Music Releases for Friday 5/17
I Am Easy To Find is The National’s eighth studio album and the follow-up to 2017’s GRAMMY®-award winning release Sleep Well Beast. A companion short film with the same name will also be released with music by The National and inspired by the album. The film was directed by Academy Award-nominated director Mike Mills (20th Century Women, Beginners), and starring Academy Award Winner Alicia Vikander. Mills, along with the band, is credited as co-producer of the album, which was recorded at Long Pond, Hudson Valley, NY with vocal contributions from Sharon Van Etten, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Lisa Hannigan, Mina Tindle and more. On September 3, 2017, director Mike Mills emailed Matt Berninger to introduce himself and in very short order, the most ambitious project of the National’s nearly 20-year career was born and plans for a hard-earned vacation died. The Los Angeles-based filmmaker was coming off his third feature, 20th Century Women, and was interested in working with the band on...something. A video maybe. Berninger, already a fan of Mills’ films, not only agreed to collaborate, he essentially handed over the keys to the band’s creative process. The result is I Am Easy to Find, a 24-minute film by Mills starring Alicia Vikander, and I Am Easy to Find, a 68-minute album by the National. The former is not the video for the latter; the latter is not the soundtrack to the former. The two projects are, as Mills calls them, “Playfully hostile siblings that love to steal from each other”—they share music and words and DNA and impulses and a vision about what it means to be human in 2019, but don’t necessarily need one another. The movie was composed like a piece of music; the music was assembled like a film, by a film director. The frontman and natural focal point was deliberately and dramatically side staged in favor of a variety of female voices, nearly all of whom have long been in the group’s orbit. It is unlike anything either artist has ever attempted and also totally in line with how they’ve created for much of their careers.
Eclectic Canadian artist Lucette sophomore album Produced by Sturgill Simpson, Deluxe Hotel Room takes the traditional roots sound showcased on her 2014 debut (produced by Dave Cobb) with which she captured the attention of critics and fans alike with her breakout track “Bobby Reid”, a sauntering murder ballad that was featured on the Netflix special Nanette and has since garnered over 4-million Spotify streams to date. Taking the first album sound for Deluxe Hotel she amplifies it by adding ethereal ambiance and emotive resonance to a foundation of R&B, pop and soul. Lucette’s cutting, honest lyrics are informed by life experiences in love, loss and battling inner demons as she comes into her own both personally and artistically.
Inspired by the warm, inviting sounds of ‘70s singer-songwriters like Jackson Browne and Graham Nash, Ryan Pollie wanted to make the most personal music of his career. He had released two albums as Los Angeles Police Department, and now he was ready to shed the protective barrier of his old band name — to make music, simply, as himself. Bolder and crisper than the albums he’s made as Los Angeles Police Department, his self-titled record emerges from a deeply collaborative place. He invited many of his closest friends over to his home to record the album, and a feeling of warm camaraderie shines through the music. “When somebody plays on a song, their character is in it,” he says. “I like to think all my friends are on this record. Their personality is in it. That was really important to me. I’m able to do what I do, mentally and emotionally, because of the people around me.”
After spending years writing and recording music by himself in various bedrooms and basements, Andrew Carter hit his stride with the debut Minor Poet album, And How!. Made on a creative whim with no outside expectations, the eleven-song collection combined Carter’s love of carefully-crafted pop with a loose, fun, off-the-cuff recording aesthetic. The album was released in 2017 and developed a small but loving fan base, and Minor Poet has grown from a passion project into a cross-country touring band with write-ups in publications such as American Songwriter, Magnet, The Wild Honey Pie, Impose, and more.
Minor Poet’s second album, The Good News, is a six-song collection that expands the boundaries of what constitutes the band’s sound. In just twenty-two minutes, the songs take apart the standard formulas of guitar-based rock and infuse them with vibrance and energy. On opener “Tabula Rasa,” interlocking guitars and a Farfisa organ carry the song through until everything drops suddenly into a doo-wop section that wouldn’t be out of place on a 1950’s
Holly’s third full-length album PROTO isn’t about A.I., but much of it was created in collaboration with her own A.I.‘baby’, Spawn. For the record, she assembled a contemporary ensemble of vocalists, developers and an inhuman intelligence housed in a DIY souped-up gaming PC to create a record that encompasses live vocal processing and timeless folk singing, and places an emphasis on alien song craft and new forms of communion. PROTO makes reference to what Holly refers to as the protocol era, where rapidly surfacing ideological battles over the future of A.I protocols, centralised and decentralised internet protocols, and personal and political protocols compel us to ask ourselves who are we, what are we, what do we stand for, and what are we heading towards? You can hear traces of Spawn throughout the album, developed in partnership with long time collaborator Mathew Dryhurst and ensemble developer Jules LaPlace, throughout the album, and even eavesdrop on the live training ceremonies conducted in Berlin, in which hundreds of people were gathered to teach Spawn how to identify and reinterpret unfamiliar sounds in group call-and-response singing sessions; a contemporary update on the religious gathering Holly was raised amongst in her upbringing in East Tennessee. Since her arrival in 2012, Holly has successfully mined the edges of electronic and Avant Garde pop and emerged with a dynamic and disruptive canon of her own, all while studying for her soon- to-be-completed PhD at Stanford University, researching machine learning and music. Her LP Platform closed out 2015 by gracing year-end lists from *Pitchfork*, *The Guardian*, *NME*, and *The Wire*. In the aftermath, Radiohead hand-picked her to open up their European tour. Just as Platform forewarned of the manipulative personal and political impacts of prying social media platforms long before popular acceptance, PROTO is a euphoric and principled statement setting the shape of things to come.
As he approaches his 70th birthday, it's incredible that Nick Lowe hasn't lost a step in his unrivaled songwriting and rockin' abilities. His forthcoming four song EP, Love Starvation/Trombone, features the razor-sharp lyricism that he's made so famous and is complemented by the returning dulcet tones of his backing band and tour mates Los Straitjackets. Lowe originals like 'Love Starvation,' 'Trombone' and the tender 'Blue on Blue' are among his strongest compositions across his half-a-century-spanning career. Lowe breathes new life into a cover of Rick Nelson's 'Raincoat in the River,' which may be mistaken for an original given the unique cadence and arrangement Nick and Los Straitjackets put on the classic tune. There's no slowing down for Nick Lowe, and these four songs will leave you pining for even more from the Jesus of Cool.
New Vinyl: $14.98 $13.48 Buy
The album comprises nine thematically related songs by Mehldau and features performances by him on piano, synthesizers, percussion, and Fender Rhodes, as well as vocals. Guest musicians include Ambrose Akinmusire, Sara Caswell, Kurt Elling, Joel Frahm, Mark Guiliana, Gabriel Kahane, and Becca Stevens, among others.
Imperial Wax are the surviving members of the last and longest running edition of legendary Manchester post-punk band The Fall. Their debut album is Gastwerk Saboteurs. As the core of The Fall drummer Keiron Melling, bassist Dave ''The Eagle'' Spurr and guitarist Pete Greenway served 11 years, recording six full-length studio albums with Mark E Smith. They recruited fellow Northerner Sam Curran as lead vocalist and second guitarist and dubbed the new act Imperial Wax (in honor of the first album they recorded with Smith, Imperial Wax Solvent). While assuredly reminiscent of The Fall, Gastwerk Saboteurs succeeds at blazing a new trail. Still dense, noisy and atheistic in regards to genre the approach is (slightly) more melodic and punk in vibe. Imperial Wax seem poised to join the canon of great Manchester-bred acts that includes Joy Division, Happy Mondays and The Buzzcocks.
New Vinyl: $25.98 $23.38 Buy
Electronic Body Music, abbreviated as E.B.M., is a term whose origin stems from the Belgian group Front 242. It was chosen to describe the powerful, cold and minimalist electronic rhythms that defined the structures of this new musical genre. The movement quickly garnered followers in the underground scene during the 1980s and early 1990s, especially in Europe, before breaking into the rest of the world. This comprehensive set is a compilation featuring artists like Nitzer Erb, Borghesia and The Neon Judgment - groups that changed contemporary music and unleashed the era of machines.
Lewis Capaldi will release his debut album — Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent – on May 17th via Capitol Records, featuring the top 10 UK single “Someone You Loved” which Idolator predicted “Is Going To Be Big…It goes without saying that he’s One To Watch.” TIME said, “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.”
Capaldi was hailed as a 2018 Vevo DSCVR Artist To Watch, longlisted for the BBC Sound Of 2018 Poll, and won Breakthrough Artist of the Year honors at the Scottish Music Awards. He has toured with Rag’n’Bone Man, Niall Horan, and Sam Smith, and performed at such festivals as Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Firefly, Mountain Jam, Splendour in the Grass, Fuji, and Osheaga. Capaldi was recently nominated for the BRIT Awards 2019 Critics’ Choice award and named an MTV UK PUSH Ones To Watch artist.
Have you ever felt sad about the times you are living in? You may not always be able to work it out, but you can sprinkle a little sugar on your sadness with songs like these. A follow up collaboration between Mikey Young (Total Control / Eddy Suppression Ring) and Keith Abrahamsson (Head of A&R at Anthology Recordings) to their 2017 compilation Follow The Sun, Sad About the Times, at its core, is a set of North American 70s jammers. With a hint (at times) of West Coast jangle, these tracks traverse the border between the power pop of the times and a late-night coke jam. You can also hear echoes of folk rock, soft rock, and even detect some psychedelic flashbacks. But despite the genre jumping, the atmosphere of Sad About The Times is always dominated by a haunted human voice.These songs come in the wake of the psychedelic sixties; after the high-flying idealism had run its course and singer songwriters were ascendant. After the party, reality kicks in. They all could have been hits. Each with a different flavor, all subtly conveying universal emotions that are hard to describe but easy to feel. Sadness can be life affirming; these songs can open that door. If they couldn't they wouldn't be so enjoyable. "Heaven is boring, hell is where the action is" someone said but if you mix the two together you might come up with some songs like these.- Available on 2LP / CD / digital- Artwork by Brian Blomerth- A companion piece of sorts to V/A - Follow the Sun (ARC017) - An exploratory of 70s FM through a distinctly Australian lens.
Seven years after their epic comeback album, 'Lillie: F-65' (2012), legendary doom metal trailblazers SAINT VITUS return with their eponymous new album. The band sees the return of their original vocalist, Scott Reagers, as well as the addition of new bassist Pat Bruders (DOWN, ex-CROWBAR), who join long-time drummer Henry Vasquez and founder/guitarist Dave Chandler. As if in a time machine, the seasoned quartet pick up where their 1985 classic 'Hallows Victim' left off. Saint Vitus delivers nothing less than the truest and most enduring representation of original and fundamental doom metal.
FULL OF HELL make their Relapse debut with their most explosive album to date, Weeping Choir. Dynamic, pissed, and wholly urgent, the highly anticipated Weeping Choir is a definitive statement of intent by one of the underground’s most dynamic and virulent entities. FULL OF HELL have 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 FULL OF HELL take themes of religion, loss, hatred, and set them ablaze. Recorded by the critically acclaimed Kurt Ballou at GodCity Studio, Weeping Choir sees FULL OF HELL fully unleashed. Abrasive, confrontational, none equal!
Southern Rock underdogs Black Oak Arkansas return with their first full-length album of all new recordings in more than 30 years! Founding members Jim "Dandy" Mangrum (vocals) and Rickie Lee Reynolds (guitar) have been keeping the spirit of BOA alive and their songwriting partnership makes this album an essential release in the band's much heralded catalog! Includes a very special recording of virtuoso guitarist Shawn Lane, regarded by many as one of the fastest guitar players to ever live, and a member of the BOA clan since 1978 until his passing in 2003! Mangrum and Reynolds continue to tour around the US to enthusiastic audiences and will be hitting the road in support of this album! Available on both CD and a special limited edition GOLD vinyl pressing (only 300 made)!
Re-imagined, refined, revived are the words that best describe Marty Brown and his new album, AMERICAN HIGHWAY, on Plowboy Records. After a two-decade self-imposed "break" from major recording, Marty Brown hit songwriter and producer (I'm From the Country/Tracy Byrd, When I Stop Loving You/Trace Adkins, It Ain't Me If It Ain't You/Brooks & Dunn) returns with a tour de force co-produced with the revered Jon Tiven (B.B. King, Wilson Pickett, Waylon Jennings) who co-wrote nine of the disc's 10 songs with Brown, and one with the addition of Marty Brown, Jr. The result is an embrace of - and homage to - Country's foundational genres. From Gospel to Blues to traditional Country, Rockabilly and beyond, Brown has pulled these various threads together and created a tightly woven masterpiece. Brown views AMERICAN HIGHWAY as his "Rembrandt" or "Michelangelo," an achievement that marks his far-reaching and creative best. Like Rembrandt's use of light and shadow to focus the viewers eye, Brown's songwriting and vocal stylings create contrasts to draw to draw in the listener. One song best represents Brown's current mindset: "I'm On A Roll (Better Than It's Ever Been)" is a happy song that validates the contentment found in facing challenges and coming through to the other side. Topics vary throughout the project, from the fun and funky of "Casino Winnebago" to the world-aware "wokeness" of "Mona Lisa Smiles." From the big-city vibe of "Umbrella Lovers" to the raw, Springsteen-esque channeling found in the title track, the disc is an iron fist in a velvet glove that grabs on immediately and gives a knockout punch. The deceptively simple "Kentucky Blues" offers a counterpoint to the surprising globalism found in "Shaking All Over The World," while hearts grow an then separate in the reality of "Velvet Chains." Marty's voice is honest and on point; he nails every performance with nuance and grace. This is an album for everyone who loves honest music.
2019 release. World class Chicago blues masters The Cash Box Kings deliver a fresh, exhilarating take on the real deal Windy City sound, filled with soul deep singing, brawny harmonica, stinging guitar and infectious ensemble playing. They are revered around the world for their dedication to creating rich, timeless blues.
One part invading horde and all parts traveling carnival party, Black Label Society traverses the world powered by caffeine and cacophony. BLS engages and inspires audiences everywhere they go, on every radio dial they burn, inviting all comers to join in and participate in their brotherhood and sisterhood of hard rock and vigor. Now with ten BLS studio albums deep, with solo records, Ozzy shows, and Zakk Sabbath tours all kicking ass simultaneously, Zakk Wylde rides ever forward, fist held high. ZAKK WYLDE on THIS 20th ANNIVERSARY BLEND: “The original recording back in 1997 was mastered with high volume, alcohol, and dance,” says Wylde from his home studio. “We went in and worked off the existing performances and focused on the high volume and dance while replacing the booze with viagra and anabolic steroids.”
On May 17, guitarist Paul Gilbert returns to Mascot Label Group / Music Theories Recordings with his new album "Behold Electric Guitar". Paul Gilbert's newest album features 12 new original songs, all with Paul's most expressive, and inspired guitar playing to date! Behold Electric Guitar was produced by legendary producer and engineer John Cuniberti (Joe Satriani) and features Roland Guerin on bass, Asher Fulero on keyboards and Bill Ray, Reinhardt Melz and Brian Foxworth on drums. Although the album is mostly instrumental, Paul starts writing each song by writing the lyrics, and then transform those lyrics to melodies on the guitar. Paul's unused lyrics not only gave him a creative spark for the music but also yielded some interesting song titles. "Sir You Need to Calm Down," "I Own a Building," "Let That Battery Die," and "A Snake Just Bit My Toe" can certainly pique the curiosity of the listener. The exception to Paul's instrumental guitar theme is his poem, "A Herd of Turtles." Paul opted for his best Liverpudlian accent to recite his poem of hope, and inserted some ferocious funk riffs for musical contrast in between.
Produced by her son Damon Elliot, “She’s Back” is being released via his Kind Music and Entertainment One (eOne). The lead-off single will be an updated version of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David classic, “What The World Needs Now Is Love”, which Dionne recorded during the 1960s. “She’s Back” also includes duets with Kenny Lattimore (“What Color Is Love”), Musiq Soulchild (“Am I Dreaming?) as well as Bone, Thugs & Harmony’s Krayzie Bone (“Déjà Vu”) . In addition to ten tracks of new songs as well of remakes of pop/soul gems, “She’s Back” will be packaged with a bonus disc of Ms. Warwick’s 1998 album, “Dionne Sings Dionne”, which features her greatest hits, remastered for this package. “She’s Back” is Ms. Warwick’s 36th full-length studio recording, and her first dedicated R&B/soul album in fifty years, since the release of Dionne’s stellar 1969 Scepter LP, Soulful, which she co-produced in Memphis with the late Chips Moman (who’d manned the boards for Dionne’s then-label mate, B.J. Thomas). Ms. Warwick is one of several legends to be chosen to receive one of the Grammy Awards’ highest honors this year – the Lifetime Achievement Award. She joins music greats such as George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic, Billy Eckstine, Donny Hathaway, Julio Iglesias as well as Sam & Dave in this bestowed class. The honorees were mentioned in the Grammy Awards live telecast earlier in 2019.
New to Vancouver (Canada), alternative/singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jon Bryant sought connection. After joining, spending time and eventually leaving an undisclosed ‘cult’, Bryant’s fascination with cults began to percolate and became the framework for his upcoming full-length ‘Cult Classic’, that releases on May 17, 2019 via Nettwerk.