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In 2022, Shook was remarkably productive. They released two albums: debut solo indie rock record Cruel Liars under the moniker Mightmare (Kill Rock Stars) and a third Disarmers full-length called Nightroamer (Thirty Tigers). Compared to every Disarmers record before that, which captured the in-the-room energy of the band with live recorded songs, the latter LP was instead more of a product of the studio with meticulous tracking sessions and an outside producer. While that effort was well-received, Shook believed the songs on Revelations deserved a more direct approach. “Since the Disarmers started in 2015, our strength has always been in our live performance,” says Shook. “To me, an album should capture the essence of a band. With this new set of songs that are all super special to me, I didn't trust anybody else to capture the songs and decide how to best serve each song.” Shook, who honed their production skills with their Mightmare LP and Izzy Ryder’s debut record, confidently took the reins during a blistering recording session, capturing 10 songs in two days.
For Shook, it was paramount the recordings match the band’s tangible live ferocity because these songs boast their most immediate lyrics yet. “All of my writing is autobiographical, and I write everything based on my observations and experiences,” says Shook. “But there was something about Revelations that felt more personal to me. I unlocked this level of honesty with myself and an ability to be more objective about the things I struggle with daily.” Take the title track, which finds Shook singing about the precariousness of navigating mental health under capitalism. Over a rollicking, twang-hued arrangement, they sing, “Black cloud followin' me around, little storm in my head / Some days I levitate off the ground, some days I can't get outta bed.” The track doesn’t preach or romanticize. Instead, it’s galvanizing and relatable.
These are lived-in stories about real people with real dreams, atmospheric pasts, and inescapable problems. “I think of myself as a collector: I just go around and collect experiences and observations,” says Shook. “I'm still adjusting to writing songs as a sober person but a lot of the themes are just about being a working person and navigating mental health and relationships with other people going through the same things.” Lead single “Backsliders” comes directly from Shook’s life when they were a bartender at a Chapel Hill dive called The Cave. The song is a deceptively breezy romp about workplace romantic entanglements with Shook singing, “Love you like a breath when I ain't workin' myself to death / cause I'm longin' for the ghost of a friend.” On one hand, it captures the closeness that only service workers can experience on the job but on the other, it plainly states how easy it is to fall into bad habits when dealing with any type of loss.
Throughout the LP, there are cathartic, snarling kiss-offs to villainous men (“Motherfucker”) but also moments of tenderness and ecstasy. Shook describes closer “Criminal” as their “gay cowboy song”, the torturous longing of the lyrics is anchored by shimmering guitar leads from Blake Tallent and bastioned by drummer Jack Foster’s hypnotic rhythms. River sings, “If lovin' you will always be a crime I'll always be a criminal.” It’s a triumphant line that highlights Shook’s emotional sturdiness. “That line got me thinking about how we as queer people have been persecuted, and how we so often have to keep all kinds of things under wraps because of the law because of social taboo,” says Shook. “I wanted “Criminal” to portray these feelings of longing and desire that two gay people can have for each other. They're complicated feelings because human beings are complicated. Gay love is every bit as complicated as straight love.”
Revelations is the most assured Sarah Shook and the Disarmers record yet because it so pointedly captures the gamut of the human experience: anger, sadness, confusion, love, and acceptance. It’s a document of Shook at the top of their game and a reflection of their own journey not just as a writer but as a person. “I’m a firm believer that if you are an artist, and you want to make better art, a big part of that isn't just exercising your musical skills, it’s growing as a human being,” says Shook. “So every time I make a record, I want to be able to listen to it and look back on who I was then. I want to see this arc and this evolution. That's really fucking important to me.”
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Green Day is not your savior.
But the spirit of rock n roll might be. And as the greatest punk band alive, they’re the loudest vessel we have… to give it a shot.
Green Day are ready to flip off the famous, stupid and contagious, by putting a mirror to the present tense like only they can, with Saviors — an inspired new studio album to be released in early 2024.
Amazingly, Saviors represents Green Day's 14th studio album, yet somehow this enduring power trio -- Billie Joe Armstrong, Tré Cool & Mike Dirnt -- remain devoted to their defiant craft that has fueled their career-long destruction of every boundary bestowed on the genre, and landed 3 East Bay punks in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.
The album was recorded in both London and Los Angeles under the audacious ear and Rock prowess of Green Day's longtime friend & collaborator, GRAMMY® Award-winning producer Rob Cavallo.
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GRAMMY Award-winner Kali Uchis releases her fourth studio album, Orquídeas. Marking Uchis’ striking return to Spanish-language music, the project features a superstar lineup with KAROL G, Peso Pluma, El Alfa, and JT. Inspired by the sensual allure of Colombia’s national flower, the orchid, Orquídeas traverses multiple Latin genres including reggaeton, dembow, bolero and salsa furthering Uchis’ connection to her Colombian roots. Indie Exclusive Silver Metallic LP with alternate cover.
“New Blue Sun is the continuation of discovery for me. My entire career has been fueled by this and it is the only thing that keeps me honest. This album is the most honest and interesting offering I can give today. I never could have imagined in high school, when I started rapping and doing music that I would be here right now playing wind instruments. Ha. This life ride always surprises me. I’m here for it.” — Andre 3000
This limited edition 3-LP vinyl is pressed on 180g black vinyl with fold out poster, printed inner sleeves and note from the artist.
Hurray for the Riff Raff (aka Alynda Segarra, they/them) announces their new album, The Past Is Still Alive, due February 23, 2024 on Nonesuch Records. The record represents a new phase of beginning in Segarra’s lauded evolution as a storyteller. Created during a period filled with grief, when they found inspiration in radical poetry, railroad culture, outsider art, the work of writer Eileen Myles, and the history of activist groups like ACT UP and Gran Fury, discovering a stronger, singular style of writing that felt like a long-awaited revelation. In each song, lyrics serve as memory boxes for Segarra to process their trauma, identity and dreams for the future. Segarra uses their lyrics as a way to immortalize and say goodbye to those they have loved and lost, to illustrate the many shapes and patterns of time’s passing, and honor both the heartbroken and the hopeful parts of themselves. Though the record was made in North Carolina and produced by Brad Cook (Bon Iver, Kevin Morby, Waxahatchee), the Bronx-born, New Orleans-based Segarra brings listeners to places far beyond, evoking vivid experiences of small shops and buffalo stampedes in Santa Fe, childhood road trips and Florida storms, struggles of addiction in the Lower East Side, days-long journeys to outrun the cops in Nebraska, and more.
The followup to their acclaimed Nonesuch debut, Life on Earth—which landed on Best of 2022 lists from the New York Times, Rolling Stone, NPR Music, Mojo, Uncut, among others—The Past Is Still Alive sees Hurray for the Riff Raff reunite with Brad Cook, while further expanding their creative cast of collaborators. Anjimile, Conor Oberst and S.G. Goodman all join Alynda Segarra on vocals at various points throughout the LP, with a band of musicians including Cook, Libby Rodenbough, Matt Douglas, Meg Duffy of Hand Habits, Phil Cook, Yan Westerlund and Mike Mogis, who also mixed the album.
The “nature punk” of Life on Earth marked a departure for Hurray for the Riff Raff, as they contemplated surviving and thriving amidst a world in crisis The Past Is Still Alive brings the focus back inwards. The arrangements are raw, the melodies direct and indelible, and the lyrics personal, yet largely rooted in family and community. There are love songs to real characters, locations and mythic figures like Sky Red Hawk (“Buffalo”), the first trans woman Segarra ever met (“Hawkmoon”), queerness and sacred spaces (“Colossus of Roads”), leaving home behind (“Snake Plant”), short-lived romances and the wisdom gained through chaos (“Vetiver”). Elsewhere, in the self-portraits painted on “Alibi,” “Ogallala” and other album highlights, Segarra reflects on the land they have traveled, the hardships witnessed and bravery gained while running away from everything and everyone they knew at age seventeen, hopping freight trains and hitchhiking across the country with a band of street urchins.
In recent months, Hurray for the Riff Raff debuted a stage adaptation of their beloved 2017 album, The Navigator, based on their quest to reclaim their Puerto Rican identity. They also toured with Bright Eyes and First Aid Kit, performed for the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and NPR Music’s 15th Anniversary Concert, played festivals like Pitchfork and more. Next spring, they will bring the music of The Past Is Still Alive on the road, for a headline tour across the US, UK and EU, that they have partnered with PLUS1 so that $1 per ticket goes to supporting This Must Be the Place and their work to distribute Naloxone - the lifesaving medicine that reverses an overdose – at events across the nation.
What Do We Do Now is the fifth solo studio LP recorded by J Mascis since 1996. This is obviously not a very aggressive release schedule, but when you figure in the live albums, guest spots, and records done with his various other bands (Dinosaur Jr., The Fog, Heavy Blanket, Witch, Sweet Apple, and so on), well, to paraphrase Lou Reed, “J's week beats your year.”
What Do We Do Now began to come together during the waning days of the Pandemic. Utilizing his own Bisquiteen Studio, J started working on writing a series of tunes on acoustic with a different dynamic than the stuff he creates for Dino. “When I'm writing for the band,” he says, “I'm always trying to think of doing things Lou and Murph would fit into. For myself, I'm thinking more about what I can do with just an acoustic guitar, even for the leads. Of course, this time, I added full drums and electric leads, although the rhythm parts are still all acoustic. Usually, I try to do the solo stuff more simply so I can play it by myself, but I really wanted to add the drums. Once that started, everything else just fell into place. So it ended up sounding a lot more like a band record. I dunno why I did that exactly, but it's just what happened.”
Two guest musicians are playing this time out; Western Mass local Ken Mauri (of the B52s) plays piano on several tracks. Since J himself has some experience with keys, when asked why he needed a hired gun, he says, “Ken is great, and he plays all the keys. I tried playing some keyboards on the first Fog album, but I'm really only comfortable playing the white notes, so it's kind of limiting. [laughs] Nowadays, I could just turn the pitch on a mini Mellotron to play different sounds, but black keys just seem hard. For whatever reason, I just like banging on the white ones. Seems like it's harder to figure out how to stretch your fingers around the other ones.”
Mauri has no such qualms and plays all the keys very damn well. He sounds especially great on “I Can't Find You,” where he is Jack Nitzsche to J's Neil Young, creating one of the album's loveliest tunes. The other guest musician, Matthew “Doc” Dunn, is also prominent on this track. Dunn's steel guitar manages to both widen and soften the musical edges of the music, giving it a full classicist profile. Dunn is an Ontario-based polymath who J met through Matt Valentine. After J played on Doc's great 2022 Sub Pop single, “Your Feel,” he figured it was time for payback. Both Dunn and Mauri add beautifully to the songs here, helping to transform them from acoustic sketches into full-blown post-core power ballads.
What Do We Do Now is the finest set of solo tunes J has yet penned, and the way they're presented is just about perfect. Asked if he would be touring to support the album, J says he'll be doing some weekend dates, but he probably won't be putting a band together. And I'm sure these songs will sound great solo and acoustic, but the arrangements on this album are truly great and put a cool, different spin on Mascis' instantly recognizable approach to making music.
So, what do we do now? Not sure. But apparently, what J does is to make one of his most killer records ever. Hats off to him.
Sleater-Kinney returns with Little Rope, one of the finest, most delicately layered records in the band’s 30-year career. On the surface, Little Rope's ten songs veer from spare to anthemic, catchy to deliberately hard-turning. But beneath that are perhaps the most complex and subtle arrangements of any Sleater-Kinney record, and a lyrical and emotional compass pointed firmly in the direction of something both liberating and terrifying: the sense that only way to gain control is to let it go.
Marking 40 years of The Jesus And Mary Chain, ‘Glasgow Eyes’ was recorded at Mogwai’s Castle of Doom studio in Glasgow, where Jim and William continued the creative process that resulted in their previous album, 2017’s ‘Damage and Joy’, becoming their highest charting album in over twenty years. What emerged is a record that finds one of the UK’s most influential groups embracing a productive second chapter, their maelstrom of melody, feedback and controlled chaos now informed more audibly by their love for Suicide and Kraftwerk and a fresh appreciation of the less disciplined attitudes found in jazz. Jim Reid says, “But don’t expect ‘the Mary Chain goes jazz.’ People should expect a Jesus and Mary Chain record, and that’s certainly what ‘Glasgow Eyes’ is. Our creative approach is remarkably the same as it was in 1984, just hit the studio and see what happens. We went in with a bunch of songs and let it take its course. There are no rules, you just do whatever it takes. And there’s a telepathy there - we are those weird not-quite twins that finish each other’s sentences.” ‘Glasgow Eyes’ not only extends The Jesus and Mary Chain's story, but feels simultaneously like a return to roots. From the incendiary ‘Psychocandy’ debut and its classic ‘Just Like Honey’ onwards, the Reid brothers steadily became the misfits who made good without compromise.
On Before And After, Young chooses favorites from his playbook like a trip into his music history and performs them mostly alone on a solo acoustic journey. Each of the songs blend into each other and morph with mesmerizing clarity into a continuous flow of music creating a 48-minute pure and intimate listening experience. The 13-track album spans Neil’s career, from Neil’s early Buffalo Springfield contribution, "Burned" (1966) to the recent "Don't Forget Love"(2021) and includes the previously unreleased song “If You Got Love”.
As Neil put it on his NYA site:
Songs from my life, recently recorded, create a music montage with no beginnings or endings. The feeling is captured, not in pieces, but as a whole piece. Only for listening.
Big Big Love is the first single from the eponymous album that is a mantra for embracing humanity with kindness. The single will be released in conjunction with the Michael Franti & Spearhead tour date celebrating a return to Red Rocks on June 2. Franti announced the US Big Big Love tour on January 31 which launched May 13 and runs through August 20.
Michael Franti is a globally recognized musician, humanitarian, activist, and award-winning filmmaker revered for his high-energy live shows, inspiring music, devotion to health and wellness, worldwide philanthropic efforts and the power of optimism. Throughout his multi-decade career, Franti has earned three Billboard No. 1's with triumphantly hopeful hits "Sound of Sunshine," "Say Hey (I Love You)," and "I Got You," as well as sic Top 30 Hot AC singles, 10 Top 25 AAA singles and three Billboard Top 5 Rock Albums.
Michael Franti & Spearhead continue to foster their community both on and off stage with a wish granting non-profit, Do It For The Love, founded by Franti and his wife, Sara. Do It For The Love brings those with life threatening illnesses, veterans, and children with severe challenges to concerts worldwide, fulfilling over 3,300 wishes and touching the lives of over 12,000 people to date. Franti also owns SOULSHINE Bali, a 32-room top-rated boutique retreat hotel located in Ubud, Bali.
More than 20 years in the making, this December finally sees the release of i/o, Peter Gabriel’s first album of new material since 2002’s Up. During 2023, Peter has been releasing a new song from the album on the occasion of every full moon. Being revealed roughly every four weeks, each track has been allowed to find its own time and space, to enjoy its own orbit. “It’s a little like getting a Lego piece each month,” Peter explains. Now it’s time to stand back and admire the final, completed creation. And what a creation – 12 tracks of grace, gravity and great beauty that provide welcome confirmation of not only Peter’s ongoing ability to write stop-you-in-your-tracks songs but also of that thrilling voice, still perfectly, delightfully intact. Throughout the album the intelligent and thoughtful – often thought-provoking – songs tackle life and the universe. Our connection to the world around us – ‘I’m just a part of everything’ Peter sings on title track i/o – is a recurring motif, but so too the passing of time, mortality and grief, alongside such themes as injustice, surveillance and the roots of terrorism. But this is not a solemn record. While reflective, the mood is never despondent; i/o is musically adventurous, often joyous and ultimately full of hope, topped off as it is, by the rousingly optimistic closing song, Live and Let Live. Always looking to push the boundaries, i/o is not simply a collection of a dozen songs. All 12 tracks are subject to two stereo mixes: the Bright-Side Mix, handled by Mark ‘Spike’ Stent, and the Dark-Side Mix, as reshaped by Tchad Blake. “We have two of the greatest mixers in the world in Tchad and Spike and they definitely bring different characters to the songs. Tchad is very much a sculptor building a journey with sound and drama, Spike loves sound and assembling these pictures, so he’s more of a painter.” Peter has also invited a range of visual artists to contribute a piece of art to accompany each track. The dozen artists make an exceedingly impressive team of collaborators: Ai Weiwei, Nick Cave, Olafur Eliasson, Henry Hudson, Annette Messager, Antony Micallef, David Moreno, Cornelia Parker, Megan Rooney, Tim Shaw, David Spriggs and Barthélémy Toguo. Having handpicked the artists, Peter recognises that “They have the same obsessive attention to their visual work that we musicians have in sound.”
Hector Tellez Jr. is a soulful big-voiced singer and virtuoso rock guitar-player from Havana, Cuba. Growing up in a musical family in Cuba, he listened to scratchy bootlegged cassettes and CDs leading him on a passionate and self-curated music journey of blues and classic rock n’ roll. His cornerstone influences coalesced into Stevie Ray Vaughan, Muddy Waters, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Buckley, and Leonard Cohen.
Today Hector lives in Nashville, Tennessee and writes and records music in both English and Spanish. His upcoming debut album was produced by Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age, Stone Temple Pilots) and features Peter Buck of R.E.M. and Krist Novoselic of Nirvana.
Vinyl: $39.98 Buy
Daisy Jones & The Six Aurora Super Deluxe Album is set to release on December 1st on vinyl, cassette, and CD including 14 new tracks that have never been released on a physical format. The 14 new tracks include live, acoustic demos, and reimagined versions of hit singles “Look At Us Now (Honeycomb)” by Marcus Mumford & Maren Morris as well as “Let Me Down Easy” by Demi Lovato. The show Daisy Jones & The Six was the #1 most streamed show on Amazon upon launch and recently received 9 Emmy nominations. “Aurora” was produced by GRAMMY®-nominated writer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Blake Mills (Bob Dylan, Fiona Apple, Alabama Shakes, John Legend, Andrew Bird, Perfume Genius).
Stephen Marley is one of the most respected artists in reggae and pop, with eight GRAMMY® Awards from his career as a solo artist, as a producer and as a member of his family band, Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers.
His brand-new album, Old Soul, is his fifth, and is releasing on UMe in partnership with the Marley Family, Tuff Gong and Ghetto Youth International. It’s Stephen stretching himself as a singer and songwriter, bringing along some special guests in a wide range of material beyond the reggae category.
Among its 14 tracks is the title song, released as a single on Stephen’s fortuitous birthday, 4/20 – which also got a lyric video on Father’s Day Weekend – plus “Winding Roads,” a collaboration with Jack Johnson and the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir; a new version of his father’s song, “I Shot the Sheriff,” with Eric Clapton, who made the song globally famous, on guitar; two songs with his brothers; and unique covers of the traditional pop songs, “Georgia On My Mind” and “These Foolish Things,” both transformed into modern ska singalongs.
SZNZ: Winter, the final part in Weezer’s four-EP song cycle, continues the narrative started on SZNZ: Autumn, SZNZ: Spring and SZNZ: Summer bringing Pagan myths, Shakespeare, Catholic rituals, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and more to life. Each SZNZ EP offers its own palette of colors, creatures, and emotions to explore. They were all created in real time, made in tandem with the season themselves. Once they’ve all been released on December 21, the EPs will create an incredible collection of some of Weezer’s best songs yet, no small feat for a band that never leaves the Zeitgeist.
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Snoop Dogg's multi- platinum Doggystyle, heralded as one of the most important albums of all time, Death Row Records will be bringing this back to retail with the original 1993 track listing on vinyl. This new 30th Anniversary edition will include the track "Gz Up, Hoes Down" which has not been on the album since its pressing in 1993. For new and old fans alike, this is the definitive version of the classic album that launched Snoop's solo career and helped define the sound of Los Angeles in the process.
Busta Rhymes returns with his eleventh studio release executive produced by Pharrell Williams, Timbaland, Swizz, along with Busta himself. The new album contains lead off singles “Beach Ball” featuring BIA, “Luxury Lifestyle” featuring Coi Leray, and “OK” featuring Young Thug along with a host of other features.
Neil Young - Before and After - Reprise
On Before and After, Neil Young chooses favorites from his playbook like a trip into his music history and performs them mostly alone on a solo acoustic journey. Each of the songs blend into each other and morph with mesmerizing clarity into a continuous flow of music creating a 48-minute pure and intimate listening experience. The 13-track album spans Neil’s career, from Neil’s early Buffalo Springfield contribution, "Burned" (1966) to the recent "Don't Forget Love"(2021) and includes the previously unreleased song “If You Got Love”. As Neil put it on his NYA site: "Songs from my life, recently recorded, create a music montage with no beginnings or endings. The feeling is captured, not in pieces, but as a whole piece. Only for listening."
Michael Franti & Spearhead - Big Big Love - Boo Boo Wax
Michael Franti is a globally recognized musician, humanitarian, activist, and award-winning filmmaker revered for his high-energy live shows, inspiring music, devotion to health and wellness, worldwide philanthropic efforts and the power of optimism. Throughout his multi-decade career, Franti has earned three Billboard No. 1's with triumphantly hopeful hits "Sound of Sunshine," "Say Hey (I Love You)," and "I Got You," as well as sic Top 30 Hot AC singles, 10 Top 25 AAA singles and three Billboard Top 5 Rock Albums. Michael Franti & Spearhead continue to foster their community both on and off stage with a wish granting non-profit, Do It For The Love, founded by Franti and his wife, Sara. Do It For The Love brings those with life threatening illnesses, veterans, and children with severe challenges to concerts worldwide, fulfilling over 3,300 wishes and touching the lives of over 12,000 people to date. Franti also owns SOULSHINE Bali, a 32-room top-rated boutique retreat hotel located in Ubud, Bali.
ALSO OUT THIS WEEK
Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday 2For more information on these and other releases out this week, check out our New Releases charts by week section.
Tate McRae - THINK LATER
Bryan Adams - Royal Albert Hall
The Killers - Rebel Diamonds
Kaliii - Toxic Chocolate: Area Codes Edition
Atreyu - The Beautiful Dark of Life
Burna Boy - Love, Damini
Bring Me The Horizon - Sempiternal: 10th Anniversary
Melody Gardot - Worrisome Heart
Pink Floyd - Atom Heart Mother/Hakone Aphrodite Japan 1971
Have Mercy - Numb [Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Magenta Eco-Friendly LP]
Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! - Pardon My French: 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
Uncle Lucius - Like It's the Last One Left
James Elkington - Me Neither
Broadside - Hotel Bleu
Various Artists - Fool’s Gold 15
Michael Nau - Accompany
Various Artists - Frozen: The Songs
Frightwig - We Need To Talk
Goat - Levitation Sessions
& More .....
The Black Crowes - The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion: Remastered - American Recordings / UMe