kimber – jens lekman
lindsay – molly burch, mind over mirrors
dario – bing & ruth
jeff – novella
dominic – allison krauss

Ryan AdamsPrisoner CD/LP (Pax Am/Blue Note)
Ryan Adams mined an unexpected influence – hard rock icons AC/DC – for the sonic design of his 16th LP, Prisoner. Last fall, Adams told Entertainment Weekly his next album would feature material inspired by Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness On The Edge Of Town and the Smith’s Meat Is Murder. But he’s since added several disparate influences into the mix – including classic rock act Bachman-Turner Overdrive (“Takin’ Care Of Business,” “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”) and pop hit-makers Electric Light Orchestra, both of whom helped expand his guitar production expertise. “I was like, ‘Wow!’ I understand the multicolored guitar tone moments now,” he said. “You can layer stuff. I really just learned a lot.” “How do I make a real distinct record where anybody listens to it and says, ‘That’s the truth from beginning to end?’” he said. “So it’s like exercise. It sucks in the beginning. But then you get into it.” [Limited red color vinyl pressing also available.]

Bing And Ruth No Home Of The Mind CD/LP (4AD)
On their third album, No Home Of The Mind, the New York ensemble continues with the deft minimalism that has marked them out in critical circles in recent years. Established in 2006, Bing And Ruth is an ever-evolving collective steered by composer David Moore. A pianist from Kansas and graduate of New York’s school of Jazz and Contemporary Music at the New School, Moore’s work follows in the great tradition of fellow alumni John Cage and Steve Reich, albeit looking past the more studied repetition of the style’s forerunners toward a meditative form built on feeling.

Molly BurchPlease Be Mine CD/LP+MP3 (Captured Tracks)
Molly Burch was exposed to the arts at an early age. Growing up in L.A. with a writer/producer father and a casting director mother, Burch’s childhood was filled with old Hollywood musicals and the sounds of Patsy Cline, Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. After finding her voice in adolescence, Burch packed up for the UNC in Asheville to study Jazz Vocal Performance. “I was always really interested in singing before songwriting. I didn’t always have the confidence to write,” Molly says, “Initially it was more about finding the right songs to complement my voice.” And that voice is the first thing you’ll notice on Burch’s debut album. Fans of Angel Olsen, take note!

Tim DarcySaturday Night CD/LP+MP3 (Jagjaguwar)
Saturday Night, the first proper solo album from Tim Darcy (Ought), comes from one of those crossroads-type moments in life where one has to walk to the edge before knowing which way to proceed. Each track is woven to the next in a winding, complex journey through a charged, continuous present. There are love/love lost songs like the standout, almost-new wave “Still Waking Up” in which a Smiths-esque melody builds upon an underbrush that recalls ‘60s AM pop and country. Darcy’s unmistakable, commanding voice and lyrical phrasing are, as they are in Ought, an instrument here: vital to the entire affair.

Eisley I’m Only Dreaming CD/LP (Equal Vision)
I’m Only Dreaming is the Tyler, TX-based indie pop outfit’s fifth album, and was produced by Will Yip (Circa Survive, Balance & Composure, Lauryn Hill). Vocalist/guitarist Sherri DuPree-Bemis opened up about album single “You Are Mine” revealing, “This song is about loving someone deeply and the beauty and challenges that come with being in a long term, committed relationship. You’re going to argue, you’re going to rub each other wrong and disagree and drive each other absolutely crazy sometimes but at the end of the day you just want to be together. I’m Only Dreaming stays true to form of the band’s signature dreamy sound, with DuPree-Bemis elaborating, “Musically, you could say it’s classic Eisley, in the sense that it’s melodic, moody pop and is written from the heart. Lyrically, it’s very whimsical; it has a vibe that will take you into its own world and let you escape your normal life for a few minutes. I like to cloak things in a little mystery and romance; I think it’s part of what makes all of Eisley’s songs sound like they’re from the same world. Every record is like opening and reading a book in a series.”

Hanni El KhatibSavage Times CD/3×10”+MP3 (Innovative Leisure)
Hanni El Khatib should be the next garage rock god. It doesn’t take much of a leap to see him headlining hockey arenas on the back of nothing but his scuzzy guitar and his monster hooks. His new release Savage Times is a compilation of a boatload of singles he released over 2016. His first idea for the Savage Times project was to do something he’d never done before. Instead, he ended up doing … well, everything he’d never done before. He’d be playing new instruments, writing in unfamiliar new ways, opening himself up to an unrelenting stream of ideas and dedicating himself totally to pure musical instinct—and then releasing songs instantly to the public, without waiting to tour or assemble an album or anything. At the end of 2015, he’d walked into the studio with his guitar and a few lines of lyrics, hoping to sketch out a track or two just to stay busy, but that very first day he walked out with two finished songs and the inspiration to create something raw in real time, recording and releasing songs direct to the public as soon as tape stopped rolling: “Everything was really as I did it,” he says. “It was meant to be an experiment in how I could write and record and release something as quickly as possible. I didn’t wanna make an album—I wanted to put songs out every week. It’s personal for me.”

GrailsChalice Hymnal CD/LP+MP3 (Temporary Residence)
Rather than pick up where they left off, Grails take the sky-high riff-based heaviness of their earlier albums and distill it into a nuanced, widescreen opus. The perennial influences of mid-20th century Western film scores, obscure library music, and psychedelic krautrock are indelibly imprinted, but Chalice Hymnal exudes an eerie patience in unfurling the many layers of its subtle details.

Alison KraussWindy City CD (Capitol)
Alison Krauss, the most awarded female artist in Grammy history (27 awards including Album of the Year in 2009), releases a beautifully curated collection of classic songs produced by Nashville Veteran Buddy Cannon. While they span different eras and musical genres, there is a unifying sensibility. Some of the songs on Windy City are familiar, like “Gentle On My Mind,” a signature song of Glen Campbell’s, and “You Don’t Know Me” which was a hit for Eddy Arnold and Ray Charles. Others are lesser known, like Willie Nelson’s “I Never Cared For You” and “All Alone Am I,” originally recorded by Brenda Lee. “Like the nine other tracks on Windy City, ‘River In The Rain’ is a previously recorded song that’s given new life thanks to Krauss’ Americana/bluegrass stylings. The tune, written and originally sung by beloved Nashville singer/songwriter Roger Miller, is melancholy and introspective, about the destruction and rebirth that can come from winding rivers and ceaseless rain.” – The Boot

Nikki LaneHighway Queen CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (New West)
Nikki Lane’s third album Highway Queen sees the young Nashville rebel emerge as one of country and rock’s most gifted songwriters. Produced by Lane and fellow singer/songwriter Jonathan Tyler, and recorded in Denton, Texas and Nashville, Tennessee, Highway Queen is an emotional tour-de-force. Blending potent lyrics, unbridled blues guitars and vintage ‘60s country-pop swagger, Lane’s new music will resonate as easily with Black Keys and Lana Del Rey fans as those of Neil Young and Tom Petty. Highway Queen starts with the whiskey-soaked restlessness of “700,000 Rednecks,” a rowdy call to action, and ends on the profoundly raw “Forever Lasts Forever,” where Lane belts freely, mourning a failed marriage – the “lighter shade of skin” left behind from her wedding ring. Lane’s journey to heartbreak takes exquisite turns. “Companion” is pure Everly Brothers’ dreaminess (“I would spend a lifetime/ Playing catch you if I can”). Elsewhere, she goes on a Vegas bender on the rollicking “Jackpot,” fights last-call blues (“Foolish Heart”) and tosses off brazen one-liners at a backroom piano (“Big Mouth”).

Jens LekmanLife Will See You Now CD/LP+MP3 (Secretly Canadian)
Jens Lekman describes his new record, Life Will See You Now, playfully, but also honestly, as “a midlife-crisis disco album; it’s an existentialist record, about seeing the consequences of your choices”. It’s a typical Lekman album in several ways: sly humor is key to its heartfelt nature; it inverts pop’s writing norm by making songs with sad concerns sound happy and songs with a happy subject sound sad; and it plays with notions of identity and the self. But, as the title suggests, it also represents a significant move forward, as if across a threshold. It’s the more expansive, upbeat sound of a revitalized Lekman, who is just one of many characters in his new stories about the magic and messiness of different kinds of relationships. [Limited orange vinyl pressing also available.]

Lift To ExperienceThe Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads [Reissue/2001] CD/2xLP (Mute)
Multi-format remixed and remastered reissue of Lift To Experience’s cult classic 2001 double album. “All it takes is a run through opening track ‘Just As Was Told’ to find yourself committed to the full double-album ride of Lift to Experience’s remarkable 2001 release, The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads. Unfolding in varying musical sections over nearly seven minutes, biblical references are sprinkled over a startling mix involving elements of My Bloody Valentine, Slint, and math rock that drive into a slow-burning, beatific finish and set the bar high for all that follows.” – Under The Radar

Mind Over Mirrors Undying Color CD/LP+MP3 (Paradise Of Bachelors)
The new album by the ever-evolving project of Jaime Fennelly is a set of roiling, meditative recordings. Undying Color is the first to supplement his foundational arsenal of Indian pedal harmonium, analog synthesizers, and incantatory voices with a full ensemble including Janet Beveridge Bean (Eleventh Dream Day, Freakwater), Jim Becker (Califone, Iron and Wine), Haley Fohr (Circuit des Yeux, Jackie Lynn), and Jon Mueller (Death Blues, Volcano Choir). The album braids folk and formal, praise and play, within its heady swells and troughs, invoking American vernacular musical traditions and pulsating avant-garde electronics alike.
NovellaChange Of State CD/LP+MP3 (Captured Tracks)
Over the course of ten tracks, Novella take the time and space necessary to let the physical and ideological implications behind a changing state run rampant through themes that linger as much in topical discussion as they do in perennial reflections of human experience. Recorded over the period of a few months in the Victorian bedroom studio of James Hoare (Ultimate Painting, Veronica Falls) on an old 1960s 8-track, Novella utilize an economy of sound on Change Of State to create ethereal swathes of textures, gentle melodies and energetic, motorik bursts

The Orwells Terrible Human Beings CD/LP+MP3 (Canvasback Music/Atlantic)
You know the kind of song that makes you feel uneasy, but excited? Maybe you felt it the first time you heard The Stooges “I Wanna Be Your Dog” or The Pixies “Monkey Gone To Heaven” — creepy yet catchy songs that are ominous and playful at the same time. It’s a category that now welcomes The Orwells’ raucous third album, Terrible Human Beings, the Chicago band’s most dynamic and engrossing collection to date. “Not too far back we sat down to write what we call mutilated pop songs,” explains guitarist Matt O’Keefe.” “We wanted to make songs that at their core are catchy and pretty, then slash them up,” adds singer Mario Cuomo. “After two misfires we landed on something that felt right,” O’Keefe continues, “like an engine failing to start then finally turning itself over.” Whereas Cuomo was more focused on the his own tales of suburban malaise for The Orwells 2014 album Disgraceland, he found external inspiration for Terrible Human Beings. Movies such as the psychological thriller It Follows and noir fiction like Last Exit To Brooklyn provided fodder for a more narrative, vignette-based approach.

Matt PryorMemento Mori CD/LP (Equal Vision)
Though best known for his work as the primary singer-songwriter for The Get Up Kids, Matt Pryor has a vast musical catalog including his folk-tinged group The New Amsterdams, children’s music project Terrible Twos and indie-rock super group Lasorda – featuring Nate Harold (fun.), Mike Standberg (Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band), and Dustin Kinsey (The New Amsterdams). Pryor also contributes to Chicago start-up Downwrite – a website that enables artists to create fan-commissioned songs and connect with fans on a personal and creative level. Pryor hosts the Nothing To Write Home About podcast as well, where he interviews fellow musicians and industry friends, including the likes of Andy Hull (Manchester Orchestra), Chris Conley (Saves The Day), Dan Campbell (The Wonder Years), Tim McIlrath (Rise Against), and more. Memento Mori is his fifth solo album. “We lost a lot of people close to us in the last couple of years,” notes Pryor. “This album is both a way for us to remember them and to celebrate everyday the lives that we still have.”
PVTNew Spirit CD/LP (Felte)
“Elaborate motorik grooves, dense, post-rock complexity and intricate electronic experimentalism.” — Mojo

Robert Randolph & The Family Band Got Soul CD/LP+MP3 (SME Masterworks)
Pedal-steel virtuoso Robert Randolph returns with his new album, Got Soul. The album takes stock of Randolph’s past as a church musician as it pushes the band forward into new places., with songs that run the gamut from gospel numbers to deep, funky grooves to incendiary rock-and-soul jams. The hauntingly exquisite “Heaven’s Calling” features Randolph on solo steel while guest vocalists Darius Rucker and Anthony Hamilton lend their golden voices to “Love Do What It Do” and “She Got Soul” respectively. “I Thank You,” the ‘60s Sam & Dave R&B smash, is completely re-imagined in the hands of the Family Band and Snarky Puppy’s Cory Henry.
Six. By SevenGreatest Hits 2xCD (Beggars Banquet)
Six. By Seven – The Closer You Get + Peel Sessions 2xLP (Beggars Banquet)
Six. By Seven was a band from Nottingham England that formed in 1994. Inspired by the Pistols and the Stranglers as well as My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth and Mercury Rev, Six. By Seven straddled a fine line between post-Brit pop, British rock and a much edgier kind of punk. [Along with the Greatest Hits CD, the band’s 2000 album The Closer You Get has been reissued on vinyl and expanded with Peel Sessions and B-sides.]
Son Volt Notes Of Blue CD/LP (Transmit Sound)
The 10 songs on Notes Of Blue are inspired by the spirit of the blues, but not the standard blues as most know it. The unique and haunting tunings of Mississippi Fred McDowell, Skip James and Nick Drake were all points of exploration for Son Volt’s Jay Farrar for the new collection. The album opens with the country soul of “Promise The World,” followed by “Back Against The Wall,” a song that could stand alongside the great Son Volt songs of their early albums. However, Notes Of Blue reflects the blues as it resides in the folk tradition, but heavily amplified. The primal stomp of Cherokee St, the frenetic guitar on “Static” and the raw slide in “Sinking Down” exude grit and attitude. Conversely, tracks such as “The Storm” and “Cairo And Southern” seamlessly meld blues with hypnotic melodies that add a unique balance to the album.
Strand Of OaksHard Love CD/LP (Dead Oceans)
Tim Showalter’s latest release as Strand Of Oaks, Hard Love, emanates an unabashed, raw, and manic energy that embodies both the songs and the songwriter behind them. “For me, there are always two forces at work: the side that’s constantly on the hunt for the perfect song, and the side that’s naked in the desert screaming at the moon. It’s about finding a place where neither side is compromised, only elevated.” Drawing from his love of Creation Records, Trojan dub compilations, and Jane’s Addiction, and informed by a particularly wild time at Australia’s Boogie Festival, he sought to create a record that would merge all of these influences while evoking something new and visceral. These influences coupled with an uninhibited and collaborative studio experience moved an initial concept for a singularly feel-good record to something more complex and real.  As much as Showalter wants this record to seem like a party, it’s more than that. It feels like living. [Limited green color vinyl pressing also available.]

Tall Tall Trees Freedays CD/LP (Joyful Noise)
Although it’s often hard to imagine, most of the sounds on Freedays are experiments with the banjo, and they all reflect the innovative musings of one of the freshest sounds to come out of the Appalachians in decades.
Visible CloaksReassemblage CD/LP+MP3 (RVNG International)
Visible Cloaks’ Reassemblage is a collection of delicately rendered passages of silence and sound that invokes — and invites — consciousness. The foundation of the duo’s second album could be described as translingual or polyglottal, working within an eastern/western feedback loop of influence, Fourth World ambiguity, and the universality of human emotion.
Parquet CourtsCaptive Of The Sun 12” (Rough Trade)
When Parquet Courts made their second television appearance supporting 2016’s brilliant Human Performance LP, they were joined on Late Night with Stephen Colbert by a very special surprise guest, rapper Bun B (of UGK), who added a verse to the album’s percussive, lyrically-dense “Captive of the Sun.” What fans of both artists may not know, is that Bun B, a huge fan of Parquet Courts (whose Austin Brown, a Houston rap acolyte, is himself a Bun B and UGK superfan), already had a studio version of the track featuring his guest verse in the works. This brilliant meeting of the minds is now available on a club-ready 12”, with a B-side featuring the track as remixed by two more legendary Houstonians, DJ Candlestick & OG Ron C, whose “Chopped Not Slopped” edition brings plenty of purple codeine haze to the party.

DAMS OF THE WEST (vampire weekend) – Youngish American CD/LP
OLD 97S – Graveyard Whistling CD?LP
ALL THEM WITCHES – Sleeping Through The War CD/LP
ANDREW BIRD – Mysterious Production Of Eggs LP reissue
DUDE YORK – Sincerely CD/LP
FEELIES – In Between CD/LP
ENTRANCE – Book Of Changes CD/LP
SUN KIL MOON – Common As Light and Love Are Red Valley Of Blood CD
XIU XIU – Forget CD/LP
SCOTT BIRAM – The Bad Testament CD/LP
CIRCA SURVIVE – On Letting Go LP reissue
MIKE WATT – Hyphenated Man LP