Music Releases 03-17-23
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Vinyl: $32.98 Buy
Created between Palm Springs, California and Hilo, Hawai'i, V is the first double album from the Hawaiian-New Zealand singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Ruban Nielson's Unknown Mortal Orchestra band. Designed to play as one continuous movement and road-tested on dry California freeways, V is the definitive Unknown Mortal Orchestra car record. It's also the fifth full-length album Ruban has released in twelve years. Across fourteen sunbleached songs - written solo or with his brother Kody - Ruban draws from the rich traditions of West Coast AOR, yacht rock, weirdo pop and Hawaiian Hapa-haole music. Over a laidback blend of singalong anthems and cinematic instrumentals, he evokes blue skies, afternoons spent lounging by hotel swimming pools and the alluring darkness that lurks below perfect, pristine surfaces. It's a duality expressed in the dilapidated sunset blues and the saltcorroded soul Ruban explores through tracks like 'Layla' and 'Nadja. ' During the pandemic's early days, Ruban reunited with Kody at a cousin's wedding in Hawai'i. With assistance from their father, Chris Nielson (saxophone/flute) and longstanding Unknown Mortal Orchestra member Jake Portrait, they brought everything Ruban had been thinking about together. The result was V, due for release on March 3, 2023, through Jagjaguwar. When they talked about records that moved them in that spine-shivering manner, Ruban started thinking about the 70s AM radio rock and 80s pop songs that had lurked on the edge of his subconscious mind for most of his life. He wanted to write his version of records like that, leading to the two glorious uptempo singles Unknown Mortal Orchestra released in 2021, 'Weekend Run' and 'That Life'. However, the golden good times never last forever. Not long after, health issues began to plague his extended family. Putting his recordings aside, he helped his mother and his uncle move home from New Zealand and Portland to Hawai'i, and began dividing his time between Hawai'i and Palm Springs. During this period he reconnected with his relatives, reassessed his past, and started to look at things with fresh eyes. Hawai'i brought back memories of the darker side of his parents' lifestyle as entertainers. On those trips, he heard those classic AM radio rock records everywhere. They were inextricably intertwined with the palm trees, swimming pools, and glamorized hedonism he'd internalized from his childhood. There's a type of music in Hawai'i called Hapa-haole (Half white). You can hear it expressed in signature Unknown Mortal Orchestra style through the humid guitar-led atmosphere of V's penultimate song, 'I Killed Captain Cook'. Although the songs are presented in a traditional Hawaiian manner, they're mostly sung in English. Having been influenced by Hawaiian music since Unknown Mortal Orchestra's first album, Ruban saw a space for himself within the tradition. When he reflected on his success, he realised he had the responsibility and platform to represent Hapa-haole music on the global stage.
Same Trailer Different Park: 10th Anniversary Edition [Limited Edition Picture Disc- Zoetrope LP]
Kacey Musgraves will be releasing a limited edition Zoetrope Picture Disc Vinyl in celebrating the 10th Anniversary of her debut Platinum and Grammy winning album- Same Trailer Different Park. The album went to #1 on the Country Album Charts when it was released in 2013. Kacey co-wrote all 12 tracks and co-produced the album with Luke Laird and Shane McAnally. Album won the Grammy award for the Best Country Album at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards. The album featured the break-out singles- “Merry Go Round”, “Blowin’ Smoke”, and “Follow Your Arrow”.
Shake Your Money Maker: Live [2LP]
All Time Low
CD: $14.98 Buy
Blackout: 20th Anniversary Edition [Limited Edition Translucent Red LP]
Vinyl: $25.98 Buy
The music on Blackout rocks, has a truckload of sweat, blood and energy & conveys an intense insight into relationships (Walk Away) & personal politics (Gonna Be A Blackout Tonight - lyrics written by Woody Guthrie after the band was given special exclusive access & permission to use the words of Woody Guthire through his family). The record still contains rousing tunes rooted in Irish music & American Folk (Black Velvet Band & The Dirty Glass) and destined to be a Boston Bruins call to arms classic called “Time To Go”. And it’s important to mention that each member of the band played a crucial role, working hand in hand to create this new record. Everyone’s influence from the youngest member of the band to the most experienced, bring together their many influences to play a role in creating an all time gem of a rock record. With each new record, they just don’t let up, their passion, life experience & and true commitment to music fans shines through on every song. Reissued on limited edition red vinyl to celebrate the album’s 20th anniversary!
CD: $13.98 Buy
Misc. Items, trumpeter Jake Baldwin’s second record as a leader, features Adam Harder Nussbaum on drums, Toivo Hannigan on guitar and Cody McKinney on electric bass with seven compositions by Baldwin and three from Hannigan. It showcases Baldwin’s ability to mesh the simple and melodic with the exploratory and textural, the juxtaposition of beauty and tension, showing that miscellaneous items can sometimes be used together to create something greater than the sum of its parts.
Stephen Sondheim, Sara Bareilles, Into The Woods 2022 Broadway Cast
Into The Woods (2022 Broadway Cast Recording) [Apple Red 2LP]
Vinyl: $37.99 Buy
DJ Black Low
Vinyl: $27.98 Buy
There’s more than a hint of ambition on the double LP sophomore effort from Sam Austin Rabede, the producer known as DJ Black Low. Pretoria, South Africa-born and based, the young man makes amapiano with new ways of expressing this local-turned-global style of dance music.
In DJ Black Low’s musical imagination, the songs manage to smoothly vacillate between dreamy and firmly-grounded. Adorned with vocalists across most of the twelve tracks, there’s a new dimension to Black Low’s now-signature approach to abstract, angular deconstruction of the rhythmic developments in his songs.
The album references influences and ambitions in its song titles and lyrics while the music itself is anthemic in its sonic and structural aspirations. On many of the songs a slow-burning tension transforms into something unexpected until you’re somewhere else as the track concludes. There is an emotional and compositional maturity that builds on his earlier work. Vocals and lyrics are in focus. Production collaborators among Black Low’s Gauteng Province circle add to the constantly churning array of ideas that populate this consistently surprising release. Despite being a relative newcomer, DJ Black Low is onto something here.
Now More Than Ever
Creatrix [Coke Bottle Clear LP]
MP3 Album: $8.99 Download
After spending the past 20 years in the studio, on concert stages all over the world and at the literal top of the charts, All-American Rejects co-founder Tyson Ritter didn’t start Now More Than Ever in 2018 with the expectation it would turn into a real band – but a real band is very much what it has become. In tandem with veteran musicians/songwriters/producers Scott Chesak and Izzy Fontaine, Ritter has begun a meaningful and exciting new chapter in his music career with Now More Than Ever’s debut album Creatrix, which will be released March 17, 2023, by Thirty Tigers.
To hear Ritter tell it, All-American Rejects’ relationship with the traditional music industry was in many ways the reason he was eager to try something different: simply making music with friends for fun, without any preconceived notions about what would, could or should happen next. In other words, no constraints, no A&Rs, no deadlines and no mandate to sound like anyone or anything other than themselves.
The fact that Ritter and Chesak have known each other for so long certainly helped jumpstart things, as the latter has been a multi-instrumentalist touring member of All-American Rejects since 2011. Chesak later segued into writing and producing for artists such as Weezer and Panic! At The Disco, a skill Ritter has long admired but had difficulty incorporating into his own creative process. As he began thinking about new music, he “definitely knew” he “didn’t want to write in the traditional sense with and for another artist in a studio. Scotty and I just got to talking and decided to write some tunes. It started that innocently.”
“We didn’t have a name, or an idea of being a band, until probably a year after that,” Chesak adds. “We were kind of just writing for the purity of writing and trying to make something cool. There’s a huge folder of songs we made during that time that aren’t part of this project, but three or four of them showed us there was something cohesive there.”
Having spent decades in the same musical scene, Ritter and Chesak were committed to a fresh approach when it came to the sound of their new work. “We were kind of sick of guitar music, because we both come from the rock world,” says Chesak, who handled bass, drums and keyboard duties during the sessions. “So at first we made a rule: Fuck guitars. No guitars!” Quickly they realized their beef wasn’t with guitars per se, but rather the same old sound of the instrument. Enter Izzy Fontaine, who has worked closely behind the scenes with everyone from Taking Back Sunday and Glassjaw to Seal and Banks, and came up in the industry alongside many of the same bands as Ritter and Chesak.
Now More Than Ever shimmers with that spirit of freedom, its nine tracks gracefully surfing the peaks of the past four decades of pop and rock. These are the kinds of songs that used to be on the radio and certainly still should be today – the ones that make you dance, shake your ass and forget about everything else for a while. The breathless electro-rock of “D-E-A-D Together” and the sultry power ballad “Heart To Heart” best embody that vibe, while horn players from Ozomatli add an instant dance party to “Candle.” The ‘80s synth-driven closer “Never You” started life as a Ritter acoustic song but was quickly transformed by Chesak and Fontaine into what’s now the perfect soundtrack for a vintage slow dance prom scene.
To that end, “Heels Up Head Over” explores those themes with a tale about a werewolf and vampire getting married, while lyrical references to the ageless cool of Joan Jett and drunk, young romance make you feel right at home in Now More Than Ever’s company. “This is a record where there was freedom in lyric,” Ritter says. “When you’re on a major label for 15 years, you can succumb to trying to follow your last thing. That can seep into the music in a way that’s so unconscious. The joy of this band is that it’s completely free of any oppressive overlords, ivory towers, approval processes or co-writes that have been manufactured, licked, stamped and thrown onto the assembly line.”
Now More Than Ever is here to help make sure the pillars of pop and rock will never fall, and they’re prepared to go down believing. “This is our little monolith,” Ritter says. “It might be six feet tall amongst giants, but it’s pure. And it’s truth for us. It’s saccharine as fuck, and I love it.”
The Band of Heathens
Simple Things [Limited Edition Clear LP]
Vinyl: $25.98 Buy
EP-LP [RSD Essential Indie Colorway Deep Purple LP]
Ultramodern heavy icons KAMELOT reign supreme with their anticipated new studio album, The Awakening! Following decades of top-charting releases and massive international touring, new radio-ready anthem “One More Flag in the Ground” continues the band’s legacy, proving their balanced rock and metal potency and featuring additional vocal layers from JUNO Award winning musician/producer Brian Howes.
Ten Years After
A Space In Time: 50th Anniversary [Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Clear Half-Speed Master LP]
A Space In Time is Ten Years After's sixth, and best selling album, and was originally released in August 1971.
Featuring their most well-known track "I'd Love To Change The World", which regularly features in movies and TV shows, saw the band taking a more melodic direction from previous releases and showcased the band at their peak. This new (delayed) 50th Anniversary edition of the album features a brand new mix by the original producer/engineer, Chris Kimsey (Rolling Stones/Emerson Lake & Palmer/Marillion), using the original 2" multitrack tapes. He has used modern day plug-ins that perfectly emulate and expand upon the original recording. The results are stunning. The second disc in this set features the original 1971 mix of the album. Both have been mastered and cut at half-speed by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios.
Drake / 21 Savage
CD: $13.99 Buy
Her Loss is a collaborative studio album by Drake and 21 Savage. It was released on November 4, 2022 through OVO Sound/Republic Records and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart.
Pedestrian Verse: 10th Anniversary [Indie Exclusive Limited Edition 2LP]
Vinyl: $34.98 Buy
Frightened Rabbit has earned a wide range of critical applause and a fervent international fan following with their emotional melodies and frank lyricism. As moving and triumphant on stage as they are on record, Frightened Rabbit has performed countless headline shows, as well as sharing stages with such like-minded artists as Modest Mouse and Atlantic labelmates Death Cab for Cutie. The band has also won over audiences at a scope of international festivals, including Glastonbury, T in the Park, Oxegen Festival, and Latitude in the UK, Australia's Splendour in the Grass, and our own Lollapalooza and South By SouthWest (SXSW).
Vinyl: $21.98 Buy
Cuts For Luck And Scars For Freedom [RSD Essential Indie Colorway Black Ice 2LP + Ruby Red 7in]
Vinyl: $59.99 Buy
The Flaming Lips
Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell EP [Limited Edition Glow In The Dark Green Vinyl]
The Flaming Lips
Fight Test EP [Limited Edition Ruby Red Vinyl]
MP3 Album: $6.99 Download
The Cash Box Kings
Vinyl: $24.98 Buy
Daddy Long Legs
Street Sermons [Limited Edition Red LP]
Vinyl: $28.98 Buy
Limited red colored vinyl LP pressing. 2023 release from New York City's most diabolical Rhythm & Blues street gang. The band's fourth studio album represents a wellspring of bottled-up feelings and emotions that need to be taken to the streets. Produced by Oakley Munson of the Black Lips at Old Soul Studios in Catskill, NY the band expands upon a sound that's all their own and features guest appearances from Punk Rock legend Wreckless Eric providing backing vocals on "Nightmare" and "Silver Satin" and The Lovin' Spoonful's John Sebastian on "Ding-Ding Man," In dark times Daddy Long Legs continue to shine their light everywhere they go, leaving a piece of themselves on stage every night because it's in them and it's got to come out. Over the last decade these gentlemen have burned down houses the world over with their explosive fire ceremony and have amassed a cult-like following all their own with a tough to beat reputation for being one of the finest live acts on the road today. Written and recorded against a backdrop of political tension, riots in the streets and a deeply uncertain future, Street Sermons is a testament to triumph over adversity.
CD: $16.98 Buy