CDs + Vinyl:
Ails – The Unraveling CD/LP (The Flenser)
After Bay Area avant-garde cornerstones Ludicra called it quits in 2011, most of the band continued with their other musical endeavors, but former vocalist Laurie Shanaman and guitar player / vocalist Christy Cather haven’t resurfaced in a big way until now—Ails marks the return of both to center stage. “Ails beautifully synthesizes melancholy melodic death metal, stately doom, and atmospheric black metal, teasing every iota of intensity from each individual note and capitalizing on Shanaman’s vocal might.” —Noisey
ANMLPLNET – Fall Asleep CD/LP+MP3 (Ba Da Bing!)
Dream-like soundscapes from the duo comprised of Slothrust leader Leah Wellbaum and drummer/singer Mickey Vershbow. The band was formed originally on a number of rules, including writing lyrics that are antonymic translations (meaning nouns, adjectives and verbs were replaced with their antonyms) and playing songs straight through as one giant piece, no breaks. Epochal in scope and melodic.
The Aquabats – The Fury Of The Aquabats [Reissue/1997] 2xCD (Goopy)
Expanded reissue. One-part punk, one-part ska, one part Devo [Vinyl edition due May 4.]
Marcia Ball – Shine Bright CD (Alligator)
A rollicking array of piano-fueled roadhouse romps seasoned by Ball’s incomparably soulful balladry.
A Big Yes and Small No – Mise En Abyme CD/LP (The Royal Potato Family)
“One of the beautiful things about playing music is the gentle reminder of your own mortality that comes with creating something out of nothing, and knowing that the moment you stop playing, it will cease to exist,” says Kevin Kendrick, frontman and founder of Brooklyn’s A Big Yes and a small no. “A record is so-called because it is, literally, a record of that moment; so it doesn’t cease to exist.” Mise En Abyme, (“placed into abyss”), the project’s third album is, not surprisingly, very existential. Existentialism seems natural for a songwriter whose destiny in a symphony orchestra seemed given until he was kidnapped in Colombia in 1997. Terrifying though it was, it gave him clarity and hastened a move to touring as a hip-hop DJ and a vibraphonist with freak-jazz band Fat Mama. Someone who has survived 7 muggings and only picked up the pen in his late ‘20s after finally winning a protracted “war” with heroin has thought a lot about existence.
CDs + Vinyl:
Jason Aldean – Rearview Town CD/LP+MP3 (Broken Bow)
Eighth studio album from the country powerhouse. Features a guest appearance by Miranda Lambert.
Louis Armstrong – Pops Is Tops: The Verve Studio Albums 4xCD (Verve)
Three Louis Armstrong albums and more, all recorded during an extraordinary few days in August & October 1957. Includes I’ve Got the World On A String, Louis Under The Stars, Louis Armstrong meets Oscar Peterson with bonus tracks for each. Additionally, the previously digital-only album A Day With Satchmo is included on CD.
Augury – Illusive Golden Age CD/LP (The Artisan Era)
New album from the Montreal-based progressive death metallers.
Behemoth – Messe Noire 2xCD/2xLP (Metal Blade)
Brand new live collection recorded at Progresja in Warsaw, Poland on August 8, 2016 from the Polish black/death metal overlords.
BlackWater HolyLight – Riding Easy CD/LP (Riding Easy)
Heavy psych-riffs, Gothic drama, folk-rock vibes, garage-sludge and soaring melodies all collide into a satisfying whole.
David Bowie – Changestwobowie [Reissue/1981] CD/LP (Rhino)
Digitally remastered edition. Changestwobowie is a David Bowie compilation album issued in 1981 by RCA Records. It’s title and packaging followed the format of RCA’s earlier Bowie compilation, Changesonebowie released in 1976. As well as post-1976 singles, the album collected songs from earlier in Bowie’s career that had not appeared on Changesone.
CDs + Vinyl:
Arild Andersen/Paolo Vinaccia/Tommy Smith – In House Science CD (ECM)
Norwegian master bassist Arild Andersen s trio with big-toned tenorist Tommy Smith and powerhouse drummer Paolo Vinaccia is one of the most viscerally exciting jazz small groups of the present moment.
Daniel Avery – Song For Alpha CD/2xLP (Mute)
It’s enlightening to discover that Daniel Avery’s second album – Song For Alpha, the absorbing follow up to 2013’s Drone Logic – was inspired largely by his transient life spent between nightclubs, flights, the passenger seats of cars and rented rooms, cementing a worldwide reputation as one of the defining techno DJs of the decade. While Drone Logic was mainly created for and honed by countless DJ gigs, Song For Alpha revels in exploring different spaces. As Avery’s surroundings have changed, so has the sound of the new recordings.
Bambara – Shadow On Everything CD/LP (Wharf Cat)
The third LP by Bambara represents a decisive step forward for the NYC-via-Georgia trio. Frontman Reid Bateh, drummer Blaze Bateh, and bassist William Brookshire have always been adept students of noise rock and post-punk, mining the work of bands like Swans and the Birthday Party to construct what NPR called their “beautifully dynamic nightmares.”
Barren Earth – A Complex Of Cages CD/LP (Century Media)
Fourth album from the Finnish metal band. “A Complex of Cages doesn’t break open Barren Earth’s sound to be something dashingly new. Rather, it shows these Faroe-Finns rocking out mid-paced death riffs, offsetting it with cleaner parts and littering the heaviest sections with borderline orchestral black metal.” – Angry Metal Guy
Jeff Beck – Live At The Hollywood Bowl 2xCD (Rhino)
In the summer of 2016, guitar virtuoso Jeff Beck celebrated 50 years of his musical career with an extraordinary concert at the famous Hollywood Bowl. Beck set the stage ablaze with incredible live versions of “For Your Love,” “Beck’s Bolero,” “‘Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers,” “Big Block,” “Over Under Sideways Down,” “A Day In The Life,” “Blue Wind” and more. The night also included a legendary list of special guests including Steven Tyler, Billy F. Gibbons, Jan Hammer, Beth Hart, Jimmy Hall and Buddy Guy. [Vinyl edition due May 25.]
CDs + Vinyl:
Amen Dunes – Freedom CD/LP+MP3 (Sacred Bones)
Over the course of 10 years, Damon McMahon aka Amen Dunes has transformed continuously, and Freedom is the project’s boldest leap yet. On the surface, it’s a reflection on growing up, childhood friends who ended up in prison or worse, male identity, McMahon’s father, and his mother, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the beginning of recording. The characters that populate the musical world of Freedom are a colorful mix of reality and fantasy: father and mother, Amen Dunes, teenage glue addicts and Parisian drug dealers, ghosts above the plains, fallen surf heroes, vampires, thugs from Naples and thugs from Houston, the emperor of Rome, Jews, Jesus, Tashtego, Perseus, even McMahon himself. Each character portrait is a representation of McMahon, of masculinity, and of his past.
Eric Andersen – The Essential Eric Andersen 2xCD (Real Gone Music)
Eric Andersen is one of the greatest singer-songwriters to emerge from the fabled Greenwich Village folk scene of the ’60s. But the one thing that was missing from his catalog is a true, career-spanning anthology chronicling every phase of his multi-faceted career. The Essential Eric Andersen, is a double-CD, 33-track set that spans 45 years, 10 different labels, and 19 different albums.
Anna & Elizabeth – Comes To Us CD/LP (Smithsonian Folkways)
Praised by many well-known musicians and widely loved for their moving minimalist arrangements, Anna & Elizabeth pioneer new ways of presenting old songs and stories to modern audiences. Co-producer Benjamin Lazar Davis (Cuddle Magic) and legendary avant-rock drummer Jim White (The Dirty Three, Xylouris White) assist in the duo’s vision of breathing life and new perspective into the crackling and disintegrating recordings and artifacts of the past. Rarely does an album based on traditional folk music resonate so strongly in modern times.
Ayreon – Ayreon 2xCD/2xCD+DVD/3xLP+MP3 (Music Theories)
After creating rock operas in the studio for more than 20 years, prog mastermind Arjen Lucassen, aka Ayreon, finally took his Universe to the stage in September 2017. The best of these shows, Ayreon Universe is a full-on rock extravaganza, featuring songs from all Ayreon albums. Guests include Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Damian Wilson (Threshold), Hansi Kursch (Blind Guardian), Tommy Karevik (Kamelot), Anneke van Giersbergen (The Gentle Storm), Marco Hietala (Nightwish), Jonas Renkse (Katatonia), Mike Mills (Toehider), Marcela Bovio (Stream of Passion), Irene Jansen, Robert Soeterboek (Star One), John Jaycee Cuijpers (Praying Mantis), Edward Reekers (Kayak), Jay van Feggelen, Maggy Luyten (Nightmare) and Lisette van den Berg (Scarlet Stories). [Stand-alone DVD and Blu-ray editions are also available.]
Barbarossa – Leir CD/LP (Memphis Industries)
Picking up where 2015’s Imager left off, Lier is further electronic wizardry from Barbarossa (London-born James Mathé) – one of the UK’s finest song writing talents. This time, his vocal is at the forefront on some of the most accessible pop songs he’s ever written.
Apollo Brown & Ghostface Killah – The Brown Tape CD/LP (Mello Music)
The official reissue of Apollo Brown’s re-imagining of Ghostface Killah’s striking 2013 release Twelve Reasons To Die. The legendary Detroit producer was asked to record an alternate album at the same time as Adrian Younge created Twelve Reasons To Die. Keep in mind, Brown was given access to Ghostface’s original recordings and constructed beats around the rapper’s work. Cinematic and nasty, this is hip-hop at its most raw.