Each song on Bayonne's Drastic Measures is orchestral in texture, unfolding in countless layers and kaleidoscopic tones. With great intensity of detail, the Austin-based artist otherwise known as Roger Sellers deepens that sonic complexity by weaving in elegantly warped samples of the field recordings he's gathered for over a decade. But in its powerful melodies and pristine arrangements, Drastic Measures ultimately bears a pure pop lucidity even in its most grandiose moments. Throughout the album, Sellers matches his bursts of experimentation with the graceful piano playing he's honed since he was a little kid. By his early 20s he'd discovered minimalist composers like Steve Reich and Terry Reilly, which led him to infuse an atmospheric, ethereal quality into much of his work. With the release of Primitives in spring 2016, Sellers adopted the moniker of Bayonne as a way to distinguish his more electronically crafted output from his other musical projects. I'd been playing a lot of shows with a very folk-based set, so using a different name was a way to separate those two personalities, he explains. In bringing Drastic Measures to life, Sellers merged his increasingly classic-pop-inspired sensibilities with a production approach closely focused on looping, layering, and overdubbing. Even if you hear something simple like clapping or finger snaps, it's probably layered 10 or 20 times, he says. I just like to stack and layer everything to get these big sounds, and create a really wide sonic space within the songs.
Jessica Pratt is not a loud performer. She does not have to be. In a club of a few hundred, even the bar staff are known to go quiet while she's on stage. Her third album, Quiet Signs, feels like a distillation of this power. The album leads off with "Opening Night," a nod to Gena Rowlands' harrowing, brilliant performance in the John Cassavetes film of the same name. It’s also an emblem of where this spare, mysterious collection of songs falls in the course of Pratt’s career.
"On some level I considered an audience while making the last record (2015's On Your Own Love Again)," she writes, "But my creative world was still very private then and I analyzed the process less. This was the first time I approached writing with the idea of a cohesive record in mind."
After a collection of demos and early studio recordings (Jessica Pratt, Birth Records, 2012) earned her a small, dedicated audience, Pratt moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles and recorded her first intentional album in her bedroom in a matter of months. That album, On Your Own Love Again (Drag City, 2015), would bring her around the world many times, leading many to fall under the spell of Jessica Pratt the performer, the songwriter, the singer with the heavy-lidded voice that feels alien and familiar at the same time.
Her first album fully recorded in a professional studio setting, Quiet Signs finds Pratt's songwriting and accompanying guitar work refined -- more distinct and direct. Songs like "Fare Thee Well" and "Poly Blue" retain glimmers of OYOLA's hazy day afternoon spells, yet delicate flute, strings sustained by organ arrangements, and rehearsal room piano now gesture towards the lush chamber pop and longing of The Left Banke. On the album’s first single, "This Time Around," Pratt hits on a profound, late-night clarity over just a couple of deep chords, evoking Caetano Veloso's casual seaside brilliance. And before the curtain drops on Quiet Signs, Pratt provides a show-stopping closer, "Aeroplane."
In the world of Quiet Signs, the black of night usually represents fear, despair, resignation; finally at home descending towards the illuminated city, she sings over black leather drone and tambourine shuffle with a newfound resolve. Quiet Signs is the journey of an artist emerging from the darkened wings, growing comfortable as a solitary figure on a sprawling stage.
The album was written in Los Angeles and recorded at Gary's Electric in Brooklyn, NY over 2017 and 2018. It was co-produced by Al Carlson. He plays flute, organ and piano on some songs. Matt McDermott also played piano and string synthesizer. It will be released on Mexican Summer on February 8, 2019.
2LP w/ DL, bonus EP with 4 traditional covers, blue vinyl, insert
Anchored by poignant songwriting and their intimate live shows, Mandolin Orange (Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz) has quietly and confidently found their audience. On February 1, they will release a new album, Tides of a Teardrop, through Yep Roc Records. Thematically this album is a release for Andrew Marlin, the group's songwriter. He lost his mother at a younger age, and although that has impacted his writing in the past, this collection of songs is thematically about letting go and finding peace. Marlin and Frantz were joined by their touring band and for the first time, took more than a few quick days between tour, to record the album. That level of comfort shines through in the band's most accomplished set of songs to date.
Almost Free, the new release from FIDLAR touches on many of the tragedies and irritations of modern life: existential dread, gentrification, the inescapable sway of the super-rich and the self-involved, post-breakup telecommunication, performative wokeness, the loneliness of sobriety or the lack thereof. But through sheer force of imagination and an unchecked joie de vivre, the L.A.-based band manages to turn feeling wrong into something glorious and essential. In the age of joyless self-care, Almost Free makes a brilliant case for being less careful, for living without fear of fucking up, and possibly embracing any incurred damage as a lucky symptom of being alive. The album sees the band pushing boundaries into new territory and influences while staying true to their unshakable core. "A lot of the vibe was, 'Well, why can't we do that? Why can't we have horns? Why can't we have key changes? Why can't we have a harmonica loop?', said lead singer/guitarist Zac Carper. It was abouttaking the ceiling off. Having it be limitless. Ain't no rules." Elvis added "Almost Free feels like a step forward for us in a lot of ways. We tried to be true to ourselves and let the music come out naturally, without fear of how people would receive it.
After rising to fame two years ago in 2016 with her explosive debut 1 Million selling single 'No Roots' (Mom + Pop), written about her constant moving homes as a child becoming such as huge debut, its safe to say its been a whirl wind for Alice Merton with 124 Million YouTube hits to date. She also gained 6+ Million streams, toured the US supporting the brilliant Vance Joy, championed by Billboard Magazine, Rolling Stone Magazine with Performances on Jimmy Fallon's The Tonights Show and James Corden's Late Late Show, Live With Kelly and Ryan, and even a recent 2018 Teen Choice Awards Nomination in 'Best Rock' category. Merton's debut album, Mint, will be released on January 18th and featured "No Roots", "Lash Out" and her newest single "Why So Serious".
One of Los Angeles punk rock’s most widely admired yet little-heard bands makes a striking return to records on Jan. 18, as Yep Roc Records issues an all-new collection by The Flesh Eaters, I Used to Be Pretty. On the release, founding vocalist and songwriter Chris Desjardins — better known as Chris D. — is backed by the legendary “all-star” edition of the band, originally heard on the 1981 set A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die: Dave Alvin (guitar) and Bill Bateman (drums) of the Blasters; John Doe (bass) and D.J. Bonebrake (marimba and percussion) of X; and Steve Berlin (saxophones) of the Plugz (and later the Blasters and Los Lobos). The album was produced collectively by the band members.
Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee John Mellencamp to release his 24th studio album Other People’s Stuff via Republic Records. Mellencamp will embark on a 26-date North American tour next year in support of his upcoming album, which will kick off 2/7/19 in his home state of Indiana. Other People’s Stuff contains covers of singer-songwriter classics. The album follows his 2017 album Sad Clowns & Hillbillies.
DANIEL ROMANO FINALLY FREE Finally Free marks Daniel Romanos eighth long playing album in the last eight years. He has had what understatedly would be considered a prolific output of incredibly entrancing, poignant and creative records in this span of time. Recording, producing, designing and landing his records into the minds and hearts of scores of fans the world over. He has been called a shapeshifter, contrived, a chameleon, a Charlatan, the best living songwriter, an asshole and a genius. His last record, Modern pressure received outstandingly high acclaim and praise from every notable publication out there and was acknowledged by most reputable for-profit-prize-corporations as well as a plethora of voguish music-as-competitive-sport year end lists. Despite being the bronze placeholder in most of these dogfights, he is most often noted as a person of astounding influence on all of his musically economic successors. No matter what he does, everything he puts out is better than anything else being put out by anyone else. Unnamed Subjugate.
First ever complete retrospective of Chris Cornell’s career covering Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, Audioslave and his solo works. This 2 LP set includes:
- 2 x 180gram audiophile black LPs
- 17 tracks highlighting Chris’ astonishing career with 2 unreleased recordings
- Gatefold jacket with limited edition custom die-cut slipcase that showcases Seattle via the tree-line graphics on front and various cities Chris lived in through his life on back. Limited to initial manufacturing run.
- 12-page booklet with unreleased photos
- Liner notes by Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, Tom Morello, Mike McCready and Brendan O’Brien
* Denotes previously unreleased material
The 2-LP Chris Cornell edition showcases 17 songs with 2 previously unreleased of songs from all stages of Chris’ career including Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, Audioslave and his solo works. The centerpiece to the collection is the newly discovered, unreleased track “When Bad Does Good” found in Chris’ personal audio archive which was performed, recorded and mixed by Chris himself. Creative Director for the project is Jeff Ament (Pearl Jam, Temple of the Dog) who oversaw the project design including the 12-page booklet with unreleased photos. Liner note contributions by Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, Tom Morello, Mike McCready and Brendan O’Brien. A limited edition, custom die-cut o-card features Seattle’s tree-line graphics on the front and other various cities Chris lived in throughout his life on the back. Additional highlights of tracks include the unreleased performance from SiriusXM of the Prince classic “Nothing Compares 2 U,” Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun,” Audioslave’s “Like A Stone” and the theme song to the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale “You Know My Name.”
Housed in a slipcase with two gatefold jackets, this 3, 180-g LP features the 2015 album remaster along with previously unreleased and newly restored bonus content consisting of the band’s 1979 Pinkpop festival performance. Also includes a 24-page booklet with unreleased photos and new artwork by Hugh Syme, a 5,700 word essay by Rob Bowman, and a digital download card sticker of new 40th anniversary art by Hughe Syme.
Brian Newman, trumpeter, crooner and long-time bandleader for superstar Lady Gaga, has signed to Verve Records and will be releasing his debut solo album this fall. A true talent on trumpet, this release incorporates creative takes on rock classics as well as jazz standards. Brian has toured with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga and has collaborated with Jose Feliciano and Dierks Bentley. He's performed on Boardwalk Empire, NBC's Christmas in Rockefeller Center, MTV's Video Music Awards, The Tonight Show, Watch What Happens Live, Marc Jacobs fashion shows and in a national H&M commercial.
Near the end of Reagan's first term, the Western Massachusetts Hardcore scene coughed up an insanely shaped chunk called Dinosaur. Comprised of WMHC vets, the trio was a miasmic tornado of guitar noise, bad attitude and near-subliminal pop-based-shape-shifting. Through their existence, Dinosaur (amended to Dinosaur Jr. for legal reasons) defined a very specific, very aggressive set of oblique song-based responses to what was going on. Their one constant was the scalp-fryingly loud guitar and deeply buried vocals of J Mascis. A couple of years before they ended their reign, J cut a solo album called Martin + Me. Recorded live and acoustic, the record allowed the bones of J's songs to be totally visible for the first time. Fans were surprised to hear how melodically elegant these compositions were, even if J still seemed interested in swallowing some of the words that most folks would have sung. Since then, through the reformation of the original Dinosaur Jr lineup in 2005, J has recorded solo albums now and then. And those album, Sings + Chant for AMMA (2005), Several Shades of Why (2011) and Tied to a Star (2014) had all delivered incredible sets of songs presented with a minimum of bombast and a surfeit of cool. Like its predecessors, Elastic Days was recorded at J's own Bisquiteen studio. Mascis does almost all his own stunts, although Ken Miauri (who also appeared on Tied to a Star) plays keyboards and there are a few guest vocal spots. These include old mates Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession), and Mark Mulcahy (Miracle Legion, etc.), as well as the newly added voice of Zoë Randell (Luluc) among others. But the show is mostly J's and J's alone. He laughs when I tell him I'm surprised by how melodic his vocals seem to have gotten. Asked if that was intentional, he says, “No. I took some singing lessons and do vocal warm-ups now, but that was mostly just to keep from blowing out my vocal cords when Dino started touring again. The biggest difference with this record might have to do with the drums. I'd just got a new drum set I was really excited about. I don't have too many drum outlets at the moment, so I played a lot more drums than I'd originally planned. I just kept playing. [laughs] I'd play the acoustic guitar parts then head right to the drums.” There is plenty of drumming on the dozen songs on Elastic Days. But for those expecting the hallucinatory overload of Dinosaur Jr's live attack, the gentleness of the approach here will draw easy comparisons to Neil Young's binary approach to working solo versus working with Crazy Horse. This is a lazy man's shorthand, but it still rings true. Elastic Days brims with great moments. Epic hooks that snare you in surprisingly subtle ways, guitar textures that slide against each other like old lovers, and structures that range from a neo-power-ballad (“Web So Dense”) to jazzily-canted West Coasty post-psych (“Give It Off”) to a track that subliminally recalls the keyboard approach of Scott Thurston-era Stooges (“Drop Me”). The album plays out with a combination of holism and variety that is certain to set many brains ablaze. J says he'll be taking this album on the road later in the year. He'll be playing by himself, but unlike other solo tours he says he'll be standing up this time. “I used to just sit down and build a little fort around myself -- amps, music stands, drinks stands, all that stuff. But I just realized it sounds better if the amps are higher up because I'm so used to playing with stacks. So I'll stand this time.” I ask if it's not pretty weird to stand alone on a big stage. “Yeah,” he says. “But it's weird sitting down too.” Ha. Good point. One needs to be elastic. In all things. --Byron Coley
Set for release on November 9, the bands fourth LP 'Take Good Care' is previewed with the first single 'All My Friends,' a song brimming with confidence that unleashes the bands next chapter. The track which is already Top 3 at AAA and Top 10 at Modern Rock. 'All my Friends' will cross over to Hot AC in early October followed by Top 40. This is just the start! 'You Said it All', 'Oh No' and 'Some People Say' are just a few of the potential chart-toppers in this collection, which was co-produced with Dave Cobb (Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton) and Andrew Dawson (Kanye, Fun) it's a project showcasing new found depth and craft that mark a band bent on proving they are far more than a band synonymous with a single song.
New Vinyl: $99.98 Buy
In November 1968, millions of double LPs were shipped to record stores worldwide ahead of that tumultuous year’s most anticipated music event: the November 22nd release of The BEATLES (soon to be better known as ‘The White Album’). With their ninth studio album, The Beatles took the world on a whole new trip, side one blasting off with the exhilarating rush of a screaming jet escorting Paul McCartney’s punchy, exuberant vocals on “Back In The U.S.S.R.” “Dear Prudence” came next, John Lennon warmly beckoning his friend and all of us to “look around.” George Harrison imparted timeless wisdom in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” singing, “With every mistake we must surely be learning.” Ringo Starr’s “Don’t Pass Me By” marked his first solo songwriting credit on a Beatles album. For 50 years, ‘The White Album’ has invited its listeners to venture forth and explore the breadth and ambition of its music, delighting and inspiring each new generation in turn.
On November 9, The Beatles will release a suite of lavishly presented ‘White Album’ packages (Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe). The album’s 30 tracks are newly mixed by producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell in stereo and 5.1 surround audio, joined by 27 early acoustic demos and 50 session takes, most of which are previously unreleased in any form.
“We had left Sgt. Pepper’s band to play in his sunny Elysian Fields and were now striding out in new directions without a map,” says Paul McCartney in his written introduction for the new ‘White Album’ releases.
This is the first time The BEATLES (‘White Album’) has been remixed and presented with additional demos and session recordings. The album’s sweeping new edition follows 2017’s universally acclaimed Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition releases. To create the new stereo and 5.1 surround audio mixes for ‘The White Album,’ Martin and Okell worked with an expert team of engineers and audio restoration specialists at Abbey Road Studios in London. All the new ‘White Album’ releases include Martin’s new stereo album mix, sourced directly from the original four-track and eight-track session tapes. Martin’s new mix is guided by the album’s original stereo mix produced by his father, George Martin.
“In remixing ‘The White Album,’ we’ve tried to bring you as close as possible to The Beatles in the studio,” explains Giles Martin in his written introduction for the new edition. “We’ve peeled back the layers of the ‘Glass Onion’ with the hope of immersing old and new listeners into one of the most diverse and inspiring albums ever made.”
Charles Bradley's forthcoming LP, Black Velvet is an extraordinary collection of 10 tracks making their LP debut. In addition to fan favorites like Charles covers of Nirvanas 'Stay Away', Neil Young's 'Heart Of Gold', and Rodriguez's 'Slip Away' - this album features 4 never-before-heard tracks from Producer Tommy 'TNT' Brenneck's vaults.
ARCHITECTS UK are a band who’ve never shied away from challenging the world around them. After suffering the loss of co-founder /guitarist Tom Searle to cancer in 2016, the band returned to the road and the studio in 2017 releasing the hit track “Doomsday”, which climbed the Active Rock Radio charts and went on to be one the bands most successful songs. Long lauded as some of modern metal’s most progressive-thinking minds, for the past decade, the quintet have pushed boundaries, redefined genres, and never feared having to question themselves in order for their art to leave its mark on this Earth. ARCHITECTS UK, are a band like few others; The quintet all practice a vegan lifestyle, tour with a consciousness about their footprint on the world, and devote time and energies to environmental causes. Their 8th studio album, Holy Hell is the return to the studio for a band that have come through the grieving process with more drive and determination than ever before. Drummer Dan Searle- Desbiens takes on the helm as lyricist and writes music with his bandmates vocalist Sam Carter, guitarist Adam Christianson, bassist Alex Dean and new guitarist Josh Middleton. For the follow-up to their 2016 album All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us , ARCHITECTS UK recorded at Middle Farm Studios in Devon, UK with bandmates Dan Searle Desbiens and Josh Middleton behind the board as producers.
Sarah Brightman returns with her new studio album, HYMN, reuniting with long time producer and collaborator Frank Peterson, with whom she created chart topping albums such as Timeless (Time To Say Goodbye), Eden, La Luna, Harem, Symphony, and A Winter Symphony. HYMN is an inspirational collection of orchestrated, choir-based songs. Brightman, kept thinking about the word, HYMN, and to her it suggested joy a feeling of hope and light, something that is familiar and secure. For Brightman, every project comes from an emotional place, and HYMN is no exception. HYMN was recorded over the past two years in Hamburg, Miami, London, Vancouver, Los Angeles, New York, and Budapest, and encompasses songs by such modern composers as Eric Whitacre (Fly To Paradise), Japanese superstar musician and songwriter Yoshiki (Miracle), and German DJ Paul Kalkbrenner (Sky and Sand). HYMN's mystical, uplifting tone is set with its title track a song by British prog-rock band Barclay James Harvest. From there, the album becomes excitingly eclectic, encompassing many styles. Sogni, described as a mash-up of two arias from two different operas by French composer Georges Bizet, is flawlessly sung by Brightman and French tenor Vincent Niclo. Also included are Canto Per Noi, written by famed Italian composer Ennio Morricone and Romano Musumarra, and Follow Me, the love theme from the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty. Finally, the album closes with a new rendition of Brightman s signature smash duet with Andrea Bocelli, Time To Say Goodbye, in a new solo rendition with lyrics Sarah wrote herself, and sung in English for the first time.
Since the early 90s Sweden’s Opeth have stretched the boundaries of heavy music. From the progressive death metal the band began with on classics like “Orchid” and “My Arms, Your Hearse” to the records like “Blackwater Park” and the band’s recent record, 2016’s “Sorceress”, Opeth has continually invited their growing audience along with them as they grew into the musically respected band they are today. Filmed and recorded in 2017 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside of Denver, “Garden of the Titans (Opeth Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre)” is a 2-CD/BLU-RAY + DVD release (along with several vinyl color formats) consisting of tracks spanning the band’s nearly 30 year career.
My childhood memories of Christmas aren't warm and fuzzy. The holidays were more of a nuisance for my parents than cause for celebration. This is not to say that on behalf of their only child they didn't give the season a halfhearted try. There were Christmases when I found under the tree an electric football set, a Daisy pump air-rifle and a basketball goal that never got nailed up. But, there were also mornings when apples, oranges, hickory nuts and a hammer signified that year's bounty. Which is to say that Christmas in our household was mostly a wait-and-see proposition. I was finally ready to record an album of original Christmas songs. With Dan Knobler producing and some very gifted musicians and vocalists lending their talents, the making of the album Christmas Everywhere ranks as some of the most enjoyable recording sessions I've ever experienced. The record was close to being finished when it occurred to me that to set the tone for the albums mostly irreverent subtext, I needed to compose a lyrical prelude. In honor of Clement Moore, who wrote the poem we all know as, 'The Night Before Christmas,' I came up with a short piece called 'Clement's Lament (We'll See You in The Mall)'. Tania Hancheroff and Kim Keyes stopped by the studio and performed the tune with Jordan Lehning's orchestral backing and the album was pronounced complete. Seasons Cheer, Rodney Crowell
Grammy-nominated vocalist Jessie J to release new holiday This Christmas Day via Lava Records / Republic Records on 10/26. The album will include her previously released holiday track “Man With The Bag” in addition to holiday classics “Let It Snow,” “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” and “Jingle Bell Rock”. The album features production by David Foster. Jessie J will embark on her first US headlining tour this October.
Oh Pep! have returned with their second full-length that takes their alt-folk to a whole new level of delicious pop. Chock full of memorable hooks, sing-along moments I Wasn't Only Thinking About You…, proves itself as a career-defining feat. The band gets its Oh from Olivia 'Liv' Hally (vocals, guitar) and its Pep! from Pepita Emmerichs (violin, mandolin), who met at secondary school in Victoria. Their harmonies are sweet, with lyrics that are thoughtful, deep, funny and poetic.