New Release Round-Up 04-21-17
BIG STARS THIRD LIVE - Thank You, Friends: Big Star's Third Live... and More - Concord Records
Thank You, Friends: Big Star's Third Live... and More celebrates the musical legacy of one of rock's most influential bands - Big Star - and their legendary THIRD album. Experience this classic of late '70s power pop through the prism of a collective of immensely talented fans, including members of Wilco, R.E.M., Yo La Tengo, and, of course, Big Star. Following the untimely death of Alex Chilton two days ahead of Big Star's SXSW performance in 2010, famous friends and fans came from far and wide to play the gig in his honor. Much of that spontaneous ensemble, along with other musical titans, assembled at Glendale, CA's ALEX Theatre in April 2016 to record and film an epic performance.
THE RAVEONETTES - 2016 Atomized - Raveonettes Ltd
The culmination of twelve monthly 2016 singles from the acclaimed Danish duo. The Raveonettes have completed their RAVE-SOUND-OF-THE-MONTH which began at the start of 2016 where the band would release a freshly recorded track on the last Friday of every month throughout the year.2016 Atomized features a collection of new tracks that aren't bound by the constraints of the format. Previous 2014 album Pe'ahi reached #5 on Billboard's "Heatseekers" soundscanning over 10,000 albums and received praise from NPR, Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan, NME and more. They've issued seven albums since 2003, via Columbia, Vice, and their own Beat Dies imprint.
THE BLACK ANGELS - Death Song - Partisan Records
Written and recorded in large part during the recent election cycle, the music on ‘Death Song’ serves as part protest, part emotional catharsis in a climate dominated by division, anxiety and unease. “Currency,” a strong contender for the heaviest song the band has ever put to wax, meditates on the governing role the monetary system plays in our lives, while slow-building psychedelic earworm “Half Believing” questions the nature and confusing realities of devotion. Recorded between Seattle and Austin, ‘Death Song’ features production from Phil Ek (Father John Misty, Fleet Foxes, The Shins). The 11-track collection offers a sharply honed elaboration on their signature sound - menacing fuzz guitar and cutting wordplay, steeped in a murky hallucinatory dream. Since forming in Austin in 2004, The Black Angels have become standard-bearers for modern psych-rock, and the New York Times has said they “play psychedelic rock as if the 1960s never ended, and they are absolute masters of it”. The band has toured with Queens of the Stone Age, Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Black Keys + more, and played festivals such as Glastonbury, Fuji Rock, Primavera, Harvest Fest, Coachella and Bonnaroo. Two of the band members co-founded Levitation Festival (formerly Austin Psych Fest) in 2008, which has since grown into one of the best-reviewed and expertly-curated festivals in the country.
SHERYL CROW - Be Myself - Warner Bros.
For this album, Sheryl Crow worked again with producer, musician, and songwriter Jeff Trott, a long-time collaborator throughout her career. Trott co-wrote many of Crow's classic hits including "If It Makes You Happy" and "My Favorite Mistake." Crow says her main goal was "to investigate what made my early songs strike people as being authentic and original. So for the first time in my life, I made it a point to sit down and really listen to my old records. I'd drive my kids to school and play the old stuff as I came back home. That helped me remember what it felt like when I was just beginning as an artist. But it wasn't about repeating myself. It was about revisiting where I came from and seeing where that would take me now." Be Myself is like each of her preceding releases: thoughtful and candid. It's unlike them too, mainly in that it represents contradictory movement -- a look at the world today powered in part by a return to the energy that first lofted Crow and her music into the limelight.
RON SEXSMITH - The Last Rider - Compass Records
Ron Sexsmith's status as one of the greatest songwriters of his generation has never been in doubt, even from the moment he released his self-titled major-label debut album in 1995. His career arc since then has in some ways been a study in how that pure ability has been handled in the studio. On his 12 albums, Sexsmith has worked with some of music's most celebrated producers - Daniel Lanois, Mitchell Froom, Tchad Blake, Ray Kennedy, Martin Terefe, Bob Rock and Jim Scott. With all of that experience, it would stand to reason that Sexsmith has learned a thing or two over the years about how to make a record. The Last Rider features 15 new Sexsmith original songs that are by turns happy, sad, romantic, bittersweet, uplifting, spiritual and witty. Recorded at The Bathouse studio on Lake Ontario near Toronto, sessions for the record were a marked change in approach from Sexsmith's previous albums, as he recorded it with the musicians he knows best, his touring band - Don Kerr (drums), Jason Mercer (bass), Dave Matheson (keyboards) and Kevin Lacroix (guitar). The album was produced by Ron and Don Kerr, who have been friends and musical collaborators since they worked together as couriers in the late eighties. "I think my sound has always been a combination of the folk singers and British invasion artists I've always admired," says Ron. "At this point, it's just second nature for me to write short, melodic songs that say everything you want to say. But having my band totally involved on this album maybe brought out more in the songs than on other recent albums. It felt special, anyway." Although Ron Sexsmith has more music to come that is sure to inspire us, for now The Last Rider is the latest addition to a body of work as impressive as any produced in the past quarter-century. Through truth and simplicity, Sexsmith's songs help us get closer to the things that make us better people, meaning that an album like The Last Rider is as necessary now as anything he has ever done.
IMELDA MAY - Life Love Flesh Blood - Verve
Imelda May has found a new groove, exploring blues, soul, gospel, folk, rock, acoustic, cinematic drama and explosive balladry. She is setting a new course with a collection of the boldest, most personal and intimately autobiographical songs she has ever written. May has long been admired by her peers in the music community, including Bono, who says of May, I love the girl she used to be but I think I love even more the woman she's become. Still mischievous and playful, still a siren, but there's an ache in her voice now that has me with a glass at my ear to the wall of her world where trouble has entered the room. There's an erotic power here that's not just feminine power. She makes truth telling an invitation to intimacy. Imelda May has finally made the album she's always wanted to make. I've called it Life Love Flesh Blood because that encompasses everything, says Imelda. It's all in there: birth, sex, love, divorce and death. It's the story of my life.
OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW - 50 Years Of Blonde On Blonde - Sony
The 14-track album, 50 Years Of Blonde On Blonde, was recorded LIVE at the CMA Theater located inside the historic Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum located in Nashville, TN in May 2016. Mixed by GRAMMY Award-winning Ted Hutt and Ryan Mall. "Fifty years is a long time for a place like Nashville, Tennessee. Time rolls on slowly around here like flotsam and jetsam in the muddy Cumberland River. But certain things have accelerated the pace of our city. And certain people have sent the hands of the clock spinning. Bob Dylan is the greatest of these time-bending, paradigm-shifting Nashville cats," says Ketch Secor, the primary vocalist of the Old Crow Medicine Show. "By deciding to record his newly found rock n' roll voice in 1966 Nashville, Bob swung the gates of Country music wide open; so wide, in fact, that 50 years later there was still enough of a crack left for Old Crow Medicine Show to sneak its banjos and fiddles through the gates with string band swagger.
MEW - Visuals - PIAS America
Visuals marks the Danish dream pop outfit’s seventh overall following 2015’s + –. According to frontman Jonas Bjerre, the upcoming LP came together as a direct result of the touring the band did behind +-. “The live shows around that album saw us hit a creative peak, writing tracks on-the-road and the spark was lit,” he explained in a press release. “Breaking the normal cycle felt right and we wanted to make an album spontaneously retaining the energy we’d generated on that world tour, rather than wait the normal three or four years.” Recorded and self-produced in less than 12 months in Copenhagen, Visuals is said to capture MEW at their “most concise, each song representing its own little chapter and narrative.”
MARK LANEGAN - Gargoyle - PIAS America
Gargoyle follows the critically acclaimed ‘Phantom Radio’ which was released in 2014. The 10-track LP features guest appearances from long-time collaborators Josh Homme, Greg Dulli and Duke Garwood. The album title comes from a lyric in Blue Blue Sea – “Gargoyle perched on gothic spire” – and was chosen for its hint of self-deprecation. “I’m most proud of the songs that are atypical to stuff that I’ve done in the past” says Mark Lanegan. “So I really like Old Swan, because it’s an expression of positivity, which is completely anti-anything I’ve done before!” He laughs. “Y’know, I haven’t played this record for too many people yet. I played it for Greg Dulli, who played on some of it, and he was like, ‘Wow, I had to listen to it twice – it sounds like he’s having a good time…’
VOK - Figure - Nettwerk Records
"Figure" is the debut album by the Icelandic electronic pop group Vök. Formed in 2013, the band is comprised of Margrét Rán (vox/guitar/keyboard), Andri Már (sax/synth), Ólafur Alexander (guitar/bass), and Einar Stef (drums/percussion). Featuring tracks such as “Show Me" and "BTO", "Figure" is brimming with nocturnal electronica and downtempo beats that oozes sensual atmospherics, all held together by Rán's dreamy melodic vocals.
For more information on these and other releases out this week, check out our New Releases charts by week section and don't forget that many of these titles are also available on vinyl.