New Release Round-Up 10-11-19
Elbow - Giants of All Sizes - Verve
Elbow's lead singer and lyricist Guy Garvey describes Giants of All Sizes as “an angry, old blue lament which finds its salvation in family, friends, the band and new life.” It is a record that lyrically takes in moments of deep personal loss whilst reflecting its times by confronting head-on the spectres of injustice and division not just in the UK but across the world. It is a record that could only have been made in the 21st Century.
Kim Gordon - No Home Record - Matador Records
With a career spanning nearly four decades, Kim Gordon is one of the most prolific and visionary artists working today. A co-founder of the legendary Sonic Youth, Gordon has performed all over the world, collaborating with many of music’s most exciting figures including Tony Conrad, Ikue Mori, Julie Cafritz and Stephen Malkmus. Most recently, Gordon has been hitting the road with Body/Head, her spellbinding partnership with artist and musician Bill Nace. Despite the exhaustive nature of her résumé, the most reliable aspect of Gordon’s music may be its resistance to formula. Songs discover themselves as they unspool, each one performing a test of the medium’s possibilities and limits. Her command is astonishing, but Gordon’s artistic curiosity remains the guiding force behind her music. It makes sense that this “American idea” (as Gordon says on the agitated rock track “Air BnB”) of purchasing utopia permeates the record, as no place is this phenomenon more apparent than Los Angeles, where Gordon was born and recently returned to after several lifetimes on the east coast. It was a move precipitated by a number of seismic shifts in her personal life and undoubtedly plays a role in No Home Record’s fascination with transience. The album opens with the restless “Sketch Artist,” where Gordon sings about “dreaming in a tent” as the music shutters and skips like scenery through a car window. “Even Earthquake,” perhaps the record’s most straightforward track embodies this mood; Gordon’s voice wavering like watercolor: “If I could cry and shake for you / I’d lay awake for you / I got sand in my heart for you,” guitar strokes blending into one another as they bleed out across an unstable page. Front to back, No Home Record is an expert operation in the uncanny. You don’t simply listen to Gordon’s music; you experience it.
Steve Miller Band - Selections From The Vault - Capitol
Selections From The Vault features tracks taken from Steve Miller’s career spanning deluxe 3 CD + DVD box set, Welcome To The Vault. The clear vinyl 1LP edition features 8 tracks, all of which are previously unreleased. Highlights include Rock’n Me Alternate Version 1, Crossroads Live and Fly Like An Eagle Alternate Version, plus Steve Miller’s version of Love Is Strange, which has never appeared on a release until now.
The Building - PETRA - Concord Records
PETRA was written, produced, and performed by acclaimed multi-instrumentalist/ songwriter Anthony LaMarca, also known for his role as guitarist in The War On Drugs. Like so many Midwestern musicians before him, LaMarca left his beloved hometown of Youngstown, OH for Brooklyn but returned in 2014 and began work as The Building, often joined by his brother Angelo (guitar) and wife Megan (cello) on a series of EPs and albums – including 2017’s acclaimed RECONCILIATION – released via Peppermint Records. PETRA – which shares its name with the LaMarcas’ beloved German Shepherd – is a bare-boned, often brutally blunt, new work from a gifted musician-songwriter forced by fate to confront life’s hardest truths and consequences. LaMarca had just begun recording at Youngstown’s Peppermint Productions – a vintage studio facility best known for producing everything from polka superstar Frank Yankovic to the Judge Judy theme song – when a spell of intense back pain led to his being diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. Originally, LaMarca was diagnosed in the middle of making Reconciliation. He immediately started treatment, which brought the disease into complete remission. His disease relapsed last year while in the middle of making PETRA." The experience inspired a second meaning to the album’s title, the acronym P-E-T-R-A, or “Peace’s Eternal Truth Renews All.” Moreover, LaMarca’s physical struggle has resulted in the most powerful work of The Building’s still-growing canon, a vivid series of deeply personal songs such as “Purifer” and the LP-opening “Transformed,” made even more impactful through strikingly simple arrangements and raw, heartfelt performance.
Freddie Mercury - Never Boring [Limited Edition 3 CD/DVD/Blu-ray Box Set] - Hollywood Records
This Limited Edition Freddie Mercury solo career hard slipcase box set includes 3CDs, DVD/Blu-ray, 120-page hardback book featuring rare photos of Freddie + quotes, Poster + Postcard. Iconic. Incomparable. Irreplaceable. But never, ever boring. Freddie Mercury's spirit is every bit as central to the fabric of popular music today as it was during his unforgettable lifetime. Now comes a unique release to showcase the full range of his musical talents and passions, and their indelible imprint on the worlds of pop, opera and far beyond.
Dan Luke and The Raid - Out Of The Blue - New West Records
“It's like a coming-of-age crisis,” says Daniel Shultz about Out Of The Blue, the messy and melodic debut album from his band, Dan Luke and The Raid. “It’s about being in that space in your 20s where you’re trying to get your shit together and figure things out in life. You’re dealing with your problems”—the singer, songwriter and guitarist pauses—“even as you’re going out and partying and getting into trouble all the time.” Shultz and his Dan Luke & The Raid band mates know a thing or two about the last part of that equation, as evidenced by the songs and subject matter on Out of the Blue. Throughout the album’s 10 tracks, people are passed out on curbs under neon signs (“Black Cat Heavy Metal”), breaking hearts over rolled-up dollar bills (“Exoskeleton”), leaving baggies lying in passenger seats (“Money Mouth”) and faking smiles and feeling ashamed (“Golden Age”). Legs are bleeding, faces are numb and Shultz declares his band to be the “diamond kings of smut.” All the while, the music throbs and pulses and twitches and buzzes with the energy and enthusiasm and inexperience of youth, bursting with harsh, distorted guitar chords, blown-out synths squiggles and hopped-up rhythms—as well as, on occasion, moments of stunning and sincere melodic beauty. With the weight and experience of events that have been at times joyful and sad, poignant and puerile, triumphant and tragic, Dan Luke and The Raid continue to carve out their future, one musical moment at a time. “What we want to do is create music, and create music in a way where people feel something,” Shultz says. “And when we see that happening it’s an amazing thing.”
Down N Outz - This Is How We Roll - UME
Down N Outz, Joe Elliott’s side project away from Def Leppard release their brand new Studio album This Is How We Roll. The band is founded and fronted by Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott and backed by members of The Quireboys, Wayward Sons and Vixen. This album made up of original songs all written by Joe Elliott (bar a cover of the Tubes White Punks on Dope) is the band’s first album since the Further adventures of was released in 2014. The album produced by Joe and long time Def Leppard engineer Ronan McHugh is the first to contain new songs (the previous albums were as mentioned cover versions) and sees the band channeling a very 70’s feels over 11 new songs and one cover version.
Jim James / Teddy Abrams / Louisville Orchestra - The Order of Nature - Decca
The Order of Nature presents a hypnotic meeting of the classical and folk-rock worlds with both classic and brand-new material by Jim James (lead singer of critically/commercially successful My Morning Jacket) and fused with Teddy Abrams’ inspired orchestrations with the Louisville Orchestra.
Fieh - Cold Water Burning Skin - Verve
Fieh (pronounced “fee-ah”) is a band created by Sofie Tollefsbøl, a singer from Eina in Norway, a small village with under a 1000 inhabitants located deep in the Norwegian forest. Sofie draws inspiration from different hip hop and soul artists such as Outkast, D’Angelo and Erykah Badu. The band’s music has evolved a lot since Sofie started releasing her Garageband-produced demos from 3 years ago, and since she attended the Norwegian Academy of Music her solo project has grown into a large band, with elements such as multiple backup singers, a drummer, a bass- and guitarist, a trumpeter and a keyboardist, all of them fellow students at the jazz course at the same school.
Hollow Coves - Moments - Nettwerk Records
Australian alternative folk duo Hollow Coves' debut album Moments is a collection of warm, introspective songs that reflect the pair's travels across the globe and their deeply felt experiences along the way.
clipping. - There Existed An Addiction To Blood - Sub Pop
The science-fiction visionary Octavia Butler once declared that “there is nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns.” The aphorism could apply to any art form where the basic contours are fixed, but the appetite for innovation remains infinite. Enter clipping, flash fiction genre masters in a hip-hop world firmly rooted in memoir. If first person confessionals historically reign, the mid-city Los Angeles trio of rapper Daveed Diggs and producers William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes have spent the last half-decade terraforming their own patch of soil, replete with conceptual labyrinths and industrial chaos. They have conjured a mutant emanation of the future, built at odd angles atop the hallowed foundation of the past. Their third album for Sub Pop, There Existed An Addiction To Blood, finds them interpreting another rap splinter sect through their singular lens. This is Clipping’s transmutation of horrorcore, a purposefully absurdist sub-genre that flourished in the mid-90s. If some of its most notable pioneers included Brotha Lynch Hung and Gravediggaz, it also encompasses seminal works from the Geto Boys, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and the near-entirety of classic Memphis cassette tape rap. The most subversive and experimental rap has often presented itself as an “alternative” to conventional sounds, but Clipping respectfully warp them into new constellations. There Existed an Addiction to Blood absorbs the hyper-violent horror tropes of the Murder Dog era, but re-imagines them in a new light: still darkly-tinted and somber, but in a weirder and more vivid hue. The album contains interludes with hissing recordings of demonic invasions, and guest appearances from Griselda Gang’s Benny the Butcher and Hypnotize Minds horror queen La Chat. Other tracks feature contributions from noise music legends The Rita and Pedestrian Deposit. It all ends with “Piano Burning,” a performance of a piece written by the avant-garde composer Annea Lockwood. Yes, it is the sound of a piano burning. There Existed an Addiction to Blood fits neatly into the broader scope of the band’s career, which has seen them expand from insular experimentalists into globally recognized artists. Since the release of their first album in 2013, Diggs has won a Tony and a Grammy (both for his acting/rapping work as Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette in Hamilton), as well as co-written and starred in 2018’s critically hailed Blindspotting, while Snipes and Hutson have scored numerous films and television shows. Clipping’s last album, the 2016 afro-futurist dystopian space opus Splendor & Misery was recently named one of Pitchfork’s Best Industrial Albums of All-Time. Commissioned for an episode of This American Life, their 2017 single “The Deep” became the inspiration for a novel of the same name, written by Rivers Solomon and published by Saga Press. But their latest masterwork embodies what the band had been building towards — a work that finds them without peer. This is experimental hip-hop built to bang in a post-apocalyptic club bursting with radiation. It’s horrorcore that soaks up past blood and replants it into a different organism, undead but dangerously alive. It is a new sun, blindingly bright and built to burn your retinas.
Marvin Gaye - What's Going On Live - Motown
‘What's Going On Live’ features Marvin Gaye’s legendary concert – the only live performance of his iconic 1971 What’s Going On album in full – recorded in February of 1972 at the Kennedy Center in his Washington, D.C. hometown, & notable as Marvin’s first concert after a 4 year hiatus. After being shelved for decades, the recording was eventually released on CD in 2001 within Motown/UMe’s expanded deluxe edition for the What’s Going On album. Never before issued on vinyl or as a standalone CD, What’s Going On Live is newly mixed for its 2019 release by John Morales at M+M Mix Studios and mastered by Alex Abrash at AA Mastering. Packaging includes rare photos from Gaye’s performance and a new liner notes essay by Marvin Gaye biographer David Ritz.
For more information on these and other releases out this week, check out our New Releases charts by week section.