CD: $9.98 Buy
Andy Shauf’s songs unfold like short fiction: they’re densely layered with colorful characters and a rich emotional depth. On his new studio album Norm, Andy Shauf’s songwriting veers decidedly more oblique, hinting at sinister happenings and dark motivations. The result: an intoxicating collection of mellifluous melodies and beguiling lyrics. Levitating, synth-laden atmospherics drive Shauf’s storytelling on ‘Norm,’ mixed by Neal Pogue (Tyler, the Creator).
In 2016, The Party catapulted Andy Shauf to indie notoriety, followed by 2020’s The Neon Skyline which landed Andy Shauf performances on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and CBS This Morning: Saturday, a Polaris Prize nomination, and mentions on several best-of lists — among them, a track on Barack Obama’s playlist and praise from Pitch- fork, The Atlantic, Esquire, Stereogum, and more.
The Golden Dregs
The beautiful third album by the GOLDEN DREGS, On Grace and Dignity, starts with a scene of a man going on holiday in search of his “best self”. In among the personal reflections on loss of innocence and inferiority, Benjamin spins subtly interweaving narratives about survival, desperate acts of violence, loss and the limitations of community in the face of rapacious gentrification. Nevertheless, it is, appropriately for an album about home, somewhere you’ll want to spend a while. (Benjamin recorded it at his place –that’s his sister Hannah on saxophone.) Life here proceeds at a graceful pace –the bass is sturdy, organs celestial, horns softly valedictory –grounded by Benjamin’s deep voice, which seems to resonate from his feet as he delivers the sort of meticulously written lunar wisdom worthy of Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner, or the tidy yet revelatory koans of Silver Jews’ David Berman.
Yo La Tengo
Coming February 10 2023: the first new studio album in five years from Yo La Tengo, This Stupid World. Recorded at YLT’s practice space in Hoboken NJ, the new material captures the collaborative energy and eclecticism that has defined the band’s career as it enters its 40th year. The double LP features a 10th track on Side D available exclusively on vinyl. The trio returns to NYC’s Bowery Ballroom for their storied annual eight-night Hanukkah residency this December before touring across North America throughout 2023.
Following 5 BBC Folk Awards nominations and a designation by the Guardian as Folk Album of the Year in 2019, it is fair to say that Lisa O’Neill is one of the most evocative songwriters in contemporary Irish music today. Fresh off 2018’s collection Heard a Long Song Gone for the River Lea imprint, The Wren EP in 2019 and an adaptation of Bob Dylan’s ""All the Tired Horses"" for the final scene of epic TV drama Peaky Blinders, O'Neill now returns with her latest album, and first for the Rough Trade label, the beautiful, resonant All Of This Is Chance.A raconteur in the truest sense of the word, every story starts somewhere and O’Neill starts this extraordinary collection here on earth, on Irish soil, hands in the land. The album is full of both orchestral masterpieces like the ambitious and cinematic ""Old Note"", inspired by the great Monaghan writer Patrick Kavanagh's prescient meditation on The Great Hunger as well as stirring meditations on nature, birds, berries, bees, and blood that ring out over a clacking banjo, dusting and devastating all those in its wake.All Of This Is Chance takes Lisa’s inimitable voice to greater heights, or depths, depending on which way you look at it. Vol Side Track Artist Title Sub-Title 1 1 1 Lisa O'Neill All Of This Is Chance 1 1 2 Lisa O'Neill Silver Seed 1 1 3 Lisa O'Neill Old Note 1 1 4 Lisa O'Neill Birdy From Another Realm 1 2 5 Lisa O'Neill The Globe 1 2 6 Lisa O'Neill If I Was A Painter 1 2 7 Lisa O'Neill Whisht, The Wild Workings Of The Mind 1 2 8 Lisa O'Neill Goodnight World
Algiers have always been unflinching, but SHOOK is at the same time notably joyous and celebratory. It was born when Fisher and Mahan found themselves back in their native Atlanta for several months, reeling from growing pressures and burnout as touring musicians. This triggered an intense period of beatmaking, reconnecting as friends over hours immersed in episodes of Rhythm Roulette and Against the Clock and descending deep into alt-rap YouTube rabbit holes. A revisit of DJ Grand Wizard Theodore's 1970s punk-infused New York City rap masterpiece `Subway Theme' served as a spiritual moodboard for the album's cross-pollination of urban and counter-culture styles. Across the seamlessly flowing set, including spoken vignettes and ambient instrumental segues, the band pay respect to a sprawling lineage of rap and punk iconoclasts from DJ Premier, DJ Screw and Dead Boys to Lukah, Griselda and DÃ¯at - chopping and screwing beats on a dusty SP-404 and a Sequential Circuits Tempest, building imagined sample libraries from scratch.
Atlanta, where the genesis of this record took place, is ultimately at its heart. It opens with a robotic train announcement from Hartsfield Airport-iconic to many Atlanta natives-that used to frighten Fisher when he was a child. Field recordings and original samples created by the band emphasize throughout a sense of place, collectivity, imagined community and home, all building a world that evokes the elusive sensory experience of growing up in the urban South. "We were working in an environment that we were used to", says guitarist Lee Tesche. "It feels like the most Algiers record that we've ever made."
The accomplishment of this record is made all the more impressive by the fact it was made by a band who were falling apart and on the verge of breaking up. But instead they have produced an extraordinary, transformative record born from a shared sense of place and experience. "I think this record is us finding home," says Mahan, with Fisher adding: "It was a whole new positive experience- having a renewed relationship with the city we're from and having a pride in that. I like the idea that this record has taken you on a voyage but it begins and ends in Atlanta."
ALGIERS / SHOOK
“FOREGROUND MUSIC”, the title of Ron Gallo’s 4th LP, and debut for Kill Rock Stars might also be a suitable name for his own genre. In simplest terms it’s the opposite of background music - unavoidable, urgent, in your face - Gallo’s consistent theme is to confront, disrupt and sometimes even confuse people into a sense of awareness. The intention to steer away from apathy and self-empower by focusing on what we can control and make light of in a world designed to take it away. The guitar is less an instrument and more of a primal noise machine. This record is a challenge to everything and everyone, including his own self, who is holding back the progress of humanity (especially in America) into a more open, empathetic and collective unit - the words delivered with a punkish tenacity and lining even the heaviest topics with an ever-present sense of humor. It covers the full spectrum of emotion. This music feels like life feels right now. In his eyes, how could it not? Clad in caution tape and construction orange color scheme, much like his surrounding neighborhood in Philadelphia where it was written and recorded. Gallo doesn’t see now (or ever) as the time to sit back and chill - this is going to be what we make it. Over the course of the record traversing between sounds akin to an exploding NYC subway station, oddball dance-punk, noise pop, even the more grave moments would sit well in whatever a modern version of CBGB’s 1975 would be - in 11 songs Gallo shares detailed anecdotes and takes on male entitlement, the age of anxiety, apathy vs. action, gentrification, narcissism, retail therapy, xenophobia, the dread of future generations, right wing extremists in giant pickup trucks, capitalism, climate change and the experience
This land runs through Katherine Paul’s blood. And it called to her. In dreams she saw the river, her ancestors, and her home. When the land calls, you listen. And KP found herself far from her ancestral lands during a time of collective trauma, when the world was wounded and in need of healing. In 2020 she made the journey from Portland back to the Skagit River, back to the cedar trees that stand tall and shrouded in fog, back to the tide flats and the mountains, back to Swinomish.
It is a powerful thing to return to our ancestral lands and often times the journey is not easy. Like the salmon through the currents, like the tide as it crawls to shore this is a story of return. It is the call and response. It is the outstretched arms of the people who came before, welcoming her home. The Land, The Water, The Sky is a celebration of lineage and strength. Even in its deepest moments of loneliness and grief, of frustration over a world wrought with colonial violence and pain, the songs remind us that if we slow down, if we listen to the waves and the wind through the trees, we will remember to breathe.
There is a throughline of story in every song, a remembrance of knowledge and teachings, a gratitude of wisdom passed down and carried. There is a reimagining of Sedna who was offered to the sea, and a beautiful rumination on sacrifice and humanity, and what it means to hold the stories that work to teach us something.
Chord progressions born out of moments of sadness and solitude transform into the islands that sit blue along the horizon. The Salish Sea curves along her homelands, and when the singer is close to this water she is reminded of her grandmother, how she looked out at these same islands, and she’s held by spirit and memory.
The Land, The Water, The Sky rises and falls, in darkness and in light, but even in its most melancholy moments it is never despairing. That is the beauty of returning home. When you stand on ancestral lands it is impossible to be alone. You feel the arms and hands that hold you up, unwilling to let you fall into sorrow or abandonment. In her songs Katherine Paul has channeled that feeling of being held. In every note she has written a love letter to indigenous strength and healing.
There is a joy present here, a fierce blissfulness that comes with walking the trails along the river, feeling the sand and the stones beneath her feet. It is the pride and the certainty that comes with knowing her ancestors walked along the same land, dipped their hands into the water, and ran their fingertips along the same bark of cedar trees.
This is a story of hope, as it details the joy of returning. Katherine Paul’s journey home wasn’t made alone, and the songs are crowded with loved ones and relatives, like a really good party. And as the songs walk us through the land it is important we hover over the images and the beauty, the moments that mark this album as site specific. The power of this land is woven throughout, telling the story of narrow waterways, brush strokes, salmon stinta, and above all healing.
Let it take you. Move through the story and see the land through her eyes, because it is a gift, a welcomed sʔabadəb.*
*The word “gift” in Lushootseed, the language of the Coast Salish people“
Alabama native Drayton Farley has as honest a voice as you're likely to hear in this burgeoning scene of country, folk, roots, and Americana music we're all wrapped up in. With songs and lyrics pulled from real life experience, there's a grounded feeling to his stories, a confessional quality that rings true to those who know. His voice fills the room like cigarette smoke, curling into every corner of you, with a fine grit rasp that smooths out every rough edge. It lingers hours, days, after you've left the bar - turns of phrase that tumble around your mind, bittersweet and familiar. He sings as deeply about the love he holds as the love he's lost and there's something so broken-in and comfortable about that Southern inflection that every song feels like coming home. Sharing stages with musicians on the rise such as Zach Bryan, Arlo McKinley and Mike and the Moonpies, Drayton has quickly gained a loyal fan base.
CD: $11.98 Buy
New Jersey rock band Can't Swim is releasing their 4th full length studio album called 'Thanks But No Thanks'. Self-produced by Danny Rico, the band's guitarist, the band is returning to their roots of gritty, dirty, DIY instrumentals accompanied by some of the best lyrical concepts of their career.
‘There’s Nothing Worse Than Too Late’ was written and recorded over the last year and half. We went back to some of our earlier influences for it. When writing, we kept referencing more timeless bands like The Starting Line, Taking Back Sunday, Jimmy Eat World and many others. It has always been important for us to write songs that are timeless, but that was in the front of our minds more than ever when compiling TNWTTL. We want our fans to go back and listen to these songs in five or ten years and still feel something. Lyrically it touches on depression, death, cutting long lasting ties for good and many other heavy subject matters. At the end of it all, if our fans feel less alone because of these songs then it’s a success in our eyes.
AVATAR will save Heavy Metal.
There are no weapons on this planet that can challenge might of the electric guitar. For decades metal has been the most powerful force known to man. Its sonic teeth have gnawed through the status quo over and over, pushing the boundaries for what can be created in the marriage between blood and machine. If a Mount Rushmore were to be carved for all the titans of the genre, it would span the entire globe many times over. It’s a burning beacon, the misfits and rebels.
As time has passed, much of the scene has become divided in two equally stale camps. The first is forever stuck in the past, no longer seeking to lead. The second are those who have forgotten the most important ingredients to what made metal what it was and must remain. They’ve lost touch with the devil. They’ve forgotten how to move. In a genre best experienced with your whole body, they’ve lost the lust.
We grew up together. John and Jonas started the band when they were just 15 and 14 years old. Johannes joined at the age of 16, as did Henrik and finally Simon, who left to be replaced by Tim, a longtime friend of ours, in 2012. While constantly redefining what we do and why we do it, we are among a select few who have remained a true band of brothers. Metal has been our key to the kingdom, our way to see the world. Self-financing our debut when we were between 18 and 19, we have never waited for anyone’s approval or permission. With DANCE DEVIL DANCE we are adamant to give something back for all we’ve received.
Harris’s sophomore effort, Boomerang Town marks a bold step forward for this country-folk-leaning singer-songwriter. It is an arresting, ambitious song-cycle that explores the generational arc of family, the stranglehold of addiction, and the fragile ties that bind us together as Americans. This is a record that understands that love and grief are two sides of the same coin.
Jaimee Harris turned 30 during the pandemic. It’s a milestone that is a rite of passage even during normal times. But for this Texas-born singer-songwriter, it came in the midst of one of the strangest and most tumultuous periods in American history. When the world stopped during lockdown, Harris, like many others, found herself gazing back into the past, ruminating on the nature of her hometown and family origins, and reckoning with their imprint on her. The term ‘nostalgia’ derives from the Greek words nostos (return) and algos (pain), and if Harris’s Boomerang Town can be regarded as a nostalgic album, it is only nostalgic in the sense that the longing for home is a desire to return to the past and heal old wounds.
For Harris, the album began gestating around 2016, a time of great loss for many in the Americana community, with the songwriter losing several musicians close to her. The shift in the nation’s political landscape had ushered in a new level of polarization that saw whole swaths of cultural life being demonized. For someone who grew up in a small town outside of Waco, Harris believed the values instilled in her by her parents were not entirely in line with how many on the left were viewing — and vilifying — Christians, citing them as responsible for the new change in leadership. As a person in recovery, Harris has had to re-evaluate her own connection to faith and find strength in a higher power (“Though he’s not necessarily a blue-eyed Jesus,” she laughs), though she certainly knows what it’s like to “be told how to vote” in a Southern church setting.
It was from the intersection of these social, personal, and political currents the album was born. And while much of the material on Boomerang Town was inspired by personal experience, the songs on this collection are far from autobiographical xeroxed copies. More than anything, they come from a place of emotional truth.
“My goal is to just write the best possible song I can write,” Harris says, “and I wanted to have ten songs that made sense together sonically. I still believe in the album format, and I wanted to lay the groundwork as a solid songwriter.” On Boomerang Town, Jaimee Harris, who was able to find her way out — unlike so many others — has accomplished all that, and much more.
Boomerang Town is available on CD and LP. The Vinyl packaging features a translucent outer sleeve with a striking design that compliments the official underlying album artwork.
We want to write a big album—something suited for radio, but our songs don’t follow conventional pop structures. Instead of choruses with universal themes, I write with a specificity that is new to me, narrowing in on the smallest details of our lives. The more we try to broaden our scope, the more we turn inward.
To keep ourselves from falling into old habits, we use instruments and gear that are new to us. We work alone and Patrick engineers. The sounds he creates are as foundational as any part he writes. We resist the urge to over edit or do too many takes. Unlike previous albums which have been more wall of sound, we make a point not to overpower my voice with a dense mix.
We name the album Pollen. It is about small things with big consequences: a particle, a moment, a choice. It is me in a fragile state; sometimes inhabited freely, sometimes reacted against. It is striving to remain in a moment without slipping into dread. It is about the way I can be undone by a very small thing."
The Rolling Stones
CD: $35.98 Buy
The Rolling Stones celebrated their golden anniversary in 2012 and 2013 by embarking on the 50 & Counting Tour, a 30-show itinerary for North America and Europe. On December 15, 2012, the band took the stage at Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center for the final of 4 shows in the New York area. Featuring guest spots from The Black Keys, Gary Clark Jr., Lady Gaga, John Mayer, Bruce Springsteen, and Mick Taylor, the concert proved to be one of the most memorable shows in the band’s history.
Pierce The Veil
MP3 Album: $9.99 Download
Pierce The Veil debuted atop Billboard’s Top Rock Albums, Alternative Albums, and Hard Rock Albums charts twice – first with Collide with the Sky (2012) and its follow-up, Misadventures (2016). A decade after its release, the already platinum “King for a Day” shot to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hard Rock Streaming chart, driven by the viral #KingForADay hashtag on TikTok. Even with two gold singles; a gold album; 2022 could be their biggest year. Because this is the year of The Jaws of Life.
The Pretty Reckless
CD: $13.49 Buy
The Pretty Reckless gives rock ‘n’ roll the jumpstart it needs for a new generation, apparent on this new collection of songs featuring remixes, reimagined versions, and covers of their favorite tracks.
CD: $13.99 Buy
Grammy Award-winner Kali Uchis’ third studio album, Red Moon In Venus, will be released on March 3, 2022, via Geffen Records. It features the new single, “I Wish You Roses.”
CD: $13.95 Buy
This is what happens when the band doesn’t break up: a lifetime of shared effort and camaraderie coming to fruition. Four master collaborators at the peak of their craft with near-telepathic cohesion. Silver Saturdays features 10 new songs that pay homage to a 25-year journey. All four members lend their distinctive vocals. Their concise, meticulously crafted songwriting is interwoven with Lebo’s soaring acoustic-electric guitar. Gill’s tasty keyboard comping and Adams’ bass groove married to Lipp’s rhythmic flourishes. Softpak CD.
CD: $19.99 Buy
Morgan Wallen's 3rd studio album, One Thing At A Time, is set for release via Big Loud/Mercury/Republic on 3/3/23. Wallen's 36-song, deeply personal album combines his musical influences (country/alternative/hip-hop). With so much new music, the stage is set for his 63-date/30 stadium One Night At A Time World Tour. This album follows the success of his 4x platinum, Dangerous: The Double Album, which notched historical chart status at Billboard's longest running Top 10 album for a solo artist.
The Melbourne-based five-piece CIVIC return with their visceral new sophomore album ‘Taken By Force’ - aptly described by the band as “1984 meets Endless Summer.” CIVIC have reimagined the reckless intensity of proto-punk for an era of endless uncertainty and have become one of the most exhilarating bands to emerge from the Melbourne-scene in recent years. 'Taken By Force' was produced by Radio Birdman frontman Rob Younger and mixed/mastered by Mike Young (Eddy Current, Total Control).
Paramore are back with their first new music since 2017. The beloved Nashville-based trio of Zac Farro, Hayley Williams& Taylor Yorkhave returned from their hiatus -and the global pandemic -with “This Is Why”, one of the best songs of their already impressive repertoire. In what’s widely recognized as one of the most exciting musical returns of the year, the band have also announced the release of their long awaited sixth studio album, This is Why, for February 10th 2023. Recorded in Los Angeles, California with long-time collaborator Carlos de la Garza, the album features 10 new Paramore songs with cover art shot by Zachary Gray.
Entering back into a world -and cultural landscape -very different from the one they last participated in, Paramore have returned with a song about exactly that. “This Is Why” is a deliciously infectious Paramore ear-worm for the post-truth world. Of the song, Williams says, “This Is Why was the very last song we wrote for the album. To be honest, I was so tired of writing lyrics but Taylor convinced Zac and I both that we should work on this last idea. What came out of it was the title track for the whole album. It summarizes the plethora of ridiculous emotions, the rollercoaster of being alive in 2022, having survived even just the last 3 or 4 years. You’d think after a global pandemic of fucking biblical proportions and the impending doom of a dying planet, that humans would have found it deep within themselves to be kinder or more empathetic or something.”
When Paramore revealed they were recording together in January 2022 the response from music fans around the world was immediate and celebratory. In the time since the Grammy-winning, RIAA-certified multi-Platinum band released their last album, After Laughter-and Hayley Williams unveiled two lauded solo albums -Paramore have become more popular than ever. Over the last few years Paramore’s influence and popularity has snowballed, as the age of streaming organically propelled them into a position as one of the world’s biggest, most culturally compelling rock bands. For the band, who formed as teenagers in Tennessee, their 20 year trajectory has seen them grow from youthful outsiders to bone-fide pop culture icons, permeating the musical landscape by inspiring a new generation of musical talent.
Nonesuch Records releases Your Mother Should Know: Brad Mehldau Plays The Beatles on February 10, 2023. The live solo album features the pianist and composer’s interpretations of nine songs by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and one by George Harrison. Although other Beatles songs have long been staples of Mehldau’s solo and trio shows, he had not previously recorded any of the tunes on Your Mother Should Know. The album ends with a David Bowie classic that draws a connection between The Beatles and pop songwriters who followed. Your Mother Should Know was recorded in September 2020 at Philharmonie de Paris.
“There is an undisputed universality to The Beatles,” Mehldau says. “Their music cuts across cultural and generational lines, as new listeners continue to discover it. There is an immediacy and integrity to their songs that draws everyone in.
“When I was getting started at the instrument, The Beatles were not on my radar yet, but a lot of the enduring piano-pop music I heard on the radio grew out of them. That music became part of my personality, and when I discovered The Beatles later, it all tied together. Their music, and its wide influence on other artists, continues to inform what I do.”
Cracker Island’ is the eight studio album from Gorillaz, an energetic, upbeat, genre-expansive collection of 10 tracks featuring yet another stellar line-up of artist collaborators: Thundercat, Tame Impala, Bad Bunny, Stevie Nicks, Adeleye Omotayo, Bootie Brown and Beck. Recorded in London and LA earlier this year, it is produced by Gorillaz, Remi Kabaka jr. and eight-time Grammy Award-winning producer / multi-instrumentalist / songwriter extraordinaire Greg Kurstin. Title track ‘Cracker Island’ kickstarted the new campaign this Summer hitting the charts across the globe with a top 10 video racking up 10M views in 10 days. The virtual band exploded onto TikTok gaining over 2.1 m followers in the space of a few months where they continue to innovate, taking virtual characters where no character has been before…
Vinyl: $22.98 Buy
Originally released on XL in 2009, Discovery is the collaborative synth pop project from Rostam Batmanglij (founding member and producer of Vampire Weekend) and Wes Miles (lead singer / songwriter of Ra Ra Riot). The album features guest appearances from Ezra Koenig and Angel Deradoorian, and is reissued for the first time in 5 years on limited edition Orange vinyl, with an unlisted bonus track that was not on the XL pressing