CDs + Vinyl:
Lily Allen – No Shame CD/LP (WB)
English singer-songwriter Lilly Allen returns with her fourth album, No Shame. Working with collaborators Fryars, Mark Ronson, Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig, Burna Boy, P2J and Cass Lowe, Lily says her goal was to make an album that is “as truthful as possible.” Speaking about the sense of catharsis that came with making the record, she adds, “I believe that we as humans work through things by talking about them, and that’s what making music is for me. It’s sharing things that you hope are going to connect with people, not that are going to connect with algorithms.” It includes lead song “Trigger Bang” featuring Giggs, which The Guardian describes as, “a return to the melancholic pop that made her so intriguing.” A departure from the bold, brash lyricism and sun-soaked melodies Lily is known for, “Three” flips perspective in a way only she can, while the hazy, stripped back “Higher” finds the singer as vulnerable as ever.
Ray Barbee – Tiara For Computer CD/LP (Um Yeah Arts)
In the late 1960s, Peter Zinovieff – co-founder of London’s Electronic Music Studios-sold his wife’s diamond tiara to subsidize the world’s first computer in a private residence. At nearly the cost of a house (and taking up almost an entire room), the weighty extravagance was purchased and installed to control one singular process: sequencing sounds. This was the all-or-nothing beginning of EMS, and their enthusiastic exploration of the unknown-synthesized musiclead
directly to the ground-breaking work of artists like Pink Floyd, Brian Eno, and Kraftwerk. In the spirit of that wholehearted approach, Ray Barbee has ventured into uncharted waters with his latest release, Tiara For Computer, a synth-anchored album from a man known for his expressive, solo guitar work.
The Beach Boys – The Beach Boys With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra CD/2xLP (Capitol)
The Beach Boys’ original vocal performances are paired with new symphonic arrangements, recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios. Brian Wilson says, “I always knew the vocal arrangements I did back in the 1960s would lend themselves perfectly for a symphony and there is no better one in the world than the Royal Philharmonic. I am both proud and humbled by what they have created using our songs and I hope everyone falls in love with it like I have.”
Beechwood – Inside The Flesh Hotel CD/LP (Alive)
From two-minute pop perfection, to the sound of drug-induced nightmare psychoses, Beechwood’s music hits you where it hurts. Gordon Lawrence (guitar/vocals), Isa Tineo (drums/vocals) and Sid Simons (bass/vocals) are drawing their rock ‘n’ roll line in the dirt.
Dierks Bentley – The Mountain CD/2xLP (Capitol Nashville)
Ninth studio album from the country music superstar. The Mountain is unified by themes of presence and positivity, and ranges in style from textured rock to acoustic folk.