New Releases for June 7, 2019
Ida Mae – Chasing Lights CD/LP (Vow Road)
“We wanted to make something simple and honest and raw,” says Chris Turpin, one half of the breakout British duo Ida Mae. “We wanted to make a record our way, with no compromises.” That brand of fiercely unconditional commitment – to the songs, to the sound, to each other – has defined Ida Mae from the start, and it courses through the veins of the band’s brilliant debut, Chasing Lights. Blending elements of vintage Delta blues and gritty rock and roll with boldly modern arrangements and fearless punk swagger, the record captures Ida Mae in its purest form, with Turpin and his longtime musical partner Stephanie Jean performing nearly everything live in the studio under the guidance of legendary producer Ethan Johns (Ray LaMontagne, Laura Marling, Kings Of Leon). It’s an electrifying collection, the kind of record that feels both familiar and groundbreaking all at once, fueled by dazzling musicianship, breathtaking harmonies, and the sort of versatile, timeless songwriting that’s earned the band tour dates with everyone from Greta Van Fleet and Blackberry Smoke to Marcus King and The Lone Bellow.
As Cities Burn – Scream Through The Walls CD (Equal Vision)
For Scream Through The Walls, As Cities Burn turned to a familiar collaborator in producer Matt Goldman (Underoath, Meg & Dia, The Chariot) to help capture the signature frenetic energy of their live show. Goldman proved a wise decision, providing sonic clarity without sacrificing the rawness and honesty the band wanted to instill in the record. While this was the band’s most collaborative record to date, primary songwriting duties remained with Cody Bonnette and his personal growth since the last record shines through on how progressive and open the album is lyrically. It deals with the destructive tendencies and emotional crutches we rely on, both on a personal level and from a larger cultural perspective.
AURORA – A Different Kind Of Human (Step II) CD/LP (Glassnote)
The latest album by Norwegian synth-pop musician AURORA follows the release of her sophomore release, Infections Of A Different Kind (Step I), which was named one of A Bit Of Pop Music’s 20 Best Pop Albums of 2018. “Though still part of the Different Kind series, Step II finds AURORA traversing more experimental territory. The location where the LP was recorded helped to inform this new, unconventional sound; the artist set up shop ‘in a more lo-fi space than before,’ one described as a French chateau that’s ‘beautiful and dreamy’ and ‘far away.’ Much of Step II is said to focus on the ecological crisis plaguing society. ” – Consequence Of Sound
Chon – Chon CD (Sumerian)
On their self-titled third album, Chon find themselves at the confluence of a great push and pull. Their debut full-length, 2015’s Grow, established their mathy, forward-thinking take on the genre, while 2017’s Homey furthered that sound while incorporating brand-new influences like effect-pedal-heavy elements of electronic music and trip-hop. Now, with Chon, the trio once again have kicked down their musical guardrails – but in a way that balances their more eccentric impulses with a steadying dose of clarity and restraint. The album is brimming with some of the most forward-thinking, intricate musings the band have ever attempted, from the deep progressive propulsion of first single “Peace” to “Spike”, which spins the band’s youthful tech and metal influences together into a flashy riff-athon.
Perry Farrell – Kind Heaven CD/LP (BMG)
Kind Heaven, the first solo album from Perry Ferrell in over 18 years, draws heavily from a wide variety of sources, from the tumultuous political situation in the United States to ancient Messianic prophecies. Wrapping these themes in a soundscape that veers between the alt rock that made the former Jane’s Addiction and Porno For Pyros frontman a legend and experiments with electronica, the record was co-produced with David Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti and features contributions from Tommy Lee, Dhani Harrison, Taylor Hawkins and more.
Kind Heaven is an expansive set of interlinked compositions fused together by Farrell’s electrifying vocals into a rich sonic tapestry. Meticulously interwoven rock, electronic, and symphonic elements combine to yield a compelling tale told through large-scale orchestral scores (courtesy of Hollywood composer Harry Gregson-Williams), intense back-and-forth duets with Etty Lau Farrell, and flourishes of hard guitar with electronic vocal distortions.
Tommy James – Tommy Alive CD (Aura)
“Alive started out as an acoustic album, but…little by little…I realized that there was no way I could interpret the songs acoustically so I gave into electricity. It was a very long time in the making. Some songs go back 30 or 40 years and some are brand new, and there are lots of different kinds of songs. If there’s one big theme, it’s that there’s absolutely no theme. I wasn’t listening to the radio or what was going on around me musically; I just recorded songs that I had wanted to do for a long time or now. It has been a labor of love: a personal statement of where I am today.” – Tommy James
Dylan LeBlanc – Renegade CD/LP (ATO)
Dylan LeBlanc’s new studio album Renegade was produced by Grammy Award winner Dave Cobb (Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson) and is introduced by the scorching ‘80s inspired title track. Recorded at Cobb’s RCA Studio A in Nashville, TN, the 10-song album features LeBlanc and his longtime band, The Pollies. Of the album, LeBlanc shares, “I wanted to write the same type of songs that matched the atmosphere the band and I were bringing live. So, I started with ‘Renegade’, which was fitting since I felt myself going in a new, more intense direction with this record. In the studio, I let go almost absolutely and let Dave Cobb do his work. It left me spinning at how quickly it all came together. Over the course of ten days Renegade was complete and ready for mastering. And I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you.” [Limited red colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Luciano Pavarotti – Pavarotti: Music From The Motion Picture CD (Decca)
Pavarotti: Music From The Motion Picture draws from Pavarotti’s rich recorded catalog and follows the arc of the Ron Howard film. It features selections from operas such as “Turandot”, “La bohème”, “Aida”, “Tosca” and more, as well as Italian songs and collaborations with friends such as Plácido Domingo, José Carreras (“‘O sole mio”, “Nessun dorma”), U2, Brian Eno, Passengers (“Miss Sarajevo”), and others. Touchingly, the complete recording of Puccini’s “Donna non vidi mai”, which Pavarotti dedicated to Princess Diana, is included. In addition to a special unreleased song with Andrea Bocelli, the soundtrack also features Pavarotti’s duet of “Ave Maria” with Bono, available for the first time commercially.
Pelican – Nighttime Stories CD/2xLP (Southern Lord)
Pelican, the instrumental quartet whose singular vision of heavy music eschews classification, presents their first full-length in six years with Nighttime Stories. The eight-song set marks Pelican’s first release written front to back with guitarist Dallas Thomas, who took over guitar duties upon founding member Laurent Schroeder-Lebec’s departure in 2012. In the process of writing the album the quartet endured a slew of realizations, tragedies, and glimmers of optimism that guided the creative process to the most potent work of their 19-year career. Though the new material veers towards the darker tone characteristic of Pelican’s early songwriting, it’s hard to imagine a previous incarnation of the band writing songs as meticulously crafted and detail-oriented as those within Nighttime Stories, where the compositions recall everything from the triumphant call-to-arms of classic Dischord, to the vicious troglodyte battery of the Melvins, to the dynamic interwoven melodies of bottom-heavy indie cult heroes Chavez.
Santana – Africa Speaks CD/2xLP (Concord)
Helmed by legendary producer Rick Rubin and featuring the soulful vocals of Afro-Latin singer Buika, Africa Speaks is the new energy infused full-length album from Carlos Santana. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist and his eight-piece band (featuring his wife, Cindy Blackman Santana, on drums), convened at Rubin’s Shangri La Studios in Malibu, and in a joyous and stimulating 10-day period they recorded an astonishing number of tracks, many of them in one take. Another dramatic element in the creation of Africa Speaks came in the form of Spanish singer Buika, whose heavenly lead vocals cast a magical spell throughout the album.
Silversun Pickups – Widow’s Weeds CD/2xLP+MP3 (New Machine)
Silversun Pickups has always considered their sonic density a source of pride, their four studio albums revealing additional sonic gifts with each subsequent spin, and their fifth album, Widow’s Weeds, is no exception. The band members were in agreement with the album’s starting point (the urgent synth-rocker “Neon Wound”) and closer (the aggressive, throttling “We Are Chameleons”) and admitted that everything in between, including how the rest of Widow’s Weeds was sequenced and how the album unfolded, often surprised them.
Various Artists – The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus 2xCD/3xLP (Abkco)
Filmed over two days in December 1968, The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus starred the ‘60s line-up of the Stones, complete with Brian Jones. They were joined by The Who, Jethro Tull, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, Yoko Ono and the remarkable, impromptu supergroup known as The Dirty Mac, comprising John Lennon, Keith Richards, Mitch Mitchell of the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Eric Clapton. The film’s soundtrack has undergone a new mix and has been expanded to 28 tracks for new 2019 editions. Bonus material includes music by the late American concert pianist Julius Katchen, introduced by Jones; three additional songs by blues titan Taj Mahal; and previously unheard recordings by The Dirty Mac of The Beatles’ “Revolution” as well as “Warmup Jam”.
Stef Chura – Midnight CD/LP (Saddle Creek)
“For most people who create art I would assume there is some kind of deep unanswerable hole in your soul as to why you’re making it…” So says Stef Chura upon the release of Midnight, her gritty, vehement new album. Illuminating that search for answers with a fevered sense of exploration, Midnight is a bold leap forward from Messes, Chura’s contagious debut album, with every aspect of her new work finding bold ways to express itself as it rips through 12 restless and relentless new tracks.
Froth – Duress CD/LP+MP3 (Wichita)
Co-produced with longtime friend and collaborator Tomas Dolas (Oh Sees, Mr. Elevator) at his analog-focused Studio 22 in Cypress Park, CA, the record is unapologetically experimental yet undeniably accessible – combining some of the band’s strongest hooks with left-field sounds and unexpected flourishes of electronica.
Plague Vendor – By Night CD/LP+MP3 (Epitaph)
Plague Vendor’s third album By Night captures feelings of ruin and regeneration, of charisma and catastrophe, and of slashing at the night with nothing but pure electricity. Where 2016’s Bloodsweat ended with a to-be-continued moment and frontman Brandon Blaine shouting “Romance!” into the silence, By Night ends with a second of feedback and noise. It’s a perfectly spent finish to an adrenaline rush of a record that asks, “What just happened?”
Plaid – Polymer CD/2xLP+MP3 (Warp)
The innovative duo of Ed Handley and Andy Turner have been expanding the realm of electronic music as Plaid since they diverged from trio The Black Dog in the early ‘90s. In 2019, Plaid stand alongside the likes of Aphex Twin, Autechre and Nightmares On Wax as mainstays of the Warp label as it reaches its 30th anniversary. Forging ever bolder and emotive paths through electronic music, Plaid offer up their tenth studio effort, Polymer. The album’s 13 tracks cover energetic bangers, bright melodic visceral rhythms and hypnotic womb-like textures.
Yeasayer – Erotic Reruns CD/LP (Yeasayer/Park The Van)
Yeasayer’s latest LP is perhaps their greatest. Erotic Reruns captures what it’s like to be alive in 2019 with wide-eyed clarity. The songs veer from the intensely personal and romantic to the fervently political-an eminently danceable record that challenges their audience and makes them think a bit more slowly to ponder issues so germane to our maddening, speed of light era of content consumption.
Neil Young + Stray Gators – Tuscaloosa: Live CD/2xLP (WB)
Neil Young’s Tuscaloosa: Live features 11 previously unreleased tracks culled from a February 5, 1973 performance at the University of Alabama with his band the Stray Gators – bassist Tim Drummond, drummer Kenny Buttrey, pianist Jack Nitzsche and steel guitarist Ben Keith – who backed the iconic singer-songwriter on his landmark efforts Harvest and Time Fades Away. Tuscaloosa: Live features live versions of songs from Young’s eponymous 1968 debut (“Here We Are In The Years”) plus classics from his two biggest selling albums, 1970’s After The Gold Rush (“After The Gold Rush”) and 1972’s Harvest (“Harvest”, “Heart Of Gold”, “Old Man”, “Out On The Weekend”, “Alabama”). Also included are cuts from Neil’s live album Time Fades Away (“Time Fades Away”, “Don’t Be Denied”) which would be released later in 1973 and songs from fellow catalog favorite Tonight’s The Night (“Lookout Joe”, “New Mama”) which wouldn’t be issued until 1975.
Paul Bley/Gary Peacock/Paul Motian – When Will The Blues Leave CD (ECM)
In 1999, a year after recording the splendid reunion album Not Two, Not One, Paul Bley’s highly innovative trio with Gary Peacock and Paul Motian took to the road with concerts on both sides of the Atlantic. When Will The Blues Leave documents a terrific performance at the Aula Magna di Trevano in Switzerland.
Bob Dylan – The Rolling Thunder Review 14xCD (Sony Legacy)
Bob Dylan – The Bootleg Series Vol. 5: Bob Dylan Live 1975 (The Rolling Thunder Revue) [Reissue/2002] 3xLP (Sony Legacy)
A comprehensive anthology of music from the mythic first leg of Bob Dylan’s groundbreaking Rolling Thunder Revue, this 14xCD box set includes all five of Dylan’s full sets from that tour that were professionally recorded. The collection also provides the listener with an intimate insider’s seat for recently unearthed rehearsals at New York’s S.I.R. studios and the Seacrest Mote in Falmouth, MA plus a bonus disc showcasing one-of-a-kind performances from the tour. [A first-time vinyl edition of 2002’s The Bootleg Series Vol. 5: Bob Dylan Live 1975 (The Rolling Thunder Revue) is also available.]
Eagles Of Death Metal – EODM Presents Boots Electric Performing The Best Songs We Never Wrote CD/LP (UMe)
Eagles Of Death Metal’s Jesse Boots Electric Hughes tips his hat to 13 of his favorite songs with his first covers album. Includes covers of KISS, Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC, Love & Rockets, Ramones, Steve Miller Band, George Michael/Wham, Mary J. Blige, Queens Of The Stone Age, The Distillers, David Bowie and others.
Peter Frampton Band – All Blues CD (UMe)
A collection of Frampton’s favorite blues classics recorded with his longtime touring band. [Vinyl edition due August 16.]
Grateful Dead – Aoxomoxoa [Reissue/1969] 3xCD/LP (Grateful Dead/WEA)
This 50th Anniversary expanded triple-CD edition contains two versions of Aoxomoxoa – one fully remastered from the original 1969 mix and the other remastered from the definitive 1971 band-produced mix. The set is rounded out with a bonus disc of previously unreleased live music recorded January 24-26, 1969 at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco, CA. [50th Anniversary single-vinyl picture disc pressing also available.]
Rickie Lee Jones – Kicks CD/LP (Other Side Of Desire)
Kicks is an eclectic album of ten cover songs – from “Mack The Knife” written in 1928 for a German musical (known in the US as The Threepenny Opera) that became a jazz standard, to “Bad Company”, the eponymous theme song for the British rock band written in 1974. The arrangement and instrumentation, by producer Michael Napolitano (Ani DiFranco), provides a fresh and modern sonic infusion on every song.
Motionless In White – Disguise CD (Roadrunner)
Fifth album by the Scranton, PA-based metal band.
Cave In – Final Transmission LP (Hydrahead)
Originally intended as demos, Final Transmission marks the first Cave In album in eight years and the band’s last with bassist and vocalist Caleb Scofield, who was killed in a car accident last year. The opening title track is a voice memo of a song idea he sent to his bandmates the last time they saw each other. All proceeds from Final Transmission will be given to Caleb’s wife and children. [CD edition due July 12.]
Miles Davis – The Complete Birth Of Cool 2xLP (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 LP. The record features Miles Davis’ classic Birth Of The Cool as well as a second LP of live material from 1948, previously unreleased on vinyl.