New Releases for May 17, 2019
Lewis Capaldi – Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent CD/LP (Capitol)
Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent is 22-year-old Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi’s debut album. Recorded over an 18-month period in London, New York and Los Angeles, Capaldi co-wrote each of the 12 songs, working with Malay who also produced, (Frank Ocean, Lorde) Jamie Hartman (Calvin Harris, Rag N Bone Man) and TMS. Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent is an ironically titled, but charismatically defining album that’s lyrically candid and a realistic snapshot of the ups and downs of growing up. Lewis’ stunningly identifiable voice, coupled with its turbulent themes of love, loss and heartache, make it a debut album that is both poignant and unequivocally relatable. TIME proclaims, “Lewis Capaldi has the kind of deep, textured voice that you could listen to for hours. He finds expressive rough edges, then smooths them out into the sweetest of notes.”
Full Of Hell – Weeping Choir CD/LP (Relapse)
Dynamic, pissed, and wholly urgent, Weeping Choir is a definitive statement of intent by one of the underground’s most dynamic and virulent entities. Full Of Hell has once again culled the extreme elements from hardcore, metal, and power electronics to redefine darkness and sheer brutality. Distorted guitars, and ominous, disparate electronics grind and gnash against rapid-fire drumming, as the band take themes of religion, loss, hatred, and set them ablaze.
The Head And The Heart – Living Mirage CD/LP (WB)
Living Mirage is the fourth studio album from five-piece indie-folk act The Head And The Heart and follow-up to 2016’s Signs Of Light. After the release of their third LP, co-founder Josiah Johnson amicably left the group, with the band replacing the guitarist/vocalist with Charity Rose Thielen‘s husband, Matt Gervais. In the time since, longtime keyboardist Kenny Hensley has also returned to the fold. Appropriately, Living Mirage touches on these major changes, with bassist Chris Zasche describing the collection as a “rebirth, a spirit quest of sorts.” For lead single, “Missed Connection”, the group focuses in on the “anxiety that reasoned that growth spurt” following their recent lineup changes. Initially created as a tribute to Russell’s girlfriend and how they met, the song shifted to a reflection on the group’s history, meeting for an open-mic in Seattle ten years ago. Musically, the song infuses tastes of hip-hop and pop production. Elaborated drummer Tyler Williams, “A lot of the beats on this song are quicker, and there are high hats that were never in our music before.” [Limited indie-store exclusive vinyl pressing also available.]
Lucette – Deluxe Hotel Room CD (Rock Creek)
On her sophomore album Deluxe Hotel Room, indie-pop artist Lucette turns her title phrase into a metaphor for experiences both highly specific and widely familiar: fleeting romance, emotional displacement, isolation, the gulf between the presumed glamour of the artist’s life and the reality of getting by. Produced by Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Sturgill Simpson, Deluxe Hotel Room unfolds in endlessly contrasting layers of feeling and in keeping with a refusal to self-restrain, Lucette assembled a purposely iconoclastic sonic palette here. “A lot of the songs are very traditional in their roots, but Sturgill and I had this idea of producing them in a more pop-leaning way,” says Lucette, who grew up on ABBA and names Rihanna among her main inspirations. “There’s only one or two guitar tracks on the whole record, and instead of putting banjos or pedal steel all over the place, we did it up in a way that felt a lot more genuine to my upbringing and character.” Backed by Simpson’s touring band, Lucette embeds Deluxe Hotel Room with so many unexpected flourishes: brooding drum-machine beats, luminous synth lines, and – perhaps most strikingly – the soulful saxophone work of New Orleans musician Brad Walker.
The National – I Am Easy To Find CD/2xLP+MP3/3xLP”+MP3 (4AD)
In September 2017, director Mike Mills emailed Matt Berninger to introduce himself and in very short order, the most ambitious project of the National’s nearly 20-year career was born and plans for a hard-earned vacation died. The Los Angeles-based filmmaker was coming off his third feature, 20th Century Women, and was interested in working with the band on…something. A video maybe. Berninger, already a fan of Mills’ films, not only agreed to collaborate, he essentially handed over the keys to the band’s creative process. The result is I Am Easy To Find, a 24-minute film by Mills starring Alicia Vikander, and I Am Easy To Find, a 68-minute album by The National. The former is not the video for the latter; the latter is not the soundtrack to the former. The two projects are, as Mills calls them, “Playfully hostile siblings that love to steal from each other.” [Deluxe triple-vinyl edition pressed on opaque red, yellow, and grey colors. Sides A – D feature full album track list with Side E featuring the “I Am Easy To Find Original Film Score” with an etching on Side F.]
Ryan Pollie – Ryan Pollie CD/LP+MP3 (ANTI-)
Ryan Pollie never set out to make a cancer record. The Los Angeles songwriter penned most of his self-titled, self-produced album, his first under his own name, before he got sick. Inspired by the warm, inviting sounds of ’70s singer-songwriters like Jackson Browne, Carole King, and Graham Nash, Pollie already knew he wanted to make the most personal music of his career. He had released two albums as Los Angeles Police Department, and now he was ready to shed the protective barrier of his old band name – to make music, simply, as himself. Living through illness becomes just one chapter in a record that celebrates living in general, and all the difficulties and surprises that come with it. More than anything, Ryan Pollie’s self-titled release is a testament to the power of vulnerability – to the magic that happens when you open yourself up and invite the world inside, no matter how frightening or uncertain it may be.
Rammstein – Rammstein CD/2xLP (Caroline)
Rammstein’s eponymous seventh album marks the German industrial outfit’s first studio effort since 2009’s Liebe Ist Für Alle Da. Talking with Metal Hammer, guitarist Richard Kruspe discussed how the new album came to be: “We were talking about harmonies, how certain kinds of melodies can change things. Things we never really cared about in the beginning, but things that matter more now. It’s more interesting for me as a musician to see how the vocals fit into a song, and which melody fits in that.” In another recent interview with Metal Wani, Krupse also talked about the motivation behind the new record: “Every time people talk Rammstein, it’s about fire, it’s all about the show. Nobody talks about the music anymore for Rammstein and it kind of bothered me. I was thinking, ‘I want to do another record. It has to be musical in a way that can really stand out from other records.’ That was my goal, or our goal.” [Deluxe CD in 12-panel digipak with gloss varnish and 28-page booklet also available.]
Saint Vitus – Saint Vitus CD/LP (Season Of Mist)
Seven years after their epic comeback album, Lillie: F-65 (2012), legendary doom metal trailblazers Saint Vitus are back with their eponymous new album. The release sees the return of the band’s original vocalist, Scott Reagers, as well as the addition of new bassist Pat Bruders (Down, Crowbar), who join long-time drummer Henry Vasquez and founder/guitarist Dave Chandler. As if in a time machine, the seasoned quartet pick up where their 1985 classic Hallows Victim left off, delivering nothing less than the truest and most enduring representation of original and fundamental doom metal. [Limited indie-store exclusive vinyl pressing and deluxe digipak CD edition also available.]
Black Label Society – Sonic Brew 20th Anniversary Blend 5.99 – 5.19 CD/2xLP (E1)
One-part invading horde and all parts traveling carnival party, Black Label Society traverses the world powered by caffeine and cacophony. Originally recorded in 1997, Sonic Brew was “mastered with high volume, alcohol, and dance,” says frontman Zak Wylde. “We went in and worked off the existing performances and focused on the high volume and dance while replacing the booze with Viagra and anabolic steroids.”
The Heavy – Sons CD/LP/LP+7” (BMG)
Welcome back to The Heavy, Britain’s most incendiary party-starters and reliably impossible to pigeonhole funk/soul/hip-hop/rock/dance gang. [Deluxe vinyl edition adds a bonus 7”.]
Interpol – A Fine Mess CDEP12”+MP3 (Matador)
Released on the heels of last year’s Maruader and recorded during time Interpol spent in upstate New York with Dave Fridmann, the five songs that make up A Fine Mess gradually emerged as a body of work with a narrative and flow unto itself. The resulting set is a living, breathing postcard from the band to their fans as they tour the world throughout 2019.
Lizzo – Cuz I Love You CD (Atlantic)
Cuz I Love You is the third studio album and major label debut by the rapper and singer. “The shiny soul-pop of Lizzo’s major label debut is something of a thesis on internalized and externalized confidence—so much so that the music can feel like a means to a greater end.” – Pitchfork
Paul McCartney – Egypt Station: Explorer’s Edition 2xCD/3xLP (Capitol)
The Explorer’s Edition of Paul McCartney’s recent Egypt Station adds a disc of album sessions including six live studio recordings as well as four live performances recorded at Abbey Road, The Cavern Club, LIPA, and Grand Central Station.
Umphrey’s McGee – Anchor Drops [Reissue/2004] 2xCD/4xLP (Nothing Too Fancy)
Commemorating its 15th anniversary, Umphrey’s McGee present an expanded edition of Anchor Drops (including its first ever-vinyl pressing). This redux edition features two distinct versions of the record: a remastered version of the original mix and a completely remixed version from the original master tapes.
Com Truise – Persuasion System LP+MP3 (Ghostly Int’l)
For nearly a decade the story of Com Truise has relied on science fiction and abstract fact. Seth Haley’s singular style of melodic beat music subsists as hazy machinist nostalgia, a mainframe downloaded cosmology. Yet with each release, alongside sonic refinement, comes an increasingly visible vapor trail to Haley’s own ontology. [CD edition due May 24.]
Southern Avenue – Keep On LP (Concord)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. 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.
Weezer – Weezer (The Teal Album) LP (Crush Music)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. On the heels of their latest studio album Weezer (The Black Album) the veteran alt-rock band delivers a covers album. “As anyone could have gathered after a first listen of ‘Africa’ or ‘Rosanna’, the latter of which is sorely missing on this compilation, the band doesn’t just half-ass the cover; they meticulously replicate each song with Fincher-like obsession. Sure, they’re not exactly offering their own spin on it, but that’s also kind of the point. The fact that these covers are so reverent to the source materials kind of plays into the joke that Cuomo is literally givin’ em what they want with no room for error. It’s like live band karaoke, and everyone is invited, which is all this really boils down to at the end of the day. They’re not reinventing the wheel; they’re using it.” – Consequence Of Sound