Music Releases 08-21-20
Old 97's return with Twelfth, their aptly titled 12th studio album, recorded this spring in Nashville, Tennessee between a tornado and a pandemic. 2016's Graveyard Whistling took the 97's to new heights lead by the single "Good With God" - a bona-fide hit at non-commercial radio. Twelfth's lead single "Turn Off The TV" might be the unintentional anthem of 2020, celebrating the occasional and necessary need to turn off the TV set and tune out the outside world.
The Shadow is an album of growth. In the years since our previous album SLUFF was recorded, we have toured around the world, honed our musical skills and found our own little place in the music industry - but we have also seen our share of shadows, and it is through acknowledging these shadows that we grow the most. Each song on The Shadow examines an aspect of this growth through a different musical lens, adding up to a series of rock-and-roll vignettes of light, shadow, anxiety and responsibility. Frantic punk-scenes of information overload are contrasted by patient drones of introspection; fun, ear-worm musings of life as a young rock band are juxtaposed with the heavier responsibility of having a voice and not quite knowing what to say. The amalgam of information in the songs is complemented with a blend of sonic perspectives - we threw in all our infl uences, from the usual suspects of punk rock and new wave to spacedout 80’s balladry, fuzzy garage-metal and psychedelic desert folk (with synths and tape loops added to taste). And with producer Chris Funk leading the way, our somewhat scatterbrained sprawl of musical and conceptual ideas are tied together in an artful way. Chris’ quiet but steady direction pushed us to serve the songs, reigning in the guitar pedal breaks and drum solo freakouts from our live set while leaving just enough unpredictability and experimentation to give the album a liveliness of its own.
Born in New York City, 21 year old Maya Hawke is an actress, singer and lyricist. Hawke was most recently seen in the third season of Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” as well as in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and Amanda Kramer’s “Ladyworld.”
Following the release of her independently released A and B side singles in 2019, she returns with a deeply personal full-length album. Hawke, who wrote the lyrics, continued her collaboration with Grammy Award-winning songwriter Jesse Harris, who wrote the music for the album.
On creating the album, Hawke says, “This album happened accidentally… Jesse and I started working together accidentally... we kept writing, kept collecting songs because it brought joy into both of our lives. Collecting them into an album and releasing it comes from a crazy, if not pathological desire to share that joy with others. From my point of view, ‘Blush’ is a collection of secret messages, hidden communications with the people in my life. ‘By Myself’ was a secret message to myself, that I hope I’ll receive someday soon.”
Narratively, H.C. McEntire’s Eno Axis is about finding direction in the natural world, and following love. Sonically, it’s an album shaped enormously by the atmosphere it was recorded in—the crew’s synergy and positivity, the proximity and presence of a band in a room playing with intention. Structurally, it’s a group of songs inspired by the colors and tones of open tunings, by the sacrality of space and instinct. Stylistically, it’s folk-rock leaning into its curious experimental side and moved by the spiritual rawness of classic soul and the simplicity of earnest pop. Eno Axis feels like a confident and mature step forward from her debut album LIONHEART—in tone, arrangement, production, and spirit.
Fresh off their 30th Anniversary & World Tour in 2019, the genre-bending, multi-platinum selling Mavericks are changing the game once again with the release of their first-ever Latin format album En Español. Produced by the band's longtime creative partner Niko Bolas (Neil Young, Prince, Sheryl Crow) and Mavericks lead singer & principal songwriter Raul Malo, En Español features a compelling mix of standards and Spanish-language originals in signature Mavericks style.
With her heart-swelling, folk-inflected pop, music's bright-eyed anthropologist, Alex the Astronaut, uses uses sprawling narratives and rich vignettes to unravel the joys and struggles of everyday life on her debut album. Brough to life with infectious melodies, plucked guitar, and Alex's unmistakable vocals. The Theory of Absolutely Nothing is the work of a storyteller attuned to the world around her.
World renowned and multi-Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Bebel Gilberto has been enchanting fans and critics worldwide since her solo debut release in 1986. She catapulted onto the global music scene in 1996 when she featured on the celebrated compilation RED HOT + RIO. She followed up with her breakout album, Tanto Tempo, positioning herself as one of the top-selling Brazilian artists since the 1960's. She continued with a streak of critically-acclaimed albums on which she refined her sound and showcased her strengths as a composer. Her new album, Agora, which translates to now, chronicles the moment in time in Bebel's life after a period of great change. It was produced by Thomas Bartlett (Sufjan Stevans, St. Vincent, Father John Misty, David Byrne, Martha Wainwright).
Josh Turner returns with his new studio album, Country State Of Mind. The 12-track record highlights some of Turner’s favorite Country Classics, and features guest appearances from John Anderson, Kris Kristofferson, Chris Janson, Runaway June, Maddie & Tae, and the legendary Randy Travis. CD packaging includes a bonus “Country State Of Mind” decal sticker.
Vinyl: $49.98 PRE ORDER
On August 21, 2020, 30 years to the day after its initial launch, thrash/metal-masters Anthrax will celebrate with the release of the deluxe anniversary edition of their fifth studio album, the Gold-certified Persistence of Time, produced by Anthrax and Mark Dodson (Megaforce). Available exclusively on disc and vinyl, the CD package will include two CDs and one DVD, the vinyl edition offers four LPs, as well as revised cover art that reflects what had been the album's original visual concept.
When we last heard from Guided by Voices, they had released an astonishing four albums in just over 12 months. Each has a distinctive creative identity: Zeppelin Over China was a meat-and-potatoes double album, Warp And Woof was a return to the band's low-fidelity roots and under-two-minute earworms, Sweating The Plague was a slice of moody stadium rock, and Surrender Your Poppy Field was an unpredictable grab-bag of all of the above. After venturing through the tangled brambles of Plague and Poppy Field, here is a sunny summer reprieve, a relentless barrage of hooks-Mirrored Aztec is the latest stop on this runaway train. Like it's immediate predecessors, Mirrored Aztec is both it's own entity and unmistakably GBV. It's also their most immediately welcoming and inviting offering in years-there's nothing a fan of The Who, Big Star, or Wire, wouldn't love. For the GBV uninitiated, the clean, confident hooks of highlights "Bunco Men," "Haircut Sphinx," "A Whale Is Top Notch," "Party Rages On" and the strummy "To Keep An Area" will resonate immediately. It also contains some unprecedented GBV moments, too, like "Math Rock," an apparent tribute to the titular subgenre featuring classroom instruments and a children's choir, "Please Don't Be Honest," a dreamy reversal of the band's 2016 song and album Please Be Honest, and "Thank You Jane," perhaps the most open-hearted, guileless power-pop song from Pollard's pen in ages.If Pollard's discography-107 albums and counting-seems intimidating, do not fear! With a brand-new, high-quality, all-the-way-there album every several months, it's abundantly clear that no band's fanbase has more fun.
Vinyl reissue of 1993 collection of demos written and recorded at Polly Harvey's home in 1991-1992. It includes eight demos of songs from the album, Rid of Me, released earlier in that year along with six demos of additional songs. Reissue is faithful to the original package, with vinyl cutting by Jason Mitchell at Loud Mastering under the guidance of longtime PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish.
Reissue on vinyl of the first PJ Harvey studio album in the Island Records catalogue, and her second studio album. Produced by Steve Albini and originally released in May 1993, Rid Of Me features the singles ‘50ft Queenie’ and ‘Man-Size’. The album charted at number 3 in the UK. Reissue is faithful to the original recording and package, cutting by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering under the guidance of Steve Albini.
Norwegian indie-folk singer-songwriter Siv Jakobsen’s follow up to critically acclaimed The Nordic Mellow (2017). A Temporary Soothing features collabs with great musicians such as producer Chris Bond (Ben Howard, Nick Mulvey) and mixing engineer Zach Hanson (Bon Iver, Waxahatchee). The album explores feelings of fear, anxiety, change and the struggle between being healthy and being and productive. Select US dates in March. Full US Tour Fall 2020.
Therapy With Colour is the Constellation debut for composer and sound artist T. Gowdy. Combining experimental electronics with elements of musique concrete, rhythmic grooves, and heady sonic atmospheres, Therapy With Colour is a brilliantly adventurous new offering from the forefront of Montréal's avant-garde electronic scene.
Third Album is the Constellation debut from Montréal-based multi-disciplinary artist and musician/composer Markus Lake, who's been releasing audio works under the Markus Floats moniker over the past decade. Using primarily in-the-box midi instruments, along with a smattering of samples and field recordings, Third Album is through-composed and atypically but unfailingly expressive - like ruminative action paintings in sound. Digitally-processed notes and chords extrapolate in transitory thematic clusters of harmony and melody, often referencing organ sounds of alternately liturgical and souljazz resonance. Constellation is delighted to welcome Markus Lake to the roster and to be releasing Third Album with artwork that features his own paintings, including in a deluxe 180gram vinyl edition that includes an exquisite 12"x24" art print reproduction.
The Dearsʼ 2003 breakthrough album No Cities Left was a crepuscular, romantic soundtrack to uncertain times. 9/11. War. The looming economic crisis. Nearly two decades later, as Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak began work on Lovers Rock, the worldʼs mood felt eerily similar.
If The Dears have always made apocalyptic love songs for an existential crisis, there are also other constants, starting, of course, with the bandʼs two core members for two decades: Lightburn and Yanchak. There are also certain sonic and aesthetic parameters, within which the music can be both unsettlingly experimental and impossibly lush: part Bacharach, part Krautrock. From the anthemic anger and driving resignation of “Heart of An Animal” to the swoony, swerving, epic “The Worst In Us,” Lovers Rock is the sound of The Dears topping themselves yet again, an accomplishment borne of ambition, hard work, and a strong sense of identit
"Like James Taylor's voice or B.B. King's guitar, Alison Brown's banjo is an instrument possessed of a unique sonic signature and an inescapable beauty." -Billboard Magazine
Alison Brown's 2000 classic album celebrates it's 20 year anniversary with a limited release vinyl. Joined by special guests including Tim O'Brien, Claire Lynch, Vince Gill, Sam Bush, Stuart Duncan, David Grier, and featuring the Grammy Award-winning track "Leaving Cottondale," with Béla Fleck, FAIR WEATHER heralded Alison Brown's return to her bluegrass roots with stunning results. Over the course of the album's 12 tracks, Brown plows through hard-charging breakdowns, minor-keyed newgrass, solo-banjo lullabies, and everything in between. Vince Gill sings the bright title track and Claire Lynch handles vocals on the delightful "Hummingbird." Covers of Elvis Costello's "Everyday I Write the Book" (sung by Bush) and Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talkin'" (sung by O'Brien) lend themselves well to a bluegrass treatment and are complimented by the likes of "Shake and Howdy," an intricate, classically tinged instrumental featuring Darol Anger and Mike Marshall. The unifying musical core of it all is Brown's compositional sense and mesmerizing banjo work, with the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic possibilities of her banjo always front and center Brown has received four GRAMMY nominations for her solo recordings and a GRAMMY award in 2001 for Best Country Instrumental Performance as well as the International Bluegrass Music Association's award for Banjo Player of the Year. A former member of Alison Krauss and Union Station, Brown has been praised for her take on the traditionally Appalachian instrument which has earned her features on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR's All Things Considered and in The Wall Street Journal among others. In 2019, she became the newest five string banjoist to be inducted into the American Banjo Museum's Hall of Fame.
Vinyl: $28.98 PRE ORDER
Available widely on colored vinyl for the first time, Guided By Voices Alien Lanes celebrates its 25th anniversary with the release of a new multicolored LP. The reprint of GBV's 1995 classic is the first in Matador's Revisionist History 2020 series, limited to an edition of 2,500.
Single Disc, 130 Gram PURPLE Vinyl, in Standard Jacket, with Poster & Sticker.
Orville is a new Columbia Records signing, and a rising country artist. This EP announces with the release of a new track "No Glory In The West. This is an addition to the previously released track and video, "Summertime". Orville appears on upcoming Diplo country album Diplo Presents: Thomas Wesley Chapter 1: Snake Oil. Orville is known for his baritone voice, strong musicianship and songs that are sincere yet bold in their storytelling. Orville has never confirmed his identity and is known for hiding his face with a fringed Lone Ranger mask.
Featuring the vivid musical cues that Guaraldi wrote for the cast of the Peanuts characters, this ‘Peanuts Portraits’ LP adds new dimensions to beloved regulars like Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, Schroeder and Sally. In addition to nine songs performed by Guaraldi, the album also includes two classic Peanuts tunes recorded by pianist George Winston. Eight of the selections (including Winston renditions of “Linus And Lucy” and “Masked Marvel”), make their vinyl debut on Peanuts Portraits.
Where L.A. Witch's self-titled album oozed with vibe and atmosphere, with the whole mix draped in reverb, sonically placing the band in some distant realm, broadcast across some unknown chasm of time, Play With Fire comes crashing out of the gate with a bold, brash, in-your-face rocker “Fire Starter.” The authoritative opener is a deliberate mission statement. “Play With Fire is a suggestion to make things happen,” says Sanchez. “Don’t fear mistakes or the future. Take a chance. Say and do what you really feel, even if nobody agrees with your ideas. These are feelings that have stopped me in the past. I want to inspire others to be freethinkers even if it causes a little burn.” And by that line of reasoning, “Fire Starter” becomes a call to action, an anthem against apathy. From there, the album segues into the similarly bodacious rocker “Motorcycle Boy”—a feisty love song inspired by classic cinema outlaws like Mickey Rourke, Marlon Brando, and Steve McQueen. At track three, we hear L.A. Witch expand into new territories as “Dark Horse” unfurls a mixture of dustbowl folk, psychedelic breakdowns, and fire-and-brimstone organ lines. And from there, the band only gets more adventurous. Play With Fire is a bold new journey that retains L.A. Witch’s siren-song mystique, nostalgic spirit, and contemporary cool. Despite the stylistic breadth of the record, there is a unifying timbre across the album’s nine tracks, as if the trio of young musicians is bound together as a collective of old souls tapping into the sounds of their previous youth.
Vinyl: $11.98 PRE ORDER
Over the years Self Defense Family’s revolving lineup and improvisational writing process has led to the band often recording new music while on tour, putting the focus on capturing a specific moment between the current collaborators. The Island singles have been snapshots of the band in studios all over the world, from Jamaica, to Iceland, to Scotland, and now Australia. The songs on Make Me A Pallet Fire On Your Floor / Local Clerics are marked by a raw, spacious recording, winding guitar lines mixed with swirling organ, and of course Kindlon’s one-of-a-kind vocals and unflinching lyricism.
"Beautiful Dreamer is a two-part suite dedicated to Steve Dalachinsky -- an original among New Yorkers and every- one else; an indefatigable supporter of the avant garde; an ingenious poet; and a close friend to legendary guitar- ist Loren Connors. Connors recorded these two solo guitar pieces shortly before Dalachinsky’s passing in September 2019. Afterward, Connors returned to the music, and for the first time, used post-production to transform his real- time improvisations into an ethereal soundwork. The music is unmistakably Connors -- a rich, ghostly tone birthed from the blues -- yet a new direction where slow- ness reveals a spectrum of shifting notes like a small choir, from rumbling baritones to vibrating sopranos. Beautiful Dreamer equally honors the dreams of Dalachinsky and cap- tures the suspension of the Auguste Rodin dancer on the cover. Connors began self-releasing records of his singular guitar improvisations and compositions in 1978. Since, he’s been lauded as an iconic avant blues visionary by the likes Ameri- can roots scholar/Grammy winner William Ferris."
Sometimes it feels like you hear a Bright Eyes song with your whole body. From Conor Oberst’s early recordings in an Omaha basement in 1995 all the way up to 2020, Bright Eyes’ music tries to unravel the impossible tangles of dissent: personal and political, external and internal. It’s a study of the beauty in unsteadiness in all its forms – in a voice, beliefs, love, identity, and what fills up the spaces in-between. And in so many ways, it’s just about searching for a way through.
The year 2020 is full of significant anniversaries for Bright Eyes. Fevers and Mirrors was released 20 years ago this May, while Digital Ash in a Digital Urn and I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning both turned 15 in January. The latter, a singer-songwriter tour-de-force released amidst the Bush presidency and Iraq war, wades through incisive anti-war rhetoric and micro, intimate calamities. On the title track and throughout the record, Oberst sings about body counts in the newspaper, televised wars, the bottomless pit of American greed, struggling to understand the world alongside one’s own turmoil. In its own way, I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning carved out its place in the canon of great anti-war albums by being both present and prophetic, its urgency enduring 15 years later.
In 2011 the release of The People’s Key, Bright Eyes’ ninth and most recent album, ushered in an unofficial hiatus for the beloved project. In the time since, the work of the band’s core members – Oberst, multi-instrumentalist Mike Mogis, and multi-instrumentalist Nathaniel Walcott – has remained omnipresent, through both the members’ original work and collaboration.
In recent years, Mogis produced records for beloved folk acts First Aid Kit and Joseph, among others, as well as mixed the fine-spun ennui of Phoebe Bridgers’ breakthrough 2017 debut, Stranger in the Alps. Mogis and bandmate Walcott also teamed up to write the original scores for The Fault in Our Stars, Stuck in Love, and Lovely Still, and Walcott worked as a solo composer scoring number of independent feature-length films. Walcott spent extensive time on collaboration; in addition to his arrangement work for Mavis Staples, First Aid Kit, and M. Ward, he contributed studio work to artists ranging from U2 to jazz guitarist Jeff Parker, and also toured heavily as a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Oberst, who’s nearly 30 years into a prolific musical career, spent the last decade in similarly productive fashion. Across three years he released a string of solo albums: Salutations (2017), Ruminations (2016), and Upside Down Mountain (2014), as well as guested on records by First Aid Kit, Phoebe Bridgers, and Alt-J. His punk band, Desaparecidos, emerged from a 13-year hiatus in 2015 with the thunderous sophomore LP, Payola, a white-knuckled disarray of hollered political fury. And at the top of 2019, Oberst and Bridgers debuted their new band, Better Oblivion Community Center, digitally dropping the critically-lauded eponymous debut LP alongside a surprise performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
The heart at Bright Eyes’ songwriting still looms culturally, in films and TV shows and through re-imaginings by other artists. Mac Miller covered both “Lua” and “First Day of My Life”; Lorde’s version of the penultimate The People’s Key track, the funereal-waltz “Ladder Song,” was a focal point of The Hunger Games’ soundtrack; The Killers covered “Four Winds” for their Spaceman EP; and Lil Peep’s “Worlds Away” samples “Something Vague” while Young Thug’s “Me Or Us” samples “First Day of My Life.”
Bright Eyes’ expansive catalog has traversed genre, sound, and countless players; unpolished demos or fuzzy folk, electrified rock or country twang. The sharp songwriting and musicianship is all anchored in Bright Eyes’ singular ability to flip deep intimacy into something universal. For so many, for so long, listening to Bright Eyes has been like hearing yourself in someone else’s song – a moment of understanding or illumination, knowing you’re on the same team looking for a way to move through of all this shit.
And while 2020 is a year of milestones for the band, it’s also the year Bright Eyes returns, newly signed to indie label Dead Oceans. Amidst the current overwhelming uncertainty and upheaval of global and personal worlds, Oberst, Mogis, and Walcott reunited under the moniker as both an escape from, and a confrontation of, trying times. Getting the band back together felt right, and necessary, and the friendship at the core of the band has been a longtime pillar of Bright Eyes’ output. For Bright Eyes, this long-awaited re-emergence feels like coming home.
Freeze, Melt, the sixth album from the Grammy-nominated Australian electronic/synth-pop band Cut Copy. Lead single 'Love Is All We Share' earned praise from Rolling Stone ["meditative and immersive"], Stereogum ["hypnotic"], Consequence Of Sound ["a fitting mood for the current state of the world"], Pitchfork, The Line Of Best Fit, and numerous other outlets. Their 2011 album Zonoscope won two ARIA Awards, earned a Grammy nomination for Best Dance/Electronica Album, and reached #2 on Billboard's Dance/Electronic Albums chart, #3 on Australia's ARIA Albums chart, and #8 on the UK's Independent Albums chart. Their most recent album Haiku From Zero  earned praise from NPR ["their finest album in years"], Stereogum [“a rush of infectious grooves and melodies"], Exclaim! ["another strong effort by a band that continue to celebrate the power of dance music"], and DIY. If Haiku From Zero was the party, Freeze, Melt is the Sunday morning comedown. Released independently via their own label imprint, Cutters Records.
Today's JEFFERSON STARSHIP is alive with the adventurous musical spirit that propelled the legendary band through the '70s, '80s, and beyond, as the world will soon hear when the band releases Mother of the Sun, their first new music since 2008. Songs include "It's About Time" and "Don't Be Sad Anymore," which were co-written with original Jefferson Starship/Jefferson Airplane members Grace Slick and Marty Balin, respectively. Original member Pete Sears also returns to play bass on three tracks.
Troye Sivan -"In A Dream - EP On August 21st, Capitol Records will release IN A DREAM, Troye Sivan's new six-song concept EP. Features leadoff hit "Take Yourself Home" and new single "Easy," an infectious plea to set a relationship back on course. "This small collection... explores an emotional rollercoaster period in my life when the feelings and thoughts were most shockingly fresh," he says. "I'm proud of this music and excited to have it out in the world." CD in slipcase with art cards, a sticker & a foldout poster booklet.
Under the layers of heavy psychedelic blues rock and vocalist Elin Larsson's soulful and powerful voice, the core of Blues Pills has always been about the restless search for change. Change in the human mind and the musical influences they embraced, from blackened soul to the trippy rides through 60s garage rock music and the devil's blues. On "Holy Moly!", the band's third full-length album, Blues Pills has been through reincarnation. A reincarnation that lead to a new self-produced and recorded album that was mixed by Grammy Award winning Andrew Scheps (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Iggy Pop, Adele, Black Sabbath, Rival Sons, Hozier et al). If fans were blazed by the heaviness of Blues Pill's first self-titled album and tripped to the psychedelic soul of their second release "Lady in Gold" they won't be immune to the effects of this third dose "Holy Moly!". Empowered by bass player Kristoffer Schander, drummer André Kvarnström, Elin Larsson's haunting voice, and Zack Anderson now on lead guitar the band has gone back to their roots. Back to the raw power of rock'n'roll and blues with a pinch of soul.
A diverse journey through sparkling melodic downtempo to shimmering hype music to mutated indie rock re-cuts to renegade deep house caught in a trap to blistering bass music explosions - plus a continuous mix bonus disc of all original songs & remixes - 'Mixtape 13'. Double LP pressed on red (Disc 1) and white (Disc 2) 180-gram vinyl.
(Hed) P.E. are pioneers of the G-Punk sound, a fusion of punk-rock, metal, hip-hop & reggae. For two decades they have toured the world alongside legends like Godsmack, Linkin Park, Suicidal Tendencies, Ozzfest Tour, and more. Now, after rejoining forces with Suburban Noize, they’re back with new album, "Class of 2020". A return to their trademark sound, it strips down to raw essentials, a nod to old-school punk-rock guitar & aggressive, unfiltered vocals that are an integral part of (Hed) P.E.
Blackbear -"everything means nothing" Overview: blackbear will drop his highly anticipated new studio album 'everything means nothing' on August 21st. Featuring the social media-influenced track, "queen of broken hearts" as well as hit singles "hot girl bummer" and "me & ur ghost".
Limited seafoam colored vinyl LP pressing comes packaged in wide spine jacket with printed inner sleeve. Includes digital download. No Dream is the fourth full-length from Jeff Rosenstock. It comes at a time of unparalleled chaos and confusion, division and despair, the depths of which would have been impossible to predict when much of it was being written over the course of the last few years. And yet the record feels prescient, unexpectedly and uniquely suited for this moment. After building a devoted cult following with the acerbic ska-punk of the Arrogant Sons of Bitches, the DIY heroics of Bomb the Music Industry!, and three increasingly celebrated solo albums, No Dream arrives with an entirely new set of expectations in an entirely new era.
Twenty-five years ago, Sol y Canto burst onto the scene with their unique blend of acoustic Latin roots music with a message. Their music has taken them around the U.S. and to Puerto Rico, Argentina, Europe and Singapore. Meanwhile, founders Rosi and Brian Amador produced something else: a family. On this gorgeous live recording, the band is joined by their daughter, Alisa Amador, whose fresh songs and breathtaking voice set her apart among the new crop of singer-songwriters. This recording celebrates a quarter century of making music together, celebrates the joy of live performance (remember that?) and celebrates family with intricately-crafted three-part vocal arrangements. Fans of Jorge Drexler, Eliades Ochoa and Joni Mitchell will find much to love!
Two CDs. Ah, those year-end Bay Area concert runs by the Dead. Seldom was the band quite as consistently brilliant as they were during these celebratory stands, playing in familiar environs in front of audiences full of old friends. The group's archivists already dipped into this particular set of performances with Dick's Picks Vol. 5, which captured the December 26 show; this set transports us two days later for another superior date which again demonstrates the astonishing degree to which keyboardist Brent Mydland had integrated himself into the band by the end of 1979. Special mention should also be made of the sound, too, taken from the original soundboard concert reels recorded by Betty Cantor-Jackson and remastered in HDCD by Jeffrey Norman; the booklet features Jay Blakesberg photos from the Oakland Auditorium shows and an essay by long-time Dead scribe Steve Silberman. As for the music, any set that includes 'High Time' promises exactly that; 'It's All Over Now' drops a series of 'Phil Bombs' right before it. Set two unleashes a medley that goes from revelatory to rockin' in one time-suspending, hour-plus journey that starts with 'Terrapin Station' and winds up with 'Good Lovin'.' The 'Casey Jones'/'One More Saturday Night' encore brings the night to a dizzying close, sending the crowd out in the streets for a party that was no doubt just getting started. First time available at regular music retail!
Though still at the very beginning of his career, Jonathan Something's catalog already displays a skillful musical command, a puckish sense of humor, and a knack for absurdist but pointed send ups that at times make him feel like an indie rock Andy Kaufman. It shouldn't be surprising then that for his third album, the forthcoming Cannibal House Rules (due out August 7th on Solitaire Recordings), Jonathan Something has made a sharp left turn and created something that not even the most attentive members of his cult-like fanbase could have predicted. Partly inspired by his interests in anime, classic horror/sci fi cinema and video games, Cannibal House Rules is a synth-driven album of pop songs that draw on the cultural ephemera of the mid 80s, blending the sounds of Italo disco and top 40 new wave with John Carpenter's Big Trouble In Little China and Brad Fiedel's The Terminator scores on a release that is structured to play like the soundtrack from a non-existent film.