with a traditional acoustic drum kit augmented by electric percussion and diverse tribal beats. Pianist Jules Peters deploys a wide-ranging palette of orchestral string and synthesized tones, along with pure pianoforte for some of the stripped down sections the songs demand. Throughout, Peters is at the forefront with his impassioned vocal delivery and ever changing use of electro-acoustic instrumentation, custom developed by British luthiers Auden Guitars, to represent the beating heart of the group’s signature sound.
The Allman Betts Band – Down To The River CD (BMG)
Led by Devon Allman, son of founding Allman Brothers Band keyboardist and singer, Gregg Allman, and Duane Betts, son of founding Allman Brothers Band guitarist and singer, Dickey Betts, Down To The River was recorded at the famed Muscle Shoals Sound Studios with producer Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, John Prine and Elvis Presley). The beginning of the partnership between Devon Allman and Duane Betts goes back to the Gregg Allman tribute show at the Fillmore in San Francisco. It was time, in that historic venue, to pass the spirit to the next generation. It was time to take all the lessons of the past, all their collective experiences, and make something new.
The Black Keys – Lets Rock CD/LP (Nonesuch)
The Black Keys’ long-awaited album ninth album Lets Rock – the band’s first in five years – is a return to the straightforward rock of singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney’s early days. Auerbach says, “When we’re together we are The Black Keys, that’s where that real magic is, and always has been since we were sixteen.” The 12-track collection was written, tracked live, and produced by Auerbach and Carney at Easy Eye Sound studio in Nashville and features backing vocals from Leisa Hans and Ashley Wilcoxson. “The record is like an homage to electric guitar,” adds Carney. “We took a simple approach and trimmed all the fat like we used to.” Rolling Stone said that with lead single “Lo/Hi”, “The Keys have officially returned, louder than ever” while the New York Times hailed it as “the kind of garage-boogie stomp that the band never left behind.” Equally as infectious follow-up single “Eagle Birds” is anchored by some stellar blues guitar work from Auerbach. [Indie-exclusive vinyl pressing also available.]
The Gotobeds – Debt Begins At 30 CD/LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
“‘Go big or go home’ is a phrase that is seldom heard in indie/punk circles. Generally, it’s the opposite that is true. There has been a history in indie/punk of this feeling unauthentic, as authenticity only involves who plays on the album instead of what you’re saying/sound like. Pittsburgh’s The Gotobeds have decided to ignore this maxim on their third album, Debt Begins At 30. Instead of getting into a studio with each other again, they decided to invite some friends along. On every track. Yup. That’s right. Every track on Debt Begins At 30 features a guest spot. This idea is generally used in hip-hop, jazz and electronic circles, but here it works incredibly well. Musically it’s business as usual from The Gotobeds. The guitars are slightly abrasive but catchy. The bass is right where you need it and holds each track to the group, and the drums sound flawless. Overall all there is a spiky, Sonic Youth vibe but with a brash optimism that is hard to ignore.” – New Noise
Gov’t Mule – Bring On The Music – Live At The Capitol Theatre 2xCD/2xCD+2xDVD/Blu-ray (Mascot Label Group)
Gov’t Mule – Bring On The Music – Live At The Capitol Theatre: Vol. 1 2xLP (Mascot Label Group)
Gov’t Mule – Bring On The Music – Live At The Capitol Theatre: Vol. 2 2xLP (Mascot Label Group)
No two Gov’t Mule shows are alike, as the band draws on the more than 300 songs in their repertoire (and often a host of special guests) to create a unique experience each time. Bring On The Music – Live at The Capitol Theatre was recorded at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY, on April 27th and 28th, 2018. The title is taken from Gov’t Mule’s song of the same name that touches upon the passing of time and appreciating life’s journey, is a nod to the band’s treasured relationship with their fans. The Capitol Theatre has been the backdrop of many unforgettable shows for the band and is one of Gov’t Mule’s favorite venues to play. Live At The Capitol Theatre is available in a variety of configurations: a 2xCD+2xDVD deluxe package (the CD and DVD feature entirely different track lists and includes bonus videos of “Soulshine” and “Traveling Tune”), two separate double-vinyl packages, digital, Blu-ray and a 2xCD package (featuring audio from the film). [Limited transparent purple (Vol.1) and blue (Vol.2) colored vinyl pressing are also available.]
Heilung – Futha CD/2xLP (Season Of Mist)
With the epic new album Futha, the enigmatic Viking historians return with their signature amplified history. A counterbalance to their rugged debut Ofnir, Futha reveals a more melodic and beautiful side of the mysterious ensemble. Their primeval musique concrete blends ancient Germanic tongues, lush geophonic recordings (crackling fires, breaking ice), and the percussive thunder of archaic weaponry (swords, shields, arrows) into a reverential ceremonial experience. “Experimental folk band Heilung take influence from the music of centuries ago, putting a modern, ambient spin on primal influences from the age when the Vikings ruled the land.” – Revolver
Abdullah Ibrahim – The Balance CD/LP (Gearbox)
At the age of 84, Abdullah Ibrahim (aka Dollar Brand) releases his first new album in four years. Entitled The Balance, this project features his long-time septet Ekaya, a line-up that he’s been recording with since 1983. In this case, the album was recorded over the course of one day at London’s RAK Studios in November 2018. The lush horn lines, lilting melodies, and uplifting chord progressions are characteristic of Abdullah’s all-encompassing Township-Jazz. This is contrasted with various solo piano improvisations, which epitomize the nostalgic yet hopeful nature of Abdullah’s musical spirit. Hence, The Balance. In his own words: “We push ourselves out of our comfort zones. So that we can present to the listener our striving for excellence. So that we can engage with our listeners without any barriers of our ego. It’s not jazz. For us, it’s a process of transcending barriers.”
Jade Jackson – Wilderness CD/LP+MP3 (ANTI-)
“Jade Jackson’s sophomore album Wilderness (produced by Social Distortion’s Mike Ness) is her first music release in two years. The twelve-track album focuses heavily on self-discovery using country and folk rock to aid in her storytelling. The first single released from the album, ‘Bottle It Up’, is best described as a toe-tapper of a tune – a statement of independence while recognizing those parts of a relationship worth valuing. ‘Secrets’, one of the darker tracks on the album, tells a story of addiction, loss and how the failure to fulfil your dreams means being stuck in the same place. The highlight of the album is Jackson’s voice, particularly on two of the record’s ballads, ‘Dust’ and ‘Shiver’, where she’s accompanied by little more than a plaintively strummed, acoustic guitar. Arguably one of the best vocalists on the current music scene today, it’s her singing combined with some quality songwriting that make this album a success.” – Americana UK
Pepper – Local Motion CD/LP (Law)
Local Motion, the eighth studio album from Pepper, finds the trio reaching inward and harnessing the power of the community they helped shape to take their career to even greater heights. In creating the album, the band collaborated with various producers and song writers from the reggae rock scene and beyond to reconnect with their signature “Kona Dub Rock” sound that launched their careers with the 2002 release of Kona Town. This sound can be heard throughout the album and is apparent on the lead track “Warning” which features Scott Woodruff of Stick Figure as a producer and vocalist. Local Motion positions the band to further solidify their sound within their fan base as well as cross over to break new ground bringing in an entire new generation of Ohana. [Indie-exclusive vinyl pressing also available.]
Iggy Pop – Zombie Birdhouse [Reissue/1982] CD/LP (Caroline)
After three attempts at commercially viable albums for Arista, Iggy Pop teamed up with Blondie’s Chris Stein for his album Zombie Birdhouse which was originally issued on Stein’s short-lived Animal Records label in 1982. In addition to Stein who produces and plays bass, the album also features fellow Blondie member Clem Burke on drums and Rob DuPrey on guitar and keyboards. A heady concoction of drones, Afrobeat and freeform lyrics, the exotic 12-song set finds Iggy artistically unshackled and in top form on exhilarating cuts like “Run Like A Villain” and “The Ballad Of Cookie McBride.”
Chris Stamey – New Songs For The 20th Century 2xCD (Omnivore)
Chris Stamey’s new double-CD set, New Songs For The 20th Century, finds the singer-songwriter taking a striking turn in his already storied career. Inspired by sheet music (Jerome Kern, George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, etc.) discovered in an old piano bench when it, and the accompanying instrument, arrived at his home in 2015, the North Carolina-based musician wrote a series of songs inspired by the Great American Songbook. Assembling a series of players who were dubbed the ModRec Orchestra, Stamey includes 26 compositions on this new album. A range of vocalists lent their talents to the material: Familiar names such as Don Dixon, Marshall Crenshaw, and Caitlin Cary as well as the equally formidable Django Haskins, Nnenna Freelon and Millie McGuire. The result is an album that spotlights Stamey’s musical versatility and fertile imagination plus his ability to accurately capture the spirit of the songs and composers who inspired this new journey.
The Tallest Man On Earth – I Love You. It’s A Fever Dream. CD/LP (Rivers/Birds)
“Last summer, Kristian Matsson lamented that steady touring had slowed the arrival of I Love You. It’s a Fever Dream., his fifth album as The Tallest Man On Earth. ‘I can’t write good stuff on tour,’ he complained. ‘I can’t write about life on a tour bus.’ Ironically, Fever Dream arrives as a focused and frequently lovely rumination on life lived on a tour bus. Songs unfold in hotel bars, on open roads, beneath vast blue bowls of rural sky. The rhythms of perpetual travel pulse beneath acoustic melodies that lie somewhere between Dylan and Sufjan—a few gentle, a few forceful. With depth and delicacy, Matsson explores the banalities and oddities of tour, like the phenomenon of performing for an adoring audience to whom you are a stranger. Perhaps Matsson isn’t up to writing about life on a tour bus; perhaps the spinning wheels below make him seasick. But he has written about life on a tour bus, and in so doing, located the love contained within.” – Pitchfork
Vai/Wylde/Malmsteen/Bettencourt/Abasi – Generation Axe – The Guitars That Destroyed The World: Live In China CD/2xLP (earMUSIC)
Roaring sounds, cutting-edge solos, colossal power – Generation Axe is the American rock guitarist supergroup formed by guitar wunderkind and three-time Grammy winner Steve Vai (Frank Zappa Whitesnake, David Lee Roth). For this superb project, the exceptional musician assembled the collective epitome of world-class rock guitarists by his side. Part of this group are, besides Vai himself, legendary guitar heroes Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society, Ozzy Osbourne), Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme) and Tosin Abasi (Animals As Leaders). Generation Axe: The Guitars That Destroyed The World: Live in China was culled from various performances on their last and very successful tour of Asia. [Limited colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Dave Alvin – King Of California [Reissue/1994] CD/2xLP (Craft Recordings)
Digitally remastered and expanded edition of this 1994 album from the former Blasters and X guitarist. A former member of various roots rock and punk bands, Alvin chose an acoustic, Americana approach for his critically acclaimed fourth solo album. Per AllMusic, King Of California showcases Alvin’s dramatic sense of phrasing and marvelous feel for the characters he’s created.
Animals As Leaders – Animals As Leaders [Reissue/2009] CD/2xLP (Prosthetic)
April 2019 marked 10 years since former Reflux guitarist Tosin Abasi created his eponymous debut as Animals As Leaders. Now a full-fledged trio, the metal outfit celebrated a decade since their debut release with a 2019 commemorative tour and CD and vinyl reissue. [Limited colored vinyl pressing also available.]
The B-52’s – Cosmic Thing [Reissue/1989] 2xCD (WB)
Digitally remastered and expanded double-CD 30th anniversary edition of The B-52’s 1989 album. This edition of Cosmic Thing features remasters and remixes of the original album tracks, plus additional edits and remixes.
Chris Brown – Indigo CD (RCA)
Ninth studio album from the R&B star.
Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown – Truth And Lies CD/LP (Spinefarm)
The third album from blues rockers. Truth And Lies crackles with intensity and explores Bryant’s blues heritage (“Ride”), heartfelt balladry (“Out There”), southern roots (“Trouble”), love of ’90s rock ‘n’ roll (“Eye to Eye”) and more.
Chase Atlantic – Phases CD (BMG)
Chase Atlantic’s new album Phases is fueled by their obsession with creation, songwriting, and beat-making and refusing to conform to any one sound as their spotlight only continues to grow. [Vinyl edition due August 2.]
Miles Davis – The Complete Rebirth Of Cool CD (Blue Note)
In honor of the 70th anniversary of its original singles in 1949, The Complete Birth Of The Cool by Miles Davis is being released on CD.
Heather Nova – Pearl CD/LP (Saltwater)
25 years after her breakout album, Oyster, Bermudan singer-songwriter Heather Nova returns with her tenth album, Pearl. It is a raw, beautiful and passionate rock album, produced by Killing Joke bassist Youth (who has also produced The Verve, Dido, Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney). Nova stated that there is a correlation between both Oyster and Pearl, saying, “A pearl is hopefully what forms inside an Oyster after all the years.”
Various Artists – Woodstock: Back To The Garden 10xCD/3xCD/5xLP (Atlantic)
The Deluxe 10xCD edition of Woodtock’s 50th Anniversary Experience features 162 tracks; it is the first Woodstock collection to include live recordings of every performer at the festival. [The 3xCD and 5xLP sets feature highlights from the 10xCD set.]
Baby Huey – The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend [Reissue/1971] LP (Run Out Groove)
James Thomas Ramey, better known by his stage name Baby Huey (taken from the Paramount Pictures animated giant cartoon duckling), was born in Richmond, Indiana but had move to Chicago in the early 1960s to front his band The Babysitters with co-founders Melvin Deacon Jones on organ/trumpet and Johnny Ross on guitar. By the time recording took place for The Living Legend, only Huey and Jones remained from the original line up. According to band members at the time, Huey’s rhymes were very similar in style to those later popularized by rappers in hip-hop.
David Bowie – Mercury Demos LP (Parlophone)
Ten early Bowie recordings captured live in one take to a Revox reel to reel tape machine in Bowie’s flat in spring 1969, with accompaniment from John “Hutch” Hutchinson on guitar and vocals. Deluxe set housed in a replica of the original tape box and features one LP, a print, two photo contact sheets, and sleeve notes by Mark Adams.
David Bowie – D.J. b/w Boys Keep Swinging [Reissue/1979] 7” (Parlophone)
Limited 7” picture disc vinyl pressing. “D.J.” was the second and final single from The Lodger in the UK and the follow up to “Boys Keep Swinging”. The A side of this picture disc features a previously unreleased single edit of the track from The Lodger (2017 Tony Visconti Mix). The previously unreleased version of “Boys Keep Swinging” recorded especially for The Kenny Everett Video Show features on the AA side.
Primus – Miscellaneous Debris [Reissue/1992] 12” (Interscope)
Primus – Tales From The Punchbowl [Reissue/1995] 2xLP (Interscope)
Primus – Pork Soda [Reissue/1996] 2xLP (Interscope)
Primus – The Brown Album [Reissue/1997] 2xLP (Interscope)
Primus – Rhinoplasty [Reissue/1998] LP (Interscope)
Primus – Antipop [Reissue/1999] 2xLP (Interscope)
Primus – Animals Should Not Try To Act Like People [Reissue/2003] 12” (Interscope)
Limited 180gm colored vinyl pressings – each remastered in 2018.
R.E.M. – Document [Reissue/1987] LP (Capitol)
180gm colored vinyl reissue. The R.E.M. of 1987’s Document was a sinewy, muscular rock beast, primed and ready to dominate the airwaves. The album’s savage break-out single “The One I Love” provided R.E.M. with their first major US hit single when it peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard singles chart.
T.I. – Urban Legend [Reissue/2004] 2xLP (Grand Hustle)
Double colored vinyl pressing of the rapper’s third album.