New Releases — June 9, 2017

Anathema – The Optimist CD/2xLP (Kscope)
After Anathema’s 2012 award-winning album Weather Systems and 2014’s spellbinding Distant Satellites, the ambient rockers are back with their eleventh full-length. The Optimist reveals some of the darkest, most challenging and unexpected music the sextet have put their name to.

Chuck Berry – Chuck CD/LP (Dualtone)
Chuck is the final album and first new recordings in nearly four decades by founding rock & roll legend Chuck Berry, who passed away on March 18, 2017 at the age of 90. Comprised of ten new recordings, eight of which were written by Berry, Chuck is his first new album since 1979’s Rock It. Some of the songs on Chuck were originally conceived as far back as the 1980s, with Berry developing them in his home studio in St. Louis over many years during down time between tours. He worked on the album through 2014. When health concerns forced him to stop touring and recording in 2015, Berry continued to oversee production and planning for Chuck.

The Birthday Massacre – Under Your Spell CD/LP (Metropolis)
The Birthday Massacre’s new album is a captivating hybrid of ‘80s, electronica, and aggressive guitars, fused with dark, cinematic melodic progressions.

Ritchie Blackmore – Live In Birmingham 2xCD (Eagle)
In June 2016 legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore made return to rock music as Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow played three concerts in Europe, two in Germany and one in England. This new double-CD set captures the full audio from the British show at the Genting Arena at the NEC, Birmingham.

Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie – Lindsey Buckingham Christine/McVie CD/LP (Atlantic)
Two longtime members of Fleetwood Mac have joined together to record their first-ever album as a duo.

Glen Campbell – Adiós CD/LP (UMe)
Glen Campbell’s final studio album Adiós was recorded at Station West in Nashville following Glen’s ‘Goodbye Tour.’ Produced by Glen’s longtime banjo player and friend Carl Jackson, the album features Glen singing four Jimmy Webb songs that Glen never recorded but always loved, including the title track. Adiós features songs written by Roger Miller, Bob Dylan, Dickey Lee, Jerry Reed, Fred Neil, and includes a duet with Willie Nelson – “Funny How Time Slips Away” – and special guest Vince Gill on harmony vocals in “Am I All Alone (Or Is It Only Me).”

Cigarettes After Sex – Cigarettes After Sex CD/LP+MP3 (Partisan)
Cigarettes After Sex mainman Greg Gonzalez’s ability to set a scene and sustain a mood reels you in deeply. On album opener “K.,” a tale of blossoming love etched in tiny details luxuriates over chiming guitars; on the hymn to romantic compulsion of “Each Time You Fall In Love,” the suspended animation of Angelo Badalamenti’s heart-stopping Twin Peaks music is echoed. “Sunsetz” and the gently lilting “Sweet,” meanwhile, showcase Gonzalez’s ability to weave impressionistic snapshots of romance into melodies that haunt like memories of past loves, all coalescing around his melting vocals. Elsewhere, Gonzalez mounts movies in miniature with the photographic references of “Flash” and Fitzcarraldo echoes of “Opera House,” a song so lovingly languid it could, conceivably, soundtrack a man hauling ships over mountains for love.

John Coltrane – Trane: The Atlantic Collection CD/LP (Atlantic Catalog Group)
An introduction to John Coltrane’s revered Atlantic recordings. Trane: The Atlantic Collection includes the hit single “My Favorite Things,” the iconic “Giant Steps, Naimi” and more, from the “heavyweight champion” of the jazz world.

Jack DeJohnette/Larry Grenadier/John Medeski – Hudson CD (Motemo Music)
Four of the world’s top instrumentalists – Jack DeJohnette (drums), Larry Grenadier (bass), John Medeski (keyboardist), and John Scofield (guitar) – unite to form this supergroup collective. Hudson features covers of songs connected to the Hudson Valley by such songwriters as Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and Joni Mitchell.

Ani DiFranco – Binary CD (Righteous Babe)
“Ani DiFranco records arrive like MoMA retrospectives. Ani on Heartbreak. Ani on Worker’s Rights. Ani on Parenthood. Ani in Love. Each release is entirely immersive and seemingly exhaustive, not only because of the propulsive, intensely kinetic sound signature on the prolific singer-songwriter’s past work, but because her attention to the subject at hand has been laser-focused. For her 20th studio album, Binary, the MoMA retrospective might be called Ani Exhales. DiFranco’s voice has lowered and softened, her guitarwork has slowed down, she puts fewer lyrics in her songs, and her songwriter’s skin has gotten thicker. Gone is the 18-year-old girl on the street in Manhattan, raging against ‘Our father/ who art in a penthouse.’ Now she’s a woman at sea level, New Orleans in her blood, with a long view in every direction and a hard-won instinct for self-preservation. Where she used to favor immersion, DiFranco here favors integration. Binary isn’t about one thing, or two things, or even three things. It’s about everything.” – NPR [Vinyl edition due June 23.]

Gov’t Mule – Revolution Come… Revolution Go CD/2xCD/2xLP+MP3 (Fantasy/Concord)
Preeminent rock band Gov’t Mule return with their tenth studio effort. Steeped in the roots and mystique of rock, blues, soul, jazz and country, Revolution Come… Revolution Go enriches Gov’t Mule’s distinguished legacy with cleverly-crafted songs, intelligent and timely lyrical commentary, and downright incendiary playing. While there are some political observations on the album, there are also introspective ruminations on life and love, like the countrified road song “Traveling Tune,” the soaring “The Man I Want To Be” and the slow-burning, reflective “Easy Times.” Throughout the record Warren Haynes’ dynamic vocals swing between rock ‘n’ roll grit and soulful crooning.  [CD is available in Regular and Deluxe editions.]

Kronos Quartet – Folk Songs CD/LP (Nonesuch)
When Nonesuch Records celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014, with festivals at London’s Barbican Centre and New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Kronos Quartet joined forces with four labelmates – Sam Amidon, Olivia Chaney, Rhiannon Giddens and Natalie Merchant – to perform a concert entitled Folk Songs. The group later recorded the songs, most of which are traditional with contemporary arrangements, with Doug Petty as the album’s producer.

Lady Antebellum – Heart Break CD/LP (Capitol Nashville)
Sixth studio album from the country music trio.

The Magpie Salute – The Magpie Salute CD/2xLP (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
The Magpie Salute is a new band bringing together former Black Crowes members Rich Robinson, Marc Ford and Sven Pipien. Their eponymous debut album was recorded live in front of a small audience at Applehead Recording in Woodstock, New York apart from opening track “Omission” which is a full studio recording. The Magpie Salute has added significance as it marks the last recorded work by the late Eddie Harsch, former Black Crowes keyboard player who passed away in November 2016. The album is a mix of Black Crowes songs, new tracks and cover versions, which reflect the band’s wide-ranging roots. With half of the songs coming in at over seven minutes long, there is a musical freedom to the album enabling all the musicians to shine.

Katy Perry – Witness CD (Capitol)
Witness is the fourth studio album by the pop superstar. “All the singles (‘Chained To The Rhythm,’ ‘Bon Appétit’ and ‘Swish Swish’” are present and accounted for as well as the widely teased title track. The biggest surprise, apart from the fact that most of these titles sound like weed varietals (‘Mind Maze,’ ‘Pendulum’ and ‘Tsunami’), is the absence of collaborations. In fact, Nicki Minaj, Migos and Skip Marley are the only featured artists. This has been an interesting era for Katy with more twists and turns than an episode of Twin Peaks. Things got a little hairy when the criminally underrated ‘Bon Appetit’ came and went in a matter of weeks, but she seems to have turned it around with ‘Swish Swish’ — a song that features heavily on most Song Of The Summer countdowns.” – Idolator

Phoenix – Ti Amo CD/LP (Glassnote)
Ti Amo is Grammy-winning band Phoenix’s first album since 2013’s critically lauded Bankrupt!. Produced by the band and recorded at La Gaîté Lyrique (Paris) with the help of longtime collaborator Pierrick Devin, the band describes Ti Amo as “an album about simple pure emotions: love, desire, lust and innocence, it’s also a record about our European, Latin roots, a fantasized version of Italy: a lost paradise made of eternal Roman summers (hyper-light, hyper-clarity, pistachio gelato), juke-boxes on the beach, Monica Vitti and Marcello Mastroiani, fearless desire and Antique marble statues.” The New York Times calls Ti Amo “the band’s most unabashedly romantic record yet” and it’s ushered in by lead single “J-Boy,” a brilliant, shimmering explosion.

Rancid – Trouble Maker CD/LP+MP3/LP+7”+MP3 (Epitaph)
East Bay pop punk veterans Rancid are going on nearly 25 years together, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down. New album Trouble Maker spans 19 tracks produced by Bad Religion frontman Brett Guerwitz, who is also the founder of Epitaph. Born in the midst of the post-Reagan economic downturn in the San Francisco Bay Area, the East Bay region specifically, Rancid came to light as Armstrong and Freeman were moving forward after the first band they founded, Operation Ivy, reached a friendly demise. As Rancid, the band took up the torch of social commentary and the examination of the local scene and instantly inflamed the newly revived punk community, setting the stage for what was to come. After having seen the American dream dwindle and fade within their country, community and homes, Rancid put their description of its aftermath into their songs. [Vinyl is available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds a bonus 7” single.]

Rise Against – Wolves CD (Virgin)
Throughout its career, Rise Against has kept its moral compass steady, using its international punk platform to speak out for social justice. With The Black Market (2014) follow-up Wolves, the band challenges fans to join them in creating a bold new identity together. The album is about recognizing the power within; it’s a primal call for the prey to become the hunters. “In many ways, a Rise Against show is a safe space for our fans,” lead singer Tim McIlrath says. “But I realized that I don’t only want to create safe spaces, I want to create dangerous spaces where misogyny can’t exist, where xenophobia can’t exist. I want to create spaces where those sentiments don’t have any air, and they suffocate: where those ideas die. Wolves isn’t about creating a safe space, it’s about creating a space that’s dangerous for injustice.” [Vinyl edition due July 28. Cassette edition TBA.]

Secret Sisters – You Don’t Own Me Anymore CD/LP+MP3 (New West)
There are two ways of handling a dangerous, raging river: you can surrender and let it carry you away, or you can swim against the flow. For The Secret Sisters, there was a point after the release of their last record when they could have chosen to do neither – instead, sinking to the bottom as the weight of the world washed away their dreams. They went from touring with Bob Dylan to losing their label, purging their team, filing bankruptcy and almost permanently trading harmonies for housecleaning. But there’s a mythical pull to music that kept sisters Laura and Lydia Rogers moving forward, and they came out with a biting and beautiful third LP, produced by Brandi Carlile, You Don’t Own Me Anymore.

Paul Simon – The Concert In Hyde Park 2xCD+DVD/2xCD+Blu-ray (Sony Legacy)
The Concert in Hyde Park chronicles Paul Simon’s concert at the 2012 Hard Rock Calling Festival in London with career-spanning set including his most enduring hits (“Kodachrome,” “Graceland,” “Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard,” “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”), fan favorites, and two Simon & Garfunkel classics. The concert features a reunion with the original Graceland musicians on the album’s 25th anniversary, including Hugh Masekela and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, as well as a surprise appearance from reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, performing his original songs “The Harder They Come” and “Many Rivers to Cross”, and a duet with Cliff and Simon on “Vietnam” and “Mother and Child Reunion.”

Soulwax – FROM DEEWEE CD (PIAS America)
“The Belgian electro-rock outfit Soulwax have aged gracefully. Over two decades on, they’ve finally found a coherent sound, layering robust synths, dusty live drums, and simple vocal melodies.  But even at their most electronically inclined, Soulwax remain a ‘90s rock act at heart. Mining the disco era, the Dewaele brothers scuff things up, stopping just short of lo-fi.” — Pitchfork [Vinyl edition due June 30.]

Sufjan Stevens/Bryce Dessner/Nico Muhly – Planetarium CD/2xLP (4AD)
A completely reimagined version of the project originally undertaken years ago and performed in various iterations around the world, Planetarium unites Stevens’ vocals, McAlister’s beats, Dessner’s guitar performance, and Muhly’s instrumental compositions – part rock odyssey, part electronic experiment, part classical opus.

Suffocation – …Of The Dark Light CD/LP/Cassette (Nuclear Blast America)
New album from one of America’s premier death metal bands. [Limited blue color vinyl pressing also available.]

Various Artists – Music From The American Epic Sessions 2xCD (Columbia/Sony)
Airing June 6, 2017 on PBS in the United States, The American Epic Sessions, directed by Bernard MacMahon, is a feature-length film showcasing an all-star roster of contemporary artists, led by Jack White and T Bone Burnett, replicating a 1920s recording session and paying tribute to the great artists of the past. For the film, The American Epic team reassembled the very first electrical sound recording system from the 1920s, which consists of a single microphone, a towering six-foot amplifier rack, and a live record-cutting lathe powered by a weight-driven pulley system of clockwork gears. All the musical performances for the film were recorded live, and the soundtrack features many additional live performances, including those by: Alabama Shakes, The Americans, Ana Gabriel, Ashley Monroe, The Avett Brothers, Beck, Bettye LaVette, Bobby Ingano, Elton John, Frank Fairfield, Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton, Los Lobos, Stephen Stills, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Nas, Pokey LaFarge, Christine Pizzuti, Raphael Saadiq, Rhiannon Giddens, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Taj Mahal, Jack White, and Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard.

Doc Watson – Live From Chicago, March, 1964: Vol. 1 CD (Rockbeat)
Rare performances recorded at Purdue University on March 19, 1964 from the bluegrass/folk/country blues/gospel legend.

This Week’s Vinyl Exclusives:

BADBADNOTGOOD – Lavender 12” (Innovative Leisure)
Snoop Dogg remixed BADBADNOTGOOD’s “Lavender (Ft. Kaytranada).” The original track is from BBNG’s recent album, IV, and now has a new verse added by Snoop.

Dying Fetus – Destroy The Opposition [Reissue/2000] LP (Relapse)
Dying Fetus – Stop At Nothing [Reissue/2003] LP (Relapse)
Dying Fetus – War Of Attrition [Reissue/2006] LP (Relapse)
Dying Fetus – Descend Into Depravity [Reissue/2009] LP (Relapse)
Dying Fetus – Reign Supreme [Reissue/2012] LP (Relapse)
The death metal/grindcore band’s last five albums are back in print on vinyl.

Hazel English – Just Give In/Never Going Home LP+MP3 (Polyvinyl)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. Hazel English is a 25-year-old Oakland-based artist who makes beautifully blurry indie-pop music powered by transcendent melodies and caked in layers of Californian sunshine and redolent reverb. Limited color vinyl pressing.

En Vogue – Funky Divas [Reissue/1992] LP (Atlantic Catalog Group)
25th Anniversary vinyl reissue of En Vogue’s second album.

Faith Evans And The Notorious B.I.G. – The King & I 2xLP (Rhino)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. The King & I is a duets album featuring unreleased Biggie vocals with productions by DJ Premier, Just Blaze, Stevie J, Salaam Remi, Chucky Thompson, Puff Daddy and more. The album also features guest artist Lil Cease, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Jadakiss, Styles P, Sheek Louch (founders of The L.O.X. hip hop group), 112, and a first-time collaboration with Lil Kim.

Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane – Complete 1957 Riverside Recordings 3xLP (Concord)
For an all-too-brief, magical time in 1957, two of the greatest musicians in history – Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane – performed together every night at New York’s Five Spot Cafe. And between April and July of that year, they made their only studio recordings together. Coltrane was poised to make a giant leap forward – and ready to learn from one of the masters, Monk.