CDs + Vinyl:
All That Remains – Madness CD (Razor & Tie)
Madness is the eighth studio album by All That Remains and it was produced by Grammy award winning Howard Benson (Halestorm, In Flames, Chris Cornell) and co-produced by Mike Plotnikoff. This album is full of undeniable hooks, incisive riffs, electronic samples and a variety of vocal styles. Integrating personal experiences, political rants and controversial commentary with music that s just as confrontational, Madness is an unapologetic showcase of honesty and ingenuity. All That Remains have created 50 minutes of attitude-laden music with a combination of rock, metal, ballads, and a cover of “Thunder Rolls” by Garth Brooks. “We really wanted this record to be different,” said vocalist Phil Labonte, explaining the inclusion of electronic samples and the dramatic juxtaposition between roaring chaos and accessible craftsmanship. “We wanted to really push ourselves and push the boundaries of what we’re allowed to do.” [Vinyl edition due May 12th.]
Aryeon – The Source CD/2xLP+MP3 (Music Theories/Mascot Label Group)
The Source explores the origins of the mythical Ayreon saga, while once again offering a stellar cast of singers and musicians, including: James LaBrie (Dream Theater), Tommy Karevik (Kamelot), Tommy Rogers (Between The Buried And Me), Simone Simons (Epica), Nils K Rue (Pagan’s Mind), Tobias Sammet (Avantasia), Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian), Michael Mills (Toehider), Russell Allen (Symphony X), Michael Eriksen (Circus Maximus), Floor Jansen (Nightwish) and Zaher Zorgati (Myrath).
Between The Buried & Me – Coma Ecliptic Live CD+DVD+Blu-ray (Metal Blade)
Between The Buried & Me performed their 2015 Coma Ecliptic in its entirety live on October 4, 2016 at The Observatory North Park in San Diego, CA.
Birkin/Gainsbourg – Birkin Gainsbourg Le Symphonique 2xCD/2xLP (Warner Classics/Parlophone)
Jane Birkin’s symphonic tribute to Serge Gainsbourg.
Mary J. Blige – Strength Of A Woman CD (Capitol)
The 13th album from the R&B singer/songwriter includes guest appearances by Kanye West, Quavo, DJ Khaled, Missy Elliot, Prince Charlez, and Kaytranada.
BNQT – Volume 1 CD/LP (Dualtone)
“BNQT is billed as the new supergroup, although that seems a little grandiose a term for a project fashioned out of the remnants of moderately successful indie bands you probably remember from your teens. This effort sees Midlake’s Eric Pulido (supported by McKenzie Smith, Joey McClellan and Jesse Chandler) merge with Band of Horses’ Ben Bridwell, Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos, Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle, and Travis’ Fran Healy. Volume 1 sounds very much like you would imagine music made by a mash-up of late ’90s-early-2000s indie groups might sound: meandering and nostalgic with a clean, crisp production that really showcases the instrumentals. I love the upbeat opener ‘Restart’, and the surreal love song ‘Hey Banana’, in which you can’t quite work out, by the end of the song, whether Banana is someone he wants to fuck or kill. Or maybe actually Banana is the small child who does a cameo midway through. Whatever. I liked it.” – Loud & Quiet
British Sea Power – Let The Dancers Inherit The Party CD/LP (Caroline International)
British Sea Power presents their sixth full-length studio effort and first since 2013. Melodic, direct and brimming with emotional urgency, it’s an album where rock muscularity joins inseparably with pop immediacy, where a crate of the finest sparkling wine explodes inside a Marshall stack. Subject matter on Let The Dancers Inherit The Party ranges from the stars in the night sky to the methodology of media manipulation. The album emerges alongside a world full of chaos and disorder, but seeks to answer this world with optimism and hope.
Cheap Trick – The Epic Archive Vol. 1 (1975-1979) CD (Real Gone Music)
A collection of rarities from Cheap Trick’s early days — 18 tracks that reconfirm that their singular blend of classic rock, power pop, and glam—and inspired visual style—places them among the first rank of American rock ‘n’ roll bands.
Eric Church – Mr. Misunderstood On the Rocks Live & (Mostly) Unplugged CD (Capitol Nashville)
Seven songs — six from Mr. Misunderstood — recorded at the Red Rocks Amphitheater is Morrison, CO.
Classic Crime – How To Be Human CD/LP (BC Music)
12 tracks of pure indie rock in the stylings of Death Cab For Cutie meets Motion City Soundtrack.
Jonathan Coulton – Solid State CD/2xLP (SuperEgo)
Jonathan Coulton’s latest album is the product of a raging personal crisis – one that is equally about making music and living online, getting older, and worrying about the apocalypse. A concept album about digital dystopia, Solid State is Coulton’s warped meditation on the ugly ways the internet has morphed since 2004. At the same time, it’s a musical homage to his earliest Pink Floyd fanhood, a rock-opera about artificial intelligence. It’s a worried album by a man hunting for a way to stay hopeful.
The Cranberries – Something Else CD (The End)
“Something Else by The Cranberries is a strange sort of greatest hits compilation. On one hand, it does collect the Irish band’s most popular songs, dutifully released to mark the 25 years since their first formal musical release: the ethereal, fresh-faced 1992 single ‘Dreams.’ But Something Else isn’t a mercenary cash grab, bloodlessly assembled to fulfill a contractual obligation. For one, it features three brand-new songs. Every old song on it was also re-recorded in 2016 acoustically and with string accompaniment (provided by the Irish Chamber Orchestra). Rather, Something Else is a veteran band’s attempt to celebrate their own canon by reimagining and extending it. While The Cranberries’ previous and only conventional greatest hits album, Stars: The Best of 1992-2002, showcases the band’s rockier side, the only heavy song on this project is (obviously) ‘Zombie.’ Here, the swooping strings and finger-plucked guitars supply ‘Zombie’ a somber gravitas that the grungy, stricken, and occasionally grating original never offered. It’s a mood that feels apt for reflection on the Troubles in Ireland, two decades on.” – Mr. Bill Brazil
Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm – Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm CD/LP (Jay-Vee Inc)
Robert Cray has been bridging the lines between blues, soul and R&B for the past four decades, with five Grammy wins and over 20 acclaimed albums. For his latest project, Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm, the Blues Hall of Famer traveled to Memphis with his friend, renowned Grammy Award winning producer Steve Jordan, to make a classic soul album with Hi Rhythm, the band that helped create that sound. Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm opens with a driving, soulful version of Bill Withers’ “The Same Love That Made Me Laugh” that sounds as if it was originally from an old Hi Rhythm recording. When Robert chose two Tony Joe White songs for the album, White, a big fan of Cray, came up from Nashville to sit in. First up is the moving ballad “Aspen, Colorado” (the sister song of his “Rainy Night in Georgia”). The other end of the spectrum is the swirling psychedelia of “Don’t Steal My Love.” A tribute to O.V. Wright and Hi Rhythm is the horn-driven version of “You Must Believe In Yourself.” Known for writing “Mustang Sally” and many other songs, Sir Mac Rice’s “I Don’t Care” follows with an unforgettable hook, and Rice’s funky “Honey Bad” features more guitar brilliance from Cray. Moving into early R&B from the 5 Royales, Robert performs “I’m With You Pt. 1” then turns the guitar loose on “I’m With You Pt 2.”
Mark Crozer And The Rels – Sunny Side Down CD/LP+MP3 (Planting Seeds)
Sunny Side Down is packed side to side with catchy, melodic, sugary coated pop perfection. UK based magazine Shindig described Mark Crozer And The Rels’ sound as “the best bits of power pop and The Paisley Underground, mixed that with early Primal Scream, Lightning Seeds and the Pale Saints, added some jangly indie-pop guitars and made a delicious confection that gets better with every listen.”
Daisyhead – In Case You Missed It CD/LP+MP3 (No Sleep)
Sophomore full-length effort from Nashville, Tennessee four-piece. For fans of Further Seems Forever, Jimmy Eat World and Yell.
Dimmu Borgir – Forces Of The Northern Night CD+DVD/2xLP (Nuclear Blast)
Live album from the symphonic black metal band recorded in 2011 with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra. [Limited color vinyl pressing also available.]
The Dirty Nil – Minimum R&B CD/LP (Fat Wreck Chords)
The past six years have seen the Hamilton, Ontario rock ‘n’ roll trio on a reckless crash course with stardom. Minimum R&B is comprised of tracks from their previous EPs plus an unreleased cut.
DJ Format/Abdominal – Still Hungry CD/LP (AAF)
Funky, up-tempo and slick beats, coupled with intelligent, savvy lyrics.
Fates Warning – Awaken The Guardian: Live 2xCD+DVD/2xLP (Metal Blade)
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of their third album, the legendary progressive metal band performed it live stem-to-stern at two festivals: Keep it True XIX in Lauda-Konigshofen, Germany and Prog Power USA XVII in Atlanta, GA. Awaken The Guardian Live consists of highlights from both of these performances.
Feist – Pleasure CD/2xLP (Interscope)
Feist’s first album in six years reflects on secrets and shame, loneliness and tenderness, care and fatigue and is at its core a study on self-awareness. In addition to reaffirming Feist as a cagily inventive guitar player, Pleasure threads her shape-shifting and often haunting vocals into sparse and raw arrangements.
Galley Beggar – Heathen Hymns CD (Rise Above)
To reduce Galley Beggar’s allure down to a simple matter of folk rock revivalism would be foolish. With a sound that incorporates all manner of unexpected elements while always celebrating the mischievous spirit of folk music across the centuries, these Kentish chameleons have been steadily earning a formidable reputation since forming back in 2009. [Vinyl edition due May 26.]
Gorillaz – Humanz CD/2xCD/2xLP+MP3/14×12”+MP3 (WB)
Being a virtual band was always part of the sales pitch of Gorillaz, the pairing of the Blur musician Damon Albarn and the illustrator Jamie Hewlett, which has been releasing hip-hop-influenced concept albums since 2001. And yet with Humanz, the fifth Gorillaz album and the first since 2010, Mr. Albarn found himself at the center of a decidedly real-world conundrum. To unify the album and its many collaborators, he tried to imagine an apocalyptic event — the election of Donald J. Trump — and the possible reactions to it. Then he convened some of the most vibrant talent in hip-hop, R&B, house, reggae and more: the pointed rappers Pusha T and Vince Staples, the nimble singer Peven Everett, the dancehall tear-jerker Popcaan, the early house music innovator Jamie Principle, the soul legend Mavis Staples and many more. [Available in Regular, Deluxe, and Super Deluxe editions. Deluxe CD edition features a five-track bonus disc. The Super Deluxe vinyl box set is presented across 14 individual pieces of different color 12” vinyl, packaged in individually art-worked sleeves. Each piece of vinyl features an album track, backed with an exclusive alternative version. The box also includes a 54-page, cloth-bound, foil-blocked, hardback book featuring exclusive Gorillaz artwork by Jamie Hewlett plus a download card, all housed in a bespoke 12″ vinyl case.]
Hajk – Hajk CD/LP (InKind Music)
“Hajk are an Oslo quintet featuring Preben Sælid Andersen of Death By Unga Bunga, but rather than that band’s ‘Fight!’ played like Thin Lizzy with the overdrive pedal cranked up, Hajk’s latest single is crisp, clear, and smooth. ‘Best Friend’ is a street-ready guitar-pop track that exists somewhere between Dire Straits and Phoenix circa It’s Never Been Like That.” — Stereogum
Emmylou Harris – Emmylou Harris & The Nash Ramblers At The Ryman [Reissue/1992] 2xCD (Nonesuch)
Remastered edition of the live album by Emmylou Harris and her then-newly formed acoustic backing band, The Nash Ramblers, recorded April 30th – May 2nd, 1991 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. [Vinyl edition due May 12.]
Juliana Hatfield – Pussycat CD/LP/Cassette (American Laudromat)
Juliana is back with 14 brand new songs, including the instant-classic “Wonder Why.” “I wasn’t planning on making a record,” says Juliana Hatfield of Pussycat. In fact, she thought her songwriting career was on hiatus, and that she had nothing left to say in song form; that she had finally said it all after two decades as a recording artist. But then the presidential election happened. “All of these songs just started pouring out of me. And I felt an urgency to record them, to get them down, and get them out there.”
He Is Legend – Few CD/LP (Spinefarm)
He Is Legend amplify every element of their style for their latest album Few. Summoning ghosts of White Zombie, Soundgarden, and Nirvana, the riffs hit harder, the lyrics cut deeper, and the rhythms stick longer.
Hideous Divinity – Adveniens CD/LP (Unique Leader)
New album from the Italian death metal squad.
Hovvdy – Taster CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Double Double Whammy)
Coming from Austin Texas, Hovvdy is the writing and recording project of Charlie Martin and Will Taylor. The two of them, both primarily drummers, first met in the fall of 2014, and quickly bonded over ramen and a love for quiet music. The duo has found a unique identity in rhythmic, down-tempo pop songs that are hopeful yet melancholy. [Limited color vinyl pressing also available.]
Ides Of Gemini – Woman CD (Rise Above)
“Dominated by the haunting, high-rising vocals of Sera Timms, Ides Of Gemini appear to be a good match for Lee Dorrain’s Rise Above Records. Dorrain’s knack for signing up-and-coming female-fronted bands notwithstanding (The Oath and Purson instantly come to mind), Ides of Gemini’s psychedelic genre-bending shows they are capable of squeezing through whatever corridor is left of ‘70s haze rock and primal doom. On their third and subsequent best album, Women, Ides Of Gemini have attained the measure of consistency they were threatening everyone with on their previous efforts. As indicated by its album and song titles, each song here is about a woman, whether mythological or real, with Ides even coming up with the stroke of genius to allow the fantastic Emma Ruth Rundle to appear on ‘She Has A Secret.’ Such things all lead into what is Ides Of Gemini’s most convincing expression to date, an album without boundaries, easily capable of drawing anyone in.” – Dead Rhetoric [Vinyl edition due May 26.]
Sally Jaye – Amarillo  CD/LP (Foe Killer)
In 2006, Georgia-born singer/songwriter Sally Jaye found herself in a Los Angeles recording studio with no producer, no band, and no plan. Two weeks later she emerged with one of the most soulful and affecting country music albums of the 21st century. This self-released album has remained an under-the-radar masterwork, distilling a lifetime of imagery into ten songs and serving up stories of carnies, car crashes, and cocaine come-downs that are at once sobering and wryly humorous. Introduced to a whole new audience through her appearance in the 2016 film Too Late, Sally Jaye’s after-hours duet with Academy Award nominee John Hawkes led to many a Google search from moviegoers eager to hear more from this haunting new cinematic siren.
Kenoma – Tides Will Prevail CD/LP (Translation Loss)
50 minutes of progressive, instrumental doom/post rock.
Mark Lanegan Band – Gargoyle CD/LP+MP3 (Heavenly/PIAS America)
Mark Lanegan Band’s new album Gargoyle features guest appearances from long-time collaborators Josh Homme, Greg Dulli and Duke Garwood. The contributions of English musician Rob Marshall (who co-wrote six songs) fit perfectly with the direction Lanegan had been pondering: in essence, a more expansive progression from the moody Krautrock-influenced electronica textures of his two previous albums, Blues Funeral and Phantom Radio. While sharing roots with its two predecessors, on Gargoyle there’s a significant up-shift in the swaggering powerlode of such keynote songs as “Nocturne” and “Beehive,” while the lyrics’ tonal palette is more varied. The album title comes from a lyric in “Blue Blue Sea” – ‘Gargoyle perched on gothic spire’ – and was chosen for its hint of self-deprecation. “I’m most proud of the songs that are atypical to stuff that I’ve done in the past,” Lanegan says. “So I really like Old Swan, because it’s an expression of positivity, which is completely anti-anything I’ve done before!” [Limited edition white color vinyl pressing also available.]
Les Amazones d’Afrique – Republique Amazone CD/LP+MP3 (Real World)
A collaboration featuring Angélique Kidjo, Kandia Kouyaté, Mamani Keita, Mariam Doumbia and others, campaigning for gender equality. Western funk and blues with elements of dub and ancient rhythms.
Life Of Agony – A Place Where There’s No More Pain CD/LP (Napalm)
A cathartic Sturm & Drang experience with gut wrenching rock melodies, raging guitar riffs, heartfelt lyrics and killer grooves. [Limited red color vinyl pressing also available.]
Little Cub – Still Life CD/LP+MP3 (Domino)
Still Life is the debut album by south London’s Little Cub. Its eleven songs marry a wry, worldly and subversive self-effacing form of diarist lyricism with sumptuously evocative electronic production, announcing the arrival of a band at once deeply in tune with the greatest traditions of progressive, homespun British pop music and at odds with the increasingly vacuous pop culture they are born into.
Liv Sin – Follow Me CD/LP (Despotz)
From the gutters of southern Sweden, Liv Jagrell emerged as a major force as the vocalist for hard rock band Sister Sin. The group sold thousands of records and toured the world with high-profile tours supporting the likes of Slayer and King Diamond as well as being a part of the Revolver magazine’s Hottest Chicks In Metal tour.
Lock Up – Demonization CD/LP (Listenable)
After amicably parting company with long standing vocalist and metal brother Tomas Lindberg Lock Up was honored to have Kevin Sharp step up to the plate and infuse the band with his unique take on their pan-demonic grind and death hybrid attack.
Looking For An Answer – Dios Carne CD/LP (Willowtip)
The Spanish grindcore veterans return with their first full length in six years.
Los Angeles Police Department – Los Angeles Police Department CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (ANTI-)
L.A.-based Ryan Pollie makes the kind of homespun bedroom pop that excels in its quiet intimacy, while retaining its emotional weight under sparse instrumentation and soft delivery. In his work as Los Angeles Police Department, Pollie sings of love and its pitfalls. But no matter how anxious the content of his material reads it always sounds tender and composed, unlike what Pollie’s moniker might suggest.
Mammoth Mammoth – Mount The Mountain CD/LP (Napalm)
The Australian dirt rockers deliver another powerful addition to their long list of prior convictions.
John Mellencamp featuring Carlene Carter – Sad Clowns & Hillbillies CD/LP (Republic)
Heartland rocker John Mellencamp releases his twenty third full-length album featuring Carlene Carter, the daughter of June Carter Cash and stepdaughter of Johnny Cash. Sad Clowns & Hillbillies returns Mellencamp to the musical eclecticism that is, itself, a reflection of his wide-ranging musings on life. The album’s latest single, “Grandview” features country music star, Martina McBride while lead cut “Easy Target” served as a continuation of Mellencamp’s journey to convey the truth through a passionate and plain-spoken song, focusing on the Black Lives Matter movement as well as gun violence in America.
Mew – Visuals CD/LP+MP3 (PIAS America)
Visuals is Mew at their most compact, their chemistry at its most potent. With only one song over five minutes, it’s their most concise album. Frontman Jonas Bjerre says there was no need for a grand, overarching concept. Each song on Visuals represents its own little chapter and story: nothing needed to be overly long. The discordant stomp of “Candy Pieces All Smeared Out” sums up the emotional to and fro and captivating contrariness at the heart of Visuals: it’s an album that’s both nostalgic and contemporary, that looks back whilst marching forward. The blissful glide of “In A Better Place” is a prime example of the impulsive environment that the songs were written in, whilst the atmospheric rock of “Ay Ay Ay” was based around a choir part that Bjerre had come up with a few years ago. Bjerre says that the celebratory groove of “Learn Our Crystals” “is one of our weirdest songs.” Poppy and fantastical, it had a familiar feeling to the singer as soon as he wrote it. The soulful sway of “Shoulders” has an R&B feel to it, whilst the band had earmarked the mesmerizing intricacy of “Carry Me To Safety” as the album’s closer as soon as it’d been written.
Lea Michele – Places CD (Sony)
Second album from the singer/actress best known for her work on the TV Show Glee.
Jackie Mittoo – Striker Showcase 2xCD (VP)
Striker Showcase finds Jackie Mittoo revisiting much of his Brentford Road past for producer Bunny Lee, classic ‘70s recordings that proved extremely popular in the rockers era. This re-mastered double-CD set collects together three classic Jackie Mittoo albums (Showcase, Keyboard King and Hot Blood) and fleshes them out with extra choice cuts.
Thurston Moore – Rock N Roll Consciousness CD/LP (Caroline)
Rock N Roll Consciousness is a new and exhilarating chapter for Thurston Moore, and promises to be a creative highpoint for anyone interested in his legacy of avant-garde music and writing, as strong a statement as anything he has recorded these last three decades — serious and precocious and strangely accessible. The songs here are expansive, anthemic and exploratory with lyrics, co-written with poet Radio Radieux, investigating and heralding the love between angels, goddess mysticism and a belief in healing through new birth. They range from the opener “Exalted,” an unfolding and emotional journey in homage to sacred energy and exaltation, to “Cusp” a springtime charging, propulsive piece with a feeling of Sonic Youth mixing in with My Bloody Valentine to “Turn On” a pop-sonic poem to holy love both intimate and kosmiche to the contemplative mystery of life-defining time travel in “Smoke Of Dreams.” The record concludes with “Aphrodite,” a strange and heavy no wave rocker in salutation to the idol of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation. [Vinyl is available in Regular and Deluxe editions. Limited Deluxe features gatefold packaging.]
Van Morrison – The Authorized Bang Collection 3xCD (Sony Legacy)
The Authorized Bang Collection celebrates the 50th anniversary of Van Morrison’s first solo record and includes the original mixes of the master recordings, including the hit “Brown Eyed Girl.” Bonus material includes session outtakes and the first official release of the humorous “contractual obligation session.”
Willie Nelson – God’s Problem Child CD/LP (Legacy)
God’s Problem Child is Willie’s first album to debut all-new songs since Band Of Brothers in 2014. It includes 13 new songs, including seven recently written by Willie and Buddy Cannon, his longtime collaborator and producer. The album’s title track, penned by Jamey Johnson and Tony Joe White, includes vocals by both writers and the legendary Leon Russell (on what may be Russell’s very last recording). Closing the album is “He Won’t Ever Be Gone,” a song written by Gary Nicholson that pays tribute to Willie’s outlaw country comrade, Merle Haggard. “While remaining endlessly prolific, Nelson has always looked at the album as a totemic work, collecting songs in ways that add up to something bigger than the individual pieces. Let’s not forget that this is the songwriter who crafted one of country music’s first concept records (1971’s Yesterday’s Wine) and one of its first crossover standards collections (1978’s Stardust). God’s Problem Child continues that tradition—approaching life and love from angles that can only result from a career spent studying both with a restless sense of wonder. It’s the kind of perspective that most songwriters can only dream of attaining: for Willie Nelson, it’s just another day at the office.” – Uncut
New Found Glory – Makes Me Sick CD/LP (Hopeless)
This year marks New Found Glory’s 20 year anniversary, which will be celebrated with this new album and a 20-year anniversary tour (appropriately titled 20 Years Of Pop Punk) where they will be playing new material along with catalog albums from front to back.
Old Crow Medicine Show – 50 Years Of Blond On Blond CD/2xLP+MP3 (SME Nashville)
50 Years Of Blonde On Blonde was recorded live at the CMA Theater located inside the historic Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum located in Nashville, TN in May 2016. “Fifty years is a long time for a place like Nashville, Tennessee. Time rolls on slowly around here like flotsam and jetsam in the muddy Cumberland River. But certain things have accelerated the pace of our city. And certain people have sent the hands of the clock spinning. Bob Dylan is the greatest of these time-bending, paradigm-shifting Nashville cats,” says Ketch Secor, the primary vocalist of the Old Crow Medicine Show. “By deciding to record his newly found rock ‘n’ roll voice in 1966 Nashville, Bob swung the gates of Country music wide open; so wide, in fact, that 50 years later there was still enough of a crack left for Old Crow Medicine Show to sneak its banjos and fiddles through the gates with string band swagger.”
Pinegrove – Everything So Far CD/LP+MP3 (Run For Cover)
An anthology of all of Pinegrove’s output up to the point of their breakout Run For Cover Records full-length, Cardinal.
Chris Potter – The Dreamer Is The Dream CD (ECM)
For his third ECM release as a leader, Chris Potter presents a new acoustic quartet that naturally blends melodic rhapsody with rhythmic muscle. The group includes superlative musicians well known to followers of ECM’s many recordings from New York over the past decade: keyboardist David Virelles, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Marcus Gilmore, who each shine in addition to the leader on multiple horns. [Vinyl edition is due May 26.]
R.Ring – Ignite The Rest CD (SofaBurn)
R.Ring is Kelley Deal and Mike Montgomery. It is guitars, voices and keys. The music is sparse, abrasive, chaotic and lulling… often within the same song.
Xavier Rudd – Live In The Netherlands CD (SideOneDummy)
Live In The Netherlands is the start-to finish live set from Xavier Rudd’s incredible 28-date sold-out 2016 European tour, recorded on the final night in Utrecht. During these shows, Xavier and his band performed 18 of his greatest songs, including “Come Let Go,” “Spirit Bird,” and the global hit “Follow The Sun.” [Vinyl edition due May 5.]
Sadistik – Altars CD/LP (Equal Vision)
Sadistik has been described as “showing his scars with each song he writes,” as well as, “the cigarette burn rap king.”
Ryuichi Sakamoto – async CD (Milan)
async is Ryuichi Sakamoto’s first studio album in eight years. This is his most personal release as it follows a long fight against cancer from which he emerged with a renewed and passionate creative energy. “What kind of ‘sounds/music’ do I want to listen to?” async is the answer to this question Ryuichi has asked himself for the past several years. This is the album he is the most proud of which synthesizes all of his musical and sound interests. This is a journey through analog synth, the sounds of things and of places, an imaginary soundtrack to an Andrei Tarkovsky film and many others musical surprises.
Jenny Scheinman – Here On Earth CD (The Royal Potato Family)
Jenny Scheinman presents songs that were composed for the film Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait, a collaboration with director Finn Taylor and commissioned by Aaron Greenwald at Duke Performances. The movie collects archival footage taken between 1936-1942 by H. Lee Waters, a North Carolina photographer who traveled across the Piedmont, taking short movies of ordinary, small town folks living through the Great Depression. Scheinman based her band for these recordings on a specific scene from the movie, where three musicians (fiddle, banjo and guitar) are playing at a dance party. To recreate this dynamic in the studio, she enlisted Danny Barnes (banjo, guitar, tuba), Robbie Fulks (guitar, banjo), Bill Frisell (guitar) and Robbie Gjersoe (resonator guitar), not just for their brilliant skills and deep-rooted understanding of fiddle music, but because they brought the barn-stomping, slightly unhinged energy she was trying to conjure.
Ron Sexsmith – The Last Rider CD/LP (Compass)
15 new Sexsmith originals that are by turns happy, sad, romantic, bittersweet, uplifting, spiritual, and witty.
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers – Sidelong CD/LP+MP3 (Bloodshot)
North Carolina’s Sarah Shook sings with a conviction and hard honesty sorely lacking in much of today’s Americana landscape. Always passionate, and at times profane, Sarah stalks/walks the line between vulnerable and menacing. You can hear in her voice what’s she’s seen; world weary, hard lessons learned-or not-but always defiant. The Disarmers, with their snarling boom-chicka-boom guitars and an Old 97’s swing in the rhythm section, keep it in the pocket. Tight and tough.
Skating Polly – New Trick CD/LP+MP3 (El Camino Media)
Produced and mixed by Brad Wood (Liz Phair, Sunny Day Real Estate) Skating Polly’s new EP is a fully formed collection of songs that sees the duo pushing the boundaries of their sound without losing sight of the playful dynamic of the band that has endeared them to fans all over the world. The EP sets the tone out of the gate with the fuzzed-out pop sheen of “Louder In Outer Space,” takes on a moody, harmony-rich bent on the melodically minded “Hail Mary” and culminates with “Black Sky,” an instantly memorable song that shows that Skating Polly doesn’t need distortion or fancy studio trickery in order to craft something that’s instantly memorable. “Nina Gordon and Louise Post (Veruca Salt co-frontwomen and guest vocalists) have an excellent knack for harmony and layers and every time we’d start to record the four of us kept coming out with more subtle pieces to add,” guitarist/vocalist Kelli Mayo says. “If you listen closely there’s a lot of layers to every song that translated in a very dynamic way as opposed to being overproduced.”
The Sneetches – Form Of Play: A Retrospective CD (Omnivore)
The first-ever career overview of ’80s/’90s alt-pop mavericks The Sneetches. Described by Trouser Press as “one of the most tasteful, consistently tuneful pop bands on the American scene,” Form Of Play: A Retrospective is a compendium of the best moments from this Anglo-American outfits three albums and various singles and compilation appearances. The Sneetches were formed in San Francisco in 1985 by Mike Levy and Matt Carges, punk veterans who now preferred to indulge their love of pop and melody, initially as a studio project. In the era of grunge and hardcore, the musician’s heroes constituted The Zombies, Easybeats, Monochrome Set, Nilsson and others, as Levy’s songwriting proffered a similar bittersweet blend of musical melody and lyrical misanthropy.
Colin Stetson – All This I Do For Glory CD/LP (52Hz)
New album from the saxophonist and multireedist. All This I Do For Glory is a reasoning and exploration of the machinations of ambition and legacy, an examination of the concepts of afterlife, and the first half of a doomed love story in the model of the Greek tragedies. With this, his first solo outing since 2013’s To See More Light, Colin Stetson ventures into territory both familiar and strange. Here still, is the dogmatically stripped down approach to performance and capture (all songs recorded live with no overdubs or loops) but there is an immediacy to the album that belies a more invasive and thorough mic’ing of the various instruments being utilized and a seeming influence drawn from the early nineties electronica of artists like Aphex Twin and Autechre, evident in the more pointed role played by the instruments’ many percussive elements. [Limited white color vinyl pressing also available.]
Suns Of Dub – Riddimentary: Suns Of Dub Selects Greensleeves CD/LP+MP3 (VP)
Riddimentary is the perfect bridge for dub reggae and progressive music fans to connect with all-time reggae classics from the Greensleeves and VP Records catalog. The set is a continuous DJ mix of seventeen songs on CD, twelve tracks on vinyl LP and both the mix and seventeen full tracks on the digital album. Among the featured artists on the album is the legendary Augustus Pablo, whose son Addis is a founding member.
The Supremes – The Supremes A’Go-Go Expanded Edition 2xCD (Motown)
A double-CD deluxe rendering of The Supremes’ 1966 LP. Outtakes and rare mixes, including a newly created duet with the Four Tops, have been added to the album’s original mono and stereo versions, now remastered for the first time in decades, to create a unique package deserving of the Supremes legendary status. Comes with a 24-page booklet with extensive liner notes and never-before-seen photos.
Sylvan Esso – What Now CD/LP (Loma Vista/Concord)
“Deceptively simple” encapsulates Sylvan Esso’s entire brand. You can plumb the hidden depths of their work, or not; they’re going to have a good time either way. Over 10 tracks on the duo’s sophomore album, What Now, Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn unravel familiar themes of physicality and immediacy, building on and complementing, but never managing to overtake, their debut’s aggressive minimalism. The tricky thing is that their sound is distinctive and largely theirs alone: It is Sanborn’s electronic beats and burbles that manage to never feel cluttered or heavy, coupled with Meath’s lyrics, dripping with urgency and delivered in her flawless croon. “Die Young” is one of the album’s truest gems, an unexpectedly sweet love song about readjusting plans for an early death to accommodate a promising relationship. It seems hard to imagine that anyone who isn’t overtly suicidal would assume their death would happen in a fire or a “crash off a ravine,” as Meath posits, but she sells it; more than any other track, this one sticks with me.” – Consequence Of Sound
Tibble Transsibiriska – Duj CD/LP (Marushka)
Second album from the Swedish gypsy rockers. Duj is the follow-up to their self-titled debut album. The first album was upbeat and engaging, and Duj expands upon their sound including guest appearances from Süperstar Orkestar, Marit Bergman, Emilia Huczko Bakoeva Dogge, and others.
Trombone Shorty – Parking Lot Symphony CD (Blue Note)
Trombone Shorty’s Blue Note debut captures the spirit and the essence of The Big Easy, while redefining its sound through ‘70s funk, rock, hip-hop and R&B. [Vinyl edition due July 7.]
Brian Tyler – The Fate Of The Furious [Score] CD (Backlot Music)
Original score for the 2017 motion picture composed by Brian Tyler.
Jimmy Urine – The Cinematic Sounds Of Jimmy Urine CD/LP (The End)
For over a decade, Mindless Self Indulgence, a four-member outfit based out of New York City featuring frontman Jimmy Urine, have been whipping crowds of eager fans in to furious riots with their heart-pounding electro-punk and death-defying stage antics. Over the years, they developed a devoted following, spawned bidding wars between major labels, and earned a reputation as a tough live act to follow, from clubs to arenas. With MSI currently on hiatus, Jimmy Urine is extending his creative palette in movie soundtracks and video game music including “Metronomicon,” “I Want To Be Human,” “The Hive” and more. These songs and more have been collected on The Cinematic Sounds Of Jimmy Urine.
Various Artists – Classic English And Scottish Ballads From Smithsonian Folkways CD (Smithsonian Folkways)
The 19th-century scholar Francis James Child meticulously and authoritatively compiled 305 Scottish and English ballads into the highly influential collection known as “Child Ballads.” Although Child feared these ballads would vanish from human memory, they continue to be adored, studied, and actively performed across disciplines and genres. Classic English and Scottish Ballads From Smithsonian Folkways (from The Francis James Child Collection) introduces listeners to 21 of these traditional songs from the label’s rich collections at the Smithsonian Institution, and demonstrates the timelessness of their themes—from murder and ghosts to jealousy and unrequited love.
Various Artists – Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 CD (Walt Disney)
Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel Studios’ Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand. This time our heroes are accompanied by classic tracks from Electric Light Orchestra, Sweet, Fleetwood Mac, Sam Cooke, Glen Campbell, George Harrison, Cheap Trick, Cat Stevens, Parliament, and more.
Violents and Monica Martin – Awake And Pretty Much Sober CD/LP (PTKF)
Awake And Pretty Much Sober is the debut full-length album from multi-instrumentalist and producer Jeremy Larson, aka Violents, and vocalist Monica Martin (of PHOX). Colorful, effervescent, honest, and emotive, the record turns the traditional “duets album” on its head, offering up its own version of electronic-influenced pop music along the way.
Vök – Figure CD/LP (Nettwerk)
Debut album by the Icelandic electronic pop group.
Wall – Untitled CD/LP (Wharf Cat)
“A tarnished, shouty clangor that recalls Mission of Burma, Wire circa ‘Pink Flag’, Pylon…” — Pitchfork
The Whistles & The Bells – Modern Plagues CD/LP+MP3 (New West)
The Whistles & The Bells, alt-rock moniker of acclaimed singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Bryan Simpson. Co-produced by Simpson and engineer Eddie Spear (Judah & The Lion, Lake Street Dive, Rival Sons), Modern Plagues’ 11 expansive tracks find Simpson delivering eye-opening lyrical insights and audacious verbal imagery, while displaying a freewheeling sonic sensibility that draws inspiration from a bottomless well of genres and textures. Collaborations on the album include co-writes with The Raconteurs’ Brendan Benson that resulted in such out-of-the-box tunes as the album’s first track “Harry Potter.” Of the song, American Songwriter comments, “A retro pop tune with strong ’80s influences, the video for this track feels like something you would see a teenage Molly Ringwald starring in. Sung from the perspective of a teenage girl, ‘Harry Potter’ highlights what many young adults long for but unfortunately cannot find as they grow older: childhood innocence and simplicity.”
Wilsen – I Go Missing In My Sleep CD/LP+MP3 (Secret City)
“There is something so soothing about the delicate, restrained songs on I Go Missing In My Sleep, the debut album from Wilsen. The trio is composed of (sort-of) namesake Tamsin Wilson — a U.K.-born, Canadian-raised singer-songwriter — along with bandmates Drew Arndt on bass and Johnny Simon Jr. on guitar. Wilson, who now lives in Brooklyn, wrote most of the songs for this album in the quiet of her apartment at night while the city was asleep. The setting feels apt: the songs evoke the kind of solitude and calm that can only be felt by those awake and working alone through the night. Throughout the album, Wilson’s pensive vocals weave in and out of rippling arrangements to a meditative, compelling effect — a perfect backdrop to an overcast day at the beach. This feeling is perhaps best illustrated by the song “Garden,” which manages to evoke calmness and urgency at the same time.” – CBC Music
Wolfbrigade – Run With The Hunted CD/LP (Southern Lord)
Wolfbrigade’s Run With The Hunted surges with ten brutalizing new tracks which elevate both the harsh intensity and the melodic attributes of the band’s patented, penetrating, d-beat-ridden hardcore crust punk to new extremes of infectious viciousness.
Wrongtom Meets The Raga Twins – In Time CD/LP (Tru Thoughts)
In Time is the new album from renegade roots and reggae producer Wrongtom and Hackney’s veteran breakbeat/jungle MCs the Ragga Twins. It strips back the jungle, D&B, garage sound that the Ragga Twins are recognized for pioneering today, to take you back to the ’80s reggae and dancehall landscape where they started out. Wrongtom provides the beats and riddims as a perfect setting for this celebration of the dancehall and reggae scene.
This Week’s Vinyl Exclusives:
Carousel Kings – Charm City LP (Victory)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. New album from the Lancaster, PA pop-punkers.
- Cole – 4 Your Eyez Only LP (Dreamville/Roc Nation/Interscope)
Released last December on CD – now available on vinyl. Multi-platinum-selling North Carolina rapper J. Cole’s newest release 4 Your Eyez Only serves as his fourth consecutive No. 1 album following 2011’s Cole World, 2013’s Born Sinner and 2014’s Forest Hills Drive. Sticking with tradition Your Eyez Only contains zero features with Cole owning every writing credit.
Craven Idol – The Shackles Of Mammon LP (Dark Descent)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. London’s premium metal force Craven Idol unleash their second album of ruthless first wave blackened thrash in the vein of early Bathory, Gospel Of The Horns, Manilla Road, and Inquisition.
Crypt Rot – Embryonic Devils LP (Southern Lord)
Crypt Rot summons an ominous atmosphere on their debut, as they segue between pummeling blackened death metal fury, packed with caustic vocals, drop-tuned aggression, relentless riffs, spine-tingling harmonies, and creepy sounds from the darkest catacombs.
Dead To Fall – Villainy & Virtue  LP (Victory)
Hailing from Victory Records’ hometown of Chicago, IL, Dead To Fall’s onslaught of multi-faceted Nordic-influenced guitar riffs and racing drum blasts will stir any fan of extreme music into a frenzy. The band’s sophomore effort, 2004’s Villainy & Virtue, took the brutal breakdowns and technical shredding of 2002 debut Everything I Touch Falls To Pieces to a new level of speed and intensity.
Depeche Mode – Where’s The Revolution (Remixes) 2×12” (Sony)
Double-12” containing eight remixes of the first single lifted from their recent album Spirit.
Fit For An Autopsy – Great Collapse LP (Metal/E1)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. The crushing music of Fit For An Autopsy is for any fan of extreme metal, as it’s devoid of preachy politics or grandstanding soapboxing, but its sound and fury is absolutely unflinching in purpose. The band expertly blends excessive-force fueled death metal with atmospheric groove and impassioned personal diatribes, reflecting back the dark state of current events. Their fourth album, The Great Collapse, doesn’t waste time with fantasy bullsh!t or cliché gore horror. Limited color vinyl pressing.
Flatfoot 56 – Odd Boat LP+MP3 (Sailor’s Grave)
Playing a positive-natured brand of hardcore-tinged Celtic punk, Flatfoot 56 has been unleashing itself upon America and the rest of the world for over 16 years. Limited assorted color vinyl pressings available.
Fortunes – Undress EP/Jacket EP 12”+MP3 (Future Classics)
Melbourne via New Zealand music duo Fortunes (aka Conor McCabe and Barnaby Matthews) present a dual EP release featuring their latest Undress EP on the A-side plus their previously self-released Jacket EP on the B-side. Undress single “501’s” is a day-dreamy, sunset jam with tongue in cheek storytelling, syrupy synths and stacks of vocal harmonies that builds on a sound uniquely their own.
Gentleman’s Dub Club – Dubtopia LP (Easy Star)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. With Dubtopia, the celebrated London band has worked to balance the new focus on songwriting that came to the fore on The Big Smoke with more of the bass-heavy, uptempo energy their live sets are known for.
Elton John – Elton John [Reissue/1970] LP (Mercury)
Elton John – 17-11-70 [Reissue/1971] LP (Mercury)
Elton John – Madman Across The Water [Reissue/1971] LP (Mercury)
Elton John – Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy [Reissue/1975] LP (Mercury)
Elton John – Too Low From Zero [Reissue/1983] LP (Mercury)
Elton John – Songs From The West Coast [Reissue/2001] 2xLP (Mercury)
Limited 180gm vinyl reissues released in conjunction with Elton John’s 50th anniversary in the music industry.
Little Big Town – The Breaker LP (Capitol Nashville)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. The seventh studio album from the CMA Vocal Group of the year. The Breaker includes their Top 10 hit, “Better Man,” written by Taylor Swift.
Dominic Miller – Silent Light LP (ECM)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. Miller has long been known as Sting’s right-hand man on guitar and co-writer of the worldwide hit “Shape Of My Heart,” among others. Miller has also worked with the likes of Paul Simon, The Chieftains and Plácido Domingo. The guitarist’s playing has prompted praise from Simon, who points out, in a liner note to the album, that Miller has a beautiful touch, with a fragrance of jazz and English folk.
Shugo Tokumaru – Toss LP+MP3 (Polyvinyl)
New album from the avant-pop experimentalist. Limited blue color vinyl pressing.
U2 – How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb [Reissue/2004] LP (Interscope)
U2’s 11th studio album is back in print on vinyl.
Nick Waterhouse – LA Turnaround b/w I Cry 7” (Innovative Leisure)
“Nick Waterhouse embodies effortless hipster cool. On this vibrant third album, the California soul shouter does his usual thing with grand flair, drawing heavily from early-’60s R&B, among other groovy sources, yet never sounding like a nostalgia act. Swinging from first note to last, Waterhouse combines swaggering but good-natured vocals, tough beats, often with a Latin tinge, soul-jazz embellishments such as Hammond organ, and rousing, gospel-influenced tunes that would make Ray Charles smile.” “LA Turnaround” is the third single from the third album and pressed on wax with the previously unreleased duet called “I Cry.”
Betty Who – The Valley LP (RCA)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. Australian-born pop singer Betty Who makes vivacious yet bittersweet music that calls to mind divas such as Whitney Houston, Robyn, and Katy Perry. The 25-year-old Australian-born and Los Angeles based pop star is hoping that 2017 keeps her busy, after she broke out with the dance-pop hit “Somebody Loves You” in 2014 and spent most of last year on the road. Since then, Who (real name: Jess Newham) has moved to Los Angeles, gotten into a serious relationship and experienced the personal growth that she says naturally comes when you enter your mid-20s. “On this album, there’s still grieving about my last relationship, or talking about friendships that have fallen apart over the past couple of years due to the nature of my job — but I also think it’s much more self-assured.”
John Gary Williams – John Gary Williams [Reissue/1973] LP (Stax)
John Gary Williams, with his honey-sweet vocals, rose to fame as the lead voice of inimitable Stax group, The Mad Lads (“Don’t Have To Shop Around,” “I Want Someone”). In 1973, Williams emerged from hiatus to embark upon a solo career and released his reflective, poignant, and politically conscious self-titled masterpiece. The magnificent “The Whole Damn World Is Going Crazy” is one of the stand-out tracks for sure, but the set is filled to the brim with great Memphis soul and is a classy affair from start to finish.
Hovvdy – Taster (Double Double Whammy)
Coming from Austin Texas, Hovvdy is the writing and recording project of Charlie Martin and Will Taylor. The two of them, both primarily drummers, first met in the fall of 2014, and quickly bonded over ramen and a love for quiet music. The duo has found a unique identity in rhythmic, down-tempo pop songs that are hopeful yet melancholy.
Los Angeles Police Department – Los Angeles Police Department (ANTI-)
L.A.-based Ryan Pollie makes the kind of homespun bedroom pop that excels in its quiet intimacy, while retaining its emotional weight under sparse instrumentation and soft delivery. In his work as Los Angeles Police Department, Pollie sings of love and its pitfalls. But no matter how anxious the content of his material reads it always sounds tender and composed, unlike what Pollie’s moniker might suggest.