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God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be'
No More Shall We PartNo More Shall We Part ends a four-year silence from Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. A best-of was issued in 2000, but no new material has appeared since 1997's landmark album, The Boatman's Call. With that record Cave had finally delivered what everyone knew he was capable of: an entire album of deeply tragic and beautiful love songs without irony, sarcasm, or violent resolution. It appears that The Boatman's Call has altered the manner in which Cave writes songs, and the Bad Seeds illustrate them. Two musical directors -- the ubiquitous Mick Harvey and Dirty Three violinist Warren Ellis -- craft a sonic atmosphere whose textures deepen and widen Cave's most profound and beautiful lyrics to date. The ballads have the wide, spacious, sobering ambience one has come to expect from the Bad Seeds. There is an ethereal change in sound in the up-tempo numbers, which are, for lack of better terminology, musical novellas. They plumb the depths of blues, yet contain glissando and crescendos from the orchestral music of composers such as Fartein Valen and Olivier Messiaen. There are places, such as in Oh My Lord, where rock & roll is evoked as a device, but this isn't rock music. A listen to As I Sat Sadly By Her Side, Hallelujah, and the aforementioned track (the most rock song here) will attest that it is merely one color on a musical palette that is more expansive now than at any time in the band's history. Also in the band's musical treasure trove is the addition of the McGarrigle sisters on backing vocals - nowhere is their contribution more poignant than on the tenderly daunting, haunted house that is Love Letter. Lyrically, and as a vocalist, Cave has undergone a startling, profound metamorphosis. Gone is the angry, humorous cynic whose venom and bile touched even his lighter moments. His deep taunting ambivalence about Jesus Christ and Christianity in general is gone, vanished into a maturity that ponders spiritual things contemplatively. Humor that pokes fun churchianity remains, but not as a source of its inspiration. Over these 12 tracks, Cave has taken the broken heart--so openly exhibited on The Boatman's Call--and elevated it to the place where he has learned to live with, and speak from it as both an artist and a human being. Leonard Cohen stated in the song Anthem, that, there is a crack in everything/that's where the light gets in.No More Shall We Part is a mosaic of those cracks. If this album is about anything, it is about love's ability to survive in the world. It is examined concretely and abstractly; to the point where it meditates on this theme even cinematically. His methodology for the listener is, even though these are intimate conversations, the effect is illustrated in widescreen. In this way, Cave touches the heart in the same way Andrei Tarkovsky's films Stalker and The Sacrifice and Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire do. There is powerful emotion here, spiritual, psychological and romantic, without a hint of the sentimentality that would make it false. As both a singer and a songwriter, his work has been transformed into something so full of depth, color, and dimension, that there is simply no one except his mentors working on this level in popular music. In the opening moments of As I Sat Sadly By Her Side, a tenderly, softly sung vocal delivers: Then she drew the curtains down/And said when will you ever learn/That what happens there beyond the glass/Is simply none of your concern/God has given you but one heart/You are not a home but the hearts of your brothers/God don't care for your benevolence anymore/But he cares for the lack of it in others/Nor does he care for you to sit at/Windows in judgement of the world he created/While sorrows pile up around you/Ugly, useless and over-inflated/At which she turned her head away/Great tears leapin' from her eyes/I could not wipe a smile from my face/As I sat sadly by her side. The title track is a ballad that could have been lifted from The Boatman's Call, except it lacks the reaching tragedy. And Cave sings in a tenor no one thought him capable of -- And all the birds will sing to your beautiful heart/Up on the bell/And no more shall we part. The chaos of earlier Bad Seeds outings does kick up on The Sorrowful Wife, where violins and Blixa Bargeld's guitars duel with Jim Sclavunos's drums for domination of the sonic torrent. The record closes with two of Cave's most beautiful songs, a near country gospel waltz called Gates to the Garden with the McGarrigles sweetening an already lovely tome to redemptive love. Finally, Darker With the Day, illustrated by Harvey's striking pianistic ballad framework touched by Bill Evans' technique, is as strikingly autobiographical as Cave has ever been, highlighting the extremes of good and evils that inform and torment the protagonist's inner emotional life within in a single day. There is loss and the seeking of deliverance and, in a statement not so much of recognition that this is simply fate, he also acknowledges hope: All these streets are frozen now/I come and go/Full of a longing for something I do not know. As he calls to a lover gone seemingly forever, he comes to the conclusion that for him, redemption is in love itself, whether divine or profane; the only hope is that love, between two people or between an individual and her or his creator, depends on one's openness to receiving it. Who can argue with him? No More Shall We Part leaves listeners in awe, full of complex emotions, and pondering the notion that they've been in the presence of great redemptive art--which Henry James calls, the thing that can never be repeated.
- Thom Jurek (All Music)1. As I Sat Sadly by Her Side
2. And No More Shall We Part
4. Love Letter
5. Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow
6. God Is in the House
7. Oh My Lord
8. Sweetheart Come
9. The Sorrowful Wife
10. We Came Along This Road
11. Gates to the Garden
12. Darker with the Day$22.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Let Them Fall In LoveThe best-selling and most-awarded female gospel artist of all time, CeCe Winans has long since cemented her status as one of the most accomplished and celebrated women in modern music history. It'd be easy to look back and rest on such illustrious laurels, but Winans has always had her eyes fixed firmly on the future, so it should come as little surprise that she jumped at the opportunity when her son, Alvin Love III, proposed she record the generation-bridging new album 'Let Them Fall In Love.' Her first in nearly a decade, the record finds Winans returning to the studio with gusto, working for roughly three years to craft her most confident, adventurous collection yet.
Recording and performing as both a solo artist and as a duo with her brother BeBe, CeCe has influenced a generation of gospel and secular vocalists over the course of her astonishing career. Her mantel today holds a staggering 10 GRAMMY Awards, 20 Dove Awards, and 7 Stellar Awards. She's been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the Nashville Music City Walk of Fame, in addition to being named a Trailblazer of Soul by BMI and garnering multiple NAACP Image Awards, Soul Train Awards, Essence Awards, and more. She's sold in excess of 5 million albums in the US, topping the Gospel charts repeatedly while crossing over with smashes like "Count On Me," her stunning duet with Whitney Houston from the multi-platinum 'Waiting To Exhale' soundtrack, which sold 2 million copies and cracked the Top 10 on the Pop, R&B, and Adult Contemporary charts. She touched millions more with inspirational performances everywhere from Oprah to The White House, and even showed off her acting chops on television series like '7th Heaven' and 'Doc.'
While collaborating with family is nothing new for Winans, the recording sessions for 'Let Them Fall In Love" found the Detroit native working for the very first time with her son in the producer's chair.
"Alvin shared with me a vision that he had of a record that was bold and a little different than anything I'd ever done before," remembers Winans. "When I heard the songs he'd been writing, I got so excited. He has great ears and great style and a unique way of writing and thinking things through. It made it extra special that two generations of family were able to come together on this record."
Bringing together generations is Winans' specialty, and she drew inspiration for the album from her extensive work with the young men and women who attend the church she and her husband founded in Nashville.
"It's really important to me to share where I've been and to encourage young people to understand that they can go even further," reflects Winans. "I wanted to make an album that ties us together, something that young people would be able to learn from and be inspired by."
Written primarily by Alvin and co-produced by Alvin along with Winans' long-time collaborator Tommy Sims (Garth Brooks, Michael McDonald, Bonnie Raitt), 'Let Them Fall In Love' was mixed by Dae Bennett (Tony Bennett, Amy Whinehouse, Olivia Newton John) and Jimmy Douglass (Pharrell Williams, Micheal Buble). The album, recorded both in Nashville and New York City, finds Winans more confident than ever before, merging eras and genres in a glorious blend of past and present that simultaneously recalls the heyday of Motown and still sounds undeniably modern. Big band horns meet strings from the Nashville String Machine as Winans' soaring voice hits new heights, fueled in part by the encouragement and motivation of her son.
"Alvin was hard on me in the studio," remembers Winans. "He'd really work me during the songs, and I knew that was a good thing because it meant he was pressing me to get the best performances possible. Now I listen back and I know he was right. It was so important to get the right interpretation of each song."
Winans is able to inhabit each song on the record so fully in part because she's lived their stories. She describes album opener "He's Never Failed Me Yet" as "my personal testimony," "Run To Him" as her frequent act of refuge, and "Marvelous" as a musical embodiment of the black church. On "Hey Devil!," she's joined by fellow gospel powerhouses The Clark Sisters for a playful rebuke of temptation, while "Peace From God" is a prayer for light in an increasingly dark world, and "Lowly" is a lesson about pride and humility aimed at the young men who might need it most. Winans' eclectic ability shines through on the pedal steel country waltz of "Why Me," a song she discovered when she was invited to perform it live with its writer, Kris Kristofferson.
"I ended up getting sick and I couldn't perform it with him at the show, but my son heard it and knew it would be perfect for the album," explains Winans. "It's so different for me in this whole new field of country music, but it spoke to my heart and I felt like it was written just for me."
On the album's other cover, "Dancing in The Spirit," Winans is joined by Hezekiah Walker and his choir for a jubilant celebration, while "Never Have To Be Alone" finds her taking a far more somber approach, singing to the young members of her congregation. It's the album's closer and title track, though, that seems to light Winans up more than any other.
"That was the first song for this album and I knew right away that I wanted the record to be named 'Let Them Fall In Love,'" she explains. "I told my son that it had to be the heartbeat of the album. There's a lot of different styles and a lot of strong messages on there, but all of them are to bring us to this point. It's why I came back and recorded another album, to express my heart and my desire that people young and old can listen and fall in love with the higher power, fall in love with love, and fall in love with faith and joy and peace."1. He's Never Failed Me Yet
2. Run To Him
3. Hey Devil! (feat. The Clark Sisters)
4. Peace From God
5. Why Me
7. Never Have To Be Alone
8. Dancing In The Spirit (feat. Hezekiah Walker's Love Fellowship Choir)
10. Let Them Fall In Love$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Future (Pre-Order)Release Date: May 25, 2018*
It's something we all want the answers for. It's something we fear. It's something we want to have a grip on.
So we ask for clearcut forecasts, desperately seeking security in precise, defined direction. Tossing and turning, we think if we could just glimpse the end of the book, we'd rest easy. We make plans and maps, charting out our lives and where we want them to go. We find ourselves filled with anxieties, pressure, worries
Jordan Feliz knows the feeling.
But he didn't write his newest album, Future, because he figured out all the answers to his path. Quite the opposite. This record was born out of Feliz making peace with the fact that he doesn't, none of us can, know what his future holds. Cling to your best-laid plans until your knuckles turn white, mark your calendar up and down, worry yourself dizzy But the real answer is accepting that we do not hold the future in our own two hands. And thank goodness, because the One who does has already written better stories for us than we ever could.
Following widespread acclaim for his first album, The River, Jordan Feliz began the journey of recording a new one. But the process didn't start how he expected or hoped.
"I started going through anxiety and honestly didn't know how to begin, because I felt like 'Everything I create isn't going to be good enough.'" Jordan remembers.
He was on tour, trying to write for the album, but experiencing panic attacks. He found himself unable to connect with the songs he'd been working on.
"My head wasn't in the right spot. My heart wasn't either. it was more focused on appeasing people. It was listening to myself and not to God."
Then back home with friends and co-writers Paul Duncan and Colby Wedgeworth, he marched not around the fear, but through it. And on the other side was solid ground.
"I said 'What if I just can't do it?' but then Paul says to me 'Look man, there's no pressure. Everything in your future has already been plotted by Jesus. He has paved every step of the way for you, in a way to have favor on your life. Our future is not wound up in our success, but in the inheritance of God.'"
With those words, something clicked for Jordan. He took a breath. He let go. He remembered that his future is held by the strong, kind hands of the Father.
"Sometimes it's really hard to silence out the world and just listen to the small, still voice. But once I refocused and listened to Him, He had a message for me," Feliz shares. "A fire was set in me to write a song about freedom. A song we can sing to be stoked that every single day there's a God that loves us, never ceases, and never fails."
That day they wrote "Witness," which would go on to be Feliz's first single for Future, in only 45 minutes.
"And that's when the record started."
It's certainly not the first time Jordan's had to rely on faith. Six years ago, following much prayer, he and his wife ventured to Nashville after feeling called to make the move; the only catch: they didn't even have enough money to make it all the way from California to Music City. They were depending on a few performance gigs Jordan had along the route.
"But all the shows I was scheduled to play got cancelled. At first we were stressed and asking 'What do we do?'. We just felt like the Lord was saying 'You need to go.You just need to trust me.' We had to decide to think about what the Lord has for us, instead of what we have for ourselves. Watch and prepare for what He can do, not what we think we can do."
He ended up with a spontaneous opportunity to perform for less than 30 people, who bought more than enough merchandise to get the Felizes to Nashville.
"We sobbed in the car," he reflects. "For God to show us that He gives us more than we even need "
Jordan tells that story in the album's track "All Along," his most personal song to date. With the first lyric describing his literal first moment of breath, Feliz goes on to tell some of his life's highlights, revealing God's presence through each moment of every season.
And that's what marks this album as a mature step forward for the singer-songwriter. The vibrant pop melodies are not only infectious, but deep-rooted in the vulnerable walks of faith he's ventured through in the past year.
"This record is just chock-full of story. Every single song," Jordan says. "It's kind of me taking a piece of my life, my heart, my beliefs, and my trust in God and just giving them to people. And hopefully they'll hold onto the message and learn to trust God even more through it."
He wrote most of the album on the road with a hectic tour schedule and only eight other writers. Feliz was surprised to find that he loved this unorthodox writing process, saying it allowed for him and cowriters to spend more time simply experiencing life together, then reflect on it through creating music. Gone was the pressure to sit in a room and crank out a hit song. The result: more authentic songs that come from inspiration found in everyday life. Songs the musicians poured themselves into- including one of Jordan's favorites, "Faith," which came about from a middle-of-the-night writing session.
"That never would've happened back home," Jordan laughs.
And as Feliz and his team were wrapping up, something incredible happened for an album that began from a place of insecurity. When it came time to make the final song decisions, typically a stressful and challenging process, Jordan felt an unexpected peace.
"Not even kidding, the day we left that meeting, we all just kind of knew those were the songs. With The River, we thought through every little thing, but this time it feels like the Lord just gave us these songs and was like 'This is it. You don't need anything other than these.' And we still wrote over 40 songs, but it was so clear that these were the ones that were going to be recorded. We hadn't even heard them produced yet, so we were just hoping it was all going to turn out right and it did. These songs were gifted to me by the Lord."
Jordan Feliz belts out "Witness" to a roaring crowd.
"Your love is moving mountains every day of my life. Can I get a witness?"
Hands shoot up, voices join in, souls worship. Jordan beams. It's the smile of a heart that knows it's landed in the hands of its Protector. The smile of a heart, fearlessly honest, that is connecting with others. A heart that's traveled through uncertainty, and probably will again, but will always find home in the story already written for it.
Jordan listens to the new record, the latest season of his life in musical form. Those early doubts have transformed into peace. The shame into compassion. The worry into joy, and the fear into excitement.
"Probably craziest of all is that I didn't see any of it coming together at beginning. I thought 'There's no way this is going to get done and I'm going to be able to handle it,' and it just happened. This entire project comes down to the fact that every day I'm learning how to trust God more and more and more."
He doesn't know how the next chapter reads. But he knows something more important: the Author.
"Every time I think about the concept of this record, it feels like it's purposeful for people to grab onto the idea of a song and hold onto it for a very long time. That's what it stands for. It stands for what's coming. It stands for what God has for our life."
*Please note that release dates are subject to change.1. Witness
2. Count That High
4. Streets Of Gold
6. Lay It Down
8. All Along
11. That's The Life
12. My Shelter
13. Blank Canvas$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed PRE-ORDER Buy Now
Screen MemoriesJohn Maus is a truly enigmatic musician. Broadly cut from the synth pop cloth, he's fashioned the
frosty minimalism of its fabric into a cloak of infinite meaning, genuine grace and absurdist humor
over the course of three defining albums since 2006. His music is a highly mutable affair, whilst
often described as retro-futurist on behalf of the 80's drum machines and synth sounds employed,
John's music is more personal than the nostalgic re-tread implied. There's a cinematic quality to
his songs, with pathos conjured through propelling bass-lines, trailing arpeggios and of course his
deeply resonant vocal. Moroder helped map out the territory but Maus is more interested in seeking
cadence through his love of Renaissance polyphony and the experimentation behind post punk. It's
an amalgamation of musical ideas as radical as its intent.
Maus is a "man out of time" trying to make sense of the inhumanity of our world through his
mobilisation of the language of punk rock. His aim is true as he reaches for the seemingly impossible.
It's a want to emerge as part of greater multiplicity, to appear, to become, to connect that powers his
songs and the man himself.
It's now been six years since the widely lauded 2011's 'We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of
Ourselves' appeared like a thunderbolt of maniacal energy and turned everyone's heads. Now
regarded an experimental pop classic, Pitiless Censors was a huge breakthrough for Maus as a
recognised artist and led to a vast reappraisal of his past work. Debut album 2006's Songs and the
masterful follow up 2008's Love Is Real sounded better than ever the second time round for this
groundswell of new followers. After touring Pitiless Censors around the world and pulling together
a collection of rarities and unreleased tracks, Maus then returned to academic pursuits. In 2014, he
was awarded a doctorate in Political Philosophy for his dissertation on communication and control.
Shortly thereafter, he began building his own modular synthesizer, etching the printed circuit boards,
soldering components, and assembling panels, until he had an instrument that matched his vision.
With this prodigious task completed Maus turned his hand back to song writing and began work on
what is now his fourth album proper Screen Memories.
'Screen Memories' was written, recorded, and engineered by Maus over the last few years in his
home in Minnesota, known genially as the Funny Farm. It's a solitary place situated in the corn plains
of rural American Midwest. The landscape is as majestic as it is austere and inevitably some of the
sub-zero winter temperatures creep into the songs as do the buzzing wasps of summer.
Through the whole album Maus has an undeniable talent in grasping the mettle of each song,
reaching within and building up a sincere core, before teasing out the edges in acknowledgement to
the very ridiculousness of its existence. Rather than creating these songs through an enjoyment of the
process Maus considers himself more in the role of someone discovering them buried just beneath
the surface. Perhaps the songs presented here are the ones that mask his real intentions, Freud
pressing record and turning the TV channel to snow. All we can be certain of now though is that John
Maus is back and he sounds gloriously alive. The triumph of the human is upon us and all the false
gods and bad jokes will be the first to fall.1. The Combine
2. Teenage Witch
4. Walls of Silence
5. Find Out
6. Decide Decide
7. Edge of Forever
8. The People Are Missing
10. Sensitive Recollections
11. Over Phantom
12. Bombs Away$21.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Front Porch SessionsSouthern Indiana-bred singer-guitarist Reverend Peyton is the bigger-than-life frontman of Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band. He has earned a reputation as both a singularly compelling performer and a persuasive evangelist for the rootsy country blues styles that captured his imagination early in life and inspired him and his band to make pilgrimages to Clarksdale, Mississippi to study under such blues masters as T-Model Ford, Robert Belfour and David "Honeyboy" Edwards.
That passionate inspiration has made Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band America's foremost country blues outfit and fuels the Rev's new release, The Front Porch Sessions. Peyton's dazzling guitar mastery is equaled here by his knack for vivid, emotionally impactful songwriting, and his originals are matched in their authenticity by the deeply felt vintage blues tunes that he covers. The album showcases the Rev's irrepressible personality while echoing the enduring spirit of such acoustic blues icons as Charlie Patton, Blind Willie Johnson, Bukka White and Furry Lewis, whose "When My Baby Left Me" receives a memorable reading.
"It started as a literal whim on my part, but it turned into something really special," Reverend Peyton says of this new collection. "I wanted it to feel like you're on my front porch. You can almost hear the wood creaking."
The Front Porch Sessions maintains a potent level of intensity throughout, from the upbeat optimism of the album-opener "We Deserve a Happy Ending" to the blunt slice-of-life rural reality of "One More Thing" to the rollicking, playful swagger of "Shakey Shirley," "One Bad Shoe" and "Cornbread and Butterbeans." Meanwhile, the instrumentals "It's All Night Long" and "Flying Squirrels" demonstrate the Rev's nimble, imaginative guitar work."
I didn't have much planned when I went into the studio," the Reverend notes. "I went into the studio with some new songs and some old songs that I've always wanted to try. At first, I thought 'Well, maybe we'll make it a download or release a single.' But it took on a life of its own, and when it was all said and done, I was as proud of it as anything I've ever done. To me, it was a lesson in not overthinking things; I just went in and let my gut guide me."
We recorded this album at a studio called Farm Fresh, which is right down the street from my house," he continues. "It's in the shade of the oldest poplar tree in Indiana, and there's a graveyard next to it and train tracks run across there. In fact, I think you can hear the train on one track on this record. The studio's in an old church, and the main sanctuary is the tracking room, so the haunting reverb that you hear is that room.
"We used a lot of vintage gear in the recording. I love that organic sound, and I'm always chasing that in everything I do. I just like things that feel timeless. Feeling timeless to me is way more important than feeling old. When you try to make something sound old, you're trying too hard."
That lifelong pursuit of musical authenticity was instilled in his musical consciousness while Peyton was growing up in rural Indiana, where his early love for blues, ragtime, folk, country and other traditional styles gave him a sense of direction that would soon manifest itself in his own music. He and the Big Damn Band won a large and loyal fan base, thanks to their tireless touring efforts and high-energy showmanship, along with such acclaimed albums as Big Damn Nation, The Gospel Album, The Whole Fam Damnily, The Wages, Between the Ditches, So Delicious and the Charlie Patton tribute disc Peyton on Patton.
Despite his prior achievements, the Rev views The Front Porch Sessions as a personal creative milestone.
"This record's very personal for me, because so much of it is just me," he says. "The Big Damn Band is on there, but it's mostly me. There's washboard only in a couple of songs, and the drum kit is a suitcase drum set that we put together in the studio. It's a snapshot of the week we spent in the studio, but it also represents a lifetime of me building up to it."
The Front Porch Sessions has also spawned a series of audio-vÉritÉ companion videos, many of them shot on the Rev's actual front porch, that embody the album's intimacy and immediacy. "A lot of these songs started on the porch, and that's what the videos are," he says. "I'd be pickin' and go, 'I like the way this sounds, let me get my camera.'"
Reverend Peyton has already begun to integrate The Front Porch Sessions' spare approach into the Big Damn Band's expansive live shows, which are renowned for their intensity and abandon.
"In a lot of our shows in the past few years, we'll take a break and I'll come out and do a song or two by myself," he explains. "That brings things down and allows me to do some songs like this. We're definitely gonna be doing more of that, so there's definitely gonna be moments in the shows where you're gonna hear a lot of these songs. We may also do some Front Porch Sessions shows, and maybe present some of our other songs in a more stripped-down way. We did one earlier this year as kind of a test, and that worked really well.
"Over the years, our shows have gotten more dynamic," he continues. "The ups are more up and the downs are more down. That's something that's important to me. If I go and see a show and someone's just standing there and staring at their feet and singing their songs, I feel insulted. That's not a performance. I want to know that you're living that song, not just regurgitating it. I don't think artists should seem like they're too cool for their audience."
The Rev's dedication to delivering the goods on stage is reflected in his flamboyant performance persona. "The Rev is me," he states. "Sometimes that freaks people out, because the person who's on stage is exactly the way I am offstage. I don't know how to separate myself from my music, because it's so personal to me. My mom calls me Rev; it's been my nickname since I was a teenager. It was a name that was given to me by some friends, and it sort of stuck.
"I'm one of those people who feels everything really hard, for better or worse," he continues. "If I'm angry, I'm really angry. If I'm sad, I'm really sad. If I'm happy, I'm really happy. So onstage, I tap into that. There are certain songs that I can't play on some nights, because they're just too sad. That may be the rantings of a crazy person, but it's the God's honest truth."
With The Front Porch Sessions showcasing his expanded musical palette, Reverend Peyton is excited about bringing his new music to his fans.
"I really think it's one of the best things I've ever done," he asserts. "I'm interested in making hand-made American music, and the goal is to be timeless."1. We Deserve a Happy Ending
2. When My Baby Left Me
3. Shakey Shirley
4. What You Did to the Boy Ain't Right
5. One Bad Shoe
6. It's All Night Long
7. One More Thing
8. Flying Squirrels
9. Let Your Light Shine
10. When You Lose Your Money
11. Cornbread and Butterbeans$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
My Midnight Things (Pre-Order)Release Date: June 15, 2018*
Since 1983, the name Lizzy Borden has been synonymous with heavy metal music of the highest caliber. With My Midnight Things he has reaffirmed this standing, delivering the biggest, most dramatic, moving and cinematic record of his career, and one of the most essential additions to the genre in 2018. While showcasing a diverse range of sounds, tones and moods, it is unmistakably the work of the man who released a string of classic albums in the 1980s and two more in the 00s, but with a new fire burning at the heart of the record, it is one that he has lovingly crafted for those who scream along with every word at his shows. "On our last tour across Europe, Asia and South America, I noticed that the audience had changed," he states. "It got a lot younger. I looked out to see all these kids in every country singing at the top of their lungs to songs that were written before they were born, and that made me want to start writing some full-blown albums just for them. I wanted to make songs that would be theirs, albums that they could be a part of."
Having not dropped a record since 2007's mighty Appointment With Death, fans have understandably champed at the bit waiting for new material. Though penning numerous songs throughout that period, when it became time to seriously focus upon writing an album, the multi-instrumentalist did what needed to be done to be sure of creating the best possible music. "I knew the only way I could find what I was looking for was to lock myself away and experiment, so that's what I did. I wrote and recorded in my studio in North Hollywood in a very industrial area all night every night, with only sirens from fire trucks and these songs to keep me company. It was a lonely time, but very fruitful. You might even hear some of those sirens in some of the songs if you listen closely." Starting with between forty and fifty songs, he steadily whittled these down to fifteen, and finally to the ten that made the record, only wanting the very best to make the cut. As with all of his albums, once Borden hones in on a core subject matter he builds the album around it, and in the case of My Midnight Things, the theme is that of love. However, adopting a different approach to writing than usual, rather than starting with music, he instead focused on the lyrics, and penned the music later to best serve the stories being told, wanting every song to stand up on its own while keeping the storyline of the record moving forward. "I just let the lyrics drive the mood and the way I would sing each song, but overall I kept it varied and engaging enough so that listeners will want to devour the whole album in one sitting, without you hearing me repeat myself."
The diversity of the record makes it abundantly clear that he succeeded, and it makes for a thrilling ride from start to finish. Opening with the titanic stomp of the title track, the cinematic feel kicks off from the start, a serpentine seductiveness coiling through it, and the likes of "A Stranger To Love" and the bruising "Our Love Is God" inhabit similarly dark territory. The more stripped down, haunting strains of the reprise of the title track - which was in fact the first version penned - is achingly frail, and then counterpointing all of the record's darker and more brooding moments are the upbeat "Long May They Haunt Us", the hugely anthemic and uplifting closer "We Belong In The Shadows", and the frankly glorious "Run Away With Me". While the title of the album "means many different things" to Borden, he chooses not to disclose these, allowing listeners to find their own meaning in it, which is something important to him. In terms of the record's central theme, he acknowledges that while "love" seems somewhat obvious, he tried to find a way to see it through a different lens. "Sometimes being in love is the worst thing that can happen to you if you're with the wrong person and you can't stop it, and sometimes it's the best thing in the world. I knew I could find things in between every other song that's been written about it. So that was the challenge. But, even though I write with a theme in mind and with different personalities singing each song, I never write in storyboard form. I always try to write in poetry form. I think you can search for more meaning that way, from one line to the next there can be multiple meanings, as opposed to being trapped telling a story."
Having signed a new contract with Metal Blade on the strength of three demo tracks, Borden opted to produce My Midnight Things himself, with Joey Scott as co-producer, who also handled all the drumming duties. Having an old school approach to his drumming, feeding off the vocals, lyrics and melody rather than just acting as a time keeper, he was perfectly suited to Borden's approach to the record, which also applied to his role as co-producer. "I knew what I was going for and had doubts that I could find a producer who would understand that. My approach is very different than what is happening in today's music, but Joey got that and wanted the same thing." With Marliese Quance Mildenberger handling the majority of the keyboards, her unique melancholy playing style added even more "emotion and dimension" to each song, while Borden himself handled all of the bass, guitars, some keys and all of the vocal parts. Anyone exposed to My Midnight Things will find it hard to deny that like all of his records, it is a true vocal tour de force, each track endowed with a phenomenal amount of layering to create something that is uniquely Lizzy Borden. "The style that I record vocals harkens back to The Beatles and Queen. It's time consuming and tedious, but the result gives you a more multi-dimensional feel than you would get with a single vocal. When I recorded 'Master Of Disguise' (1989), I was clocked in at a seven-octave vocal range between all the backing and lead vocals. It gave the feel of multiple personalities within my voice, and I've used that technique on the last four albums."
That every song on the record could be released as a single is testament to just how strong this collection is. While truly a record for his fans, its appeal will easily reach much further, and Borden is as eager to get back on stage as his devout followers who cannot wait to see him back up there. "I've already started working on the 'My Midnight Things' Show, and I really can't wait to play these songs live. There are so many talented players out there in the world, I know I will find the right guys or girls to be on stage with me in my touring band, and just based on what is being talked about, so far it will be the best show I've ever done. I really do feel a new excitement that I have not felt in years. The best is yet to come."
*Please note that release dates are subject to change.Tracklist coming soon!$25.99Vinyl LP - Sealed PRE-ORDER Buy Now