J.D. Allen – Bloom CD (Savant)
Every new recording by tenor saxophonist JD Allen serves to solidify his reputation as one of the finest, most adventurous young musicians playing today. With a gently swinging, very personal vibrato he weaves his way into territory that he has charted for himself. With pianist Orrin Evans, J.D. takes us on an intensely personal journey through an ever-changing landscape of jazz as he sees it with playing that earned Allen a blaze of critical attention signaling his ascension to the upper ranks of the contemporary jazz world.
Amida – Boring Birth CD (Jigsaw)
Sounding like a mix between The Wolfhounds, The Monochrome Set and even a little Big Flame (and similarly noisy bands on the ”other” side of C86), Amida’s speedy/jangly guitars seem to be
fighting the propelling bass guitar for control, giving us some very compelling music in the process.
The Apache Relay – The Apache Relay CD (So Recordings)
“Nashville band The Apache Relay has come a long way since their humble beginnings in vocalist Michael Ford, Jr.’s Belmont dorm room. They impressed on their 2009 debut 1988, but the real momentum picked up with 2011’s American Nomad, which won the band slots opening for Mumford & Sons and appearing at renowned festivals like Newport Folk” – Paste. Vinyl version due May 19.
Army Of The Pharaohs – In Death Reborn CD/2xLP (Enemy Soil)
Initiated in 1998 by Jedi Mind Tricks frontman Vinnie Paz as homage to the incredible rap crews of the ‘80s and early ‘90s, The Army Of The Pharoahs has, from its outset, been an ever-evolving collective of celebrated emcees from the indie hip-hop scene. Founding members Vinnie Paz and Esoteric were featured on the crew’s original 12” single, Five Perfect Exertions, in 1998 and remain with the crew today. With the release of their debut studio album, The Torture Papers in 2006, the Pharoah clique expanded to include accomplished solo emcees Apathy, Celph Titled, King Syze, Reef The Lost Cauze, and the Philly hip-hop duo and frequent Jedi Mind Tricks collaborators, Outerspace. In Death Reborn also features appearances from Blacastan, Zilla, Block McCloud, Demoz, Doap Nixon, King Magnetic and Lawrence Arnell.
Augustana – Life Imitating Life CD (Washington Square Music)
From the first song, the melodic, piano-driven “Ash And Ember,” to the beautiful vocals on the album’s closer, “Remember Me,” Life Imitating Life is a shimmering blend of rock, folk, and country, all of which manage to sound both modern and timeless together.
Iggy Azalea – The New Classic CD (Def-Jam)
Debut album by the Australian rapper Iggy Azalea. She would be the first to admit that she’s something of an outsider in the world of rap. As a white girl from rural Australia, raised in the small New South Wales town of Mullumbimby (population: 3,000), how could she not be? It’s appropriate that she’s risen to the status of one of the most promising new MCs in an era when hip-hop has never been more open to artists from a diversity of backgrounds. Available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Deluxe includes bonus tracks.
Sebastian Bach – Give ‘Em Hell CD (Frontiers)
The former Skid Row frontman returns with a fist in your face, hard rock and heavy metal record which sees his now signature sound and vocal style in top form. Produced again by Bob Marlette (Black Sabbath, Shinedown, Atreyu, Filter), Give ‘Em Hell sees some very special guests joining Sebastian on the songwriting and playing front: Steve Stevens (Billy Idol); John 5 (Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, David Lee Roth) and Duff McKagan (Guns ‘N Roses, Velvet Revolver).
Bastille – All This Bad Blood 2xCD (Virgin)
Deluxe double-CD edition of the UK quartet’s 2013 debut features a bonus disc containing 13 additional tracks including the single, ”Of The Night” plus various new recordings, rare B-sides and tracks from the band’s fabled Other People’s Heartache mixtapes.
Drake Bell – Ready Steady Go CD (Surfdog)
Drake Bell is the most popular TV star in Nickelodeon’s history, but his talent goes way beyond acting. With music being his first love, Drake has just made “the most rockin’ and exciting album of his career.” Produced by the legendary Peter Collins. Vinyl version due May 13.
Jerry Bergonzi – Intersecting Lines CD (Savant)
The title says it all. Intersecting Lines is about the interplay between saxophonists Jerry Bergonzi and Dick Oatts. This is an old-school blowing session in the context of hard bop and bebop, and the focus is squarely on the two horns. Bass and drum solos are few and far between — and brief.
Black Prairie – Fortune CD (Sugar Hill)
This group of seasoned musicians from Portland, Oregon – each steeped in traditional American acoustic music – has become hell-bent on taking one imaginative leap after another. In a way, Fortune is Black Prairie’s most conventional record – thirteen, polished vocal tunes with (mostly) conventional pop song structures. On the other hand, there’s a glaring eccentricity to the album that hits you right away: here is a band of accomplished acoustic musicians playing what are essentially rock songs, and sometimes with a pretty hard edge – it’s a record, band members say, that’s trying to channel not the spirit of Earl Scruggs or Jerry Douglas, but Led Zeppelin.