Music Releases 04-29-22
“Alpha Games was conceived on the road, playing in front of amazing crowds on our last tour and then brought to life with the fire and the frustrations of 2020,” says Kele Okereke on Bloc Party’s first new album in seven years.
The first Bloc Party album written and recorded as this four piece; adding the musicality of Justin Harris (bass) and the unbridled energy and power of Louise Bartle on the drums to capture the spark of their live shows and to deliver the most exciting Bloc Party album yet.
“We wanted to can what was happening at those massive gigs in 2019, to showcase what Louise can do, what Russell is capable of and most importantly the electricity coming off the audience. We knew that Nick & Adam were the right choice of producers to do that and the result feels like fire in a bottle.”
Produced by Nick Launay & Adam Greenspan (Nick Cave, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, IDLES), the 12 tracks of Alpha Games veer from the intense & confrontational (Traps, Day Drinker) to melodic and introspective (If We Get Caught, By Any Means Necessary) and marks a new and important chapter in one of music’s most important voices in Kele Okereke and important bands in Bloc Party.
"On Silver color vinyl. Toro y Moi’s seventh studio album, Mahal, is the boldest and most fascinating journey yet from musical mastermind Chaz Bear. The record spans genre and sound—encompassing the shaggy psychedelic rock of the 1960s and ‘70s, and the airy sounds of 1990s mod-post-rock—taking listeners on an auditory expedition, as if they’re riding in the back of Bear’s Filipino jeepney that adorns the album’s cover. But Mahal is also an unmistakably Toro y Moi experience, calling back to previous works while charting a new path forward in a way that only Bear can do.
Mahal is the latest in an accomplished career for Bear, who’s undoubtedly one of the decade’s most influential musicians. Since the release of the electronic pop landmark Causers of This in 2009, subsequent records as Toro y Moi have repeatedly shifted the idea of what his sound can be. But there’s little in Bear’s catalog that will prepare you for the deep-groove excursions on Mahal, his most eclectic record to date.
The second the album begins we’re immediately transported into the passenger seat, jeep sounds and all, ready for the ride Chaz and company have concocted for us. Seeds of some of Mahal’s 13 songs date back to the more explicitly rock-oriented What For? from 2015. Mahal was mostly completed last year in Bear’s Oakland studio with the involvement of a host of collaborators, Sofie Royer and Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Ruban Neilson to Neon Indian’s Alan Palomo and the Mattson 2.
“I wanted to make a record that featured more musicians on it than any other record of mine,” he explains. “To have them live on that record feels grounded, bringing a communal perspective to the table.” As a result, Mahal is lush and surprising at every turn, from the cool-handed “The Loop,” which recalls Sly and the Family Stones, to the elastic psych rock of “Foreplay” and the dizzying Mulatu Astatke- recalling of “Last Year.”
Lyrically, the album zooms in on generational concerns, picking up where the Outer Peace standout “Freelance” effectively left off. Bear seems to be surveying the ways in which we connect with technology, media, each other, and what disappears as a result. Cuts like the squishy “Postman” and the “Magazine” take a deep dive into our relationship with media in a changing digital world. “It’s interesting to see how we adapt to this new age. We’re so connected, but we’re still missing out on things,” Bear ruminates while discussing the album’s themes.
It’s not all introspection. Bear cools things down near the album’s end with the Mattson 2-featuring “Millennium,” a laid-back jam with tricky guitar licks about ringing in new times even when everything else seems upside down. “It’s about enjoying the new year, even when it’s been shitty,” Bear explains. “There’s nothing else to do.” Finding a sense of joy in the face of adversity is embedded in Mahal’s DNA, right down to the jeepney that literally and figuratively brings the music out into the community. “We know that touring is messed up for now, and large gatherings are a fluke,” he explains. “It’s about the notion of us going out to the people and bringing the record to them.” And with the wide-open atmosphere of Mahal, Toro y Moi stands to connect with more listeners than ever before."
Vinyl: $26.98 Buy
Love & Algorhythms is an interstellar synthesis of astral Soul, R&B, and sci-fi Funk. Working with producer Paul Butler (The Bees, Micheal Kiwanuka, Caroline Rose, Hurray for the Riff Raff), Seratones have taken the invitation to knock at the door of the cosmos. A.J. Haynes’s voice dances with soul-stirring devotion at the altar of Black Feminisms: weaving the words Toni Cade Bambara, Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis multiverse, echoes of bell hooks, and Audre Lorde’s Power of the Erotic. With drummer Jesse Gabriel’s machine-like precision and the transcendental touches from guitarist Travis Stewart, the album oscillates between Alice Coltrane-inspired bliss & Giorgio Moroder’s ecstatic release. Each song hovers and pulsates in the wide, dark matter—constellations guiding a journey through the subtle body, the vast fullness of the human experience and the irresistible potential of liberation.
Grammy Award-winning duo Bob Moses release their highly anticipated third album, The Silence in Between. The Silence in Between marks the Los Angeles-based band’s first release since signing to Astralwerks in a unique global partnership with Domino Recording Co. Love Brand New is one of the most anthemic moments on The Silence in Between, “Love Brand New” finds Vancouver-bred musicians / producers Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance tapping into their deep-rooted love for ’90s alt-rock and left-of-center dance music. Written with Michel Zitron and John Martin (a Swedish production duo known for their work with the likes of Avicii and Swedish House Mafia), the track encompasses a glorious collision of moody guitar tones, mercurial textures, and wildly propulsive beats as Bob Moses channel the dizzying euphoria of new romance.
As their boldest and most viscerally charged output to date, The Silence in Betweenamplifies the unbridled energy that’s made Bob Moses a repeat winner of Resident Advisor’s Best Live Act prize.
Willie is back with his 72ND solo studio album. A full-fledged album of new studio material produced with long-time collaborator Buddy Cannon, it will come on Willie’s 89th birthday and shows off just how prolific he continues to be as the album includes some of his finest songwriting and performances in years! The 14 tracks include 5 amazing new Willie Nelson/Buddy Cannon compositions, new songs from Chris Stapleton & Rodney Crowell (the first single “I’ll Love You Till The End Of Time”) and a cadre of top Nashville songwriters, plus a couple of plum covers by Leonard Cohen (“Tower Of Song”) and The Beatles (“With A Little Help From My Friends”) given expert interpretation by Willie.
Scheduled for release in April 2022, the 10-song sophomore full-length album showcases Kirke’s unselfconscious, country-twinged vocals alongside a brightly colored candy shop of glam-twang guitar riffs, department store tv commercial synth stylings, and swooping, lilting, unabashedly feminine background vocals. Lady For Sale channels a high-spirited insouciance that feels invigorating and familiar, decidedly more easy-going and fun-loving than what we’ve come to expect from its genre (and the world in general) in recent years. This is a party you’ll want to attend.
CD: $39.98 Buy
Norah Jones’ seminal debut album, Come Away With Me, became a global phenomenon reaching #1 in 20 countries, selling nearly 30 million copies, and sweeping the 2003 GRAMMY Awards with 8 wins including Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist. The remastered 20th Anniversary Edition captures the emergence of a singular talent on this now-classic album.
Trombone Shorty returns with Lifted, his first album in 5 years and the follow-up to his Blue Note debut Parking Lot Symphony, featuring special guests including vocalist Lauren Daigle & guitarist Gary Clark Jr. An album that captures the energy of his legendary live shows, Lifted combines classic New Orleans sounds (funk, gospel, street rhythms, Mardi Gras Indian chants & second lines) with modern lyrics, melody & beats to create something fresh & unique. Part Jimi Hendrix, part James Brown and all New Orleans, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews is the bandleader and frontman of Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, a hard-edged funk band that employs brass-band beats, rock dynamics & improvisation in a jazz tradition.
Weezer are proud to present one of their most exciting projects to date: SZNZ, a four EP song cycle of sorts. Already mythical across the internet, SZNZ will, fittingly, be released at the start of every season via Crush Music/Atlantic Records. Each EP will offer it's own palette of colors, creatures, and emotions to explore. They're also being created in real time, made in tandem with the season themselves; the band only just finished SZNZ: Spring, and have yet to begin work on SZNZ: Summer, SZNZ: Autumn, and SZNZ: Winter. Once they've all been released, however, the EPs will create an incredible collection of some of Weezer's best songs yet, which is no small feat for a band that never leaves the Zeitgeist.
True North, the fourth album from Caroline Spence, showcases Spence’s refusal to exalt or commodify her own experience, and instead reaches for a far more magnanimous exploration of grief, growth, and the endless complexities of human nature. The result is a body of work that affirms Spence as a truly incomparable songwriter, reinforcing her profound capacity to pack so much insight into songs that illuminate and mesmerize.
Having relocated to his native home of Norway in 2020, indie-pop auteur Sondre Lerche returns with his boldest, most expansive work yet: Avatars of Love. Written and recorded within the span of a year, the album, as Lerche tells it, "burst into being during a very intense and hyperactive year of my life." Produced by Lerche and his team of longtime collaborators Matias Tellez (girlinred) and Kato Adland, it features guests AURORA, CHAI, Mary Lattimore, and Felicia Douglass of Dirty Projectors.
Originally released in 2019, I Was Told to Be Quiet is the sixth full-length album by Marcelo Frota, a prolific Brazilian singer-songwriter who performs under the name "MOMO."
MOMO. moved into the home of Los Angeles producer Tom Biller (Karen O, Sean Lennon, Liars) for a month in 2018 to collaborate on I Was Told to Be Quiet. Biller brought a new element of creativity and contemporary production to MOMO.'s work, merging electronic samples and dreamy synthesizers with MOMO.'s predilection for timeless singer/songwriters (e.g. Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, Sibylle Baier) as well as bossa nova and psych-folk. The album finds MOMO. singing in English, Portuguese, and French, and features collaborations with Alex Toth (of Rubblebucket), Thiago Camelo, and Wado.
This is the first time MOMO.'s music has ever been released on vinyl, but MOMO. is partnering with Chattanooga-based label Yellow Racket Records to release his entire catalog over the next few years. Each of MOMO.'s previous albums will be released on limited edition colored vinyl.
Following 2019’s critically-acclaimed sophomore album, I Spent the Winter Writing Songs About Getting Better, Proper. is making their return with The Great American Novel.
“The Great American Novel is a concept album about how Black genius, specifically my own, goes ignored, is relentlessly contested, or just gets completely snuffed out before it can flourish,” says vocalist Erik Garlington (he/him). “This record is a concept album that’s meant to read like a book; every song is a chapter following the protagonist through their 20s. Imagine a queer, Black Holden Caufield-type coming up in the 2010s.”
The result is an album that is both lyrically and musically heavy, the former something fans have come to expect from Garlington’s unflinchingly honest lyrical content, but the latter something that’s refreshingly new. Channeling the heavier music he listened to during his adolescence—from post-hardcore outfit At the Drive-In to progressive metal band System of a Down—Garlington and the rest of Proper.—bassist Natasha Johnson (she/her) and drummer Elijah Watson (he/they)—push themselves in ways they haven’t before, culminating in an ambitious project that showcases the new sonic territory the band is heading in.
Produced and recorded by Bartees Strange and mixed and mastered by Brian DiMeglio, The Great American Novel clocks in at fifteen tracks including “Huerta,” which explores Garlington’s Mexican heritage, and “Red, White and Blue,” a commentary on the imbalance between the United States’ everyday citizens and elite class. The songs reflect the overall tone of The Great American Novel:abrasive, powerful, and beautifully poignant.
“At the end of the day, what I wanted to do with this record is take Proper. in a direction that would surprise people on first listen, but end up making complete sense on the second or third listen. I think a lot of bands tend to go more pop but I wanted to make something both challenging and undeniably catchy,” Garlington said. “It all goes back to Black genius and how it’s ingested by the predominantly cishet, white male crowd. If they’re going to be a voyeur to the Black experience, I wanted to strip away all the cheeky song titles, lyrical inside jokes, and optimistic singalongs. I want them to hear this record and learn about our identity crises, our aimlessness, how many friends and family we know that are dead or in jail by 25. How, at eight we were told we were gifted but by 11 we were told we’re dangerous.”
Hailing from Bozeman, MT, Kitchen Dwellers embody the spirit and soul of their home with a sonic palette as expansive as Montana’s vistas. The quartet—Shawn Swain [Mandolin], Torrin Daniels [banjo], Joe Funk [upright bass], and Max Davies [acoustic guitar]—twist bluegrass, folk, and rock through a kaleidoscope of homegrown stories, rich mythology, American west wanderlust, and psychedelic hues.
After amassing 5 million-plus streams, selling out shows, and receiving acclaim from Huffington Post, Relix, American Songwriter, and more, the group brings audiences back to Big Sky Country on their third full-length album, Wise River, working with Cory Wong of Vulfpeck as producer.
In the end, Kitchen Dwellers share timeless American stories from the heart of one of its greatest treasures.
“When you listen to Wise River, I hope you hear some of the original qualities that made us who we are, but you also recognize aspects that are new and adventurous,” Max leaves off. “I hope you hear what it sounds like when the four of us are at home and have the space to create something together. This album is really how we sound as a band.”
Vinyl: $26.98 Buy
Originally released in 1988, Suicidal Tendencies' third LP, How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can't Even Smile Today, was a major turning point for Mike Muir and his Venice, CA crew. Led by Muir's sardonic sneer, How Will I Laugh.... grinds with beyond-punk prowess and biting social commentary that pushed Suicidal from Pendelton n' bandana'd clad, Pepsi-chuggin' hardcore heroes to flexible.skateboard-obsessed thrashers who would give legends like Anthrax, Slayer and Metallica a run for their monies. "Trip At The Brain'' kicks things open with the firepower ST was already known for with the likes of "Pledge Your Allegiance '' and the title track proving that Muir and crew were a force unto themselves - which continues to this day. Long out of print on vinyl in the US, HWILTWICEST is back with the unforgettable anthems, speed and street-smarts that have made Suicidal Tendencies a competition-crushing force in their own right.
Hot on the heels of her recent 2022 Academy of Country Music Awards win for Entertainer of the Year, Miranda Lambert is set to release "Palomino," her ninth solo album, on April 29, 2022.
During a recent interview with Billboard, Lambert gave an update on the progress of her much-anticipated upcoming album, which was mostly penned at her Tennessee farm.
Lambert -- who is now the most-awarded artist in ACM history -- has already released the Jesse Frasure co-written single "If I Was A Cowboy" and the just-premiered, low-key, 70s rock-tinged "Strange" (featuring Dick and Hemby as writers) from the new project. "Palomino"'s other reported influences include acts like Little Feat, Bruce Hornsby, the Range and Emmylou Harris.
The album includes a cover of Mick Jagger's 1993 solo album title single "Wandering Spirit," plus an album track entitled "Music City Queen," which features backing vocals from pop icons the B-52s.
Her first single off the project, "If I Was A Cowboy," is just a "sneak peek" for what's on the horizon for Lambert. "I've got some stuff coming out that is from a really creative time," she said.
MIRANDA LAMBERT / PALOMINO
Area 52 was produced by the legendary Peter Asher and contains nine of Rod and Gab's favorite songs from their own catalogue re-arranged and re-configured for a 13-piece Cuban orchestra comprised of some of Havana's finest young players, collectively known as C.U.B.A. On vinyl for the first time in the US and pressed on red & blue splatter vinyl.
After releasing Mazes, one of Sacred Bones’ best selling albums of 2011, and the accompanying limited edition LP of remixes, Mazes Remixed, Moon Duo are set to release Circles with Sacred Bones this fall. The band will also set off on a worldwide tour in support of the album, after living and playing in Europe for most of this year.
Moon Duo’s new material was birthed from a long period of winter isolation in the Rocky Mountains. The album was primarily recorded at home in Blue River, Colorado in February 2012, with additional recording taking place at Lucky Cat Recordings in San Francisco in April. Like it’s predecessor, the album was mixed at Kaiku Studios in Berlin. Inspiration for many of the songs’ themes, as well as the album title, came from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 1841 essay “Circles” on the symbol and nature of “the flying Perfect.” From the opening lines: “The eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated without end.” And so it goes. Rust never sleeps.
On their debut for Western Vinyl, recording engineer and multi-instrumentalist Nate Mendelsohn and his band use lyrical maximalism for the powers of good. Where Market’s previous home recorded releases shifted genre restlessly, on The Consistent Brutal Bullshit Gong Mendelsohn took a core band of longtime collaborators to a house in rural Massachusetts where they carved out space for his words to speak through with humor and intensity.
Though he comes from a background in experimental music, Mendelsohn’s ear for pop has prevailed. Certain moments on Bullshit Gong reveal his stranger side, as on the thundering bridge of “Scar,” which sounds like a more unhinged Parquet Courts, or the angular “I Would Do That,” which takes cues from Cate Le Bon. On the whole, though, this band of close friends insists on directness, their arrangements clear despite the intricacies. Guitars and synthesizers tangle fluidly atop the rhythm section’s tight bedrock, evoking the tenderness and backbeat-centric qualities of Elliott Smith or Big Thief.
After college, where he met most of the members of Market, Mendelsohn became an engineer and producer at the Brooklyn studio Figure 8 Recording. Through that community he’s recorded artists like Frankie Cosmos and Wendy Eisenberg, and played with Yaeji, Vagabon, Katie Von Schleicher (who co-produced Bullshit Gong with him), and Sam Evian, who mixed the album.
Creating intimacy out of manic self-reflection requires a delicate balancing act, one Mendelsohn tackles with abandon. His words never skew too poetic or grandiose, and when he invokes the ugly it’s met with a sonic tonality that sets him right again. In tender moments, his voice is often flanked by bandmates Natasha Thweatt or Von Schleicher, who help skew his words toward the universal. Still, Bullshit Gong is an obsessive look inward, one in which Mendelsohn simply asks himself if he is good to those he loves. It’s an act of trust between the artist and the imagined listener he takes with him.