!!! – Shake The Shudder CD/LP+MP3 (Warp)
Shake The Shudder is a product of !!!’s DIY punk roots presenting a harder edge lyrically and sonically, while incorporating trans-Atlantic electronic music influences. Regularly enlisting the aid of talented female vocalists to elevate to their sound, this new album is no exception with the inclusion of up and coming talents Lea Lea and Meah Pace showcasing “energetic breakout performances that only hints at what they do live.”
(Sandy) Alex G – Rocket CD/LP+MP3 (Domino)
Rocket is Philadelphia-based artist Alex G’s eighth full-length release – an assured statement that follows a slate of humble masterpieces, many of them self-recorded and self-released, stretching from 2010’s Race to his 2015’s Beach Music. Amid the Rocket recording process, Alex made headlines for catching the attention of Frank Ocean, who asked him to play guitar on his two 2016 albums, Endless and Blonde. More than any stylistic cues, what Alex took from the experience was a newfound confidence in collaboration. Rocket wears this collaborative spirit proudly, and in its numerous contributors presents a restless sense of musical experimentation – effortlessly jumping from distorted sound collage to dreamy folk music to bouncing Americana. Rocket illustrates a cohesive vision of contemporary American experience; the cast of characters that Alex G inhabits have fun, fall in love, develop obsessions, get in trouble, and – much like rockets themselves – ultimately they burn out.
Beastmaker – Inside The Skull CD/LP (Rise Above)
The glittering technological future we were all promised has turned into a dystopian nightmare. If music must reflect the times, the hour has plainly come to reject the mainstream status quo and get down to the roots and rhythms of life’s elemental heaviness. And that’s where Beastmaker come in. Purveyors of some of the most ecstatically thunderous and raw doom metal to emerge in decades, this three-man riffing machine from Fresno, CA, are manifestly the real deal.
Selwyn Birchwood – Pick Your Poison CD (Alligator)
Selwyn Birchwood is among the most extraordinary young stars in the blues. His deep familiarity with blues tradition allows him to bust the genre wide open, adding new sounds, colors and textures all delivered with a revival tent preacher’s fervor and a natural storyteller’s charisma.
The Builders And The Butchers – The Spark CD/LP (Badman Recording Co.)
The Portland-based folk rock band return with their fifth full-length effort.
Daddy Issues – Deep Dream CD/LP (Infinity Cat)
Produced by Jake Orrall (JEFF The Brotherhood, Colleen Green), Daddy Issues’ full-length debut Deep Dream combines the best of ’80s alternative, ’90s grunge and ’00s pop, tackling the difficulties of friendship, heartbreak, mental health, sexual assault and a number of other issues that come with the package of youth in the modern world.
Demen – Nektyr CD/LP (Kranky)
Hermetic gothic swan songs conjured from funereal piano, twilit ambience, minimalist percussion, and spellbinding vocals. The mood is lulling and lush but lost in sorrow, stark grey structures looming in the night. Majestic open spaces between notes heighten the melancholic grandeur of Orm’s arrangements, blurring the line between lament and lullaby. The songs don’t end so much as ebb away, succumbing to their own downcast beauty.
Erasure – World Be Gone CD/LP/Cassette (Mute)
17th album from the electronic pop pioneers, their first album since 2014’s acclaimed The Violet Flame. From the pounding beats of the album opener (and first single), “Love You To The Sky,” the listener is immediately enveloped in Erasure at their optimistic best with a soaring chorus that fills the room with love and promise. On “World Be Gone,” recent political upheavals are given a thoughtful examination and, as highlighted on the painted artwork showing a ship’s masthead rising up from being submerged in the stormy waters, Erasure are looking ahead, towards an expectant future which points towards love as evidenced on the buoyant closer “Just A Little Love.” [Limited orange color vinyl pressing also available.]
Faith Evans And The Notorious B.I.G. – The King & I CD (Rhino)
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. [Vinyl edition due May 26th.]
Fastball – Step Into The Light CD/LP (33 1/3)
The 12-song Step Into Light, on Fastball’s own 33 1/3 label, embodies all of the qualities that have endeared the band to listeners during the trio’s 20-plus year career. Such catchy, compelling new tunes as “We’re On Our Way,” “Behind The Sun,” “Best Friend,” “Love Comes In Waves” and “I Will Never Let You Down” continue the band’s longstanding legacy of infectious songcraft and pointed lyrics, as well as playfully inventive arrangements that lend additional depth and resonance to Scalzo and Miles Zuniga’s distinctive songwriting.
Jade Jackson – Gilded CD/LP+MP3 (ANTI-)
Jade Jackson creates a sound that is simultaneously new and old, merging a youthful spiritedness with a weary storyteller’s perspective usually reserved for veteran artists. Stylistically the sound is unapologetically country rock. It merges the heartbreak and resilience of Lucinda Williams with the melodic confidence of Emmylou Harris.
Jlin – Black Origami CD/2xLP+MP3 (Planet Mu)
A percussion-led tour de force, Jlin’s long awaited second album Black Origami is a creation that seals her reputation as a unique producer with an exceptional ability to make riveting rhythmic music. The album is driven by a deep creative thirst which she describes as “this driving feeling that I wanted to do something different, something that challenged me to my core.”
King Washington – Potential CD/LP (The End)
Born and bred in sunny Southern California, Los Angeles-based rock group, King Washington delivers an easy, new California sound. The strong Southern California heritage of the band members is made manifest in their songwriting. King Washington fuses elements of their California roots in the folk rock music of the ‘60s and ’70s and builds upon them with a blues tinted indie-rock flavor of tightly tuned and beautifully blended vocal harmonies, winding, lyrical melodies, subtly surprising progressions, and a dose of pushing the limits. They have taken what we love about the classics and added a new rock edge, crafting a flavor all their own.
Pokey LaFarge – Manic Revelations CD/LP (Rounder)
Pokey LaFarge tries to make sense of trouble he’s seen and trouble he’s been in. This is the Great Why of his unending passion for songwriting. Each chord, each riff shades the stories he sets up in his lyrics, always in search of the purest truth within the 10 forlorn, haunting melodies on Manic Revelations. A musician, a storyteller, a narrator of the messy, unkempt American experience…Pokey LaFarge sits, he watches, he writes. [Limited edition 180gm transparent blue vinyl pressing also available.]
Land Of Talk – Life After Youth CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Saddle Creek)
Life After Youth is the first Land Of Talk album since 2010’s Cloak And Cipher. After taking a few months off after Cloak And Cipher’s touring cycle, frontwoman Elizabeth Powell got back to work on a follow-up. Instead, a series of mishaps – post-tour fatigue, a crashed hard drive with new demos, and her father’s stroke in 2013 – turned “a few months” into “a few years.” While caring for her father, Elizabeth fell under the spell of classical, ambient, and Japanese tonkori music, whose meditative quality aided his recovery. Immersing herself in those sounds would change her entire approach to music making; she started writing songs without her trusty guitar, instead building tracks up from synth beds and programmed loops.
Linkin Park – One More Light CD/LP (WB)
For any career artist, making new material matter can be the biggest challenge. Inspiration is a fickle thing, and past success often draws a bar that is hard to overcome. But once in a while, unexpectedly, lightning strikes – and an artist we think we know goes somewhere we didn’t know was possible. Miraculously, Linkin Park’s seventh studio album One More Light does just that. And it doesn’t achieve it by being louder or bigger, more avant garde or more dramatic. It achieves it by being more human. One More Light is a moment in time. It’s built on personal stories, sweat-stained and reeling from injuries – the product of six voices, each coming clean about their lives and struggles, as if it were the first time.
Little Steven – Soulfire CD (UMe)
Steven Van Zandt, the longtime guitarist of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, debuts his first solo album in two decades. [Vinyl edition due June 30th.]
Los Straitjackets – What’s So Funny About Peace Love And Los Straitjackets CD/LP+MP3 (Yep Roc)
Known for their audacious album concepts and star-crossed collaborations, when it comes to delivering high-energy rock and roll instrumental music, no one equals the finesse, power and perseverance of Los Straitjackets. Now they pay tribute to Nick Lowe.
Matisyahu – Undercurrent CD/2xLP (Fallen Sparks)
Singer-songwriter Matisyahu has been on a journey inward for more than a decade. The journey has been private and public. The journey has at times been explicitly external, even while being driven by internal change. Now, nearly thirteen years after the release of his first studio record, Matisyahu and his band have done something unmatched in his past repertoire; they have crafted that journey into a musically thematic eight-song-movement.
Mountain Goats – Goth CD/2xLP+MP3/2xLP+12”+MP3 (Merge)
From Peter Hughes of the Mountain Goats: “The theme this time around is goth, a subject closer to my heart perhaps than that of any Mountain Goats album previous. And while John writes the songs, as he always has, it feels more than ever like he’s speaking for all of us in the band, erstwhile goths (raises hand) or otherwise, for these are songs that approach an identity most often associated with youth from a perspective that is inescapably adult. Anyone old enough to have had the experience of finding oneself at sea in a cultural landscape that’s suddenly indecipherable will empathize with Pat Travers showing up to a Bauhaus show looking to jam, for example. But underneath the outward humor, there is evident throughout a real tenderness toward, and solidarity with, our former fellow travelers – the friends whose bands never made it out of Fender’s Ballroom, the Gene Loves Jezebels of the world – the ones whose gothic paths were overtaken by the realities of life, or of its opposite. It’s something we talk about a lot, how fortunate and grateful we are to share this work, a career that’s become something more rewarding and fulfilling than I think any of us could have imagined. We all know how easily it could’ve gone the other way, and indeed for a long time did.” [Deluxe color vinyl edition cut at 45rpm and including a bonus 12” also available.]
Papa Roach – Crooked Teeth CD/2xCD/LP (Eleven Seven)
Over the past two decades the group have established themselves as true trendsetters in heavy music: They’ve been nominated for two Grammy Awards, toured the globe with everyone from Eminem to Marilyn Manson and crafted the nü metal anthem “Last Resort,” which is still in heavy rotation on rock radio seventeen years after its original release. However, the group’s tenth full-length Crooked Teeth sees the band returning to their humble – and hungry – roots. [CD is available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds a bonus disc of the band performing live at the Fillmore in Detroit.]
Rammstein – Rammstein Paris 2xCD/2xCD+DVD/2xCD+Blu-ray/4xLP+2xCD+Blu-ray (Spinefarm)
Swedish director Jonas Åkerlund shot two acclaimed Rammstein concerts at the Palais Omnisports arena in Paris in front of 17,000. Featuring 22 songs from the band’s entire repertoire, the resulting film is not only the most spectacular collection of imagery about the most successful German rock band, but also a masterpiece of music cinema, capturing Rammstein’s energy as a unique visual and sonic experience.
Rascal Flatts – Back To Us CD (Big Machine)
The best-selling country vocal group of the past decade returns with their tenth studio album. [Vinyl edition due July 28th.]
Daniel Romano – Modern Pressure CD/LP+MP3 (New West)
Daniel Romano is an Ontario-based artist, poet, musician and performer of international acclaim. A genre-defying student of musical experimentation and a brilliant multi-instrumentalist, Romano is acutely well versed in the languages of melody, shape, lyric construction and song arrangement. Apt in its title, Modern Pressure picks up where Mosey left off, boldly asking, “What age is this? What blooming weight do we carry through these stolen streets?” Written in observational scrutiny beneath the overcast atmosphere of 2016, the record vigorously tackles the present-day heaviness we contain in the jotting bones of our guilty expressions. It pleads for the restoration of empathy and resonance, to fill the empty chamber once again.
Soundtrack – Singles [OST/Reissue/1992] 2xCD/2xLP+CD (Sony Legacy)
The newly expanded, 25th Anniversary Edition of the Singles soundtrack features the album’s original 13 tracks, newly mastered, with a bonus CD of rarities and unreleased tracks. The new bonus CD (also included on the double-vinyl edition) features previously unreleased recordings by Mudhoney, Paul Westerberg, Mike McCready and Chris Cornell in addition to rarities such as Cornell’s 1992 EP Poncier (debuting an early rendition of “Spoonman”) and tracks from the film not included on the original soundtrack album. This expanded edition includes, for the first time on CD, “Touch Me I’m Dick,” the signature track from Singles performed by Citizen Dick (a fictional band created for the film featuring frontman Matt Dillon backed by Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament).
Wavves – You’re Welcome CD/LP (Ghostramp)
The word “brat” has followed Nathan Williams around for almost a decade, but at the age of 30, with a fully-fledged business to his name, as well as the ongoing success of band Wavves, his rebellious streak has proven not just purposeful but pretty damn inspiring. A sample nerd, Williams delved into his obsession with 1950s doo-wop and – surprisingly – international folk, including Cambodian pop and ’70s psychedelia from South America. The results make for one of the most diverse and intricate Wavves records yet. “Come To The Valley” contains a Phil Spector meets Beach Boys ’60s high school dance vibe, whereas title track “You’re Welcome” riffs on sound effects that could almost originate from Bizarro World, never mind Cambodia. [Limited color vinyl pressing also available.]
This Week’s Vinyl Exclusives:
Amon Amarth – The Crusher [Reissue/2001] LP (Metal Blade)
Amon Amarth – Versus The World [Reissue/2002] LP (Metal Blade)
180gm vinyl reissues. Formed amid the fertile Swedish metal scene in the mid ‘90s, these dedicated diehards brought a new sense of drama and destruction to the world of heavy music, propagating tales of Viking mythology and mortal combat over a devastating soundtrack of crushing rhythms, refined melody and rousing, rebellious refrains.
Angelo Badalamenti – Blue Velvet [Reissue/1986] LP (Varese Sarabande)
For the first time in 30 years, the haunting soundtrack to David Lynch’s masterpiece Blue Velvet is back in-print on vinyl. The first of many collaborations between the director and composer Angelo Badalamenti, Blue Velvet’s evocative score is juxtaposed with Lynch’s use of early pop tunes, creating an unsettling effect that complemented the movie perfectly. You’ll also find the first musical collaboration between Lynch, Badalamenti and Julee Cruise here.
Childish Gambino – Awaken, My Love! 2xLP (Glassnote)
Released last December on CD – now available on vinyl. As Childish Gambino once again sheds his skin, Awaken, My Love! is a sonic evolution. It has been described as R&B meets Pink Floyd, by one journalist while others have cited an amalgam of rock, funk, and soul influences. It is a groundbreaking next step following the genre blending STN MTN / Kauai mixtape and the twice-Grammy nominated rap album, because the internet.
Iron Maiden – No Prayer For The Dying [Reissue/1990] 2xLP (Sanctuary)
Iron Maiden – Fear Of The Dark [Reissue/1992] 2xLP (Sanctuary)
Iron Maiden – The X Factor [Reissue/1995] 2xLP (Sanctuary)
Iron Maiden – Virtual XI [Reissue/1998] 2xLP (Sanctuary)
Unlike the ’80s reissues which were cut from the original analogue master tapes, the vinyl audio for this reissue campaign of their ‘90s catalog has been cut from the high-resolution remasters of 2015 when the Maiden catalogue was digitally upgraded.
Nathaniel Rateliff – In Memory Of Loss  2xLP (Rounder)
Before Nathaniel Rateliff was topping charts around the world with his hit song, “S.O.B.,” he was a solo singer-songwriter, who made his debut with 2010’s In Memory Of Loss. With deeply personal and introspective lyrics, critics drew comparisons to early Bob Dylan and drew high praise from The Telegraph (UK) who called it “highly promising.”
Tedeschi Trucks Band – Live From The Fox Oakland 3xLP+MP3 (Fantasy/Concord)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. In September of 2016, Tedeschi Trucks Band set out for the West Coast to make a live album. After 10 shows, there was no shortage of great music to choose from, but for everyone on the tour, one night stood out from the rest: September 9th at the Fox Theatre in Oakland. Live From The Fox Oakland is a live double album that David Fricke calls “a new peak in the continuing story of a great American rock & roll family band.” 180gm pressing with download.
Kurt Vile – Square Shells [Reissue/2010] 12”+MP3 (Matador)
Kurt Vile – So Outta Reach [Reissue/2011] 12”+MP3 (Matador)
Limited edition color vinyl reissues of a pair of Kurt Vile 12”s.
Voïvod – Rrröööaaarrr [Reissue/1986] LP (Noise/BMG)
Voïvod – Killing Technology [Reissue/1987] LP (Noise/BMG)
Voïvod – Dimension Hatröss [Reissue/1988] LP (Noise/BMG)
Voïvod is a heavy metal band from Quebec that originally formed in 1982 and became one of the first Canadian thrash acts to receive international acclaim. They began as a speed metal band, while adding a mix of progressive and thrash metal to create their own unique style. 180gm remastered vinyl reissues of their trio of classic studio albums released on the Noise Records label are now available.