At various points along the trajectory between then and now, Travis have sold millions of albums (just under three million of The Man Who in the UK alone); they’ve been the subject of an award-winning feature length documentary (Almost Fashionable) and Fran has elicited acclaim from Paul McCartney, Elton John and Graham Nash – all songwriters whose ability to divine a timeless melody out of thin air has sustained them through the decades. ’10 Songs’ is an album that holds you in its own emotional microclimate at the outset and keeps you there. It’s also a grown-up record. ’10 Songs’ is a record about the way life comes at love and what love does to weather those challenges. “This is no rehearsal/This is the take,” sings Fran at the beginning of Waving At The Window, over an insistent piano hook, “Promises you once kept/Are going to break Every track on this album carries an even load. No passengers here. Nowhere to hide. “I write songs in an antiquated way,” explains their creator, “Sitting at the bottom of the bed, ‘pouring my simple sorrow to the sound hole and my knee’, as Joni Mitchell put it.” As a songwriter based in L.A., Fran Healy doesn’t need anyone to tell him this is no longer how it’s done. It’s far from uncommon for the credits on successful modern pop songs to feature upwards of ten writers. Hits by committee. “It’s fine,” notes Fran, “Personally though, I’ll take ten songs written by one person over one song written by ten people. And if I feel that way, then surely someone else must do too.”
Heavy metal legends Sevendust deliver their thirteenth studio album, Blood & Stone which sees the band working once again with producer Michael "Elvis" Baskette (Alter Bridge, Tremont, Slash) who helmed 2018's All I See Is War. From the pulsating intro of album opener "Dying To Live" to closer and single "The Day I Tried To Live," Sevendust continue to push the sound they have made their own for more than 25 years. Further tracks like "Love," "Blood From A Stone," "Kill Me" and "Against The World" showcase why the band has been adored by fans and critics alike. Lajon Witherspoon, Clint Lowery, John Connolly, Vince Hornsby and Morgan Rose have raised the bar with Blood & Stone and the new material will sit perfectly alongside the band's most seminal tracks live.
On December 26th, 2018, Emily Cross received an excited email from a friend: Brian Eno was talking about her band on BBC radio. "At first I didn't think it was real," she admits. But then she heard a recording: Eno was praising "Black Willow" from Loma's self-titled debut, a song whose minimal groove and hypnotic refrain seem as much farewell as a manifesto: I make my bed beside the road / I carry a diamond blade / I will not serve you. He said he'd had it on repeat.
2020 release. "Change is inevitable if you're lucky," says guitarist/vocalist Alex Edkins while talking about Atlas Vending, the fourth full-length album by Toronto's METZ. "Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We've always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we've accomplished something that pushes us forward." The music made by Edkins and his compatriots Hayden Menzies (drums) and Chris Slorach (bass) has always been a little difficult to pin down. Their earliest recordings contained nods to the teeming energy of early '90s DIY hardcore, the aggravated angularities of This Heat, and the noisy riffing of AmRep's quintessential guitar manglers, but there was never a moment where METZ sounded like they were paying tribute to the heroes of their youth.
Slow Pulp's remarkable full-length debut Moveys is a testament to hard-fought personal growth. In the process of making their new record, the Chicago-based indie rock band powered through health challenges, personal upheaval, and a pandemic, all while breaking old habits and learning how to be better songwriters and friends. Full of blistering energy and emotional catharsis, this compelling 10-track collection highlights the band's resourcefulness and resilience to come together even when they were states away.
Slow Pulp's tough adaptability is something that has formed over time thanks to the unbreakable bond of lifelong friendship. Slow Pulp's roots can be traced back to elementary school, with Alexander Leeds (bass), Theodore Mathews (drums), and Henry Stoehr (guitar) performing in bands together since the sixth grade while growing up in Madison, Wisconsin. Emily Massey (vocals/guitar) was later invited to join their new project, Slow Pulp, in 2017. "I can't describe a level of closeness with other people like we have. Having lived together, toured together, worked together, and written together, we learned so much about each other so quickly," says Massey. Slow Pulp first started working on new songs in the Spring of 2019, immediately after the release of their EP, Big Day, but they ended up scrapping the material. "When we started writing this record, I had been experiencing so much fatigue and getting sick a lot and I didn't know what it was. I got diagnosed with Lyme disease and a chronic Mono," says Massey. She adds, "The diagnosis validated a lot of what I was feeling. I got tools for how to take care of myself better." For Massey, taking care of herself meant more than just addressing her physical needs. "The way that I internalize trauma is I will hold it in and not process it for a very long time, but writing songs is the one place where I can't hide from myself. It just comes out whether or not I want it to or if I'm ready for it to. Figuring out how to write together, as a band, was like me learning how to take care of myself and learning how to communicate better." When the band toured with Alex G in the fall, new songs started to take shape. However, in March, as the band was finishing the songs and starting to realize a full-length effort, Massey's parents got in a severe car accident forcing her to pause recording and return home to Madison and take care of them. A week later, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. "I wasn't able to come back to Chicago for a while. How were we going to finish this apart from each other?" thought Massey. With Stoehr leading engineering, mixing, and production duties, the band managed to finish the record in an isolated, post-COVID world. "Thankfully most instrumentals were already written. Alex and Henry and I were all able to do that separately from a studio space that we rent in Chicago. It required a lot of FaceTime which was no substitute for us being in the room together," says Mathews. As Massey's father Michael recovered from his injuries, the two worked on completing her vocal takes from his home studio. On top of engineering all but two vocal tracks, Michael Massey also contributed the instrumental piano track "Whispers (In the Outfield)." After a handful of singles and EPs, Moveys marks a turning point for Slow Pulp, not just as musicians, but as friends and bandmates. It is a marked departure from the ramshackle coziness of their earlier output, with a more thoughtful sound that allows Massey to soar. For example, lead single "Idaho," written on the road during tour-induced disorientation that led Stoehr to confuse their gig at Colorado College for a show in an entirely different state, bursts to life thanks to Stoehr's shimmering guitar theatrics and Massey's powerful and yearning vocal delivery. Here, she sings powerfully of the mental health hurdles that come with accepting love, "I'll keep on holding out for the downside / Before I knew why." Other songs like the shoegaze-y "Channel 2" feature Leeds on lead vocals whereas the understated and delicate highlight "Falling Apart" boasts Alex G collaborator Molly Germer on violin. So much of the album broadcasts their adventurousness, from the funky and cheeky samples on the title track to the gorgeous acoustic strums on opener "New Horse." The driving, two-minute ripper, "At It Again", was written and recorded in self-isolation as the last song to make the record. Massey explains her mindset behind the track: "I was starting to feel like I was getting back to a place where I could be healthy both physically and mentally. Then when everything happened, it was like, 'sike!'" The word "moveys" is multi-faceted for Slow Pulp. It's a made-up word, and a title of the album's bonus track. It is an invitation to dance. It is a wink at the cross-country nature of the album's songwriting process, while the bandmates were literally on the move touring, sheltering in place, and going through major life changes. But, mostly, it's an inside joke. Listening to these warm, dynamic and welcoming songs, it's easy to feel like you're a part of it too.
Written and recorded in the earliest days of the Covid-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter/American uprising, this album represents a new direction for Austin, yet retains his distinctive voice and hyperliterate writing style. Contained are ten songs that serve as direct commentary regarding the ongoing global situation, isolation, fear and the indomitable spirit required to stand up against systemic racism and fascism, in a world spiraling out of control.
“I feel like I’m right back where I started,” says Wynonna Judd, “like I’m 18 all over again. When I sing these songs, it feels like I’m coming home.”
Indeed, Recollections, Wynonna’s captivating new EP, marks both a literal and a figurative homecoming for the GRAMMY-winning icon, who recorded much of the collection while quarantining on her Tennessee farmin the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Forced off the road for the first time in years, she found herself reconnecting with her roots as she sang once again for the sheer joy of it, performing a series of loose and lively covers with her husband, former Highway 101 drummer, multi-instrumentalist and producer Cactus Moser. The resulting EP is a testament not only to Wynonna’s status as a jawdropping vocalist and electrifying frontwoman, but also a consummate interpreter of song and a dedicated student of craft. Wynonna drills down to the essence of each song, stripping back layer after layer until she’s laid bare the raw, emotional core of the music. There’s no pretense or posturing on Recollections, just pure heart and soul.
“I’ve learned a lot being at home these last few months,” Wynonna reflects. “When there’s no touring, no concerts, no band, no lights, no action, all that’s left is you and the song. All that’s left is your gift.”
TOUCHÉ AMORÉ has been burrowing through angst, alienation, cancer, and heartbreak throughout four adored studio albums. After over a decade of working through darkness, the band’s gorgeously gruff fifth album, Lament, finds the light at the end of the tunnel. Through 11 songs, TOUCHÉ AMORÉ looks back at its past and uses hard-won optimism to point its fans toward light, and love.
In the five years since Will Butler released his debut album, Policy, he’s toured the world both solo and as a member of Arcade Fire, released the Friday Night live album, recorded and released Arcade Fire’s international #1 album Everything Now, earned his master’s degree in public policy from Harvard, hosted a series of touring town halls on local issues (police contracts, prison reform, municipal paid sick leave, voting rights), and spent time raising his three children.
He also found the time and inspiration to write and record a new album, Generations.
“My first record, Policy, was a book of short stories,” Butler says. “Generations is more of a novel—despairing, funny, a little bit epic… A big chunk of this record is asking: What’s my place in American history? What’s my place in America’s present? Both in general—as a participant, as we all are, in the shit that’s going down—but, also extremely particularly: me as Will Butler, rich person, white person, Mormon, Yankee, parent, musician of some sort, I guess. What do I do? What can I do? The record asks that question over and over, even if it’s not much for answers.”
While the songs on Generations contain their fair share of dread and regret, there is ultimately a lightness that shines through Butler’s music. That brightness is at its most intense when he and his solo band—Miles Francis, Sara Dobbs, and Julie and Jenny Shore—perform on stage. Their electricity is palpable throughout Generations, with the bulk of the new songs having been worked out live. Wild synth production—gnarly bass synths with live drums—and anthemic backing vocals as on first single “Surrender” are punctuated by intimate, direct moments: Butler’s voice cracking on “Fine” as he conjures his ancestors, and “Promised,” a meditation on friendship, how lives are built together, and how and why they drift apart.
Generations was recorded and produced by Butler in the basement of his home in Brooklyn. Tracking finished in March 2020, as New York closed down for the pandemic. Half the record was mixed in Montreal by longtime Arcade Fire engineer Mark Lawson, the other half by Brooklyn-based producer Shiftee (who is, incidentally, bandmate Julie Shore’s husband and Will’s brother-in-law).
Generations opens a dialogue with the world. It posits answers—and deals with those answers being refuted. Ultimately, it navigates the conversation as a way to find the truth… or at least a way forward.
4 panel wallet with 8-panel miniposter-style insert, matte coating on both
An explosive album of pain, rage and fear with some of the most direct and confrontational lyrics of his four-decade career. According to Bob, “This is the catchiest batch of protest songs I’ve ever written in one sitting.”
The Great Dismal, NOTHING’s new full-length album explores existentialist themes of isolation, extinction, and human behavior in the face of 2020’s vast wasteland. Closing in on the band’s ten-year mark, frontman Domenic Palermo finds himself stringing together songs of misanthropic tales of Philadelphia with a refined and refreshed take on NOTHING's classic sound. “The Great Dismal refers to a swamp, a brilliant natural trap where survival is custom fit to its inhabitants,” Palermo states. “The nature of its beautiful, but taxing environment and harsh conditions can’t ever really be shaken or forgotten too easily.” The ever progressive NOTHING keeps true to their chaotic outlook on life, keeping a keen eye to avoid repetition. With a radical cast of talented contributors such as harpist Mary Lattimore, classical musician Shelley Weiss, and singer/songwriter/producer Alex G., The Great Dismal showcases yet another essential side of the band’s trademark American Post-Shoegaze.
Writer/ director Haroula Rose, who co-wrote on the film’s soundtrack, made sure the music was not lost in the film revealing, “It was a deeply embedded process, and I had the tools to share with the actors and crew along the way which felt organic and special. As we filmed our first shot, I played Will Oldham's track ‘Always Bound’ by a campfire at dusk. We were all able to connect and to be in the same emotional space with the music as a guiding creative light. Being able to weave the fibers of the songs and music together as its own character essentially, was truly a gift, along with the period appropriate 70's music. I am deeply grateful to these songwriters and to Thirty Tigers for being such incredible collaborators on this unique journey.”
Thirty Tigers President David Macias praises the hard work Rose and her team put into the soundtrack saying “I am incredibly proud of this film, and that definitely goes for the music that was produced for it. From the score that Zac Rae produced to the original songs from amazing artists like Rodney Crowell, J.D. Souther, Will Oldham and Haroula, the soundtrack is an incredible body of work on its own. But the way it reinforces the film is a testament to the great job Haroula and music supervisor Michael Turner did.”
15 years after the release of their debut album, Daptone's Royal Court from Staten Island delivers a truly epic collection of new material that finds the group further bridging the gap between the farfisa-fueled Ethio-Funk stylings of their early recordings, with the psychedelic, Sabbath-inspired hellfire of late. The title track and lead single, Long in the Tooth, jumps out of the speakers with a heavy drum break (reminiscent of the B-Boy approved grooves of their early output), drenched in a pulsating, hallucinatory wall of organ, menacing horns, and a rugged guitar riff that pummels the listener into Budonian submission. Imagine Link Wray and Mulatu Astatke collaborating on a Italian horror soundtrack and you're getting close.
2020 release. The duality here runs deep: almost 50 minutes of intricately arranged composition and kinetic guitar chorales christened in tribute to both a familiar place of refuge and that ragged state of mind beyond all common sense, when you keep on going even after you've run out of rope and road. The music itself is a double image: one album-length side of songs that advance the crisp momentum and tangled jangle of early-2019's Natural Facts; and a second half that extends the medley action on Cosmic Cash with the long reach of One Step Behind in a suite of dynamic writing and bonded, instrumental charge, connected by live-to-tape jams ' the band's first time exercising that second-nature-on-stage in a studio. This album has arrived as if absolutely destined for right now. Raise a glass at your wit's end, and let the music blow away the night.
Sign is Autechre's first new album-album proper since Elseq and contains some of their most emosh compositions in eons, perhaps since Tri Repetae. Practically pocket-sized in comparison to their sprawling torrent of live material and radio recordings in recent years, Sign is a return to the sort of concision found circa Exai and their earlier albums. Effectively they've gotten better to grips with their live set-up, and the hyper ideas found in their work-in-progress demonstrations on the five volume Elseq and 8hrs of NTS Sessions have been refined into moments of crystalline ambient baroque beauty and liquid-limbed swag on Sign.
Ela Minus' debut album is a collection about the personal as political and embracing the beauty of tiny acts of revolution in our everyday lives. Throughout, a sense of urgency and a call to arms is mixed with this love and appreciation for reality-because even revolutionaries need to leave space for simple human interaction.
To mark 2020's Piano Day and as an acknowledgement to these unprecedented circumstances we find ourselves in, Nils Frahm surprised the world with a collection of eight solo piano pieces, titled Empty, made available digitally in March. Now the highly anticipated physical editions are set for release via Erased Tapes in October. Conceived of just before Nils broke his thumb and composed the similarly intimate solo piano album Screws, Empty is a soothing vessel of eight simple and serene pieces originally recorded as the music to a short art film he shot with his friend and film director Benoît Toulemonde. Drifting through emotions from the stark and sobering opener "First Defeat," to the gently euphoric "No Step On Wing" and the contemplative but hopeful closer "Black Notes," with it's poignant minute of silence, Empty is a comforting score for these turbulent times.
Blue Note debut by cornetist & composer Ron Miles, this is the follow-up to his widely acclaimed 2017 album I Am A Man, featuring the same remarkable collaborations. Miles wrote most of the music in Summer 2018 as his father was passing away; it's both a loving dedication and a riveting spiritual document that scores the journey from Earth to eternal peace. "Rainbows deal with renewal. sometimes, our limitations can inform what we can see."
2020 release. Joel Ross' follow-up to his widely acclaimed debut KingMaker, which made Best of 2019 lists in NPR Music, Rolling Stone, and more. The album was co-produced by Walter Smith III and features Ross' Good Vibes band with Immanuel Wilkins on alto saxophone, Jeremy Corren on piano, Kanoa Mendenhall on bass and Jeremy Dutton on drums, plus harpist Brandee Younger on several tracks. "This record is a culmination of our maturing - as people, as a band, within the music - it's about figuring out who we are."
2020 album is about the importance of ancestral heritage. It is an invitation to listen to messages from the past to build the future. Skald is inspired by the Doggerland, which is an island that disappeared 20,000 years ago following various natural disasters (tsunami, long winter...). The Vikings tell here the history of the people who preceded them and question the role of Man for saving the planet.
At 91 years old, Dave recorded peerless takes on best-known children's songs, beloved standards, and originals as a gift to his grandchildren and as his last studio recording. His playing, ingenuity and integrity, all hallmarks of great Brubeck recordings, are abundantly apparent on this album.
The 2nd complete show to be issued from Keith Jarrett's 2016 European tour, following the acclaimed Munich 2016 concert. This double album documents the pianist's solo performance at Budapest's Bela Bart¢k National Concert Hall. Jarrett, whose roots go back to Hungary, saw it as a homecoming; the context inspired much creative improvisation. His later concerts are comprised of independent movements, each a marvel of spontaneous resourcefulness and creative energy.
Bahamas -"Sad Hunk" - The fifth album from Bahamas (Afie Jurvanen), Sad Hunk, takes it's title from a nickname bestowed by his wife in reaction to how he was portrayed in the media. A collaboration from same team as 2018's Earthtones (Christine Bougie/Don Kerr/Mike O'Brien/Felicity Williams). With the graceful guitar work of Sam Weber, a musician he discovered on YouTube and with GRAMMY-nominated producer Robbie Lackritz, Sad Hunk is the next step in Afie' virtuosic signature style. Recycled Softpak w/ folded poster.
On White Bronco, Action Bronson's 2018 release, he rapped "my next album's only for dolphins," and the principled MC is nothing if not true to his word. Thus, "Only For Dolphins", out this fall on Loma Vista. A Queens legend, respected for his idiosyncratic pen and vivid raps, Bronson is a decade into his career and still deepening his skillset. With "Only For Dolphins" he wants to take the listener on a tour of his creativity. Welcome to his world.
After a series of stand-alone singles and a release under the moniker EL VY (with Brent Knopf of Menomena), Serpentine Prison is the first solo record from GRAMMY-Award winning artist Matt Berninger of The National. Recorded with and produced by the legendary Booker T. Jones, it's a collection of deeply personal songs dripped in Booker's signature Memphis sound perfectly blended with Berninger's unmistakable baritone.
A 21-track collection of Chubby Checker's biggest hits (1960 - 1966) for Philadelphia's Cameo Parkway label. Features 18 Top 40 singles and four #1 chart-toppers, as well as the original, iconic version "The Twist". Includes rare tracks from Chubby's creative folk/soul period and the little-known single "What Do Ya Say!". With an essay by acclaimed rock & roll and R&B historian, John Broven, Dancin' Party: The Chubby Checker Collection was mastered from original archive tapes.
The 4 CD deluxe edition of Wildflowers contains 54 tracks, 8 unreleased songs, and 24 unreleased alternate versions. In addition to the 15 track original album (remastered), the deluxe edition contains the album All The Rest (10 songs from the original Wildflowers sessions), a full CD of 15 solo demos recorded by Petty at his home studio, and a disc of 14 live versions of Wildflowers songs recorded from 1995 – 2017.
Song Machine, Season One is Gorillaz’ newest concept which started in January 2020, releasing brand new material episodically - as and when it happens – and has continued throughout the year. The ongoing and ever-evolving process has seen our favourite characters joined by an expanding roster of collaborators captured live in Kong Studios and beyond. The result is an expansive collection of 17 tracks embracing a myriad of sounds, styles, genres and attitudes from a breath-taking line-up of guest artists including Beck, Elton John, Fatoumata Diawara, Georgia, Kano, Leee John, Octavian, Peter Hook, Robert Smith, Roxani Arias, ScHoolboy Q, Slaves, Slowthai, St Vincent and 6LACK, as well as CHAI, EARTHGANG, Goldlink, Joan As Police Woman, JPEGMAFIA, Moonchild Sanelly, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Skepta and Tony Allen.