CDs + Vinyl:
Aborym – Shifting.Negative CD (Agonia)
New album from the Italian industrial/electronic metal band.
Ryan Adams – Prisoner CD/LP (Pax Am/Blue Note)
Ryan Adams mined an unexpected influence – hard rock icons AC/DC – for the sonic design of his 16th LP, Prisoner. “When I run, I listen to [an iPod] Nano that I have,” the singer/songwriter told Entertainment Weekly. “I put all the AC/DC records on from back to front, or I’ll listen to the best of stuff from the ’80s: Springsteen, or Hornsby, and I’ll listen to what is going on there. I was listening to AC/DC’s Fly On The Wall, and that’s when I realized what I had to do for the record.” Last fall, Adams told EW his next album would feature material inspired by Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness On The Edge Of Town and the Smith’s Meat Is Murder. But he’s since added several disparate influences into the mix – including classic rock act Bachman-Turner Overdrive (“Takin’ Care Of Business,” “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”) and pop hit-makers Electric Light Orchestra, both of whom helped expand his guitar production expertise. “I was like, ‘Wow!’ I understand the multicolored guitar tone moments now,” he said. “You can layer stuff. I really just learned a lot.” “How do I make a real distinct record where anybody listens to it and says, ‘That’s the truth from beginning to end?’” he said. “So it’s like exercise. It sucks in the beginning. But then you get into it.” [Limited red color vinyl pressing also available.]
Aquilo – Silhouettes CD/LP (Harvest)
Silhouettes is the debut album from this atmospheric pop duo.
Battle Beast – Bringer Of Pain CD/2xLP (Nuclear Blast)
New release from the Finnish heavy metal band.
Big Sean – I Decided CD (Def Jam/G.O.O.D. Music)
Fourth album from the Detroit rapper. Includes guest contributions from Eminem, Jeremih, Jhene Aiko, The Dream, Migos and others.
Bing And Ruth – No Home Of The Mind CD/LP (4AD)
On their third album, No Home Of The Mind, the New York ensemble continues with the deft minimalism that has marked them out in critical circles in recent years. Established in 2006, Bing And Ruth is an ever-evolving collective steered by composer David Moore. A pianist from Kansas and graduate of New York’s school of Jazz and Contemporary Music at the New School, Moore’s work follows in the great tradition of fellow alumni John Cage and Steve Reich, albeit looking past the more studied repetition of the style’s forerunners toward a meditative form built on feeling.
Blacksage – Shivers CD (Friends Records)
Recently released on vinyl – now available on CD. Since their debut EP Sixtape in 2014, Baltimore-based duo Blacksage has been possessing listeners with the devastating coo of folk singer Josephine Olivia and the bass heavy beats of producer Drew Scott. Melting gothic-tinged elements of modern R&B and ‘90s trip-hop with old-fashioned pop, their 2015 full-length Basement Vows expanded on this dynamic to stunning effect. Their songs tread on the darker side of love and lust while remaining aware of the experimental and danceable nature of the music scene brewing in Baltimore.
Black Sites – In Monochrome CD/LP (Mascot)
Black Sites is a super group of sorts, featuring some of Chicago’s finest players from the underground metal scene including former Trials-members Mark Sugar (vocals/guitar) and Ryan Bruchert (guitar), plus John Picillo from Without Waves and Immortal Birds on bass, and Chris Avgerin, formerly of Autonomy and Lost Dog, on drums. The four-piece band draws inspiration from a panoramic pedigree of classic and modern metal and hard rock influences including Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, 1970s Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Fates Warning, Motörhead, Queensrÿche, Voivod, Hammers Of Misfortune, and Dawnbringer.
Molly Burch – Please Be Mine CD/LP+MP3 (Captured Tracks)
Molly Burch was exposed to the arts at an early age. Growing up in L.A. with a writer/producer father and a casting director mother, Burch’s childhood was filled with old Hollywood musicals and the sounds of Patsy Cline, Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. After finding her voice in adolescence, Burch packed up for the UNC in Asheville to study Jazz Vocal Performance. “I was always really interested in singing before songwriting. I didn’t always have the confidence to write,” Molly says, “Initially it was more about finding the right songs to complement my voice.” And that voice is the first thing you’ll notice on Burch’s debut album.
Cultes des Ghoules – Coven, Or Evil Ways Instead Of Love 2xCD (Hell’s Headbangers)
Crushing raw black death metal.
Tim Darcy – Saturday Night CD/LP+MP3 (Jagjaguwar)
Saturday Night, the first proper solo album from Tim Darcy (Ought), comes from one of those crossroads-type moments in life where one has to walk to the edge before knowing which way to proceed. Each track is woven to the next in a winding, complex journey through a charged, continuous present. There are love/love lost songs like the standout, almost-new wave “Still Waking Up” in which a Smiths-esque melody builds upon an underbrush that recalls ‘60s AM pop and country. Darcy’s unmistakable, commanding voice and lyrical phrasing are, as they are in Ought, an instrument here: vital to the entire affair.
Edenbridge – The Great Momentum 2xCD/2xLP+CD (Steamhammer)
New album from the Austrian symphonic metal act. [CD edition includes a bonus disc of instrumental versions. Limited brown color vinyl pressing also available.]
Eisley – I’m Only Dreaming CD/LP (Equal Vision)
I’m Only Dreaming is the Tyler, TX-based indie pop outfit’s fifth album, and was produced by Will Yip (Circa Survive, Balance & Composure, Lauryn Hill). Vocalist/guitarist Sherri DuPree-Bemis opened up about album single “You Are Mine” revealing, “This song is about loving someone deeply and the beauty and challenges that come with being in a long term, committed relationship. You’re going to argue, you’re going to rub each other wrong and disagree and drive each other absolutely crazy sometimes but at the end of the day you just want to be together. I’m Only Dreaming stays true to form of the band’s signature dreamy sound, with DuPree-Bemis elaborating, “Musically, you could say it’s classic Eisley, in the sense that it’s melodic, moody pop and is written from the heart. Lyrically, it’s very whimsical; it has a vibe that will take you into its own world and let you escape your normal life for a few minutes. I like to cloak things in a little mystery and romance; I think it’s part of what makes all of Eisley’s songs sound like they’re from the same world. Every record is like opening and reading a book in a series.”
Hanni El Khatib – Savage Times CD/3×10”+MP3 (Innovative Leisure)
Hanni El Khatib should be the next garage rock god. It doesn’t take much of a leap to see him headlining hockey arenas on the back of nothing but his scuzzy guitar and his monster hooks. His new release Savage Times is a compilation of a boatload of singles he released over 2016. His first idea for the Savage Times project was to do something he’d never done before. Instead, he ended up doing … well, everything he’d never done before. He’d be playing new instruments, writing in unfamiliar new ways, opening himself up to an unrelenting stream of ideas and dedicating himself totally to pure musical instinct—and then releasing songs instantly to the public, without waiting to tour or assemble an album or anything. At the end of 2015, he’d walked into the studio with his guitar and a few lines of lyrics, hoping to sketch out a track or two just to stay busy, but that very first day he walked out with two finished songs and the inspiration to create something raw in real time, recording and releasing songs direct to the public as soon as tape stopped rolling: “Everything was really as I did it,” he says. “It was meant to be an experiment in how I could write and record and release something as quickly as possible. I didn’t wanna make an album—I wanted to put songs out every week. It’s personal for me.”
Electric Guest – Plural CD/LP (Downtown)
The first album in five years from L.A.-based duo Asa Taccone and Matthew Compton aka Electric Guest. Plural breaks the group’s silence with their most confident, catchy, fully-realized music to date, featuring behind the scenes contributions from Joanna Newsom, Haim, and Justin Young from The Vaccines. Recorded in L.A., Plural infuses Electric Guest’s off-kilter blend of electronic, pop and R&B with an even more adventurous spirit than on 2012’s Mondo.
Danny Elfman – Fifty Shades Darker [Original Motion Picture Score] CD (Backlot Music)
Original score to the erotic romantic drama film.
Peter Erskine and The Dr. Um Band – Second Opinion CD (Fuzzy Music)
Peter Erskine – In Praise Of Shadows CD (Fuzzy Music)
Two new CDs from the Peter Erskine New Trio, featuring jazz drumming legend Erskine with his nephew and bass phenom Damian Erskine, plus keyboard virtuoso and arranger Vardan Ovsepian (with guests Artyom Manukyan on cello and EVI master Judd Miller).
The Gibson Brothers – In The Ground CD (Rounder)
The Gibson Brothers’ brand of bluegrass is a visceral mix of heritage and soaring harmony, making them the premiere brother duet of the genre, following in the footsteps of legendary brother acts such as the Stanley Brothers, Jim & Jesse, and the Osborne Brothers. Their first-ever album of entirely original songs, In The Ground sees the Gibson Brothers taking on their own roots as the sixth generation of Gibsons to grow up on their family farm.
Grails – Chalice Hymnal CD/LP+MP3 (Temporary Residence)
Rather than pick up where they left off, Grails take the sky-high riff-based heaviness of their earlier albums and distill it into a nuanced, widescreen opus. The perennial influences of mid-20th century Western film scores, obscure library music, and psychedelic krautrock are indelibly imprinted, but Chalice Hymnal exudes an eerie patience in unfurling the many layers of its subtle details.
Haxxan – Loch Ness Rising CD (Hell’s Headbangers)
Although “new” in name, Haxxan features underground legend Killjoy DeSade (Necrophagia, The Ravenous, Wurdulak, et. al.) on vocals and synth. Spread over 10 tracks, Haxxan’s Loch Ness Rising is conceptually based on Aleister Crowley, as Killjoy has been a life-long Crowley enthusiast. Recorded at Thelema Studios and mixed/mastered by Grzegorz Kulawiak at Sin Mix Studios, Loch Ness Rising richly resonates with a pure (and purely eerie/uneasy) tone that lends these songs a unique character: undoubtedly heavy in a manner not unlike To Mega Therion-era Celtic Frost, there’s likewise a ghostly aspect to its conversely crushing stomp.
Hearts Like Lions – If I Never Speak Again CD (Tooth & Nail)
New album from the Long Beach, California alt-rockers.
Benedikt Jahnel Trio – The Invariant CD (ECM)
The trio with Spanish bassist Antonio Miguel and Canadian drummer Owen Howard has been an invariant in the life of Berlin based pianist Benedikt Jahnel. Hence the album title: The Invariant is issued as the group goes on tour to celebrate its tenth anniversary as a working unit.
Jethro Tull – Stand Up [Reissue/1969] CD/LP (Rhino)
Steven Wilson’s new stereo mixes of the original album plus the original stereo and mono single mixes of “Living In The Past” and “Driving Song.” Jethro Tull’s second album, Stand Up, marked an early turning point for the band with the addition of guitarist Martin Barre along with Ian Anderson s introduction of folk-rock influences to the group’s blues-based sound.
Jidenna – The Chief CD (Epic)
“I want to create a whole different genre. The genre that I’m working on is called Swank,” the Nigerian American singer said. “My biggest goal is to be the swankest man in hip-hop history and the swankest man alive. I already have the swankest DJ you’ve ever seen, Nana Kwabena Tuffour, who is also my co-producer. People compare me, though, and say, ‘This is the millennial version of André 3000.’ Those are big shoes to fill and that’s an admirable position, but my goal is to redefine and create a new genre.”
Kool Keith – Sex Style [20th Anniversary Limited Edition] 2xCD (Threshold)
He comes in many forms and many incarnations, but his style is distinctly his own. Just as there’s no mistaking his smooth lyrical delivery and searing hip-hop prose with its underlying edgy beats, there’s no denying the incredible force that is Kool Keith. Whether as a founding member of the legendary Ultramagnetic MCs, or in the guises of his renegade rap personas Dr. Octagon and Dr. Dooom, Keith has established himself as an innovative lyricist whose erudite raps push the envelope to the limit. When Keith Teams up with KutMasta Kurt on the production, they arguably create the best albums in his catalog. This expanded reissue of his 1997 album adds a bonus disc of instrumental versions.
Alison Krauss – Windy City CD/LP (Capitol)
Alison Krauss, the most awarded female artist in Grammy history (27 awards including Album of the Year in 2009), releases a beautifully curated collection of classic songs produced by Nashville Veteran Buddy Cannon. While they span different eras and musical genres, there is a unifying sensibility. Some of the songs on Windy City are familiar, like “Gentle On My Mind,” a signature song of Glen Campbell’s, and “You Don’t Know Me” which was a hit for Eddy Arnold and Ray Charles. Others are lesser known, like Willie Nelson’s “I Never Cared For You” and “All Alone Am I,” originally recorded by Brenda Lee. “Like the nine other tracks on Windy City, ‘River In The Rain’ is a previously recorded song that’s given new life thanks to Krauss’ Americana/bluegrass stylings. The tune, written and originally sung by beloved Nashville singer/songwriter Roger Miller, is melancholy and introspective, about the destruction and rebirth that can come from winding rivers and ceaseless rain.” – The Boot
Nikki Lane – Highway Queen CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (New West)
Nikki Lane’s third album Highway Queen sees the young Nashville rebel emerge as one of country and rock’s most gifted songwriters. Produced by Lane and fellow singer/songwriter Jonathan Tyler, and recorded in Denton, Texas and Nashville, Tennessee, Highway Queen is an emotional tour-de-force. Blending potent lyrics, unbridled blues guitars and vintage ‘60s country-pop swagger, Lane’s new music will resonate as easily with Black Keys and Lana Del Rey fans as those of Neil Young and Tom Petty. Highway Queen starts with the whiskey-soaked restlessness of “700,000 Rednecks,” a rowdy call to action, and ends on the profoundly raw “Forever Lasts Forever,” where Lane belts freely, mourning a failed marriage – the “lighter shade of skin” left behind from her wedding ring. Lane’s journey to heartbreak takes exquisite turns. “Companion” is pure Everly Brothers’ dreaminess (“I would spend a lifetime/ Playing catch you if I can”). Elsewhere, she goes on a Vegas bender on the rollicking “Jackpot,” fights last-call blues (“Foolish Heart”) and tosses off brazen one-liners at a backroom piano (“Big Mouth”). [Limited vinyl picture disc edition also available.]
Jens Lekman – Life Will See You Now CD/LP+MP3 (Secretly Canadian)
Jens Lekman describes his new record, Life Will See You Now, playfully, but also honestly, as “a midlife-crisis disco album; it’s an existentialist record, about seeing the consequences of your choices”. It’s a typical Lekman album in several ways: sly humor is key to its heartfelt nature; it inverts pop’s writing norm by making songs with sad concerns sound happy and songs with a happy subject sound sad; and it plays with notions of identity and the self. But, as the title suggests, it also represents a significant move forward, as if across a threshold. It’s the more expansive, upbeat sound of a revitalized Lekman, who is just one of many characters in his new stories about the magic and messiness of different kinds of relationships. [Limited orange vinyl pressing also available.]
Lift To Experience – The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads [Reissue/2001] CD/2xLP (Mute)
Multi-format remixed and remastered reissue of Lift To Experience’s cult classic 2001 double album. (Also available is a limited vinyl boxset featuring the album plus the original LTE EP which was only ever released in Texas on CDRs and LTE’s classic John Peel session which has never been released.) “All it takes is a run through opening track ‘Just As Was Told’ to find yourself committed to the full double-album ride of Lift to Experience’s remarkable 2001 release, The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads. Unfolding in varying musical sections over nearly seven minutes, biblical references are sprinkled over a startling mix involving elements of My Bloody Valentine, Slint, and math rock that drive into a slow-burning, beatific finish and set the bar high for all that follows.” – Under The Radar
Lorna Shore – Flesh Coffin CD (Cooking Vinyl)
Lorna Shore’s unique signature aesthetic spans death metal, black metal, power metal, and progressive rock for a style that encompasses brutal breakdowns, dazzling technical passages, white-knuckle-ride dynamics, and rich textured moments. [Vinyl edition due March 10.]
Meat Wave – Incessant CD/LP (SideOneDummy)
The Chicago punks return with their third full-length. Recorded by Steve Albini.
Middle Kids – Middle Kids CD/LP+MP3 (Domino)
It hasn’t taken long for Australia’s Middle Kids to make their mark. They are fantastic counterpoint alt pop: A strong three piece band with male and female lead singers that play off each other as well as the play and sing together. Their debut self-titled EP is a collection of six tracks demonstrating exactly why this band is marked as one to watch.
Mind Over Mirrors – Undying Color CD/LP+MP3 (Paradise Of Bachelors)
The new album by the ever-evolving project of Jaime Fennelly is a set of roiling, meditative recordings. Undying Color is the first to supplement his foundational arsenal of Indian pedal harmonium, analog synthesizers, and incantatory voices with a full ensemble including Janet Beveridge Bean (Eleventh Dream Day, Freakwater), Jim Becker (Califone, Iron and Wine), Haley Fohr (Circuit des Yeux, Jackie Lynn), and Jon Mueller (Death Blues, Volcano Choir). The album braids folk and formal, praise and play, within its heady swells and troughs, invoking American vernacular musical traditions and pulsating avant-garde electronics alike.
Novella – Change Of State CD/LP+MP3 (Captured Tracks)
Over the course of ten tracks, Novella take the time and space necessary to let the physical and ideological implications behind a changing state run rampant through themes that linger as much in topical discussion as they do in perennial reflections of human experience. Recorded over the period of a few months in the Victorian bedroom studio of James Hoare (Ultimate Painting, Veronica Falls) on an old 1960s 8-track, Novella utilize an economy of sound on Change Of State to create ethereal swathes of textures, gentle melodies and energetic, motorik bursts.
London O’Connor – OΔ CD/LP (True Panther Sounds)
London O’Connor is a New York based self-produced songwriter from suburban Souther California. His debut album, titled OΔ, was created entirely from his backpack while living between apartments in NY. OΔ is based on the suburban upbringing he fled to NY from, birthed onto the internet and referential to a range of musicians from the likes of Earl Sweatshirt to early Beck in its genre-spanning explorations.
The Orwells – Terrible Human Beings CD/LP+MP3 (Canvasback Music/Atlantic)
You know the kind of song that makes you feel uneasy, but excited? Maybe you felt it the first time you heard The Stooges “I Wanna Be Your Dog” or The Pixies “Monkey Gone To Heaven” — creepy yet catchy songs that are ominous and playful at the same time. It’s a category that now welcomes The Orwells’ raucous third album, Terrible Human Beings, the Chicago band’s most dynamic and engrossing collection to date. “Not too far back we sat down to write what we call mutilated pop songs,” explains guitarist Matt O’Keefe.” “We wanted to make songs that at their core are catchy and pretty, then slash them up,” adds singer Mario Cuomo. “After two misfires we landed on something that felt right,” O’Keefe continues, “like an engine failing to start then finally turning itself over.” Whereas Cuomo was more focused on the his own tales of suburban malaise for The Orwells 2014 album Disgraceland, he found external inspiration for Terrible Human Beings. Movies such as the psychological thriller It Follows and noir fiction like Last Exit To Brooklyn provided fodder for a more narrative, vignette-based approach.
Augustus Pablo – King David’s Melody [Reissue/1983] CD/LP (VP)
The late Augustus Pablo is a legendary founder of dub music as well as one of the greatest reggae producer/writer/instrumentalists ever to be heard. King David’s Melody is an Augustus Pablo instrumental album full of beguiling melodies played by Pablo on melodica and keyboard.
The Paperhead – Chew CD/LP (Trouble In Mind)
“Nashville psych-pop trio Paperhead have been blending psych and prog with other genres to create silky textures all their own for six years now. They’re set to drop their fourth album Chew early next year, and the first foray into it is the smooth, jazz-infused “Dama De Lavanda.” Their usual liquid psychedelia is tinged with Ennio Morricone-esque twang and mixed with intricate percussion and Latin jazz-leaning trumpet. They ease in and out of the different aesthetics before transitioning to some throwback soul reminiscent of the Delfonics for a cool-down into the fadeout. Beautiful harmonies and gauzy vocals drift across the varying, well-arranged sonics and further meld them together for a far-flung yet cohesive song.” – Stereogum/November 2016
Matt Pryor – Memento Mori CD/LP (Equal Vision)
Though best known for his work as the primary singer-songwriter for The Get Up Kids, Matt Pryor has a vast musical catalog including his folk-tinged group The New Amsterdams, children’s music project Terrible Twos and indie-rock super group Lasorda – featuring Nate Harold (fun.), Mike Standberg (Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band), and Dustin Kinsey (The New Amsterdams). Pryor also contributes to Chicago start-up Downwrite – a website that enables artists to create fan-commissioned songs and connect with fans on a personal and creative level. Pryor hosts the Nothing To Write Home About podcast as well, where he interviews fellow musicians and industry friends, including the likes of Andy Hull (Manchester Orchestra), Chris Conley (Saves The Day), Dan Campbell (The Wonder Years), Tim McIlrath (Rise Against), and more. Memento Mori is his fifth solo album. “We lost a lot of people close to us in the last couple of years,” notes Pryor. “This album is both a way for us to remember them and to celebrate everyday the lives that we still have.”
PVT – New Spirit CD/LP (Felte)
“Elaborate motorik grooves, dense, post-rock complexity and intricate electronic experimentalism.” — Mojo
Robert Randolph & The Family Band – Got Soul CD/LP+MP3 (SME Masterworks)
Pedal-steel virtuoso Robert Randolph returns with his new album, Got Soul. The album takes stock of Randolph’s past as a church musician as it pushes the band forward into new places., with songs that run the gamut from gospel numbers to deep, funky grooves to incendiary rock-and-soul jams. The hauntingly exquisite “Heaven’s Calling” features Randolph on solo steel while guest vocalists Darius Rucker and Anthony Hamilton lend their golden voices to “Love Do What It Do” and “She Got Soul” respectively. “I Thank You,” the ‘60s Sam & Dave R&B smash, is completely re-imagined in the hands of the Family Band and Snarky Puppy’s Cory Henry.
Maggie Rogers – Now That The Light Is Fading CDEP (Capitol)
Maggie Rogers grew up playing banjo on a working farm in rural Maryland and first came to the public’s attention when she appeared in a video posted on YouTube of Grammy Award-winning producer Pharrell Williams teaching a Masterclass at The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where Rogers was a student. In the clip, Rogers plays an unfinished recording of “Alaska” and the song earned slew of media attention. SPIN declared that the song “blends folk, electronic, and pop music sensibilities to form an entirely new hybridized sound,” while Paste called it “hauntingly beautiful.” The Los Angeles Times said “it has the lilting vocal inflections of a country song and the depth of a poem.” Rogers’ debut EP, Now That The Light Is Fading, features five original songs written, produced and performed by the 22-year-old multi-instrumentalist, including the aforementioned single “Alaska.”
Six. By Seven – Greatest Hits 2xCD (Beggars Banquet)
Six. By Seven – The Closer You Get + Peel Sessions 2xLP (Beggars Banquet)
Six. By Seven was a band from Nottingham England that formed in 1994. Inspired by the Pistols and the Stranglers as well as My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth and Mercury Rev, Six. By Seven straddled a fine line between post-Brit pop, British rock and a much edgier kind of punk. [Along with the Greatest Hits CD, the band’s 2000 album The Closer You Get has been reissued on vinyl and expanded with Peel Sessions and B-sides.]
Son Volt – Notes Of Blue CD/LP (Transmit Sound)
The 10 songs on Notes Of Blue are inspired by the spirit of the blues, but not the standard blues as most know it. The unique and haunting tunings of Mississippi Fred McDowell, Skip James and Nick Drake were all points of exploration for Son Volt’s Jay Farrar for the new collection. The album opens with the country soul of “Promise The World,” followed by “Back Against The Wall,” a song that could stand alongside the great Son Volt songs of their early albums. However, Notes Of Blue reflects the blues as it resides in the folk tradition, but heavily amplified. The primal stomp of Cherokee St, the frenetic guitar on “Static” and the raw slide in “Sinking Down” exude grit and attitude. Conversely, tracks such as “The Storm” and “Cairo And Southern” seamlessly meld blues with hypnotic melodies that add a unique balance to the album.
The Standells – Dirty Water [Reissue/1966] CD/LP (Sundazed)
The Standells – Why Pick On Me – Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White [Reissue/1966] CD/LP (Sundazed)
The Standells – Try It [Reissue/1967] CD/LP (Sundazed)
The Standells’ amazing string of punkish, tough-guy anthems, like “Dirty Water” and “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White”, define the legacy of mid-‘60s garage rock like nothing else.
Stinking Lizaveta – Journey To The Underworld CD/LP (Translation Loss)
“Stinking Lizaveta has once again demonstrated their ability to take listeners on an unpredictable journey, providing both frenetic and subdued moments that are woven together in a truly enticing manner. The playing is just as tight as you’d expect from this trio, but this time around the recording seems to fully capture their energetic, powerful peaks and softest moments without sending too thin. Instrumental rock can be tricky to pull off but Journey To The Underworld is a perfect example of how to pull it off and keep the listener engaged from beginning to end. Put this one on, close your eyes, and let Stinking Lizaveta take you to new and exciting places through their instrumentation.” – Transcending Obscurity
Strand Of Oaks – Hard Love CD/LP (Dead Oceans)
Tim Showalter’s latest release as Strand Of Oaks, Hard Love, emanates an unabashed, raw, and manic energy that embodies both the songs and the songwriter behind them. “For me, there are always two forces at work: the side that’s constantly on the hunt for the perfect song, and the side that’s naked in the desert screaming at the moon. It’s about finding a place where neither side is compromised, only elevated.” Drawing from his love of Creation Records, Trojan dub compilations, and Jane’s Addiction, and informed by a particularly wild time at Australia’s Boogie Festival, he sought to create a record that would merge all of these influences while evoking something new and visceral. These influences coupled with an uninhibited and collaborative studio experience moved an initial concept for a singularly feel-good record to something more complex and real. As much as Showalter wants this record to seem like a party, it’s more than that. It feels like living. [Limited green color vinyl pressing also available.]
Tash Sultana – Notion CD/LP (Mom & Pop Music)
“Tash’s carefully crafted, edgy, multi-instrumental pieces featuring beat boxing, unique guitar work and percussion styled finger tapping, has left sold out audiences in awe.”
Tall Tall Trees – Freedays CD/LP (Joyful Noise)
Although it’s often hard to imagine, most of the sounds on Freedays are experiments with the banjo, and they all reflect the innovative musings of one of the freshest sounds to come out of the Appalachians in decades.
Tarkovsky Quartet – Nuit Blanche CD (ECM)
Ingmar Bergman once said of Andrey Tarkovsky, “He moves with such naturalness in the room of dreams,” and the French-German quartet named after the great Russian filmmaker has developed an associative dream-language of its own. For leader and pianist François Couturier the silence and slowness of Tarkovsky are closely related to an ECM aesthetic further developed on the group’s third album Nuit Blanche, produced by Manfred Eicher in Lugano in April 2016. Here pieces variously composed by François Couturier, or created in the moment by Couturier, cellist Anja Lecher, saxophonist Jean-Marc Larché and accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier, explore the texture of dreams and memory and continue to make oblique reference to Tarkovsky.
Otis Taylor – Fantasizing About Being Black CD (Trance Blues)
Blues music visionary Otis Taylor reflects on the African American experience on this timely release. Fantasizing About Being Black is Otis Taylor’s poetic musical exploration from the voyages of slave ships to the Mississippi Delta with a raw and haunting multi-instrumental blend that reveals the connection of history to modern day events; features musical guests Jerry Douglas, Brandon Niederauer and Ron Miles.
Virgin Steele – Visions Of Eden [Reissue/2006] 2xCD (Steamhammer)
Expanded reissue of the barbaric romantic power metal band’s eleventh album. The first disc contains a remixed version of the entire album, while the second contains a remastered presentation of the original version.
Visible Cloaks – Reassemblage CD/LP+MP3 (RVNG International)
Visible Cloaks’ Reassemblage is a collection of delicately rendered passages of silence and sound that invokes — and invites — consciousness. The foundation of the duo’s second album could be described as translingual or polyglottal, working within an eastern/western feedback loop of influence, Fourth World ambiguity, and the universality of human emotion.
Tash Sultana – Notion CD/LP (Mom & Pop Music)
“Tash’s carefully crafted, edgy, multi-instrumental pieces featuring beat boxing, unique guitar work and percussion styled finger tapping, has left sold out audiences in awe.”
Chip Taylor – A Song I Can Live With CD (Trainwreck)
“In the early days of Chip Taylor’s remarkable career, he penned some of the biggest hits of the 1960s, most notably ‘Wild Thing’ (Jimi Hendrix, the Troggs) and ‘Angel Of The Morning’ (Merilee Rush). Then, in 1980, after releasing several solo albums, he stopped recording and began a successful 16-year run as a professional gambler. He returned to music in the late ‘90s, issuing a series of superb duet CDs with Texas singer and fiddler Carrie Rodriguez. Now, in Taylor’s incredibly prolific latest period, he has reverted to solo recording, delivering about an album a year over the past decade. Taylor’s mesmerizing latest release offers more proof that he deserves to be considered a national treasure, right up there with folks like Greg Brown and the late Jesse Winchester and Steve Goodman. Backed mostly by piano and guitar, he sings—and sometimes talks—about everything from his love for his wife Joan to a cable TV horseracing channel.” – No Depression
Benjamin Wallfisch – A Cure For Wellness [Score] CD/LP+MP3 (Milan)
Wallfisch’s score combines creepy lullabies and an orchestral majesty. [Limited color vinyl pressing available.]
The Wild – Wild At Heart CD (E1)
“Shooting guns, setting fires and shaking shacks with half-stacks make for the type of nights that separate the men from the boys and The Wild from the other 99% of what some people are calling rock ‘n’ roll these days.”
Charlie Wilson – In It To Win It CD (RCA)
Seventh solo album from the R&B legend. Guests include T.I., Pitbull, Wiz Khalifa, Robin Thicke, Lalah Hathaway, and Snoop Dogg.
Danny Worsnop – The Long Road Home CD/LP (Earache)
“Danny Worsnop, best known for being the vocalist of British metalcore band Asking Alexandria, returns with something that’s completely off the rails from anything he’s done in the past. Forged through years of addiction, substance abuse, heartache, pain and self-loathing The Long Road Home sees him pursuing a career in the more southern/country side of the musical spectrum. After relocating to Nashville, TN when he left AA, he became inspired by all the country lifestyle and all it had to offer. Featuring a more bluesy, soulful sound… This is Worsnop at his most vulnerable moments, put on display for the world to see. No subject is too taboo for the singer/songwriter, as he tackles his battles with his many demons. Melancholic, depressive tracks like ‘Prozac’ will have you feeling overly emotional. ‘I Feel Like Shit,’ on the other hand has a vaudeville vibe to it, playful, light and bouncy while Worsnop recalls all the times that he’s suffered a hangover from the previous night’s ventures. A modern country hit, if ever there was one, is the album’s lead single ‘Mexico.’ I can’t tell, entirely, if this is a satirical track that is aimed at the most common things found in the genre, or if he legitimately feels the way he does. What I can say is that, no matter the case, he sells it well.” – Metal Wani
WSTR – Red, Green Or Inbetween CD/LP (No Sleep)
Debut full-length from Liverpool alternative four-piece WSTR. The quartet grew up on the original mainstream pop punk bands, like Blink 182, New Found Glory and Sum 41.
Youth In Revolt – The Broken CD (Cooking Vinyl)
Debut album from the East Coast punk outfit. Youth In Revolt is a five-piece rock band hailing from Holmdel, New Jersey with musical similarities to bands such as Sleeping With Sirens and Of Mice And Men.
This Week’s Vinyl Exclusives:
3 Doors Down – The Better Life  2xLP (Republic)
Featuring their breakthrough anthem “Kryptonite,” The Better Life is the debut album from rock band 3 Doors Down. Available for the first time on vinyl.
Evanescence – The Ultimate Collection 6xLP (The Bicycle Music Company)
A career-spanning vinyl box set encompassing Evanescence’s studio albums including the commercial debut for the previously unreleased demo album Origin.
Sallie Ford – Soul Sick LP (Vanguard)
Released last week on CD – now available on vinyl. The Portland singer/songwriter’s new album Soul Sick “is an open, honest and relatable one acting as what Ford refers to as a ‘confessional’ album. ‘It’s about struggling with my issues — some that I’ve overcome and some that I still carry around. I felt confused, down about life and unsure of myself,’ Ford explains. As someone dealing with anxiety and depression, Soul Sick was a way for the singer to dig into her past, battle her inner demons, and heal by pouring herself into her lyrics. In addition to the deeply relatable concept and lyrics of Soul Sick, the album perfectly displays Ford’s unfiltered vocals and retro rock sound.
Duke Garwood – Garden Of Ashes LP (Heavenly/PIAS America)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. “In the face of an apocalypse, we all need a safe house. A place for sanctuary; not to hide, but to claim for our own. On his new album, South London’s unlikely bluesman Duke Garwood has found the perfect place for us all, and says it’s time to meet in the Garden Of Ashes. ‘I am an angry man; so angry I burn myself. So angry I heat up the air around me. This is the nuclear fuel I use to make music,’ tells Duke. ‘In a world so full of pain and madness we need to be better than ever; to evolve not devolve. To become masters of our fate and stop listening to the snake talkers who would steal our last breath. It’s time to go Elvis and shoot the cursed TV.’ For an artist who claims to be angry, there’s a lot of love to be heard in Duke’s music and in the face of impeding Armageddon, just as Nick Cave claims in his film One More Time With Feeling, the only way to fight anguish is with positivity. On Duke’s sixth album Garden Of Ashes, that’s precisely the message. ‘I make beautiful music, because we don’t need angry music right now. Everyone can turn on the TV and see the horror show, they don’t need to hear it coming out the stereo. I’m trying to distil this frustrating feeling we all have right now into something more focused.’” – Drift
IIVII – Colony LP (Consouling Sounds)
IIVII is the solo project of visual artist, multi-instrumentalist, and composer Josh Graham. Founding member of Red Sparowes and Battle of Mice, Graham currently plays in A Storm of Light and has also made appearances with Jarboe, Blood and Time, Tombs, Syndrome, Fallen Black Deer, and Tribes of Neurot. IIVII focuses on sonically engulfing and moody soundscapes, layered with a science-fiction edge.
Jai Wolf – Kindred Spirits LP (Mom & Pop Music)
“Breathtaking and cinematic adventure, electronic artist Jai Wolf’s new Kindred Spirits EP will take you somewhere. Where, exactly, depends on you. Sajeeb Saha, the New York-based producer who is Jai Wolf, works from his own memory and emotions to create songs he hopes every listener will connect with through the emotions they elicit in each one of us. ‘Every song should remind you of a past memory – a person or a place – or just take you somewhere else than you currently are,’ Jai Wolf explains. The effort put behind this idea is clear, with each song possessing a distinct vibe – a specific setting for our minds to latch onto in its introspection – and therein lies their power to make us feel.” – Atwood Magazine
Loscil – First Narrows  2xLP (Kranky)
First time on vinyl. The third album from Vancouver-based sound composer and sampler, synth, effects, and computer maestro Scott Morgan, and his first to feature real instruments and input from other musicians. Using sound sources that range from sampled instruments to miscellaneous lo-fi mini-cassette recordings, Morgan generates music on computer by custom programming, sequencing and processing designed so no two performances of the patches would be the same.
Majeure – Apex 12”+MP3 (Temporary Residence)
Fresh off his tours supporting Mogwai and S U R V I V E, Majeure returns with a blistering EP of seemingly limitless synth textures and seemingly endless drum fills. Majeure — the solo moniker of Zombi and Contact cofounder, A.E. Paterra — has built a reputation as one of North America’s most interesting purveyors of synth-based rock music.
The Melvins – King Buzzo [Reissue/1992] 12”+MP3 (Boner)
The Melvins – Dale Crover [Reissue/1992] 12”+MP3 (Boner)
The Melvins – Joe Preston [Reissue/1992] 12”+MP3 (Boner)
“In 1992 the Melvins’ fascination/adoration/denigration of the mighty Kiss rock & roll universe compelled them to excrete three solo masterworks inspired by the Kiss solo LPs. The first in the series is King Buzzo, from the Melvins’ giggling guitar grumpus. Four songs of atmospheric clanging and rockin’ banging. Also features the many talents, drumming and otherwise, of a famous Grunge™ superstar, whose name sort of rhymes with New Wave Asshole. The second in the series is Dale Crover, from the Melvins’ sleepy drum caveman. Four songs of gloomy heaviness, with Dale doin’ the drummin’, singin’, guitarin’, and dancin’. The third in the series is Joe Preston, from the Melvins’ electronic beard warlord. Three songs of fuzz bass computer drone temper tantrum. All three 12”s reissued on vinyl after 100,000 years out of print.”
Our Lady Peace – Clumsy [Reissue/1997] LP (SRCVinyl)
Two years after their impressive debut, Our Lady Peace continued their rock journey with 1997’s Clumsy. This time around, the melodies were more comfortable and the roaring rock riffs calmer, resulting in a sound that earned them the highest sales of their career.
Parquet Courts – Captive Of The Sun 12” (Rough Trade)
When Parquet Courts made their second television appearance supporting 2016’s brilliant Human Performance LP, they were joined on Late Night with Stephen Colbert by a very special surprise guest, rapper Bun B (of UGK), who added a verse to the album’s percussive, lyrically-dense “Captive of the Sun.” What fans of both artists may not know, is that Bun B, a huge fan of Parquet Courts (whose Austin Brown, a Houston rap acolyte, is himself a Bun B and UGK superfan), already had a studio version of the track featuring his guest verse in the works. This brilliant meeting of the minds is now available on a club-ready 12”, with a B-side featuring the track as remixed by two more legendary Houstonians, DJ Candlestick & OG Ron C, whose “Chopped Not Slopped” edition brings plenty of purple codeine haze to the party.
Iggy Pop – Lust For Life [Reissue/1977] LP (4 Men With Beards)
Limited edition purple color vinyl pressing. Released less than a year after Iggy Pop’s solo debut The Idiot, 1977 follow-up Lust For Life marked a welcomed return to the sloppy, sleazy, blues-y, swagger of the Stooges. Though the record is, again produced by David Bowie, he takes much more of a backseat musically here, allowing for Iggy to take center stage in this true return to form.
Six. By Seven – The Closer You Get + Peel Sessions 2xLP (Beggars Banquet)
Six. By Seven was a band from Nottingham England that formed in 1994. Inspired by the Pistols and the Stranglers as well as My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth and Mercury Rev, Six. By Seven straddled a fine line between post-Brit pop, British rock and a much edgier kind of punk. The band’s 2000 album The Closer You Get has been expanded to a double LP containing Peel Sessions and B-sides.
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum – Grand Opening And Closing  2xLP (Blood Music)
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum – Of Natural History  2xLP (Blood Music)
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum – In Glorious Times  2xLP (Blood Music)
The legendary avant-rock band Sleepytime Gorilla Museum’s three albums are available on vinyl for the first time. A band that leaps beyond mere categorization, SGM represents a defiance against anything we’ve come to expect about musical delivery. Steeped somewhere in the pantheon of 19th-century scientific lectures, vaudevillian blasts of excitement, puppet shows, self-made instruments, formless abstraction, soothing atmospheres, man-on-the-street interviews, and death metal – SGM has proven itself as one of the most prominent experimental forces in the musical underground of the last 15 years. Harkening back to the mischievous influences of The Residents, Frank Zappa, and Captain Beefheart; SGM has fashioned their own intense Dadaist universe out of a string of legends that manifest in the mysterious manners of being unable to be proven true or untrue.
Soundtrack – The Man Who Fell To Earth  2xLP (UMe)
Now available as a stand-alone vinyl reissue. This is the first release of the soundtrack to David Bowie’s 1976 cult film The Man Who Fell To Earth. Includes music by Stomu Yamash’ta, Gordon Jenkins Orchestra and Choir and Louis Armstrong, John Phillips, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and George Hurst, The Kingston Trio, Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra and Robert Farnon and more.
Spiritualized – Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space [Reissue/1997] 2xLP (Plain)
Limited edition 180gm blue and white color vinyl pressing. A hypnotic, narcotic, psychedelic gospel album full of confessional songs about heartbreak and drug abuse, it is a flat out masterpiece which received a 10.0 rating from Pitchfork.
The SteelDrivers – The SteelDrivers  LP (Rounder)
Available for the first time on vinyl, The SteelDrivers’ critically and commercially successful 2008 self-titled debut firmly established the Nashville five-piece as a force to be reckoned with. With singer/songwriter Chris Stapleton at the helm, The SteelDrivers has been praised for its contemporary mix of blues, Americana and country.
Prins Thomas – Gerd Janson Remixes 12” (Smalltown Supersound)
“Besides being a close buddy for soon 20 years and one of the best DJs on the planet, Herr Janson is also a safe bet for your ‘floor friendly’ rework. He just knows what your track will need to work those feet. He handed over his ‘Prinspersonation’ together with a drum-tool version that will be useful for any adventurous DJ out there. I also made two tracks specifically for this 12” that fills the B-side and wraps up the story of ‘Principe Del Norte’ for now.” — Prins Thomas
Vision Of Disorder – Razed To The Ground  LP (Candlelight)
First time vinyl edition of the Long Island hardcore band’s last album.
Rick Wakeman – Piano Portraits 2xLP (UMe)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. Piano Portraits is the 100th solo album from Rick Wakeman in what represents a truly remarkable body of work. The 15 tracks that Rick has re-interpreted on piano represent a distillation of all the music that has impacted and influenced him over the decades, taking in ‘70s rock and pop, classical, jazz and choral.
Weather Report – Live In Tokyo [Reissue/1972] LP (Friday Music)
Limited red color 180gm audiophile pressing in a gatefold sleeve.
Wiegedood – De Doden Hebben Het Goed  LP (Consouling Sounds)
A relentless onslaught of atmospheric black metal.
Steve Winwood – Arc Of A Diver [Reissue/1980] LP (Island)
Steve Winwood – Talking Back To The Night [Reissue/1982] LP (Island)
180gm vinyl reissues of Winwood’s second and third solo albums.
Zos Kia/Coil – Transparent [Reissue/1983] 2xLP+MP3 (Cold Spring)
Recently reissued on CD – now available on vinyl. The entire Transparent recordings released for the first time, completely remastered from the unedited tapes. Zos Kia was formed by John Gosling (Mekon), John Balance (Coil) and Min—with guest Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson (Throbbing Gristle). Their one and only album, Transparent, was released on August 23rd, 1983 in a cassette only edition on the now defunct Austria label Nekrophile. They were the first released recordings of both Coil and Zos Kia.
Nikki Lane – Highway Queen (New West)
Lane, a Greenville, South Carolina native, is unique songwriter who didn’t take the traditional country artist path. Her backwoods roots are undercut by her chosen career as a fashion entrepreneur (she’s the owner of vintage clothing boutique High Class Hillbilly) who has lived – and been heartbroken in – Los Angeles, New York and Nashville. So it’s no surprise that her music seamlessly crosses musical genres with lyrics steeped in the doomed perseverance only a true dark horse romantic knows.