May Program Titles Released This Week:
Lewis Capaldi – Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent CD/LP (Capitol)
Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent is 22-year-old Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi’s debut album. Recorded over an 18-month period in London, New York and Los Angeles, Capaldi co-wrote each of the 12 songs, working with Malay who also produced, (Frank Ocean, Lorde) Jamie Hartman (Calvin Harris, Rag N Bone Man) and TMS. Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent is an ironically titled, but charismatically defining album that’s lyrically candid and a realistic snapshot of the ups and downs of growing up. Lewis’ stunningly identifiable voice, coupled with its turbulent themes of love, loss and heartache, make it a debut album that is both poignant and unequivocally relatable. TIME proclaims, “Lewis Capaldi has the kind of deep, textured voice that you could listen to for hours. He finds expressive rough edges, then smooths them out into the sweetest of notes.”
Full Of Hell – Weeping Choir CD/LP (Relapse)
Dynamic, pissed, and wholly urgent, Weeping Choir is a definitive statement of intent by one of the underground’s most dynamic and virulent entities. Full Of Hell has once again culled the extreme elements from hardcore, metal, and power electronics to redefine darkness and sheer brutality. Distorted guitars, and ominous, disparate electronics grind and gnash against rapid-fire drumming, as the band take themes of religion, loss, hatred, and set them ablaze.
The Head And The Heart – Living Mirage CD/LP (WB)
Living Mirage is the fourth studio album from five-piece indie-folk act The Head And The Heart and follow-up to 2016’s Signs Of Light. After the release of their third LP, co-founder Josiah Johnson amicably left the group, with the band replacing the guitarist/vocalist with Charity Rose Thielen‘s husband, Matt Gervais. In the time since, longtime keyboardist Kenny Hensley has also returned to the fold. Appropriately, Living Mirage touches on these major changes, with bassist Chris Zasche describing the collection as a “rebirth, a spirit quest of sorts.” For lead single, “Missed Connection”, the group focuses in on the “anxiety that reasoned that growth spurt” following their recent lineup changes. Initially created as a tribute to Russell’s girlfriend and how they met, the song shifted to a reflection on the group’s history, meeting for an open-mic in Seattle ten years ago. Musically, the song infuses tastes of hip-hop and pop production. Elaborated drummer Tyler Williams, “A lot of the beats on this song are quicker, and there are high hats that were never in our music before.” [Limited indie-store exclusive vinyl pressing also available.]
June Program Titles Released This Week:
Lydia Ainsworth – Phantom Forest CD/LP (Zombie Cat)
On Phantom Forest, Lydia Ainsworth introduces a lush, complex dream world that she created and inhabits largely on her own. It’s a beautiful, vast collection of art pop with hooks about the search for personal connections in the midst of apocalypse and technology. It’s a journey that holds up to close listening (and lyric reading) and to dance floors, but can also exist on a purely emotional plane. Lydia notes that although the self-produced album is considered pop, she approached it as an orchestrator. “Even if I’m dealing purely with synths,” she says, “the songs are like a score, each one an evolving journey. I love to use strings so I’ve included my own arrangements on ‘Tell Me I Exist’ and ‘Can You Find Her Place’. I recorded live musicians on drums, bass, and guitar on ‘Edge Of The Throne’, ‘The Time’, and ‘Floating Dream’, and wove those live elements into my programmed elements.” She wrote and performed everything aside from a re-imagined cover of Pink Floyd’s “Green Is The Color”; two other tracks are co-written with Survive’s Kyle Dixon (Stranger Things), to which Ainsworth wrote melodies and added lyrics to his instrumentals.
Charly Bliss – Young Enough CD/LP (Barsuk)
Charly Bliss has evolved from the bunch of scrappy upstarts behind their brash punk debut Guppy, to the confident, assured artists who have produced the comparatively dynamic and unapologetically pop Young Enough. But, for lead singer Eva Hendricks, the path of this evolution was fraught, as her lyrics inspired by a past abusive relationship show. Songwriting became a source of respite, and, eventually, redemption. “You go through experiences of loss or extreme pain and you just keep moving,” Eva says. “You look around and go, how has the world not stopped? But it is also powerful. It’s like, I’m still here, I’m not a person who is ruled by pain, I still like who I am.” Album tracks “Chat Room” and “Young Enough” are new sonic lynchpins, as is the soaring, mini epic, “Fighting In The Dark”. The delicate synth confessional “Hurt Me” also felt, as Eva puts it, “like something we hadn’t explored yet.” The entire record sounds like a new realm, from the deceptively easeful confessional “Capacity” to the propulsive, more classic pop of
Hard To Believe”. In the end, Young Enough feels joyful and celebratory, but also infused with a new sense of depth and maturity. [Limited edition blue colored vinyl pressing also available.]
Defeater – Defeater CD/LP+MP3 (Epitaph)
Massachusetts hardcore band Defeater’s new self-titled album serves as their fifth full-length release overall and first in four years. Lead single, “Mothers’ Sons” features blistering guitars that take the song into something chaotic and beautiful. Defeater was produced with Will Yip (Quicksand, La Dispute, Blacklisted, Lauryn Hill) whose enthusiasm and talent pushed the songs to their fullest potential. Defeater is as pummeling as it is atmospheric. Yet it’s been a long journey to where the band is now. Years of touring took their toll on the friends that make up the current lineup of Derek Archambault (vocals), Jake Woodruff (guitar), Adam Crowe (guitar), Mike Poulin (bass) and Joe Longobardi (drums). Health, substance abuse issues, and ejecting a longtime member had made a touring hiatus necessary. After a few months at home, working and decompressing, the fire to write a new record caught everyone in a major way.
May Program Titles Released This Week:
Amon Amarth – Berserker CD/2xLP (Metal Blade)
Comprising twelve monstrous Viking metal anthems that bulge with irresistible melodic hooks, bursts of thrilling savagery and moments of spine-tingling dynamic drama, Amon Amarth’s aptly titled eleventh studio album, Berserker, is the result of a huge surge of creativity for Sweden’s celebrated Viking overlords and undisputed modern masters of epic heavy metal. From the disarming melodrama and explosive riffing of opener “Fafner’s Gold” and the brutish simplicity of the rampaging “Crack The Sky” to the epic fury of “Raven’s Flight” and the grim, gritty storytelling of “Ironside” and “Skoll and Hati”, Berserker is full of trademark Amon Amarth bluster and bite. [Indie store exclusive colored vinyl edition available.]
Bad Religion – Age Of Unreason CD (Epitaph)
Since Bad Religion’s formative years, the acclaimed Los Angeles, CA punk rock band has steadfastly advocated for humanism, reason, and individualism. Now, when these values are in decline and nationalism and bigotry are on the rise, the group’s message has never been more essential. The songs on Age Of Unreason are both furious and meticulously crafted. There are references to contemporary events; racist rallies, Trump’s election, the erosion of the middle class, Colin Kaepernick’s protest, alternative facts, conspiracy theories, as well as homages to the literary and philosophical works that have long inspired the band. This record is both a dire warning and testament to resilience. The overall message being – seek truth about the world and oneself. [Vinyl edition due June 13.]
Combo Chimbita – Ahomale CD/LP+MP3 (ANTI-)
Through her folkloric mystique, otherworldly psychedelia, and a dash of enigmatic punk, Ahomale by Combo Chimbita catapults the sacred knowledge of our forebears into the future. Their second studio album sees the visionary quartet drawing from ancestral mythologies and musical enlightenment to unearth the awareness of Ahomale, the album’s cosmic muse. Comprised of Carolina Oliveros’ mesmeric contralto, illuminating storytelling and fierce guacaracha rhythms, Prince Of Queens’ hypnotic synth stabs and grooving bass lines, Niño Lento’s imaginative guitar licks, and Dilemastronauta’s powerful drumming, the lure and lore of Combo Chimbita comes into existence. On Ahomale the New York-by-way-of-Colombia troupe fuse the perennial rhythms of the Afro-Latinx diaspora with a modern-day consciousness, while tracing the prophetic traditions of our ancestry.
May Program Titles Released This Week:
AJR – Neotheater CD/LP (S-Curve)
Indie-pop sibling trio AJR’s third full-length album Neotheater was entirely self-produced by the group in Ryan and Jack Met’s NYC apartment with portions recorded in Los Angeles. The 12 original songs spin a coming of age tale that hears the band coming to terms with the sacrifices that come with growing older now that they are in their 20s. The buoyant and uplifting music is juxtaposed with darker lyrical narratives that touch on anxiety, naiveté and searching for integrity. Effervescent track “Birthday Party” features an eerie sample taken from David Lynch’s Eraserhead. The song’s tongue-in-cheek lyrics live at the apex of wide-eyed inexperience as the song is sung from the point of view of a one-minute-old child.
Bailen – Thrilled To Be Here CD/LP (Fantasy)
Gorgeous harmonies, striking arrangements and evocative songwriting marks Bailen as an undeniable and welcome new arrival. The NYC-based trio’s debut album Thrilled To Be Here was produced by Grammy-Award winner John Congleton (St. Vincent, The War On Drugs). The group’s beguiling three-part harmonies fuel lead single “I Was Wrong”, a statement of compassion and self-reflection. Bailen’s otherworldly musicality springs from a very deep well, in fact, it’s in their DNA. Raised in New York by their classically trained parents, fraternal twins Daniel (vocals/bass/synth/guitar), David (vocals/drums), and younger sister Julia Bailen (vocals/guitar), immersed themselves in the family’s diverse record collection. The group’s highly collaborative songs are formed by three very different individuals who were all inspired by literature and a love of language. The resulting confident, meticulous songcraft of Thrilled To Be Here is rooted in the young group’s preternatural dexterity, insight and lyrical bite. [Indie-store exclusive vinyl edition is available.]
Band Of Skulls – Love Is All You Love CD/LP (Silva Screen)
In what seem like an unusual move for a traditional rock band, Band Of Skulls hired producer Richard X for their latest album Love Is All You Love. He has encouraged the band to experiment and add some electronic elements to their sound. It is still a rock album, but with an extra pop punch. “Just seconds into opening track ‘Carnivorous’ you realize this is not entirely the BoS you are familiar with. A throbbing bass line, Arabesque guitar hook and unashamedly electronic sheen…this is your invitation from the Band Of Skulls to join them for a new musical enterprise. ‘Sound Of You’ is a downright sexy torch song for the 21st century. Putting Richardson’s soulful pleading vocal front and center over a pumping bass line and Marsden’s R&B guitar licks on acid. This is an album highlight to be sure. As is ‘We’re Alive’ a thundering Glam rocking piece of cotton candy that might well have put a smile on Marc Bolan’s face, its chorus virtually commanding you (‘Come On… Come On’) to sing along. This is pop music as it should be, as it could be if more artists were willing to test their limits. Music that is catchy enough to sing along to yet complex enough to make you want to listen to it again and again.” – Concert Guide