Kimber – Bettye LaVette
Lindsay – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
Dario – Orquesta Akokan
Paula – Jukebox The Ghost, The Voidz
THIS WEEK’S NEW RELEASES
Amen Dunes – Freedom CD/LP+MP3 (Sacred Bones)
Over the course of 10 years, Damon McMahon aka Amen Dunes has transformed continuously, and Freedom is the project’s boldest leap yet. On the surface, it’s a reflection on growing up, childhood friends who ended up in prison or worse, male identity, McMahon’s father, and his mother, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the beginning of recording. The characters that populate the musical world of Freedom are a colorful mix of reality and fantasy: father and mother, Amen Dunes, teenage glue addicts and Parisian drug dealers, ghosts above the plains, fallen surf heroes, vampires, thugs from Naples and thugs from Houston, the emperor of Rome, Jews, Jesus, Tashtego, Perseus, even McMahon himself. Each character portrait is a representation of McMahon, of masculinity, and of his past.
Apollo Brown & Ghostface Killah – The Brown Tape CD/LP (Mello Music)
The official reissue of Apollo Brown’s re-imagining of Ghostface Killah’s striking 2013 release Twelve Reasons To Die. The legendary Detroit producer was asked to record an alternate album at the same time as Adrian Younge created Twelve Reasons To Die. Keep in mind, Brown was given access to Ghostface’s original recordings and constructed beats around the rapper’s work. Cinematic and nasty, this is hip-hop at its most raw.
Czarface & MF DOOM – Czarface Meets Metalface CD/LP (Silver Age)
Blending DOOM’s trademark abstractions and Czarface’s in-your-face lyrical attack, Czarface Meets Metalface is ripe with cartoon violence, societal observations and pop culture musings. Over banging beats provided by The Czar-Keys, the armored team give you the witty unpredictable treats any hip-hop fan can sink their fangs into. Expect beats, rhymes, and metal as Czarface controlled by Wu-Tang Clan powerhouse Inspectah Deck and 7L & Esoteric team up with everyone’s favorite villain, MF DOOM.
Frankie Cosmos – Vessel CD/LP+MP3/Cassette (Sub Pop)
Frankie Cosmos has taken several different shapes since their first full-band album, 2014’s Zentropy, erupted in New York’s DIY music scene. For Vessel, the band’s lineup comprises multi-instrumentalists David Maine, Lauren Martin, Luke Pyenson, and Greta Kline. The album’s 18 tracks employ a range of instrumentations and recording methods not found on the band’s prior albums, while maintaining the succinctly sincere nature of Kline’s songwriting. The album’s opening track, “Caramelize,” serves as the thematic overture for Vessel, alluding to topics like dependency, growth, and love, which reemerge throughout the record. Although many of the scenarios and personalities written about on Vessel are familiar territory for Frankie Cosmos, Kline brings a freshly nuanced point of view, and a desire to constantly question the latent meaning of her experiences. Kline’s dissonant lyrics pair with the band’s driving, jangly grooves to create striking moments of musical chemistry.
The Garden – Mirror Might Steal Your Charm CD (Epitaph)
Taking the audience away into a still unfathomed sound world and bringing back some of the scuzzier elements of their earlier work, the duo’s more guitar focused third album is another sublime slice of post-modern pop. Welcome back to a land that’s familiar, slightly out of sync, and a little bit unnerving. [Vinyl edition due May 18.]
Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite – No Mercy In This Land CD/LP (ANTI-)
Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite join forces once again for No Mercy In This Land, the first new music from the pair since the 2013 release of their collaborative album Get Up! which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Blues Albums Chart and won a Grammy Award for Best Blues Album. A musical expression of the kinship between the two, No Mercy In This Land is a blues record which recounts both Ben and Charlie’s personal stories and adds to the sonic history of American struggle and survival. “That first record happened in the studio,” Charlie says, “But then we toured together for nearly two years and it just kept getting better and better, the musical rapport, the band, the two of us personally. When we finally headed back into the studio we were just charged, ready to go, the songs were jumping out like wild horses ready to run.” Harper adds, “Everything I’ve ever done has had one foot in the blues. There has never been any doubt in my mind that if Charlie and I are on the planet together, we are going to be making music. The last record kicked the door open, but it was just the beginning. At this moment, I don’t think I could make a better record than this. I mean that.” [Limited 180gm pressing also available.]
Jukebox The Ghost – Off To The Races CD/LP (Priority)
A giddy, vibrant fifth album from the long-running trio of piano pop wizards. Every generation has a band that puts a fresh twist on piano-rock, and Off To The Races serves as a memorably vivid and kaleidoscopic step forward for the genre.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gumboot Soup CD/LP (ATO)
Domestic issue of the Australian psychedelic rock band band’s 13th studio album, Gumboot Soup, originally released last December. In an interview with Consequence Of Sound, the band’s Stu Mackenzie described their final record of 2017 as a “place for us to put a lot of different ideas that we’re trying to experiment within the song, rather than within the whole record. And for me, some of my favorite songs of the year are on the fifth record. It’s more song-oriented than album-oriented.”
Bettye LaVette – Things Have Changed CD/2xLP (Verve)
For her tenth album and first album on a major label in nearly fifty years, legendary soul singer Bettye LaVette takes on the songs of Bob Dylan with the grit and experience that makes her one of the greatest soul singers alive. Things Have Changed is a masterpiece of interpretation of one of the greatest songwriters alive, by one of the greatest soul singers alive. Produced by Steve Jordan, the album spans Dylan’s catalogue and features guest appearances by Keith Richards and Trombone Shorty.
Lindi Ortega – Liberty CD/LP (Soundly Music, LLC)
New release from the country music singer/songwriter. Lindi wrote half of the 12 tracks on her fifth studio album, working with co-writers Aaron Raitiere, Bruce Wallace and John Paul White (formerly of the Civil Wars). Liberty is what Ortega calls “a three-part concept album reflecting loss, seance, resurrection and freedom.”
Orquesta Akokán – Self-Titled CD/LP (Daptone)
Akokán is a Yoruba word used in Cuba meaning from the heart, and indeed, every song on the self-titled debut album by Orquesta Akokán feels like a heartfelt gift from the band to the listener. Assembled and led by Cuban vocalist José Pepito Gómez, Orquesta Akokán is a big band collective of the finest musicians on the island, both young and old. It features all-original music and was cut live to tape over a three-day session at Havana s hallowed state-run Estudios Areito. Areito is one of the longest operating studios in the world and where important Cuban records have been made. The album was produced by Jacob Plasse and arranged by Mike Eckroth.
The Voidz – Virtue CD/2xLP (Cult Recordings/RCA)
The Voidz (formerly Julian Casablancas + The Voidz) return with Virtue, their first new album in nearly four years. “When Julian Casablancas looks at the modern world, he sees the increasingly blurry distinction between lies and truth. On Virtue, his second album with the Voidz, the New York rocker ponders whether it’s possible to, as he told Vulture, ‘make complex truth sexy.’ He attempts this feat with a more eclectic approach than on the Voidz’s frustratingly abrasive 2014 debut, Tyranny. With Virtue, Casablancas casts a wide sonic net—from death-metal growl to chirpy falsetto, effects-laden synth-pop to lo-fi garage-punk—and doubles down on the Voidz’s fiercely political focus.” – Slant
Zeke – Hellbender CD/LP (Relapse)
Seattle punk legends Zeke return with their first new album in over 14 years. Short, fast, loud, and to the f**kin’ point, Hellbender contains 15 tracks laced with Zeke’s signature mix of hyper speed thrash-punk and Motörhead possessed, hard as nails, rock n’ roll.
Cut Chemist – Die Cut 2xLP (Cold Busted)
Recently released on CD – now available on vinyl. On his long-awaited second full-length solo album Die Cut, the trailblazing DJ and producer underwent a creative birth reflected in its 17 tracks. The artist augments his signature approach famously earmarked by impeccable sample selection, searing scratching, and big-screen worthy arrangements with the inclusion of A-list musicians, songwriter structure, and a whole lot of team spirit including Los Angeles producer, curator and purveyor of culture, Carlos Nino.
Isis – Mosquito Control [Reissue/1998] 12” (Hydrahead)
Vinyl reissue of the first studio release by the post-metal band.
The Vaccines – Combat Sports LP (Capitol)
The Vaccines return to their roots with an album of songs ranging from pure rock and roll to power-pop. [CD edition due April 6.]
NEXT WEEK’S NEW RELEASES