Music Releases 11-09-18

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J Mascis

J Mascis

Elastic Days [LP]

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Near the end of Reagan's first term, the Western Massachusetts Hardcore scene coughed up an insanely shaped chunk called Dinosaur. Comprised of WMHC vets, the trio was a miasmic tornado of guitar noise, bad attitude and near-subliminal pop-based-shape-shifting. Through their existence, Dinosaur (amended to Dinosaur Jr. for legal reasons) defined a very specific, very aggressive set of oblique song-based responses to what was going on. Their one constant was the scalp-fryingly loud guitar and deeply buried vocals of J Mascis. A couple of years before they ended their reign, J cut a solo album called Martin + Me. Recorded live and acoustic, the record allowed the bones of J's songs to be totally visible for the first time. Fans were surprised to hear how melodically elegant these compositions were, even if J still seemed interested in swallowing some of the words that most folks would have sung. Since then, through the reformation of the original Dinosaur Jr lineup in 2005, J has recorded solo albums now and then. And those album, Sings + Chant for AMMA (2005), Several Shades of Why (2011) and Tied to a Star (2014) had all delivered incredible sets of songs presented with a minimum of bombast and a surfeit of cool. Like its predecessors, Elastic Days was recorded at J's own Bisquiteen studio. Mascis does almost all his own stunts, although Ken Miauri (who also appeared on Tied to a Star) plays keyboards and there are a few guest vocal spots. These include old mates Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession), and Mark Mulcahy (Miracle Legion, etc.), as well as the newly added voice of Zoë Randell (Luluc) among others. But the show is mostly J's and J's alone. He laughs when I tell him I'm surprised by how melodic his vocals seem to have gotten. Asked if that was intentional, he says, “No. I took some singing lessons and do vocal warm-ups now, but that was mostly just to keep from blowing out my vocal cords when Dino started touring again. The biggest difference with this record might have to do with the drums. I'd just got a new drum set I was really excited about. I don't have too many drum outlets at the moment, so I played a lot more drums than I'd originally planned. I just kept playing. [laughs] I'd play the acoustic guitar parts then head right to the drums.” There is plenty of drumming on the dozen songs on Elastic Days. But for those expecting the hallucinatory overload of Dinosaur Jr's live attack, the gentleness of the approach here will draw easy comparisons to Neil Young's binary approach to working solo versus working with Crazy Horse. This is a lazy man's shorthand, but it still rings true. Elastic Days brims with great moments. Epic hooks that snare you in surprisingly subtle ways, guitar textures that slide against each other like old lovers, and structures that range from a neo-power-ballad (“Web So Dense”) to jazzily-canted West Coasty post-psych (“Give It Off”) to a track that subliminally recalls the keyboard approach of Scott Thurston-era Stooges (“Drop Me”). The album plays out with a combination of holism and variety that is certain to set many brains ablaze. J says he'll be taking this album on the road later in the year. He'll be playing by himself, but unlike other solo tours he says he'll be standing up this time. “I used to just sit down and build a little fort around myself -- amps, music stands, drinks stands, all that stuff. But I just realized it sounds better if the amps are higher up because I'm so used to playing with stacks. So I'll stand this time.” I ask if it's not pretty weird to stand alone on a big stage. “Yeah,” he says. “But it's weird sitting down too.” Ha. Good point. One needs to be elastic. In all things. --Byron Coley

J Mascis
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Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley

Black Velvet [Limited Edition LP Box Set]

New Vinyl: $55.98 Buy

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Charles Bradley's forthcoming LP, Black Velvet is an extraordinary collection of 10 tracks making their LP debut. In addition to fan favorites like Charles covers of Nirvanas 'Stay Away', Neil Young's 'Heart Of Gold', and Rodriguez's 'Slip Away' - this album features 4 never-before-heard tracks from Producer Tommy 'TNT' Brenneck's vaults. As a one-time pressing for the super-fan we have a gorgeous black velvet wrapped box set that includes the following: 180g vinyl version of the standard LP, a bonus 12 45rpm EP with stripped down mixes of 4 CB classics, an exclusive slip-mat, 2 printed heavy-duty inner sleeves sporting a surreal painting of Charles and the interview in which he explains the origin of the painting, a 12x12 photo-book with extensive liner notes from Producer Tommy 'TNT', an exact replica of Charles' original Black Velvit business card, and last but certainly not least...a seeded DL Card (once you've retrieved your DL, you can plant the card and wildflowers will grow in memory of Charles).

Charles Bradley
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Greenleaf

Greenleaf

Hear The Rivers [LP]

New Vinyl: $23.98 Buy

The same question arises three years after the beautiful Rise Above The Meadow: Why are GREENLEAF not packing the biggest venues just like Queens Of The Stone Age? Well, it can`t be the fault of “Let It Out!”, the heavenly groovy opener of that album's follow up, Hear The Rivers. The rest of the album also turns out to be quite the mesmerizing bag of tricks that seizes the Swedish Stoner sound and enriches it with so many wonderful things, like the unforgettable riff-o-rama "Good Ol`Goat“ or the slow soulfeeder "We Are The Pawns“. An absolute gem of an album that is best kept in the family – which is why former GREENLEAF- and Dozer drummer Karl Daniel Lidén (Craft, Bloodbath, Crippled Black Phoenix amongst others) produced it. The bearded dudes will hit European roads in November with their seventh album Hear The Rivers, and it`s actually quite neat we don´t have to travel to anonymous stadiums to enjoy their live magic.

Greenleaf
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The Revivalists

Set for release on November 9, the bands fourth LP 'Take Good Care' is previewed with the first single 'All My Friends,' a song brimming with confidence that unleashes the bands next chapter. The track which is already Top 3 at AAA and Top 10 at Modern Rock. 'All my Friends' will cross over to Hot AC in early October followed by Top 40. This is just the start! 'You Said it All', 'Oh No' and 'Some People Say' are just a few of the potential chart-toppers in this collection, which was co-produced with Dave Cobb (Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton) and Andrew Dawson (Kanye, Fun) it's a project showcasing new found depth and craft that mark a band bent on proving they are far more than a band synonymous with a single song.

The Revivalists
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Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes and Sub Pop present a limited-edition collection in honor of the 10th anniversary of Fleet Foxes’ debut LP. First Collection 2006–2009 spans the early days of Fleet Foxes’ career, including the self-titled debut album, plus the Sun Giant EP, The First EP (formerly a self-titled, very limited-edition, self-released EP), and B-sides & Rarities. The vinyl version is packaged in a lavish box, with a 12” LP of the debut album and separate 10” records for each of the added titles; the CD version has a separate CD for each title. In addition to its musical offerings, the collection features a 32-page booklet including show flyers, lyrics and artwork from band’s early history.

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Imagine Dragons

Imagine Dragons

Origins

New CD: $13.99 Buy

Multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning band Imagine Dragons will release their fourth studio album, entitled Origins, on November 9th. Origins was conceived as a sister album to Evolve, which was certified double-platinum within a year of its release and spawned three No.1 hits. The new album, Origins includes the band’s current #1 single “Natural”, as well as “Zero”, from Walt Disney Animation Studio’s upcoming film Ralph Breaks The Internet.

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Bas

Bas

Milky Way

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Jon Spencer

Jon Spencer, the Blues Explosion man who put the "Bellbottoms" on Baby Driver! The top cat who spread the secret sauce in Boss Hog! The rockabilly right-hook from heavyweight outlaws Heavy Trash! The swank-fucking master of Pussy Galore! Jon Spencer is back! Often imitated, never duplicated, the original NYC underground-rock legend returns from the wilderness with twelve red-hot hits, each more powerful than the last! This is Garage Punk for Now People! A wizard's brew of rhythm and blues and subversive dance grooves, weaponized with sci-fi skronk and industrial attitude, calibrated for the Revolution, a Molotov cocktail of sound guaranteed to destroy any post-modern hangover. Pulsing with energy, clanging with excitement, and dripping with radioactive soul and raw emotion, Spencer opens up his heart like never before, exploring man's modern condition with caustic guitars and outerworld crooning, asking and answering the musical question, "Is it possible to torch the cut-throat world of fake news and pre-fab, plastic-coated teen rebellion with the power of rock 'n' roll?" The answer is yes-on Spencer Sings The Hits! This is the truth serum America has been craving, the beginning of a rock 'n' roll rebellion that takes no prisoners and puts the squares on ice!

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Stereolab

Stereolab

Peng! [Clear LP]

New Vinyl: $22.98 Buy

Stereolab formed in London in 1990, and released 13 studio albums, 15 eps and numerous singles. Simon Reynolds commented in Rolling Stone that the group’s early records form “an endlessly seductive body of work that sounds always the same, always different.” Their sound was a mix of new and old...dubbed “post-rock”, they used vintage keyboards, and the vocals were in English and French. They are often noted as being one of the most influential and original bands of the 90s. Theirs is a rich, overflowing palette, readily able to blur the gulf between Os Mutantes and the BBC Radiophonic Orchestra; merge Krzysztof Komeda with the Velvet Underground, Francoise Hardy with Neu! and Burt Bacharach with Esquivel. A deluxe blend, in other words, with ingredients plucked assiduously from pop’s coolest outposts: 50’s lounge, Rive Gauche chanson, Brazilian tropicalia, North American art rock, East European film music, Krautrock. hi-fi test recordings, mood music and more. Somehow they distill these apparently incongruent components into an ageless exotica that is all their own.

Stereolab
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Stereolab

Stereolab formed in London in 1990, and released 13 studio albums, 15 eps and numerous singles. Simon Reynolds commented in Rolling Stone that the group’s early records form “an endlessly seductive body of work that sounds always the same, always different.” Their sound was a mix of new and old...dubbed “post-rock”, they used vintage keyboards, and the vocals were in English and French. They are often noted as being one of the most influential and original bands of the 90s. Theirs is a rich, overflowing palette, readily able to blur the gulf between Os Mutantes and the BBC Radiophonic Orchestra; merge Krzysztof Komeda with the Velvet Underground, Francoise Hardy with Neu! and Burt Bacharach with Esquivel. A deluxe blend, in other words, with ingredients plucked assiduously from pop’s coolest outposts: 50’s lounge, Rive Gauche chanson, Brazilian tropicalia, North American art rock, East European film music, Krautrock. hi-fi test recordings, mood music and more. Somehow they distill these apparently incongruent components into an ageless exotica that is all their own.

Stereolab
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Amanaz

Issued in 1975, this is the articulation of Zambia’s Zamrock ethos. While other albums - Rikki Ililonga’s Zambia, WITCH’s Lazy Bones!!  - are competitors, it’s hard to best this album as it covers each major quadrant of the Zamrock whole: it came from the mines; its musicians were anti-colonial freedom fighters, it envelops Zambian folk music traditions, and it rocks - hard. 

TRACKLIST:

A Side: Amanaz, I Am Very Far, Sunday Morning, Khala My Friend, History of Man, Nsunka Lwendo
B Side: Africa, Green Apple, Making the Scene, Easy Street, Big Enough, Kale
C Side: Amanaz (Reverb Mix), I Am Very Far (Reverb Mix), Sunday Morning (Reverb Mix), Khala My Friend (Reverb Mix), History of Man (Reverb Mix), Nsunka Lwendo (Reverb Mix)
D Side: Africa (Reverb Mix), Green Apple (Reverb Mix), Making the Scene (Reverb Mix), Easy Street (Reverb Mix), Big Enough (Reverb Mix), Kale (Reverb Mix)

Amanaz
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Rhett Miller

Old 97's founding member Rhett Miller returns with his 7th solo album, The Messenger. Recorded earlier over five days at The Isokon in Woodstock, NY with producer/musician Sam Cohen (Kevin Morby, Benjamin Booker), The Messenger sees Miller playing it faster and looser than perhaps any other time in his quarter century career, instilling what might be his most personal songs to date with a groovy limberness that belies the reflective darkness within. Backed by a white hot backing combo comprised of Cohen (Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Pedal Steel Guitar, Piano, Organ, Second Drumset), Brian Betancourt (Bass), and Ray Rizzo (Drums), Miller goes deep into his own youthful experiences with suicide and depression, placing "a long distance phone call to myself as a 14-year-old" on surprisingly buoyant new songs like "The Human Condition" and "Permanent Damage."

 

Rhett Miller
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Terry Callier

On July 29th, 1964, the 23-year-old Terry Orlando Callier hunkered down with supervisor Samuel Charters at Webb Recording in Chicago to record what would become his debut LP, The New Folk Sound of Terry Callier. This album encompasses Terry’s blue’s voice and jazz, soul, gospel music fusion.  The New Folk Sound of Terry Callierconveys the promise and power of Callier in his earliest days. It’s a document marking a particular moment, capturing a young man in his element, his voice and songs timeless.

Terry Callier
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Sarah Brightman

Sarah Brightman

Hymn

New CD: $13.95 Buy

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Sarah Brightman returns with her new studio album, HYMN, reuniting with long time producer and collaborator Frank Peterson, with whom she created chart topping albums such as Timeless (Time To Say Goodbye), Eden, La Luna, Harem, Symphony, and A Winter Symphony. HYMN is an inspirational collection of orchestrated, choir-based songs. Brightman, kept thinking about the word, HYMN, and to her it suggested joy a feeling of hope and light, something that is familiar and secure. For Brightman, every project comes from an emotional place, and HYMN is no exception. HYMN was recorded over the past two years in Hamburg, Miami, London, Vancouver, Los Angeles, New York, and Budapest, and encompasses songs by such modern composers as Eric Whitacre (Fly To Paradise), Japanese superstar musician and songwriter Yoshiki (Miracle), and German DJ Paul Kalkbrenner (Sky and Sand). HYMN's mystical, uplifting tone is set with its title track a song by British prog-rock band Barclay James Harvest. From there, the album becomes excitingly eclectic, encompassing many styles. Sogni, described as a mash-up of two arias from two different operas by French composer Georges Bizet, is flawlessly sung by Brightman and French tenor Vincent Niclo. Also included are Canto Per Noi, written by famed Italian composer Ennio Morricone and Romano Musumarra, and Follow Me, the love theme from the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty. Finally, the album closes with a new rendition of Brightman s signature smash duet with Andrea Bocelli, Time To Say Goodbye, in a new solo rendition with lyrics Sarah wrote herself, and sung in English for the first time.

Sarah Brightman
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Laura Jane Grace And The Devouring Mothers

14 tracks spanning Laura Jane Grace's fractured relationship with her adopted hometown of Chicago, true friendship, complicated romance, and reconciling everything in the end, Bought to Rot stands as the most musically diverse collection of songs Grace has written to date. Inspired in large part by Tom Petty's Full Moon Fever, the first album Grace ever owned, Bought to Rot finds her at the same age Petty was when he created his solo debut masterpiece. In light of his recent passing, Grace was motivated to pay homage to one of her lifelong heroes. Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers are Laura Jane Grace, Atom Willard, and Marc Jacob Hudson. Grace is a musician, author, and activist best known as the founder, lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist of the punk rock band Against Me!. Willard, also of Against Me!, is a drummer who has played in iconic punk bands such as Rocket from the Crypt, Social Distortion, and The Offspring. Devouring Mothers bassist Hudson is a recordist and mixer at Rancho Recordo, a recording studio and creative space in the woods of Michigan, and the sound engineer for Against Me!.

Laura Jane Grace And The Devouring Mothers
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The Glands

The Glands

Double Coda [LP]

New Vinyl: $26.98 Buy

There is an enormous and curiously shaped hole in the story of the Glands, the on-again/mostly off-again duo or quartet or sometimes quintet but let's just say band from Athens, Georgia, who released only two albums of weird, irascible, irresistible indie rock before band leader Ross Shapiro died in 2016. He wrote the songs, he sang the songs, he played guitar, and he gathered around him a bunch of close friends to play them. He inspired many people around town, frustrated many others, and generally proved to be a painstaking artist with an ear for catchy melodies, a very grim sense of humor, a taste for reheated Dunkin Donuts coffee, a supernaturally exhaustive knowledge of Grateful Dead bootlegs, and a creativity that extended beyond music to the strange portraits he painted and the odd shapes he sculpted. Ross' passing left a hole in Athens, in the community where he had become a fixture and arguably even a celebrity of sorts. And there really is something heroic about his career as an artist, something noble to a life devoted to creativity and creation, even if that mostly means jamming with friends. The Glands first two albums established Ross as an unlikely and maybe even unwilling cult artist; you could argue that not enough people bought Double Thriller and The Glands, but everyone who did became avid fans for life. And even though we only have access to an infinitesimal portion of the music he made, these two albums' and now this third! (Double Coda) add invaluable detail and nuance to our portrait of Ross Shapiro. We can see him reflected back to us in his songs: a guy whose grumpiness hid a big heart and whose reticence could not obscure his talent and vision. (Stephen Deusner)

The Glands