In The Groove

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With a history 50+ years in the making, Tower of Power has been a funk institution since 1968, knocking out hits like “What is Hip,” “So Very Hard to Go,” “This Time It’s Real” and “You’re Still a Young Man" while lending their soulful sound to collaborations with Santana, the Grateful Dead, Elton, Huey Lewis, Justin Timberlake and everyone in-between. "50 Years of Funk & Soul - Live at the Fox Theater" captures their storied career with no-holds-barred victory lap concerts in Oakland, CA, performing their full spectrum of life-affirming funk and soul hits to sold out audiences in 2018. Available as a 3-LP set, 2-CD/1-DVD package, standalone DVD and digital audio configuration, these historic performances include alumni special guests Chester Thompson, Lenny Pickett, Francis ‘Rocco’ Prestia, Bruce Conte and Ray Greene.

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For two decades, Sara Watkins has been one of the most visible artists in roots music, with her catalog ranging from solo albums and Watkins Family Hour, a duo with her brother Sean Watkins, to her Grammy-winning bands Nickel Creek and I’m With Her.

With the nostalgic and gentle new album Under the Pepper Tree, Sara Watkins offers a comforting record for those moments as daily rhythms fade into nightly rituals – and when a child’s imagination comes to life.

Made with families in mind, the personal project encompasses songs she embraced as a child herself, as well as the musical friendships she’s made along the way. Recorded in Los Angeles with producer Tyler Chester, Under the Pepper Tree brings storytelling, solace, and encouragement to the listener, no matter the age.

Sara Watkins - Under The Pepper Tree
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There's early work with Eric Dolphy and McCoy Tyner in Charles Mingus' Jazz Workshop, work with Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln, a stint in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, and also one with Miles. There's his groundbreaking and highly influential Ntu Troop albums of the early 70s and his jazz-funk work including two classic albums with the Mizell Brothers, one of which supplied A Tribe Called Quest with a sample that was smooth like butter. That's not to mention appearances on beloved albums by Pharoah Sanders, Donald Byrd, Norman Connors, Roy Ayers, Gene Ammons, Phyllis Hyman, Jackie McLean and many others. This is what Gary Bartz brings to the Jazz Is Dead project and as can be expected, his questing spirit fits the JID style like a glove and has produced an album that's a cutting-edge addition to his immense canon as he effortlessly interfaces with a new generation.

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The Fratellis return with the news of a brand new album 'Half Drunk Under The Full Moon' out on 8th May, and the launch of their first track 'Six Days In June', an upbeat and foot-stomping anthem that sure to put a big smile on the face of any Fratellis' fan! Some days you sit on the couch watching daytime TV and along comes a song like Six Days In June to remind you that you re still alive!" - Jon Fratelli 'Half Drunk Under The Full Moon' follows their critically acclaimed album 'In Your Own Sweet Time', their first top 5 UK album in 10 years, and this new album very much continues on this upward trajectory and is likely to become a signature moment in the band's career.
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Building on the success of “Perception” and “The Search,” consecutive No. 1 Billboard Top 200 albums (both RIAA certified platinum), Michigan rapper NF is back with his first ever mixtape, “CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE).” The project comes as a surprise for fans who are sure to enjoy NF’s signature blend of introspective lyrics and thematic elements, and features from Hopsin and Tech N9ne. Produced by Tommee Profitt, the album boasts a wide range of new sounds, including heavy hitting hip hop tracks “CLOUDS,” “LOST,” and “TRUST,” alongside melancholic anthems “JUST LIKE YOU” and “PRIDEFUL.”

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Tune-Yards ' the celebrated Oakland- based duo of Merrill Garbus & Nate Brenner ' release sketchy. , their fifth album and their first album in 3 years, on March 26. Teased last fall with single 'nowhere, man', the album is being announced with the lead track 'hold yourself'; a moment of self-realisation - 'We all have trouble being brave enough to turn the page'.
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Dry Cleaning

New Long Leg

CD: $16.98 UNAVAILABLE
Dry Cleaning - the South London group of Nick Buxton (drums), Tom Dowse (guitar), Lewis Maynard (bass) and Florence Shaw (vocals) - release their debut album New Long Leg on 4AD. The 10-track long-player, which includes "Strong Feelings" and "Scratchcard Lanyard," was recorded over two weeks last summer at Rockfield Studios in rural Wales with producer John Parish (PJ Harvey, Aldous Harding). Following on from their thrillingly taut 2019 EPs Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks and Sweet Princess, New Long Leg is more ambitious and complex, with Shaw's spoken vocals tightly intertwined with the band's restless instrumentals. With lyrics preoccupied by themes like dissociation, escapism, daydreaming, complicated feelings of love, anger, revenge, anxiety, the kitchen, lethargy, forgetfulness, and survival, Shaw says, "the title is ambiguous; a new long leg could be an expensive present or a growth or a table repair."
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The album is the third release by the band for Nonesuch Records and follows up their break out release, Free Yourself Up, which debuted top 10 on the Billboard Album charts (a career peak for the band) and garnered them their first charting radio single, "Good Kisser." Obviously was produced by Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Mike Elizondo

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The Blue Stones

Hidden Gems

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When Tarek Jafar and Justin Tessier formed The Blue Stones, they were facing uncertainty about who they were and where they were going. But they did know they wanted to make music together, and so they did, writing songs over time and eventually releasing their debut album Black Holes in 2018. As confident and self-assured as they are, that record was very much about the pair finding themselves, both musically and existentially, and deciding to pursue the rock'n'roll dream by jumping into a black hole of the unknown instead of choosing a more ordinary life-path. The band drew the attention of producer, Paul Meany - the creative force behind alternative rock band Mutemath, and who recently worked with Twenty One Pilots, producing their fifth album, Trench. Working with Meany didn't just lead to The Blue Stones exploring - and creating - music in a different way than they had before, but it also led Jafar to approach and tackle lyrics in an entirely new light. Combined with the band's nuanced and layered approach to their sound, it makes
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Daniel Lanois

Heavy Sun

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Heavy Sun, the soulful, debut from Lanois and his invigorating new all-star band. Recorded in Los Angeles and Toronto, the album fuses classic gospel and modern electronics, mixing gritty, human textures with crisp, digital accents and lush, swirling atmospherics to create a sound that's at once warmly familiar and boldly unexpected. The arrangements here are spacious and dreamy, anchored by rich, righteous organ topped with airy falsetto and mesmerizing four-part harmony, and the writing is buoyant and soulful to match, tapping into the shared uncertainty of the human condition to offer hope, comfort, and connection at a time when all three run in desperately short supply.
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2020 was a terrible year for gardening. It was terrible for peppers, it was terrible for tomatoes, it was terrible for the condition of the soul. But Chad VanGaalen somehow raised a garden all the same: carrots and sprouts and broccoli and a revivifying new album, all of them grown at home. He likes to eat directly off the plant, he says—"I get down on my knees and graze. It's nice to feel the vegetables in your face"—and the 13 songs on World's Most Stressed Out Gardener were harvested with just such a spirit: in their raw state, young and vegetal, at the very moment, they were made. What that means is that the Calgary songwriter's new album is a psychedelic bumper crop. A collection of tunes that does away with obsessiveness, the anxiety of perfectionism, in favor of freshness and immediacy — capturing the world as it was met while recording alone at home over a period of years. "Don't overthink it," VanGaalen told himself again and again, despite the push/pull love/hate of his relationship with songwriting. "I'm always trying to get outside of the song—but then I realize I love the song." This is a record that gleams with VanGaalen's musical signatures: found sound, reverb, polychromatic folk music that is by turns cartoonish and hyperphysical—like ultra magnified footage of a virus or a leaf. Apparently, the LP began life as a "pretty minimal" flute record. (There's only a vestige now, on "Flute Peace"—one of three instrumentals.) Later it became an electronic record "for a while" and finally, "right at the last second," it "turned into a pile of garbage." The good kind of garbage: glinting, useful, free. Music as compost—leaves, and branches ready to be re-ingested by the earth, turned into a flower. Throughout these 40 minutes, VanGaalen floats from mania to solace to oblivion, searching for zen in all the wrong places. "Turn up the radio / I think we’re dead," he sings on "Nothing Is Strange"; or, on the inside-out rocker "Nightmare Scenario": "You’re stressed out when you should be feeling very well." The singer's mental landscape is rotting and redemptive, beautiful in spite of itself—and his soundscapes reflect this fertile decay. He has been influenced by his instrumental work on TV scores (Dream Corp's third season began this fall), but still "nothing can really replace the human voice,” he admits. Like Arthur Russell or Syd Barrett, it’s VanGaalen’s vocals that shine a path through the swampland—from the cello-lashed “Water Brother” to “Starlight”’s krautrock pipe-dream. These days, VanGaalen cherishes the privacy of the studio, the capacity to wander around, get distracted, and "move at the speed of life." Whereas once he would obsess over mic techniques, now he puts the microphone in the same place every time—trying to capture a song quickly, the idea at its heart. He'll act on his infatuations—for the flute, a squeaky clarinet, his basement's copper plumbing (remade into xylophones for "Samurai Sword")—and then he'll try to get out, "veering away from responsibility," before he overdoes his stay. In the end, it's like gardening. You have to live with your horrible decision-making; the weather's going to fuck you if it wants to; and if you plant a hundred heads of broccoli, "now you gotta eat a hundred heads of broccoli—or watch them go to seed." But mostly VanGaalen just tries to be a deer: "I remember seeing some deer come out in the Okanagan Valley once," he says, "watching them wait for a sunbeam to hit a perfect bunch of grapes—and then eating them right out of the sunbeam. I'd recommend that."

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Over the past three decades, A.J. Croce has established his rep as a piano man and serious vocal stylist who pulls from a host of American traditions and anti-heroes - it's part New Orleans, part juke joint, part soul. While his last album, JUST LIKE MEDICINE, paired him with soul legend Dan Penn and an all-star cast of players, his new album was born of memories - of favorite artists and shows, but mostly, of late-night gatherings with groups of friends, many of them fellow musicians, with Croce at the piano taking requests. Croce revisits these musical evenings with BY REQUEST, 12 personally curated covers that traverse decades and genres, propelled by his spirited, loose-and-easy piano mastery and emotive vocals. It's a tribute to Croce the music fan as well as Croce the musician that both the variety - from pop to RnR to soul - and execution is inspired, aided by a full band and horns. BY REQUEST is the first album Croce has released since losing his wife of 24 years, Marlo Croce, after a sudden heart ailment. From sharing an obscurity by Motown artist Shorty Long, "Ain't No Justice," to his funky, dead-on version of Billy Preston's "Nothing from Nothing," Croce keeps the virtual party hopping. While he delivers faithful recreations of such nuggets as The Five Stairsteps' "Ooh Ooh Child" and Allen Toussaint's "Brickyard Blues," he puts his own spin on piano-driven arrangements of songs by Neil Young, The Beach Boys, Sam Cooke, The Faces and more. Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" is re-interpreted as a gospel song, and The Beach Boys' "Sail On Sailor" becomes a trippy, rollicking ride. Although he lost his famous father, music legend Jim Croce, when he was just two years old, he pays tribute by covering Randy Newman's "Have You Seen My Baby" since the first show he attended was a bill featuring his dad and Newman. "BY REQUEST is my way of inviting you over for a private gathering at my place," Croce says of the collection. "We listen to great music, laugh, make great food and after a few drinks and maybe a few more we end up in my music room and I start taking requests of every genre and era."
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Debut release from Painted Shield which is the new project from Stone Gossard (of Pearl Jam) with singer/songwriter Mason Jennings.  Painted Shield will be the first project from the newly resurrected Loosegroove Records

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Morgan Wade has never sounded like anybody else, and for a long time, she thought that meant her songs were just for her. “Honestly, I think that was really good for me,” she says. “It made me think, ‘Alright, well, I’m not going to sing for anybody else––but I’m singing for myself.’”

Since then, Wade has figured out that when you grow up in Floyd, Virginia, where bluegrass sustains everyone like the Blue Ridge Mountain air but you hear other sounds like pop and punk in your own head, singing for yourself is the way to become the artist you were always meant to be.

Produced by Sadler Vaden––Jason Isbell’s longtime guitarist and an acclaimed solo artist in his own right––Wade’s full-length debut Reckless is a confident rock-and-roll record that introduces a young singer-songwriter who is embracing her strengths and quirks as she continues to ask questions about who she is––and who she wants to be. Her voice, a raspy soprano that can soothe liltingly or growl, is on brilliant display. “I feel like the last couple of years have been me trying to figure out where I fit in, who I fit in with, and what’s going on,” Wade says. “I’m almost four years sober, so a lot of the friends I had, I don’t really hang out with anymore. When I wrote these songs, I was going through a lot, just trying to figure out who I am.”

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Just a few weeks after the surprise release of the Cuttin' Grass (Vol. 1): Butcher Shoppe Sessions album—which Uproxx called “the most sublime and delightful music he’s yet made on record”—Sturgill Simpson returns with the next installment of his bluegrass series, Cuttin' Grass (Vol. 2): The Cowboy Arms Sessions. The genre-defying singer/songwriter reconvened an A-Team of acoustic players (now dubbed "The Hillbilly Avengers") for another round of reinterpretations of his catalogue, this time largely focusing on 2016's A Sailor's Guide to Earth, which won the Grammy for Country Album of the Year and was nominated for Album of the Year. This volume also includes "Jesus Boogie," originally performed by Simpson's first band, Sunday Valley, and two previously unreleased songs, "Tennessee" and "Hobo Cartoon," the latter of which was co-written with the incomparable Merle Haggard—who once said that Simpson was "about the only thing I've heard that was worth listening to in a long time."

Cuttin' Grass Vol. 1 (Butcher Shoppe Sessions) is now available on Vinyl & CD.
Sturgill Simpson - Cuttin' Grass - Vol. 2 (The Cowboy Arms Sessions)
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The fifth album from Oklahoma-bred singer/songwriter Parker Millsap, Be Here Instead emerged from a wild alchemy of instinct, ingenuity, and joyfully determined rule-breaking. In a departure from the guitar-and-notebook-based approach to songwriting that shaped his earlier work, the Nashville-based artist followed his curiosity to countless other modes of expression, experimenting with everything from piano to effects pedals to old-school drum machines (a fascination partly inspired by the early-’70s innovations of Sly Stone and J.J. Cale). As those explorations deepened and broadened his musical vision, Millsap soon arrived at a body of work touched with both unbridled imagination and lucid insight into the search for presence in a chaotic world.

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The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band are the greatest front-porch blues band in the world. They are led by Reverend Peyton, who most consider to be the premier finger picker playing today. He has earned a reputation as both a singularly compelling performer and a persuasive evangelist for the rootsy, country blues styles that captured his imagination early in life and inspired him and his band to make pilgrimages to Clarksdale, Mississippi to study under such blues masters as T-Model Ford, Robert Belfour and David “Honeyboy” Edwards. The band has built through their legendary live shows. Playing as many as 300 shows each year, the band has one of the most dedicated followings out there. This following is sure to eat up the band's latest offering, Dance Songs For Hard Times, a country blues record that was made the right way — two feet on the ground and both hands getting dirty.

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In the midst of the thick New Orleans summer of 2017, Chris Lyons of garage punks Bottomfeeders found himself sitting on a small batch of songs that didn’t quite fit the fuzzed-out pileups of that band. The new songs were more chiming, driving but relaxed, full of little corners begging to be filled with classic pop harmonies and wayward country licks. He called in his trusted confidants: Bottomfeeders drummer and longtime musical partner Lucas Bogner—the two started playing music together at the tender age of 15—plus bassist Pete Campanelli, and Kunal Prakash (Jeff the Brotherhood) dug the songs and signed on, and the quartet started playing in earnest, hunkering down in the practice space.

By the time the band played its first gig in late 2018 at the opening of Nola’s ManRay Records, the songs had multiplied and the members of the newly christened Silver Synthetic had become genuine rock & roll craftsmen. In a world that doesn’t seem capable of swaying, Silver Synthetic’s self-titled debut shakes and boogies.

It makes sense that the band’s first gig was in a record shop ‘cause folks, this is record nerd-core in a major way, evocative of the LP's first golden era, as the late sixties oozed into the strange 1970s, with the requisite T-Rex stomps, Britfolk twists and turns, and dueling Verlaine/Lloyd guitars. It’s about warmth, and you can practically smell the gently glowing amp tubes on “In the Beginning,” which wafts along on a gust borrowed from Lou Reed’s beatific Coney Island Baby breeziness. With “Chasm Killer,” the boys lean into jammy heartland rock, almost approaching Silver Bullet Band territory at one point! Even when the band kicks into charging lean rock-n-roller, like on the Kinksy “Around the Bend,” there’s a laid-backness that allows more room for the spirit.

You could call Silver Synthetic rock & roll formalists, but the truth is they're more like minimalists, stripping away tired clutter and unnecessary bloat and just zooming in on the essential.

Silver Synthetic - Silver Synthetic
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ERRA

ERRA

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Determination and steadfast dedication have defined ERRA's path, forging a unique connection with an ever-growing audience, without the advantages of traditional recognition. Monumental riffs and enchanting melodies litter the cerebral, immersive soundscapes powering each of the progressive metal merchant's albums, culminating in a career-defining fifth, boldly self-titled ERRA. As their music finds the balance between the crushingly heavy and the headily melodic, it's members seek to find harmony between the needs of the individual and the natural flow of this shared reality. ERRA, as a band of brothers and creative force, strive to live in alignment with the present moment. ERRA, the album, represents redemption for the band, who emerged from the creative process with renewed focus, confidence, and certainty of self.
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In 2008 Etienne de Rocher paused his budding career as a songwriter in the Bay Area to relocate his growing family to the fertile artistic grounds of Athens, GA. The new locale was immediately a creative inspiration. Although it would take years to complete, he began soaking up the musical energy of his new home and writing some of the songs that would become Haunted Shed’s debut “Faltering Light” immediately.

“Faltering Light” is more than just a love letter to the Classic City though. It’s a love letter to life. 11 rocking, thoughtful, psychedelic, literary songs about Etienne’s experience with life raising kids, restoring homes, cooking, holidays and his inward contemplations of dreams, emotions, and nightmares.

Recorded at Chase Park Transduction with Drew Vandenberg (of Montreal, Faye Webster) at the helm, Haunted Shed’s debut album is a thoughtful, fun collection of stories from someone who’s experienced enough life to have some good ones.

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The legendary So-Cal punk group The Offspring return with their 10th album (and first new offering since 2008), the blistering and triumphant Let The Bad Times Roll. Produced by Bob Rock, the group describes the album as "the most cathartic thing we've done. The messages might be dark, but at the end what's left is that communication is important, working through feelings is important and most of all, hope is important." 

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Description: Nearly two decades into her storied career, 9-time GRAMMY-winning singer, songwriter, pianist, and 2020’s most livestreamed artists, Norah Jones is set to release her first full live album ‘Til We Meet Again.The collection presents globe-spanning performances from the U.S., France, Italy, Brazil, and Argentina that were recorded between 2017-2019. The 14 songs featured on ‘Til We Meet Again also span Jones’ entire career from her 2002 debut Come Away With Me (“Don’t Know Why,” “I’ve Got To See You Again,” “Cold, Cold Heart”), 2004’s Feels Like Home (“Sunrise,” “Those Sweet Words”), 2012’s Little Broken Hearts (“After The Fall”), 2016’s Day Breaks (“Flipside,” “Tragedy”), as well as her more recent singles series (“It Was You,” “Begin Again,” “Just A Little Bit,” “Falling,” and the GRAMMY-nominated “I’ll Be Gone”).

The album closes with Jones’ stunning solo piano performance of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun,” a tribute to Chris Cornell that was recorded at the Fox Theatre in Detroit just days after Cornell’s death following a performance at the same venue.

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The Pink Stones deliver a full serving of Peach State picked country-rock from Athens, Georgia with the release of their debut album, Introducing… The Pink Stones, via the New West Records imprint Normaltown Records. Mixing elements of classic cosmic country, raucous rock’n’roll and fresh humor and heartaches, The Pink Stones are authoring a new chapter in the annals of Cosmic American Music.

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With over 5,000 performances spanning four decades, 20 million records sold worldwide, and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, CHEAP TRICK is undoubtedly one of the most influential classic rock groups of the past 50 years. The band was formed in 1974 and while it has evolved throughout the years, CHEAP TRICK has continued to reach mainstream and critical success. Hits such as “I Want You To Want Me,” “Dream Police,” and “Surrender” have cemented the group as one of America’s top rock ‘n’ roll bands of all time. 

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Demi Lovato returns with her highly anticipated seventh studio album, Dancing with the Devil.The Art of Starting Over. The album serves as the companion to Demi's powerful 4-part YouTube Originals documentary, Dancing with the Devil, premiering March 23rd. The album includes 19 original songs including previously released Grammy Awards showstopper "Anyone" as well as "What Other People Say" with Sam Fischer.
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Lu's Jukebox is a six-volume series of mostly full-band performances recorded live at Ray Kennedy's Room & Board Studio in Nashville, TN. Each volume features a themed set of songs by other artists curated by the multi-Grammy award winner, Lucinda Williams. The series aired as ticketed shows through Mandolin in late 2020 with a portion of ticket sales benefitting independent music venues struggling to get through the pandemic.
 
Like thousands of artists, Williams cut her teeth and developed her craft by playing in small, medium, and large clubs throughout the country, and the world. These venues are vital to the development of artists and their music. Williams has never forgotten her roots, and often performs special shows in some of her favorite halls.
 
This year, the Lu's Jukebox Series will be made widely available on Vinyl and CD. Volume 1, Running Down A Dream: A Tribute to Tom Petty, features songs from the namesake's celebrated career and is scheduled for an April 16th, 2021 release date.
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Cannibal Corpse will be releasing a new studio album called "Violence Unimagined" on 4/16. The title tells you everything you need to know about Cannibal Corpse's fifteenth hellish opus. Comprising eleven tracks, it is state of the art death metal played with passion and breathless precision, making for another flawless addition to what is inarguably one of the premier catalogues the genre has thrown up.