October Program Titles Released This Week:
Devendra Banhart – Ma CD/LP (Nonesuch)
Ma is Devendra Banhart’s first album since 2016’s Ape In Pink Marble. Bursting with tender, autobiographical vignettes, the record displays a shift from the sonic experimentation of his previous albums to an intricate, captivating story-telling and emotional intimacy. Banhart favors organic sounds to accompany his voice and guitar here with the arrangements bolstered by strings, woodwinds, brass, and keyboards. Lead single “Kantori Ongaku” translates from Japanese to “country music” and is a nod to experimental pop legend Haruomi Hosono, a founding member of the influential electronic band Yellow Magic Orchestra. Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon contributes background vocals on “Now All Gone” and Banhart’s mentor, muse, and dear friend, the folk legend Vashti Bunyan, duets with him on “Will I See You Tonight”. Notes Banhart, “Vashti is the archetype of the mother, one of the most important people in my life. It was so beautiful to sing this duet with her.”
Boy Scouts – Free Company CD (ANTI-)
Recently released on vinyl – now available on CD. As Boy Scouts, Oakland-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Taylor Vick makes the kind of music that hits like good advice from tough emotional truths. Vick’s songs survey the damage that can come from loving other people with curiosity and grace. Her new album Free Company is a stunningly tuneful rumination on heartbreak and loss that is always galloping toward the horizon. Opener “Get Well Soon” reckons with the difficult epiphany that comes when you’ve worked overtime to help someone you love, only to realize they won’t meet you in the middle and help themselves. Her tightest and most cohesive collection of songs, Vick recorded Free Company in a tiny studio her friend Stephen Steinbrink set up inside a rented shipping container – a unique spot that ended up being perfect for her. Steinbrink plays drums, synth, and bass throughout the record in addition to singing backup.
Sam Fender – Hypersonic Missiles CD/LP (Polydor)
Hypersonic Missiles is the debut album from Brits Critics Choice Award Winner Sam Fender. Observational, questioning and socially engaged, Fender has an innate gift for simplifying matters of the newsworthy and topical. “I don’t have answers only questions” he clarifies, but there’s a canny simplicity here that seems to be touching and plain speaking. His words reflect conversations occurring right across the globe, amongst friends in cafes, pubs, and out on the terraces. Frustrations. Misunderstandings. Despair. Album track “Dead Boys” tackles the taboo of male suicide. Having lost close friends to the epidemic, Fender was compelled to address it head on in song. The reaction was immediate. And throughout Hypersonic Missiles there’s a sense that there are far more of those revelations still to come. It’s a brave record with some of its subject matter cutting deep into the grain.