CDs + Vinyl:

AJR – Living Room CD (WB)

AJR has been favorably compared by Billboard to the Beach Boys and Simon & Garfunkel (for the harmonies), fun. and Imagine Dragons (for the electro-pop influences), and got love from the New York Post for their “sticky-sweet pop melodies with vintage barber shop vocals [and] edgier electronic samples and ‘spokestep’ [aka dubstep breakdowns derived from vocals].”

Oren Ambarchi – Live Knots CD/2xLP (Pan)

Two live realizations of the epic centerpiece of 2012 album Audience Of One. Both recordings feature the interplay between his swirling guitar harmonics and the metronomic pulse and shifting accents of Joel Talia’s DeJohnette-esque drumming.

Asleep At The Wheel – Still The King: Celebrating The Music Of Bob Wills And His Texas Playboys CD (Bismeaux Recordings)

Western swing is all things Texas, uniquely American, and loved the world-over. Nine-time
Grammy winners Ray Benson & Asleep At The Wheel have been the genre’s chief practitioners, conspirators, and caretakers for over forty years, carrying its timeless tradition well into the 21st century. Now with this collection, Benson brings together not only a legendary cast of Texas music contemporaries but also a new generation of Americana artists inspired by the Lone Star State’s favorite son, Bob Wills. Guest include: Amos Lee, The Avett Brothers, Lyle Lovett, Merle Haggard, Old Crow Medicine Show, Pokey LaFarge, The Del McCoury Band, George Strait, Brad Paisley, Buddy Miller, The Devil Makes Three, and many more.

Ata Kak – Obaa Sima CD/LP/Cassette (Awesome Tapes From Africa)

Ata Kak’s cassette Obaa Sima fell on deaf ears when it was self-released in Ghana and Canada in 1994. The music on the recording—an amalgam of highlife, Twi-language rap, funk and disco—is presented with the passion of a Prince record and the DIY-bedroom-recording lo-fi charm of early Chicago house music. The astute self-taught song craft and visionary blend of sounds and rhythms has made the album a left-field cult favorite.

Au.Ra – Jane’s Lament CD/LP (Felte)

Au.Ra is Tim Jenkins and Tom Crandles, two Sydney musicians who specialize in otherworldly guitar pop.

Baba Commandant & The Mandingo Band – Juguya CD/LP (Sublime Frequencies)

Baba Commandant is a practitioner of the Afrobeat style, drawing inspiration from the golden era of Nigerian music. Fela Kuti/Africa 70 and King Sunny Adé are big influences, as is the legendary Malian growler Moussa Doumbia.

Azealia Banks – Broke With Expensive Taste CD (Prospect Park)

“Smile, Chinese Democracy, Detox – the pop music world has never been a stranger to the frustration of the delayed album release. New York rapper and singer Azealia Banks’ Broke With Expensive Taste could have easily earned its own pedestal in such a dubious pantheon. Since she first took music blogs, dorm rooms, and block parties by storm in 2012 with the joyously vulgar earworm 212, Banks has become mired in so many Twitter feuds and record-label publicity flaps that the release of her debut album seemed increasingly unlikely by the month. Instead, she has now presented us with one of the most explosive and intriguing hip-hop releases of the year. We should hardly be surprised — Banks has always demonstrated a precocious talent for confounding expectations.” – Pretty Much Amazing

Beardyman – Distractions CD (Tummy Touch)

“Beardyman is an absolute legend in the world of beatboxing, achieving a level of success pretty much unmatched in the mainstream circuit by anyone else in the scene. Distractions is his latest studio album, and it’s an interesting and innovative listen from start to finish. It was produced using the Beardytron 5000 mkIII, designed by the man himself, which enables live recording and mixing. The result isn’t pretentious or over the top however, it is in fact a thoroughly enjoyable experience, showing that Beardyman isn’t a one trick pony, and his journey into the more leftfield, glitchy electronic setting is successful and engaging.” – Contact Music

James Blackshaw – Summoning Suns CD/LP (Important)

Summoning Suns is James Blackshaw’s tenth studio album and the first recording to feature his voice and lyrics. Drawing inspiration from ’60s and ’70s singer/songwriters, baroque and orchestral pop, and folk music, while still sounding contemporary, Summoning Suns is Blackshaw’s foray into more traditional forms of songcraft. Blackshaw sings in a gentle but assured voice while his words combine his personal experiences, neuroses, and fantasies through many layers of abstraction, poeticism, and dark humor.

Blutengel – Omen CD/2xCD (Out Of Line)

Omen is the ninth studio album from German futurepop band Blutengel. Available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds an eight-track bonus disc and is packaged in a digipak sleeve.

Tom Brosseau – Perfect Abandon CD/LP (Crossbill)

Perfect Abandon is the new album by Tom Brosseau. It was produced, engineered and recorded in Bristol, England by John Parish (PJ Harvey, Sparklehorse, Peggy Sue) and Ali Chant, features a two-piece drumkit, double bass and Stratocaster guitar. Themes of the songwriting include man struggles to understand divinity, betrayal of a kinsman, discovery, individualism, love.

Thomas Buckner/Claudio Parodi – Taken From A True Story CD (Extreme)

Claudio Parodi has a classical training and played jazz. He joined the improvisers’ scene after meeting Barre Phillips. Since some years he plays cheap electronics alongside his piano. For more than 40 years baritone Thomas Buckner has dedicated himself to the world of new and improvised music. In collaboration with a host of prominent composers and improvisers, Buckner continues to commission and perform numerous chamber works, orchestral pieces and song cycles, as well as improvisations, electronic constructions, and multi-media theater pieces. Taken From A True Story was recorded by Paolo Valenti at Loud Music Studio, Genova, Italia, on March 11-12, 2008.

Buxton – Half A Native CD/LP+MP3 (New West)

Some places you feel like you only sort of fit in and it is this theme that permeates Houston based folk rock band Buxton’s new aptly titled album Half A Native. One of the leading lights of an emerging music scene from a city with a burgeoning youth culture, Buxton have won two Houston Press Music awards as ‘Best Houston Folk/Americana Band’ as well as ‘Best Male’ Vocals (Sergio Trevino). Their new album ventures into vast sonic territories, sometimes pairing atmospheric piano with off-kilter electric guitar, blanketed by Trevino’s heart-clenched voice and melancholic but optimist lyrics.

[click to continue…]

CDs + Vinyl:

Aether Drop – Mannequins CD (Agoge)

New album by the alternative/nu metal band from Rome, Italy. The band was formed by members of Zeroworld, Inkblade, Youthanasia, Rusty Row, and Quintoquarto.

Agonist – Eye Of Providence CD (Century Media)

This Montreal-based five-piece has established themselves as torchbearers of a new generation of Canadian metal.

Ahamkara – The Embers Of The Stars CD (Nordvis)

Perhaps it is arrogant to make the statement that there are very few bands in the black metal realm striving to make music like this anymore, but this is a blatant truth. Ahamkara have truly dug deep on their 2015 debut, The Embers Of The Stars, and birthed a world sculpting and endlessly atmospheric album for the ages that embraces a onetime Scandinavian darkness and innovation, while adopting an organic strain of modernity.

The Airborne Toxic Event – Dope Machines CD/LP (Epic)

“The Airborne Toxic Event has its roots grounded in sunny Los Angeles, California but their sound reminds me of a band out of London, England. The edgy guitar riffs and the melancholy voice of Mikel Jollett give The Airborne Toxic Event a sound that is similar to a hybrid of The Smiths and Muse. After their massive success with All At Once that featured the amazing track, ‘All I Ever Wanted’ and their less notable release, Such Hot Blood, The Airborne Toxic Event is looking to make some noise in the alternative music space with Dope Machines. ‘Chains’ is a track that brings The Airborne Toxic Event back to the sound from All At Once with the use of crescendos, decrescendos and varying levels of energy within the song.” – New Alt Sounds

Alcoa – Party Tricks CD/LP (Bridge Nine)

New album by Defeater singer/guitarist Derek Archambault — a slightly twangy and honest sound with shades of wistful, jangly ‘90s alternative rock acts.

Alien Ant Farm – Always & Forever CD (Executive Music)

“Always And Forever is a good old-fashioned hook-a-thon that proves Alien Ant Farm are – and continue to be – about more than just the one song.” – Rock Sound Magazine

All That Remains – The Order Of Things CD/2xLP+MP3 (Razor & Tie)

Working for the first time with producer Josh Wilbur (Lamb of God, Gojira) All That Remains pushed themselves creatively, continuing to evolve while remaining true to the principals that etched their place as purveyors of hard rock. The diversity on the album ranges from total brutality to a ballad, resulting in a cohesive journey from beginning to end.

Altan – The Widening Gyre CD (Compass)
On The Widening Gyre, Altan explores the musical relationship between American roots music and the traditional music of Ireland. Includes guest appearances by Mary Chapin Carpenter, Darol Anger, Alison Brown, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Todd Phillips Tim O’Brien and others.

BADBADNOTGOOD/Ghostface Killah – Sour Soul CD/LP (Lex)

“Everything about the formula for Sour Soul screams instant classic. Toronto trio BADBADNOTGOOD made a name for themselves over the last couple of years via a retro fusion of jazz and instrumental hip-hop. Part of that notoriety came from whip-smart covers of tracks by the likes of Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame, but also from imaginative, expressive originals — the keys/bass/drums trio acting as a younger generation of The Bad Plus, choosing their covers from the hip-hop and electronic canon rather than pop and rock. Pairing the Canadians with Ghostface Killah, a rap legend who excels over soulful, spacy throwback production, would seem to be beyond a no-brainer” – Consequence Of Sound. (Limited copies pressed on gold vinyl.)

Mahalia Barnes & The Soul Mates Featuring Joe Bonamassa – Ooh Yea! The Betty Davis Songbook CD (J&R Adventures)

Powerhouse singer Mahalia Barnes, one of the most impressive female vocalists to come out of Australia, and her band The Soul Mates have teamed up with American blues-rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa to release an album of Betty Davis covers. Ooh Yea! The Betty Davis Songbook explores tracks from Davis sexy, raw funk records of the early ‘70s.

Bedemon – Child Of Darkness CD/LP+MP3 (Relapse)

Relapse presents the first legitimate release of the legendary Bedemon sessions. Assembled in the early ‘70s by sometimes-fifth Pentagram member and friend of the band Randy Palmer, Bedemon was a private project to record his doomy Black Sabbath-like songs filled with imagery of demons, darkness and drugs.

Big Sean – Dark Sky Paradise CD (G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam)

The rapper’s follow-up to 2013’s Hall Of Fame includes contributions with Skyscrapers, Drake, Kanye West, E-40, Christ Brown & Ty Dolla $ign, Jhené Aiko, Lil Wayne, and Kanye West & John Legend. Production credits come courtesy of Mike WiLL Made-It, DJ Dahi, Key Wane, Boi-1da, and Vinylz. Available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds two bonus tracks, which feature additional collaborations with PARTYNEXTDOOR and girlfriend Ariana Grande.

The Black Ryder – The Door Behind The Door CD/LP (The Anti-Machine Machine)

“Ethereal drone, ceremonial percussion, and dead-eyed harmonies carry on together until they build up to something sublime. There’s never really a climax because the whole thing feels like one overwhelming wave of gorgeous noise.” – Stereogum

Black Star Riders – Killer Instinct CD/2xCD (Nuclear Blast)

Fresh from the critically acclaimed debut album All Hell Breaks Loose in 2013, Black Star Riders release their sophomore studio album The Killer Instinct. In October 2014 the band gathered in Nashville, TN and entered the studio with Grammy award winning producer Nick Raskulinecz (Rush, The Foo Fighters, Alice In Chains, Mastodon) to record the album. Hard rock in the classic tradition. Available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe adds a bonus CD. Vinyl version due March 3.

Anouar Brahem – Souvenance: Music for Oud, Quartet And String Orchestra CD (ECM)

The music of Souvenance, by turns graceful, hypnotic, and taut and starkly dramatic, was recorded in 2014 six years after oud-master Anouar Brahem’s last ECM album, The Astounding Eyes Of Rita. New directions for the music find Francois Couturier returning to the Brahem group, frequently supported by subtle string orchestration. The strings have a glowing transparency and fragility in these pieces, often providing shimmering texture against which the contributions of the quartet members and, above all, Anouar Brahem’s unique oud-playing stand out in bold relief.

Travis Bretzer – Waxing Romantic CD/LP (Mexican Summer)

Recorded at Gary’s Electric studio and produced by Jorge Elbrecht (Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffitti, Lansing-Dreiden), Waxing Romantic features members of Haunted Graffiti, James Richardson of MGMT and Regal Degal’s Josh da Costa. The album is very personal—it navigates the giddy and elated feelings of falling in love, and the process of looking back and reflecting on it. In keeping with the album’s ’70s pop mode, the lyrics are kept simple and sweet, but never cloying. RIYL: Orange Juice, Nick Lowe, Cass McCombs.

Brothers Born – Knife Wounds CD (Nine Mile)

Brothers Born is Joel Stroetzel (Killswitch Engage) and Michael Wyzik (Storm The Ohio). The project is a big departure from the metal of Stroetzel’s Killswitch Engage or the indie-Americana of Wyzik’s bands, occupying a musical middle-ground of sorts. Vinyl version due March 10.

Chris Brown/Tyga – Fan Of A Fan The Album CD (RCA)

New collaboration between Chris Brown and Tyga. Fan Of A Fan The Album features Pusha T, Wale, T.I., 50 Cent, Schoolboy Q, TY Dolla Sign, Boosie and Fat Trel, and is available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe includes a special booklet.

Eric Burdon & The Animals – Winds Of Change [Reissue/1967] CD/LP (Sundazed)
Eric Burdon & The Animals – The Twain Shall Meet [Reissue/1968] CD/LP (Sundazed)

Reeling from poor management decisions and inter-band strife, The Animals fell apart toward the end of 1966.
Seeking a rebirth, lead vocalist Eric Burdon relocated from London to California. There, Burdon assembled a new Animals lineup, retaining only drummer Barry Jenkins from the previous incarnation. Now known as Eric Burdon and The Animals, the group immersed themselves in the psychedelic culture of San Francisco and their sound followed suit. Burdon and the group returned in April 1968 with The Twain Shall Meet, continuing their psychedelic journey. “Monterey” chronicled the previous summer’s seminal festival while “Sky Pilot” reflected the growing anti-war sentiment as the Vietnam Conflict escalated. Steeped in a dense, layered sound full of electric guitars, sitars, strings, brass and washes of phased vocals, the album served notice that Burdon and company were totally in-step with America’s youth movement. (Vinyl version of Winds Of Change is mono, Twain Shall Meet is stereo)

[click to continue…]



CDs + Vinyl:

36 Crazyfists – Time And Trauma CD (Spinefarm)
Seventh album from the Alaskan metalcore band.

Adventures – Supersonic Home CD/LP (Run For Cover)
Supersonic Home, the debut album from Pittsburgh’s resident musical wunderkinds Adventures, is an ambitious blend of powerhouse influences: these ten songs reimagine of the best parts of ‘90s alt-rock and emo and infuse them with the cathartic energy of punk. However, Adventures delivers much more than just the sum of these parts. Throughout pensive, melancholic retreats like “Tension and “Long Hair,” the constant vocal tandem of Reba Meyers and Kimi Hanauer radiates above every infectious pop- rock riffs and the warm, rhythmic backbone of bass and keyboard.

The Allen Brothers – Allen Brothers With Other Country Brother Acts 4xCD (JSP)
Country music has always featured brother acts. The most prolific included the Delmore Brothers, the Blue Sky Boys and the Monroe Brothers. This collection focuses mainly on Austin and Lee Allen. The first three CDs are devoted to them and the fourth deals with their fraternal contemporaries.

The Amazing – Picture You CD/LP (PTKF)
The Amazing inhabits an aural landscape that’s all its own: a panoramic, constantly evolving spectacle marked by layers of intertwining guitars, richly textured keyboards and a rhythm section adept at skewed tempos and a tendency to veer off in unexpected directions. The band’s free flowing, cinematic sound balances focused song structures with unbridled improvisation to create a heady genre smashing exercise in sonic exploration.

And And And – Failure CD (Party Damage)
Winners of Willamette Week’s 2011 Best New Band poll (past finalists have included Menomena, Starf**ker, and Typhoon), And And And finally release what can only be called the follow-up to that year’s blur of output, culminating with the early 2012 Lost EP. They’re known for truly epic live shows with no clear delineation between stage and offstage or audience member and musician. Recorded over ten days in San Diego with Rafter Roberts between skateboarding and drinking sessions, the record is fiery and urgent. It evokes classic grunge-era sounds from the Northwest (think Mudhoney and early Nirvana).

Ernestine Anderson – Swings The Penthouse CD (HighNote)
Here is the great Ernestine Anderson in the full bloom of youth as you may have never heard her before live in front of an appreciative audience. This is the 34-year old Anderson singing with exuberance and spontaneity in the intimate setting of Seattle’s legendary jazz club, The Penthouse. Here she swings and shouts, cajoles and caresses her way through a set list of standards and jazz classics as only she could. These recordings are seeing the first light of commercial release. They have never been issued before in any format.

At The Hollow – What I Hold Most Dear CD (Spinefarm)
Debut album from the Finnish rock band.

Carl Barat And The Jackals – Let It Reign CD/LP (Grand Jury Music)
New album from this band led by Carl Barat, best known as the co-frontman of The Libertines. Features production by Joby J. Ford (The Bronx) and guest musicians, such as Beastie Boys percussionist Alfredo Ortiz.

Jarren Benton – Slow Motion CDEP (Funk Volume)
New release from the Decatur, GA-based rapper.

Sir Richard Bishop – Tangier Sessions CD/LP/Cassette (Drag City)
New album from the singer/guitarist best known for his work with the Sun City Girls. Tangier Sessions tells the oft-told tale: while traveling abroad, nobleman meets guitar. Guitar is too expensive for nobleman and outraged, he departs. Nobleman quietly returns several days later for guitar but still can’t bring himself to pay the price. Yet nobleman can’t get guitar out of mind (he’s never heard anything like it) — so nobleman buys guitar, then travels the world with it, enchanted, and makes this album while in Tangier.

Blue-Eyed Hawk – Under The Moon CD (Edition)
Taking its name from a line in W. B. Yeats’s poem Under The Moon, Blue-Eyed Hawk is the London-based band that brings together vocalist Lauren Kinsella, trumpeter Laura Jurd, guitarist Alex Roth and drummer Corrie Dick. Their debut album, titled after the same poem, is the sum of a collaborative process that bursts with the youthful energy, vision and integrity of all four members. The resulting music is emotive, lyrical, dark, inspiring and at times unexpected, often conjuring the dreamlike, nature-themed imagery of Yeats’s eponymous poem. Bringing a wide open improv sensibility to its melodic and richly textured original material, Blue-Eyed Hawk creates uniquely eclectic music that traverses art-rock, jazz, minimalist and electronic sound worlds.

The Box Tops – The Original Albums 1967-1969 2xCD (Raven)
This collection highlights the career of Memphis-based combo The Box Tops, combining all four of their original, long-deleted and highly regarded 1960s albums (Letter-Neon Rainbow, Cry Like A Baby, Non Stop, Dimensions). Effectively, the complete Box Tops. One of the finest blue eyed-soul, hit-making groups of the 1960s led by the late, revered cult figure Alex Chilton, the group’s music also encompassed touches of country soul and psych-pop.

Brainticket – Past, Present & Future CD/2xLP (Cleopatra)
Legendary pioneers of Krautrock return with a brand new studio album. Joel Vandroogenbroeck brought on board an exceptionally talented group of musicians including UK Subs guitarist Nicky Garratt, Jürgen Engler of Die Krupps, Jason Willer and Kephera Moon from Nik Turner’s band, and others.

Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth – Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth CD/LP (Neurot)
With a long-held reputation for some of the heaviest music from the Pacific Northwest, Seattle’s legendary Tad Doyle (formerly of Tad, Hog Molly) returns with a new band, Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth. This powerful trio of musicians — Tad on guitar/vocals, veteran bass player Peggy Doyle and drummer Dave French (The Annunaki) — bring together their collective and extensive musical histories in punk, hard rock and metal. (CD version features two extra tracks.)

Dewa Budjana – Hasta Karma CD (Moonjune)
Hasta Karma sets a new benchmark for modern progressive jazz excellence in the 21st century. With a vibe and feel more akin to that of a band with decades of experience together, Dewa and his stellar session-mates — the legendary NYC vibraphonist, Joe Locke, and Pat Metheny Unity Group’s rhythm core: the fabulous, articulate young upright bassist, Ben Williams, and the extraordinary maestro drummer, Antonio Sanchez — create superlative atmospheric textures that transport listeners to destinations of soaring altitude.

Bunny Lion – Red [Reissue/1979] CD/LP (Omnian Music Group)
Red features ten grooving Linval Thompson Sound rhythms voiced by Bunny Lion, now confirmed to be Puddy Roots of Kilamanjaro Soundsystem fame. Originally released on London’s Starlight Records in 1979, this is the earliest documented work of the criminally under-recorded Puddy Roots as well as the perfect gateway record for anyone curious about dub, roots reggae or dancehall.

Burning Saviors – Unholy Tales From The North CD (Transubstans Sweden)
Fifth album from the metal band. Pure retro sounding doom.

[click to continue…]