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James Blake has long been a hip-hop ally. Not only has his own discography cemented him as a critically acclaimed artist, the multiple Grammy award-nominee and Mercury Prize winner has worked with artists from the likes of Drake, Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, Frank Ocean and more. 2018 was a massive year for the producer, singer and song-writer who collaborated with Kendrick Lamar on the era-defining Black Panther soundtrack and lent his vocals to Travis Scott's "Stop Trying To Be God."
In honor of the 70th anniversary of its original singles in 1949, The Complete Birth of the Cool by Miles Davis is being released on 2LP. The record features Miles Davis’ classic Birth of the Cool as well as a second LP of live material from 1948, previously unreleased on vinyl. The package features a wrapped gatefold jacket with laminated coating, as well as a brand new retrospective essay by Ashley Kahn, the author of Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece. Legendary Jazz saxophonist Gerry Mulligan and Jazz historian Phil Schaap provide liner notes on the project, which were originally published in 1998. The first LP is mastered from analog tape of the original singles for the first time since the original Birth of the Cool release in 1957.
Bad Religion began in the sprawling suburbs surrounding Los Angeles, with the teenage punks offering an impassioned counterpoint to a culture of consumerism and anti-intellectualism. Founding members Greg Graffin, Brett Gurewitz, and Jay Bentley were eventually joined by guitarists Brian Baker of Minor Threat, Mike Dimkich of The Cult, and drummer Jamie Miller of …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. Bad Religion have been highly influential force in modern punk, producing beloved international hits like “Infected,” “21st Century (Digital Boy),” and “Sorrow,” and building a devoted worldwide following.
Bad Religion are set to release their new album Age of Unreason, which can be described as "a musical manifesto on the current political landscape.” In a world still brimming with rampant anti-intellectualism, inequality and oppression, the band’s signature brand of sonically charged humanist dissent seems as relevant as ever.
As you listen to Shepherd In a Sheepskin Vest, a feeling of totality, of completeness, steals over you, like a thief in broad daylight. Of course it does – you’re listening to a new Bill Callahan record! The first one in almost six years! What more do you need to complete you?
Or perhaps, after all the time, the obvious needs to be made just a little more explicit?
First, it’s a different kind of record. Bill’s now writing from somewhere beyond his Eagle-Apocalypse-River headspace, and Shepherd In a Sheepskin Vest is very much its own beast. The songs are, by and large, shorter, and there are more of them. It took almost all of the previous three albums to add up to that many. Plus, twenty’s a lot of songs! But again, it goes a lot deeper than that.
Two Door Cinema Club's highly-anticipated fourth album False Alarm finds the three piece gloriously unshackled and creatively at the peak of their game. Across it's ten tracks, False Alarm wryly scans and satirizes the social and environmental woes of 2019 through the prism of wonderfully off-kilter pop, simultaneously borrowing from and warping elements of future pop, disco, rock, funk and soul. Recorded in sessions between London and LA with producer Jacknife Lee (U2, REM, The Killers), it's an LP that takes the familiar and twists it, to startling and stimulating effect.
Mac DeMarco returns with his newest album, Here Comes the Cowboy, the first album to be released on his new independent label, Mac’s Record Label. The album features lead single “Nobody,” and is available on May 10.
When Julia Shapiro flew home from a cancelled Chastity Belt tour in April 2018, everything in her life felt out of control. Dealing with health issues, freshly out of a relationship, and in the middle of an existential crisis, she realized halfway through a tour supporting her band’s third album I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone that she was going through too much to continue. “I was really struggling; I was really depressed. I felt like I couldn’t sing or be a person,” Shapiro recalls. “At that point I couldn’t even imagine playing a show again, I was so over it.” Returning home to a newly empty Seattle one-bedroom apartment, Shapiro had wanted for a long time to learn how to record and mix her own music, and out of the uncertainty of the future of her music career and her health, she began to record the songs that would become Perfect Version, her solo debut for Hardly Art. What she created in the space of ten songs is an intimate and beautifully self-aware examination of feeling lost in the life you’ve created for yourself. It’s an album of shimmering guitars and layered vocals that feels vast in the emotional depth it conveys and masterful in the way each song is intentionally crafted and recorded. Over the course of a tumultuous year of trying to find stability amidst depression and surgery, Shapiro ultimately rediscovered the parts of music that she loved through the process. Her perfectionist qualities create an album that shines in tiny lyrical moments and meticulous guitar parts. “When the rest of my life felt out of control, I felt like this was my chance to be in control of everything,” says Shapiro. She plays all the instruments (save for a mouth trumpet solo by Darren Hanlon and guest violin by Annie Truscott) and after recording and mixing the first batch of four songs at the Vault studio with Ian LeSage decided to record the final six tracks alone in her apartment, adding drums in the studio later and learning to mix them with the help of her friend David Hrivnak. Perfect Version is a fully realized vision from a gifted songwriter finding a more intimate voice. “So what comes next?” she questions on the album closer “Empty Cup” which explores the quiet satisfaction of being alone with yourself and creating a blank slate. “A lasting sense of self,” she concludes.
With their latest album 'Full Upon Her Burning Lips', Earth have stripped away the layers and auxiliary instrumentation that embellished some of their previous records and have deconstructed their dynamic to the core duo of Dylan Carlson on guitar and bass and Adrienne Davies on drums and percussion. The ten tracks on 'Full Upon Her Burning Lips' came together in bits and pieces. Some songs stemmed from a handful of musical phrases and repeating patterns concocted in moments of downtime during their 2017 tour schedule, while others came from rehearsals in the months leading up to recording or in moments of divine inspiration in the studio. The record was engineered, mixed, and mastered by longtime associate Mell Dettmer at Studio Soli. Knowing their process and their sound, Dettmer helped harness, shape, and document the songs in a manner that highlights the depth of Earths sparse components, capturing a hidden dimension to the patterns and creating a kaleidoscope of auditory activity.
FULL OF HELL make their Relapse debut with their most explosive album to date, Weeping Choir. Dynamic, pissed, and wholly urgent, the highly anticipated Weeping Choir is a definitive statement of intent by one of the underground’s most dynamic and virulent entities. FULL OF HELL have once again culled the extreme elements from hardcore, metal, and power electronics to redefine darkness and sheer brutality. Distorted guitars, and ominous, disparate electronics grind and gnash against rapid-fire drumming, as FULL OF HELL take themes of religion, loss, hatred, and set them ablaze. Recorded by the critically acclaimed Kurt Ballou at GodCity Studio, Weeping Choir sees FULL OF HELL fully unleashed. Abrasive, confrontational, none equal!
An artist of rare calibre, Aldous Harding does more than sing; she conjures a singular intensity. Her body and face a weapon of theatre, Harding dances with steeled fervor, baring her teeth like a Bunraku puppet’s gnashing grin. Her debut release with 4AD, 2017’s Party (produced with the award-winning John Parish (PJ Harvey, Sparklehorse) introduced a new pulse to the stark and unpopulated dramatic realm where the likes of Kate Bush and Scott Walker reside. In April, Aldous Harding returns with Designer less than two years after the breakthrough album. “Haunting.” - NPR “Quiet, cryptic, utterly arresting...her exposed voice is riveting, changing character from song to song.” - NY Times “Harding maintains the quiet charm of her past work, while embracing a new role as a chanteuse of sorts” - Pitchfork
Enter Flamagra - a work that sweeps up every quantum advance and creative leap of the last dozen years of Lotus career and takes them even further; the Warp release encompasses hip-hop, funk, soul, jazz, global dance music, tribal poly-rhythms, IDM, the L.A. Beat scene, but it soars above a specific vortex whose coordinates can t be accurately charted. Other than to say that it is a Flying Lotus record, perhaps the definitive one. An astral afro-futurist masterpiece of deep soul, cosmic dust, and startling originality. He s aided by a dream cast of collaborators: Anderson Paak, George Clinton, Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon, Tierra Whack, Denzel Curry, Ishmael Butler of Shabazz Palaces, Toro y Moi, and his telepathic kinsman, Thundercat. David Lynch even pops up for an eerie narration wherein he somberly warns that, 'Fire is coming.' But they all naturally bend to the magnetic warp of Lotus spells -- a transfixing hex unto themselves. Limited Edition double vinyl with mirrorboard pop-up gatefold sleeve.
It was on a mountainside in Cumbria that the first whispers of Cate Le Bon’s fifth studio album poked their buds above the earth. “There’s a strange romanticism to going a little bit crazy and playing the piano to yourself and singing into the night,” she says, recounting the year living solitarily in the Lake District which gave way to Reward. By day, ever the polymath, Le Bon painstakingly learnt to make solid wood tables, stools and chairs from scratch; by night she looked to a second-hand Meers — the first piano she had ever owned — for company, “windows closed to absolutely everyone”, and accidentally poured her heart out. The result is an album every bit as stylistically varied, surrealistically-inclined and tactile as those in the enduring outsider’s back catalogue, but one that is also intensely introspective and profound; her most personal to date.
Omoiyari is Kishi Bashi's fourth album, following the acclaimed 151a (2012), Lighght (2014), and Sonderlust (2016). Channeling the hard-learned lessons of history, Omoiyari reflects the turbulent socio-political atmosphere of present day America. "I was shocked when I saw white supremacy really starting to show it's teeth again in America," Kishi Bashi says. "My parents are immigrants, they came to the United States from Japan post-World War II. As a minority I felt very insecure for the first time in my adult life in this country. I think that was the real trigger for this project." Kishi Bashi recognized parallels between the current U.S. adminis- tration's constant talk of walls and bans, and the xenophobic anxieties that led to the forced internment of Japanese-Americans in the months following the attack on Pearl Harbor. So he immersed himself in that period, visiting former prison sites and listening to the stories of survivors, while developing musical concepts along the way. The unique creative process behind Omoiyari has been documented in a film scheduled for release in early 2020. "I didn't want this project to be about history, but rather the importance of history, and the lessons we can learn," Kishi Bashi reflects. "I gravitated toward themes of empathy, compassion, and understanding as a way to overcome fear and intolerance. But I had trouble finding an English title for the piece. Omoiyari is a Japanese word. It doesn't necessarily translate as empathy, but it refers to the idea of creating compassion towards other people by thinking about them. I think the idea of omoiyari is the single biggest thing that can help us overcome aggression and conflict." The strong conceptual elements of Omoiyari are driven by Kishi Bashi's captivating musical score. Stepping away from his past loop-based production model, he embraced a more collaborative approach when recording, and for the first time included contributions from other musicians, such as Mike Savino (aka Tall Tall Trees) on banjo and bass, and Nick Ogawa (aka Takenobu) on cello. Kishi Bashi's spectacular trademark violin soundscapes are still an essential component of his sound, but the focus of Omoiyari is centered squarely on it's songs. While the theme of Omoiyari is rooted in 1940s America, the album's message is timeless. In exploring the emotional lives of the innocent Japanese-Americans who were unjustly incarcerated, Kishi Bashi hopes to nurture a sense of empathy, or omoiyari, in all who hear the album.
Western Stars is the new album from Bruce Springsteen, and his first new studio album in five years. This collection of songs takes his music to a new place, drawing inspiration in part from the Southern California pop records of the late '60s and early '70s. The album was recorded primarily at Springsteen's home studio in New Jersey, with additional recording in California and New York. "This record is a return to my solo recordings featuring character driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements," says Springsteen. "It's a jewel box of a record." The 13 tracks on Western Stars encompass a sweeping range of American themes, of highways and desert spaces, of isolation and community and the permanence of home and hope. Ron Aniello produced the album with Springsteen and plays bass, keyboard, and other instruments. Patti Scialfa provides vocals and contributes vocal arrangements on four tracks. The musical arrangements include strings, horns, pedal steel and contributions from more than 20 other players including Jon Brion (who plays celeste, Moog, and farfisa), as well as guest appearances by David Sancious, Charlie Giordano, and Soozie Tyrell. Bruce Springsteen's recording career spans over 40 years, beginning with 1973's Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ.' He has garnered 20 Grammys, won an Oscar and a Tony, been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, received a Kennedy Center Honor, and was MusiCares' 2013 Person of the Year. Springsteen's memoir 'Born to Run' (Simon & Schuster) and its companion album 'Chapter and Verse' were released in September 2016, and he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2016. His historic 236-show run of 'Springsteen on Broadway' at Jujamcyn's Walter Kerr Theatre in NYC ran from October 2017 to December 2018, and also yielded an accompanying soundtrack album and Netflix special.
Calexico and Iron & Wine first made an artistic connection with In the Reins, the 2005 EP that brought Sam Beam, Joey Burns and John Convertino together. The acclaimed collaboration introduced both acts to wider audiences and broadened Beam’s artistic horizons, but it was the shared experience of touring together in the tradition of Bob Dylan’s “Rolling Thunder Revue” that cemented their bond. Their roads diverged in the years that followed, but they kept in touch and cross-pollinated where they could. Although they often talked about rekindling their collaboration in the studio and on the stage, it wasn’t until last year that their schedules aligned. Years to Burn can’t help but be different from In the Reins. Back then, Calexico entered the studio with a long list of previous collaborations (first in Giant Sand, then backing the likes of Victoria Williams and Richard Buckner), but wondering if Beam’s material was so complete and self-contained that it lacked a way in. Beam had been intimidated by Calexico’s virtuosic playing and their deep comfort in an encyclopedic array of styles. Those fears were dispelled quickly. Calexico was bowled over by Beam’s many talents: “The arranging, the writing, his sense of rhythm, the quality of his vocals—and then there’s the experimental side of Sam,” Joey says. “They were the perfect band at the perfect time for me,” Sam adds. “I loved all their different sounds. They’re musical anthropologists, not regurgitating but absorbing what they discover.” Beam, Burns and Convertino reconvened in Nashville for four days of recording in December 2018. Nobody was keen to retread old ground. The change of venue—In the Reins was tracked in Tucson—was one part of the effort. Together with steel guitarist Paul Niehaus, Calexico trumpet player Jacob Valenzuela and frequent Beam cohorts Rob Burger (Tin Hat Trio) on piano and Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing, Fiona Apple) on bass, they settled in at the Sound Emporium, a fabled studio founded in the sixties by Cowboy Jack Clement. An added ingredient was Grammy-winning engineer/co-producer Matt Ross-Spang (Margo Price’s Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, Al Green, Jason Isbell’s Something More Than Free). As on In the Reins, Beam took the lead on songwriting for Years to Burn, but Burns added one of his own in the end. They took differing approaches: Sam shared meticulous demos ahead of time and was ready with arrangement ideas and instrumental parts, while Joey came in with concepts and an eagerness to improvise. “Life is hard. Awesome. And scary as shit. But it can lift you up if you let it,” Sam offers. “These are the things Joey and I write about now. And the title can encapsulate a lot of things. ‘Years to Burn’ could mean you’re cocky, you’ve got it made. Or, our life is ours to burn, to be inspired. Or you’re burned by life, brutalized. It’s an ambiguous title, because life is complicated.”
The fifth studio album from Baroness, Gold & Grey, is out on June 14th via the band's own label, Abraxan Hymns.
Full Length Vinyl 2
Limited Red Vinyl, 45th Anniversary Edition of DIAMOND DOGS featuring the 2016 remaster.