When it came time to begin work on Portugal. The Man’s seventh album, frontman John Gourley thought long and hard about the next move and kept coming back to one concept: The most satisfying work is collaborative work. It took a year, but Portugal. The Man — a group guaranteed for seven years to pump out a record, to tour and tour and tour, to tuck its fans to bed at night with a community of psychedelic rock —learned to slow down and transform all-day, all-night recording with Danger Mouse into it’s most eclectic music to date. Each track on Evil Friends is as different from the next as Portugal. The Man’s previous records were from each other, which is to say a piece of a growing mindscape, and wholly a part of the group’s tumbling fever dream.
James Durbin Celebrate Wind-Up
James Durbin is known for giving metal a chance on Season 10 of "American Idol" and pushing to keep rock alive on his 2011 debut, Memories of a Beautiful Disaster. But take a deeper look inside Durbin's musical soul and for every Judas Priest song he loved, there was one by the Beatles. For every Sammy Hagar, there was a Michael Jackson. For every ounce of metal that soared through his veins, there were equal amounts of pop hooks, catchy melodies, and sing-along lyrics pumping through his musical heart. It's this musical juxtaposition of rock and pop that Durbin offers up on his eagerly awaited sophomore album, Celebrate.
Jon Langford & Skull Orchard Here Be Monsters Bloodshot Records
Here Be Monsters finds acclaimed musician/visual artist Jon Langford (Best known for his work in the The Mekons and the Waco Brothers) and his band Skull Orchard scanning the outskirts of popular culture, its title born of medieval cartographers’ term for the dragons, sea serpents, and other mythical beasties that reside beyond the boundaries of the known universe. Here Be Monsters the Welsh-born, Chicago-based polymath plotting a clear-eyed, sharp-elbowed course through such far-flung subjects as alternative hierarchies and astronomy, perpetual war for perpetual profit, the culture of detachment, middle age, fatherhood, fame, and the fleetingness of love. This new album will feature a unique piece of artwork specific to each track printed on individual inserts included with copies of the CD.
The Gloaming The Gloaming Brassland
The Gloaming is a collaboration between five master musicians named Martin Hayes (violin, fiddle), Thomas Bartlett aka Doveman (piano), Iarla Ó Lionaird (vocals), Dennis Cahill (guitar) and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh (hardanger fiddle). Their work is based on traditional Irish forms into which they introduce deep wells of personality and experience; lyrics drawn from the history of Irish literature; and playing that is executed with the authority of virtuosos. The result is haunting, emotionally charged, and unclouded by sheen or hokey sentimentality. The Gloaming, was produced by Thomas Bartlett and mixed by Patrick Dillett (David Byrne & St. Vincent). It was finished in the summer of 2013 during the build up to a series of sold out concerts at prestigious venues in London, Amsterdam, Paris & New York.
Bigelf Into the Maelstrom Insideout Music
When you consider the impact that Bigelf had in 2008 with Cheat the Gallows, it’s inevitable that people expected the highly-rated band from Los Angeles to strike again quickly and fiercely. Instead we got an astonishing silence due to an impromptu hiatus… But now, Into the Maelstrom, a new album of melodic prog-doom that eccentric frontman Damon Fox believes will take Bigelf to new heights – thanks in no small part to long-time collaborator Linda Perry (4 Non Blondes) and a new ally in Prog Drum God, Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater). Is there an Apocalyptic-Prog-Metal-Carnival-Music shaped hole in your musical heart? Then Into The Maelstrom is the album you’ve been waiting for.
Tweens Tweens Frenchkiss Records
Bridget Battle's last band might have been a high school choir, but the 21-year-old singer for Cincinnati's Tweens is no goodie-two-shoes. Look no further for proof than Tweens -- the punk-tinged debut from the trash-pop trio -- Battle on vocals and guitar, Peyton Copes on bass and Jerri Queen on drums -- that showcases a melodic, driven and exceedingly catchy sound that's anything but well behaved. Tweens only formed in 2012, but has already made a name for themselves among fans--including The Breeders and The Black Lips. The band's name conjures just the right image: Screaming hordes afflicted with Beatlemania, teenyboppers out for a good time, the underage, over-the-top punks in Ladies and Gentlemen: The Fabulous Stains. This is the band After School Specials warned you about.
Needtobreathe Rivers In The Wasteland Atlantic
Rivers In The Wasteland is the follow up to Needtobreathe’s acclaimed album The Reckoning, which saw the band spend over two years on the road in support of a collection of anthemic rock that caught the attention of The New York Times, NPR, Entertainment Weekly and USA Today. "We've come through some rough moments and some amazing moments," says guitarist & vocalist Bo Rinehart. "We're the most energized we've ever been. The band is young again. We just fell back in love with the idea of what we get to do." Rivers In The Wasteland is the sound of a band excited to reconnect with the idea of a fresh start, songs like "Difference Maker," "Multiplied," "The Heart," and "Brother" make ecstatically clear.
Glenn Kotche Adventureland Cantaloupe
When he's not manning the drum kit for alt-rock juggernaut Wilco, Glenn Kotche works tirelessly on his own as a composer, creating breathtaking new works and surprising arrangements of well known avant garde classics like Steve Reich’s “Clapping Music.” His latest work is the multi-hued Adventureland, a collaborative effort and his first since 2006's Mobile. From the wild ride of “Triple Fantasy” (an ingeniously spliced suite of performances by Kronos Quartet and Chicago's eighth blackbird ensemble, embellished with various field recordings) to the playfully pop-like gamelan arrangement of “The Traveling Turtle,” Adventureland maps an intense and fertile period of growth in Kotche's artistic vision. The man wrote a string quartet on drums (4 limbs; 4 instruments) for krissakes! You need this.
Charlie Oxford Charlie Oxford Rock Ridge Music
It’s not often in post-millennium times that an 11-year-old guitar player has his life changed through hearing an iconic 1960s soul song. Charlie Oxford was woodshedding on Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan CDs when he first heard Sam Cooke’s That’s Where It’s At, and that 1960s buttery soulfulness has become a main ingredient in Oxford’s home-cooked, modern soul-pop ever since. Recorded in Nashville thanks to a generous Kickstarter budget, Oxford’s self-titled debut is sweet and simmering, showcasing an urgent yet honeyed voice alongside searing blues guitar played with authenticity and authority. It’s comfort food for the modern listener, tracing a line from Sam Cooke to pop contemporaries like James Morrison and John Mayer.
Sleeper Agent About Last Night RCA Records
"About Last Night is the product of countless hours spent writing, rewriting, recording, hoping, toiling, questioning, and ultimately pushing ourselves as a band as far as we could go," says Sleeper Agent's Alex Kandel. "It's a record that I can hear our band's history in…every heartbreak, every victory, every night spent in the van, every audience we've been in front of are woven into the melodies and fabric of the songs." About Last Night was born after principal songwriter Tony Smith started scribbling together song skeletons on tour. Sleeper Agent fleshed out those compositions after decamping their tour bus and shacking up together in a log cabin in Middle of Nowhere, East Kentucky. Instead of killing each other in their secluded camp, they watched The Godfather, cooked family dinners, and emerged five days later with 10 solid tracks.
MC Yogi Mantras, Beats & Meditations Sounds True
Hang on to your yoga mat. MC Yogi's new album Mantras, Beats & Meditations has arrived. Here, the multi-talented master of storytelling and verse dives once again into the wisdom of the yoga tradition. Combining conscious rhymes and spiritual philosophy with hip-hop, world music, and electronic beats, MC Yogi creates the perfect mix to move and inspire an emerging new culture of yoga practitioners and truth seekers. This isn’t New Age music with lite beats – more like a solo album from the late, great Beastie Boy, MCA. If you've been searching for a soundtrack to fuel your practice, on or off the mat, this is it.
Ages and Ages Divisionary Partisan
Ages and Ages is more than a band. It’s a collective of like-minded souls that believe in the power of music to change the world and elevate the spirit. Their music is bright and uplifting, with lyrics, penned by bandleader Tim Perry, that deliver serious introspective messages full of insight and consideration for others. Perry spent ten days on a silent meditation retreat, formulating the direction of Divisionary, and his calm, centered vision is at the core of the music. The intricate harmonies, celebratory choral vocals, churchical piano and organ, inventive counter melodies, bright acoustic guitars, and exciting, interlocking rhythms set off aural fireworks to frame the grounded emotions conveyed in the lyrics. Sure, it sounds pretentious, but the soaring choruses and positive message are hard to deny.
Chevelle La Gárgola Epic
Chevelle has opened a dark portal on their seventh full-length record, La Gárgola. After nearly two decades together, six albums, and countless sold out gigs, the Chicago alternative rock outfit confidently sail through uncharted waters and emerge with a collection that's intricate, intimate, and more than a little horrifying. The trio augmented its creative arsenal both musically and lyrically, immersing itself in the classic work of fellow Chicagoans Ministry, culling an industrial sensibility for its latest compositions – just check out the bruising guitar throb of "Jawbreaker" and the apocalyptic haze of "The Island" where electronic percussion collides with fuzzed-out six-string twang. La Gárgola is a private soundtrack to your personal horror film... So turn of the lights and play it LOUD!
Colin Vallon Trio Le Vent ECM Records
Like the wind (Le Vent) celebrated in the title track, the Colin Vallon Trio has a subtle, insinuating power. From a still and silent place its music may breathe gently, or steadily build pressure until attaining an eruptive forcefulness. This sense of poetic compression and quiet relentlessness was evident on the ECM debut Rruga, but with leader Vallon now writing almost all of the program and new drummer Julian Sartorius detailing its floating rhythms, the Swiss trio has entered a brave new space where touch and inflection are more important than solos. Slowly unfolding melodies are shared between Patrice Moret’s bass and Vallon’s piano. A fresh group language is being developed here, especially in the extended group improvisations that close the set.
MØ No Mythologies To Follow RCA Records
Despite having no albums out and only 2 online tracks the 23-year- old MØ found herself in a bidding war. Hip outlets such as Pitchfork, The Guardian, Fader and NME are already singing her praises and, now, with her new album, No Mythologies To Follow this virtually unknown pop phenom from Denmark is ready to break big. With a unique mix of indie, pop, hip-hop, electro and soul No Mythologies To Followsounds like MØ is fighting a battle of mixed emotions inside of herself… That or she’s just on the musical pulse of today’s genre-resistant music fan. What’s more, in this age of TMI MØ has still managed to cultivate an air of mystery while garnering enough clout to get Diplo to produce her tracks. Don’t be fooled by the title: MØ seems destined for legendary status.
Fireworks Oh, Common Life Triple Crown
With their fourth full-length release, emo-rockers Fireworks has further refined their rich, powerfully emotional take on rock & roll with Oh, Common Life. While lead singer David Mackinder makes his struggles with the world around him vivid in the lyrics of songs like "The Only Thing That Haunts This House Is Me" and "Flies on Tape," his bandmates fill the melodies with clever and surprisingly intricate textures as guitarists Brett Jones and Chris Mojan, bassist Kyle O'Neil, and drummer Tymm Rengers raise up these songs with clarity and purpose. Artful and ambitious throughout, Oh, Common Life may not bring cheer to most listeners, but the passion informing both the lyrics and the music shows that Fireworks offer something genuinely life-affirming despite their dour surfaces.
Riley Etheridge Jr The Straight and Narrow Rock Ridge Music
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Riley Etheridge Jr. has reached many people with his poetic and vulnerable songwriting. His carefully crafted four-album catalog is rife with haunting and healing stories of the human condition, each emotionally resonate and each thoughtfully placed within well-developed thematic albums. But his new album, The Straight and Narrow Way, is all about having a party. A festive collection album of funky Americana, “Roll Away The Stone” is the album’s creative epicenter, but it also reveals its heart via a stunning duet with Sara Watkins, “The Maze.” But just take heed the words of rock icon Jim Keltner: “[it’s like] Steely Dan got lost over a long weekend in New Orleans."
Crosses Crosses Sumerian
Crosses (A.K.A. †††) is the minimalist doom-pop outfit fronted by erstwhile Deftones frontman Chino Moreno along with Far guitarist, Shaun Lopez, and drummer Chuck Doom. The band’s eponymously-titled LP features remastered tracks from their two previous EPs in addition to five brand new tracks. Though more “soothing” than each of the members’ higher-profile projects, Crosses is laden with plenty of dark, gothy edge. Moreno’s voice is in fine form – showcasing a less screamy, more dramatic range – which was usually employed when the Deftones took to interpreting the material of their favorite artists. Sinister, sexy, and often gorgeous, Crosses is like The Cure for Metalheads. Witch House fans should especially take note.
London Grammar If You Wait Columbia
London Grammar are far from your average fly-by-night indie outfit -- they make the kind of soul drenched, intimate, angst laden pop music designed to lift your heart and remind you why you love music in the first place. Hannah Reid’s vocals, whilst reminiscent of a certain Miss Welch (otherwise known as Florence and The Machine), run an awe inspiring fine line between brittle fragility and show stopping diva, whilst musically their melodies are as soul meltingly beautiful as anything you are likely to hear this year. If You Wait is filled to the brim with deep soul, dark dubby tremors, and a subtle but dank layer of grime that skitters like a cold wind down your back. It’s also dead sexy. This is the new sound of night.
Dandy Warhols Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia: Live at The Wonder The End
The Dandy Warhols have never been a band to shy away from a grand gesture. Thirteen years after the release of what many consider to be the band’s high-water mark, Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia, the band thought it time to revisit said masterpiece in the form of a live album. Now listen: You can call The Dandy Warhols many things, but be sure you include “ballsy” and “ambitious” in those bullet points. Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia Live At The Wonder celebrates a legacy by attacking it with grand aplomb. All of your favorite moments are rendered with tender professionalism and raw snotty grace – like real rock stars. It’s visceral experience – and shockingly well done… So you might wanna include “professional” in those bullet points as well. Dig.
Sweet Apple Sweet Apple Tee Pee Records
Sweet Apple, the band of dispersed rockers from groups you've heard before -- Dinosaur Jr., Cobra Verde and Witch -- is back! The Golden Age Of Glitter is a 10-song power-pop masterpiece featuring J Mascis, Tim Parnin, John Petkovic and Dave Sweetapple that travels a wide swathe of musical styles -- almost as wide as the geography represented by the band. ' The Golden Age Of Glitter was recorded from California to Massachusetts, with Cleveland in the middle. Along the way, Screaming Trees / Queens Of The Stone Age's Mark Lanegan and Guided By Voices' Robert Pollard showed up to do some killer guest duets!
Avi Avital Between Worlds Deutsche Grammophon
From Bach to Bluegrass to Balkan Beats, the mandolin is the chameleon of the music world -- every culture and musical genre features the mandolin or one of its close relatives -- and Avi Avital is one of this beautiful instrument’s most charismatic, versatile exponent. Between Worlds genre-defying tour of the globe exploring the nexus between classical, popular and traditional music uniquely inhabited by Avi Avital and his magical mandolin. Here Avi returns to again defy expectations with a selection of beautiful melodies and delightful dances from Europe, Central Asia, and the Americas -- each with roots in popular folk traditions and arranged by some of the worlds greatest classical composers. Let’s hope a Chris Thiele collabo is in the works…
Gustavo Dudamel & John Adams The Gospel According To The Other Mary Deutsche Grammophon
A timely, controversial work of grand proportions, The Gospel According To The Other Mary is a new, full-scale re-imagining of the Bach oratorio from legendary composer John Adams and iconoclast writer/director Peter Sellars. Focusing on the oft marginalized perspectives of Mary Magdalene and Martha, The Gospel According To The Other Mary sets Biblical characters and events, including the resurrection of Lazarus and the passion of Christ, in a powerfully political, contemporary light. Adams and Sellars previous collaborations included Nixon In China, the most-performed American opera since Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and Dr. Atomic, an opera about the invention of the atomic bomb.
Bil Basmala On the Edge of Forever Formerly Known As
On The Edge Of Forever contains all the essential blends of artistic ‘strangeness’ of style. The production: Dusty, intricate loops and samples. Hard jazz, deep funk sounds, but taken so far and so deep from the source as to be absorbed and transformed... Like some alternate reality where Dolphy and Mingus invented the MPC and jazz never ended. But who is Bil Basmala? It’s hard to say… Information is scant. But that’s what the crate diggers love – scarcity… And records like On The Edge Of Forever don’t come along very often. It might as well been made by a ghost whose only tether to our corporeal world is the invention of ambient neo soul. For fans of DJ Shadow, Dilla, Mushroom Jazz, and Steely Dan. You need this.
Strong guitar riffage and pummeling bass and drums drive the primal, heavy sound of Black Label Society, fronted by wild man Zakk Wylde, one-time guitarist and co-songwriter for Ozzy Osbourne. Gear heads are fans of Wylde’s maniacal guitar sound, made signature through his dedicated use of Les Paul Custom guitars through Marshall amplifiers and a chain of custom MXR and Dunlop guitar pedals. Catacombs of the Black Vatican is the band’s first studio album since The Order Of The Black, released in 2009. The album opens with the thickly riffy “Fields of Unforgiveness” and rapidly segues into the deep grooves of leadoff single, “My Dying Time.” Track after track, whether ballad or riff-heavy anthem, Catacombs of the Black Vatican solidly rocks on, taking a brief respite for sparsely arranged “Scars” more than halfway through. When asked about the new album, Wylde characteristically joked it was “all completely the same as the last nine records, except just different song titles." While that statement isn’t exactly true, the band clearly has found a formula that works, and Catacombs of the Black Vatican promises not to let Black Label Society fans down, in the least.
Black Label Society - Catacombs of the Black Vatican eOne Records
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