CIMS In The Groove
Denzel Curry's highly-anticipated third album TA13OO will be released in three acts. The first act, Light, will be released July 25th, followed by Gray on July 26th and Dark on July 27th. Each early single represents one of the album's acts, as "Sumo" represents Light, "Clout Cobain" represents Gray, and "Percs" represents Dark, which come together cohesively to form TA13OO. Across the three sections of TA13OO, Denzel explores topics including molestation, the presidential election, fame, hatred, paranoia, revenge, love, the current state of music and personal tales of his own near death experiences. Sonically, the album ranges just as widely as its subject matter, sounds of paranoia, fear of loss, brooding melancholy and mood swings straight from hell all find their way onto TA13OO, making this Denzel's most groundbreaking musical performance to date.
TA13OO is the first longform statement from Denzel since his 2016 album Imperial, which landed him on the XXL Freshman cover and helped set the template for the South Florida sound that has exploded in the last few years. The album bridges the gap between the older generation of hip hop and the budding generation of SoundCloud rappers that he helped birth in sound and style, all while commanding respect from them both with lethal lyricism and deeply personal storytelling.
Thrice created Palms with a free-form and fluid approach to the album’s sonic element. The result is their most expansive work to date, encompassing everything from viscerally charged post-hardcore to piano-driven balladry. To carve out that eclectic sound, Thrice enlisted trusted producer Eric Palmquist for the recording of the percussion and vocal tracks, and self-produced all of the guitar parts on Palms. “When we track our own stuff we tend to be far less neurotic about getting every note perfect,” says singer Dustin Kensrue. “It’s more about getting the right emotion out of the performance, so that it connects on a deeper level.” Kensrue, co-founded Thrice with guitarist Teppei Teranishi, bassist Eddie Breckenridge, and drummer Riley Breckenridge in 1998. Hailing from Orange County, California, the band formed when three of its members were still in high school, making their debut with the kinetic punk/hardcore hybrid of the 2000 album Identity Crisis. Their breakthrough arrived with 2003’s The Artist in the Ambulance—Thrice’s third full-length, whose singles “All That’s Left” and “Stare at the Sun” each landed on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. Palms is the band’s first release since signing to Epitaph in early 2018, and the album matches its raw passion with a measured intensity, a rare feat for an album so informed by the volatility of the times. “Even though some of these songs are really aggressive-sounding, I wanted to make sure they never felt like finger-pointing, especially at a time when there’s so much talking past each other,” says Kensrue. Within that approach, Thrice reveal their profound commitment to making an enduring impact on the listener.
Joyce Manor are back with a new album, entitled Million Dollars To Kill Me. Frontman Barry Johnson along with co-founding guitarist Chase Knobbe, new drummer Pat Ware—(“Awesome new drummer,” adds Johnson)—and longtime bassist Matt Ebert, wrote enough songs to fill a full-length, and then worked to get songs lifted from emails between Johnson and one of his musical hero Impossibles’ guitarist/vocalist Rory Phillips, with whom he had been co-writing long distance, to match the ones written at full volume. (“Bedroom charm versus live rock band,” Johnson explains.) Their next step was a new step: their first time recording outside their L.A. hometown, at Converge’s Kurt Ballou’s GodCity studio in Salem, Massachusetts. They recorded daily 10-to-6 and then slept right upstairs in bunk beds: “Kinda felt like camp,” says Johnson. “It was a pleasure—I would recommend it to anyone.” If 2016’s Cody was about growing up, then Kill Me is about what happens next—the reckonings with love, money, doubt and confusion, and the hope that persists despite it all.
Big Bad Blues, as the title suggests, focuses on Gibbons' lifelong love of the blues and rock & roll, showcasing the blues-influenced vocals and guitar licks that have together served as the foundation for his numerous hits over the past five decades. The album features 11 tracks balancing some classic covers like 'Rollin' and Tumblin,'' and 'Standing Around Crying' along with some of Billy's signature new blues originals.
Legendary singer-songwriter and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Steve Perry makes his long-awaited return with Traces, his first new album in nearly a quarter century.
The famed singer introduces Traces with lead track “No Erasin’” and reassuringly greets fans with the opening line “I know it’s been a long time comin’.” The track is an emotional homecoming, a familiar welcome from the iconic voice and writer of Journey's timeless, global hits including “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Faithfully,” and “Open Arms,” as well as the significant solo success of “Oh Sherrie” and “Foolish Heart.”
Perry says, “Putting 30 years into 10 songs has certainly been an emotional experience for me. I started writing and recording these songs with the creative freedom that I was the only one who would ever hear them. Along the way, I rediscovered my love for music. Each track represents traces of my past, but is also a hopeful look into the future. I invite you to listen with an open heart.”
Produced by Perry alongside co-producer Thom Flowers, Traces is the artist’s most vulnerable and honest recording to date, balancing tremendous loss with enduring hope and beauty. The album is a collection of nine original tracks that encompass the spectrum of human emotion, and also features a beautifully reimagined cover of The Beatles’ “I Need You” It is the work of an artist who has reconnected with his music in a new way.
Recorded in Hollywood, New York City and Vancouver, British Columbia, 'Look Now' is beautiful in its simplicity, reflective in its lyrical vision, surrounded by melodies and orchestrations that are nothing short of heavenly. It's the first album Costello has made with The Imposters since the 2008 release of 'Momofuku' and his first new album since the acclaimed 2013 Roots collaboration, 'Wise Up Ghost'. 'Look Now' is an outstanding 12-strong addition to his song catalogue. Most of the titles were written solely by Elvis Costello although, 'Don't Look Now' and 'Photographs Can Lie' were co-written with Burt Bacharach, who makes a guest appearance, leading The Imposters from the piano for those two ballads. The album was co-produced by Elvis and Sebastian Krys - the Latin Grammy Producer of the Year for 2007 and 2015, whose love and understanding of music spans both hemispheres.
“Desperate Man” Church’s first single off the new album is currently in the Country Radio charts at #15. Co-written by Church with Texas musician Ray Wylie Hubbard as well as collaborating with producer Jay Joyce. The CMA Award winning singer won the Album of the Year in 2016 for Mr. Misunderstood and has reached Platinum status. It included the hit singles- Mr. Misunderstood, Record Year, Kill A Word, and Round Here Buzz. Desperate Man will contain 11 Tracks.
“Excitement for new music from my favorite artists is a feeling I can remember from my formative years. The unknown and the possibilities of the anticipation are one of the true joys of music,” shares the North Carolina native. “Well, even though how we discover songs from our favorite performers may have evolved, the feeling remains the same.”
Mutual Benefit, the songwriting outlet for multi-instrumentalist and producer Jordan Lee, follows his pair of celebrated full-lengths, 2016's Skip A Sinking Stone and 2013's Love's Crushing Diamond with Thunder Follows The Light. The album contemplates the ongoing destruction of the outer world and how it shapes the storms of our inner ones. There are meditations on collective struggle, death, rebirth, and reasons to believe it's worth the fight. Lee has crafted pop experiments for almost a decade, blending orchestral instrumentation and ambient electronic sounds and Thunder Follows The Light showcases the true depth of his abilities.
The Black Lillies are back! Known for their captivating blend of rock & roll and country, they have become one of Americana music's biggest success stories: an internationally-renowned band of roots-rockers, armed with songs that blur the boundaries between the genres. They are a mainstay on radio and album sales charts, with a sound that is as powerful in the quieter moments as it is explosive during the jubilant ones. The band's pared down configuration has resulted in a bigger, deeper sound built on undeniable chemistry, lush three-part harmonies, and instrumental virtuosity with a funky edge.
If life was at all fair Ural Thomas would be a household name, his music slotted into countless sweet, seductive mixtapes between James Brown, Otis Redding, and Stevie Wonder (all of whom Thomas has performed with.) Straddling the line between hot soul shouter and velvety-smooth crooner, Thomas released a few singles in the late 60’s and early 70’s; most notably “Can You Dig It”, which featured backing vocals from soul luminaries Merry Clayton, Mary Wells and Brenda Holloway. Thomas played over forty shows at the legendary Apollo Theater before turning his back on an unkind business and heading home to Portland, OR. It goes without saying that a man practically built out of rhythm would never stop playing music. Thomas began hosting a regular Sunday night jam session at his home that ran for nearly twenty years. A de facto mentor to many of the younger players, Thomas reminds us all that “If you care about what you’re doing, you need to build those muscles and do the work. Don’t get discouraged, do it for love. Even if you’re digging ditches, do it with passion.” In 2014, local soul DJ Scott Magee sat in on drums. The two became fast friends and at Magee’s urging Thomas decided to give his musical career another shot. Magee became the musical director, they put together a band, and in 2016 released a self-titled album on Mississippi Records. In 2017 Thomas signed with Tender Loving Empire and began work on what, in many respects, will be his debut full length. Diving deep into lifetime of melodic creativity, Thomas and his band got to work. Recorded in Magee’s studio Arthur’s Attic, The Right Time features the air-tight work of Magee on drums, percussion, and backing vocals, Bruce Withycombe (The Decemberists) on baritone sax, Portland jazz scene fixture Brent Martens on guitars and vibraphone, Arcellus Sykes on bass, Steve Aman (Lady Rizo) on piano and organ, Dave Monnie on trumpet, Willie Matheis (Cherry Poppin’ Daddies) on tenor sax, and Jasine Rimmel, Joy Pearson, Sarah King, Rebecca Marie Miller on backing vocals. The Arco Quartet performed the strings, and the record was engineered and mixed by Jeff Stuart Saltzman (Blitzen Trapper) and mastered by JJ Golden (Sharon Jones, Ty Segall). One might think after a sizeable taste of early success Thomas would be more than a touch bitter – yet the opposite is true. “We have to be positive if we want the world to get better” Thomas advises. “We’ve come a long way, but if you carry a grudge with the whole world you’ll stop your growth. We’re a family, all just brothers and sisters, descendants of Adam. You can’t get anywhere without an open heart.” A developing artist at nearly eighty years old, for Thomas music has always been about bringing people together. “If we play for twenty people we cook it like it’s twenty thousand” says Thomas. “If we make someone smile we’re satisfied. They’re ain’t no difference between us. It’s all love and brotherhood. If folks listen to my record and feel that I’ll feel very blessed.” Standing in bold defiance of the idea that aging is a reason to slow down and stop living, for Thomas the right time to get down is the next time someone plugs in a guitar or puts on a record. Ural is ready – are you?
Most people know Aaron Lee Tasjan as one of the wittiest, most offbeat, brilliant, weed-smokin’ & LSD microdosin’ Americana troubadours writing and singing songs today. And the New York Times, NPR and Rolling Stone will all gladly corroborate. But steel yourselves, folk fans, because he’s about to follow his restless muse straight out from under the weight of everyone’s expectations into the kind of glammy, jingle-jangle power-pop- and- psych-tinged sounds he hasn’t dabbled in since his younger days playing lead guitar for a late-period incarnation of The New York Dolls.
Karma for Cheap is Tasjan’s third LP and second for his label New West Records, based in his current hometown of Nashville. The record was co-produced by ALT and his friends Jeff Trott (Stevie Nicks, Liz Phair, Meiko, Joshua Radin) and Gregory Lattimer (Albert Hammond Jr.) and features Aaron Lee’s road band—guitarist Brian Wright, bassist Tommy Scifres and drummer Seth Earnest—with whom he’s been touring heavily for the last two years.
While the stylistic shift from Tasjan’s palpably stoned ‘70s-country-channeling 2015 debut, In the Blazes, to his more sophisticated, introspective and lushly produced 2016 follow-up, Silver Tears, was relatively incremental, Karma’s rocked-up Brit-pop-influenced Beatles-Bowie-Badfinger vibes underscore a significant departure. The album boldly reminagines these vintage sounds, pushing the boundary of what can be considered Americana.
The roots of Tasjan’s Karma for Cheap, stretch deep, drinking up the sounds of a Southern California childhood spent listening to The Beatles while riding around with his mom at the wheel of their navy blue Volvo station wagon—back to the very first pre-teen year he picked up a six-string and started figuring out all the pretty little chords in those Lennon-McCartney tunes. Back to the pure, blissful unfiltered innocence of falling in love with music for the first time. A huge sonic touchstone for ALT’s new record is The Beatles Anthology, one of his childhood favorites. In songs like “If Not Now When,” “Song Bird” and “The Rest Is Yet to Come,” you can hear echoes of George Harrison’s vibrant guitar riffs and Jeff Lynne’s lavish production on those lo-fi John Lennon demos the surviving Beatles dug up and polished off in the mid ‘90s.
Perhaps the most poignant moment on Karma for Cheap is the anthemic, hypnotic “Heart Slows Down,” a tune rife with musical and lyrical references to the Beatles and Tom Petty, anchored by an unforgettable chorus with a Traveling Wilburys vibe that finds the sweet spot between Tasjan’s two earliest musical heroes. “When I was a kid, my favorite CD to fall asleep to was Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ Greatest Hits, and the last song is a cover of that Thunderclap Newman song ‘Something in the Air.’ From the time I was a little kid to when I was teenager, I used to listen to that song on headphones almost every night—I heard it in that space between wake and sleep so many times. And Tom’s passing—he was a really big hero of mine, so it hit me pretty hard. We were in Seattle playing a show when I heard, and it was a heavy thing to process. But all of those elements are there in ‘Heart Slows Down.’ The chorus, ‘I will always be around,’ is a reminder that all the good you ever got out of listening to this music is still around you. You’ll always have that.”
Aaron Lee Tasjan says he aims to use his music for good, but he’s no protest singer. And Karma for Cheap isn’t some heavy-handed, didactic political record cramming a set of talking points down anyone’s throat. It’s a finely tuned rock & roll seismograph measuring the dark and uncertain vibrations of the time in which it was created. A cracked mirror reflecting back the American zeitgeist in this foul year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Eighteen. With Karma, Tasjan establishes himself as an artist who not only evolves over time, but isn’t afraid to risk reinventing himself completely from one record to the next.
Adrianne Lenker has been writing songs since she was 10 years old. Her "back story" has been well documented in various interviews and profiles for Big Thief over the last 3 years. Despite, or more likely because of the constant touring and studio work, the last few years have been some of the most prolific for Lenker as a writer. Songs pop out at soundcheck. They pop out on late night drives between cities. They pop out in green rooms, hotel stairwells,gardens, and kitchens around the world. In the hands of Lenker songwriting is not an old dead craft. It is alive. It is vital. With little regard for standard album cycle practice or the idea of resting at all, Lenker set out to make a document. Songs can be slippery and following a 2+ years on the road with Big Thief, Lenker felt a growing need to document this particular time in her life in an intimate, immediate way. The result is her new album, abysskiss. "I want to archive the songs in their original forms every few years," explains Lenker. "My first solo record I made was Hours Were the Birds. I had just turned 21 and moved to New York City where I was sleeping in a warehouse, working in a restaurant and photographing pigeons. Now five years later, another skin is being shed." Following a two week road trip through the southwestern United States, Lenker headed into the studio with longtime friend Luke Temple. Temple put on his loosely fitting, bright orange, 100% wool producer hat and for one week they made music. The songs chosen for this collection were the songs that felt the most alive in the room. These are not castaways or B-sides. Some of these songs have been alive for years while some were written just days before the session. Some will appear in different future forms, some will not. The thread that connects these songs is notsomething that can easily be put down in words. Intuition connects these songs. They are a record of a time. With this collection, Lenker further illuminates to the listening public what those close to her already know; here we have a songwriter of the highest order, following her voice and the greater Voices that pass through her with an unflinching openness and clarity of translation.
By most bands’ fifth LP, the sound is pretty set. Parameters established. Refinement dissipated in favor of to-formula execution of what’s worked in the past. Fair enough. All Them Witches go a harder route.
In 2017, the Nashville four-piece offered what might’ve otherwise become their own template in their fourth album, Sleeping Through the War. Also their second for New West Records behind 2015 mellow-vibing Dying Surfer Meets His Maker, it brought a larger production value to dug-in heavy psych blues jamming, with oversight from producer Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson).
After exploring new ground through their early work on 2013’s Lightning at the Door and 2012’s Our Mother Electricity as well as Dying Surfer, the band had arrived at something new, sprawling, and grander-feeling than anything before it.
So naturally in a year they’ve thrown that all to the Appalachian wind, turned the process completely on its head and gone the absolute other way: recording in a cabin in Kingston Springs, about 20 miles outside of Nashville on I-40, with guitarist Ben McLeod at the helm. Take that, expectation.
The result, mixed by Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliott Smith, Kurt Vile), is the most intimate, human-sounding album All Them Witches have ever recorded and another redefinition of who they are as a band. Introducing keyboardist/percussionist Jonathan Draper to the fold with McLeod, bassist/vocalist Charles Michael Parks, Jr., and drummer/graphic artist Robby Staebler, All Them Witches’ All Them Witches isn’t self-titled by mistake.
It’s the band confirming and continuing to develop their approach, in the shuffle of “Fishbelly 86 Onions,” the organ-laced groove of “Half-Tongue,” the tense build of “HJTC” and the fluid jam in closer “Rob’s Dream.”
It’s a reaction to being a “bigger” band. To playing bigger shows, bigger tours, etc. From the sustained consonants in Parks’ vocals to McLeod’s commanding slide in “Workhorse” and drifting melancholy at the outset of “Harvest Feast,” All Them Witches is their laying claim to the essential facets of their identity.
And most crucial to that identity is its shifting nature. All Them Witches didn’t get to this point by resting on laurels, and if anything, the urgency of these tracks – fast pushers and sleepy jams alike – is among their greatest strengths.
It’s a rawer delivery, as stage-ready as the band itself, and as ever, it captures All Them Witches in this moment. Is it who they’ll be tomorrow? Who the hell knows? Check back in and we’ll all find out together. That’s the whole idea.
Stardust Birthday Party is about human evolution. Specifically, one humans evolution: mine, Ron Gallo. That’s the name my parents gave me. Hi.
At one point, I was a very lost mid-twenties person living in Philadelphia, in a relationship with someone struggling with mental health issues and crippling heroin addiction. I was asleep. I didn’t know how to handle my life. I was also writing songs for HEAVY META - my “frustrated with humanity” album. I laugh about it all now, but at the time it all felt like an absolute nightmare. It was the perfect doorway to look inside the place I’d been avoiding forever: myself.
Stardust Birthday Party is about what is happening underneath all of this life stuff. My path inward. The details of my path are pointless because everyone’s path is different. It is about me sitting with myself for the first time and confronting the big question “WHAT AM I, REALLY?” It’s about the love and compassion for all things that enters when you find out you are nothing and everything. I think at one point I wanted to change the world, but now I know I can only change myself, or rather just strip away everything that is not me to reveal the only thing that’s ever been there. And that’s what this album is about, it’s me dancing while destroying the person I thought I was, and hopefully forever.
In the liner notes of John Coltrane’s album A Love Supreme (which we pay tribute to on this album) he wrote: “During the year 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music.”
That’s it. That is the pure essence of creativity. Someone embodying what they have realized about themselves and the world that surrounds them. That is why this album exists.
Thank you for letting me share this with you. Ron Gallo
Centered around Butler’s virtuoso guitar stylings and powerful, progressive lyricism, HOME draws upon a remarkable variety of musical genres, spanning folk, blues, funk, classic rock ‘n’ roll, and beyond. Out September 28, HOME is a message of redemption, a reflection of the inner and outer worlds Butler was experiencing and observing during this chapter of his life. The John Butler Trio is guitarist/vocalist John Butler, bassist Byron Luiters and percussionist Grant Gerathy.
A singer since the age of five, Mandy Barnett is a mesmerizing vocalist whose style is deeply rooted in the classic country and pop crooning of the all-time great singers. Mandy Barnett laughs when she's asked,''What took you so long?'' in regards to Strange Conversation, her progressive take on post-modern American songbook. Sure, she's a classicist who's channeled Patsy Cline in a theatrical musical, recorded classic country songs with legendary producer Owen Bradley, and transfixed known musicos Seymour Stein, Arif Mardin and Ahmet Ertegun with her timeless stylings. But the girl who signed her first major label deal at 12 decided she needed a change. Produced by Marco Giovino and Doug Lancio for Thirty Tigers and Barnett's own label Dame Productions, Strange Conversations places the ebony-haired vocalist between obscure vintage pop and modern progressive songwriting. Think Lee Hazlewood and the Tams meet Tom Waits and Greg Garing with a little Mable John thrown in.
Producer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, songwriter and vocalist Devonte Hynes returns with his fourth album as Blood Orange, Negro Swan. Raised in England, Hynes started out as a teenage punk in the UK band Test Icicles before releasing two orchestral acoustic pop records as Lightspeed Champion. In 2011, he released Coastal Grooves, the first of three solo albums under the moniker Blood Orange. His last album, Freetown Sound, was released to critical acclaim in 2016, and saw Hynes defined as one of the foremost musical voices of his time, receiving comparisons to the likes of Kendrick Lamar and D’Angelo for his own searing and soothing personal document of life as a black man in America. He has collaborated with Solange Knowles, FKA Twigs, and many other artists, and was recently one of four artists invited to the Kennedy Center to perform alongside Philip Glass. In addition to his production work, he scored the film Palo Alto, directed by Gia Coppola and starring James Franco. Hynes’ newest album, Negro Swan, was written and produced by Hynes. Says Hynes: “My newest album is an exploration into my own and many types of black depression, an honest look at the corners of black existence, and the ongoing anxieties of queer/people of color. A reach back into childhood and modern traumas, and the things we do to get through it all. The underlying thread through each piece on the album is the idea of HOPE, and the lights we can try to turn on within ourselves with a hopefully positive outcome of helping others out of their darkness.”
Over 30 years after the remix album Vital Idol was released and was certified platinum with over 1M sold, made 'Mony Mony' a global smash, and practically invented the dance-rock remix genre in the 80's, comes this modern day volume 2...Revitalized! This compilation of all brand new remixes of Billy's classic hits and some lesser known gems features Moby, Crystal Method, Paul Oakenfold, RAC, Cray, and more. 11 remixes including the hits Rebel Yell, White Wedding, Eyes Without a Face, Flesh For Fantasy, and Dancing With Myself.
In 2018, Low will turn twenty-five. Since 1993, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker—the married couple whose heaven-and-earth harmonies have always held the band’s center—have pioneered a subgenre, shrugged off its strictures, recorded a Christmas classic, become a magnetic onstage force, and emerged as one of music’s most steadfast and vital vehicles for pulling light from our darkest emotional recesses. But Low will not commemorate its first quarter-century with mawkish nostalgia or safe runs through songbook favorites. Instead, in faithfully defiant fashion, Low will release its most brazen, abrasive (and, paradoxically, most empowering) album ever: Double Negative, an unflinching eleven-song quest through snarling static and shattering beats that somehow culminates in the brightest pop song of Low’s career. To make Double Negative, Low reenlisted B.J. Burton, the quietly energetic and adventurous producer who has made records with James Blake, Sylvan Esso, and The Tallest Man on Earth in recent years while working as one of the go-to figures at Bon Iver’s home studio, April Base. Burton recorded Low’s last album, 2015’s Ones and Sixes, at April Base, adding might to many of its beats and squelch and frisson beneath many of its melodies. This time, though, Sparhawk, Parker, and bassist Steve Garrington knew they wanted to go further with Burton and his palette of sounds, to see what someone who is, as Sparhawk puts it, “a hip-hop guy” could truly do to their music. Rather than obsessively write and rehearse at home in Duluth, Minnesota, they would often head southeast to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, arriving with sketches and ideas that they would work on for days with Burton. Band and producer became collaborative cowriters, building the pieces up and breaking them down and building them again until their purpose and force felt clear. As the world outside seemed to slide deeper into instability, Low repeated this process for the better part of two years, pondering the results during tours and breaks at home. They considered not only how the fragments fit together but also how, in the United States of 2018, they functioned as statements and salves. Double Negative is, indeed, a record perfectly and painfully suited for our time. Loud and contentious and commanding, Low fights for the world by fighting against it. It begins in pure bedlam, with a beat built from a loop of ruptured noise waging war against the paired voices of Sparhawk and Parker the moment they begin to sing during the massive “Quorum.” For forty minutes, they indulge the battle, trying to be heard amid the noisy grain, sometimes winning and sometimes being tossed toward oblivion. In spite of the mounting noise, Sparhawk and Parker still sing. Or maybe they sing because of the noise. For Low, has there ever really been a difference?
Knife Knights were born of the love of mystery. From the start of Shabazz Palaces – the groundbreaking project launched in 2009 by former-Digable Planets leader Ishmael Butler – confidentiality seemed essential: Butler wanted Shabazz Palaces to stand on its own strength, not his outsized reputation, so he adopted a nom de plume for himself. As the project’s network expanded, though, he needed new monikers for his partnerships. Knife Knights is the name he gave to his work with Seattle engineer, producer, songwriter, and film composer Erik Blood, a vital force in the Shabazz Palaces universe. Now, after more than a decade of collaboration and the development of a rich friendship, Butler and Blood have made a proper full-length record together as Knife Knights: 1 Time Mirage, an eleven-track odyssey that finds the pair and a cast of their friends weaving together a singular world of soul and shoegaze, hip-hop and lush noise, bass and bedlam. 1 Time Mirage represents a playground for Butler and Blood, a free space for unfettered exploration, and a radically adventurous start to something much more than a mere production duo or side project. Recorded in three fertile sessions interrupted by Shabazz Palaces tours and Blood’s recording projects, 1 Time Mirage is a profound fulfilment of the partnership, realized at the crossroads of Butler’s and Blood’s mutual enthusiasms. Their shared interests have been split into pieces and fused together with enviable imagination. In the decade since Butler launched Shabazz Palaces and first christened his partnership with Blood as Knife Knights, much of the external mystery has, of course, fallen away. And 1 Time Mirage is a very public step forward for the pair. The early sense of secrecy has given way to a spirit of friendship and creative candor, to the doors of experimentation being thrown open by old pals thrilled by the prospect of testing new ideas. Still, these eleven songs retain a core of intrigue and, indeed, mystery; each listen reveals yet another connection between infinite and interlocking pieces. To wit, Robert Beatty’s brilliant cover for 1 Time Mirage depicts a futuristic vehicle, being coolly steered with one hand into some great, mildly ominous unknown. That’s how these songs feel, too—confident conquests of the dark that unlock sounds and spaces you have yet to imagine.
Redemption is Joe Bonamassa's 13th solo studio album and third in a row of all original material and sees him at his most ambitious and diverse yet as he continues to redefine and push the barriers of blues-rock. It features a collection of 12 exhilarating songs that reflect the re-birth that he is currently going through. You see the real shades of light and dark, for every trip into the tender depths of emotion there are some glorious hip shaking moments of joy and all the while accompanied by supreme musicianship and Bonamassa’s masterful and rich guitar playing. With 20 #1 Blues Albums on the Billboard Chart, Joe is an unrivaled guitar prowess and a once in a lifetime artist that has an insatiable desire to push himself to his best potential on every level.
Saintseneca’s Zac Little has been thinking a lot about memory. Not necessarily his memories, though they creep in often, too. Rather, he mulls over the idea of memory itself: its resilience, its haziness, how it slips away as we try to hang on, the way it resurfaces despite our best efforts to forget. Memory is the common thread running throughout the Columbus, OH folk-punk band’s fourth album, Pillar of Na, arriving in late summer via ANTI- Records. Following 2015's critically lauded Such Things, the new album’s name is rooted in remembrance, referencing the Genesis story of Lot’s wife who looks back at a burning Sodom after God instructs her not to. She looks back, and God turns her into a pillar of salt. “Na,” meanwhile, is the chemical symbol for sodium. "Nah" is a passive refusal and the universal song word. It means nothing and stands for nothing. It is "as it is." Musically, Pillar of Na is Saintseneca’s most ambitious album to date, with Little aiming to incorporate genre elements he’d rarely heard in folk. “I wanted to use the idiom of folk-rock, or whatever you want to call it, and to try to do something that had never been done before," Little explains. I told Mike Mogis I wanted Violent Femmes meets the new Blade Runner soundtrack. I'm looking for the intersection between Kendrick Lamar and The Fairport Convention.”
Live From the Ryman was primarily recorded during the group's six sold out nights at Nashville's legendary Ryman Auditorium in 2017. The album features 13 live versions of songs from their last three critically acclaimed, award-winning studio albums - Southeasten (2013), Something More Than Free (2015), The Nashville Sound (2017).
Gregory Alan Isakov’s established record label debut, Evening Machines, out via Dualtone on October 5, 2018, is poised to take his career to places yet unknown to him. Recorded at a converted barn studio located on Isakov’s three-acre farm in Boulder County, CO, the twelve-track album was self-produced and mixed by Tucker Martine (Neko Case, The Decemberists) and Andrew Berlin (Descendants, Rise Against). Since his debut in 2003, Isakov has self-released three full-length studio albums on his independent label, Suitcase Town Music, with over 370,000 in sales, and has toured extensively building a devoted worldwide audience. He has toured with artists including Iron & Wine, Ani DiFranco, Blind Pilot, Passenger, Josh Ritter, Brandi Carlile, and Nathaniel Rateliff, and since his debut with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in November 2013 has performed with symphonies across the country including the Seattle Symphony, the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, among others.
Soccer Mommy is the project of twenty-year-old Sophie Allison, a Nashville native. She cut her teeth in her local DIY scene, going to shows and hanging out with other musicians, though she kept her own songwriting secret. All that changed the summer before Allison left for college. She bought a Tascam digital recorder and began to experiment with production, pushing the quality and craft of her songs to new heights. A buzz began to grow around her Bandcamp recordings, leading to live shows and eventually a record deal, with 2017’s critically acclaimed bedroom-recorded compilation Collection. “I realized that I could do this full-time,” says Allison. “It was either quit school now and do it, or stop growing as an artist. It was now or never.”
So Allison took the plunge. She quit school, moved back home to Nashville, shifting all her focus to music. She toured with Mitski, Jay Som, Slowdive, and others, and was featured in the New York Times article “Rock’s Not Dead, It’s Ruled By Women.” The bedroom project of Sophie Allison is now a full-time band with a new studio-album debut, Clean. Produced by Gabe Wax (War On Drugs, Deerhunter, Beirut) and mixed by Ali Chant (Perfume Genius, PJ Harvey), Clean is Allison’s journey out of the bedroom and into the studio.
Clean presents Sophie Allison as a singular artist, wise beyond her years, with an emotional authenticity all her own. “It feels like my first real record,” says Allison. “It’s my first real statement.” It’s an emotional album, heavy on themes of growth, isolation, and change, but balanced by a lightness of touch, and with hooks to spare. Clean is a true step forward, a mature, powerful album from an artist just coming into her power.