Charley Crockett - Music City USA - Son of Davy
The album cover you’re looking at might lead you to conclude Charley Crockett is on one hell of a roll. You wouldn’t be wrong. Ten records in six years is some kind of prolific. The latest, a double album, suggests the artist has some songs worth paying attention to. It’s clear that he’s invested as much time in the studio, recording storytelling songs, and making storytelling videos, as he has barnstorming around the United States and Europe playing live shows. Not bad for a thirty-seven-year-old late bloomer.
NCT 127 - The 3rd Album 'Sticker' (Sticky Ver.) - SM Entertainment Co., Ltd
NCT 127’s 3rd full-length album ‘Sticker’ will be released worldwide this week with 11 songs of various genres including the lead single ‘Sticker.’ The album highlights NCT 127’s unique musical sensibility and outstanding performances. In March 2020, NCT 127 became a million-seller with their 2nd album, NCT #127 Neo Zone, which reached #5 on the Billboard 200. The album includes 1 photo book, 1 folded poster, sticker, photo card, postcard (sticker, photo card, postcard: random 1 out of 9). Dimensions 144mm x 205mm x 8.5mm.
ALSO OUT THIS WEEKFor more information on these and other releases out this week, check out our New Releases charts by week section.
Jordan Rakei - What We Call Life [Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Translucent Green LP]
José González - Local Valley [Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Green LP]
Buena Vista Social Club - Buena Vista Social Club: 25th Anniversary Edition [Deluxe Bookpack]
Bob Dylan - Springtime In New York: The Bootleg Series Vol. 16 (1980-1985)
The Rolling Stones - A Bigger Bang Live On Copacabana Beach [Limited Edition Multi Color 3 LP]
Royksopp - Lost Tapes
Carly Pearce - 29: Written In Stone
James Vincent McMorrow - Grapefruit Season
Colin Linden - bLOW
The Plot In You - Swan Song
Ronnie Wood - Mr. Luck - A Tribute to Jimmy Reed: Live at the Royal Albert Hall [Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Blue 2LP]
Billy Idol - The Roadside EP [Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Blue Vinyl]
Della Mae - Family Reunion
Mild High Club - Going Going Gone [Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Green LP]
Spiritbox - Eternal Blue [Indie Exclusive Limited Edition LP]
Lindsey Buckingham - Lindsey Buckingham
Rumer - Live From Lafayette
Adia Victoria - A Southern Gothic
Vince Guaraldi - It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown [Orange Pumpkin Shaped LP]
& More .....
Quicksand - Distant Populations - Epitaph
Distant Populations, just the fourth full-length album of Quicksand's career, comes as a comparatively swift follow-up to Interiors--which itself came a full 22 years after its predecessor, 1995’s Manic Compression. Critically lauded and deemed very much worth the wait, Interiors succeeded in reestablishing the band as the powerful and contemporary entity they had always been. Distant Populations has a punchier, more up-tempo sound than its predecessor; its 11 songs are concise, carved sonic jewels boasting not a single wasted note; and its raw power, its gripping lyricism, leaps out from the very first listening. It is a striking step up for the band.
Ringo Starr - Change The World EP - UMe
Change The World, recorded at Ringo Starr's Roccabella West, includes "Let's Change The World" (Joseph Williams/Steve Lukather) that delivers a welcome dose of hope and optimism, the reggae-infused "Just That Way" (Ringo Starr/Bruce Sugar,) the Country-esque "Coming Undone," Starr's first collaboration with Linda Perry who wrote and plays on the track (also with Trombone Shorty,) and Ringo rocks his version of "Rock Around The Clock" revved up by the unmistakable Joe Walsh on guitar.
Steely Dan - Northeast Corridor: Steely Dan Live! - Geffen
Northeast Corridor: Steely Dan Live! is the first live Steely Dan album in over 25 years. Featuring Hey Nineteen, Aja, Reelin' in the Years & more.
Various Artists - I'll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute To The Velvet Underground & Nico - Verve
I'll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute To The Velvet Underground & Nico, is a contemporary tribute to the Velvets debut, with each of the album’s songs performed by one of the band’s noteworthy artistic descendants. Featured artists include Kurt Vile & the Violators, Sharon Van Etten, Iggy Pop & Matt Sweeney, Michael Stipe, Matt Berninger of The National, Courtney Barnett, King Princess, Fontaines D.C. and more.
DJ Shadow - Endtroducing.....: 25th anniversary [Half-Speed Master 2 LP] - Mercury
Celebrate the 25th anniversary of DJ Shadow's Endtroducing..... A seminal, incredibly influential hip-hop release, Endtroducing..... is simply one of the defining albums of the ‘90s. Now available as an Abbey Road Half-Speed Mastered Edition LP.
Mickey Guyton - Remember Her Name - Capitol Nashville
Capitol Nashville’s Mickey Guyton will release her album, Remember Her Name, on September 24. Mickey co-penned 15 of the 16 songs on the album. Remember Her Name follows the release of her critically acclaimed Bridges EP which included “Black Like Me” for which she went on to receive a historic GRAMMY nomination. Her performance on the prestigious GRAMMY show was the first by a black female country artist and was touted by NPR as “the night’s most affecting live performance.”
Carrie Underwood - My Gift: Special Edition - Capitol Nashville
Carrie Underwood will be releasing a Special Edition of her Christmas album, My Gift, on September 24th. This new version will include all 11 tracks from the 2020 release as well as 3 new tracks, including “Favorite TimeOf Year,” “All Is Well,” and “Let There Be Peace/Something In The Water” that was performed on her HBO Max special, My Gift: A Christmas Special From Carrie Underwood.
Following on from the global success of ‘Abbey Road’, Apple Corps and USM are proud to present the next multi-format Beatles album reissue of ‘Let It Be’.
January 1969 –The Beatles planned to return to live performance, setting up in Twickenham Film Studios, London, for 21 days of rehearsals. They then decamped to their new studio in their Apple office building in Saville Row and on January 30th performed their last ever live group performance on the rooftop. All of this was filmed for aproposed documentary (eventually released in 1970). During the rehearsal process, they asked Glyn Johns, who had been hired to help with the live sound, to attempt a mix to create an album. This was never released, becoming known as one of the great ‘lost’ albums in rock history and is now included in this Super Deluxe Set. The album was delayed further and in fact became their 12th and final official album release on 8th May 1970 following additional production by American producer Phil Spector.
Watch the unboxing video below and pre-order your copy of the album on Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Picture Disc LP, Super Deluxe 4LP + 12in EP, Super Deluxe 5CD/Blu-ray, Deluxe 2CD, LP or CD.
To call 2020 an odd year would certainly be an understatement. A stressful election, the sad state of race relations and a global pandemic have put most of us in a sour mood to say the least. Many of us have turned to recorded music as a coping mechanism, or for hope, or as an escape from harsh reality. I happen to be a fan of physical media (and work at a record store so definitely biased!) and am glad more people are buying records. It supports the artist, your local record store and a bunch of people in between. And you become the proud owner of a physical manifestation of recorded music that can be enjoyed over a lifetime.
Here are ten records from the year that have help me contextualize the news and bring joy to my daily existence. Compared with previous year’s lists, the ones I connected with are a little darker, more emotional and with one exception (Sufjan’s Ascension) not very poppy. I love a good beat and a hooky chorus but for as much as I was looking forward to a new Tame Impala, it rarely made it to the turntable. These ten though were on high rotation…
I’m a longtime fan so this is no surprise. His song “Ex-Con” from 1997’s Smog – Red Apple Falls served as inspiration for my current band’s name. Gold Record may not be his finest work but there are clearly moments of brilliance. There are a few turds in there too though.
Jazz guitarist most known for his role in post-rock titans Tortoise, Parker has and is continuing to create significant music, releasing material with Makaya McCraven, clipping, Andrew Bird and Rob Mazurek all in 2020! As well as his own fantastic record that exists in its own stylistic space; Parker’s curiosity allows him to create satisfying modern music built upon the rich vocabulary of jazz guitar.
Sufjan has had many high points in his career: 2004’s banjo heavy folk on Seven Swans; 2005’s wide screen progressive pop on Illinois; 2006’s perennial holiday bangers on Songs for Christmas; 2010’s sound collage extravaganza The Age of Adz, and the 2015 tender hearted, personal confessions Carrie & Lowell which scaled back the sonic pyrotechnics in lieu of relatively simple acoustics (kinda like his For Emma, Forever Ago except coming later in his catalog). All the way and until now he’s been working with other artists and releasing his own more experimental (electronic, symphonic, new age, piano scores for dance!) projects and Ascension aims to be yet another high point. Time will tell. It’s certainly a large statement with 15 tracks and a 1 hour 21 minute running time (side C gets a little long in the tooth…) overall he is successful in dialing in his grandiose musical constructs to leaner arrangements and messaging that really stick. His lyrical inspiration has moved from historical, to personal, to now on this one, systemic themes in modern America (what’s not to talk about?!) These might be the only hot jams of 2020 that actually matter.
As I’m typing this, I’m wondering why it’s not number one on my list?!? (really, from here on out, it’s a 7-way tie for first place). Part of the attraction for me is the mysterious nature of his art. I hear some of his influences (his vocal style is unique but I could imagine an updated Marvin Gaye’s falsetto) but his guitar work which I think is how he writes and arranges (even if it doesn’t appear in the final mix) employs chord melodies and voicings from a pallet I’m not yet familiar. Ultimately, his songs seem to be liberated expressions and beautiful to behold. Fun fact: he lives just up the road in Asheville!
Out of all the artist on this list, Dirty Projectors are the music I crave. It’s modern, it’s creative, it’s progressive, the vocals are like candy, the concepts are heady but not essential for listening. I crave potato chips too. Just because I want more of this in my ear hole doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any good or that I should welcome it into the tender parts of my psyche. I’m not implying that their music will enflame your colon, only that I usually I reach outside my comfort zone for new music and am often rewarded for doing so. But with these guys it’s like pass me the Kettle Chips.
YES! There’s a bunch of modern jazz recordings that I truly cherish, like Eric Dolphy’s Out To Lunch, Sun Ra’s Visits Planet Earth, Anthony Braxton’s New York, Fall 1974. Let’s be clear Mazurek is and has always been looking forward and making new music but he’s building upon the rich legacy of creative American black music. That’s a Herculean task to do well but I’m telling you Dimensional Stardust is the work of a jazz hero.
I admit I was late to the party with Big Thief. I heard a few tracks and wrote them off as just another Saddle Creek band. But the two records they released last year just whapped me over the head. They are the best rock band playing today! Except no rock bands are playing today. In 2020, they should have been on tour supporting these two fantastic albums but Covid 19 shut that all down. Lenker, their singer, retreated to a remote cabin in Massachusetts to track these 11 songs with only acoustic guitar and vocals plus 35 additional minutes of instrumental improvisation. The result is simply stunning. Lenker attended a prestigious music school which kinda explains her high level of her playing, but between us, I’ve heard lots of music school grads… She has used those skills to express something true and beautiful: a portrait of a human existence seeking perspective and harmony.
We often think of a “singer songwriter” as somebody that strums chords and sings a melody, but with Bejar, his process of writing lyrics then hearing them come out of his own mouth is only part of the process; the rewriting to get the phrasing dialed in can’t be understated. I think this can be said of Dylan or any great “singer-songwriter” but this fluidity allows for further development, blurring the role of writer and performer. If his ultimate goal is to make a great record, my guess is he’s willing to sacrifice original concepts if it leads to something greater. Part of my curiosity about his process is that his use of language since 2011’s Kaputt has become so abstract; surely he realizes that listeners have their own personal interpretation of his lyrics and I expect that’s part of the fun.
2. Run The Jewels – RTJ4
Killer Mike and El P are back doing what they do: dropping critical beats and brutally honest lyrics. They’re upset. They don’t like what they see. And finally in 2020 after the killing of George Floyd and the protests that followed, mainstream America is starting to scratch it’s collective head and realize that this is not ok. RTJ4 is not a mantra but both Mike and El-P are on the front line speaking truth to power. They are quick to point out injustice in their lyrics and the fact that RTJ is a mixed race duo, creative partners as well as great friends, they offer us a working model of hope.
Like I said earlier, I could have put just about any of these records in the “top spot” but I choose Torres. Yes, 2020 was about politics, race, the pandemic and the struggle of living in a divided tribal country that can’t fix problems because our collective hearts are full of greed and hate. But even in this tsunami of a shit storm, we must not forget that we are walking this earth for brief time and what we all want/need is love. People loving people. The heartbreak and longing that Torres describe is even more powerful than the strongman rhetoric that leads us to this point, seeking to divide us for their own benefit. Maybe Torres’ Silver Tongue can soften a sea of hard hearts and remind us that we all hurt. Why not love?! Sounds like an updated Kate Bush, masterfully melding lyrics and melody. See Gracious Day for case in point.