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Music Releases 09-23-22

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Ali Farka Touré trekked the world, bringing his beloved Malian music to the masses. Dubbed “the African John Lee Hooker,” one could hear strong connections between the two; both employed a bluesy style of play with gritty textures that elicit calm and fury in equal measure. While the influence of Black blues music prevailed, Touré created a West African blend of 'desert blues' that garnered Grammy awards and widespread reverence. 

Though he transcended in 2006, Ali’s musical legacy lives on through his son, Vieux aka “the Hendrix of the Sahara,” an accomplished guitarist and champion of Malian music in his own right. On Ali, his collaborative album with Khruangbin, Vieux pays homage to his father by recreating some of his most resonant work, putting new twists on it while maintaining the original’s integrity. The result is a rightful ode to a legend.

Ali isn’t just a greatest hits compilation. It’s a lullaby, a remembrance of Ali's life through known highlights and B-sides from his catalog. It is a testament to what happens when creativity is approached through open arms and open hearts. “To me, music is magic, it is spontaneous, it is the energy between people,” Vieux says. “I think Khruangbin understands this very well.”

The genesis of the album dates back to 2019, when Khruangbin, coming off their breakthrough album Con Todo el Mundo, was beginning to play to bigger crowds. The record was finished in 2021, as a global pandemic shuttered businesses and forced us to take stock of what Earth was becoming. Indirectly, Ali captures this as a moment of peace within a raging storm, a conversation between past and present without allegiance to suffering. Now, given Khruangbin’s reach as a unit with legions of fans (including the likes of Jay-Z and Paul McCartney), they’re poised to bring Malian music to broader groups of listeners. 

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THE KINKS, Muswell Hillbillies & Everybody’s In Show-Biz – Everybody’s a Star deluxe 6LP, 4CD box set is being released through BMG on September 9, 2022 in celebration of the 50th Anniversary. The box set combines two of THE KINKS’ classic 1970’s albums - Muswell Hillbillies, the album the band toured in America; and helped define them as a rock band in the U.S.. And Everybody’s In Show-Biz – Everybody’s a Star; the album that was written in reflection of the tour. Packaged inside a newly designed two-part box, this deluxe set includes remastered audio from the original Muswell Hillbillies & Everybody’s In Show-Biz, pressed across 5 color vinyl and 4 CD’s. Also includes a bonus heavyweight black vinyl of 11 new Ray Davies remixes and a Blu-Ray video of “Ray Davies 1971 Home Movie”. Also included in the release is a “London Roots Map” of all the Kinks landmarks, x6 glossy photos, a Kinks Pin-Badge and 52pp hardback book including rare and unseen band photos and quotes.

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ABBA’s all-time best-selling album is now available as a limited-edition Picture Disc 2 LP for the very first time, featuring 19 timeless hits such as “Dancing Queen” and “Mamma Mia.” Pressed on 180-gram heavyweight vinyl which features classic ABBA graphics on the design, the discs are housed in a die-cut gatefold sleeve.

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Double vinyl LP pressing. Almost Everything. Is a two-part album. The first, features 15 of Ireland's best-loved artists reading Kavanagh's poetry against the backdrop of a truly stunning musical composition. The second, is a remaster of the 1964 album from Claddagh Records, the only recording of Patrick Kavanagh reading his own poetry. The sleeve notes include fellow poet John Montague's description of Kavanagh as "a writer who already has his place among the Irish immortals, both as a personality and a poet."
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Searching In Grenoble: The 1978 Solo Piano Concert is a previously unissued recording of jazz icon Mal Waldron's mesmerizing performance at the "Five Days of Jazz" series in Grenoble, France on March 23, 1978. Waldron was Billie Holiday's final accompanist, played with John Coltrane, Charles Mingus and Jackie McLean, and recorded dozens of solo albums before his passing in 2002. The beautifully designed, deluxe 2-CD set includes photos, an extensive 24-page booklet, essays and interviews.

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Limited yellow colored vinyl LP pressing. 2022 release. Anyone that cut their metal teeth with The Big Four, and then dug a little deeper into the indie scene, should receive a major endorphin rush when they discover that speed and thrash masters Razor are about to release their first studio offering in 25 years. The album, Cycle of Contempt, is a direct, cutthroat record that pulls no punches and takes no prisoners. From the catchy, concise riffs and insistent beats of album opener "Flames of Hatred" to the double-barreled assault, muted power chord chugging and combative gang vocal of album closer "King Shit," Cycle of Contempt is a trenchant reminder of a time when clubs around the world were packed with long-haired bands that played as fast as they could and mosh pits that spun and tumbled like clothes in a short-circuiting dryer. As energetic and exciting as Evil Invaders and as urgent and powerful as RAZOR's 1989 speed-fest Violent Restitution, Cycle of Contempt showcases a band that never stopped spewing venom.
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iPad style Notebook. 1x CD-R, 1x Photobook, 1x Photocard (random), 1x Folding Photocard (random), 1x Popup Card, 1x Hologram Sticker, 1x Hidden Poster (random, pre-order only), Autograph Polaroid Poster (pre-order only)

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Nonesuch Records releases Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award–winning composer Caroline Shaw’s Evergreen, performed by Shaw and Attacca Quartet, on September 9, 2022. Evergreen is five original works by Shaw: two suites written for string quartet—Three Essays and The Evergreen—two pieces written for string quartet and voice, and one piece written solely for string quartet. It also includes an interpretation of a twelfth century French poem, which the Quartet performs with Shaw on vocals.

Following 2019’s Orange, which featured six of Shaw’s pieces for string quartet and earned Attacca Quartet a Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance, Evergreen was built around the titular four-song suite, first performed by the Viano String Quartet in 2021. Shaw describes the work as an offering to one particular tree in an evergreen forest on Swiikw (Galiano Island), off the west coast of Canada. The album also includes Three Essays, a suite written for and premiered by Calidore String Quartet that addresses language’s power to stir emotion and spread information and ideas through written, spoken, and digital forms; And So, a piece composed for the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale and mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter as part of Shaw’s Is a Rose trilogy; Blueprint, a work originally composed for the Aizuri Quartet and relating closely to an early string quartet by Beethoven; Other Song, a piece written for the National Symphony Orchestra and originally released on Shaw's 2021 solo vocal debut, Let the Soil Play Its Simple Part; and an interpretation of Cant voi l’aube, a poem by twelfth century trouvčre, Gace Brulé.

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Public Displays of Affection: The Album is a soundtrack of intimacy that seemed to offer an answer: You let love lead. Muni Long explains, “I am a lover. I prefer to be kind. I believe in fairytales. The reason Public Displays of Affection worked is because love was absent in R&B.” For this breakthrough project, Muni wanted to mimic the ebbs and flows of a relationship, dipping and diving between moods and sounds – which is real, because love can be tumultuous, too. Deluxe CD.
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“God” figures in the new album from Philadelphia, PA based Alex Giannascoli's LP’s title, its first song, and multiple of its thirteen tracks thereafter, not as a concrete religious entity but as a sign for a generalized sense of faith (in something, anything) that fortifies Giannascoli, or the characters he voices, amid the songs’ often fraught situations. Beyond the ambient inspiration of pop, Giannascoli has been drawn in recent years to artists who balance the public and hermetic, the oblique and the intimate, and who present faith more as a shared social language than religious doctrine. As with his previous records, Giannascoli wrote and demoed these songs by himself, at home; but, for the sake of both new tones and “a routine that was outside of my apartment,” he asked some half-dozen engineers to help him produce the “best” recording quality, whatever that meant. The result is an album more dynamic than ever in its sonic palette.

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FKA Twigs

CAPRISONGS [Glow In The Dark LP]

Vinyl: $23.99 UNAVAILABLE

FKA twigs’ highly anticipated mixtape CAPRISONGS is now on vinyl. The mixtape documents twigs’ “journey back to myself through my amazing collaborators and friends.” and showcases an evolution and expansion for this prolific artist who continues to thoughtfully push at the edges of her art.  CAPRISONGS… it’s bronzer in the sink, alco pop on the side, a cherry lolly, apple juice when you’re thirsty, friends in the park, your favourite person, that one sentence somebody said to you that changed everything, a club pre-game, your bestie who is always late but brings the most to the party, meeting a friend at the airport, just togetherness.” – FKA twigs.  CAPRISONGS features collaborations with Pa Salieu (on “honda,”), Daniel Caesar (“careless”), Rema (“jealousy”), Jorja Smith and Unknown T (“darjeeling”), DYSTOPIA (“which way”) and Shygirl (“papi bones”) in addition to the previously released single “tears in the club”, which saw twigs teaming up with The Weeknd for her biggest track to date.

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Joni Mitchell was at a turning point 50 years ago. After making four acclaimed albums with Reprise Records, including her 1971 masterpiece Blue, she left the label to join the brand-new Asylum Records in 1972. Over the next seven years, Mitchell would record some of the most acclaimed music of her career while changing her musical direction by adding more jazz elements into her songwriting. The evolution culminated in 1979 with Mingus, her collaboration with jazz titan Charles Mingus, and her studio last album for Asylum.

Explore the beginning of that prolific era with THE ASYLUM ALBUMS (1972-1975), the next installment in the Joni Mitchell Archives series. The collection features newly remastered versions of FOR THE ROSES (1972), COURT AND SPARK (1974), the double live album MILES OF AISLES (1974), and THE HISSING OF SUMMER LAWNS (1975). All four were recently remastered by Bernie Grundman.

The cover art for THE ASYLUM ALBUMS (1972-1975) features a previously unseen painting by Mitchell. The set also includes an essay by friend and fellow Canadian Neil Young. He writes: Joni's music is so deep and transporting. She comes right from the source. There is no mistaking it.For The Roses, Court And Spark, Miles Of Aisles, and The Hissing Of Summer Lawns.are all classics in my book. I listened to every album as it came out. The musicians she played with were always above my abilities. She had grown from folk to jazz and in between, creating a unique kind of sound that I loved to listen to over and over.

THE ASYLUM ALBUMS (1972-1975)

THE ASYLUM ALBUMS (1972-1975) follows Mitchell's musical evolution over four albums as she embraced more jazz-inspired pieces and moved away from the folk and pop of her early years. It includes essential tracks like her first Top 40 hit, You Turn Me On, I'm A Radio and her highest-charting (#7) single Help Me, plus favorites like Free Man In Paris, Raised On Robbery and In France They Kiss On Main Street.

FOR THE ROSES

FOR THE ROSES, which was released 50 years ago this November, was certified gold and added to the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry in 2007. Court And Spark topped the U.S. album chart and was certified double platinum, making it the best-selling album of Mitchell's career. It was nominated for multiple GrammyO Awards, including Album of the Year, and won Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist for Down To You.

MILES OF AISLES

MILES OF AISLES is a double live album that spotlights the tour for Court And Spark. It reached #2 on the album chart and was certified gold. The Hissing Of Summer Lawns was certified gold as well, peaking at #4 on the album chart and earning a Grammy? Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

The ASYLUM ALBUMS (1972-1975)

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Throughout his six-decade long career, Dr. John embodied a near-mythic multitude of musical identities: Global Ambassador of New Orleans funk and jazz and R&B, visionary bluesman, rock and roll innovator, and a massively revered high priest of psychedelic voodoo.

Things Happen That Way, his final studio album, adds another dimension to his musicality: a lifelong affinity for country & western. It's a glorious farewell from one of the most essential figures in music history.

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Noah Gundersen returns with his much anticipated new album, ‘A Pillar of Salt’ out October 8th ahead of a US headline tour kicking off October 9th. The project is a return to form for Gundersen, coupling heartfelt lyrics with his signature understated vocal performance. Featuring singles “Sleepless in Seattle” and “Atlantis,” a stunning duet with Phoebe Bridgers, fans old and new will be celebrating this triumphant piece of art.

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"Eternally Yours" is about permanence and transience. The lyrics of the songs from four decades are for the most part written by Marian Gold herself. A central theme for Alphaville and Marian Gold has always been dreaming: 'We get around quite a lot, we've played almost everywhere, in and out of our heads. All this contributes to our music, to the idea of what Alphaville could be. It's like a never-ending dream. Those who listen to our music hear fragments of that dream.' The all- new and titular song reads like a farewell letter. In fact, except for the chorus, all the lines are taken from sonnets by Shakespeare. Marian Gold and his two arrangers Max Knoth and Christian Lohr succeed on this album in providing the musical substance of the songs with the appropriate sound content. At the same time, the songs do not sound unusually bloated or overused - on the contrary: as a listener, one wonders about the natural, warm, even familiar sounds and asks oneself why there have not been more symphonic arrangements of Alphaville songs before.
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Vinyl LP pressing. 2022 release. Beth Nielsen Chapman returns with her first full length LP since 2018's Hearts of Glass, and it's her first release on UK based indie label Cooking Vinyl. Twice Grammy nominated and a legend in the folk and singer / songwriter world, she's written for & with the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Elton John, Willy Nelson and Faith Hill over her impressive 40 year career. It was produced by Ray Kennedy (Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams) at the well known Room & Board studio in Nashville, Tennessee.
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The Comet Is Coming returns with their 2nd full-length album on Impulse! Records. King Shabaka, Danalogue, and Betamax's newest effort finds the trio creating a musical landscape that is equally cerebral as it is physically enthralling. While containing elements of jazz throughout, this release leans further into heavy dancehall themes, providing hypnotic, electronic soundscapes to dance to while keeping you intellectually stimulated.
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Jim Lauderdale

Game Changer

CD: $11.99 Buy

MP3 Album: $9.99 Download

2022 release. At any given time, you're likely to find Jim Lauderdale making music, whether he's laying down a new track in the studio or working through a spontaneous melody at his home in Nashville. And if he's not actively crafting new music, he's certainly thinking about it. "It's a constant challenge to try to keep making better and better records, write better and better songs. I still always feel like I'm a developing artist," he says. This may be a surprising sentiment from a man who's won two Grammys, released 34 full-length albums, and taken home the Americana Music Association's coveted Wagonmaster Award. But forthcoming album Game Changer is convincing evidence that the North Carolina native is only continuing to hone his craft. Operating under his own label, Sky Crunch Records, for the first time since 2016, Lauderdale recorded Game Changer at the renowned Blackbird Studios in Nashville, co-producing the release with Jay Weaver and pulling from songs he'd written over the last several years. "There's a mixture on this record of uplifting songs and, at the same time, songs of heartbreak and despair-because that's part of life as well," he says. "In the country song world especially, that's always been part of it. That's real life."
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160g LP (pressed at Smashed Plastic in Chicago), in a Heavyweight Reverse-Board LP Jacket, with Insert Sheet, OBI Strip, and Poly-Lined Innersleeve.

In These Times is the new album by Chicago-based percussionist, producer and composer Makaya McCraven. This is the album McCraven’s been trying to make since he started making records – and his patience, ambition and persistence have yielded an appropriately career-defining body of work.  With contributions from over a dozen musicians and creative partners from his tight-knit circle of collaborators – including Jeff Parker, Junius Paul, Brandee Younger, Joel Ross, and Marquis Hill – the music was recorded in 5 different studios and 4 live performance spaces while McCraven engaged in extensive post-production work at home. the 11 song suite was created over 7+ years, as McCraven strived to design a highly personal but broadly communicable fusion of odd-meter compositions from his working songbook with orchestral, large ensemble arrangements and the edit-heavy “organic beat music” that he’s honed over a growing body of production-craft.

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Stratovarius – the Scandinavian flagship of Symphonic Metal and one of the most famous bands of their genre in the world, managed to establish themselves as one of the top names in the Metal scene and have since influenced bands all over the world.

The Finnish band gained international success with albums like ‘Fourth Dimension’ (1995), ‘Episode’ (1996) and their epic project ‘Elements, Pt. 1’ (a peak in their Progressive and Symphonic style of Power Metal) and ‘Elements, Pt.2’ - to name just a few of the band‘s milestones. In 2009 ‘Polaris’ marked a fresh start for the band as guitarist and band leader Timo Tolkki left the band. Instead of being a difficult re-start, ‘Polaris’ showed Stratovarius in top form and perfectly able to captivate people all over the world: The album became a hell of a comeback and charted higher than the previous releases around the globe. Since then, Stratovarius continue to walk the path of success, inspiring fans and other bands, young and old, all over the world.

Seven years after the release of their last album “Eternal”, Stratovarius once more prove their status as symphonic metal flagship and come back with a big bang.

Not only musically the band is once more at the pulse of time. The environment and humanity’s future has always been an important and reoccurring theme in Stratovarius’ music and so the title of the new album “Survive” as well as the accompanying artwork doesn’t surprise - especially in the view of the current global situation.

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