The title of Los Angeles’s prodigal songwriting son Ariel Pink’s eleventh studio effort makes a direct and heartfelt reference to a real-life L.A. musician, long presumed dead, who resurfaced online in 2007 after 35 reclusive years to pen his autobiography and tragic life story in a series of blogs and YouTube tirades. Building upon his singular vision of pop songcraft, established by such seminal records as The Doldrums, Worn Copy, House Arrest, Loverboy, Before Today, Mature Themes, and Pom Pom, Pink revisits themes that have haunted his sonic cinemascapes since the late 1990s: mismanaged dreams, west coast mythologies, itinerant criminals, haunted boulevards, Hollywood legends, the impermanence of romance, bubblegum artifice, movie stardom, childhood terror, acceptance of self, and narcissism projected through a celluloid filter of controversion. Standout tracks here include “Feels Like Heaven,” a lovelorn insta-classic paying tribute to the promise of romance, “Another Weekend,” which encapsulates the lingering euphoria of a regrettable weekend over the edge, “Dedicated To Bobby Jameson,” a rah-rah psych romp paying homage to L.A.’s punk history, and “Time to Live,” an ironic anti-suicide anthem that promotes survival as a form of resistance before devolving into a grungy, “Video Killed the Radio Star”-style breakdown that supposes life and death as being more or less the same fate and embraces the immortal anarchy of a rock song as an alternative to the prison of reality.
CD/LP+CD (One Little Indian)
Second album from the Icelandic singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and collaborator. Afterglow
sees Ásgeir depart from the sentiment and sound of his first outing in many ways, bringing a great deal more electronic instrumentation into the fold, and adopting R&B and soul elements. The album leaves behind the folk-tinged acoustics and dives head first into melancholic, melodic electronica in its purest form.
Chris Bell – I Am The Cosmos [Reissue/1972] 2xCD/LP+MP3 (Omnivore)
After co-founding Big Star, the world only received two tracks of new music from Chris Bell during his lifetime—a 1978 single on the Car Records label run by Chris Stamey (dB’s, Sneakers) titled “I Am The Cosmos” b/w “You And Your Sister.” He would tragically be killed in a car accident later that same year. However, those were not the only tracks Bell had recorded in his post-Big Star years. In 1974–1975, Bell worked in the famed Château D’Hérouville near Paris, France, and later recorded at both Shoe Studios and Ardent Studios in Memphis. Some of that material arrived in 1992 as I Am The Cosmos to great acclaim. An expanded 2009 release nearly doubled the track listing, adding alternate mixes, as well as some of Bell’s pre-Big Star recordings. With those early recordings now taking their proper place on Looking Forward: The Roots Of Big Star (released in July 2017), it is now time for the definitive version of I Am The Cosmos. In addition to the bonus material found on the 1992 release and 2009 reissue, this new double-CD adds ten tracks, eight of which are previously unissued and two making their CD debut. [Limited clear vinyl pressing with an accompanying download of the bonus material is also available.]
Deer Tick – Deer Tick Vol. 1 CD/LP (Partisan)
Deer Tick – Deer Tick Vol. 2 CD/LP (Partisan)
Deer Tick proves with their two new simultaneously released albums titled, Deer Tick Vol. 1 and Deer Tick Vol. 2 that their punk-roots rock have only gotten better with age since their last LP. The twin albums complement one another but also stand independently. Vol. 1 is classic Deer Tick: folk-rooted acoustic guitars and soft piano cushion out-front vocals. Vol. 2 commits wholly to the band’s longtime garage-rock flirtations for a triumphant foray into punk. Singer-songwriter John J. McCauley sees the two records as a natural progression as he’s always had one foot in each door. “Every album we’ve put out has had its manic moments in one way or another. I felt good enough about everything that I was writing to think that we could truly separate our two big interests: quiet and loud.” McCauley says that he believes “Sea Of Clouds” and “It’s A Whale” probably best capture the “extremities” of both records. He’s right, of course: It’s Vol. 1‘s quiet vs. Vol. 2‘s loud – Deer Tick’s dual personalities, finally channeled onto two distinct and equally brilliant records. “These albums represent a new phase of my life that I haven’t entirely figured out yet,” McCauley says. “I don’t know what’s going to happen but that’s part of the excitement for me.”
Foo Fighters – Concrete And Gold CD/2xLP+MP3 (RCA)
“I wanted it to be the biggest sounding Foo Fighters record ever. To make a gigantic rock record but with Greg Kurstin’s sense of melody and arrangement.” So speaks Dave Grohl of the mission statement made manifest in Foo Fighters’ ninth epic, the aptly-titled Concrete And Gold. Just as Foo Fighters’ anthem of the summer “Run” “opens as a dreamy, slow burner then quickly turns heavy as thunder” (Billboard) with its “huge triumphant chorus” (Stereogum), Concrete And Gold marries some of the most insanely heavy Foo Fighters riffs ever with lush harmonic complexities courtesy of a first-time team-up with producer Greg Kurstin (Adele, Sia, Pink). “So I think maybe Greg is the guy that we ask to be our producer because he’s never made a heavy rock record before and we’ve never worked with a pop producer,” adds Grohl. Darrel Thorp (Beck, Radiohead) was soon enlisted to mix and engineer. This collective conceived a blueprint of the new record as, “Motörhead’s version of Sgt. Pepper…or something like that.”
Mike Gordon – OGOGO CD/LP (Megaplum/ATO)
Phish bassist Mike Gordon presents OGOGO, his fifth solo album. The album features Mike’s regular touring band: Scott Murawski (guitar/vocals), Robert Walter (keyboards), John Morgan Kimock (drums), and Craig Myers (percussion). Along with acclaimed producer/sound engineer Shawn Everett, the bassist explores genres like pop, psych-rock and new wave to create 13 toe-tapping tracks that don’t necessarily betray Gordon’s jam band roots, but definitely reframe his approach to writing and recording. The first track is the synth-laden, poppy “Equilibrium.” It’s a fitting way to open the album, considering Gordon’s career is its own kind of balancing act. There’s the equilibrium between his solo work and his role in Phish, the tension between his love for songwriting and his natural ability to improvise and the overarching balance between his work and his family.
Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton – Choir Of The Mind CD/2xLP (Last Gang)
Choir Of The Mind is the first release from Metric singer Emily Haines’ Soft Skeleton solo project in a decade. Haines recorded the album over several weeks in September and October of 2016, more or less alone in Metric’s Toronto studio with a borrowed 18-foot grand piano built in 1850. Her longtime musical partner/Metric bandmate, James Shaw, helped flesh out the sonics with various instruments and rhythmic elements. [Limited colored vinyl pressing available.]
Hot Water Music – Light It Up CD/LP+MP3 (Rise)
Gainesville, FL’s Hot Water Music return with their second for Rise Records following 2012’s Exister. Ushered in by the anthemic lead single “Never Going Back,” the 12-track album was self-produced and serves as a prime example of a band remaining vital and increasingly relevant throughout a 25-year career. [Limited colored vinyl pressing available.]
Wyclef Jean – Carnival III: The Fall & Rise Of A Refugee CD/LP (Sony)
The third installment in Wyclef’s Carnival series features contributions from Emeli Sande, Supah Mario, The Knocks, and Lunch Money Lewis.
The Lone Bellow – Walk Into A Storm CD/LP (Sony Masterworks)
Walk Into A Storm is the third studio effort from The Lone Bellow featuring Zach Williams (guitar, lead vocals), Kanene Donehey Pipkin (mandolin, bass, vocals) and Brian Elmquist (guitar, vocals). The album was helmed by Grammy Award-winning go-to-producer Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell), and was recorded in Nashville, TN. NPR notes that fast rising lead single, “Time’s Always Leaving,” “leans heavily into the rootsy, big-hearted warmth that has made The Lone Bellow one of the most sure-footed crowd-pleasers in the business.” Walk Into A Storm follows-up the band’s victorious 2015 album Then Came The Morning which was produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner. In the years since the release the band left their beloved adopted home of Brooklyn, NY and moved to Nashville, TN.
Myrkur – Mareridt CDEP/12” (Relapse)
Emerging from the darkness of Scandinavia comes the much-anticipated debut EP by one-woman black metal band Myrkur. Combining the rawness of second wave black metal bands like Ulver and Darkthrone with a natural sonic, ethereal beauty, Myrkur has created a wholly unique perspective on the genre.
Gary Numan – Savage (Songs From A Broken World) CD/2xLP (BMG)
Savage (Songs from a Broken World) is the haunting new concept album from self-proclaimed “one man band” and electro and industrial music pioneer Gary Numan. Influenced by Donald Trump’s presidential victory and the world’s current climate policies, it serves as the twentysecond studio effort of Numan’s trailblazing career. The record is set in a post global warming, apocalyptic, Earth in the not-too-distant future.
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – The Echo Of Pleasure CD/LP (Painbow)
The Pains Of Being Pure at Heart have long set the benchmark for big-hearted, idealistic pop songs. With The Echo Of Pleasure, the band pushes beyond their many inspirations and embrace their role as indie pop heroes in their own right.
Lee Ranaldo – Electric Trim CD/2xLP (Mute)
Electric Trim was recorded in New York City and Barcelona in collaboration with producer Raül “Refree” Fernandez and extends the work of Lee Ranaldo’s solo canon, the most recent being his 2013 album, Last Night On Earth. Through his collaboration with Fernandez, Ranaldo moves into some rich new sonic territories and production techniques, experimenting with electronic beats and samples alongside live players. In addition to Fernandez, he worked with several special guests including Sharon Van Etten who sings on six of the tracks and duets on “Last Looks” and Kid Millions (aka Man Forever) as well as longtime friend and collaborator Nels Cline (Wilco). In addition, the album features Ranaldo’s band The Dust (fellow Sonic Youth member Steve Shelley, guitarist Alann Licht, and bassist Tim Luntzel). Ranaldo collaborated with award-winning New York author Jonathan Lethem (Motherless Brooklyn, The Fortress of Solitude) for lyrics on six of the songs. The American artist Richard Prince, who previously painted the sleeve for Sonic Youth’s 2004 album Sonic Nurse, created the artwork.
Rostam – Half-Light CD/LP (Nonesuch)
Half-Light is the debut album from Grammy Award–winning songwriter and producer Rostam Batmanglij, a kaleidoscopic 15-song collection written, produced, and performed by Rostam in his Los Angeles, CA home studio. Rostam produced three gold records with Vampire Weekend before announcing his departure from the group in the beginning of 2016. By the end of that year he had contributed songwriting and production to several of the most important albums of the year including Frank Ocean’s Blonde, Solange’s A Seat At The Table, and a collaborative full length with The Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser.
Son Little – New Magic CD/LP+MP3 (ANTI-)
Son Little, the singer and songwriter born Aaron Livingston, is the easygoing musical alchemist of our time. He is a conjurer, and much like those of his heroes Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix, his songs are deconstructions of the diaspora of American R&B. Deftly he weaves different eras of the sound—blues, soul, gospel, rock and roll—through his own unique vision, never forced, always smooth, each note a tributary on the flowing river of rhythm and blues. And now, with his second full-length album, New Magic, he has delivered a profound statement, a cohesive creation that captures the diverse spirit of American music in a fresh and modern way. The song that serves as the album’s true centerpiece is “Blue Magic,” a Philly Soul inspired number deconstructed almost like a rap song or the best of production savants like J Dilla or Madlib, complete with chiming glockenspiel bells and old school female backing vocals. The song has the appeal of an instant classic.
Angus & Julia Stone – Snow CD (Nettwerk)
The Sydney-born siblings produced and largely engineered Snow themselves, in Angus’s cottage studio, Belafonte, in the Byron Bay hinterland. “It was quite magical because Angus and I have never spent that much time together, just the two of us,” says Julia. “The last phase of writing and recording was just eight weeks of him and me and the quiet of the land. It was a beautiful time.” Since they began in 2006, Angus & Julia Stone have amassed multi-platinum sales and numerous ARIA awards at home, and won a fanbase of millions over tours of the UK, Europe & North America. [Vinyl edition due October 6.]
The Texas Gentlemen – TX Jelly CD/LP+MP3 (New West)
Lone Star-bred collective The Texas Gentlemen takes its cues from some of the iconic acts of the past – the quicksilver brilliance of The Wrecking Crew and Bob Dylan’s one-time backers The Band are the most obvious examples. Founding member, Beau Bedford, who shares chief engineering and production responsibilities at Dallas’ Modern Electric Sound Recorders, assembled The Texas Gentlemen as an all-purpose backing band for an eclectic array of singer songwriters, including Leon Bridges, Nikki Lane, Jonathan Tyler and Paul Cauthen.
Willie Watson – Folksinger Vol. 2 CD/LP (Acony)
Produced by David Rawlings and recorded on analog tape at Woodland Sound Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, Folksinger Vol. 2 features eleven songs unearthed from the canon of American folk music and brought to light by Willies remarkable voice and wise beyond his years performances. Special guest appearances by the Fairfield Four, Gillian Welch, Morgan Jahnig and Paul Kowert round out the arrangements on this stunning sophomore collection.
Beyoncé – Lemonade 2xLP (Columbia)
Beyoncé’s latest is now available on 180gm yellow vinyl. Primarily an R&B album, Lemonade encompasses a variety of genres, including pop, reggae, blues, rock, hip-hop, soul, funk, Americana, country, gospel, electronic, and trap music.
Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart [Reissue/1980] 12” (Cleopatra)
Deluxe canvas bag vinyl LP edition of this EP containing a rare studio outtake recording of Joy Division’s 1980 post-punk classic.
Joywave – Content LP (Hollywood)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. “Content is a world of shifting dynamics. Daniel Armbruster’s (Joywave’s lead singer and lyricist) fragile words give way to howling, bewildering blasts of rock and electronic programming. Powerful, immersive, lush, emotionally distant. The production by Armbruster, bassist Sean Donnelly and Rich Costey, who has worked with layered, dense-sounding bands such as Arctic Monkeys and Muse, is careful to keep the vocals out front.
Prince – Prince 4Ever 4xLP (WB)
Released last November on CD – now available on vinyl. Prince 4ever is the sixth compilation album of Prince’s Warner Bros. studio work, and the first official posthumous release (it arrives more than ten years after the previous best-of compilation Ultimate). It comprises only Warner Bros.-era recordings under the name Prince from 14 studio albums, released originally between 1978 and 1993, as well as the standalone single track “Gotta Stop (Messin’ About)” and two songs which previously debuted on The Hits 1 and The Hits 2 (“Nothing Compares 2 U” and “Peach” respectively). The compilation includes one previously unreleased track, “Moonbeam Levels” (originally recorded in 1982 during the 1999 sessions and later considered for the never released Rave Unto The Joy Fantastic album). Of the 40 tracks on the compilation, “Take Me With U,” “Paisley Park,” “Batdance,” “Mountains,” “Girls & Boys,” “Glam Slam” and the previouslyunreleased “Moonbeam Levels” had not appeared on a previous studio compilation album in any form.
Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions – Son Of A Lady 10”+MP3 (Tendril Tales)
Four new tracks. “Antiquity” is exclusive to this vinyl version. Includes “Let Me Get There” (Demo Version) featuring Kurt Vile.