Music Releases 04-05-19

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The Drums

The Drums

Brutalism [LP]

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Brutalism is quite possibly the best collection of songs in The Drums’ ten-year career. The album is defined by growth, transformation and questions, but it doesn’t provide all the answers. Brutalism is a form of simplistic architecture defined by blocks of raw concrete. Brutalism is rooted in an emotional rawness but its layers are soft, intricate and warm, full of frivolous and exquisitely crafted pop songs that blast sunlight and high energy in the face of anxiety, solitude and crippling self-doubt. Even the fact that Brutalism sounds intentional, focused and efficient is a symbol of how Pierce’s prioritizing of his own health and wellbeing has bled into how he makes music. For the making of this album, between his lake house in Upstate New York and a studio in Stinson Beach, California, Pierce was more open than ever, keeping his control freakery at bay, working with others to produce and record the album. He brought in Chris Coady (Beach House, Future Islands, Amen Dunes) to mix it. If there was a guitar part he wanted to write but couldn’t play, he brought in a guitarist. It’s also the first Drums record with a live drummer. Delegating freed up Pierce’s time to produce a more specific vision. His intentions were rooted in pop, as they’ve always been. Back in The Drums’ previous iterations, however, the pressure was on Pierce to maintain the innocent and nostalgic sound of this surf-pop indie band and it didn’t allow him to explore sex, drug use, darker emotions or how he felt currently. Abysmal Thoughts was the first occasion he had chance to do that. Lyrically Brutalism is another giant step in that direction. It’s much more cut-throat. “I think there’s a parental advisory sticker on the cover!” laughs Pierce. “I didn’t have the courage to stand up for what I wanted before. I felt I had to keep things whimsical and that’s not who I am. It feels empty.” Sonically he had been devoid of external influences, so afraid of being accused of losing the purism of The Drums’ sound. Now he’s rediscovering music: everything from SOPHIE to 90s band Whale. They inspired the loop-based, breakbeat drums on ‘Kiss It Away’ and ‘Body Chemistry’. “I used to think our songs sounded like they were held together by scotch tape. These are more bulletproof.”

The Drums
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Weyes Blood

The phantom zone, the parallax, the upside down—there is a rich cultural history of exploring in-between places. Through her latest, Titanic Rising, Weyes Blood, a.k.a. Natalie Mering, has designed her own universe to soulfully navigate life’s mysteries. Maneuvering through a space-time continuum, she plays the role of melodic, sometimes melancholic, anthropologist. Tellingly, Mering classifies Titanic Rising – which was written and recorded during the first half of 2018, after three albums and years of touring - as the Kinks meet WWII or Bob Seger meets Enya. The latter captures the album’s willful expansiveness (“You can tell there’s not a guy pulling the strings in Enya’s studio,” she notes, admiringly). The former relays her imperative to connect with listeners. “The clarity of Bob Seger is unmistakable. I’m a big fan of conversational songwriting,” she adds. “I just try to do that in a way that uses abstract imagery as well.” The Weyes Blood frontwoman grew up singing in gospel and madrigal choirs. (Listen closely to Titanic Rising, and you’ll also hear the jazz of Hoagy Carmichael mingle with the artful mysticism of Alejandro Jodorowsky and the monomyth of scholar Joseph Campbell.) “Something to Believe,” a confessional that makes judicious use of the slide guitar, touches on that cosmological upbringing. “Belief is something all humans need. Shared myths are part of our psychology and survival,” she says. “Now we have a weird mishmash of capitalism and movies and science. There have been moments where I felt very existential and lost.” As a kid, she filled that void with Titanic. (Yes, the movie.) “It was engineered for little girls and had its own mythology,” she explains. Mering also noticed that the blockbuster romance actually offered a story about loss born of man’s hubris. “It’s so symbolic that The Titanic would crash into an iceberg, and now that iceberg is melting, sinking civilization.” Today, this hubris also extends to the relentless adoption of technology, at the expense of both happiness and attention spans. But Weyes Blood isn’t one to stew. Her observations play out in an ethereal saunter: far more meditative than cynical. To Mering, listening and thinking are concurrent experiences. “There are complicated influences mixed in with more relatable nostalgic melodies,” she says. “In my mind my music feels so big, a true production. I’m not a huge, popular artist, but I feel like one when I’m in the studio. But it’s never taking away from the music. I’m just making a bigger space for myself.”

Weyes Blood
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Pup

Pup

Morbid Stuff [LP]

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Morbid Stuff, the new album from Toronto punk band PUP

Pup
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Circa Waves

Circa Waves

What's It Like Over There? [LP]

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Recorded in just one month, Circa Waves renew their blossoming co-producing relationship with Alan Moulder (Foals, The Killers) for an album that's creatively unshackled and refuses to stay still. What's It Like Over There? fuses the visceral thrill of rock music with a slick pop sound, brimming with themes of modern ennui, emotional fragility and the inside-outs and upside-downs of relationships. While the anthemic ''Movies'' will appeal to the band's long-standing fanbase, the likes of ''Sorry I'm Yours'' and ''Be Somebody Good'' see Circa Waves experiment with a new progressive sound that will surprise and delight in equal measure. A union of emotional depth and intricate songcraft, What's It Like Over There? will become an album their fans can't live without. Circa Waves have embraced the mindset that they're allowed to create whatever they want and the results are stunning.

Circa Waves
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Tyler Ramsey

For the Morning, written and produced by Ramsey, connects the listener to this setting with dexterous guitar fingerpicking and radiant acoustic piano; affecting pedal steel and gorgeous languid vocals. Ramsey, along with engineer Kevin Ratterman (My Morning Jacket, Ray LaMontagne, Joan Shelley, Strand of Oaks) and Seth Kauffman of Floating Action (and touring musician for Jim James, Ray LaMontagne) recorded a clutch of Ramsey demos at La La Land studios in Louisville, KY. For The Morning is complemented by spots from several guest musicians, including Joan Shelley, Thad Cockrell, and Molly Parden who sing harmony on various tracks, the pedal steel player Russ Paul, Nathan Salsburg and Gareth Liddiard from The Drones on guitar.

Tyler Ramsey
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Sara Bareilles

Sara Bareilles

Amidst The Chaos [LP]

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Amidst The Chaos is the brand new, sixth studio album from acclaimed Grammy and tony award winning Sara Bareilles. The 12-track album features her recently released single "Armor", and the new single "Fire" out now.

Sara Bareilles
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Khalid

Khalid

Free Spirit

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Free Spirit is the second studio album by Khalid, set to be released on April 5, 2019, through RCA Records. It is the follow-up to his 2018 EP Suncity, and includes the single "Talk". Khalid also announced the release of a short film directed by Emil Nava to accompany the album.

Khalid
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Ceschi

Ceschi

Sad, Fat Luck [LP]

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Ceschis music lives in some liminal space between left-field hip hop, folk punk and indie rock. Its hard to explain, so on planes he generally tells people that he sounds something like like Ed Sheeran, and they nod. He has worked with Saskatchewan, Canadian producer Factor Chandelier for over a decade as they formed the backbone of their Fake Four Inc. record label. Their 2015 record, Broken Bone Ballads built a cult following within the indie rap and DIY punk communities. 2019s Sad, Fat Luck is part eulogy to many lost friends, part breakup album, part US-born-Latino analysis of Trumps America, and part ode to aging. Features guest vocals from Sammus & Astronautalis. Sad, Fat Luck will be released April 5th, 2019 on Fake Four Inc

Ceschi
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Professor Longhair

Professor Longhair

Live On The Queen Mary [LP]

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The Professor Longhair live album documents a performance underwritten by Paul and Linda McCartney. The album was recorded March 24, 1975 on the Queen Mary cruise ship docked in Long Beach, California, USA at a private party hosted by Paul and Linda McCartney. Highlights include the rollicking "Mess Around," and the standards "Stagger Lee," "Everyday I Have the Blues," "I'm Movin' On," and his hits "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" and "Tipitina." Henry Roeland "Roy" Byrd (December 19, 1918 – January 30, 1980), better known as Professor Longhair, was a New Orleans blues singer and pianist. He was active in two distinct periods, first in the heyday of early rhythm and blues and later on during the resurgence of interest in traditional jazz surrounding the start of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. He influenced other New Orleans musicians such as Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint and Dr. John with his rumba, mambo, and calypso piano based blues sound. Available on 180g vinyl.

Professor Longhair
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Don Felder

Legendary former lead guitarist and songwriter of the Eagles, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, and New York Times bestselling author DON FELDER, announces his highly anticipated all-new album AMERICAN ROCK ‘N’ ROLL. The album features some of the biggest names in music including Sammy Hagar, Slash, Richie Sambora, Orianthi, Peter Frampton, Joe Satriani, Mick Fleetwood, Chad Smith, Bob Weir, David Paich, Steve Porcaro, Alex Lifeson and more. The album was mixed by Bob Clearmountain and mastered by Bernie Grundman. The leadoff single and title track “American Rock ‘N’ Roll,” featuring performances by Slash, Mick Fleetwood, and Chad Smith, is available.

Don Felder
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Kendrick Scott Oracle

Kendrick Scott Oracle

A Wall Becomes A Bridge

New CD: $13.95 Buy

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Drummer and composer Kendrick Scott returns with a 12-track song cycle titled, A Wall Becomes A Bridge. Produced by Derrick Hodge, A Wall is a musical and metaphorical journey exploring many themes: innocence (“Archangel”), acceptance (“Windows”), and insecurity (“Voices”). Scott is joined by hisOracle band: pianist Taylor Eigsti, bassist Joe Sanders, guitarist Mike Moreno, and saxophonist/flutist John Ellis. Within that singular meld of talent is secret weapon and turntablist Jahi Sundance, who immerses his own artful craft into the musicianship that surrounds him.

Kendrick Scott Oracle
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Mike + The Mechanics

Mike + The Mechanics

Out Of The Blue [LP]

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Even inside Genesis, Mike Rutherford’s forte has always been his melodic songwriting. With the successful side project MIKE + THE MECHANICS, the artist managed to find a further way to express himself working with other composers and different teams. Since 1985, Mechanics became a brand in their own, releasing seven albums, selling more than 10 million records, launching many hit singles and touring worldwide with a two frontmen led band. The sudden death of one of the original singers, Paul Young, needed a period of adjustment but, after one experimental album with Paul Carrack as the only vocalist, Rutherford changed the face to the band recruiting two new singers, Andrew Roachford and Tim Howar. While the album including their most famous song, “The Living Years,” celebrates its 25th anniversary, Mike + The Mechanics are still hitting the road, to the pleasure of the fans worldwide

Mike + The Mechanics
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Todd Rundgren's Utopia

This beautiful deluxe 4 disc digipack includes a Blu-Ray, DVD and 2 CDs

Todd Rundgren's seminal prog-rock / power-pop band Utopia reunites onstage for the first time in 32 years!

Live At The Chicago Theater

After a thirty-year-plus hiatus, Todd Rundgren's Utopia graced the Chicago Theater stage, with the hopes of promising fans an extraordinary, other-worldly concert experience. The original 70's-formed band established a stellar reputation for stretching the prog rock/pop envelope and infusing their mostly original material with verve and state-of-the-art technique. Rundgren has performed a diverse range of styles as a solo artist and as a member of the band Utopia. He is known for his sophisticated and often-unorthodox music, flamboyant stage outfits, and his later experiments with interactive entertainment. He also produced innovative music videos, pioneered forms of multimedia, and was an early adopter and promoter of various computer technologies.

Todd Rundgren's Utopia
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SKOLD

SKOLD

Never Is Now [Clear 2LP]

New Vinyl: $39.98 Buy

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The brand new album from Tim Sköld, former member of Marilyn Manson, KMFDM, & Shotgun Messiah! Never Is Now is the much anticipated follow-up to 2016's The Undoing and perfect for fans of industrial metal! Available on CD in a sleek digipak as well as in a 2LP CLEAR vinyl set!

SKOLD
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Taali

Taali

I Am Here [LP]

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Born in NYC, taught worldwide, Taali is an electric musical force and community builder. Her music, described as "a beguiling mix of layered vocals, chamber pop, avant-electronica, and quiet storm," addresses identity, love and overcoming trauma. Taali is currently on a cross-country road trip with her creative partner and label co-founder Jose James. The #IAmHere trip is being filmed and photo documented across the country. At each stop, Taali will perform her songs (in such gorgeous destinations as White Sands, The Grand Canyon and countless others). Sponsored by Cadillac, W Hotels and Hard Rock Hotels.

Taali
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Shana Cleveland

Shana Cleveland has been beguiling listeners for years in her role as the superlative frontwoman for elastic surf rockers La Luz. Now Cleveland is evolving her sound on the new solo full-length Night of the Worm Moon, a serene album that flows like a warm current while simultaneously wresting open a portal to another dimension. As much a work of California sci-fi as Octavia Butler’s Parable novels, Night of the Worm Moon incorporates everything from alternate realities to divine celestial bodies. Inspired in part by one of her musical idols, the Afro-futurist visionary Sun Ra (the album’s title is a tip of the hat to his 1970 release Night of the Purple Moon), the record blends pastoral folk with cosmic concerns. Cleveland dreamt up this premise while living in Los Angeles, a city where--as deftly explored on La Luz’s recent Floating Features--reality and fantasy casually co-exist. Abetting Cleveland during the recording process was a familiar gallery of co-conspirators: multi-instrumentalist Will Sprott of Shannon & the Clams, original La Luz bassist Abbey Blackwell, Goss, pedal steel player Olie Eshelman, and Kristian Garrard, who drummed on Cleveland’s previous solo effort (with then-backing band The Sandcastles), 2011’s Oh Man, Cover the Ground. But whereas that album was internal and contemplative, Night of the Worm Moon occupies a different, vibrant kind of headspace. UFO sightings, insect carcasses, and twilight dimensions are all grist for Cleveland’s restless creativity, and they and other inspirations collide beautifully on the album’s 10 kaleidoscopic tracks--a spacebound transmission from America’s weirdo frontier.

Shana Cleveland
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People Under The Stairs

With a career spanning two decades and 11 releases, L.A. hip hop duo People Under the Stairs bid farewell with their final LP. Their unique style is on full display; lyrically dense spliced with vintage boom bap. Self produced, self recorded and NO features but with multiple instrumentalists to supplement their trademark dusty breaks. Gatefold CD in case with artwork by @drewtoonz

People Under The Stairs
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Donna Grantis

Donna Grantis

Diamonds & Dynamite

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Canadian guitarist Donna Grantis leads a five-piece group that is wholly unique in today’s music scene. Backed by an acclaimed rhythm section, Donna’s incendiary guitar playing is highlighted against the percussive rhythms of tabla master Suphala to create a sound described by the Star Tribune as, “New millennium jazz-rock fusion, sorta like Jeff Beck meets a post-modern Mahavishnu Orchestra.” Set to release her debut album, DIAMONDS & DYNAMITE, Grantis is best known for performing with Prince in his groups 3RDEYEGIRL and New Power Generation. As co-lead guitarist in Prince’s most rock heavy band (3RDEYEGIRL), Grantis was named one of fifty sensational female guitarists by Guitar Player Magazine: “Trading blazing solos with the late Purple One on a nightly basis, she proved her mettle, and earned a place in guitar history.” Grantis composed the title track to Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL’s 2014 release, PLECTRUMELECTRUM, which hit #1 on the Billboard Rock Chart. She toured with Prince throughout the UK, Europe, and North America, with notable performances including three nights headlining the Montreux Jazz Festival, headlining the Essence Festival at a sold-out Superdome in New Orleans, and a historic performance at The White House for President Barack Obama and family. Grantis has shared the stage with Pearl Jam, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Janelle Monáe, and Kendrick Lamar.

Donna Grantis
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Eluveitie

Eluveitie

Ategnatos

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Born in the rural mysticism of the Swiss alps and since a very early point deeply rooted within Celtic mythology, Gaulish history and proto-European culture,ELUVEITIE have long become Folk Metal’s trailblazers, spin doctors and rightful masters of their craft. All the more because they never limited

themselves to simple forays through rune-decorated clichés or foolish drinking songs. Theirs has been an approach of respect, historic accuracy, depth and the most thrilling, catchy, primordial mélange of Melodic Death Metal and Pagan Folk the world could have ever imagined.

Eluveitie
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Danny Elfman
From Disney and visionary director Tim Burton, the all-new grand live-action adventure “Dumbo” expands on the beloved classic story where differences are celebrated, family is cherished and dreams take flight. In theaters March 29, 2019. Original score by Danny Elfman. End-title track "Baby Mine" by Arcade Fire.
Danny Elfman
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Enterprise Earth

Luciferous is a rich and unrelentingly punishing work of mature song craft. ENTERPRISE EARTH remains rooted firmly in death metal; with flourishes of low-tuned riffage to make nü-metal devotees and industrial freaks sweat; a flirtation with blackened thrash; and their maiden voyage into classical style acoustic guitars.

Enterprise Earth