With one foot planted in the folksy, fiery twang of modern-day Americana and the other inching toward the rootsy rock & roll of early Sun Records hits, Christian Lopez is the sort of singer/songwriter who builds a bridge between the new and the old. Raised in West Virginia, Lopez grew up surrounded by bluegrass groups, jam bands, and Appalachian pickers. At 19 years old, however, he's grown into one of Americana's most promising newcomers, armed with songs that draw on his experiences living in the Mountain State, traveling the Bible Belt, and falling in (and out) of love. No wonder his distinctive voice and songs attracted the attention of producer Dave Cobb, the man behind critically-acclaimed Americana albums like Jason Isbell's Southeastern and Sturgill Simpson's Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. Pilot is the product of a singer-songwriter who's ready to throw down the throttle and beat a raw, rootsy trail all the way to the horizon.
The Last Ship Original Broadway Cast Recording Decca Records
The Last Ship is the new musical with songs and lyrics by 16-time Grammy Award-winner Sting and book by Tony Award-winner John Logan and Pulitzer Prize-winner Brian Yorkey. It is based on Sting’s childhood experiences growing up around London’s shipbuilding industry, and has its roots his classic album, The Soul Cages. After it opened on Broadway it received overwhelming praise for its emotionally powerful score. In the fall of 2013, Sting introduced some of the selections heard in the musical on his own album of the same name, The Last Ship. The Original Broadway Cast album includes some of those original compositions performed by the acclaimed Broadway cast, as well as selections exclusively written and recorded for the stage production. Highlights include such show favorites as the title track, “We’ve Got Now’t Else” and “If You Ever See Me Talking to a Sailor” plus “When We Dance,” a beloved song from Sting’s vast songbook.
Mark Ronson Uptown Special RCA Records
Uptown Special is Mark Ronson's most inventive and vibrant work to date. Taken as a whole, the album is inspired by his musical beginnings. As a teenager growing up in New York City in the early 90s, Ronson gravitated towards hip-hop, funk, soul and R&B. Those were the records he lugged around in boxes in the early days of his club DJ career and that scratchy, inspiring vinyl was what he returned to when creating the album. Uptown Special, Ronson's fourth album, was written and produced over 18 months in studios in London, Memphis, Los Angeles and New York City. Ronson handled the music while the lyrics were written by Pulitzer-winning American novelist Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay; Telegraph Avenue). Uptown Funk’sguests include Tame Impala's Kevin Parker, Mystikal, and Bruno Mars – though you probably already know about the latter two thanks to their amazing recent performance with Ronson on Saturday Night Live (seriously: look it up). The funk is strong on this album. Dig it.
British indie rock outfit Catfish and the Bottlemen formed in Llandudno, Wales, with members moving to the seaside town from as far away as Sheffield and Newcastle to complete the lineup. The band started out in 2010 when Aussie-born vocalist Van McCann started playing with guitarist Bill Bibby — the elder brother of McCann's best friend — and bassist Benji Blakeway. They began to attract fans through their guerilla D.I.Y. gigs in car parks prior to shows, and in 2011 they played a rain-soaked evening in Manchester prior to a sold-out Kasabian performance while friends handed out free copies of their demo. Their D.I.Y. ethic led them to play over 250 official and unofficial events in 2012 and the first half of 2013 before they eventually signed to Mumford & Sons' Ben Lovett's Communion Records. After a releasing a slew of strong EPs Catfish and the Bottlemen’s debut album, The Balcony, lives up to the bands promise (and then some) with a winning combination of hooks, guts, and humor. Think The Strokes crossed with Arctic Monkeys and The Cribs – all full hearts, loud guitars, and reckless abandon.
Catfish & The Bottlemen - The Balcony Communion
The Coalition of Independent Music Stores (CIMS) is a group of some of the best independent music stores in America. CIMS was founded in 1995; its current membership is made up of 29 accounts that handle 47 stores in 21 states. Many of the accounts have been recognized by the music industry and their local communities for their outstanding dedication to customer service and developing artist support.
Each member is bound by its shared love of music, a reputation for great selection and customer service in its community, yet each CIMS account is as unique as the market it represents. Most importantly, CIMS member stores continually seek to challenge the jaded, color-by-numbers advertising and marketing of other retailers.
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