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Curtain Call: The HitsEminem's four studio albums shattered so many sales records that you might think just about every man, woman and gerbil on the planet already owns a bulk of the songs that make up this greatest hits collection. But Curtain Call presents the perfect opportunity to have another look at the life of Marshall Mathers. Starting out in the vein of the Beastie Boys and Slick Rick, he grafted filthy verses over bubbly nursery rhyme melodies and primitive Casio beats to come up with comical singles like 'My Name Is' and 'Real Slim Shady.' Then angst and reflection set in, resulting in rare moments of vulnerability ('Lose Yourself') and a richer musical experience ('Stan'). The three new tracks reflect the entire spectrum, with 'When I'm Gone,' a bittersweet goodbye letter, signaling the raw emotion and youthful enthusiasm of his early days have substantially faded, while 'Fack' counters that the Detroit rapper still has the dirtiest mouth in the business.1. Intro
3. The Way I Am
4. My Name Is
6. Lose Yourself
7. Shake That
8. Sing For The Moment
9. Without Me
10. Like Toy Soldiers
11. The Real Slim Shady
13. Guilty Conscience
14. Cleanin' Out My Closet
15. Just Lose It
16. When I'm Gone
17. Stan (Live)$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
All My Friends Are Funeral SingersCalifone's releases are full of layers and textures, offering endless depth, entire universes to lose yourself in, and beyond the thick spectrum of sound, they do something even more important: they write great songs that will stand the test of time. The band is at the peak of its powers on All My Friends Are Funeral Singers, its sixth song based album. The long-awaited follow-up to 2006's acclaimed Roots and Crowns, the album is the strongest collection of songs in a career with no shortage of strength. The subtlety and detail of Califone's previous work is present here; the atmospheres are carefully nuanced, the percussion is both rattling and melodic, and the melodies are rich and soulful.
All My Friends Are Funeral Singers is a dense collage of sounds, expertly formed into fully realized pop songs and it's the record that the great Roots and Crowns hinted at. The songwriting is fleshed out, the musical vision is boiling over, the sonic experimentation is indulgent and dense, yet there's a great cohesion, a sense of purpose and a newfound focus to this Califone effort. Never has the band felt so vibrant and so alive!
This double LP edition contains music exclusive to the vinyl edition of the release on side 4.1. Giving Away the Bride
2. Polish Girls
4. Funeral Singers
5. Snakes Tooth = Protection Against Fever And Luck In Gambling
8. A Wish Made While Burning Onions Will Come True
10. Alice Marble Gray
13. Seven, Fourteen, Or Twenty Knots
14. Better Angels$19.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
8 Mile Original SoundtrackImport
This may be the soundtrack for Eminem's movie debut, but don't think of 8 Mile of as an Eminem album, because it's not. It's a soundtrack and plays like a soundtrack, with many cuts from current stars and new artists (several associated with Eminem's fledgling Shady imprint), plus a couple of previously released tracks, most of it very high quality, whether it's a hard-hitting Jay-Z, a sultry Macy Gray, or Taryn Manning's Boomkat's sexy slow burn Wasting My Time. Sure, there's a couple of tracks that fall flat -- Young Zee and Obie Trice feel strained -- but it all flows well, and it's all strong. But it's also all overshadowed by four blindingly great new songs from Eminem (four and a half, if you count his show-stealing appearance on D-12's Rap Game), all illustrating a step forward from The Eminem Show, even if they work a familiar pseudo-biographical ground. What impresses is not just the wordplay and delivery, but the music itself -- fuller, richer than anything on his previous records, appropriately cinematic in scope and pushing Eminem toward new heights. The opening track and first single Lose Yourself is easily equaled by the title song with its layered pianos, while Rabbit Run is nearly as good. Hearing these, it's hard not to greedily hunger for a full album of this, but the soundtrack is excellent as is and these new Eminem cuts make it a necessary purchase.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine (All Music)LP1
1. Lose Yourself
2. Love Me
3. 8 Mile
4. Adrenaline Rush
5. Places To Go
6. Rap Game
7. 8 Miles And Runnin'
1. Time Of My Life
2. U Wanne Be Me
4. Wastin' My Time
6. That's My Nigga Fo' Real
8. Rabbit Run$45.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
RelapseAnticipation for Eminem's new studio album Relapse has been building since the fall, when the hip hop superstar first announced the album title and debuted the freestyle, I'm Having A Relapse, during an interview on his Shade 45 satellite radio station. The release of Crack A Bottle from Eminem, Dr. Dre and 50 Cent brought that anticipation to a head. The track soared to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 (Eminem's second #1 after 2002's Lose Yourself) and set a Nielsen SoundScan record for opening week download sales. Crack A Bottle will be included as an album track on Relapse.
With the announcement of the release date for Relapse also comes confirmation of something that had been rumored in recent weeks: Eminem is already working on a follow-up album, Relapse 2, that fans can expect in the second half of 2009. A lot of people were expecting Relapse to drop last year, explains Eminem. I was one of them. Then Dre and I went back in the studio in September for a few days, and that turned into six months. We were on such a roll; we wound up with a ton of new music produced by Dre. Putting out Relapse 2 will let everyone get all of the best stuff.1. Dr. West (Skit)
2. 3 A.M.
3. My Mom
5. Bagpipes From Baghdad
7. Tonya (Skit)
8. Same Song & Dance
9. We Made You
10. Medicine Ball
11. Paul (Skit)
12. Stay Wide Awake
13. Old Time's Sake
14. Must Be The Ganja
15. Mr. Mathers (Skit)
16. Deja Vu
18. Crack A Bottle
19. Steve Berman (Skit)
20. Underground$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
HowlinDoes Jagwar Ma make rock music or dance music? It's genuinely tough to tell. A duo from Sydney, Australia, Jagwar Ma combines rock 'n' roll signifiers (electric guitars, psychedelic vocals) with pristine dance-music production. The band's full-length debut, Howlin (out June 11), references The Stone Roses one minute and space disco the next, and neither approach feels the least bit forced.
Guitars and drum machines don't make for uncharted territory in 2013, obviously, but it's important to note that Jagwar Ma isn't a dance-rock band. This is the 1960s British Invasion re-imagined with today's digital audio software, which has some comparing Jagwar Ma to the Manchester, England, scene of the late 1980s, when rock bands took cues from the country's burgeoning rave culture.
The electronic impetus in this case is Jagwar Ma producer (and partial namesake) Jono Ma, who recorded much of Howlin with singer Gabriel Winterfield in a barn in northern France. Ma sounds like a producer coming into his own after years of collaborating; he has an impeccable feel for when Winterfield's anthemic delivery should give way to an 808 drum machine. The hybridization peaks in Uncertainty, one of the year's best songs so far.
Those barn recordings eventually made their way to Ewan Pearson, one of the premier British remixers of the past decade; he put the finishing touches on most of these songs. It's unclear how much he added to the mix, but his sharp production style is all over this album.
Of course, just because you can mix rock and dance music, that doesn't necessarily mean you should. But Howlin largely nails that sweet spot between singing along to a song and losing yourself in it.
- Otis Hart (NPR Music)1. What Love
3. The Throw
4. That Loneliness
5. Come Save Me
7. Let Her Go
8. Man I Need
10. Did You Have To
11. Backwards Berlin$26.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
I'm New HereGil Scott-Heron is one of the most influential and important singer/songwriters to have come out of America in the second half of the last century. Much can be said about why Gil's lyrics are so original and powerful, but it is important not to overlook his utterly singular voice which is so distinctive and rough and tender. It's a voice of experience and the way his voice floats over the shifting funk rhythms and the deep jazz, soul and blues melodies is nothing short of sublime. It's also what enables him to draw you in to the difficult issues he does not shy away from dealing with. His sound is intimate and warm and direct and consequently it is hard to resist being moved and inspired by his message. Gil has been consistently relevant whether it be on a personal or political canvas.
Early on in his career he wrote and recorded the song that for many is regarded as one of the first great rap tracks,The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. From its opening lines which turn Timothy Leary on his addled head (You will not be able to stay home brother. You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out. You will not be able to lose yourself on scag brother, because the revolution will not be televised.), Gil threw down the gauntlet, challenging us to get involved, be informed, retain a sense of humour and do the right thing. He was angry, politically savvy, compassionate and very funny. When he was brought to Arista by Clive Davis in 1975, he was billed by the label as the black Bob Dylan, and whilst this reductive and over simplistic description is typical marketing bullshit, there is some raison d'etre for this moniker. For Gil is a protest poet of enormous subtlety who has railed against those things in the world that he believes are wrong. And like Dylan he has often used humour as a powerful weapon.
A new record from Gil Scott-Heron, 40 years after his first solo album, is a cause for major celebration and something that the world needs now more than ever.1. On Coming From A Broken Home (Pt. 1)
2. Me And The Devil
3. I'm New Here
4. Your Soul And Mine
5. Parents (Interlude)
6. I'll Take Care Of You
7. Being Blessed (Interlude)
8. Where Did The Night Go
9. I Was Guided (Interlude)
10. New York Is Killing Me
11. Certain Things (Interlude)
13. The Crutch
14. I've Been Me (Interlude)
15. On Coming From A Broken Home (Pt. 2)$21.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
IcesIces is a celebration of flight, levity, and the conviction that you can leave earth. You take wing in an airplane, you go to real places when you dream, you have out-of-body experiences, you get high, you lose yourself in someone else.
When we started work on these songs, I was beginning a gradual move to California, constantly traveling back and forth from New York. I was experimenting. I was falling in love. Our studio in the Hudson Valley was full of electronics and computers and the sounds of future ships sailing through the vastness of space, and I sometimes forgot where I was. The first songs we wrote were called flying 1, then flying 2, and so on, which eventually evolved into songs on the album. Flight became a metaphor for the ignition of the imagination. The process created a lightness in me, a freedom and positive energy that I'd never before felt or explored.
This recording session became a two year music and spiritual retreat with my psychic twin brother, Eliot. A private journey during which we abandoned old habits and familiar sounds. We got really geeky and experimented in our studio. We obsessed over sympathetic magic, Ancient Aliens, and the NBA. We allowed everything we loved to find its way in: Persian percussion, hip-hop beats, lo-fi, hi-fi, Pakistani pop, Link Wray, Jason Pierce, gospel, dub. We developed new systems; we worked with synthesis, software, and samples; we became producers. The Hudson Valley was home base, but I wanted to keep flying. I wrote songs in California, recorded vocals in Atlanta, and worked with Clams Casino in Brooklyn. For the first time, Lia Ices felt like an inclusive project with its own identity, not just a name.
Ices as a whole is devoted to these certainties. While we have evolved, we are still animals. We respond to planets, patterns, and cycles. We require the sounds of our origins. We live in the future but stay bound to the primitive and primordial. We will always want tribe, we will always want rhythm, we will always need music to guide us into our deepest sense of what it means to be human. So we hear sounds from all over the planet in this album. We devour so much music, and with this album we allowed ourselves to claim bits from all of it.
-LIA ICES1. Tell Me
2. Thousand Eyes
4. Love Ices Over
6. Electric Arc
7. Sweet as Ice
9. How We Are
10. Waves$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
IlusionGaby Moreno is coming out with her new album "Ilusion" four years after her successful album "Postales" and touring the world with many big names like Ricardo Arjona and Hugh Laurie. The album "Ilusion" lives up to its name. Making you lose yourself in Gaby's creative illusions realizing such a tender reality. It is truly her best work yet giving her fans diversity, not only in her lyrics and her songwriting but diversifying her work in two different languages.
Her new single is "Love Is Gone" / Se Apagó The simultaneous dual language single release finds the critically praised singer-songwriter & guitarist once again stretching her genre range, with an instantly engaging fusion built upon the Motown/Stax Sound of Classic R&B.
Gaby Moreno has rescued the female singer-songwriter form from the abyss of clichÉ. She doesn't radically change its rules or anything - she just does it with a little more flavor and a lot more skill. With an exceptionally rich and assured voice, and a palette that spans Latin, blues, folk, jazz and pop, she's a marquee talent. Her singing is effortlessly bright with purpose and not just a display of ostentatious acrobatics. In her voice, the flame of the female greats is alive." - Orlando Weekly
"Certain voices emanate from a performer carrying such a naturally beguiling, tunefully confident range of emotion that it's as if the vocalist had no choice: singing is inevitable. Guatemalan-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter/guitarist Gaby Moreno has such a voice" - Philadelphia Inquirer
"Guatemalan blues. No, that's not right. Bilingual bossa nova. Eh, it sounds fun. But it doesn't quite capture it all.. Better yet, we'll call it damn good music. After all, a word that accurately describes Gaby Moreno's eclectic blend of '20s and '30s blues, Brazilian beats, and Guatemalan flavor has yet to be invented She's a captivating performer and truly remarkable singer/storyteller." - Miami New Times
"This Guatemalan American singer-songwriter alternates fluidly between languages, whether spoken (English and Spanish) or musical, easing in and out of everything from folksy alt country to retro blues rock Plucky, quirky and insightful, Moreno has the grace and the skill to make it big."- Rhapsody
The single was located on the ITunes Best of the Week Playlist.1. Se Apagó
2. Nobody to Love
3. Pale Bright Lights
4. Maldición / Bendición
6. O, Me
8. Hermana Rosetta
9. Down in Reverie
10. Sálvese Quien Pueda
11. La Malagueña
12. Illusion$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Gauntlet HairOver the last year and a half, Gauntlet Hair has seen its noise-pop anthems released on 7s by tastemaker labels Forest Family (IWas Thinking... b/w Our Scenery) and Mexican Summer (Out, Don't... b/w Heave) respectively. And with the self-titled debut, the duo of Andy R (guitar, vox) and Craig Nice (drums, triggers) fulfill the booming promise of those now collectible singles.
Written and recorded in Spring 2011 at Andys grandmothers Chicago-area house while she was away on vacation, Gauntlet Hair is a subtle refinement of the sounds weve come to associate with the band the trunk-rattling bass; the ecstatic, tinny post-punk guitar; the din of ecstasy. But what was once simply jarring in its audacity is now also bursting with new colors.While the band continues to mine the pulse-and-clap cues of modern club rap, the intricacies of Andys Durutti Column-inspired, circular guitar lines come a bit more to the fore on Gauntlet Hair. They are at once oblique and; pounding and glassy; melodic and exploratory. Standout Top Bunk, with its tide-like suction and throb, is a cooled-out, coastal slowgrind. The songs multiple sections overlap and interlace through bass throb, elliptical guitars and affably shouted and falsetto-sung mantras. Its a shining, disorienting example of
the careful, Byzantine sculpture behind each of these party jams. Its music made with the sole purpose of losing yourself both mind and body inside of it. They take the listener into the red, evoking that unmistakable feeling of being squarely in front of the speaker as it is screaming blissfully loud melodies.
Playing music together since they were teenagers, Andy and Craig relocated from Chicago to Denver three years ago to hone a sound that seems to have gained inspiration from enormity of the surrounding Rocky Mountains. In Denver, the duo is a crucial part of the avant-pop DIY scene that birthed contemporaries like Pictureplane,Woodsman and Hollagramz, and is anchored by the community built around all ages venue Rhinoceroplis. Beyond these inspiring cohorts, Gauntlet Hair finds itself mapping new boundaries for loud in pop music.1. Keep Time
2. Top Bunk
3. Mop It Up
4. My Christ
5. Lights Out
8. That's Your Call
9. Shout In Tongues$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Something About KnowingA wonderfully warm presence." -NPR
Maria Taylor's Something About Knowing beckons with the opening track "Folk Song Melody," a
mesmerizing acoustic-with-celestial-atmospherics composition crafted around a wordless singsong
passage that's instantly familiar. "That section says everything without words and the rest of the record
fills in the emotions," she says. And the emotions brimming on the album are bliss and contentment.
On the title track, with a molasses flow, Maria names her blessings from the diurnal to the divine. Here
she sings: "I got you/I got me/I heard the sweetest voice call me mommy/got my old 5 string/I've got
everything." The music is balmy with a sweetly swaying groove, angelic backup vocals, gospel organs,
and a shooting star guitar melody. The stunning "Tunnel Vision" is expansive and chiming pop with a
Something About Knowing's
spirit of "coming home with
confidence" extends from
Maria's personal and artistic
peacefulness to the team she
picked to surround herself
with while making this album.
She enlisted producer Mike
Mogis, an essential creative
foil on her first two records.
Her brother Macey Taylor
played bass on every song as
well as keyboards and piano.
And her old high school music
pal Brad Armstrong co-wrote,
played on, and recorded two
tracks in his garage. "There we
were back in his garage, only
now we both had kids running
around, it was really special,"
Maria says. Longtime friend and collaborator Andy LeMaster mixed these two songs. Additionally,
Maria recorded the track "This Is It" with Lester Nuby, and Daniel Farris-two trusted companions
she worked with on her last two records-at home in Birmingham, Alabama.1. Folk Song Melody
2. Up All Night
3. Tunnel Vision
4. Sum of Our Lives
5. You've Got a Way with the Light
6. Something About Knowing
7. This Is It
8. Broken Objects
9. Saturday in June
10. A Lullaby for You$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Blues of Desperation (Awaiting Repress)GRAMMY-nominated blues-rock guitar icon Joe Bonamassa announces his 20160solo album, Blues of Desperation (J&R Adventures). Like his previous solo disc, 2014's Top 10 Billboard hit Different Shades of Blue, this record features all-original material, and it sees the maverick superstar guitarist, singer and songwriter tossing away the rule book as he continues to reinvent and redefine the blues-rock genre like no other artist working today.
I want people to hear my evolution as a blues-rock musician, says Bonamassa, somebody who isn't resting on accomplishments and who is always pushing forward and thinking about how music can evolve and stay relevant.
The writing sessions for Blues of Desperation took Bonamassa back to Nashville, where he'd composed Different Shades of Blue, to work with some of Music City's top tunesmiths, people like James House, Tom Hambridge, Jeffrey Steele, Jerry Flowers and Gary Nicholson.
These are some of the best guys in the business, Bonamassa raves. Lyrically, you'll hear the proverbial trains, mountains, valleys and other blues references about heartbreak and loneliness but there are also some poignant moments about getting away from the stressful, crazy demands of life and losing yourself with your special someone. I think anybody will be able to relate.
Bonamassa and his longtime producer Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Journey) convened at Nashville's Grand Victor Sound Studios (formerly known as RCA Studio A), and during an intense, five-day period they recorded 11 galvanizing songs with a crack group of musicians including drummers Anton Fig and Greg Morrow, bassist Michael Rhodes, keyboardist Reese Wynans, horn players Lee Thornburg, Paulie Cerra and Mark Douthit, and background singers Mahalia Barnes, Jade McRae and Juanita Tippins.
Of his decade-long collaboration with Shirley, Bonamassa says, I can explain our relationship with one word - 'trust.' I completely trust in Kevin and his musical promptings. He pushes my musical ability by challenging me to not just rest on my laurels or settle for 'good.' He expects more out of the other musicians as well and will not hold back when he sees us falling back into our usual routine.
Which sometimes calls for unorthodox measures, says Shirley, who admits that his idea of augmenting Bonamassa's usual recording band with second drummer Morrow was engineered to ruffle Joe's feathers.
I wanted him to work a little harder, like in his early years, he says, so I brought in an additional drummer, just to throw the cat amongst the pigeons. Of the results, Shirley raves, Recording 'Blues of Desperation' is one of the most exciting recording projects I've done. What a joyful noise we made!
Blues of Desperation is Bonamassa's most powerfully diverse and boldly realized album yet, with the material ranging from the gutsy, gritty blues call to arms of This Train (Joe's guitar is set to rude throughout) to the elegant yet emotionally shattering ballad What I've Known for a Very Long Time to the soul-nourishing, acoustic-based Americana of The Valley Runs Low, on which Bonamassa's voice rises up majestically to meet Barnes, McRae and Tippins in gospel-like rapture. And then there's the bleary, tequila-soaked Drive, dripping with the kind of raw, wicked and unsettling sensuality that could make David Lynch green with envy.
Throughout the record, Bonamassa's epic guitar playing conjures up stirring benedictions and explosive exorcisms of sound. No Good Place For the Lonely features some of the guitarist's most cauterizing licks yet, and the walloping title track is a white-knuckled, six-string thrill ride guaranteed to jolt the senses. Guitar fans everywhere (like those who recently voted Bonamassa Best Blues Guitarist in Guitar World magazine by an overwhelming margin) will consider Blues of Desperation a treasure trove of axe riches.
There are some long solos on this record and even some mini-jams in the middle of a track where the band would just jive and crank it out, he says. [During those jams], we do a tip of the hat to Beck and Clapton from the '70s. I think guitar nerds and music fans like myself will love it.
Packed with unparalleled musicianship and teeming with the most enthralling collection of songs in Bonamassa's career, Blues of Desperation is guaranteed to knock out critics and fans alike. By exceeding his own vertiginously high artistic goals, Bonamassa is bound to shatter all other expectations with this record and reach new audiences - no mean feat when you continue his astonishing track record of hits now includes 15 #1 Billboard Blues Albums (more than any other artist in history). 2014's Different Shades of Blue debuted at #8 on Billboard's Top 200 Chart, making it his highest charting album, his first top 10 and accounting for his biggest sales week ever. In 2014, the guitarist received his first-ever Grammy nomination (for Best Blues Album) for the album Seesaw, his second collaboration with blues singing star Beth Hart, and was named 2014's Billboard Blues Artist of the Year.1. This Train
2. Mountain Climbing
4. No Good Place For The Lonely
5. Blues Of Desperation
6. The Valley Runs Low
7. You Left Me Nothin' But The Bill And The Blues
8. Distant Lonesome Train
9. How Deep This River Runs
10. Livin' Easy
11. What I've Known For A Very Long Time$34.99180 Gram Audiopbhile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
WitnessWitness is the highly anticipated follow-up to Benjamin Booker's critically acclaimed self-titled debut album. The album's ten new, original tracks were all written by Booker, produced by Sam Cohen (Kevin Morby) and mixed by Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes), and the title track features a guest vocal from Mavis Staples.
'I wanted to make a record about the things in my life I never wanted to talk about. It's a record about self-exploration, about learning to love yourself and opening yourself up to love others, about choosing the kind of person you want to be, about confronting death and appreciating life. Really it's about trying to take control from the perspective of someone who has come very close on several occasions to losing ALL control.'
- Benjamin Booker1. Right On You
4. The Slow Drag Under
5. Truth Is Heavy
8. Off The Ground
10. All Was Well$21.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
ChromaticsWhen songwriter and producer Sam Genders last donned his Diagrams hat, captive listeners found themselves truly stunned by the Streatham Hill artist's imaginative and inventive arrangements that made up 2012s debut album Black Light. Having now upped sticks from his London lodgings and settled in Sheffield with a new lease of life and wife, fresh pastures and friendships are what form the heart of Diagrams' brand new album Chromatics.
"Relationships are a constant thread. In all their frustrating, exciting, mundane, beautiful, wonderful, sexy, scary glory," reveals Genders of the album's themes. "And there's lots of hope in the songs. They shouldn't be taken too literally mind you in my head Chromatics is life in Technicolor; with all its ups and downs."
Equally drawing inspiration from the writing on relationships by David Schnarch, Ester Perel and the book Division Street by Sheffield poet Helen Mort, whilst spending time in his own home studio for the first time, it's without doubt that the Steel city provided the ideal backdrop for Genders to write whenever the inspiration came and, essentially, whittle down the fifty or so tracks he had recorded as part of the album's creation. "There are woods over the road and a little garden out the back with a greenhouse, shed, and flower beds. Being in a new place has brought something special to the process. Sheffield is a very open and direct place and I'd say the songs are more that way too."
Whilst Black Light fizzed with electronic effects, synth-bass, programmed beats and low-key funk grooves that brought about comparisons to the leftfield pop of Arthur Russell, Metronomy, Steve Mason and Hot Chip, it's without doubt that Genders' next offering falls closer to home comforts and marks the next step in Genders' renaissance. Take lead track 'Phantom Power'; it's the track which truly sums up what it's like to find yourself forever reassessing. "It's about feeling like you're losing a grip on your sanity at one moment, then feeling inspired and up for anything the next. Or frustration with yourself yet believing that it's possible to sort yourself out," explains Genders. Elsewhere 'You Can Talk To Me's delicate rolling melody and 'Serpent' once again showcase the playful, eclectic slant to Genders' songwriting prowess alongside an innate sense of crisp production and programming techniques.
Never one to shirk away from those around him, Genders would be the first to call Diagrams, and particularly Chromatics, a collaborative process. Once again featuring a rolling cast of inspirational musicians the album includes vocals from, amongst friends and family members, The Smoke Fairies whilst the skilled brass and string arrangements come courtesy of Danyal Dhondy and Sam Ewens. 'London's greatest' drummers Karl Penney, and Cacophony drummer Fletcher Adams provide the beats whilst live band members Emma Black and Ben Malitskie lend their expertise of Baritone Saxophone and Viola. 'Brain' meanwhile, was co-written with long-time friend and collaborator Matt McKenzie and features an in utero recording of his son James' heartbeat.
Yet it's the partnership with producer Leo Abrahams (Wild Beasts, David Byrne, Brian Eno, Jon Hopkins, Ed Harcourt, Marianne Faithful et al) that has truly brought Diagrams to life. After a long search, Abrahams was picked to piece all parts together and as a result Genders found himself writing songs that worked across a variety of production styles. "Leo's incredibly good at what he does and virtually all the impressive production and soundscaping is down to him. He's also an amazing guitarist and played some of my favourite guitar moments on the album."
Who knows exactly what kind of relationships will inspire Genders next? Currently finding himself midst China's south central city of Changsha in Hunan as a Musician in Residence on behalf of the British Council and PRS foundation, life for Genders right now is all about new experiences, meeting new faces and learning from new friendships. "It feels like anything could happen from one day to the next. I'd like to record a Chinese version of 'Phantom Power' so that once I'm back in the UK I can reconnect with the music lovers I've met. I've heard lots of very poppy pop songs that incorporate both Chinese and English lyrics so I'd like to try my own twist on that."1. Phantom Power
2. Gentle Morning Song
5. You Can Talk To Me
7. Dirty Broken Bliss
9. The Light & The Noise
11. Just A Hair's Breadth$18.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Delayed ReactionSoul Asylum is back and newly signed with 429 Records which will release their first album in six years, Delayed Reaction. This time around, the veteran band is energized with a recalibrated lineup that includes founders Dave Pirner and Dan Murphy alongside ex-Replacements, ex-Guns N' Roses bassist Tommy Stinson (who replaced original member Karl Mueller who passed away in 2006) and former Prince drummer Michael Bland.
Delayed Reaction, which was produced by the band and overseen by John Fields, bristles with the tightly wound, slightly ragged vibe that characterized the band when they emerged straight out of Minneapolis. The recording took place in various locations, beginning in Los Angeles and then relocating to New Orleans and Minneapolis and back to LA, each town giving the tracks a unique backdrop of local culture vibe.
Originally formed in 1983 in Minneapolis, MN, Soul Asylum has maintained their reputation for honest, heartfelt rock from their beginnings on scrappy local label Twin Tone (which concurrently nurtured the careers of seminal rockers the Replacements), through their commercially successful days on A&M and Columbia Records (where they scored a Grammy for the monster hit single "Runaway Train"). The band has persevered through the good times of garnering several platinum albums and accolades including a performance for the Presidential inauguration of Bill Clinton to enduring the personal tragedy of losing Karl Mueller to cancer six years ago.
Says Pirner on Delayed Reaction's recording process: "It feels like approaching it as an album and a thing that has a sequence, and a thing that is a piece of work in itself is almost an archaic process. Honestly, it's more organic. Even though you're using some of this newer technology, the fact that you're doing it yourself is what made it take so long and the process unique, this time.1. Gravity
2. Into The Light
3. The Streets
4. By The Way
5. Pipe Dream
6. Let's All Kill Each Other
7. Cruel Intentions
8. The Juice
9. Take Manhattan
10. I Should've Stayed In Bed$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Head GamesHead Games on Numbered Limited Edition 180 Gram LP from Mobile Fidelity
Foreigner's 1979 Effort Its Edgiest, Heaviest, Hardest-Hitting Album
Band Pairs Synthesizers With Guitars on Record to Mesmerizing Effect
Head Games, Dirty White Boy Continue Group's Hit Streak
Half-Speed Mastered from the Original Master Tapes: Roy Thomas Baker's Original Production Shines Like Never Before
The moment Head Games begins, a nastier, grittier tone is established, and it becomes apparent that Foreigner is bringing something new to the table. Namely, an edgier, leaner sound built around stronger guitars and harder rhythms. The heaviest record of the bands career, the 1979 effort functions as irrefutable proof that the quintet rocked as hard as anybody in the mainstream and did so without losing sight of the melodies that put it at the top of the charts. And with Head Games, there Foreigner would stay.
Half-speed mastered from the original master tapes, Mobile Fidelitys collectible audiophile edition of this longtime favorite classic-rock staple bursts with tremendous dynamics, soaring vocal timbres, punchy dynamics, and newfound instrumental separation. With more emphasis placed on Mick Jones guitar riffs and meatier grooves, you may just find yourself investing in a new power amp to get every last degree of detail thats been uncovered! Longtime fans will be thrilled to hear the subtle nuances now fully discernible amidst a gargantuan soundstage.
Joined by new bassist Rick Wills, and guided by Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker, Foreigner goes for broke, ratcheting up the muscularity on hard-hitting fare such as the hit single Dirty White Boy, Seventeen, and the aptly titled Rev on the Red Line. However, the group maintains its trademark equilibrium, pushing the limits on toughness yet retaining a diamond-in-the-rough smoothness that allows the bands hummable choruses and winding hooks to take hold.
Moreover, the band expands its use of synthesizers to wonderful effect. The smash title track, through which mesmerizing keyboard passages coarse, is a prime example of Foreigners slight albeit thrilling sonic evolution, the net result upping the drama, fanfare, and color. At the time, the combination was a breakthrough idea. Is it any wonder Head Games sold more than 5 million copies?
None, however, sound anywhere near as lifelike, involving, and rich as Mobile Fidelitys remaster. Part of the reason why late 70s arena rock remains beloved, and why its so fun, owes to the go-for-broke nature of the arrangements, decibel-clearing volume levels, and free license to just let loose. By digging in and revealing all the musical information the master tapes provide, Mobile Fidelitys analog 180g LP amplifies the pleasure principle by tenfold!
This title is not eligible for discount.1. Dirty White Boy
2. Love on the Telephone
4. I'll Get Even with You
6. Head Games
7. The Modern Day
8. Blinded by Science
9. Do What You Like
10. Rev on the Red Line$19.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
REDD-FRO-1073xThe Joy Formidable
AAARTH (Pre-Order)AAARTH makes a statement unlike its predecessors. Drawing inspiration from a worldwide climate of political and social uncertainty the band transplanted themselves in Utah's vivid natural landscape immersed in a collage of colors and light, the ever fluid and expansive Southwestern sky mirroring our rapidly-changing world. The deep burnt-orange rocks and canyons became touchstones as the band formed the sonic landscapes of AAARTH. From soaring choruses to percussive pulsating guitars, The Joy Formidable paint an 11 song musical tapestry deftly balancing a sound as grounded as their ancient surroundings and as elusive and mind-bending as a gloaming desert sky.
AAARTH first came to life on the road penning lyrics and recording selected parts in hotel rooms around the world. They self-produced and mixed most of the album in their mobile recording studio. This critically adored trio is comprised of Ritzy Bryan (lead vocals, guitars), Rhydian Dafydd (bass, backing vocals) and Matt Thomas (drums, percussion). Formed in North Wales 10 years ago, each album they've released has been a joyful adventure and reflection of their fearless creative discovery and self evolution. The Joy Formidable has always refused to be fenced in or fit in. That restless and boundless artistic journey continues on their fourth album, an arresting and unapologetic tour de force that finds a band at its apex with no sign of getting comfortable.
Certainly, the road to AAARTH hasn't always been easy. Staying together as a band for 10 years requires immense tenacity and passion, both of which The Joy Formidable have never lost. That same tenacity echoes in their new unrelenting affecting musical treatise. The songs, melodies, and arrangements on AAARTH soar seamlessly from the personal to the epic sometimes in loneliness, vulnerability, disillusionment, joy,and redemption, but all the while refusing to deny the persistence of our own and other's imperfectly beautiful humanity. Fernando Chamerelli's evocative album art frames this vibrant, diverse, and playful melodic and lyrical collage.
While the sounds build the mood at the heart of this album are haunting songs that don't let go, "Cicada (Land On Your Back)" draws on the shamanistic influence of Utah, infusing the melody with a lingering psychedelic impression. "We wanted some kind of rebirth, the way you do in a tribal drug ceremony," Rhydian says. "We wanted to lose ourselves and start again." These themes of feeling lost and letting go only to reconnect with yourself thread through the songs. In "All and All" these themes are echoed, as the guitars hypnotically build into a crashing tide of reckless abandon, hope, yearning, and desperation.
There's one little part of me
that doesn't want to let go
It's easier to be the old me
I'm tired of staring down the price of bravery
All in all there's something missing
All in all there's something you can do
I won't play it down or pretend I haven't found
Because all in all there's something in you
The album is book-ended by two songs that calls for a world less divided, offering a dual desire that we take on the challenge to find love and forgiveness across entrenched divisions, while reminding us that healing journey cannot happen unless we also allow forgiveness and love for ourselves. "Y Bluen Eira," written in Welsh, invokes a white feather, a symbol of weakness in British history, and a snowflake. "It's very easy to write off a whole group of people just by labeling them," Ritzy notes. "That leads to a lack of communication and isolation. If we can be curious and courageous, then maybe we will find conversation across the spectrums that divide us and maybe even find new patterns to heal our world and ourselves".
From the contagiously sweeping sonic feast of "You Can't Give Me" to the careening and addictive "All and All", (possibly one of the more wrenching and beautiful rock ballads since the Yeah Yeah Yeahs "Maps" shattered male dominated rock radio over a decade ago), their new record grasps its listener tight and refuses to let go. NME has written that, 'The Joy Formidable has always sounded so much bigger than the stages they inhabit'. With the release of AAARTH later this year, we are poised for the moment where the size of this band's stages, may just yet, catch up with their sound. For a band who never coveted nor chased mainstream success a much wider audience awaits and, as always for this Welsh trio, it arrives on their timeline and will be met on their own terms.1. Y Bluen Eira
2. The Wrong Side
3. Go Loving
4. Cicada (Land On Your Back)
5. All In All
6. What For
7. The Better Me
9. Dance Of The Lotus
10. You Can't Give Me
11. Caught On A Breeze$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed PRE-ORDER Buy Now
I'm Not Your ManIt's amazing how the floodgates open when you shut out all the internal and external noise, stop pandering to stereotype, cease listening to your anxieties, and disregard the compartment society has built for you. I'm Not Your Man, the Charlie Andrew(Alt-J, Rae Morris)-produced second album from Marika Hackman, begins with an impromptu hearty laugh. It's not the sound of silliness; it's the sound of liberation, spontaneity, and joy. 24-year-old Hackman is feeling more herself than ever. Life isn't necessarily funnier or happier, but when there's cause for a joke or a big ballsy statement, she's not holding back anymore.
The album took almost 18 months to complete, during which time Hackman switched to a new manager and a new label, transitions that yielded new avenues for exploration, a lot of time, and a lot of distance - mainly, she insists, from self-imposed boundaries. "I used to be very self-conscious," explains Hackman. "If something sounded a bit too pop or like I'd heard it before I'd mold it into something different. This time around I thought, 'fuck it, I'll just let it flow.'"
The results of this semi-anarchic approach are evident in the grungier, catchier sonics of I'm Not Your Man, and the lyrics, which reveal an unhinged and shamelessly free Hackman. There's an open-ended nature to the lyrics, which delve into femininity, sex and sexual identity, millennial ennui, the pressures of living in a social media bubble, and the perils of being young in a fast-paced industry. "The record's all about female relationships, romance, and breakdowns, but there's also a dim worldview going on. 'I'm Not Your Man' can either mean 'I'm not your man, I'm your woman,' or it can mean 'I'm not a part of this.'"
Hackman cranked up the knobs in the studio, turning away from the quieter sounds of her past to realize her teenage fantasy of fronting a raucous band. "I wanted to let rip and lose control. When I was younger I wasn't looking at Joni Mitchell. I was looking at Nirvana thinking, 'I wanna be like that!'" To channel this feral female energy, Hackman recruited London quartet The Big Moon as her backing band. The results are a dynamic, multi-genre album tied together by razor-sharp wit. The sounds span from Cate Le Bon weirdness to Warpaint dirge jams to straight-up Britpop choruses. "People were saying it was a mash-up between Radiohead, Blondie, and The Cure," laughs Hackman, self-mockingly. "I can't wait to see the reaction," she says. "That's the thrill of reinventing yourself. I might piss off a lot of die-hard folky fans but this is still my brain, it's still my world, and I'm gonna create it how I want."1. Boyfriend
2. Good Intentions
3. Gina's World
4. My Lover Cindy
5. Round We Go
8. Time's Been Reckless
9. Apple Tree
10. So Long
11. Eastbound Train
13. I'd Rather Be With Them$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
I'm Not The DevilCody Jinks was raised on country music but he cut his teeth on metal. "Metallica was king. They set the tone for me and I spent a good part of my youth wanting to be James Hetfield." After a dedicated stint as a frontman in a thrash metal band, Jinks willingly found himself back to where it all began. "My dad loved the outlaw country icons, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard. That never ending consistency of incredible music growing up laid some very deep seeds. I'm mean, come on nothing better than mentally diving into 'The Hag' and metal when it comes time for me to write songs."
Always avoiding trends and ferociously choosing his direction was the only option from day one, even though that very path could have prevented success. "What is success if you can't wake up everyday being who you really are. In the end, that will catch up with you." Jinks has been tested countless times by his career choices. The better part of the last 15 years have included numerous empty bar rooms and a never ending financial loss. "Yeah, I've been pretty good at losing money. Not the greatest feeling in the world to be gone from home for long stretches of time, only to walk in the door broke. Luckily I've got a damn good woman in my life. She has stood by me with unmeasurable strength to say the least and it is an absolute fact that I seriously overplayed my hand when landing her."
His long, dark beard and endless array of tattoos are no fad. They unquestionably define Cody Jinks. His prototypical metal/hard rock band frontman look is not a well orchestrated image, but again, define Cody Jinks. Diving into to his album, I'm Not the Devil is the perpetual truth of who he is and where he has found himself at this point in his career. "I'm just glad that I ended up where I am now," Jinks said. "It makes complete sense that I'm at this place in my life. Country music found me when I was young and chased me down as I grew older"
Jinks' latest project is his deepest, darkest and most provocative album to date, with a metal common denominator, the apocalypse, running throughout the record. "It's a pretty scary time," Jinks said. "There are some evil people running things in the world. It hits me since I have a six and three-year old."
There's not a weightier song than the aptly titled "Heavy Load." It's the most apocalyptic song on the album but the dense cut, with a pretty violin break, is a gorgeous tune. The vocal hook grabs ears when Jinks croons "Train Jumps Tracks Some Time Ago/You Can't Root That Heavy Load." "That was the last song I wrote on the record," Jinks said. "I couldn't be happier how that one turned out."
"All You Can" features a pretty piano line and sobering wordplay. When Jinks belts out 'What Are You Living For," you can't help but think about the serious question posed in what is becoming an increasingly shallow existence. "I was really tired when I wrote that song," Jinks said. "We had been on the road for awhile. The bottom line is that if you're not helping people, you're not doing your job as a human being. It's time to quit feeling sorry for yourself and do something."
One of Jinks' favorite songs on the album is "The Way I Am," a cover of a Merle Haggard classic. "I love that song," Jinks says. "I wrapped it up just before Merle died. The song always resonated with me. I relate to that one since there are times I would rather be out fishing."
"No Words" is a stunner of a gritty, autobiographical love song, which is a throwback to how songs used to be written. It is a tuneful gem, inspired by reality. Jinks starts out dark as night. "My Whole View of the World has Changed/ I Guess that Comes with Age/I Don't Believe there is Good in Every Man Like I Did Back Then/I May Drink More Than I Should/You've Seen Me on the Floor/I Spent my Lifetime in this Cage I Built Around Me." But the song is actually a tip of the hat to his beloved wife of 19 years. "There Aint' No Words/ To Say How Much I Need You/With You Here/ You Make This Life I Lead Worth Living." "It's about my wife," Jinks says. "But the funny thing is that she doesn't like it. She thinks it sounds too sad."
With the title track "I'm Not the Devil," Jinks wakes us all up to the realities of mistakes and the heartfelt desire to be forgiven. "We are all guilty of mistakes and very guilty of pointing out the mistakes of others. Forgiveness feels so much better or so I think."
It's impressive how Jinks is getting his message across. Jinks utilizes space well in his songs. Notes aren't crammed in. Jinks lets his songs breathe. "After all I've experienced, I think I've matured," Jinks says. "I think you can hear it in the music. I've grown up."
Even though he still looks the part of the headbanger he was back in the day, he has moved on. "It's all for the best, Jinks says. "I'm where I was meant to be."
It's all about the music and the fans, who are the fuel that drives Jinks. "They come out night after night giving up hard earned money and precious time to see me play," Jinks says. " It's truly is amazing when you really think about it. The best way I can say thanks is by giving back with effort and gratitude."1. The Same
2. I'm Not the Devil
3. No Guarantees
4. No Words
5. Give All You Can
6. She's All Mine
7. The Way I Am
8. Chase That Song
9. Heavy Load
11. Church at Gaylor Creek
13. Hand Me Down$24.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now