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Ass Pocket Of WhiskeyAvailable on vinyl for the first time in 6 years, A Ass Pocket of Whiskey is a collaborative effort between well-known artists R.L. Burnside and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Recorded in a rented out hunters cabin near Holly Springs, Mississippi, both acts bring their best to the table with amps turned all the way up, drums pounding and R.L. and Jon Spencer screaming their charismatic vocal lines back and forth at one another.1. Goin' Down South
2. Boogie Chillen - R.L. Burnside, Hooker, John Lee
3. Poor Boy
4. 2 Brothers
5. Snake Drive
6. Shake 'Em on Down
7. The Criminal Inside Me
8. Walkin' Blues
9. Tojo Told Hitler
10. Have You Ever Been Lonely (Have You Ever Been Blue)$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
La Di Da DiBattles are the Networked Band, or perhaps the-band-as network. An island chain linked by a unique combination of artistry, experimentation, technology and singular focus. Aband that holds computerized loops in their brains, leaves sweat on their machines and whose sonic heartbeat is almost brutally human.
Dave Konopka, Ian Williams and John Stanier have turned the tables on themselves this time, confronted their own ideas of what Battles is - and here on their third album, have willed an answer to that question into existence. As the name might imply, La Di Da Di is a mushrooming monolith of repetition.
Here is an organic techno thrum of nearly infinite loops that refuse to remain consistent. The rhythmic genus of Battles is here as ever; full frontal, heightened and unforgiving - the gauntlet through which melody and harmony must pass, assailed at every turn. Battles continue to be one of the best live bands on the road.1. The Yabba
2. Dot Net
3. FF Bada
4. Summer Simmer
5. Cacio e Pepe
7. Dot Com
8. Tyne Wear
11. Flora > Fauna
12. Luu Le$24.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Blood And Chocolate
Elvis Costello Blood and Chocolate on Numbered Limited Edition 180g LP from Mobile Fidelity
Emotionally Cathartic Nick Lowe-Produced Set Includes I Want You, I Hope You're Happy Now, and Uncomplicated
Mastered from the Original Master Tapes and Pressed at RTI: Guitar-Driven, Stripped-Down 1986 Album Teems With Stacked Rhythms, Tonalities, Punch, and Tension
Costello at His Most Vicious: Songs Rumble and Storm, Dark Humor and Biting Lyrics Address Tumult, Jealousy, Vindictiveness
Part of Mobile Fidelity's Elvis Costello Reissue Series: Singer-Songwriter's First Eleven Studio Albums Available on Sumptuously Sounding 180g LP
Known in his youth as the angry young man, Elvis Costello waited until 1986 to create the most vicious record of his career. Stripped to the studs and produced by Nick Lowe, Blood and Chocolate seethes with vindictiveness, spite, and rancor. The 11-track effort clatters with raw rock n' roll menace and clangs with darkly humorous intent. Venomous, acerbic, and aggressive, it values rhythm and attack over harmony and melody. A volatile rite of passage on which harsh Telecaster riffs cut like razor blades and Costello spits words as if they were Molotov cocktails tossed at enemies, this is the satisfying sound of emotional catharsis.
Mastered from the original master tapes and pressed at RTI, this collectable edition of Blood and Chocolate joins Mobile Fidelity's acclaimed Costello reissues series in presenting the icon's vital records in rich, dynamic, three-dimensional analog sound. That's never been truer than it is here. Costello and Co. recorded the songs in a large room at London's Olympic Studios while playing at stage volumes, an unconventional approach that nonetheless suited the music's raw feel. Nearly every track was done in three takes or less, with minimal vocal fixes and overdubs added immediately afterward. Such energy, spark, force, and pace thrive on this reissue.
Capturing the decibel-laden atmosphere that heightens the rhythmic pace and elevates the urgency of the deliveries, Mobile Fidelity's 180g LP delivers the band's performances with wall-of-sound hugeness and booming authority. And while this isn't a record where subtlety reigns, listeners can now discern the acoustic guitar strummed by Lowe for the foundation of the savage Uncomplicated as well as the nuanced final bars of the inimitable I Want You on which each member's instrumental track is switched off to bleed into Costello's vocal microphone. Indeed, for all the apparent chaos, Steve Nieve's keyboards even get accurate placement and imaging on this incredible pressing. Then there's the temperament of the songs themselves-perhaps best described by Costello.
The album title and Eamon Singer's crude cover painting reflected some intense and uncertain situations. The record might have well been a blurred polaroid: a smashed-up room, a squashed box of chocolates, some broken glass and a little blood smeared on the wall, wrote the singer in 2002. The album [is] a pissed-off 32-year-old divorce's version of the musical blueprint with which I had begun my recording career with the Attractions. Indeed, the band-on the verge of fraying at the seams and at each other's throats in close confines-pummels twanging chords, beats up on notes, turns up amplifiers, and eyes everything with great suspicion.
Lyrically, Costello has seldom been wittier, sharper, or more malicious. The snarling, tables-turning I Hope You're Happy Now joins Bob Dylan's Positively Fourth Street as among the most lacerating kiss-off tunes ever penned. Similarly sarcastic, Next Time Round lends a pop rave-up air to the album's otherwise dark assault. The bloodletting Crimes of Paris and Poor Napoleon (featuring Pogues singer Cait O'Riordan playing the role of the voice of pity) confront the consequences of traumatic relationships and lustful choices with a savvy intellect. Given the mood and mindset of everyone and everything involved, it's no surprise that Costello and the Attractions wouldn't again work together until eight years later. Saying that Blood and Chocolate was worth the sacrifice is an understatement.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. Uncomplicated
2. I Hope You're Happy Now
3. Tokyo Storm Warning
4. Home Is Anywhere You Hang Your Head
5. I Want You
6. Honey, Are You Straight or Are You Blind?
7. Blue Chair
8. Battered Old Bird
9. Crimes of Paris
10. Poor Napoleon
11. Next Time Round$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Project 1950 (Awaiting Repress)Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but nostalgia traditionally puts bread on the table for succeeding generations of rock musicians long after the hits stop coming. If 25th anniversary celebrations--the excuse for this Misfits roots covers collection--seem the very antithesis of punk, they're but another golden marketing opportunity for Jerry Only, the sole original band member still standing and arguably the Energizer Bunny of ghoul-punk. Teamed here with Marky Ramone and ex-Black Flag guitarist Dez Cadena, Only turns his band's beloved PG-13 thrash-horror shtick loose on an oddball collection of his '50s and '60s musical inspirations. And just when you thought irony was passÉ, Only croon-howls it undead with fervent renditions of This Magic Moment by Jay & the Americans, Paul Anka's frothy Diana, and Conway Twitty's Only Make Believe.1. This Magic Moment
2. Dream Lover
5. Great Balls of Fire
6. Latest Flame
7. Monster Mash
8. Only Make Believe
10. You Belong to Me$16.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
FuegoFuego, Phish's first studio album in nearly five years, will be released by JEMP/ATO Records.
Phish recorded the album with legendary producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel)
last fall, as the band's 30th anniversary approached. The songs for Fuego took shape during a series of visits to Phish's longtime creative hub, The Barn,
a rustic, reconstructed barn-turned-rehearsal/recording studio located outside Burlington, Vermont. There they explored dozens of ideas, which led to a
notable shift in the band's songwriting approach. While Fuego includes tracks that individual members brought to the table in usual Phish fashion, the bulk
of the material was written by all four, working together at The Barn.1. Fuego
2. The Line
3. Devotion To A Dream
4. Halfway To The Moon
6. Sing Monica
8. Waiting All Night
10. Wingsuit$25.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Worship MusicWorship Music is the long-awaited new studio album from Anthrax, one of the four original architects of speed and thrash-metal. Not only is Worship Music Anthraxs first studio release in eight years, but the album marks the return of vocalist Joey Belladonna, whose last studio work with the band was 1990s Persistence of Time. Belladonna is now firmly back in the Anthrax line up with drummer Charlie Benante, guitarists Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano, and bassist Frank Bello.
Getting Joey back in as our full-time, permanent singer solidified us as a unit like we hadnt been in years, said Ian. All of us were on the same page creatively, working together, writing together, and becoming a band again.
I get goosebumps listening to the new music, Benante admitted. Scott and Robs guitars are absolutely on fire, Frankie kicks butt on bass, and hearing Joey sing, well, the band sounds like Anthrax, Joeys back and its great.
The 11-track Worship Music was produced by Anthrax, Rob Caggiano and Jay Ruston and recorded over a four-year period at studios in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Belladonnas return to the band prompted some of the songs originally recorded to be re-crafted with fresh lyrics or tweaked to better suit his overall vibe and energy. Some of the songs were completely replaced with brand-new songs and, of course, all have Belladonnas inimitable vocal stamp on them.
Im very happy with the record, it sounds like Anthrax, said Belladonna. There are some interesting twists and turns on it, and plenty of tunes for fans to get their fingers on. I felt very comfortable working with Jay Ruston, and I think everyone brought to the table what they needed to. Now its time for the fans to listen and get what theyve been waiting for. Ill tell you, Im really excited.1. Worship (intro)
2. Earth On Hell
3. The Devil You Know
4. Fight 'Em Til You Can't
5. Im Alive
6. Hymn 1
7. In The End
8. The Giant
9. Hymn 2
10. Judas Priest
12. The Constant
13. Revolution Screams$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Live At The Sands: Before FrankSwinging Hard and Heavy With Orchestral Support, Live Big-Band Album Recorded During the Count's Warm-Up Sets for Sinatra in Early 1966 in Vegas
Incredible Sound: Mastered from the Original Master Tapes, Reissue Improves Upon Renowned Dynamics, Presence, Crispness, and Balances
Long Out-of-Print, Seminal Classic is Perfect Complement to Sinatra's Live at the Sands
Count Basie and Frank Sinatra had the perfect arrangement at the Sands. Before the Chairman hit the stage in Vegas, Count Basie and his big band warmed up the already enthusiastic crowd with a brief set of their own. A dynamite entertainer, the legendary leader causes hearts to race, hips to shake, and fingers to snap with high-energy readings of his trademark swing music, taken to feverish heights by both his first-rate orchestra and the incredibly swank setting. Fortunately, the finest of Basie and Co.'s introductory performances from the historic 1966 dates have been preserved here and serve as a seminal complement to Sinatra's iconic Live at the Sands.
Mastered from the original master tapes and pressed at RTI, Mobile Fidelity's analog version of Live at the Sands (Before Frank) gives you a dead-center, eighth-row seat at the famed Sin City club. You'll just need to supply your own table and cocktail. Renowned for its sonic clarity, transparency, crispness, and punch, the record is now tremendously enhanced, with improved tonality, a deeper soundstage, correct balances, and lifelike presence. Each horn occupies its own space, and Basie's transfixing piano-a focal point throughout-resonates with gorgeous detail and impeccable pacing. The collective's energy almost demands to be measured with an SPL meter.
Captured in late January and early February 1966, Live at the Sands (Before Frank) contains most of Basie's signature pieces delivered with an enthusiasm, style, and brassiness that exceed that gracing nearly any of the Count's studio efforts. His band is stacked to the nines, with tenor saxophonist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, saxophonist/flautist Eric Dixon, and drummer "Sonny" Payne among the prized cast. The Sands dates marked the first time in years that these players, as well as trombonist Al Grey, gathered onstage together.
Encouraged by Basie, the instrumentalists engage in a series of call-and-response passages and standout solos, not the least of which is Davis' turn on a white-hot "Jumpin' at the Woodside" and he and Dixon's exchanges on "This Could Be the Start of Something Big." No slouch, Basie approaches "Makin' Whoopee" with graceful playfulness, and oversees the assortment of uptempo swing numbers and mellow ballads with astute melodicism. A sublime version of the Don Gibson country standard "I Can't Stop Loving You," arranged by Quincy Jones, can almost be considered a bonus.
No, it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing. And Basie and his mates have plenty of it on this superb outing. Big-band jazz seldom enjoyed such levels of rhythmic precision, expert charts, or unfettered joy. Unbelievably, this gem has been out of print for years, with original copies both on vinyl and CD commanding steep prices. Mobile Fidelity's reissue restores not only the sonics but the record's place in jazz history.
This title is not eligible for discount.1. Introduction
3. I Can't Stop Loving You
4. I Needs to Be Bee'd With
5. Flight of the Foo Birds
6. Satin Doll
7. Makin' Whoopee!
8. Corner Pocket
9. One O'Clock Jump
10. Hello Little Girl
11. Whirly Bird
12. Blues for Ilene
13. This Could Be the Start of Something Big
14. Jumpin' at the Woodside$49.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me (Black Vinyl)Import
Black Vinyl Version
When Brand New released Deja Entendu in mid-2003, it caught a lot of their fans off guard. It found the band taking a stylistic leap forward from the clever (albeit cookie-cutter) pop-punk of their 2001 debut, exploring expanded sonic textures and indie rock overtones, their urgent choruses tempered by acoustic musings and softer introspections. It all seemed very deliberate yet completely natural all the same, and the record was an underground smash. Something even more substantial was definitely brewing beneath the band's emo façade, and as a result, Brand New's follow-up was hotly anticipated for the three years it took the band to release it. The resulting The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me is the completion of their pop-punk molting process and one of the best surprises -- that isn't really a surprise at all -- to come out of 2006. Even when they were playing straightforward pop-punk ditties, Brand New had an edge to them that made them seem smarter than their peers; now they sound even older and stronger (and like they've been listening to a lot of '90s college and indie rock). This record is dark and dense, yet accessible, a shadowy air permeating every crevice where Jesse Lacey's plaintive and often tortured lyrics aren't already residing. He draws listeners in with vulnerable ruminations and questions of love, death, self, and religion, and his vocal inflections bring as much meaning to the table as his carefully chosen words. The opening Sowing Season ebbs and flows steadily, moving along under light guitar before exploding with percussion, Lacey ably switching from a hushed delivery into an anguished cry of emotion before falling back down again effortlessly. With it, Brand New sets up the somber intensity of the record straightaway. Textural and sonic layers unfold at every turn -- punching drums and trembling guitars here, aching vocals and subtle touches of string there -- and the album moves with a directed force that seems so naturally powerful and uncontrived, it's almost ridiculous to think that the band cut its teeth with poppy anthems like Jude Law and a Summer Abroad. The Devil and God is not an album of hooks; the excellent percussive stomp of The Archers Bows Have Broken is the most immediate here, but songs get stuck in the brain nonetheless and demand repeated spins. Old fans especially smitten by Deja's Play Crack the Sky have no excuse not to love everything about this record, as even lengthy tracks (like the near-eight-minute Limousine or the chill-inducing beauty of Jesus) are completely compelling. People who were ready to discount Brand New into the emo/TRL heap of the 2000s better rethink their stance; Brand New seems to know exactly what they're doing and this record is a testament to their ability to stay true to themselves. Whether they want to stay underground or fully break into the mainstream, this album has the potential to do either. Either way it doesn't really matter -- whatever happens, there's no denying how excellent this record is.
- Corey Apar (All Music)1. Sowing Season
5. Limousine (MS Rebridge)
6. You Won't Know
7. Welcome to Bangkok
8. Not the Sun
11. The Archers' Bows Have Broken$42.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Seventh SwamphonySeventh Swamphony is the seventh studio album by the Finnish melodic death metal band Kalmah and is their first album with new keyboardist Veli-Matti Kananen. The album was recorded at Tico-Tico Studios in Kemi, Finland, and was mixed and mastered by Jens Bogren.
Few would deny that in the late 1990s and very early 2000s, Finnish death metal began shifting it's direction across the board. Although Amorphis themselves never lost any stride, the whole 'depression metal' thing just kinda faded away, to be replaced by something far more aggressive and energetic. Bands such as Children of Bodom, Norther, and Insomnium broke through with a sound that although was still firmly rooted in the brutality of death metal, were not too shy to throw in the occasional thrash and black metal influence to in turn create something new and exciting. With the exception of perhaps the aforementioned Insomnium, Kalmah had always been perhaps the most flat-out extreme and agro, and has steadily upped the ante with every succeeding release.
Right from the get-go, this disc opens up with a synth-hit-infused blasting skank-beat that flows easily into the pit-worthy yet SUPER-catchy chorus. This kind of sets the tone for this whole disc, and you get eight incredibly intense-yet-focus fistpumping/headbanging perfect examples of memorably melodic death metal that oozes every ounce of brutality that it can out of the riffage contained herein. A theme that is echoed in practically every song they've ever done is their effortless use of solemn, slightly-folksy lead guitar melodies on top of the high-energy thrashy rhythms underneath. Songs such as Deadfall and Wolves On The Throne are amazing and true-to-form for this band; heavy on melody and light on respite. The former song also features a glimpse of the ivory-tickling prowess of new keyboardist Veli-Matti Kananen, who in both his melody lines and also in his soloing has an almost youthful whimsy as he jams up and down the board. Once you notice it for the first time, you tend to notice that this may be one of the most keyboard-heavy albums the band has ever done, but that is because this may be the first time since 2002 that the band's keyboardist has had anything meaningful to add to the table in terms of songwriting. Maybe that's a bit drastic, but that's sure what it sounds like here, and that isn't to say that the omnipresent keys drown out the massive wall of guitar and bass. Antti Kokko is still one of underground metal's unknown guitar heroes with how deftly he weaves his melody lines through these tracks, and never mind how ridiculous his solos are. Need a point of reference? He's a straight-faced, serious, no-B.S. version of Alexi Laiho. And his brother Pekka Kokko's voice has never sounded better either, easily crossing from the higher-pitched, black metal-version of Mille Petrozza he always used to do on the older records with the flat-out demonic growl he's wielded since the masterful The Black Waltz album. He even manages to weave in a bit of clean singing for the first time that I can remember hearing on a Kalmah record, and speaking of which...
...remember how in the first paragraph we kind of stated that the melancholic Finnish death metal of yesteryear has been kind of hard to find as of late? Well, Kalmah decided to dish out their own version in fourth track Hollo. After listening to it maybe 10 times now, I've realized that I just need to stop the internal dialogue on whether or not it's a good direction for the band and instead just focus on how amazing the song itself is. For most of the track it really is one of the best pieces of old school Amorphis-worship that I've ever heard, before doing a Viking metal shift about halfway through, complete with calling horns and battle-ready gang vocals. Apart from this tune, the most that Kalmah otherwise deviates from what they know works is the almost-punky opening of Windlake Tale.
A lot of people unfairly write this band off as Bodom clones, and it's really unfortunate when they put out such amazingly dark and heavy records like this that really set them apart. If anything, I feel that this record will continue to appease Kalmah's core fanbase who've stuck it out since the beginning, but with it's perfect mixjob (except for some questionable leveling of the opening melody of Wolves on the Throne) where everything comes through crisp and clear (or as crisp and clear as a band as loud and agro as this likes to get), it can be an easy-to-get-into album for those still uninitiated.
Raise a horn of mead to the swamplords...they did it again!
- ArnoldHablewitz (The Metal Archives)1. Seventh Swamphony
5. Windlake Tale
6. Wolves On a Throne
7. Black Marten's Trace
8. The Trapper$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
New Masses For Squaw PeakNew Masses for Squaw Peak gifts unto us bold, surprising new textures and denser, cheekier ideas and themes. Its packed tight with style: gauze-flange experimentation; jazz-chord death-pop; shifty proto-prog; historical and personal mythologies weaved through its passages. Yet, claustrophobic it is not. New Masses for Squaw Peak is as wide-open of a landscape as its title may suggest. It is also a well-traveled collection of songs: laid to tape in the belly of an abandon Philadelphia textile factory; run through three mixing boards by three separate sets of hands; and ultimately sculpted into its final form by the gentlemen to conjured it in the first place. And oh joy, what conjuring.
Mystics Pharaohs (Masc. Pharaohs) begins with a big, fat wink to Enos Here Come the Warm Jets (a hallmark of Squaw Peak) before descending into its own purply blackhole of dark, dissonant whitefunk. A metallic sonic fog allows guitar stabs and squalls, and the pings of ringleader Nathan Pembertons vocal calls, to hit you twice then thrice, then unravel out into the cosmos. All players here (multi-instrumentalists Josh Martin and Brian Forfa; and drummer John Frank) are using both sides of the brain at every turn, the instinctual, tribal rhythm with which we are born and the semi-learned, nervy way we manipulate that instinct. The instinct that tells us to stay and play inside our comfort zone, and the secret instinct to see what lies just beyond its boundary. Cor-Du-Roi, another standout, is almost perpendicular to Mystics Pharoahs with its shambling, assured pace and melodies all tinny and distant. Its a risky number for Holiday Shores in its maturity and subtle composition. It also just might be their most inspired, beautiful piece to date. We find this kind of maturity and patience again with deep-cut Coming to Shores, an ambient-pop sci-fi wash that almost falls into the new classical phylum.
Pemberton and Martin prove time and again that they share more than just a keyboard table in the live setting; they share an endlessly searching, creative brain. Pembertons jazz keyboards are often interlocked with Martins plinkety-plankety lyrical guitar. On Shadie Spun Gold and in other spots, like pulsing leadoff track Airglow their separately played parts are hocketed to create the larger melody, with notes falling just left of where Steely Dan might drop them (which sounds awesome). Holiday Shores might be prog-rock in the way that Ariel Pink might be prog-rock. Its shape-shifting pop songcraft that will slip from your fingers like a sea cucumber the very second you think you have hold.1. Airglow
2. We Couldn't Be Together
3. Threepeat Got Old
4. Ocotillo Dripping
6. Squaw Peak
7. Mystic Pharaohs (Mas Pharaohs)
8. Coming To Shores
10. New Masses
12. Shadie Spun Gold$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Hug Of Thunder"I don't want to go out there being presumptuous," Kevin Drew says, "because, I've worn those presumptuous shoes before, and you don't want it to feel like, 'Oh, what a let-down.'" That's the fear when you bring back one of music's most beloved names seven years after their last album. But with Hug of Thunder, the fifth Broken Social Scene album, Drew and his bandmates have a right to feel presumptuous.
They have that right because they have created one of 2017's most sparkling, multi-faceted albums. On Hug of Thunder the 15 members of Broken Social Scene - well, the 15 who play on the record, including returnees Leslie Feist and Emily Haines - refract their varying emotions, methods, and techniques into something that doesn't just equal their other albums, but surpasses them. It is righteous but warm, angry but loving, melodic but uncompromising. The title track on its own might just be the best thing you will hear all year - a song that will become as beloved as "Anthems For a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl" from their breakthrough album, You Forgot It In People.
Its title, Drew says, captured what he wanted people to feel about the group's comeback, and how they sound playing together again: "It's just such a wonderful sentiment about us, coming in like a hug of thunder."
Broken Social Scene had reconvened, in varying forms, several times over the past four years - the odd festival show here and there, preferably ones that involved the least possible traveling. But the idea that they might turn their hand to something more than greatest-hits sets had been stirring since November 2014, when producer Joe Chiccarelli told Drew the group needed to make a new album.
"He started showing up at our label, asking if we were going to make an album," Drew recalls. "He just didn't give up; he just kept saying, 'You've got to strike, you've got to do this, the time is now,' and so finally we agreed."
As might be expected to be the case with a many-headed hydra of a group, getting all the principals to agree wasn't easy. Drew's co-founder Brendan Canning was keen, but Drew and fellow BSS lifer Charles Spearin took more persuading. A turning point for Drew came with the Paris terror attacks of November 2015, which made him feel the world needed an injection of positivity: "It just sort of made us want to go out there and play. Because I think we've always been a band that's been a celebration."
Canning picks up the story: "By autumn of 2015 we had started getting together and trying some ideas out, just getting back in that jam space, in Charles' garage. Then we set up shop in my living room and we were starting to come together in a very familiar kind of way, jamming in the living room, eating meals in the kitchen together, because that's what the band is about: 'Hey, let's all get on the same page and get the energies flowing in the same direction.'"
Recording finally began in April 2016 at The Bathouse studio on the shores of Lake Ontario, with later sessions in Toronto and Montreal, before the group went right back to basics. "It was very beautiful the way that it ended in Charlie's little rehearsal garage space," Drew says, "after going to all these studios. We just worked there, doing backup vocals and handclaps and all the shit we used to do when we were younger." And then it was to Los Angeles, where the album was mixed.
The result is a panoramic, expansive album, 53 minutes that manages to be both epic and intimate. In troubled times it offers a serotonin rush of positivity: "Stay Happy" lives up to its title, with huge surges of brass that sound like sunshine bursting through clouds. "Gonna Get Better" makes a promise that the album is determined to deliver. That's not to say it's an escapist record: Broken Social Scene is completely engaged, wholly focussed, and not ignoring the darkness that lurks outside. But there is no hectoring, no lecturing, but a recognition of the confusion and ambiguity of the world. As the title track closes with Leslie Feist murmuring "There was a military base across the street," the listener is caught in the division between the national security provided by national defense, and the menace of the same thing.
The gestation of Hug of Thunder was no idyll. When You Forgot It in People made their name, Broken Social Scene were young men and women. Fifteen years on, they were adults in or on the cusp of middle age, and - as Drew puts it - "all the adult problems in the world were happening around us individually, whether it was divorce or cancer". Three members of the band lost their fathers while the album was being recorded, "and it seemed like the days of going in the studio, getting stoned, drinking five beers and saying, 'Who gives a fuck?' were over".
Then there's the fact of the size of the ensemble, and the number of competing voices. "You don't always get the final say with Broken Social Scene," Canning says, with a certain degree of understatement. He compares the process of getting everyone to agree on a song to party politics: "It's like you're trying to get a bill passed through the House - you have to be really committed to wanting to win."
But, still, if they were to return, it had to be with everybody, no matter if that meant things might get unwieldy. "I'd like to believe that Broken Social Scene can be whatever it can be," Canning says, "but I think the fact we'd gone away for so long meant we really, we really couldn't have done the same thing without everyone involved, you know?" The story of Broken Social Scene, he insists, was built on the involvement of everyone, and so if the story was to be continued, those same people had to return.
"The thing that has changed is that the relationships between us are established," Drew suggests. "And in a family, you ebb and flow and you come and you go and you're in love and then you're annoyed - but it's established now, the relationships aren't going anywhere, you know? And I think through time, because we've been through so much together, personally and professionally, when we're all on stage, everybody knows what they're doing, everybody has a melody to back up someone else, you feel supported, you're a crew, there's nothing but protection all around you."
Canning picks up the theme: "Before we were making this record, I said to everyone: 'We all basically want the same thing, we might just have slightly different roadmaps on how to get there. So how do we stray off on certain country roads but get back onto the main thoroughfare?'"
That Broken Social Scene was a family again, driving along the same main road, became apparent to UK fans in September 2016, when the group - with Ariel Engle the latest woman to assume the role of co-lead vocalist - came over for less than a handful of festival shows, to test the waters. Their Sunday teatime appearance at End Of The Road - an ecstatic hour of maximalist music, physically and emotionally overwhelming - ended up being one of the biggest hits of the festival. It achieved what Drew has always felt music needed to do: it created transcendence, a pocket of time where everyone present was living only in the moment.
"My 11-year-old nephew asked me, 'Uncle Kev, why do adults get drunk?' and I looked at him and thought, 'OK, brilliant question, I'm going to give a brilliant answer,'" Drew recalls. "And I looked at him for about 10 seconds and I said, 'Because they want to feel like you. Because they want to feel like a kid again, they want to forget everything, they want to be innocent.' We are built in a way now where you can't do that because you're walking around with the anti-transcendence box in your pocket, and in your hand, and in your home, and on your bedside table: it's the anti-transcendence. It's called your phone! And we're getting killed, we're getting killed!"
So what do Broken Social Scene want listeners to take from Hug of Thunder? Canning wants it to make them "pause for the cause and maybe just leave things in your life alone for 53 minutes". For Drew, it's about what it's always been about: making the connection. "I just hope they understand that there's others out there, that they're not alone," he says. "I know that's silly! But you'd be surprised how many times I've had to tell people, 'Hey, you're not alone on this, you're not alone thinking these things.' I mean, with the title Hug of Thunder, I want to hold people. I want to fucking hold them. And when we do shows, I'm not: 'Look at me, I'm elevated up on the stage,' It's: 'We're here with you, this is us together.' Broken Social Scene is about the people, and it's always been about the people."1. Sol Luna
2. Halfway Home
3. Protest Song
5. Stay Happy
6. Vanity Pail Kids
7. Hug of Thunder
8. Towers and Masons
9. Victim Lover
10. Please Take Me With You
11. Gonna Get Better
12. Mouth Guards of the Apocalypse$25.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
BlessedWilliams' 2011 Studio Set on 2LP Includes Entire Album on CD Plus a Bonus CD of the Kitchen Tapes Demos
Americana Legend's 12th Record Produced by Don Was
Features Guest Appearances by Elvis Costello and Matthew Sweet
Following a two-year break between albums, and the blossoming of a relationship that turned into marriage, one of the great contemporary songwriters and music makers returns with her twelfth studio set. And being that the artist we're talking about is Lucinda Williams, the record is a doozy.
Diverse and captivating, Blessed opens with the gritty kiss-off Buttercup then moves seamlessly into the sultry blues of Born To Be Loved. Williams delves into a heavier subject as she questions the motives for a suicide on the hard-driving Seeing Black, which features blistering guitar from Elvis Costello. The thoughtful title track slowly builds to a melodic climax as it offers an eye-opening look at whats right in front of us, but too often unnoticed. The singer/guitarist's knack for insights and emotive songs run throughout the 12-song set.
Poignant and powerful, Soldiers Song simultaneously tells a tragic story of the soldier overseas and his wife and child back home. On the gorgeous Kiss Like Your Kiss, Williams lays down one of the most beautiful and fragile vocals she has ever recorded. The original version of the song appeared on the True Blood: Music From The HBO Original Series - Volume 2, and was recently nominated for a Grammy Award.
Its nothing new to see Williams tug at the heartstrings and stimulate the mind on her songs, but there is a vibe throughout Blessed that is unique to this album: the sound of wisdom, wherewithal, and experience Williams has gained through her more than 30 years as an uncompromising artist. Combine that pedigree with Grammy Award-winning producer Don Was, and the results are nothing but special. Was co-produced Blessed with Eric Liljestrand and Tom Overby, who co-produced Williams' highly-praised 2008 effort Little Honey.
Lost Highway's 2LP pressing of Blessed also includes the entire album on CD as well as a revealing bonus disc, titled The Kitchen Tapes, which presents the record's songs in demo form as Williams recorded them, often at her kitchen table, as she's prone to do. Complete packaging on new studio records doesn't come any better!LP 1
2. Dont Know How Youre Livin
4. Born To Be Loved
5. Seeing Black
6. Soldier's Song
2. Sweet Love
3. Ugly Truth
4. Convince Me
6. Kiss Like Your Kiss$29.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now