Talent, excitement, chemistry, laughter, and style – this is HAIM. The LA sisters have butterflies for a reason; Danielle, Este and Alana Haim have waited years to set their R&B, pop radio and classic rock inspired songs free. Electric talent, fiery resolve and sparkling character have helped these three Valley Girls battle setbacks, insecurity, bitchiness, and doubt to ride a surge of acclaim. Days Are Gone, the group’s highly-anticipated debut album, finds HIAM working alongside acclaimed producers Ariel Rechtshaid (Usher, Vampire Weekend) and James Ford (Florence and the Machine, Arctic Monkeys). Days Are Gone features crowd favorites "Falling," "Forever," and "Don't Save Me" as well as title track "Days Are Gone," which was co-written with Kid Harpoon and Jessie Ware.
Various Artists Red Hot + Fela Knitting Factory
Red Hot + Fela is the 18th in a series of original albums commissioned by the Red Hot Organization to raise money and awareness in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. As the title suggests, Red Hot + Fela celebrates the music of Fela Kuti -- the undisputed king of Afropop. This collection is rife with unique and eclectic collaborations. Among the highlights are "Lady" recorded by tUnE-yArDs, Questlove, Angelique Kidjo, and Akua Naru. "Zombie" recorded by Spoek Mathambo, Cerebral Cortex, and Frown; "Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am" recorded by My Morning Jacket, Merrill Garbus (from tUnE-yArDs), and Brittany Howard (from Alabama Shakes); and "Sorrow, Tears & Blood" reworked by the Kronos Quartet along with TV On The Radios' Kyp Malone and Tunde Adembimpe. This is great music for an even better cause.
Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers Self Titled Little Sur
You may already be familiar with Nicki Bluhm’s previous solo albums, but chances are you’re aware of the band thanks to their “Van Sessions” video for Hall & Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That” which went viral and introduced Nicki and band, The Gramblers, to a wide audience.The band’s eponymous new album is a luminous, heartfelt patchwork of California folk-rock, brisk Americana and show-stopping soul, punctuated with fresh four-part harmonies, crisp rock guitar and Nicki’s soaring, nuanced vocals that some critics say remind them of Linda Ronstadt. The first record under the banner of the full band, Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers is very much a family album, featuring 11 new songs penned by the band members, arranged and produced by Nicki’s husband and the band’s musical director, Tim Bluhm, and recorded at the Bluhm’s Mission Bells studio in San Francisco.
Anders Osborne Peace Alligator Records
With Peace, blues rock titan Anders Osborne continues the journey started by American Patchwork and Black Eye Galaxy -- emerging from a whirlwind of emotional chaos and moving toward a sense of inner peace. Recorded at Dockside Studios in Louisiana and produced by Osborne and Warren Riker, Peace looks at the title subject from all angles. Drawing strength and inspiration from his family and friends, Osborne created the most observational record of his career. According to Osborne, “Peace is light from darkness. The songs are written from the outside looking in. They are not making any judgments. I’m just stating facts. I’m writing from a brighter perspective. There’s less dusk and dark, and much more sunlight. The results are greater than I expected. The driving tones and sounds are free and natural. This is one of the coolest records I’ve ever made.”
Tom Odell Long Way Down RCA
Classically trained on piano, Tom Odell has been obsessed with music since he was a small child (“I started writing songs at 13 and I haven’t stopped since”). At 22, he’s an accomplished musician, as his new album, Long Way Down demonstrates in spades. Yet what’s most remarkable about Odell is his gift for rendering messy emotions, for ripping songs out of his soul and slamming them onto a record without stopping to tidy up after himself. Odell spent nine months holed up in a tiny east London room, outfitted with simply a piano and a desk, penning the songs for his debut album, Long Way Down. When he wasn’t writing, he was devouring the works of others – a list with a preponderance of American authors and filmmakers, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Woody Allen, Ernest Hemingway, Hal Ashby, Jack Kerouac and Wes Anderson. This is rugged individualism with healthy dollop of heart.
Berlin Animal Something-Music
“New music is the lifeblood of anybody making music— it’s that creation, excitement, new babies [songs]! It inspires me and it inspires others,” declares Terri Nunn, the charismatic and enigmatic singer of L.A.’s iconic synth electro-pop pioneers, Berlin. The band’s new album, Animal, explores contemporary electronic dance music while remaining true to the groundbreaking sound and signature vocals that continue to define Berlin. The first single, “It’s the Way”— a confessional ballad about “a fear of connection”— could easily be the group’s next “Take My Breath Away” (Berlin’s #1 hit / Academy Award-winning single, featured in Top Gun). It’s the perfect counterpoint to the sexy, eminently danceable title track or to “Blame It On The World,” a painfully poignant song for her father.
Said The Whale Hawaiii Hidden Pony
Hawaii finds Vancouver-based, JUNO-winning rockers, Said The Whale, continuing to break down doors by releasing its most adventurous and hook-filled batch of songs yet. “I went into the writing process with mindset of ‘Fuck everything, I’m just going to write what makes me happy,’” says Tyler Bancroft, explaining that the songs were written with a clean slate and no expectations. Ironically, what resulted are some of Said The Whale’s catchiest, most accessible songs yet. The singer observes, “It turns out I just like pop music.” This affection for melody shines on “I Love You” is led by a surge of post-punk guitars and careens between spiky choruses and a sunny, sock hop-inspired bridge. while “Mother” is a synth-heavy new wave banger and the outdoorsy “Narrows” begins with acoustic strumming before exploding into hard-hitting rock.
Suburban Legends Dreams Aren't Real But These Songs Are, Vol. 1 Rock Ridge
Straight out of Huntington Beach California come the hyper antics of Suburban Legends. Starting out as a local heros, Suburban Legends honed their manic choreographed music and show at the happiest place on earth, Disneyland. Playing well over 1,500 performances at Disneyland the Suburban Legends have also adventured overseas and played in over 17 counties around Europe. With 7 independent releases Suburban Legends is proud to have it's 8th release, Dreams Aren't Real, But These Songs Are Vol. 1, which contains 6 reimagined classics from your childhood… Including the theme from “Duck Tales.” Bonus points if you correctly guessed they are a “Ska” band.
The Blind Boys Of Alabama I'll Find A Way Masterworks
Produced by Justin Vernon (Bon Iver, Kathleen Edwards), I'll Find a Way, the new album from Blind Boys of Alabama, is a unique collaboration between one of popular music's longest-running acts and one of its fastest-rising stars. Known primarily for his work in the indie and folk realms, the Bon Iver frontman proved a perfect fit to work with the Blind Boys, exhibiting a deep knowledge and appreciation of gospel music. Vernon and old friend and band mate Phil Cook (Megafaun) corralled a lively backing band for the album and hand-picked a range of songs for the Blind Boys to sing. I'll Find a Way features some of the Blind Boys' most fervent vocals as well as contributions by a new generation of Blind Boys fans, including Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond, Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, Patty Griffin, and Justin Vernon himself.
Echosmith Talking Dreams WB
What a difference a year makes. In 12 short months, Echosmith have gone from little-known Los Angeles alt-pop gem to Warped Tour’s undeniable breakout band. Despite basking in the glow of a summer spent playing to thousands of fans all over the country, Echosmith are ready for more. The band’s new full-length, Talking Dreams, which was produced by Mike Elizondo (Tegan And Sara, Gary Clark Jr., Maroon 5), is a giddy and infectious chunk of rock n’ roll fun. Though the members of Echosmith are young, they are heavily influenced by the music they listened to growing up — including a lot of early-’80s New Wave — which can be heard on songs like “Come With Me,” “The Safest Place,” and the Smiths-esque “Cool Kids.”
ABERCROMBIE QUARTET 39 Steps ECM
John Abercrombie’s revised quartet provides Marc Copland with his first appearance on ECM via 39 Steps. Yet the guitarist and pianist are old allies, with an association stretching back forty years. In the early 1970s both were members of Chico Hamilton’s quartet, and at the dawn of fusion both played with pioneering jazz-rock band, Dreams. For much of the last decade Abercrombie and Copland have also each had bassist Drew Gress as a regular member of their respective bands, so 39 Steps draws on a network of trusted relationships. Jazz ballads and lyricism predominate on this disc with six tunes from Abercrombie’s pen, two Copland tunes, one collective improvisation, and a creative deconstruction of the old standard “Melancholy Baby”.
TIM BERNE'S SNAKEOIL Shadow Man ECM
Acclaim for the first, eponymous album from saxophonist-composer Tim Berne’s acoustic quartet, Snakeoil, came from far and wide: All About Jazz described the music as unpredictable and fresh, while The Guardian called it an object lesson in balancing composition, improvisation and the tonal resources of an acoustic band. The album made the DownBeat Critics Poll of the top 10 best releases of 2012, New York Times critic Nate Chinen listed it as his No. 1 release of the year. Stoked by this reception, Tim Berne’s Snakeoil has upped the ante with its second ECM release, Shadow Man. Shadow Man is as visceral as it is cerebral… The album is a dizzying experience for the senses -- breath-taking and, ultimately, moving in its sheer imaginative verve.
Noah and The Whale Heart of Nowhere Noah and the Whale/Caroline
Heart Of Nowhere is the fourth full-length from the London-based indie-folk quartet, Noah And The Whale. The album, which their most concise collection of songs yet, was born out of pure collaboration, featuring the whole band contributing fully to the songwriting process. It was recorded live, to embrace all of the cracks and scuffs and happy accidents he could. The result is a record that sounds by turns melancholy and withdrawn, and at others flushed and exuberant. But there is a looseness to these songs that speaks of a band full-grown and at ease with its sound. If that wasn’t enough, the band has once again made a movie to accompany their new album – and in the case of Heart Of Nowhere it's a dystopic sci-fi thriller!
Kneebody The Line Concord
Kneebody draws upon influences spanning D'Angelo's Voodoo to music by Elliot Smith, Bill Frisell, and Miles Davis. Their live shows are known for intense sonic landscapes of the Radiohead ilk, for the rhythmic bombast of a Squarepusher or Queens of the Stone Age show, and the harmonic depth and improvisational freedom experienced at a Brad Mehldau concert. Kneebody’s latest album (their fourth), The Line, has tons of explosive rock energy paralleled with high-level nuanced chamber ensemble playing all contained within highly wrought compositions that are balanced with adventurous no-holds-barred jazz improvising. All "sounds-like" references can be set aside; this band has created a genre and style all its own. Funky and occasionally harrowing, Kneebody is a very pleasant surprise. Dig.
MAKARSKI/JARRETT J.S.Bach: Six Sonatas For Violin And Piano ECM
Johann Sebastian Bach began work on his six sonatas for violin and harpsichord while at the courts of Weimar and Köthen and returned to the compositions over several decades, revising and polishing until the years before his death. C.P.E. Bach would later pronounce the pieces “among the best works of my dear father.” Prefiguring the classical duo sonata, violin and keyboard meet on equal terms in this music, and both are challenged by Bach’s compositional demands. Violinist Michelle Makarski invited Keith Jarrett to join her in exploring these pieces, the two musicians – friends since Jarrett’sBridge of Light recording – meeting frequently over a two year period, simply for the pleasure of playing the Sonatas. This is Jarrett’s first ‘classical’ recording since his Mozart Piano Concertos discs of 1996, and only the second occasion on which he has recorded Bach on piano rather than harpsichord. Amazing.
BOROS, ZSÓFIA En Otra Parte ECM
The evocative ECM debut of the outstanding young Hungarian guitarist Zsófia Boros, En Otra Parte, addresses a broad range of composition for her instrument. This sensitive solo recital opens with “Canción Triste”, long a favorite amongst guitarists, by Francisco Calleja. It also includes Ralph Towner’s “Green and Golden,” Vicente Amigo’s tribute to the spirit of flamenco “Callejón De La Luna,” a waltz by Brazilian Dilermando (“Reis Quique”), Sinesi’s “Cielo Abierto,” and much more. At the center of En Otra Parte is music of Leo Brouwer, the Cuban composer who views the guitar as an orchestra and once declared that it has “no limits” -- a major reference for Boros. She first heard “Un Dia De Noviembre” -- here performed twice -- at a concert when she was around 15 and playing the piece changed her relationship to music. Your mind will be likewise blown.
Poets of Rhythm Anthology 1992-2003 Daptone
Before Daptone, there was Desco. Before Desco, there were The Poets of Rhythm. Back in the `90s, a couple of German kids unearthed a raw sound from our own backyard that we hadn't even remembered burying. They drew from the sound of old Funk records, not as a mold, but as inspiration, understanding that sound would always be an origin of their music, but unlike many `Soul revivalists' to follow, they never settled for it as a destination. It's been 20 years since their first recording session, and this anthology celebrates their decade-long journey from the raw exuberant rebellion of 'Funky Train', to the moody hypnotic explorations of Discern/Define, and the eerie, relaxed groover 'Path of Life' - a journey that truly earns them their name: The Poets of Rhythm.
Various Artists CBGBs- Motion Picture Soundtrack Omnivore Recordings
By the end of 1973 New York City was bankrupt, Watergate shook the nation, and the Carpenters topped the charts. Enter Hilly Kristal, who dreamed of running a country & blues bar in the Bowery. Instead, the club he opened, CBGB (Country, Bluegrass, Blues) became the birthplace of punk and underground music. And now it’s a movie… Albeit one with a killer soundtrack! An essential collection of songs that made the punk movement, CBGB presents twenty slices of original (mostly) American music -- many rarely compiled or unavailable for years -- from influential artists that informed the scene (The Velvet Underground, The Stoogesand MC5), to acts that broke through with huge commercial acclaim (Talking Heads, Blondie, and The Police). And there's even music from bands whose legendary status will forever be linked to the club that gave them a voice (Dead Boys,Television, Wayne County, The Dictators and more).
“I just wanted to make an honest record.” So says Dallas Green, otherwise known as City and Colour. He’s not really talking about confessionals (though that might happen, too) but truthfully incarnated music: organic songwriting, natural process and sincere moments captured in the studio. Captured—not manipulated. For his fourth LP, The Hurry and The Harm, the former Alexisonfire frontman not only wanted to present an honest album, but an honest version of himself. To do so, he had to leave some things behind, confront others and let the rest simmer. The resulting album is a journey through a state of mind, exploring everything from Green’s struggles to leave his previous band (“Of Space and Time”) to his distaste for gossip media (“Commentators”). Musically, the artful evolution can be felt in the crushing, sweeping rush of the first single, “Thirst,” with its aggressive vamp and both acid instrumentals and tongue. There is a longing in the words but a certain direction in the songs, such as on “Two Coins” which balances a quiet folkiness with an unexpected guitar solo, searching through the play in his voice and the introspection of the ironically upbeat strums of “Harder Than Stone.” In summation, The Hurry and the Harm is the sound of an artistic rebirth.
City and Colour - The Hurry and the Harm Dine Alone Records
The unlikely combination of a Cambridge graduate, particle physicist and a local sailor make up the three legged didactic table that is Little Comets, proud descendants of the hue drenched hills of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a northern city in the British Isles. Starting out as an antidote to the problem of being unable to adequately express themselves in conversation, the group whose sophomore album, Life is Elsewhere, is its stateside debut, formed when brothers Robert and Michael chanced upon Matthew in the corner of a crowded room. Quickly eschewing the established methods of relentless gigging and label baiting, Little Comets chose instead to perform in the furtive surroundings of front rooms, trains, trams and university lecture halls - creating small pockets of rapt listeners who would return to see the band in more established concert venues. Life is Elsewhere staunchly demonstrates the ability of Little Comets to blend vernacular and content - pairing propulsive beats with layered melodies in the vein of a more sedate Talking Heads or less conspicuous Vampire Weekend. Life Is Elsewhere will make you think. It will make you smile. It will leave you wanting more.
Little Comets - Life Is Elsewhere Dualtone
Unvarnished, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts first studio record in more than seven years, breaks new personal ground for the pioneering female rocker, while remaining true to the veracious sound that Jett is known for. Jett teamed up with some stellar collaborators on Unvarnished, too. “Soulmates to Strangers” was written with Against Me! singer Laura Jane Grace, with whom Jett first became acquainted while on the 2006 Warped Tour. Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters co-wrote the single “Any Weather.” Amazingly, the single features just the two musicians performing the song, with Jett on vocals and rhythm guitar, and Dave playing every other instrument that is on the track. “Make it Back” is about the spirit that Jett saw first hand in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. With her neighbors being some of the hardest hit, not to mention Jett being displaced in the wake of the storm, she was able to see this spirit that was really beautiful come out in all the people, and people helping each other. Among the more lighthearted commentaries is “TMI” -- a meditation on one of today's more deplorable trends: Over-sharing. Unvarnished is inspired, as always, by Jett's overriding philosophy: Rock 'n' Roll is about a certain integrity: Just being true to your own self.
Joan Jett - Unvarnished Blackheart Records
Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society should need no introduction: These metal titans have consistently released some of Metal’s most amazing jams. Hell, Wylde’s early career as a sideman for Ozzy is the stuff of legend. Black Label Society have established themselves at the forefront of Heavy Metal with a series of hard riffing and hugely successful albums alongside worldwide tours that have cemented their reputation as one of the most powerful live bands of their generation… And now they’re giving fans and unexpected treat. Unblackened finds Black Label Society in a mellower mood in a performance taped at Club Nokia in Los Angeles earlier this year. The concert showcases the band's songs with a greater use of acoustic instruments but without losing any of their power and intensity. Zakk Wylde leads from the front as always, performing here on both guitar and piano and demonstrating the subtler side of his music alongside the blistering solos that his fans know and love. Unblackened is two discs worth of Heavy without the “Metal” – and the results are a testament to the pure beauty of the man’s music.
Black Label Society - Unblackened eOne Music
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