New Releases for May 10, 2019
Lydia Ainsworth – Phantom Forest CD/LP (Zombie Cat)
On Phantom Forest, Lydia Ainsworth introduces a lush, complex dream world that she created and inhabits largely on her own. It’s a beautiful, vast collection of art pop with hooks about the search for personal connections in the midst of apocalypse and technology. It’s a journey that holds up to close listening (and lyric reading) and to dance floors, but can also exist on a purely emotional plane. Lydia notes that although the self-produced album is considered pop, she approached it as an orchestrator. She wrote and performed everything aside from a re-imagined cover of Pink Floyd’s “Green Is The Color”; two other tracks are co-written with Survive’s Kyle Dixon (Stranger Things), to which Ainsworth wrote melodies and added lyrics to his instrumentals.
Charly Bliss – Young Enough CD/LP (Barsuk)
Charly Bliss has evolved from the bunch of scrappy upstarts behind their brash punk debut Guppy, to the confident, assured artists who have produced the comparatively dynamic and unapologetically pop Young Enough. But, for lead singer Eva Hendricks, the path of this evolution was fraught, as her lyrics inspired by a past abusive relationship show. Songwriting became a source of respite, and, eventually, redemption. Album tracks “Chat Room” and “Young Enough” are new sonic lynchpins, as is the soaring, mini epic, “Fighting In The Dark”. The delicate synth confessional “Hurt Me” also felt, as Eva puts it, “like something we hadn’t explored yet.” The entire record sounds like a new realm, from the deceptively easeful confessional “Capacity” to the propulsive, more classic pop of Hard To Believe”. In the end, Young Enough feels joyful and celebratory, but also infused with a new sense of depth and maturity.
Defeater – Defeater CD/LP+MP3 (Epitaph)
Massachusetts hardcore band Defeater’s new self-titled album serves as their fifth full-length release overall and first in four years. Lead single, “Mothers’ Sons” features blistering guitars that take the song into something chaotic and beautiful. Defeater was produced with Will Yip (Quicksand, La Dispute, Blacklisted, Lauryn Hill) whose enthusiasm and talent pushed the songs to their fullest potential. Defeater is as pummeling as it is atmospheric. Yet it’s been a long journey to where the band is now. Years of touring took their toll on the friends that make up the current lineup of Derek Archambault (vocals), Jake Woodruff (guitar), Adam Crowe (guitar), Mike Poulin (bass) and Joe Longobardi (drums).
Mac DeMarco – Here Comes The Cowboy CD/LP (Mac’s Records Label)
Here Comes The Cowboy is Mac DeMarco’s fourth full-length and debut release on his own record label, introduced by the waltzing lead single, “Nobody”. As described by DeMarco, “This one is my cowboy record. Cowboy is a term of endearment to me; I use it often when referring to people in my life. Where I grew up there are many people that sincerely wear cowboy hats and do cowboy activities. These aren’t the people I’m referring to.” Nearly every instrument on the album was played by DeMarco, aside from keyboards on select tracks by touring member and close friend Alec Meen. Traveling sound engineer, Joe Santarpia, helped shape the record, sharing engineering and mixing duties with DeMarco.
Dreamers – Launch Fly Land CD (Fairfax/Hollywood)
Founded in Brooklyn, Dreamers deliver infectious indie rock in the vein of Surfer Blood and the Vaccines, the latter of whom they joined on tour soon after their inception. The trio of Nick Wold (lead vocals, guitar), Nelson (bass, backing vocals), and Chris Bagamery (drums, backing vocals) self-released the rousing, synth-kissed single “Wolves (You Got Me)” and an eponymous EP in 2014. It garnered attention from the mainstream and indie music press, and led to support spots on the road for Walk The Moon, Stone Temple Pilots, and Bear Hands.
Greys – Age Hasn’t Spoiled You CD/LP+MP3 (Carpark)
On their third album Age Hasn’t Spoiled You, Toronto post-punks The Greys eschew their trademark frenzy for a more cerebral and cinematic affair. This widescreen approach loses none of the impact of their early material, instead employing space and dynamics to propel the listener toward even greater payoffs when they decide to switch back into high gear. Age Hasn’t Spoiled You is a richly textured experience that draws influence from krautrock, industrial, hip-hop, dub, jazz, ambient, drone and more, sometimes within the same song.
The Mystery Lights – Too Much Tension! CD/LP+MP3 (Wick)
The Mystery Lights’ sophomore album on Daptone’s rock subsidiary, Wick Records, finds the group digging deeper into their well of eclectic influences, enriching their sound without echoing the past. It mixes the eerie, insistent synth sounds of groups like The Normal and Suicide, the energy and swagger of punks golden age, the pop sensibility of The Kinks, and the stark, deliberate execution of Television. The Mystery Lights are taking their idiosyncratic brand of rock and roll to dizzying new heights. “Mystery Lights maintaining their raw and brilliantly unrefined sound. ‘I’m So Tired (Of Living In The City)’ has almost punk-like attributes with a rhythm driving and an urgency that’s simmering superficially beneath vintage rock chords and its swirling progressions.” — Statiknoize
ONA – Full Moon, Heavy Light CD (Hickman Holler)
With a true brotherhood that comes from growing up together, West Virginia-based indie rock band Ona merge all their musical history for their second album, Full Moon, Heavy Light. Produced by Drew Vandenburg (of Montreal), the new nine-track effort showcases a band that could easily deliver an arena show while still retaining the sincerity of the ‘70s songwriters in their parents’ record collections. It captures the late-night ambience of a rock venue with the warmth of a listening room. Wistful songs like “Summer Candy” and “Young Forever” are at once timeless and contemporary, and the optimistic streak that runs throughout the project is both genuine and disarming. As vocalist/guitarist Bradley Jenkins explains, “A full moon is associated with all these dark, ominous things, but it’s also the brightest thing in the sky at night – and it can lead you in a good direction, too.”
Possessed – Revelations Of Oblivion CD/2xLP (Nuclear Blast)
There was a time in which genuine power was felt erupting from the sonic landscape that is now referred to as “old school” death metal. Its genesis was filled with a fresh and vibrant energy, and it was the mighty Possessed who initially breathed life into this new and exciting genre. With writing that started in 1982, the first official death metal band created the now classic record Seven Churches and established the face of the genre permanently. Sadly, like with many artistic pioneers, it was very early on in Possessed’s existence that a grand tragedy struck which would put the band on hiatus for almost two decades. After many years of healing, education, renewal, and eventually new writing, there is now a resurgence of life, and the rebuilt, and polished Possessed return with the long awaited album Revelations Of Oblivion.
Esperanza Spalding – 12 Little Spells CD/2xLP (Concord)
Since October 7th, 2018, 4x Grammy Award-winner Esperanza Spalding has been unveiling her innovative new project 12 Little Spells by releasing a new spell – in the form of a new song with video – every day on her Facebook, Instagram, and website. The concept came to Esperanza while exploring different ways to create, experience, and process music; particularly the healing powers of art and how music and the body interact. Each song is inspired by a different body part.
Tōth – Practice Magic And Seek Professional Help When Necessary CD/LP (Figureight/Northern Spy)
In July 2016, Alex Toth was recovering from a broken foot and a broken heart, stuck in his fourth-floor apartment in Brooklyn with cast and crutches. This is where Toth’s debut album, Practice Magic And Seek Professional Help When Necessary, was born. A fiercely dedicated jazz trumpeter by training, Alex is always playing. More importantly, he is always, always writing. And that spring, in the midst of dance parties and silent meditations, rooftop smokes and intense crying jags, a new kind of music started to come. Raw, stripped-down songs unfurling in the middle of the night without agenda, bent over an acoustic guitar.
Rodney Atkins – Caught Up In The Country CD/LP (Curb)
After over two decades in country music, it’s hard to imagine that the Tennessee-born Atkins could still treasure the difficult moments and the arduous process of creating a song from the ground up. But he’s just the kind of artist who loves the roots as much as the tree. For his new album Caught Up In The Country his goal was to push country music forward but stay connected to what had always made it great to begin with.
A.A. Bondy – Enderness CD/LP (Fat Possum)
A.A. Bondy’s first album in eight years was finished the day before the California wildfires burned his house down. He recorded and played everything on the ten track collection himself.
Boogarins – Sombrou Dúvida CD/LP (ORG Music)
Sombrou Dúvida is a question. A play on words in Boogarins’ native Brazilian Portuguese. It’s a contraction of “Sombra ou Dúvida”, the title track of the album, which translates as ‘Shadow or Doubt’. There might seem to be a darkness to the question, given that both choices aren’t exactly cheery. Yet, Dino, the smiling, Afro-donned singer of the group tells us that “shadow” refers to a feeling related to your comfort zone, whereas doubt is the uncertainty that hits people and leads them to follow their instincts. For fans of previous works by the band, Fernando Almeida’s songwriting and soaring vocals guide Sombrou Dúvida in a way that’s reminiscent of the Latin Grammy-nominated second album “Manual”, which was a portrait of a live band exploring the professional recording studio for the first time.
Ciara – Beauty Marks CD/LP (Beauty Marks Ent.)
Seventh studio album by the R&B singer.
Clinic – Wheeltappers And Shunters CD/LP (Domino)
After an unprecedented seven-year break, Clinic – Liverpool’s cherished post-punk pop experimentalists – return with their eighth album, Wheeltappers And Shunters. The unusual name is taken from the long-forgotten 1970s ITV variety show The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club, compered by Bernard Manning, which recreated the smoky, boozy atmosphere of Northern working men’s clubs for a sofa-bound audience. This album is neither a celebration nor a denigration of the culture of the era in which Adrian Blackburn and his collaborator-in-chief, Jonathan Hartley, grew up.
Get Up Kids – Problems CD/LP+MP3 (Polyvinyl)
On their new album Problems – their first full-length in eight years – The Get Up Kids examine everything from life-changing loss to loneliness to the inevitable anxiety of existing in 2019. But by sustaining the essence of their sound – anthemic choruses with sing-along-ready melodies – the band highlights those troubles as a shared experience, giving way to an unbreakable solidarity. And at the heart of Problems is an invaluable element the band’s embodied since their 1997 debut Four Minute Mile: a penetrating lyricism that’s both acutely introspective and indelibly resonant. [Limited 180gm colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Sammy Hagar & The Circle – Space Between CD/LP (BMG)
On Space Between, Sammy Hagar & The Circle harness the depth of their artistic experiences and seminal collaborative sound with Hagar’s prolific writing vein to produce an album that builds and explodes, song after song, around the concepts of money, greed, enlightenment and truth.
Tim Hecker – Anoyo CD (Kranky)
Anoyo (the world over there) draws from the same sessions which led to the 2018 work Konoyo but rendered starker, solemn, and stripped back, with more of a naturalist tint. Tim Hecker’s processing here moves in veiled ways, soft refractions and whispered shrouds woven within improvisational sessions of traditional gagaku interplay, evoking a sense of vaulted space, temples at dawn, shredded silk fluttering in the rafters. This is boldly barren music, skeletal and sculptural, shaped from wood, wind, strings, and mist. Modern yet ancient, delicate and desolate, Anoyo inverts its predecessor to compellingly conjure a parallel world of illusion, solitude, and eternal return. [ Vinyl edition due May 24.]
Maps – Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss. CD/LP (Mute)
Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss. sees James Chapman (Maps) working with a classical chamber ensemble, guest vocalists and percussionists from across the world to create a stunning album of immersive, impressionistic songs.
CJ Ramone – The Holy Spell… CD/LP (Fat Wreck Chords)
CJ Ramone made his name as a member of (arguably) the greatest punk band of all time, and nearly 25 years after that experience, it’d be understandable if he now spent his days resting on his legacy and tsk-tsking the state of punk rock. Instead, The Holy Spell… joyfully celebrates his undiminished love of music.
Duke Robillard – Ear Worms CD (Stony Plain)
Duke Robillard has been at the forefront of blues, wwing and classic R&B/jump blues for over 40 years. [Vinyl edition due June 7.]
Southern Avenue – Keep On CD (Concord)
Named after the street that led to Soulsville, USA, Memphis-bred rock and blues outfit Southern Avenue burst onto the scene with their acclaimed debut in 2017. The boundary-breaking combo sparked a one-band musical revolution, embodying an effortlessly organic blues/soul/R&B fusion that reflects the band’s international roots. On the album Keep On, the band does exactly that, never letting up with a churning blend of horns, gospel-tinged harmonies, and a rhythm section that would make any southern soul icon proud. It’s a return of the Memphis sound – a gritty, funky mojo – ringing once again down Southern Avenue. [ Vinyl edition due May 17.]
Twiztid – Generation Nightmare CD/2xLP (Majick Ninja)
Recently released on vinyl – now available on CD. The demented duo of Jamie Madrox and Monoxide – AKA Twiztid – return with a new album. Generation Nightmare takes the very best of Twiztid’s rock and rap genre crossover abilities to the next level.
Whitesnake – Flesh & Blood CD/CD+DVD/2xLP (Frontiers)
New release from the hard rock band fronted by David Coverdale. [Deluxe CD + DVD edition includes two additional tracks plus bonus DVD. Limited edition vinyl box set edition includes the CD+DVD plus a numbered lithograph.]
Vinyl Only This Week:
Robert Glasper – Canvas [Reissue/2005] 2xLP (Blue Note)
On his acclaimed 2005 Blue Note debut, Canvas, pianist and composer Robert Glasper proved he had jazz chops in abundance with his acoustic trio featuring bassist Vicente Archer and drummer Damion Reid, while a hip-hop sub-context lay just beneath the surface in the album’s skittering beats, hinting at future directions that Glasper would take on albums like the Grammy-winning Black Radio years later.
Herbie Hancock – Takin’ Off [Reissue/1962] LP (Blue Note)
On his debut album Takin’ Off – recorded and released in 1962 – jazz legend Herbie Hancock arrived fully formed at the helm of an impressive quintet with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon, bassist Butch Warren, and drummer Billy Higgins. Though rooted firmly in hard bop, the brilliant pianist and composer presented his own strikingly original voice on this six-song album consisting entirely of his own compositions
Infamous Stringdusters – Rise Sun LP (Tape Time)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. On their ninth album, the Grammy-winning quintet expand their signature sound by perfecting their seamless fusion of All-American-bluegrass and rock.
Reese Wynans and Friends – Sweet Release CD (J&R Adventures)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl.