Rockin Rudys Staff Picks
Rockin Rudys staff favorites of 2020!
ANDY SHAUF is becoming one of the most important songwriters of his generation. His songs are tuneful vignettes of small moments and big hearts. On his latest, The Neon Skyline, Shauf intertwines stories of a group of friends who frequent a local dive bar, and through them, makes poignant observations about human nature with a novelist’s detail and melancholic humor. The songwriting is down to earth, yet sophisticated and inventively melodic. The Neon Skyline is a creative leap for this already acclaimed artist.
Over the years, different members have traded production and composition duties from album to album. On the new album''Fu Chronicles''Amayo leads us through a thrilling sonic journey of kung fu meets Afrobeat, weaving together the strands of Edo and Yoruba cultural memory from Nigeria with his training and study in Chinese martial arts. Recorded in the Summer of 2018, over seventeen musicians and singers crammed into the storied Daptone House of Soul in Bushwick to record the massive body of work. With live versions and arrangements stretching up to thirty minutes, Perna, Amayo, and Roth worked tirelessly to preserve the hypnotic power of the long-form live arrangements into six concise and powerful album tracks.
Arca is one of the world's most transformative musical talents. Since breaking through with her 2012 EPs Stretch 1 and Stretch 2, she's created an unprecedented body of work drawing from club music, experimental noise, and the ballad tradition of her native Venezuela, while reaching beyond music to encompass performance, visual art, and technology. As a collaborator with Björk, Kanye West, and FKA twigs, she's stretched contemporary music's sonic boundaries and helped set the sound of her era. As a Latinx nonbinary trans woman, she's redefined the role of the diva for a new generation. Her latest work is KiCk i, the first in a series of upcoming works, each with it's own sonic theme. For the first installment, KiCk i, Arca pursues pleasure, dignity, and dance floor liberation by refracting club music, reggaetón, and pop through her radical vision.
The fifth album from Bahamas (Afie Jurvanen), Sad Hunk, takes it's title from a nickname bestowed by his wife in reaction to how he was portrayed in the media. A collaboration from same team as 2018's Earthtones (Christine Bougie/Don Kerr/Mike O'Brien/Felicity Williams). With the graceful guitar work of Sam Weber, a musician he discovered on YouTube and with GRAMMY-nominated producer Robbie Lackritz, Sad Hunk is the next step in Afie' virtuosic signature style. 180-gram opaque purple vinyl.
Singer-songwriters have been tackling existential questions about life and death since time immemorial' or at least the 1960s. But when it came to Blitzen Trapper's newest album, Holy Smokes Future Jokes, front man Eric Earley looked beyond mere existence'or even the end of it'to contend with grander cosmic explorations: namely, the intermediate period between a person's separate lives on earth, 'and what it means to escape the cycle of birth and rebirth,' he explains. Inspired by George Saunders' 2017 experimental tome, Lincoln in the Bardo and the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Earley's lyrics take the listener on a wild and dramatic journey through rivers of waist-high water in the aftermath of a tragic car wreck and the hazy morning before a murderous moment, and from getting blitzed to the point of extinction inside a masonic temple to a stop for chips and dip before the apocalypse.
‘Rough and Rowdy Ways’ is Bob Dylan’s first album of original material in 8 years and his first since becoming the only songwriter to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 2016. Its 10 tracks include the three new songs released this spring: the album’s lead-off track, “I Contain Multitudes,” the nearly 17-minute epic “Murder Most Foul” and “False Prophet.”
Two 140 Gram LPs, Transparent Inner Sleeves, 16 Page 12”x 12” booklet, Gatefold Jacket, Side 4 Etching
Letter To You is Bruce Springsteen’s new studio album with the E Street Band, and is a rock album fueled by the band's heart-stopping, house-rocking signature sound. Recorded at his home studio in New Jersey, Letter To You is Springsteen’s 20th studio album, and is his first album including the E Street Band since 2012’s High Hopes and their first performances together since 2016’s The River Tour.
“I love the emotional nature of Letter To You,” says Springsteen. “And I love the sound of the E Street Band playing completely live in the studio, in a way we’ve never done before, and with no overdubs. We made the album in only five days, and it turned out to be one of the greatest recording experiences I’ve ever had.”
Letter to You includes nine recently written Springsteen songs, as well as new recordings of three of his legendary, but previously unreleased, compositions from the 1970s, “Janey Needs A Shooter,” “If I Was The Priest,” and “Song For Orphans.” Springsteen is joined on Letter To You by Roy Bittan, Nils Lofgren, Patti Scialfa, Garry Tallent, Stevie Van Zandt, Max Weinberg, Charlie Giordano and Jake Clemons. The album was produced by Ron Aniello with Bruce Springsteen, mixed by Bob Clearmountain and mastered by Bob Ludwig.
15 years after the release of their debut album, Daptone's Royal Court from Staten Island delivers a truly epic collection of new material that finds the group further bridging the gap between the farfisa-fueled Ethio-Funk stylings of their early recordings, with the psychedelic, Sabbath-inspired hellfire of late. The title track and lead single, Long in the Tooth, jumps out of the speakers with a heavy drum break (reminiscent of the B-Boy approved grooves of their early output), drenched in a pulsating, hallucinatory wall of organ, menacing horns, and a rugged guitar riff that pummels the listener into Budonian submission. Imagine Link Wray and Mulatu Astatke collaborating on a Italian horror soundtrack and you're getting close.
In 2014, Dan Snaith aka Caribou released Our Love to overwhelming critical acclaim. Caribou returns now with his new studio album Suddenly, a warm, untamable, and constantly surprising record about family and the changes we go through as those relationships evolve. Most prominently, Suddenly refers to the moments of dramatic and unexpected change that occur at points in any life and within any family-universal themes that can catch you off guard and change your life in a heartbeat. Those dramatic moments are part of a slower process. These moments rear their heads, for good or bad, during the everyday flow of life. "There's a tension between those sudden things which blindside you and the more glacial, gradual day-to-day changes," he observes. "We are so caught up in the immediate-the details that require our attention every day-that we can be blind to the bigger forces shaping us. That's why so often when something drastic happens suddenly, it catalyzes all sorts of changes in our lives. Our perspective shifts." Suddenly is in the music, too. This is the most surprising and unpredictable Caribou album to date. Though it retains the trademark Caribou warmth and technicolor, this album is littered with swerves and left turns. "I wanted to balance the familiar-the sound that people associate with my music-against these moments of surprise," Snaith says. As his passion and joy in music-making remains as fresh as ever, Suddenly is the purest example of this yet.
The new album from Charley Crockett is perhaps even more potent proof of his literal heartbreak than the scar on his chest. After undergoing open heart surgery that saved his life, Charley says he considered calming down for “just a minute” but once he recovered he did just the opposite. He states boldly with one eyebrow raised, “I wanted to make an album that would change the entire conversation about country music.”
That album is Welcome to Hard Times , an aptly-named collection that perfectly fits these troubled days even though it was made just before the pandemic hit. The music was shaped by his heart issues and producer Mark Neill’s desire to make “a dark gothic country record.” Charley certainly knew how to deliver that. “I think you can hear that deep, dark sadness in this record,” he says, “but I think it’s the kind of darkness that will uplift others.”
Vinyl LP pressing. 2020 release, the third album from the Los Angeles-based instrumental supergroup. Recorded by legendary engineer Jim Scott (Wilco, Rolling Stones, Tom Petty) at his studio in Valencia, CA, this new collection began with... a drum machine. The Sequential Circuits Drumtraks from 1983, to be specific. The Circles band members-guitarist Neal Casal (Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Ryan Adams), bassist Dan Horne (Cass McCombs, Jonathan Wilson), keyboardist Adam MacDougall (Black Crowes) and drummer Mark Levy-were searching for a sound, something more upbeat than previous releases. Cue the Drumtraks. The seven-track collection marks a stylistic shift from their previous LPs. It's an evolution that sees the band embracing a sleeker, shinier, even dancier version of themselves - a cosmic disco of the body and the soul, still anchored in the groove, but ascending to the stars.
Vinyl: $18.98 Buy
[FOR EXCLUSIVE VERSION] Colter Wall - Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punch Songs [Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Natural LP]
[SOLD OUT ONLINE -CHECK WITH STORE]
From the prairies of Saskatchewan, Canada and recently seen on Austin City Limits, Colter Wall sings songs of the great West. Heralded by icon Steve Earle and touted as a favorite of celebrity Jason Mamoa, the music of Colter Wall has graced the silver screen many times, in films such as Peanut Butter Falcon, Hell or High Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, MO and Deadwood. Characterized by his distinct, gritty baritone, Colter Wall’s career has been marked with critical praise from his breakout EP, Imaginary Appalachia to his debut and sophomore records produced by Dave Cobb. Whether headlining music festivals in Norway, or playing legendary stages like Newport Folk Festival, Colter Wall continues to garner attention from the world. On his third full-length release, fans will hear Colter Wall in the producer’s chair.
"I want nothing more than to be alone," Emily Kempf sings early on Flower of Devotion, the third album by Chicago trio Dehd. It's a startling admission coming from a songwriter who, just a year ago on Dehd's critically acclaimed Water, wrote eloquently about the joys and pains - more than anything, the necessity - of love, compassion, and companionship. But then, "admission" isn't really the right word here, given the stridency of Kempf's tone. "Loner" is a declaration.
The record ups the ante on Dehd's sound & filters in just enough polish to bring out the shining and melancholy undertones in Jason Balla and Emily Kempf's songwriting, even as it captures them at their most strident. Balla's guitar lines at times flirt with ticklish cosmic country, while at others they reflect the dark marble sounds of Broadcast. Kempf, meanwhile, establishes herself as a singer of incredible expressive range, pinching into a high lonesome wail, letting loose a chirping "ooh!," pushing her voice below its breaking point and letting it swing down there. When she and Balla bounce descending counter-melodies off one another over McGrady's one-two thumps, or skitter off over a programmed drum pad, they sound like The B-52s shaking off heartache.
What makes Flower of Devotion so impressive is how its creation seems to have strengthened its creators, both as individuals and as unit, even as they've stared down their own limitations. It's also striking just how much fun they seem to be having in the process. "It's okay to be lighthearted in the face of despair," Kempf says. It's a theme that runs through the album, from the opening back-and-forth build of "Desire" to the click-clacking chorus of "Haha," which finds them deflating their own history. Flower of Devotion was recorded in April and August of 2019 in Chicago. It will be released on Fire Talk Records on July 17th 2020.
Vinyl LP pressing. 2020 release. Global Pop superstar Dua Lipa is back with Future Nostalgia. Dua arrived in style in 2015 with her self-titled, chart topping debut album which eclipsed 4 million sales worldwide with single sales reaching over 40 million. Dua Lipa is also officially the most streamed album by a female artist in Spotify history. Dua made Brit Award history in 2018 by becoming the first female artist to pick up five nominations, with two wins for British Breakthrough Act and British Female Solo Artist, all while selling out tours around the world. In early 2019, she received two Grammy awards for best new artist and best dance recording.
Vinyl LP pressing. Includes poster and digital download. Ela Minus' debut album is a collection about the personal as political and embracing the beauty of tiny acts of revolution in our everyday lives. Throughout, a sense of urgency and a call to arms is mixed with this love and appreciation for reality-because even revolutionaries need to leave space for simple human interaction.
Double vinyl LP pressing - Includes Digital Download.
2020 release. Fetch the Bolt Cutters is the fifth studio album by American singer-songwriter Fiona Apple. It is Apple's first release since The Idler Wheel... in 2012. The album was recorded from 2015 to 2020, largely at Apple's home in Venice Beach. It was produced and performed by Apple alongside Amy Aileen Wood, Sebastian Steinberg and Davíd Garza; recording consisted of long, often-improvised takes with unconventional percussive sounds. Rooted in experimentation, the highly percussive album resists genre categorization. While conventional instruments, such as pianos and drum sets, do appear, the album also features prominent use of non-musical found objects as percussion. Apple described the result as "percussion orchestras". These industrial-like rhythms are contrasted against traditional melodies, and the upbeat songs often subvert traditional pop structures.
Bubbling up from the psychedelic tar pits of L.A., Frankie and the Witch Fingers have been a constant source of primordial groove for the better part of the last decade. Formed and incubated in Bloomington, IN before moving west to scrap with Los Angeles’ garage rock rabble, the band evolved from cavern-clawed echo merchants to architects of prog-infected psych epics that evoke a shift in reality. After a stretch on Chicago/LA flagship Permanent Records the band landed at yet another fabled enclave of garage and psychedelia - Brooklyn’s Greenway Records, now working in tandem with psych powerhouse LEVITATION and their label The Reverberation Appreciation Society, the groups latest effort is dually supported by a RAS / Greenway co-release.
Monsters Eating People Eating Monsters... (repeated infinitely,) rises like a Phoenix from the road tar, van exhaust, and ozone crackle of amps in heat. Once off the road it was recorded in just five blistering days. Though, while the tour may have hammered the album into shape and brought about a wind of change, those changes stretched to the band itself as well. In the wake of the tour the band’s longtime bassist Alex Bulli made his exit, with the majority of bass parts on the album being written and played by multi-instrumental magician Josh Menashe with occasional pitch in from songwriter Dylan Sizemore. Stripped to their core the band has created their most ambitious work to date, an album that takes the turbulence of ZAM and crafts it into a beast more insidious and singular than anything in their catalog. Moving forward, the band has taken on new blood. Filling in the hole in their ranks, Nikki Pickle (of Death Valley Girls) will join them working the new album out roadside on bass. A new horizon of Frankie and the Witch Fingers draws near and we’re all set to follow them into the unknown.
Song Machine, Season One is Gorillaz’ newest concept which started in January 2020, releasing brand new material episodically - as and when it happens – and has continued throughout the year. The ongoing and ever-evolving process has seen our favourite characters joined by an expanding roster of collaborators captured live in Kong Studios and beyond. The result is an expansive collection of 17 tracks embracing a myriad of sounds, styles, genres and attitudes from a breath-taking line-up of guest artists including Beck, Elton John, Fatoumata Diawara, Georgia, Kano, Leee John, Octavian, Peter Hook, Robert Smith, Roxani Arias, ScHoolboy Q, Slaves, Slowthai, St Vincent and 6LACK, as well as CHAI, EARTHGANG, Goldlink, Joan As Police Woman, JPEGMAFIA, Moonchild Sanelly, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Skepta and Tony Allen.
Preorder the Black Vinyl !! Current orders available after 5/15/2020.
Vinyl LP pressing. 2020 release. His last album - 2017's The Nashville Sound - a #1 album on the Billboard Folk, Independent, Country and Rock albums charts, also received Best Americana Album at the Grammys, Album Of The Year At The Americana Honors & Awards and was nominated at the CMA Awards for Album Of The Year. Since then, he has collaborated on the soundtrack for A Star Is Born, the debut album by the Highwomen, and Sheryl Crow's latest album Threads. He also released a live album, Live From the Ryman.
Joey Molland's first album of new material in nearly 10 years. Contains the singles "Rainy Day Man" & "Better Tomorrow". New song "Shine" written by Joey Molland, Pete Ham & Mark Hudson. Produced by Mark Hudson (Nilsson, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osborne)The story of Badfinger is arguably rock's saddest and most tragic tale.
To Whom It May Concern,
I am here to announce that my new album, Sundowner, will be out October 16th, 2020 via Dead Oceans. THE WRITING: (KANSAS CITY, KANSAS) In the winter of 2017 I moved back to my hometown of Kansas City from Los Angeles. The move was sudden and unforeseen, just as I was tying a bow on the writing process for what would become my 2019 album, Oh My God. I bought a Four Track Tascam model 424 off of an old friend to help me get to the finish line, but much to my surprise and excitement, this new piece of equipment in my all-but-bare home didn't help complete one album but rather inspire another: Sundowner. The new collection of songs came quickly and effortlessly as I did my best not to resist or refine the songs, but instead let them take shape all on their own. As the songs kept coming I cleared out the crowded shed that was sitting dormant in my backyard and built a makeshift studio before adding drums, lead guitar and piano to complete the demos. Each day I would teach myself basic recording techniques, watching the channels illuminate and pulse as if the machine were breathing, and then emerge in the evenings as the sun was getting low: - around 5:30 in the winter, when the Kansan sunsets look icy and distant, like a pink ember inside of a display case, and 9 o'clock in the summer, when the sunsets are warm and abstract. Landing back home felt jarring juxtaposed with a life full of chaos and adventure with my band on the road. But at the very least, I was happy to have - for the first time in my adulthood - a place to close the door, with no temptations other than to work on music and reflect on what I had built since I left. It was a new form of isolation, one I had never explored or expected to experience. Not ready to let go of the hand of the California desert, I spent the winter decorating the best I knew how; with mementos from my previous home, cactus and aloe vera and covering the walls in pinewood - immediately earning my house it's nickname, The Little Los Angeles. THE RECORDING: Sonic Ranch, Neve Room, Tornillo, Texas In January 2019 I contacted my friend and producer Brad Cook to help recreate what I had made in my shed. We chose to work in Texas; we wanted to make sure the record was done far away from any coastline, and in the heart of America. Brad played bass and some keys on the album, but beyond that he encouraged and inspired me to play almost everything else. All lead guitar, proper drums (save the drums on "A Night At The Little Los Angeles"), mellotron and what I believe to be the albums secret weapon - a WWII era collapsible and slightly out-of-tune pump organ - were performed by me. We did, however, bring in James Krivchenia towards the end of the session to fill out the percussion. It was an honor to work with him as he built maracas from pecans and played on the floor of the live room, adding flourish wherever he saw fit. On the last evening of the session, after everything had wrapped, we all climbed on top of an empty water tower on the property, giving us a view in all directions. To the North you could see an endless Texas, with long wisps of cirrus clouds above the desert floor, and to the South there was Mexico, the recent detention camps only a mile beyond, with large cumulus clouds hovering over, bringing us to an ominous pause. To the West, towards the setting sun, the two families of clouds merged, holding the last light of the day in purple and orange. Below, a freight train cut the landscape in half as it whistled in the distance. AFTER Almost as soon as the session wrapped, I was off and away on press trips and then proper tours for Oh My God, which came out in April that same year. Sundowner sat inside of a hard drive back at Sonic Ranch and did not see the light of day, until I found myself, as did the rest of the world, stuck inside their home and in quarantine in March 2020. My second year of touring for Oh My God was cancelled. Brad, Jerry and I worked from our respective homes, sending notes back and forth as we worked alone but together to mix the album, and suddenly, just like that, Sundowner was finished. Songs, like sunsets, are fleeting, and it's only due to a willingness and desire to catch them that you ever, if even only for a moment, grab a hold of one. When writing Sundowner, I was lucky to have had the Tascam 424 there to help capture both. Sundowner is my attempt to put the Middle American twilight - it's beauty profound, though not always immediate - into sound. It is a depiction of isolation. Of the past. Of an uncertain future. Of provisions. Of an omen. Of a dead deer. Of an icon. Of a Los Angeles themed hotel in rural Kansas. Of billowing campfires, a mermaid and a highway lined in rabbit fur. It is a depiction of the nervous feeling that comes with the sky's proud announcement that another day will be soon coming to a close as the pink light recedes and the street lamps and house lights suddenly click on. Kevin Morby, Kansas, 2020.
Khruangbin has always been multilingual, weaving far-flung musical languages like East Asian surf-rock, Persian funk, and Jamaican dub into mellifluous harmony. But on its third album, it’s finally speaking out loud. Mordechai features vocals prominently on nearly every song, a first for the mostly instrumental band. It’s a shift that rewards the risk, reorienting Khruangbin’s transportive sound toward a new sense of emotional directness, without losing the spirit of nomadic wandering that’s always defined it. And it all started with them coming home.
Lianne La Havas's self-titled, third album spans the arc of a relationship. "What plays a big role in the album is the idea of the life cycle of plants and nature—equating this journey with a seasonal thing that blooms, thrives, goes away, and comes back even stronger," she says. Its musical references are as varied as Milton Nascimento, Joni Mitchell, Jaco Pastorious, Al Green, and Destiny’s Child. In keeping with the album's intimate feel, everyone who contributed is a trusted collaborator, including longtime songwriting ally Matt Hales, co-producer Beni Giles, and guest co-producer Mura Masa.
Called “bold in both sound and subject” (NPR), Nashville-based artist Liza Anne pairs the sonic palette of pop-minded indie acts with the raw emotional lyrics. Produced by Kyle Ryan (Kacey Musgraves, Natalie Prass) and Justin Meldal-Johnsen (M83, Beck), her new album, ‘Bad Vacation,’ represents an audacious sonic leap forward, mixing full-throated rock and roll anthems with playful new wave jams and power pop earworms, all with a hint of Americana.
BAFTA award-winning Matt Berry has stared in number of high-profile televison series including: Toast Of London, The IT Crowd, and most recently, What We Do In The Shadows. He has released 6 solo albums and collaborate with the likes of Bond composer David Arnold, Jean-Michel Jarre and Josh Homme. His last album, TV Themes, was a UK Top 40 hit. Phantom Birds was ispired by a fascination with Bob Dylan's album, John Wesley Harding, and the way it was recorded with the minimum of musicians to draw attention to the songs.
Vinyl LP pressing. 2020 release. "Change is inevitable if you're lucky," says guitarist/vocalist Alex Edkins while talking about Atlas Vending, the fourth full-length album by Toronto's METZ. "Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We've always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we've accomplished something that pushes us forward." The music made by Edkins and his compatriots Hayden Menzies (drums) and Chris Slorach (bass) has always been a little difficult to pin down. Their earliest recordings contained nods to the teeming energy of early '90s DIY hardcore, the aggravated angularities of This Heat, and the noisy riffing of AmRep's quintessential guitar manglers, but there was never a moment where METZ sounded like they were paying tribute to the heroes of their youth.
The debut album from Paul Banks (Interpol), Matt Barrick (The Walkmen) and Josh Kaufman (Bonny Light Horseman). "We have a genuine, organic artistic chemistry together," says Banks. "It's partly a shared musical taste from youth, as with me and Josh, but then it's also the souls of my friends that resonate with me when expressed through music." The resulting songs are dark and gorgeous, expansive and sparse, like Cormac McCarthy prose stretched across a cowboy painting of a sunset. There are upstart rockers like 'Red Western Sky' and 'Knuckleduster' and jazz-beat drum showcases like 'How Many Days' and 'All Is Dead To Me,' but no matter the sonic direction Muzz go, they go there as if effortlessly and with maximum emotional, cosmic charge.
WILL THIS MAKE ME GOOD is a question Nick Hakim has asked himself since he was young and struggling in school; a reflection of what's happening in his head as he sorts through his life and the tumult around the globe. WILL THIS MAKE ME GOOD articulates a sense of confusion alongside a desire for hope and clarity. The album was produced by his longtime collaborator Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Bon Iver), who also produced Hakim's breakthrough debut "Green Twins". Double LP in gatefold jacket.
BRAT is the masterful LP from beloved Chicago multi-instrumentalist NNAMDÏ. It follows his critically acclaimed LP DROOL (2017), an album that brought him to Pitchfork Fest and earned him Best Music of the Year recognition from NPR, FADER, BANDCAMP, and more. On his follow-up BRAT, NNAMDÏ starkly explores the psychological turmoil between Wanting and Needing in a manner that is both intensely personal and highly relatable. It's virtuosic fusion of Hip-Hop, Rock, Pop, Electronics, Gospel, and West African influences firmly establishes him in a genre-less class of his own. NNAMDÏ wrote, produced, and recorded BRAT by himself.
Double vinyl LP pressing housed in gatefold sleeve. 2020 release. Award-winning saxophonist/composer Nubya Garcia presents her much anticipated debut album, Source. Self-produced in collaboration with celebrated producer Kwes (Bobby Womack, Solange), it's a collection of sonic mantras, a deeply personal blend of identity, family history, grief; reconnecting with herself, her roots, her community. An erudite blend of broken beat, soul, dub-step afro-diasporic sounds - all whilst never losing her deep jazz foundation.
Phoebe Bridgers doesn’t write love songs as much as songs about the impact love can have on our lives, personalities, and priorities. Punisher, her fourth release and second solo album, is concerned with that subject. To say she writes about heartbreak is to undersell her blue wisdom, to say she writes about pain erases all the strange joy her music emanates. The arrival of Punisher cements Phoebe Bridgers as one of the most clever, tender and prolific songwriters of our era.
Bridgers is the rare artist with enough humor to deconstruct her own meteoric rise. Repeatedly praised by publications like The New Yorker, The New York Times, GQ, Pitchfork, The Fader, The Los Angeles Times and countless others, Bridgers herself is more interested in discussing topics on Twitter, deadpanning meditations on the humiliating process of being a person, she presents a sweetly funny flipside to the strikingly sad songs she writes. Fittingly, Punisher is fascinated with, and driven by, that kind of impossible tension. Whether it’s writing tweets or songs, Bridgers’s singular talent lies in bringing fierce curiosity to slimy and painful things, interrogating them until they yield up answers that are beautiful and absurd, or faithfully reporting the reality that, sometimes, they are neither.
Bridgers pulls together a formidable crew of guests, including the Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, Christian Lee Hutson and Conor Oberst as well as Nathaniel Walcott (of Bright Eyes), Nick Zinner (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Jenny Lee Lindberg (of Warpaint), Blake Mills and Jim Keltner as well as her longtime bandmates Marshall Vore (drums), Harrison Whitford (guitar), Emily Retsas (bass) and Nick White (keys). The album was mixed by Mike Mogis, who also mixed Stranger In The Alps.
On the album’s epic, freewheeling closer, “I Know The End,” Bridgers orchestrates wails and horns, drums and electric guitar into a sumptuous doomsday swirl, culminating in her own final whispered roar. This is Punisher in a nutshell: devastating elegance punctuated by a moment of deeply campy self-awareness.
Over the last decade, Real Estate have crafted warm yet meticulous pop-minded music, specializing in soaring melodies that are sentimentally evocative and unmistakably their own. The Main Thing dives further into the musical dichotomies they're known for'lilting, bright guitar lines set against emotionally nuanced lyrics, complex arrangements conveyed breezily. What emerges is a superlative collection of interrogative songs as full of depth, strangeness and contradictions as they are lifting hooks.
For Sophie Allison, aka Soccer Mommy, color theory confronts the ongoing mental health and familial trials that have long-plagued her, presenting listeners with an uncompromisingly honest self-portrait. The new album’s sonic landscape is vast and dexterous, with melodies that shimmer on the surface, but reveal an unsettling darkness with each listen.
The Ascension is the eighth studio album from singer, songwriter and composer Sufjan Stevens and is the long awaited follow-up to Stevens’ Carrie & Lowell. One of the most acclaimed albums of 2015, The New York Times praised Carrie & Lowell as “restrained and meticulous” while Pitchfork declared it “a masterpiece.”
In the time between Carrie & Lowell and the forthcoming The Ascension, Stevens also released Oscar-nominated music for the Luca Guadagnino film Call Me By Your Name; a collaborative album entitled Planetarium with Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner (The National) and James Mcalister; The Decalogue, a solo piano work performed by Timo Andres; and scored several works for ballet: Reflections (Houston Ballet) and Principia (NYCB).
The Ascension is musically expansive and sweeping in thematic scope.
Fourth studio album by the Australian singer-songwriter Tame Impala (Kevin Parker). 'The Slow Rush' was recorded between Los Angeles and Parker's studio in his hometown of Fremantle, Australia. The album is Parker's deep dive into the oceans of time, conjuring the feeling of a lifetime in a lightning bolt, of major milestones whizzing by while you're looking at your phone, it's a paean to creation and destruction and the unending cycle of life.
Tennis are an indie pop duo comprising husband and wife Patrick Riley (guitar, keyboards, production) and Alaina Moore (vocals, keyboards). The band wrote their upcoming album on land and sea; on their sailboat traveling around Baja California, Mexico & in their recording studio they built in Denver. Alaina and Patrick were driven to elevate their songwriting & experimented with different instrumentation, time changes, & a focus on lyrical storytelling. The band experienced many life-changing occurrences over the last two years that influenced their writing - from loss to illness and renewed bonds. Swimmer is a single they are releasing in Fall 2019, coming out as the band announces touring dates for spring 2020.
Everything changed for Auckland, New Zealand's The Beths when they released their debut album, Future Me Hates Me, in 2018. They quit their jobs, said goodbye to their hometown, and devoted themselves entirely to performing across the globe. They found themselves playing to crowds of devoted fans and opening for well-known acts like Death Cab for Cutie. Songwriter/lead vocalist Elizabeth Stokes worked on The Beths' second LP, Jump Rope Gazers, in between these intense periods of touring. Like their earlier music, the album tackles themes of anxiety and self-doubt with effervescent power pop choruses and rousing backup vocals, zeroing in on the communality and catharsis that can come from sharing stressful situations with some of your best friends. Their most emotive and heartfelt work to date, Jump Rope Gazers stares down all the hard parts of living in communion with other people, even at a distance, while celebrating the ferocious joy that makes it all worth it. Pressed on Tangerine color vinyl.
Vinyl LP pressing. 2020 release. The band is known for their fast, punk-influenced two-piece bass and drum songs, with both their music and image being characterized by "DIY principles, thrift store-cum-glam fashion style and a vast list of influences." The brothers classify their sound as "vada vada," a philosophy which Wyatt Shears describes as "an idea that represents pure creative expression, that disregards all previously made genres and ideals".
Enhanced with PlayARt - Augmented Reality
Thundercat is set to release his new album It Is What It Is on Brainfeeder Records on April 3, 2020, and shares the first music; 'Black Qualls (featuring Steve Lacy and Steve Arrington). The album, produced by Flying Lotus and Thundercat, features musical contributions from Ty Dolla $ign, Childish Gambino, Lil B, Kamasi Washington, Steve Lacy, Steve Arrington, BADBADNOTGOOD, Louis Cole and Zack Fox. It Is What It Is follows his game-changing third album Drunk (2017). That record completed his transition from virtuoso bassist to bonafide star and cemented his reputation as a unique voice that transcends genre. 'This album is about love, loss, life and the ups and downs that come with that,' Bruner says. 'It's a bit tongue-in-cheek, but at different points in life you come across places that you don't necessarily understand' some things just aren't meant to be understood.'
This opaque orange Fear of Death vinyl is limited edition and only available at independent record stores.
Fear of Death is a Serious Album about Serious Topics – a doomed future, abandoning life in the city, and the inevitability of death. It’s Heidecker’s biggest sounding and most fleshed out album yet featuring an all star band comprised of Weyes Blood’s Natalie Mering (vocals and piano), Drew Erickson (Jonathan Wilson, Dawes), The Lemon Twigs’ Brian and Michael D’Addario, Jonathan Rado, and string arrangements by Spacebomb’s Trey Pollard (Foxygen, Bedouine, The Waterboys, Natalie Prass).
Single LP on black vinyl in single jacket w/ matte coating. Includes euro sleeve (with lyrics) & 24”x36” poster. Download coupon also included
What do we hold on to from our past? What must we let go of to truly move forward? Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield spent much of 2018 reckoning with these questions and revisiting her roots for answers. The result is Saint Cloud, an intimate journey through the places she’s been, filled with the people she’s loved.
With producer Andrew Sarlo (Bon Iver, Big Thief, SASAMI) at the helm, Wilsen's new album Ruiner dissolves both the heavy reverb and ethereal moments found on their first recording by instead letting the band's essentials ' drums, bass, guitar, and vocals ' have centre stage. In the album's opening moments, you might hear a knotted wash of guitars and Wilson (Tamsin Wilson ' the singer) softly humming, for a very brief moment returning you to their dreamscape but sharply, a driving rock rhythm comes into focus and so too does a revitalised band. 'Making this record was somewhat of a coming of age process,' Wilson explains,'We're getting older and becoming more deliberate, less precious, less measured. Overthinking less and trusting instincts.'