Music Releases 06-05-20
After years spent looking out at landscapes and loved ones and an increasingly unstable world, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have turned their gaze inward, to their individual pasts and the places that inform them, on their second full-length, Sideways to New Italy. Led by singer-songwriter-guitarists Tom Russo, Joe White and Fran Keaney, the guitar-pop five-piece returned home to Australia after the relentless touring schedule that came following their critically regarded 2018 debut Hope Downs. Feeling the literal and metaphorical ground under their feet had shifted, the band began grasping for something reliable. For Keaney, that translated into writing "pure romantic fiction" and consciously avoiding the temptation of angsty break-up songs, while Russo looked north to a "bizarre place" that captured the feeling of manufacturing a sense of home when his own had disappeared. The New Italy of the new album’s title is a village near New South Wales’ Northern Rivers – the area drummer Marcel Tussie is from. A blink-and-you'll-miss-it pit-stop of a place with fewer than 200 residents, it was founded by Venetian immigrants in the late-1800s and now serves as something of a living monument to Italians' contribution to Australia, with replica Roman statues dotted like alien souvenirs on the otherwise rural landscape. The parallels to the way the band attempted to maintain connections and create familiarity during their disorienting time on the road was apparent to Russo. "These are the expressions of people trying to find a home somewhere alien: trying to create a utopia in a turbulent and imperfect world." The record's geographic identity emerged from the band losing their grip on their own, whether that was through the pressure of touring, the dissolution of relationships, a frustrating distance from their daily lives – or some combination of all three – that came from being slingshotted all over the world, playing sold-out headline tours and festivals including Coachella, Governors Ball, Primavera Sound, All Points East, and Pitchfork Music Festival. The notion of crafting, in Russo’s words, “a utopia of where your heart’s from,” permeates Sideways to New Italy, in which early attempts at writing big, high-concept songs about The State of the World were abandoned in favor of love songs, and familiar voices and characters filter in and out, grounding the band's stories in their personal histories. There’s something comforting, too, in knowing the next time they’re buffeted from stage to stage around the world, they’ll be taking the voices of their loved ones with them, building a new totem of home no matter where they end up.
Each time they take the stage, Madrid-bred rock band Hinds create a kind of wild magic, a feel-good free-for-all often complete with synchronized dancing and giddy crowd-surfing from the members themselves. While the band s first two albums channeled the euphoric energy of their live show in their gorgeously punchy take on garage-rock, their latest full-length adds entirely new texture to their sound. Produced by Jenn Decilveo (The Wombats, Ben Platt and Anne-Marie), The Prettiest Curse finds the band letting their imaginations run more freely than ever, even as they share some of their most emotionally heavy material to date. The Prettiest Curse takes its title from the sometimes-daunting experience of giving your soul to rock-and-roll. In the making of The Prettiest Curse, Hinds devised a brilliantly unpredictable vocabulary for communicating their most painful feelings. Unfolding in frenetic guitar riffs and buzzing basslines, powerful drumming and delicate piano work, the album endlessly delivers massively catchy melodies and vocals that growl and sigh with equal ferocity. The effect of all that unrestrained expression is fantastically dizzying, made even more so by Hinds constant back-and-forth between their native tongue and English.
Vinyl LP pressing. 2020 release. The Ghost Inside is a Los Angeles-based hardcore band. They began as a group of friends in El Segundo, CA united by their shared passion for bands in the hardcore scene. The group stands for authenticity, dedication, perseverance and the most literal adherence to the core values behind their craft. Sonically, the group places equal emphasis on deeply personal vocals, urgent riffing and pile-driving breakdowns within the framework of their heavily melodic modern hardcore.
Junta (pronounced Joon-tah - the "oo's" sound like "book") is Phish's first official studio album now slated for re-release on audiophile vinyl. Junta was recorded at Euphoria Sound Studios in Revere Massachusetts in 1987 and 1988 on 16-track 2" tape and was mixed to 1/4" stereo reels. In addition to writing and performing all the music, the band produced the album themselves - gathering around Enginner Gordon Hookailo's console to do group fades since the studio lacked mix automation. It was a ground-breaking effort in terms of musical ambition and every song on the album is still performed by the band live. Junta was originally self-released on cassette tape in May 1989 with packaging created by the band. The album was re-mastered and re-released as a double CD (and cassette) in October 1992 on Elektra with art by Jim Pollock. The release was certified Gold but, until now, has never been heard on vinyl. The vinyl release was created from the original stereo master reels with lacquers cut by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering.
Mt. Joy’s star rose quickly from a bedroom project to a well-oiled machine dubbed “your new folk-rock heroes” by Rolling Stone upon the 2018 release of their self-titled debut record. That same year and beyond, millions of streams piled up month after month, and sold-out crowds sang along to every song and grew in number with every tour and festival stop they made. 2020 holds no fewer big moments on the road for the band, who are starting out the year touring arenas with The Lumineers, and following it up with a substantial headlining run of their own, including stops at Lollapalooza, Hangout Festival, and Bonnaroo, and two nights at Red Rocks. Their highly anticipated sophomore album Rearrange Us is sonically rich and expansive; producer Tucker Martine’s Portland studio and creative input widens the capabilities of Mt. Joy’s already bright sound, and allows the growing sophistication of the songwriting and the arrangements to really shine. The self-reflective record shows the band knows where they came from and what they’re up against, and that together they have the strength to carry on.
Double vinyl LP pressing in gatefold jacket. 2020 release. Damon Gough (AKA Badly Drawn Boy) brings us Banana Skin Shoes, an album of fourteen tracks, including previously released track 'Is This A Dream?' Always one to wear his heart on his sleeve, Gough's ninth album is a truly personal and heartfelt collection of songs. A huge statement of intent and the most glorious, colorful warming, honest pop record you'll hear this year.
Vinyl LP pressing. Digitally remastered and expanded edition, released in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Frank Sinatra's Nice 'n' Easy. Features the original 12 tracks like "The Nearness of You", as well as full sessions of "I've Got A Crush on You" and "Nice 'n' Easy" that include previously unreleased alternate takes and reveals Sinatra studio chatter.
The great guitar enthusiast and humble disciple of Django Reinhardt, Thomas Dutronc returns with the project he has always dreamed of: "Frenchy". After four albums and hundreds of concerts in France, Thomas returns with a "French themed" album addressing the greatest classics of the French musical heritage. Dutronc honors the work of the great French songwriters whose melodies have toured the world. Features Diana Krall, Iggy Pop, Billy Gibbons, Jeff Goldblum, Haley Reinhardt and more.
For years, Singer/Songwriter Trixie Mattel has broken boundaries not only for drag performers in the music world but also for LGBTQ+ artists in the genres of country, folk and Americana. ‘Barbara’ is laid out to reflect a vintage double-sided album. Side A features a plugged-in late 60s/early 70s vibe. Side B hearkens back to the introspective folk that took Trixie to the top of Billboard Heatseekers and iTunes genre charts. Pressed on yellow vinyl; packaging includes foil-stamped poster.
Covet the Bay Area trio return with the new full length technicolor. The record effortlessly blends instrumental math-rock with elements of post-rock and post-metal, juxtaposing delicate melodies with propulsive rhythms and for the first time feature Yvette Young singing on several tracks. Since the release of their Triple Crown Records debut effloresce in 2018 covet has toured throughout the world supporting numerous artists including Dance Gavin Dance, Polyphia, Periphery, Don Broco to name a few as well as their first US headline tour in the summer of 2019. The band once again recorded with producer Mike Watts (The Dear Hunter, Glassjaw, Hail The Sun)
Songs For A Flying Man is the warm and sincere album by French pianist and composer Alexandre Saada. The soothing vocals, autobiographical texts and tender melodies swirl around in the same universe as the songs by Elliot Smith, The Magnetic Fields, Nick Drake and Mercury Rev. 180-gram vinyl.
Limited white vinyl LP pressing. 2020 release. Soulful blues phenom, and Blues Hall Of Fame inductee, Joe Louis Walker is joined by a host of talented friends and peers on this superb studio album. Features guest performances by fellow blues icons Keb' Mo', Eric Gales, and Albert Lee plus Detroit soul singer Mitch Ryder, harmonica virtuoso Lee Oskar, Hot Tuna's Jorma Kaukonen, punk rock vocalist Charlie Harper, legendary session player Waddy Wachtel, and many others. This album explodes with the passionate playing and souful melodies that have made Walker a favorite among true blues aficionados including The Rolling Stones!
Fantasy and science-fiction are often treated as an escape from reality, but in the heart of those fantastic worlds lie prescient truths about our world. On the other side of that coin, some of the world s greatest aesthetic beauty comes in the form of raw science. The new album from Birmingham, Alabama s WRAY vibrates at the intersection of those dichotomies and others hope and pessimism, wild and composed, joy and pain. There is no light without dark, no dark without light, a concept which birthed the dual record Stream of Youth / Blank World. A lot of people hang on to the idea that we can have some kind of utopia some day, that human beings will evolve to a pure state. But if the human race could start over, would things look any different? says bassist/vocalist David Brown. Along with bandmates Blake Wimberly (drums) and David Swatzell (guitars/vocals), Brown felt fueled by their status in a blue city in a red state, in the American south with its morally complex past, in a modernity fueled by conflict and difference. Though they only planned on recording a pair of songs, they came away with a full album, but one separated into two clear halves: Stream of Youth holds the record s hopeful tracks, while Blank World comprises the fatalistic songs. But even with that clear dividing line, WRAY s heady musicianship and clever songwriting render their takes on optimism and darkness far more nuanced than that may seem. That multifaceted approach has brought the trio praise in outlets ranging from The New York Times to The Wall Street Journal dating back to their 2014 self-titled debut. Sophomore LP Hypatia dropped just two years later, inspired by the titular female 4th Century scientist/philosopher/mathematician and driving a vibrant, thoughtful path through New Wave, Krautrock, shoegaze, and postpunk. The massive leap on Stream of Youth / Blank World is evident from a single glance at the cover art. While WRAY s first two records featured abstract imagery, the new record s pair of Boris Vallejo paintings showcase the expressive, expansive duality. A Peruvian painter known for sword and sorcery artwork in the vein of Tarzan and Conan the Barbarian, Vallejo is a legend in the fantasy world. Brown grew up collecting trading cards with his artwork, and happened upon a shoebox full while working on the record and immediately knew it would be perfect for WRAY s latest. I reached out to Boris back in 2016 for a single image, before we knew it d be a split album, he explains. The color palette is super moody, with a lot of dark grays, dark blues, and pinks. It was something new to explore, looking at that imagery, I used it to help tell the story of our record. The album s long gestation and the life changes the band members underwent in that time influenced its complex conceptual push-and-pull as well. We started working on this album in 2016, and since then my wife and I have had a child, Blake moved to Chicago, and Swatzell joined a second band Unwed Sailor, Brown explains. WRAY self-produced the album at the home studio of label Communicating Vessels in the Birmingham suburb of Woodlawn, experimenting, writing and recording at their own pace. But despite being released almost four years since they began recording, the cohesive Stream of Youth / Blank World tells a grand story across its halves. That complex motorik flow is best embodied on lead single Nebulous , a lithe, effervescent groove powered by an insistent, rubbery bass. Tongues smoke, legs blur, Brown repeats, his wife Luciana Giovinazzo providing otherworldly backing vocals. Swatzell s guitar slices in and out of frame, a neon laser carving through the gauzy synths and shimmering percussion. Across seven minutes, WRAY build a neo-noir epic of concentric circles, layers of vintage synth building and bur
Vinyl LP pressing. Includes digital download. 2020 release. Arriving four years after the iconoclast variously known as Sam Dust, La Priest thrilled the world with the cosmic pop of his debut album Inji, Gene is named after a new modular drum machine Sam dreamt up and built alone. Working in isolation for more than two years, soldering iron in hand, Sam designed Gene using 150 electrical circuits he made up himself.
2020 release from dark modern metal masters Barishi. Old Smoke is clear evidence that Barishi's dark and melodic sound has evolved from 2016's Blood From a Lion's Mouth. This full-length from the Vermont metal collective is a sprawling cacophony of earth-shattering grooves and ferocious elegance, redefining contemporary progressive metal.
2020 release. Slithering in the cauldron that is the Icelandic black metal scene, Helfró emerges with fury and competence rarely seen. Written by Ragnar and arranged by Símon, a debut album has been recorded with unforgiving precision and profound musicianship. It is meant to channel the hopeless and empty feelings that have been concentrated from the frozen wastelands from which the band emerges.
The new "Alicia" EP was named after bandmates Henry and Jose's mothers (who share the name "Alicia") as a thank you. A thank you for always supporting them, for never giving up on them, for raising them the way they did, and for helping them be the people they are today. Although they have similar upbringings but different lifestyles, The Red Pears always felt like they connected and related to the way their mothers educated and raised them.
Coming off my last album I was productive, and I ended up with a great batch of songs. I ran one by Joe Bonamassa, who said right away he wanted to play on it. And that’s how this album came about. Joe inspired me to invite others. I had songs that were strong and told good stories. I wanted the best musicians alive like Jeff Beck, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Van Morrison and more to take them in unexpected directions. Wayne Hood, my producer, brought out the best of them. We have amazing songs and great guitars. - Dion
Vinyl LP pressing. 2020 mini-album. Released in August 2019, Modern Nature's debut album - How to Live - crossed the urban and rural into each other. Plaintive cello strains melted into motorik beats. Pastoral field recordings drifted through looping guitar figures. The album was met with universal acclaim and featured in a number of publication's 'Best Of 2019' lists. Their mini-album Annual, recorded in December 2019 at Gizzard Studio in London, is another step towards something more liberated and a world away from the sound of Jack Cooper's previous bands. Will Young sits this one out, concentrating on his work with Beak, but How To Live collaborator Jeff Tobias takes a more central role, alongside percussionist Jim Wallis.
Mexico's superb noise rock cabaret troop, Descartes A Kant, unleashes their brand new album, the first with their new US label!
This incredible band has shared the stage with The Melvins, Sonic Youth, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Explosions In The Sky, Slayer and more! CD comes in a special gatefold wallet and the vinyl comes in a printed sleeve!
Now Country Classics - '90s is the first installment in the NOW Country Classics series (all part of the NOW brand). Country music fans are able to get all of their favorite '90s country songs in one place and relive all of the '90s nostalgia. There are 18 tracks on this compilation and includes '90s country superstars: George Strait, Trisha Yearwood, Lonestar, Alan Jackson, Diamond Rio, Brooks & Dunn, Martina McBride and many more.
NOW Country Volume 13 is the latest installment in the popular series. The project is a joint venture from Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. Part of the multi-platinum compilation series, the world's best-selling multi-artist albums with sales topping 250 million worldwide and 94 million in the U.S. NOW Country Collections have sold over 3M albums. Vol. 13 includes songs from Country Superstars- Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Kane Brown, Old Dominion, Jon Pardi, and many more.
Jon Langston -"Now You Know (EP)" Langston, including the project's lead single, "Now You Know". Of the EP, he says "I have worked hard at evolving my writing and sound over the past year and I really feel this music shows my different styles and sums up who I am as an artist, and I can't wait for the fans to hear it." Langston is the first artist signed under Luke Bryan's 32 Bridge Entertainment with UMG Nashville.
The Law Is An Anagram Of Wealth' was the second studio album from Anne Clark in 1993 after an enforced break as a result of full-on war with the music industry. With this album Anne gave thanks to those very few within the music industry and those thousands and thousands of followers and supporters who stood by her and let her begin her musical journey once more. In Anne's words: "It's amazing what you can decipher from words and the world when left with so much time on your hands, unable to work, tour or release material. It's beautiful when you have the option and the time to interpret material that has held you up and been an inspiration in dark time. Eventually, as it always does, the tide turned. It was time to leave the past experience behind and rise up, energized and enraged!"
The debut album from Paul Banks (Interpol), Matt Barrick (The Walkmen) and Josh Kaufman (Bonny Light Horseman). "We have a genuine, organic artistic chemistry together," says Banks. "It's partly a shared musical taste from youth, as with me and Josh, but then it's also the souls of my friends that resonate with me when expressed through music." The resulting songs are dark and gorgeous, expansive and sparse, like Cormac McCarthy prose stretched across a cowboy painting of a sunset. There are upstart rockers like 'Red Western Sky' and 'Knuckleduster' and jazz-beat drum showcases like 'How Many Days' and 'All Is Dead To Me,' but no matter the sonic direction Muzz go, they go there as if effortlessly and with maximum emotional, cosmic charge.
Vinyl LP pressing. Includes digital download. 2020 release. Your Hero Is Not Dead is an album about empathy and compassion, struggle and release, and all the ways we contradict and battle within ourselves. The project is full of supremely crafted, groove-hinged songs about moral, political, and ethical grey areas, that find Westerman attempting to resolve external issues by looking inward.
First proper full length from critically acclaimed UK singer/songwriter Katie Malco and her first new music in nearly seven years. 'Failures' finds Malco at her all-time best, taking all she's learned in recent years, both personally and musically, and combining both with an unmatched songwriting prowess. She's both vulnerable and intense, pouring herself into each song with an uncanny relatability. Malco has recently toured alongside the likes of Julien Baker, Dawes, The Joy Formidable, and ST Manville, as well as supported We Were Promised Jetpacks, Jenny Lewis, etc.
Ital Tek (a.k.a. Alan Myson) returns to Planet Mu with his sixth album 'Outland'. The album was written during a period of new beginnings following a move out of the city to a quieter space and the birth of his first child. During this time of self-imposed isolation Alan recorded a huge amount of source material and spent weeks and months sitting up at night with his newborn, listening back and making notes on how the new record should take form, focusing and developing ideas to shape this lean ten-track album. Alan talks of the record being a collaboration between two parts of himself, something that definitely comes across as the album unfolds. Textures are something Alan excels at and on his last album, the largely beatless 'Bodied', it felt as if he was building a new sound-world. On 'Outland' he expands upon this. The album brings together the extremes of Alan's sound, contrasting roughened bass and beats with starker more detailed atmospheres and emotions. The most beat-driven song here is 'Deadhead', with its gnarled bouncing bass, angular distorted melodies and cavernous textures. On tracks like 'Bladed Terrain' the contrasts are even more defined with buzzing drones and razor sharp drums plunging into a grainy fog, giving the track a dramatic 3D feel. Then there are the stop-start pauses of 'Leaving The Grid', where the song evaporates into space before reemerging with shuddering rhythms and ghostly textures. Melodies crawl around these tracks as if they're just waking up, as heard on the atmospheric 'Angel In Ruin'. The sleep-deprived fraying of the senses became Alan's routine and one which he says gave him a renewed creative energy; half-asleep, working through the night, and then into the daytime super-focused but exhausted. Prone to audio hallucinations whilst writing the album, he aimed to capture these distortions in his perception of pitch and time, and you can hear these effects interpreted on tracks like 'Endless' and 'Open Heart' as melodies phase and slip out of time like an emotional Doppler effect. This is also true of the soaring atonal synths at the peak of 'Diamond Child', which feel like the aural equivalent of eye floaters. These intuitive feelings and functions are a difficult thing to capture in sound, but Alan manages it beautifully and always makes the result feel warm and adventurous, heartfelt and epic.