New Release Round-Up 05-18-18
James Bay - Electric Light - Republic
Following the success of his multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated debut album, Chaos & The Calm, James Bay releases his highly anticipated album, Electric Light, on via Republic Records. The album includes the single “Wild Love,” which recently entered Top 20 at Hot AC radio.
Courtney Barnett - Tell Me How You Really Feel - Mom & Pop Music
The Grammy and Brit nominated Courtney Barnett returns with her second album - ‘Tell Me How You Really Feel.’ It follows her critically acclaimed 2015 debut album ‘Sometimes I Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Sit’, and a recent top 10 collaborative record, ‘Lotta Sea Lice’, with Kurt Vile. One of the most distinctive voices in music, Courtney is known for mixing witty observations with un inching self-assessment - fast forward to now and although all of the cleaver turns of phrase and an eye for story telling are still there; this new collection of songs see a more serious and outwardly tone capturing the current social landscape yet still retaining moments of intimacy and warmth. As the world becomes more familiar with Courtney Barnett these songs feel comforting and emphatic yet that raw energy and the ability to make the listener think still remain..
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Sparkle Hard - Matador Records
The fact that Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks have thrived, rather than simply endured, over 17 years and delivered six albums of buzzy, sub-cultural significance, constitutes an impressive legacy. The challenge with album number seven is one that any successful band with integrity faces: how to safeguard that legacy and hold on to their identity without rehashing old ground (unthinkable), and also say something meaningful while (crucially) having fun doing it? With Sparkle Hard, Malkmus, Mike Clark (keyboards), Joanna Bolme (bass) and Jake Morris (drums) do exactly that. It’s light ’n’ breezy, head-down heavy, audacious, melancholic and reflective, goodtime and bodacious, and it pulls off the smartest trick: it’s both unmistakeably The Jicks and – due to the streamlining of their trademark tics and turns, plus the introduction of some unexpected flourishes (Auto-Tune! A fiddle! Guest vocalist Kim Gordon! One seven-minute song with an acoustic folk intro!) – The Jicks refashioned. If 2014’s Wig Out At Jag Bags balanced the lengthy prog workouts of Pig Lib with Mirror Traffic’s sparky pop moments, then Sparkle Hard bears less obvious direct relation to what’s come before. It also has turbocharged energy and enthusiasm by the truckload.
Matt Costa - Santa Rosa Fangs - Dangerbird
Santa Rosa Fangs is critically acclaimed California-based singer/songwriter Matt Costa’s new full-length, his first in five years. The album was produced by Peter Matthew Bauer (The Walkmen) and Nick Stumpf (French Kicks). The tale of Santa Rosa Fangs centers around a young woman named Sharon, her two brothers Ritchie and Tony, and their story of love, loss, and coming of age in a timeless yet contemporary California. It is replete with long distance love affairs and nostalgic romances woven through the loom of tragedy and time.
Parquet Courts - Wide Awake! - Rough Trade US
Wide Awake! is New York’s Parquet Courts’ fifth record since their formation eight years ago. It’s also their most groundbreaking. It’s an album about independence and individuality but also about collectivity and communitarianism. Love is at its center. There’s also a freshness here, a breaking of new territory that’s testament to the group’s restless spirit. In part, this may be attributed to the fact that it’s produced by Brian Burton, better known as Danger Mouse, but it’s also simply a triumph of their songwriter’s art. The songs, written by Austin Brown and Andrew Savage, are filled with their traditional punk rock passion, as well as a lyrical tenderness, but are elevated to even greater heights by the dynamic rhythmic propulsion of Max Savage (drums) and Sean Yeaton (bass). Ultimately then the message contained in Wide Awake! is complex. “In such a hateful era of culture, we stand in opposition to that — and to the nihilism used to cope with that — with ideas of passion and love,” Brown says. For Savage, it comes back to the deceptively complex goal of making people want to dance, powering the body for resistance through a combination of groove, joy, and indignation, “expressing anger constructively but without trying to accommodate anyone.” “The most exhilarating exercise from New York’s reigning indie-rockers laureate since their legend-making “Stoned and Starving” – as if you didn’t already have reason enough to be on high alert for Wide Awake!” – Stereogum “An urgent, fantastic return that sees the band at the very top of their game, and more together than ever” – DIY Mag
The Sidekicks - Happiness Hours - Epitaph
On May 18, Ohio-based band The Sidekicks will release their fifth album, Happiness Hours. Nearly three years in the making, Happiness Hours follows 2015’s critically acclaimed Runners in the Nerved World. Produced, engineered, and mixed by John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile), Happiness Hours features some of the sunniest, most ebullient songs The Sidekicks have ever recorded—all ringing guitars, charging drums, and soaring vocals. That dynamic is more than apparent on the infectious lead single “Twins Twist,” which premieres today. With its warm harmonies and shining melody, bouncing groove and bittersweet lyrics, “Twins Twist” also reveals the more narrative-driven direction that The Sidekicks pursued in creating Happiness Hours. As vocalist/guitarist Steve Ciolek explains, those narratives reach squarely toward a kind of universal experience. “They are relative to my life, but they aren’t just about me,” says Ciolek, whose bandmates include drummer Matt Climer, guitarist/vocalist Toby Reif, and bassist/vocalist Ryan Starinsky. “Unlike when you’re a kid, when every song has to be about falling in love or breaking up—about me, me, me—you get to a point when you really want your art to be inclusive. You want everyone to be able to locate themselves somehow in your songs.”
Burn The Priest - Legion: XX - Epic
RIAA-certified, Billboard chart-topping, Richmond, VA band LAMB OF GOD may be one of the biggest bands in modern metal, but they will never forget where they came from. Mark Morton (guitar), Willie Adler (guitar), John Campbell (bass), and Chris Adler (drums) formed the first incarnation of the band, Burn The Priest, in the winter of 1994 after meeting four years earlier as students at Virginia Commonwealth University. Less than a year later, in the summer of 1995, they met vocalist Randy Blythe and the rest is global metal history. Guitarist Mark Morton says, "To truly understand the essence of the band BURN THE PRIEST, one must first consider the landscape in which it began: the mid-90s. Grunge and alternative music ruled the airwaves. Social media and the internet had yet to assume their role as our collective sources for entertainment and cultural exchange. It was a time when DIY 'zines turned us onto new bands and regional scenes, and 'copy and paste' still implied a print shop and a glue stick." BURN THE PRIEST's self-titled debut album, released via Philadelphia-based Legion Records, documented what was, in essence, a primal punk band performing metal. Ultimately, as they grew in local popularity, the five-piece chose to stray away from their name to avoid being associated with satanic metal, choosing the name LAMB OF GOD. Morton continues, "As our sound and songs developed, so did our goals... we began playing basement parties and warehouse shows and in doing so, we realized that the energy we were creating was transferable. The shows we played in those squats and warehouses [in Philadelphia] and the people we met there are forever embedded in our collective consciousness and the DNA of our band." As they enter their 20th year since releasing their first self-titled album as BURN THE PRIEST, the band will release a full-length covers album that reflects on the greatness of classic punk, hardcore, crossover and noise - rock subgenres that contributed to what LAMB OF GOD - and indeed, the world - now view as modern heavy metal. As BURN THE PRIEST, the band presents Legion: XX featuring tracks originally performed by Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front, Quicksand, Ministry, Bad Brains, Melvins, S.O.D., The Accused, Big Black and Richmond punk band Sliang Laos. The tracks are performed with the unmistakable precision that has kept the band vital for two decades, but ultimately harks back to the raw, punk-driven sound first explored by four unsuspecting college students and a line cook-turned-vocalist in their formative years. Produced with Josh Wilbur at the helm, Legion: XX exhibits BURN THE PRIEST in their true element. This LP version is 150g vinyl, Coke bottle color with white and black 'smoke.'
Snow Patrol - Wildness - Republic
Since releasing their debut album in 1998, Snow Patrol has gone on to be one of the biggest acts in the world. With over 10 million global album sales, 1 billion global track streams, 5 UK Platinum awards, 6 BRIT Award nominations, 1 GRAMMY nomination, 1 Mercury Music-Prize nomination, a massive and passionate fan base, the band is back with their 7th album, Wildness, out 5/25. Wildness follows Snow Patrol's 2011 record, Fallen Empires, and finds the group reuniting with longtime producer Jackknife Lee.
Shawn Mendes - Shawn Mendes - Island
Shawn Mendes to release highly anticipated self-titled album on 5/25 via Island Records. The album will include previously released tracks, 'In My Blood' and 'Lost In Japan.' Current single 'In My Blood' is quickly approaching Top 10 airplay at Top 40 and Hot AC radio formats. He will support the album with numerous media appearances, which will include a week-long residency on 'The Late Late Show with James Corden' in June.
Xavier Rudd - Storm Boy - Nettwerk Records
Produced by Chris Bond (Ben Howard, Tom Speight) and mixed by Tim Palmer (Pearl Jam, David Bowie, U2), Xavier Rudd's forthcoming album Storm Boy - his ninth studio album, and first solo album in six years - showcases his incomparable songwriting craftsmanship and is an impressive addition to his ever-growing legacy.
For more information on these and other releases out this week, check out our New Releases charts by week section and don't forget that many of these titles are also available on vinyl.