New Releases for March 6, 2020
Honey Harper – Starmaker CD/LP (ATO)
Honey Harper’s debut album, Starmaker, comes as a collection of contradictions in both subject matter and style. Written with his wife and writing partner Alana Pagnutti over the past three years, the album itself is primarily about the journey to create it. It’s an attempt at honesty through the veil of a country singer lost in the stars. On Starmaker, Harper seeks to revitalize country music for people who don’t like country music.
Lauv – How I’m Feeling CD/2xLP (Lauv)
Most pop genre albums can be categorized by their peppy messages along the lines of “Believe in yourself no matter what!” or “Life is always amazing!” That’s what Lauv’s second album – How I’m Feeling – subverts. Instead of following industry standards, the record acts as a refreshing take on pop music by taking an honest introspective look on himself.
Mandy Moore – Silver Linings CD/LP (Verve)
Emmy, Grammy & Golden Globe-nominated actress/singer/songwriter Mandy Moore returns to music with her first album in a decade, Silver Landings. In a purposeful departure from the pop sound of her previous material, the album deftly moves from ‘70s inspired soft-rock to contemporary pop.
Esmé Patterson – There Will Come Soft Rains CD/LP (BMG)
Esmé Patterson is folk-rock singer/songwriter who began as a member of the Denver folk pop septet Paper Bird and has written three records as a solo act including All Princes, I (2012), Woman To Woman (2015) and We Were Wild (2016). The Guardian called her “defiant and witty,” the New York Times found her voice “wiry and candid” with songs that “hint at mystery and mortality.” Now she returns with her fourth solo endeavor, There Will Come Soft Rains, produced by Tennis aka Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore. Named after a story from Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, it finds Patterson adding synthesizers and dream-pop arrangements to the mix with stunning results.
Silverstein – A Beautiful Place To Drown CD/LP (UNFD)
Ontario-based post-hardcore band Silverstein celebrate their 20th anniversary with the release of a new album. They may be proud torchbearers of the emo and post-hardcore scenes but appearances from Underoath’s Aaron Gillespie, Beartooth’s Caleb Shomo, Simple Plan’s Pierre Bouvier, and perhaps most surprisingly, hip-hop firebrand Princess Nokia, are indicative of the band’s wide-reaching impact and their ability to reach listeners in all worlds of music.
Sadler Vaden – Anybody Out There? CD/LP (Dirty Mag)
Acclaimed solo artist. Songwriter. Grammy-winning member of Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. Producer. Studio musician. Modern-day guitar hero. It’s a modern record that doesn’t ignore the past, balancing frequent nods to Vaden’s 20th century influences – including Neil Young, The Who, Tom Petty, Joe Walsh, and Oasis – with a contemporary sound that mixes raw, live performances with digital recording technology.
Atmosphere – Whenever CD/2xLP (Rhymesayers)
For over 20 years, Atmosphere have pursued the underbelly of what it means to be human with a rabid curiosity. Ant’s dusky production has provided the pulse for Slug’s evolving and matter-of-fact pen. As Slug transitioned from throwing-up-in-the-backseat-raps to holding-hands-when-you-cross-the-street-raps, Ant has grown to be a master of crate digging and unearthing the humanity of a drum loop. On Whenever, the duo continue to move in lockstep. Within the minutiae lie clues they’re still struggling with mortality and the need to protect emotional energy, as on previous releases, but there’s a quiet romanticism now, with Slug sounding – reluctantly – in love with life.
Body Count – Carnivore CD/LP (Century Media)
Seventh album from the metal band fronted by rapper/actor Ice T.
Brandy Clark – Your Life Is A Record CD (WB)
Few artists understand the human condition like six-time Grammy nominee Brandy Clark. Working again with acclaimed producer Jay Joyce, Your Life Is A Record takes her unerring eye for detail and a genre-melting sense of melody to examine personal truths, revelations and emancipations with wit, grace and compassion. Working with just four acoustic-based musicians, intimacy was the goal. Memphis strings and horns, guest appearances from Randy Newman (Bigger Boat) and guitarist John Osborne color in the sketches – creating a depth to what is easily Clark’s most revelatory record yet.
Crematory – Unbroken CD/2xLP (Napalm)
15 energetic tracks within brutal riffs, deep growls and tight drum grooves from the German pioneers of gothic metal.
Disq – Collector CD/LP/Cassette (Saddle Creek)
Disq have assembled a razor-sharp, teetering-on-the-edge-of-chaos melange of sounds, experiences, memories, and influences: gnarled power pop, anxious post-punk, warm psych-folk, and hectic, formless, tongue-in-cheek indie rock. [Limited colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Luke Haines/Peter Buck – Beat Poetry For Survivalists CD/LP (Omnivore)
Beat Poetry For Survivalists is the collaboration between Peter Buck and Luke Haines. Peter Buck was the guitarist for one of the biggest bands in the world, R.E.M. Luke Haines was the guitarist for The Auteurs.
The James Hunter Six – Nick Of Time CD/LP+MP3 (Daptone)
The James Hunter Six return with another sublime offering of no nonsense rhythm and blues.
Jose James – No Beginning No End 2 CD/2xLP (Rainbow Blonde)
The satin-voiced songwriter’s latest is No Beginning No End 2 – a sequel to his 2013 album that resurrects the bold eclecticism we first fell in love with, while taking us on a journey through both celebration and introspection. The album is chock-full of collaborators including; Laura Mvula, Aloe Blacc, Ledisi, Erik Truffaz, and Hindi Zahra – appearing in unexpected sonic contexts.
Stephen Malkmus – Traditional Techniques CD/LP+MP3 (Matador)
Malkmus breaks out his 12-string acoustic guitar and touches on half a century of folk-rock reference points on his new album. Of course, this is Stephen Malkmus of Pavement and those great records with the Jicks, so this might be rootsy but it’s also fresh, unpredictable, infectious and imaginative: ACC Kirtan, Xian Man, The Greatest Own in Legal History, Cash Up and more tracks made with Matt Sweeney, Spooner Oldham and the Decembrists’ Chris Funk.
The Mastersons – No Time For Love Songs CD/LP (Red House)
The Mastersons are singer-songwriters/multi-instrumentalists Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore. Longtime members of Steve Earle’s band the Dukes, the musical and marital twosome make inspired albums of their own vivid, deeply humanistic songs. Their fourth album, No Time For Love Songs, marks the 10th anniversary of their partnership and creative journey with a collection of songs that could easily serve as the soundtrack to our lives-or at least one version of it.
Mac Miller – Circles CD (WB)
Conceived as a sister album to 2018’s full length Swimming, Circles was completed with the assistance of Jon Brion, with whom Miller worked on Swimming and had been working together on Circles at the time of his passing. While sonically distinctly different than its predecessor, Circles features many of the hallmarks for which Swimming was critically-acclaimed upon its release – Miller further realizing his singing voice in addition to rapping, live instrumentation and earnest, confessional lyrical content.
My Dying Bride – The Ghost Of Orion CD/2xLP (Nuclear Blast)
Formed in 1990 My Dying Bride became forerunners and trend makers in the gothic, doom, death metal genre.
Phantogram – Ceremony CD/LP (Republic)
Genre-defying alt-rock duo Phantogram – comprised of lifelong friends Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel – have continued to change the zeitgeist for almost a decade now by consistently challenging it with their signature blend of hard-hitting beats, guitar-driven dark psychedelia and electronic pop. Phantogram’s fourth studio album, Ceremony, marks a rebirth and embodies a dark, but hopeful, chapter for the band.
Caroline Rose – Superstar CD/LP (New West)
Here comes Superstar the bigger, badder, glitter-driven record by Caroline Rose. Written as a sequel to 2018’s Loner, Superstar “plays out like an epic movie about the pursuit of fame and fortune,’ Rose states. ‘I’ve always been fascinated by this pursuit, but what’s even more fascinating is what happens when it fails.” Indeed, gone are the successful Hollywood hunks and starlets of old. Superstar chronicles a quirky anti-hero, who after receiving a wrong call from the elite hotel Chateau Marmont, decides to leave their old life behind in order to become a big Hollywood star.
U.S. Girls – Heavy Light CD/LP (4AD)
Recorded live at Montreal’s acclaimed studio Hotel 2 Tango and featuring 20 odd session musicians, Heavy Light is an architectural achievement for an artist whose career began with a 4 track tape recorder and a Greyhound bus pass. Following the subversive sheen of 2018’s In A Poem Unlimited, Remy has taken a deeply introspective about-face to produce a set of mindful compositions on hindsight, the passage of time, the delicate balance of the conscious and the unconscious, and the pursuit of a radical empathy. Remy worked with co-writers Basia Bulat and Rich Morel to develop the core of Heavy Light, a set of songs conceived as a richly arranged balance between orchestral percussion (as arranged by percussionist Ed Squires) and the human voice.
Jason Boland & The Stragglers – Pearl Snaps [Reissue/1999] LP (Proud Souls Ent.)
Vinyl reissue of the debut album by red dirt/Texas country band.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Blue Moon Rising 12” (Caroline)
New EP from the former Oasis guitarist and songwriter. Blue Moon Rising features new songs plus a remix of the title track.
The Who – The Kids Are Alright [Reissue/1979] LP (MCA)
The Who – Quadrophenia [Reissue/1973] 2xLP (Geffen)
The Kids Are Alright is the legendary companion album to The Who’s classic documentary film of the same name from 1979, featuring the extraordinary 1967 Smothers Brothers TV show version of “My Generation” – including exploding drum-kit finale. Quadrophenia is the soundtrack from the classic and influential 1979 film, adapted by director Franc Roddam from the Who’s 1973 rock opera, set against a backdrop of the mods vs rockers battles of the period.