CDs + Vinyl:
Alter Bridge – Last Hero CD/2xLP (Alter Bridge)
Alter Bridge is known for blurring the line between hard rock and heavy metal. They return with
their fifth studio album, The Last Hero.
Apoptygma Berzerk – Exit Popularity Contest CD/Cassette (The End)
On Exit Popularity Contest, APOP founder Stephan Groth distils the essence of carefully selected pioneers to construct a classic yet refreshingly contemporary sound. Always a musical chameleon, Groth pays homage to his roots through emulating the analogue soundscapes of innovators like Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Jean-Michel Jarre, Vangelis and Klaus Schulze, and the driving motorik Krautrock rhythms of Neu!, Cluster and La Düsseldorf, all filtered through his own unique Scandinavian sensibility. In doing so he has created a vibrant, colorful 21st century palette on which to blend these classic influences from the Golden Age of electronic music. Exit Popularity Contest demonstrates an admirable musical purity and sincerity, channeling the best of the past to forge a path into the future.
Rick Astley – 50 CD/LP+MP3 (BMG Rights Management)
50 is Astley’s first new album in a decade and his first official US release since 1993’s Body & Soul. The set finds Rick returning to his musical roots, with a deeply resonant voice that soars over driving soul, reflective pop and gospel influences.
Balance And Composure – Light We Made CD/LP+MP3 (Vagrant)
Light We Made, which was produced by Will Yip (Nothing, Pity Sex), marks a milestone for the band, as this time around they’ve toned down their hardcore and punk-rock roots, to present a body of work that is dominated by soothing, harmonic tracks. The album’s transcendent mood is driven by new sonic elements – as the band weaves in dreamy synth chords, melodic guitar riffs, and atmospheric bass grooves and drumbeats.
Eric Benét – Eric Benét CD (Jordan House/Primary Wave)
Seventh album from the R&B singer/songwriter. The LP contains 13 tracks with features from Tamia, MC Lyte, and Arturo Sandoval.
Bronze Radio Return – Light Me Up CD/LP (Digsin)
The fourth album from the six-piece Hartford Connecticut band incorporates different elements of indie, rock and pop.
Brookzill! – Throwback To The Future CD/LP (Tommy Boy)
Brookzill! includes producer/DJ Prince Paul (De La Soul, Stetsasonic, Handsome Boy Modeling School), Ladybug Mecca (Digable Planets), Rodrigo Brandão (aka Gorila Urbano) and producer/arranger Don Newkirk. Twelve tracks and ten years deep, Throwback To The Future is a proud amalgamation of place, spirituality, and time. Recorded in two continents, the LP features a dynamic guest list of acclaimed Brazilian musicians playing instruments including marimbas, cavaquinho, and flute.
Sandy Bull with Billy Higgins – Fantasias For Guitar And Banjo [Reissue/1963] CD (Real Gone Music)
CD reissue of the debut release from Sandy Bull, who defined the ‘60s folk guitar explosion. Blending eastern and western styles, living on the jazz/blues line, Bull’s guitar playing has influenced anyone and everyone even loosely associated with the new weird America.
George Cables – The George Cables Songbook CD (HighNote)
In the 1970s and ’80s, George Cables was the pianist of choice for saxophonists Dexter Gordon and Art Pepper and he also recorded a lot with jazz stars Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson and Frank Morgan. The George Cables Songbook illuminates his gifts as a composer as much as his skill at the keyboard.
Colbie Caillat – Malibu Sessions CD/LP (Plummylou)
New album from the pop singer/songwriter and acoustic guitarist.
Michel Camilo & Tomatito – Spain Forever CD (Verve)
This third installment comes 10 years after Spain Again (2006) and completes the trilogy of this magical duo, which pioneered the union of a Piano and a Flamenco guitar.
Candiria – While They Were Sleeping CD (Metal Blade)
Brooklyn’s musical alchemists Candiria is known for fusing metal, hardcore, jazz, and hip-hop in a unique, inimitable blend. [Vinyl edition due October 21.]
Matt Chamberlain/Brian Haas – Prometheus Risen CD/LP (The Royal Potato Family)
Out in the high desert of Santa Fe, New Mexico, some 7,500 feet above sea level in the foothills of the majestic Sangre de Christo Mountains, strange and wonderful things were bubbling up when keyboardist Brian Haas and drummer Matt Chamberlain met in the magical adobe style Frogville Studios for three days of unadulterated improvisation.
Brent Cobb – Shine On Rainy Day CD/LP (Elektra)
New album from the country music singer/songwriter.
Comrades – Lone/Grey CD (Facedown)
Comrade’s sophomore album “is incredibly balanced, dancing between two primary styles, a Venn Diagram of melodic emotional and heavy grit” – HM Magazine. [Vinyl edition due November 11.]
Dance Gavin Dance Dance – Mothership CD/LP+MP3 (Rise)
Sacramento’s Dance Gavin Dance return with their seventh studio album. Formed in 2005, the band fuses elements of emo, post-hardcore, jazz fusion, progressive rock and screamo into their sound. [Limited color vinyl edition also available.]
Daya – Sit Still, Look Pretty CD (Artbeatz)
“Daya is driving pop music down a different path. Perhaps, it’s a result of her classical piano training, the fact that her multi-ethnicity has been the catalyst for family visits across the globe, or a natural cleverness that’s as striking as her dynamic vocal range. It could just be due to the fact that this 17 year old singer and songwriter has always known what she wanted to do. Her debut single ‘Hide Away’ landed in Billboards top 40 with its simplistic synth melodies, a power hook, and an emotionally charged vocal.”
Devil Wears Prada – Transit Blues CD/LP+MP3 (Rise)
New album from the metalcore band. [Limited ‘electric blue/milky clear’ color vinyl edition also available.]
Melissa Etheridge – Memphis Rock And Soul CD/LP (Stax)
Melissa is paying her respect to the music of Stax Records, a significant source of influence and inspiration for her. She pays homage to the legacy of Stax by covering classic repertoire from its historic catalog. Wanting to be as respectful and true to the tradition as possible, Melissa made the pilgrimage to Memphis to record her new album in Willie Mitchell’s historic Royal Studios. Her experience included recording with Willie’s son, Lawrence ‘Boo’ Mitchell and the Hi Records Rhythm section, comprised of Rev. Charles and Leroy Hodges, Archie ‘Hubbie’ Turner, Michael Toles, James ‘JRob’ Robertson. Melissa also added some new lyrics of her own, as well as incorporated an assortment of iconic Stax samples in the production of the album.
Gatecreeper – Sonoran Depravation CD/LP (Relapse)
New album from death metal band. Of album track “Craving Flesh,” Brookly Vegan wrote: “Scratching a similar Entombed-loving itch as contemporaries Black Breath, but doing it a bit faster and blastier, this song hits all the beats one could want from this. It races through d-beat, blast-beats, and closing slow crush with an agility and skillful riff-mongering that often eludes bands of this ilk.”
Barry Gibb – In The Now CD/2xLP+MP3 (Sony)
New solo album from the lone surviving member of The Bee Gees. In The Now is the second solo effort of Gibb’s career and his first album of all new material since the Bee Gees final studio album in 2001. Barry proudly admits, “All of the feelings that I’ve ever had in life are all in this album.”
GOAT – Requiem CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Sub Pop)
Western exports may have dominated the consciousness of international rock fans for the entirety of the 20th century, but our increasing global awareness has unearthed a treasure trove of transcendental grooves and spellbinding riffage from exotic and remote corners of the planet. With Requiem, GOAT continue to rock and writhe to a beat beholden to no nation, no state. GOAT’s only outright declaration for Requiem is that it is their “folk” album, and the album is focused more on their subdued bucolic ritualism than psilocybin freakouts. Tracks like “All-Seeing Eye” and “Goatfuzz” conjure the sultry heathen pulsations that ensnared us on their previous albums. Perhaps the most puzzling aspect of Requiem comes with the closing track “Ubuntu.” The song is little more than a melodic delay-driven electric piano line, until we hear the refrain from “Diarabi”—the first song on their first album—sneak into the mix. It creates a kind of musical ouroboros—an infinite cycle of reflection and rejuvenation, death and rebirth.
Green Day – Revolution Radio CD/LP (Reprise)
Revolution Radio is Green Day’s twelfth album. Billie Joe Armstrong spoke to Rolling Stone about it, which the band self-produced for the first time since 2000’s Warning, and digressed on how “Bang Bang” was the first track conceived. Eerily enough, it’s from the prospective of a shooter. “It’s about the culture of mass shooting that happens in America mixed with narcissistic social media,” Armstrong explains. “There’s this sort of rage happening, but it’s also now being filmed and we all have ourselves under surveillance.” He extrapolated further on the album, adding that he plays “a lot of bow guitar on the record, sort of like Jimmy Page”, that the title track was inspired by a protest he witnessed in New York, and that he gets deep on “Too Dumb to Die”. Naturally, politics factored into the songwriting, as he argues: “I can only go from my own personal life, but this is the most chaos I’ve ever seen in an election. It’s just so freaky. I don’t want to add more of the outrage or anger. I’d just try to reflect it.” “Everybody’s freaked out,” he adds. “Nobody can rationalize with each other because everybody is stuck in fear and in anger, and there’s nothing in between. In a nutshell, that is what the record reflects.”
GTA – Good Times Ahead CD (WB)
“For the last few years we’ve been feeling like things have been getting repetitive. We’ve always had goals of ascending beyond the festival bangers we’re known for, so around a year ago we set out to create a body of work that reflected our depth and growth as producers,” GTA explained to The Fader. “We’ve always had bigger aspirations than just the dance space which came hand in hand with our ‘Death To Genres’ mentality. To us, music was more about what made you move rather than what type of music was playing. With this album we’re able to explore all facets of music that we love, flip the script and bring everything together into one fluid album that we’re really proud of.” [Vinyl edition due November 18.]
John Hammond – Mirrors [Reissue/1967] CD (Real Gone Music)
Mirrors is comprised of outtakes from sessions for his John Hammond, Big City Blues, So Many Roads, and Country Blues albums, and displays two sides of the bluesman. The electric side features a backing band for the ages, consisting of Band members Levon Helm and Robbie Robertson plus Mike Bloomfield (on piano) and Charley Musselwhite, while the acoustic side is just Hammond on guitar.
Hiss Golden Messenger – Heart Like A Levee CD/LP+MP3/2xLP+MP3 (Merge)
“The writing of the songs that became Heart Like A Levee started in a hotel room in Washington DC in January of 2015 during a powerful storm that darkened the East Coast. At that I was feeling—more acutely than I had ever felt before—wrenched apart by my responsibilities to my family and to my music. Forgetting, momentarily, that for me, each exists only with the other. How could I forget? Though maybe my lapse was reasonable: I had just quit my job, the most recent and last, in a series of dead-end gigs stretching back 20 years, with the vow that my children would understand their father as a man in love with his world and the inventor of his own days. They would be rare in that regard. And then—driven by monthly bills and pure fear— I left for another tour, carrying a load of guilt that I could just barely lift. But in that snowy hotel room I found the refrain that became my compass: I was a dreamer, babe, when I set out on the road; but did I say I could find my way home?” — M.C. Taylor. [Deluxe vinyl edition includes the bonus Vestopol LP, gatefold package, and a poster.]
Julia Jacklin – Don’t Let The Kids Win CD/LP+MP3 (Polyvinyl)
Don’t Let The Kids Win courses with the aching current of alt-country and indie-folk, augmented by Jacklin’s undeniable calling cards: her rich, distinctive voice, and her playful, observational wit. [Limited blue color vinyl reissue also available.]
Jamestown Revival – The Education Of A Wandering Man CD (Republic)
Jamestown Revival is a critically acclaimed Austin, TX duo made up of Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance who blend literary storytelling, rock
‘n’ roll grit, indie spirit, and country soul.
Eric Johnson – EJ CD (Provogue)
Eric Johnson shows his acoustic side on his 12th album, which was recorded using piano and steel-string and nylon-string acoustic guitars. [Vinyl edition due October 21.]
Norah Jones – Day Breaks CD/LP (Blue Note)
Norah Jones’ sixth solo album Day Breaks is a kindred spirit to the singer’s breakout debut Come Away With Me, and finds the 9-time Grammy-winner returning to the piano and her roots. The album features jazz luminaries including her Blue Note labelmates — saxophonist Wayne Shorter, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, and drummer Brian Blade — on a 12-song set that presents nine new originals alongside covers of songs by Horace Silver, Duke Ellington and Neil Young. “Day Breaks feels full circle because I’m going back to my early influences,” says Norah. “After the first record, I drifted away from the piano a little bit. I still played it, but was more inspired to write on guitar. I really loved playing piano on this record.
Joyce Manor – Cody CD/LP+MP3 (Epitaph)
Cody isn’t an album that changed everything for Joyce Manor, but Joyce Manor had to change a bit to make their album Cody. Since the release of their 2014 Epitaph debut Never Hungover Again, guitarist and singer Barry Johnson has taught himself the meditation techniques championed by the Beatles and director David Lynch, and he found he was suddenly wide open. Before, songs were labor; now they were revelations, appearing almost fully formed in his head before he had time to even catch them on a voicemail to himself. For Cody, the band camped out in the studio for two months with producer Rob Schnapf, credited on classics by Elliott Smith, Guided By Voices, Saves The Day and Rancid, all in the Joyce Manor record collections, of course. With Schnapf’s help, they’d explore deeper arrangements, new pre-production techniques, and different ways of working both together and with someone else. “Joyce Manor is one of the country’s best rock bands, a fact long obvious to their teenage fans and band peers. With their expansive fourth album Cody, maybe the rest of the world will finally notice too” – SPIN. [Limited pink color vinyl edition also available.]
Kandodo/McBain – Lost Chants/Last Chance CD/2xLP (Rooster)
A meeting of like minds surfing the sonic highways to tonal-oblivion, these four castaways on Sonic Island have delivered an album that evokes the long lost and revered genre drug rock — a true mind melt of acid abandonment. Purely visceral and pummeling workouts of krautrock and psychedelisch from these masters of the art, featuring an original Monster Magnet member and three of The Heads — this is pedigree not to be overlooked.
Evelyn “Champagne” King – The Complete RCA Hits and More! 2xCD (Real Gone Music)
Evelyn “Champagne” King ranks with Donna Summer and Patti LaBelle at the top of the disco diva pantheon. This set collects 24 hits she scored on the R&B and Pop charts for the RCA label, most presented in their 12”, alternate mix, and remix versions.
The Marcus King Band – The Marcus King Band CD (Fantasy)
At only 20 years of age, Marcus King’s dazzling musical ability is on full display throughout The Marcus King Band, the young phenom’s second full-length LP. The album was produced by King’s champion Warren Haynes, who expertly wraps the band’s muscular live energy around a rising young songwriter of unusual clarity and depth. The album was largely written during this past year on the road while the band played ever-larger venues and festivals to a burgeoning fan base. Haynes expertly captured the group’s blazing live sound as well as the restrained and subtle talent of a passionate young singer/songwriter reaching well beyond his years and into the future. [Vinyl edition due October 21.]
Sebastian Kole – Soup CD (Motown)
“Within the kaleidoscope of today’s musical landscape, it is rare that an artist has the ability to produce, write and sing music that can appeal to the masses. Sebastian Kole is redefining the meaning of the triple-threat with his lyrical content, soulful vocals and instrumentation. Sebastian has been influenced by some of the greats throughout music history, from acts like Freddy Mercury and Kurt Cobain to Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles. His music can resonate with even the most scrutinizing audience, the inspiration derived from his musical taste is apparent. He is a creator who is meticulous in the production process, reaching into the depths of his creativity towards self-expression.” – ABC Go
Takuya Kuroda – Zigzagger CD (Concord)
Whether moving from Japan to the US or navigating between the influences of jazz, soul, hip-hop, Afrobeat and electronica, trumpeter/composer Takuya Kuroda has never followed a straight path. On his fifth studio album, the aptly named Zigzagger, Kuroda darts between those wide-ranging interests with a funky swagger and an intensely swinging vigor. The deeply infectious album finds the trumpeter snaking his way around the opposing poles of acoustic and electric, bristling grooves and blissed-out vibes, punchy brass and fluid synths, carving his own distinctive sonic path along the way.
KYNG– Breathe In The Water CD (Razor & Tie)
Southern California rock trio KYNG’s Breathe In The Water is frontloaded with the type of impassioned vocals that erupt from the depths of the gut, unforgettable blues-soaked riffs, and pulverizing rhythmic clap. Driven by frontman/guitarist Eddie Veliz, the three-piece band also features drummer Pepe Clarke Magana and bassist Tony Castaneda. They take a no-nonsense approach to music: free of pretense, studio trickery and gimmicks. The result is a collection of songs that is real and raw, addressing themes of anger, loss and desperation.
Lewis Del Mar – Lewis Del Mar CD/LP+MP3 (Sony)
Lewis Del Mar is an experimental folk-pop duo comprised of singer/guitarist Danny Miller and drummer/producer Max Harwood. Their sound is a mix of acoustic guitar, mixed media samples and Latin American-inspired drums.
Loretta Lynn – White Christmas Blue CD/LP (Sony Legacy)
White Christmas Blue is Lynn’s first collection of seasonal songs since 1966’s Country Christmas.
MakeWar – Developing A Theory Of Integrity CD (Red Scare Industries)
MakeWar blends Gainesville/Chicago drinking anthems with Long Island emo-punk like Taking Back Sunday and Brand New.
Sönke Meinen – Perpetuum Mobile CD (Doctor Heart Music)
Meinen’s style combines virtuoso fingerstyle guitar with influences from jazz, world- and classical music.
Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep Of Reason CD/LP (Nuclear Blast)
Swedish extreme tech-metal pioneers Meshuggah return with their eighth album. “Fans of the band’s technical accomplishments might mention polymetered song structures, polyrhythms and all manner of complex musical descriptions to explain how important and vital this band have become to the evolution of extreme music. When we get down to brass tacks however, we find that it is simply great musicians making great music that strikes a chord within the blackened heart and darkened souls of the listener. Those unfamiliar with the bands work could do much worse than start with the seven-minute album opener “Clockworks” by way of introduction. Thunderous drums and low razor-riffs heralded the next stage of their career. Frontman Jens Kidman’s vocals throughout the album offer a restrained ferocity that allows the music to take center stage but on this track in particular he provides a tortured narrative” – Maximum Volume Music [Limited brown color vinyl edition also available.]
Mouth Of The Architect – Path Of Eight CD/LP (Translation Loss)
Dayton, Ohio’s post-metal band Mouth Of The Architect present Path Of Eight, the long-awaited sixth studio full length album and follow up to 2013’s epic and critically acclaimed Dawning. “It’s the most clearly-produced material yet from these guys, and the polish serves them well.” – Brooklyn Vegan
NOFX – First Ditch Effort CD/LP (Fat Wreck Chords)
The veteran punk band returns with their 13th album. First Ditch Effort busts out of the gate with the amped up “Six Years On Dope” and never looks back. From the ultra-melodic wordplay of “Oxy Moronic” to the charging desperation of “I Don’t Like Me Anymore,” the album flexes the broad spectrum of NOFX’s abilities and delivers on the musicianship, wit, and element of surprise that fans have come to expect. [Limited Pink vinyl edition also available — Part of the Ten Bands One Cause benefit for Gilda’s Club NYC, an organization that provides community support for both those diagnosed with cancer and their caretakers.]
Oasis – Be Here Now [Reissue/1997] 3xCD+3xLP+7”+MP3 (Big Brother Recordings Ltd.)
This Super Deluxe box set package of the third studio album from the iconic English rock band includes: the Be Here Now Deluxe edition triple-CD set containing B-sides, rarities and a full disc of the Mustique demos (due as stand-alone on CD and vinyl October 14); a copy of Be Here Now on heavyweight vinyl including download card containing two additional volumes of content; the Mustique Demo white label LP containing six tracks from the infamous recording session; an exclusive 7” single containing two early demos of “Stand By Me” and “Going Nowhere”; a 12×12, 52-page coffee table photography book with exclusive sleeve notes and rare photos; A Be Here Now embossed enamel key ring; and a set of four postcards.
One Republic – Oh My My CD (Interscope)
One Republic’s fourth album includes the new single “Kids,” the summer hit “Wherever I Go” and new collaborations with Peter Gabriel, Santigold, Cassius and more.
Phantogram – Three CD/LP (Republic)
The third album from the duo of Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel “moves gracefully from scorn-fueled breakup music to angsty and lustful power-pop, both darkly raw and high-class glam, making this an album worthy of a deeper emotional investment” – Under The Radar. “Phantogram are at their best when blasting out gritty, heavy choruses – Three has them in spades.” – DIY Magazine
Phish – Big Boat CD (Jemp)
Phish’s 13th album Big Boat was produced by Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Kiss), making this the producer’s second collaboration with Phish following 2014’s Fuego, and was recorded between Nashville, New York, and their home state of Vermont. Big Boat takes it’s title from the Jon Fishman-penned “Friends” and the line “We’re on a big boat, like the ones our forefathers sailed.” “Big Boat features frequent references to religion and darkness that evoke a sense of feeling overwhelmed and lost; along the way, allusions to water suggest spiritual searching and emotional rebirth. ‘Breath And Burning,’ with its soulful horns and breezy Latin vibe, combats looming end times with a celebration of life: ‘And what does it matter that the end’s in sight / We’re not going gently, we’re gonna rage with Page at the dying of the light.’ In the stirring gospel blues ‘Tide Turns,’ Anastasio offers relief and community to those in need of salvation from loneliness or depression: ‘When the wolf is at your door, and the mirror holds your nightmare … Together we can make it through, we’ve got time.’ ‘More’ is another affirming anthem for those stuck in a ‘world gone mad,’ as it crests with the sing-along chant, ‘There’s gotta be something more than this’” – NPR. [Vinyl edition due November 18.]
Mo Pitney – Behind This Guitar CD/LP+MP3 (Curb)
Mo Pitney has already been named one of country music’s most named artists to watch by the likes of Rolling Stone Country, The Huffington Post and Billboard who proclaimed Mo as “one of the strongest male vocalists to come along in some time.” Behind This Guitar is his debut album co-written with who’s who of top Nashville songwriters.
Placebo – A Place For Us To Dream – 20 Years Of Placebo 2xCD (Rise)
This expansive 36-track collection ranges from early singles like “Bruise Pristine,” “Come Home,” and “Teenage Angst,” to the career defining “Nancy Boy,” “Every You Every Me,” “Pure Morning” and “The Bitter End” right up to “Meds,” “For What It’s Worth” and “Too Many Friends.” The set also includes the new single “Jesus’ Son.” [Vinyl edition November 4.]
Otis Redding – Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary Of Soul [Reissue/1966 2xCD/2xLP+7” (Rhino)
New double-disc reissue of the soul legend’s 1966 album includes remastered mono and stereo mixes of the album, plus eight bonus tracks. 180gm vinyl edition includes a bonus 7” reissue of the single “Try A Little Tenderness” b/w “I’m Sick Y’all.”
Lou Reed – The RCA & Arista Album Collection 17xCD (RCA)
“This box set was Lou’s last project. He oversaw the remastering of all of his solo recordings made for RCA and Arista Records….This work was done at New York’s Masterdisk in June and July 2013, with engineer Vlado Meller and Rob Santos of Sony/Legacy,” Hal Willner wrote in his liner notes for this 17-disc anthology. “Everyone who was in that room or around Lou during this period witnessed a beautiful thing as he enthusiastically relived that whole period of his work with the joy of rediscovery, excitedly pointing out subtleties in sounds he hadn’t heard in years. In retrospect, reminiscing about these sessions done less than four months before he died, the moments seem even more magnified.”
Della Reese – Singles Collection 1955-62 2xCD (Acrobat)
Della Reese is one of those artists whose talent transcends the genres, and she has ensured herself a showbiz career of remarkable longevity and breadth through her ability to perform jazz, R&B, soul, sophisticated easy listening, straight-ahead pop and musical theatre with equal panache. Her rich sultry voice, combined with the rhythmic soulful feel that reflected her gospel background, ensured that she was one of the most distinctive stylists of her generation. This 55-track set covers the first important years of here solo career, and comprises all the A and B sides which she recorded for the Jubilee label from her 1955 debut, and then almost all the A& B sides released on RCA up to 1962.
Seasick Steve – Keepin’ The Horse Between Me & The Ground 2xCD/2xLP (There’s A Dead Skunk)
Eighth studio album from Seasick Steve, a blues musician from Oakland, CA — a great mix of boogie, blues, rock, Americana folk music. It’s been 10 years since he first appeared on the BBC as part of Jools Holland’s Hootenanny, a legendary performance which turned him into a household name overnight with his debut solo album, Dog House Music.
Set It Off – Upside Down CD (Equal Vision)
Third album from the pop/punk band. [Vinyl edition due November 4.]
Shovels & Rope – Little Seeds CD/2xLP+MP3 (New West)
Charleston, South Carolina-based indie folk duo Shovels & Rope consist of married singer/songwriters Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst. “Little Seeds is as loud as we’ve ever been and it’s as quiet as we’ve ever been. It’s our most personal record and reflects some of those extremes we’ve experienced both sonically and lyrically. It has been nothing short of a harrowing couple of years, full of beauty and sorrow. We got served an adult portion. We grew up. From raw and primal electric guitar feedback slammers to mandolin led ballads, it’s just us being ourselves…and stretching” — Shovels & Rope. [Limited translucent red color vinyl edition also available.]
Todd Snider – Eastside Bulldog CD (Aimless)
“Eastside Bulldog finds the singer/songwriter telling tales of his identical twin/nemesis, Elmo Buzz, the hard-partying, Hank Williams Jr.-obsessed character he developed several years ago.
Snider came up with ‘Elmo’ out of frustration over concert rules: ‘You can’t play anywhere within 75 miles of the place you just played in for 90 days prior to the show… and another 90 days after the show,’ he explains of common concert promoters’ contract stipulations. ‘I am home about 100 nights a year. That’s 98 nights without music. Unacceptable. To work around this complicated botheration I came up with the name Elmo Buzz.’ Eastside Bulldog is actually a collection of original, fast-paced bar-band tunes with locally-inspired lyrics like ‘Hey pretty boy/Go back to Franklin’ (on lead single, ‘Hey Pretty Boy’). ‘[It’s] songs about East Nashville, chicks, cars, fighting, partying and Bocephus and that’s it. No bullshit… just the good stuff,’ jokes Snider in the album’s liner notes.” – Rolling Stone
Sonata Arctica – The Ninth Hour CD/2xLP (Nuclear Blast)
Ninth album from the Finnish melodic metal quintet. [Limited clear vinyl pressing also available.]
Sonic Avenues – Disconnector CD (Dirtnap)
A conscious effort to offer abrupt contrasts along with new textures has Sonic Avenues turning from dark and quiet into fast, noisy, fuzzed-out sing-alongs. Building on 2014’s well-received Mistakes, Disconnector explores new themes of future and destiny, human potential and its annihilation, self-control, and abandonment. The band’s punk roots are still in evidence, though, and if you didn’t know what to listen for, this could almost be a different band from the one that released their s/t debut LP back in 2009. [Vinyl edition due October 21.]
Springtime Carnivore – Midnight Room CD (Autumn Tone)
Greta Morgan is Springtime Carnivore. Midnight Room is a continuation of the strain of melodic psychedelic pop found on her self-titled debut. [Vinyl edition due October 21.]
Suburban Living – Almost Paradise CD/LP (6131)
New album from the Philly dream pop band.
Sugar Ray and The Bluetones – Seeing Is Believing CD (Severn)
From the opening Mississippi blues of “Sweet Baby,” and the wink-and-a-nod jazz blues of “Misses Blues,” to the smoky lounge tune “Not Me” and the downright moving guitar instrumental tribute to B.B. King “You Know I Love You,” Sugar Ray and The Bluetones show you how the blues ought to be played.
Take Over And Destroy – Take Over And Destroy CD/LP (Prosthetic)
“An American rock & roll band from the 1970’s trapped inside of a Scandinavian metal band from the early 1990’s, scoring a John Carpenter film.”
Thor & Friends – Thor & Friends CD/LP (Lm Dupli-Cation)
Eponymous full-length debut from the avant-chamber ensemble formed by polymath percussionist Thor Harris. The three core members of the band are Peggy Ghorbani on marimba, Sarah “Goat” Gautier on marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, organ, voice, mellotron and piano, and Harris on sundry percussion and wind instruments including some of his own devising. They are joined by Jeremy Barnes on accordion, drum, and mellotron; Heather Trost on violin, voice and marimba; John Dieterich on guitar, bass, castanets and special effects; and Raven on bone flute, and electronic sounds.
Thy Catafalque – Meta CD/2xLP (Season Of Mist)
Thy Catafalque is an avant-garde metal band from Makó, Hungary, later Edinburgh, Scotland, after the relocation of its founder. “An alluring amalgamation of metal, progressive rock, traditional folk influences, haunting melodies, cavernous vocals, and more.” – Metal Shock Finland
Mia Doi Todd – Songbook CD (City Zen)
Los Angeles singer/songwriter Mia Doi Todd has always been one to skirt the music genres with her diverse imaginative and cultural influences. So it should be no surprise to fans of the song section on her latest endeavor – the 10-track covers album simply titled Songbook: “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” (Neil Young), “Close To Me” (The Cure), “When The Doves Cry” (Prince), “Between The Bars” (Elliott Smith), “Who Knows Where The Time Goes” (Sandy Denny), “Careful You” (TV On The Radio), “Pancho And Lefty” (Townes Van Zandt), and more.
To The Wind – The Brighter View CD/LP (Pure Noise)
New album from the hardcore/metal band.
Various Artists – In Case You Missed It: 15 Years Of Dualtone CD (Dualtone)
To celebrate Dualtone’s 15-year anniversary, they have put together a compilation of great songs to showcase the talented artists Dualtone has worked with over the years and features some of our favorite tunes you may have missed. Also included are new recordings from The Lumineers, Shakey Graves, Ivan & Alyosha, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors and Langhorne Slim & The Law. [Vinyl edition due November 11.]
Various Artists – Merritone Rock Steady 1: Shanty Town Curfew 1966-1967 CD/2xLP (Dubstore)
Recently released on vinyl – now available on CD. In 1966, the Merritone label was founded as a subsidiary of Federal Records when the Ska beat was slowing down it’s tempo to take a next musical form called rocksteady. From the sons of Ken Khouri, Paul and Richard, engineers at the Federal Records to even employees at their pressing plant — everybody involved at the label followed the Merritone productions with passion.
Washburn – Sassy: Old School Side CD (Milan)
Sassy is a collection of jazz/R&B tunes, done in the musical styles of the ‘70s and ‘80’s, which producer Kent Washburn affectionately refers to as the “Old School Style.”
Watchtower – Concepts Of Math: Book One CD/LP+MP3 (Prosthetic)
New album from the pioneering prog metal band.
Xylouris White – Black Peak CD/LP+MP3 (Bella Union)
Xylouris White is an experimental duo comprised of lutist George Xylouris and Dirty Three drummer Jim White. “Mutual admiration shapes the way the duo operate on Black Peak, always listening, encouraging, accommodating. ‘Each one has different roles at the same time, accompaniment and lead role,’ explains Xylouris. ‘It’s very fluid.’ This fluidity is clear from the rolling explosion of the title-track, where White’s thunderous rhythm seems to urge, and be urged along in turn, by Xylouris’s chugging lute-rock riff, pirouetting melody and soaring vocal. ‘Forging’ maintains the momentum, Xylouris’s thrashing, thrilling lute melody circling the rock of White’s pulsing drum. Elsewhere, Xylouris White re-write their route map. ‘Hey, Musicians’ is rich and sonorous. The skin-tingling crawl of ‘Erotokritos (Opening)’ draws on romantic renaissance verse; ‘Short Rhapsody’ is a joyous jam of slashing laouto and coiled percussion; ‘Pretty Kondilies’ is dancing and declamatory. Finally, ‘The Feast’ sprawls gorgeously between tradition and invention, its sombre, sighing spaces shared with guest star Psarandonis’s stunning lyra and voice.” – Billetto
Hank Williams – 20 Of Hank Williams’ Greatest Hits [Reissue/1997] LP (Curb)
It’s still sobering to realize that Hank recorded just 66 songs during his lifetime, almost all of them essential. Here are those that serve as a working definition of country music, and as an admonition to artists who try to get too wordy or try to lose themselves in minor keys. “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “HonkyTonk Blues,” “Cold, Cold Heart,” “Lovesick Blues,” “You Win Again,” “I Can’t Help It,” “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” and the rest.
Johnny Winters – Live Bootleg Series Volume 13 CD (Friday Music)
For Johnny Winter’s Live Bootleg Series Volume 13, the blues wielding axeman steps out with super-extended workouts on concert classics like his masterful version of Little Walter’s “Last Night” and a newly discovered rare performance of his own classic “Mean Town Blues.”
Adrian Younge – Presents: The Electronique Void – Black Noise CD/LP (Linear Labs)
Electronic music as practiced and developed by pioneers like Dick Hyman and Raymond Scott is precise and intentional. In making his first electronic album, Younge took his cues from them, reminding a contemporary audience what a synthesizer, deep in its heart, really could be.
This Week’s Vinyl Exclusives:
Allegaeon – Proponent For Sentience 2xLP (Metal Blade)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. New album from the Fort Collins, CO melodic death metal band.
Archive – False Foundation 2xLP+MP3 (PIAS America)
False Foundation is the tenth studio album by the London-based trip-hop/progressive/alt-rock collective. Following the ominous beat-driven electro onslaught of lead track “Driving In Nails,” “Bright Lights” showcases the more sensitive and soulful side of the Archive sound with Pollard Berrier delivering a beautiful, yearning vocal over a subtle piano and synth backing. [CD edition due October 21.]
Astrodome – Astrodome 2xLP (HeviSike)
Influenced by the European heavy psychedelic rock scene such as Colour Haze, Causa Sui and The Machine, Astrodome add their own twist to the genre with their heavy riff-laden space rock.
Bat – Wings Of Chains LP (Hell’s Headbangers)
Released in June on CD – now available on vinyl. Bat barrel forth like filth hounds of Hades, pounding metal with violence and force.
The Beach Boys – Surfer Girl [Reissue/1963] LP (Capitol)
Vinyl reissue of The Beach Boys’ third studio album. Sufer Girl was the first album by the Beach Boys for which Brian Wilson was given full production credit, a position Wilson would maintain for the next few years.
The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations [Reissue/1966] 12” (Capitol)
Sunburst vinyl reissue of the 1966 EP features the original 7” single version, as well as multiple versions of the iconic track “Good Vibrations” plus the single’s B-side, “Let’s Go Away For A While.” A pullout lithograph of the single’s original Japanese cover art, with its “Good Vibrations” title typo intact, is included in the EP package, which features the original 1966 US single cover art on its front.
James Blake – The Colour In Anything 2xLP (Republic)
Released last July on CD – now available on vinyl. New album from the UK singer/songwriter/producer with co-writing help from Frank Ocean and additional production by Rick Rubin. 17 tracks including “I Need A Forest Fire” featuring Justin Vernon aka Bon Iver.
Art Blakey/Thelonious Monk – Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers With Thelonious Monk [Reissue/1958] LP (Analog Spark)
This 1958 studio album is a collaboration between the Jazz Messengers led by drummer Art Blakey and special guest Thelonious Monk on piano. 180gm vinyl reissue.
Blink 182 – Cheshire Cat [Reissue/1996] LP (Geffen)
Blink 182 – Dude Ranch [Reissue/1997] LP (Geffen)
Blink 182 – Enema Of The State [Reissue/1999] LP (Geffen)
Blink 182 – The Mark, Tom And Travis Show (The Enema Strikes Back!) [Reissue/2000] 2xLP (Geffen)
Blink 182 – Take Off Your Pants And Jacket [Reissue/2003] LP (Geffen)
Blink 182 – Blink 182 [Reissue/2003] 2xLP (Geffen)
Blink 182 – Neighbors [Reissue/2011] 2xLP (Geffen)
Blink 182 – Box Set 10xLP (Geffen)
All LPs by the SoCal pop-punk band (sans Buddha) are back in print on vinyl.
Boom Bip – Sun Choke [OST] LP (Lex)
Boom Bip created a beautiful and haunting soundtrack for Sun Choke, a film written and directed by Ben Cresciman (Negative Space). On creating the dramatic score, Boom Bip says, “The intention of the score was to keep it cerebral and minimal. Adding large dramatic strings or drums didn’t have a place with this film. There were only a few opportunities for that. As the viewer, you’re mainly looking into the faces of the characters throughout the film so I simply wanted to enhance the mood of the space the characters are in without getting in the way.”
Chixdiggit! – 2012 12” (Fat Wreck Chords)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. Canada’s favorite pop-punk sons return an epic EP consisting of a 24 minute-long opus chronicling every tour stop Chixdiggit! made throughout 2012. From Schiphol to Victoria, 2012 takes the listener on a whirlwind trip via their trademark upbeat, guitar driven sound, addictive melodies, and KJ’s cheeky lyrics.
Clutch – La Curandera [Reissue/2015] LP (Weathermaker Music)
La Curandera collects eight deep tracks culled from the Maryland rocker’s vast catalog themed around characters that can only be described as formidable female protagonists (“Cyborg Bette,” “Night Hag,” “Isabella,” “The Dragonfly”). Originally released on pink vinyl for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 2015, the cover artwork is by world-renowned illustrator Becky Cloonan, who has worked for DC, Marvel, and Image.
Miles Davis – The Birth Of The Cool [Reissue/1957] LP (Sony Legacy)
Miles Davis – Bopping The Blues [Reissue/1987] LP (Sony Legacy)
Miles Davis – The Essential Miles Davis  2xLP (Sony Legacy)
Essential jazz on 180gm vinyl.
Dio – A Decade Of Dio: 1983-1993 6xLP+7” (Rhino)
Includes: Holy Diver (1983), The Last In Line (1984), Sacred Heart (1985), Dream Evil (1987), Lock Up The Wolves (1990), Strange Highways (1993) along with the 7” single “Evil Eyes” b/w “Time To Burn.”
Erasure – Other People’s Songs [Reissue/2003] LP (Mute)
Erasure – Nightbird [Reissue/2005] LP (Mute)
Erasure – Light At The End Of The World [Reissue/2007] LP (Mute)
Erasure – Union Street [Reissue/2006] LP (Mute)
The celebration of Erasure’s (Andy Bell and Vince Clarke) 30th anniversary continues with this latest installment of 180gm vinyl catalog reissues.
Golden Suits – Kubla Khan LP+MP3 (Hit City USA)
Brand new album from the solo project of Fred Nicolaus, who is also a member of the indie rock band Department Of Eagles (a collaboration with Daniel Rosen of Grizzly Bear).
Billy Gomberg – Slight At That Contact LP (Students Of Decay)
Ambient minimalism conjuring a ruined, futuristic topography from Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist.
The Eric Grant Orchestra – Cool At The Casa Montego [Reissue/1960] LP (Dubstore)
A masterpiece of Jamaican Jazz recorded in 1960 by the Eric Grant Orchestra, resident band of the Casa Montego Hotel in Montego Bay. Rhythm & blues, jazz standards, cha cha cha, Merengue and Calypso all combine in this wonderful amalgamation of sounds.
Haujobb – Freeze Frame Reality  2xLP (Artoffact)
Haujobb – Solutions For A Small Planet [Reissue/1996] 2xLP (Artoffact)
Haujobb – Ninetynine  2xLP (Artoffact)
First-time vinyl editions of the industrial techno group’s second, third and fourth albums. Very-limited edition color pressings.
Incite – Oppression LP (Minus Head)
Released last April on CD – now available on vinyl. Incite is an Arizona based metal outfit led by Richie Cavalera (Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy).
Jack Ingram – Midnight Motel LP (Rounder)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. Midnight Motel is Jack Ingram’s eighth studio album, and his first since his 2009 smash Big Dreams & High Hopes. The recording, which marks a creative milestone for the veteran artist, features intimate, dynamic stripped-down instrumental arrangements of nine original compositions written or co-written by Ingram, as well as two songs Ingram found listening to demo tapes of some friends. A true troubadour, Ingram tells stories, dedicates songs and has conversations with the musicians between the songs. Ingram’s banter adds an extra level of intimacy to the record, almost like he’s brought the listener right in the recording studio with him as the album was being cut live. Midnight Motel’s organic late-night vibe is perfectly suited to the material, and brings out the emotional edge in Ingram’s deeply felt vocals which can be heard throughout the album including in the first single “I’m Drinking Through It,” “Nothing To Fix,” “Can’t Get Any Better Than This,” and “All Over Again.”
Bert Jansch – Bert Jansch [Reissue/1965] LP (Superior Viaduct)
Scottish singer/songwriter Bert Jansch recorded his first album in producer Bill Leader’s London flat with a borrowed guitar, sitting on the edge of the bed and singing into a portable tape recorder. As author Richie Unterberger writes in the liner notes, “When Bert Jansch’s self-titled debut LP was issued in April 1965, he was already a major figure on the British folk scene. His synthesis of traditional British folk with blues and a bit of jazz was at the vanguard of a new generation of UK folk performers, well versed in past forms but unafraid to venture into new territory. His virtuosic guitar was complemented by a plaintive rough-hewn voice that didn’t just document the on-the-road experience, but lived it.”
Cody Jinks – I’m Not The Devil LP (Cody Jinks Music)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. Cody Jinks’ credible grit and meaningful tattoos are no fad. They define exactly who he really is: someone raised on the sounds of country music and metal.
JONES – New Skin LP+MP3 (PIAS America)
New Skin is the debut studio album by London-based emerging soul singer/songwriter Cherie Jones-Mattis, known by her stage name as JONES. [CD version due October 21.]
Kaleidoscope – Kaleidoscope LP (Now Again)
One of the great psychedelic rock albums is back in print on vinyl. Kaleidoscope’s roots are in Puerto Rican teenage garage rockers; it was recorded in the Dominican Republic at the high-point of the flower power era; it was only ever pressed in a minuscule run in Mexico.
Mark Lanegan – The Winding Sheet [Reissue/1990] LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
Mark Lanegan – Whiskey For The Holy Ghost [Reissue/1994] LP+MP3 (Sub Pop)
The Winding Sheet is Mark Lanegan’s (Screaming Trees) 1990 solo debut. It showcases his adept skills as a lyricist and his deep, soulful voice. The Kurt Cobain lended vocals to “Down In The Dark,” and for the folk classic “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” Cobain contributed guitar and vocals and Krist Novoselic played bass. Released during the grunge explosion of the early 1990s, Whiskey For The Holy Ghost showcases Lanegan’s growing maturity as a songwriter and vocalist.
Hopeton Lewis – Take It Easy With The Rock Steady Beat [Reissue/1966] LP (Dubstore)
Take It Easy With The Rock Steady Beat is a fundamental album released in 1966 that determined the way rocksteady was going to journey. In 1966, Rude Boys were at the peak of the fame with their notorious behaviors, while ska gradually started to slow down its tempo. This album paved the way for a newborn music, rocksteady, with a rather slower and tighter rhythm approach.
Magic In Threes – IV LP (Ged Soul)
Magic In Threes is an instrumental combo specializing in psychedelic cinematic-soul.
Marconi Union – Ghost Stations 2xLP (Proper)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. After fourteen years of writing and performing, the trio Marconi Union — founding members Richard Talbot and Jamie Crossley with keyboard player Duncan Meadows — have steadily developed and refined a unique musical identity; evoking emotions from gracefully blending elements of dub, jazz, ambience and electronica within their richly melodic compositions. With Ghost Stations, Marconi Union’s music continues to straddle the worlds of artistic credibility and musical accessibility.
Steve Miller – Fly Like An Eagle [Reissue/1976] LP (Capitol)
Vinyl reissue of the Steve Miller Band’s ninth album. Includes the singles “Fly Like An Eagle,” “Take The Money And Run,” and “Rock’n Me.”
The Moondoggies – Don’t Be A Stranger [Reissue/2008] LP (Hardly Art)
Seattle’s Moondoggies play timeless American music. Warm three-part harmonies, gothic Rhodes organ, and wanderlust guitar mark a sound rooted in boogie blues and cosmic country. Whipsmart songwriting leads to hook-heavy tunes that bristle with originality. Shades of gospel, blues, rock, and country commingle, and wall-of-sound harmonies radiate joy and passion. The influences of The Band, The Byrds, and especially early Grateful Dead are evident, though The Moondoggies’ lyrical economy and compositional sensibility render these tracks fresh and unique. Don’t Be A Stranger is the band’s debut – now available for the first time on vinyl.
Moonspell – Irreligious [Reissue/1996] LP+CD (Century Media)
Moonspell’s Irreligious confirms that the Portuguese band has a grasp on gloomy, morbid metal and knows how to create monolithic, menacing sounds.
Buck Owens – Buck Owens [Reissue/1961] LP (Capitol)
Vinyl reissue of the debut album by the country legend.
ØY – Space Diaspora LP (Crammed Discs)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. The duet consisting of Ghanaian-Swiss vocalist and musician Joy Frempong and producer and musician Lleluja-Ha return with a space opera – a highly danceable avant-garde electronica album based on a core of vocal loops and drumming.
Elvis Presley – Elvis’ Christmas Album [Reissue/1957] LP (Friday Music)
Two pressings: Red translucent and green translucent color vinyl, each in a gatefold sleeve.
Primitive Weapons – Future Of Death LP (Cooking Vinyl)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. Primitive Weapons carries forth the tradition of this original post-hardcore spirit but does so in a thoroughly forward-charging way, bearing no shred of retro-glorification. It is an eight-song thrill ride, full of tribal thunder, hard grooves, dire screams, luminous guitars, and massive, mournful choruses that haunt for days.
Sandy and The Wild Wombats – The Girl Can’t Help It LP (Bear Family)
The German rockabilly band covers an assortment of deep cuts spanning the ‘50s – ‘70s.
Shonen Knife – Burning Farm [Reissue/1983] LP (Oglio)
Shonen Knife – Yama-no Attchan [Reissue/1984] LP (Oglio)
Shonen Knife – Pretty Little Baka Guy [Reissue/1986] LP (Oglio)
Shonen Knife – 712 [Reissue/1991] LP (Oglio)
Heavily influenced by 1960s girl groups, pop bands, The Beach Boys, and early punk rock bands, such as the Ramones, Shonen Knife crafts stripped-down songs with simplistic lyrics sung both in Japanese and English. Despite their pop-oriented nature, the trio maintains a distinctly underground garage rock sound rooted in edgy instrumentation and D.I.Y. aesthetics.
Silver Apples – Clinging To A Dream 2xLP (ChickenCoop Recordings)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. Clinging To A Dream is the Silver Apples first album since 1998. It features 11 new songs recorded at the ChickenCoop studios in Fairhope, Alabama. The new songs carry on the band’s tradition begun in 1967 of merging pure, raw electronic sounds with melodic poetic content; it represents 40 years of polishing and refining this experiment.
Sonic Youth – Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star [Reissue/1994] LP (Geffen)
Sonic Youth – A Thousand Leaves [Reissue/1998] 2xLP (Geffen)
Sonic Youth – NYC Ghosts & Flowers [Reissue/2000] LP (Geffen)
Vinyl reissues of Sonic Youth’s eighth, tenth, and eleventh albums. Murray Street due October 21.
This Wild Life – Low Tides LP+MP3 (Epitaph)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. This Wild Life is an acoustic duo from Long Beach, CA, featuring Kevin Jordan and Anthony Del Grosso. Writing songs that mine the same emotional territory as City And Colour, they have created a sound, vibe, and presence that sets them apart from their stripped down peers.
Tygers Of Pan Tang – Only The Brave 7” (Mighty Music)
Tygers Of Pan Tang – Tygers Of Pan Tang LP (Mighty Music)
New “comeback” material from the veteran British heavy metal band.
Various Artists – Lonesome On’ry And Mean: A Tribute To Waylon Jennings  2xLP (Dualtone)
First-time vinyl pressing of this Waylon Jennings tribute featuring Guy Clark, Norah Jones, Robert Earl Keen, Kris Kristofferson, Henry Rollins and more.
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble – The Essential  2xLP (Sony Legacy)
Limited double vinyl LP pressing of this collection by legendary blues/rock guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan. This set includes songs from 1980 to 1990.
Dwight Yoakam – Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars… LP (Sugar Hill)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. “Has any country artist made a more convincing case for the hipness of hillbilly sensibilities than Dwight Yoakam? He’s built a singular career out of challenging the opposition between what’s perceived as artless and rustic and what’s seen as cultivated and citified. Yoakam once described his music as “electrified bluegrass,” and in more recent years he’s stepped into the studio with such first-generation bluegrass giants as Ralph Stanley and Earl Scruggs. But Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars… is billed as Yoakam’s first-ever bluegrass album, though it isn’t quite the simple, back-to-roots affair the concept suggests. Not only is this album a chance for Yoakam to prove that his material does in fact work in a bluegrass context, but he also reinterprets his songs with some of the genre’s most celebrated pickers behind him: guitarist Bryan Sutton, fiddler Stuart Duncan, banjo player Scott Vestal, mandolinist Adam Steffey and bassist Barry Bales. Yoakam made a deliberate choice to amplify his expression in this unamplified setting, because in his memory, bluegrass has always rocked. His version does, too.” — NPR