New Releases for November 30, 2018
Jon Bellion – Glory Sound Prep CD (Capitol)
After disappearing for two years, Bellion’s sophomore album Glory Sound Prep does not disappoint. The record features a seamless blend of hip-hop, rap, pop, a New Orleans jazz band, and completely random background sounds of clinking, beeping and children yelling to complete Bellion’s well-known signature style. When listening, it’s impossible to ignore the musical talent of a writer, singer and producer such as Bellion. The synth, trumpets and guitars work together to create beautiful transitions between genres. Throughout the record, Bellion consistently proves his lyrics are worth every goosebump, every “AHA!” moment, and demand to be heard as what they really are: art. With lyrics such as “If they don’t feel your thoughts, start dreaming in braille”, from the track “Adult Swim”, or the heartbreaking “When she meets God, He’ll tell her all about it/When my mother was a mother to her mom” from the eight-minute-long “Mah’s Joint”, Bellion easily weaves a large range of topics into GSP.
Big Brother & The Holding Company – Sex, Dope & Cheap Thrills 2xCD/2xLP+MP3 (Columbia/Legacy)
Columbia/Legacy Recordings celebrates the 50th anniversary of Big Brother & The Holding Company’s major label debut with the premiere release of Sex, Dope & Cheap Thrills. Issued at long last under its original title (nixed by the label as too controversial a half century ago), Sex, Dope & Cheap Thrills restores the band’s vision and intent in an essential new collection of 16 rare performances including 12 previously unreleased demos and outtakes from the mythic 1968 sessions that generated Big Brother & The Holding Company’s Cheap Thrills, the breakout album that introduced Janis Joplin to the world. It also includes liner notes penned especially for this commemorative release by Jefferson Airplane frontwoman Grace Slick and Big Brother & The Holding Company drummer David Getz. Originally released in August 1968, Cheap Thrills was an out-of-the-box smash, a No. 1 album that – building on the heat she’d generated at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival – established Janis as rock’s foremost primordial psychedelic soul singer, a musical archetype whose influence has never waned.
Distant Cousins – Next Of Kin CD (Julian)
L.A.-based folk-pop trio Distant Cousins, a multi-layered collaboration of three songwriters/producers/performers (cousin Ami, cousin Dov, and cousin Duvid) offers up a blend of music that, like the band name, suggests both deep connections and a wide variety of genres. In the studio, the cousins share various roles as producers, writers and musicians; at their live shows, however, roles are more delineated. Ami sings, plays bass, and handles looping responsibilities, Dov sings, plays drums, and acoustic guitar, and Duvid sings and is the maestro of a myriad of stringed instruments. Onstage, the band also augments it sound with “honorary cousins” as guest musicians. The 11 tracks on Next Of Kin traverse folk-pop, anthemic pop, heartland pop-rock, and bluesy hues. Select standout cuts include “Lights On”, “Running”, “In My Blood”, and “Mighty Love”. Stanky James Brown grooves, swampy New Orleans second line funk, flourishes imbue “Lights On”, a be-true-to-yourself banger. Subtle layers of meaning provoke thought on the stirring sing-along “Running”. Cultural pride swells on the tender slow burner “In My Blood”, and the rousing “Mighty Love” is a stark reminder to hold your next of kin close to protect them in these volatile times.
Reverend Horton Heat – Whole New Life CD/LP (Victory)
Jim Heath and longtime confidant and slap-bass general Jimbo Wallace have polished up their twelfth release, Whole New Life, which Heath calls “the most positive material I have ever written. It focuses heavily on rock and roll but there is a human interest parallel – songs about growing up poor, vices, marriage, having children and walking the rapturous streets of America.” Call it a new twist on an old sound, Whole New Life was recorded between Fun Guy Studios and Modern Electric in the band’s hometown of Dallas. The 11-track rumination features new drummer Arjuna ‘RJ’ Contreras. The Texas based jazz pupil came to the band’s attention from a friend’s reference in the summer of 2017 and brought a whole new backbeat to the legendary rockabilly administration. After clicking with Contreras, Heath hired a new pianist in 2018, Matt Jordan, to flesh out the sound with the pomp and power of Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard. “I love playing with these guys, it truly is a whole new band, so the title fits perfectly,” Heath adds. “Whole New Life brought out something in me where I am screaming more and making more throaty sounds. It’s got some Louisiana feel to it, a bit of gruff and some Roy Orbison style in it.” [Indie-store exclusive vinyl pressing also available.]
Daniel Romano – Finally Free CD/LP (New West)
Finally Free marks Daniel Romano’s eighth long playing album in the last eight years. He has had what understatedly would be considered a prolific output of incredibly entrancing, poignant and creative records in this span of time. He has been called a shapeshifter, contrived, a chameleon, a Charlatan, the best living songwriter, an asshole and a genius. His last record, Modern Pressure received outstandingly high acclaim and praise from every notable publication out there and was acknowledged by most reputable “for-profit-prize-corporations” as well as a plethora of voguish “music-as-competitive-sport” year-end lists. Despite being the bronze placeholder in most of these dogfights, he is most often noted as a person of astounding influence on all of his musically economic successors. Finally Free could stand alone as being pivotal if it were only its profound and breathtaking prose on paper. Writing now like an agnostic Whitman in his prime, Romano explores and uncovers new language and meaning for old sentiments grown tired. [Indie-store exclusive split color transparent red & green colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Trippie Redd – Life’s A Trip CD/LP (10K Projects)
Following a relentless string of EPs and mixtapes, breakout 19-year old multi-platinum Ohio rapper/singer Trippie Redd offers up his official full-length debut album, Life’s A Trip which includes “Dark Knight Dummo,” featuring Travis Scott and produced by Honorable C.N.O.T.E and “Taking A Walk” produced by Scott Storch/Avendon. Life’s A Trip is themed around the inevitability of death and inspired by the loss of his peers XXXTentacion and Lil Peep. “Life’s A Trip is a triumph, because it paints Trippie’s painful past as something visceral and real to listeners. On his debut, the Canton rapper proves the shadows and ghosts looming over his career only needed to be eclipsed by proving he is a relatable man behind the scars.” – XXL [Limited red & yellow colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Jeff Tweedy – Warm CD/LP (dBpm)
Jeff Tweedy presents, Warm, an 11-track solo album of all new material, recorded at Chicago’s now legendary studio, The Loft (with help from some of his usual collaborators – Spencer Tweedy, Glenn Kotche and Tom Schick). Warm follows the acoustic retrospective release, Together At Last (2017), and Wilco’s 2016 album, Schmilco. Tweedy describes lead single “Some Birds” as, “like a lot of songs on Warm, being a confrontation between self and shadow self simultaneously feeling I’m to blame and not to blame, present and gone, and utterly confused, but determined to hold someone accountable.” From the liner notes: “‘Warm’ is one of the most joyful, celebratory, infectious collections of songs I’ve heard in a long time. It’s intimate and yet vast and feels lovingly made, by actual people, in some particular place, and not inside a computer. As I was listening, I kept picturing a tight little cabin in the woods somewhere (the woods of Chicago?), under a big yellow moon, and four or five Jeffs in there, all playing different instruments, and Spencer on drums, and Susie and Sammy are there, too, and there’s a fire going, and a feeling of love and discovery and fondness in the smoky air. Also in there, I think, is the spirit of Jeff’s father, Bob Tweedy, who passed away in 2017.” – George Saunders
Wheeler Walker Jr. – WW III CD/LP (Pepper Hill)
Wheeler Walker Jr. embarks on his third album, appropriately named, WW III. Following up 2016’s Redneck Sh*t and 2017’s Ol’ Wheeler, the new 11-track collection marks the foul-mouthed trailblazer’s third collaboration with Grammy-nominated producer Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell) and is ushered in by the rollicking singles “Save Some Titty Milk For Me” and “I Like Smoking Pot (A Lot).” “This new album is a departure for me,” Wheeler offers. “The record is about my recent marriage and newborn son…Country music has turned into a bunch of lame mainstream pop garbage. I’m here to save it. America owes me a thank you gift when this album is released.”
Neil Young – Songs For Judy CD (WB)
Recorded during Neil Young’s fabled November 1976 solo acoustic tour of the US, the archival 23-track live collection Songs For Judy includes performances of all-time classics like “Heart Of Gold”, “After The Gold Rush” and “The Needle And The Damage Done”, along with a number of rarer selections, including one song, “No One Seems To Know”, that has not appeared on any previous official release. “Campaigner”, recorded on November 22nd, 1976 at Boston’s Music Hall, serves as the album’s first “single”. Curated by director Cameron Crowe and producer/photographer Joel Bernstein, both of whom contribute to the fascinating liner notes, Songs For Judy marks the debut release from Young’s Reprise Records imprint, Shakey Pictures Records. “The tour had been so satisfying, and so different from all that rock would become in the ensuing years, something indelible was captured in our humble collection,” explains Crowe. “Listening to it today is a little like discovering postcards from home. It was a precious time in Neil Young’s journey, a breath of oxygen in between some of his biggest adventures.” [Vinyl edition due December 14.]
The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships CD/2xLP (Dirty Hit)
Singer Matty Healy on the new 15-track record to NME: “Our first three albums are the story of a person; it’s always kind of been my story. It spanned adolescence to maturity, success and trying to mediate the two, and the third one is where we are now.” He ambitiously adds to Uproxx: “If you look at third albums, [Radiohead’s] OK Computer or [The Smiths’] The Queen Is Dead, that’s what we need to do. I want a legacy. I want people to look back and think our records were the most important pop records that a band put out in this decade.” [A companion LP tentatively titled Notes On A Conditional Form will follow in 2019.]
David Bowie – Glastonbury 2000 2xCD/2xCD+DVD/3xLP (Rhino)
This release documents Bowie’s legendary Sunday night headline performance on June 25th at the most famous festival on earth. The package includes the full 21 song greatest hits set and for the first time, a DVD of the entire show (only 30 minutes of which has ever been broadcast on TV) including the Glastonbury performance of “Heroes”, a highlight of the record-breaking David Bowie Is… exhibition and the only track that has been previously released.
Death In June – Essence CD/LP (Soleilmoon)
“Echoes of the past ring with echoes of The Now. The War Chimes are over and the Slave Bells have been rung”: Neofolk group Death In June release their first album in eight years.
Bryan Ferry And His Orchestra – Bitter-Sweet CD/LP (BMG Rights Management)
Bitter-Sweet further explores Ferry’s jazz influences, includes reinterpretations of Roxy Music cuts like “While My Heart Is Still Beating” and “Dance Away”. Ferry is also tinkering with some of his own solo songs, such as the title track, which Ferry’s refashioned as a sumptuous, smoky affair buoyed by melancholic horns.
Beth Hart – Live At The Royal Albert Hall 2xCD/3xLP (Provogue)
Beth Hart live in front of a sold-out crowd at The Royal Albert Hall on May 4th, 2018. [Stand-alone DVD and Blu-ray editions also available.]
Leftöver Crack – The E-Sides And F-Sides CD/2xLP (Fat Wreck Chords)
A 30-track smorgasbord of B-sides and rarities spanning the NYC punk band’s entire career.
Dolly Parton – Dumplin’ CD (RCA)
Original soundtrack to the 2018 Netflix motion picture Dumplin’ – a musical comedy film directed by Anne Fletcher and written by Kristin Hahn. The soundtrack was composed and performed by country music legend Dolly Parton and features guest performances by Elle King, Alison Krauss, Miranda Lambert, Sia, Mavis Staples and Rhonda Vincent, among others.
Phish – The Baker’s Dozen Live At Madison Square Garden 3xCD/6xLP (Jemp)
In 2017, Phish performed The Baker’s Dozen, a milestone 13-show run at Madison Square Garden held over 17 nights. During the run, the band performed 26 unique sets featuring a grand total of 237 songs with not one repeated.
Dennis Quaid & The Sharks – Out Of The Box CD (Omnivore)
Dennis Quaid & The Sharks origins can be traced to a night when Quaid went to see actor Harry Dean Stanton and his longtime band perform in Los Angeles. Quaid was invited to join the band onstage. At first reluctant, because of his decade-long layoff from music, Quaid finally acquiesced, and his performance planted a seed with Jamie James, guitar player in Stanton’s band. Soon after, James approached Quaid about starting a group of their own. Their debut album, Out Of The Box, features Dennis Quaid originals and songs by The Doors, Van Morrison & more.
This Week’s Vinyl-only Releases:
Dock Boggs – Legendary Singer & Banjo Player [Reissue/1964] LP (Smithsonian Folkways)
Moran Lee Dock Boggs (1898 – 1971) was an old-time singer, songwriter and banjo player. His unique style of singing and banjo playing combined elements of Appalachian folk music and African-American blues. A self-taught musician, Dock recorded about eights sides of music between 1927 and 1929.
Brian Eno – Music For Films [Reissue/1976] LP (Astralwerks)
180gm vinyl reissue of Brian Eno’s seventh album. Music For Films is a conceptual work intended as a soundtrack for imaginary films, although many of the pieces had already appeared in actual films. The album is a loose compilation of material from the period 1975 to 1978, composed of short tracks ranging from one-and-a-half minutes to just over four, making it the antithesis of the long, sprawling, ambient pieces he later became known for.
Jethro Tull – Aqualung – The 2011 Steven Wilson Stereo Remix LP (Rhino/Parlophone)
Deluxe vinyl edition of Jethro Tull’s best-selling 1971 multi-platinum album Aqualung. The audio is the 2011 Steven Wilson Stereo Remix and the packaging contains a 24-page booklet all house in a hard card gatefold sleeve.
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Skynyrd’s Innyrds: Their Greatest Hits [Reissue/1989] LP (Geffen)
World renowned for their hard driven Southern rock attack, magnificent melodies and tragic past, Lynyrd Skynyrd remain one of the greatest rock acts of all time. Back on vinyl for the first time in decades is the band’s 5x platinum 1989 greatest hits package Skynyrd’s Innyrds which in addition to the above cornerstone cuts gathers more essential Southern rock boogie gems like “Gimme Three Steps”, “Saturday Night Special”, “What’s Your Name”, “That Smell”, “Don’t Ask Me No Questions” and a cover of J.J. Cale’s “Call Me The Breeze”.
Primus – Miscellaneous Debris [Reissue/1992] LP (Interscope)
Primus – Tales From The Punchbowl [Reissue/1995] LP (Interscope)
Limited 180gm vinyl LP reissues of Primus’ 1992 cover song EP (the first release by the band
to feature Les Claypool playing his now-famous fretless six-string Carl Thompson bass nicknamed Rainbow Bass) and their fourth studio album (he band’s last album with Tim Alexander before he rejoined Primus seven years later, and again in September 2013).
Twiztid – A New Nightmare [Reissue/2013] LP (InGrooves)
The horrorcore rap group’s 2013 album covers a wide range of hard-hitting issues, from the lows of depression and suicide to the highs of partying.
Various Artists – American Banjo: Tunes And Songs In Scruggs Style [Reissue/1957] LP (Smithsonian Folkways)
Although there is debate among musicologists and banjo players as to who “invented” the three-finger style of five-string banjo playing, there is no disagreement that the style was popularized by Earl Scruggs in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The three-finger style enabled banjo players to play harmony and to solo on bluegrass tunes and songs. This 1957 release assembles examples of the three-finger style by bluegrass banjo players including Scruggs’ older brother Junie and Snuffy Jenkins, who may have had an influence on the style as well.