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Richard Thompsons new album, 13 Rivers, is the artists first self-produced record in over a decade. 13 Rivers is a very stripped down, bare-bones recording and according to Thompson the album is a reflection of current events that have happened in his life. This has been an intense year for myself and my family, getting older doesnt mean that life gets easier! There are surprises around every bend.
I think this reflects in the immediacy of the stories, and the passion in the songs. Sometimes I am speaking directly about events, at other times songs are an imaginative spin on what life throws at you. The music is just a mirror to life, but we try to polish that mirror as brightly as possible. The album was recorded at Boulevard Recording in Los Angeles, California. 13 Rivers features Richards regular accompanists, Michael Jerome and Taras Prodaniuk, as well as Thompsons guitar tech, Bobby Eichorn, on second guitar.
Each track on the album was recorded in analog, with minimal overdubbing. Boulevard is a really funky-looking studio, says Richard, but it sounds great. It used to be called The Producers Workshop, and was owned by Liberace, whose ghost is reportedly still hanging around. Steely Dan records were done there, and The Wall by Pink Floyd was mixed there. Clay Blair, the engineer, is a Beatles nut, and has every piece of Beatles gear he can lay his hands on - so if things sound a bit like Abbey Road, so be it!
13 Rivers consists of thirteen tracks. It is an album as much about growth as it is about reflection. Says Thompson, I dont know how the creative process works - I suppose it is some kind of bizarre parallel existence to my own life. I often look at a finished song and wonder what the hell is going on inside me. We sequenced the weird stuff at the front of the record, and the tracks to grind your soul into submission.
Thrice created Palms with a free-form and fluid approach to the album’s sonic element. The result is their most expansive work to date, encompassing everything from viscerally charged post-hardcore to piano-driven balladry. To carve out that eclectic sound, Thrice enlisted trusted producer Eric Palmquist for the recording of the percussion and vocal tracks, and self-produced all of the guitar parts on Palms. “When we track our own stuff we tend to be far less neurotic about getting every note perfect,” says singer Dustin Kensrue. “It’s more about getting the right emotion out of the performance, so that it connects on a deeper level.” Kensrue, co-founded Thrice with guitarist Teppei Teranishi, bassist Eddie Breckenridge, and drummer Riley Breckenridge in 1998. Hailing from Orange County, California, the band formed when three of its members were still in high school, making their debut with the kinetic punk/hardcore hybrid of the 2000 album Identity Crisis. Their breakthrough arrived with 2003’s The Artist in the Ambulance—Thrice’s third full-length, whose singles “All That’s Left” and “Stare at the Sun” each landed on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. Palms is the band’s first release since signing to Epitaph in early 2018, and the album matches its raw passion with a measured intensity, a rare feat for an album so informed by the volatility of the times. “Even though some of these songs are really aggressive-sounding, I wanted to make sure they never felt like finger-pointing, especially at a time when there’s so much talking past each other,” says Kensrue. Within that approach, Thrice reveal their profound commitment to making an enduring impact on the listener.
Tony Bennett and Diana Krall celebrate their shared love of the music of George and Ira Gershwin on their new collaborative album, LOVE IS HERE TO STAY, set for a September 14th release.
LOVE IS HERE TO STAY is a subtle, sophisticated and beautifully rendered love letter to The Gershwins’ music and their status as one of the premiere songwriters of the American popular standard. It is a masterclass in vocal delivery and phrasing and the command that Bennett and Krall display of the material in both their duets and solo tracks makes it appear effortless, belying the honed skill of the vocalists. The duet tracks include “S’Wonderful,” “I’ve Got Rhythm,” “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” and “Fascinating Rhythm,” among them. “Fascinating Rhythm” was Tony Bennett’s first physical recording in 1949, made under his then stage name, Joe Bari, which he revisits as a duet with Krall for this project.
Alejandro Escovedo s new album is perhaps his most varied and expansive album to date. It is his first album recorded outside of America, in northern Italy, with co-writer Don Antonio Gramentieri and a band of Italian musicians. It is also Alejandro s first ever concept album drawing the story of two young immigrants to the US, who bond over a mutual love of punk rock as they struggle with the racism and discrimination as immigrants. Special guests on the album include Wayne Kramer (MC5), Joe Ely, and Peter Perrett and John Perry of The Only Ones. The sound ranges from straight ahead rockers like, Sonica USA, to ballads like the classic Joe Ely penned, Silver City, and everywhere in between. To describe this album as, "epic," might be an understatement.
140g Double Vinyl, single jacket with 16 tracks (14 songs + 2 instrumentals).
Paul McCartney invites you on a musical journey to Egypt Station, estimated time of arrival September 7, 2018 by way of Capitol Records. Sharing a title with one of Paul’s own paintings, Egypt Station is the first full album of all-new McCartney music since 2013’s international chart-topping NEW. Preceded by two of its tracks just released as double A-sides--plaintive ballad “I Don’t Know” and raucous stomper “Come On To Me”—Egypt Station was recorded between Los Angeles, London and Sussex, and produced (with the exception of one Ryan Tedder track) by Greg Kurstin (Adele, Beck, Foo Fighters).
Of the forthcoming album’s enigmatic title, Paul says, “I liked the words ‘Egypt Station.’ It reminded me of the ‘album’ albums we used to make.., Egypt Station starts off at the station on the first song and then each song is like a different station. So it gave us some idea to base all the songs around that. I think of it as a dream location that the music emanates from.”
True to the inspiration behind its title, Egypt Station’s 14 songs combine to convey a unique travelogue vibe. Between the opening and closing instrumentals “Station I” and “Station II,” each song finds Paul capturing a place or moment before transporting the listener seamlessly to the next destination. Stops along the way include an acoustic meditation on present day contentedness (“Happy With You”), a timeless anthem that would fit on virtually any album of any McCartney era (“People Want Peace”), and an epic multi-movement closer clocking in at seven minutes with a song suite structure harkening back to the days of Paul’s previous combos (“Despite Repeated Warnings”). The result is a kaleidoscopic journey through myriad musical locales and eras, yet firmly rooted in the here and now--with Paul’s singular unmistakable melodic and lyrical sensibility serving as a guide.
Mothers attempt to exist in two places at once - both singular and collaborative, sprawling and concise, present and distant. Kristine Leschper, songwriter and founding member of the project, explains that it is in the space between opposites that she finds herself. The multifaceted is, by nature, fragmented - each facet reflecting a slightly different perspective of the whole. On their latest record, Render Another Ugly Method, the band attempts to gain an expanded view of its surroundings through splintered sound, thought, and image. Leschper began exploring songwriting when she moved to Athens, Georgia as a teenager. Inspired by the growth that studying art allowed her and energized by the buzzing southern town, she started to perform publicly in 2013 and quickly developed local acclaim for her stark, unflinchingly vulnerable songs. During this time, she met many local artists and musicians, among them Matthew Anderegg, whom she quickly recognized as an artistic kindred spirit and friend. The following year they began working together to flesh out and arrange a collection of songs she had written, which would become the project’s 2016 debut release, When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired. Released in 2016, the album kicked off a sprawling eight months of touring across the US, UK and Europe, as the group honed their take on left-of center indie rock with an explosive and surprising live show that displayed how forceful the songs translated to a full-band setting. " Within Mothers, Leschper and Anderegg have remained a creative constant, with other collaborators changing over time. Render Another Ugly Method sees the remnants of Leschper and Anderegg, Chris Goggans and Drew Kirby in musical conversation, through cut-up songs that were torn apart and rebuilt over and over again.
Adult contemporary is characterized by its exceptional euphony. In skill, it effortlessly mingles sounds. In intent, it envelops itself in harmonies. In spirit, it has the beguiling ability to disarm listeners. That’s why L.A.’s Milo Greene, the always-evolving indie-pop band, chose the genre as its muse—even naming their third album, Adult Contemporary.
Across two decades, eight albums, and a multitude of singles, splits, and EPs, Alkaline Trio has built a reputation as a defining act in punk rock’s modern era. Formed in Chicago by vocalist-guitarist Matt Skiba in 1996, the band would come into its own with its debut album Goddammit in 1998. Since then, the band has continually evolved, incorporating new influences with each record while achieving artistic, critical, and commercial success along the way. It’s been 5 years since Alkaline Trio released their last studio album, My Shame Is True. In that time, they’ve toured the world, sold over a million records, including a 20th Anniversary – 8 LP live box set, recorded on their 2014-15 Past Live tour. Since those Past Live shows, Andriano and drummer Derek Grant both released solo albums, and Skiba joined blink-182, releasing the chart-topping album California with the band. Alkaline Trio’s live shows have always been thrilling due to the fact that, even as the band ascended through the ranks of punk, they always retained the feeling of three friends excited to be on stage together. “When I think of a Trio live show,” says Skiba, “I always go back to the humble beginnings of the band, and I want that to always be in this band.” Alkaline Trio closed 2017 with a coveted opening slot for The Original Misfits, a band Skiba describes as his “first love,” Alkaline Trio is primed to step back into the spotlight. “We have the wind at our backs, it seems,” says Skiba. “Every aspect of the band—be it business or artistically or whatever—it feels like the Gods are in our corner.” Andriano agrees, and says that he’s ready to make the band’s best record yet. “I wanna be a band that people want to hear new stuff from. Because I feel like I’m still in a band that wants to write good, new music.” “Is This Thing Cursed?” will prove that good, new music is worth the wait.
Saintseneca’s Zac Little has been thinking a lot about memory. Not necessarily his memories, though they creep in often, too. Rather, he mulls over the idea of memory itself: its resilience, its haziness, how it slips away as we try to hang on, the way it resurfaces despite our best efforts to forget. Memory is the common thread running throughout the Columbus, OH folk-punk band’s fourth album, Pillar of Na, arriving in late summer via ANTI- Records. Following 2015’s critically lauded Such Things, the new album’s name is rooted in remembrance, referencing the Genesis story of Lot’s wife who looks back at a burning Sodom after God instructs her not to. She looks back, and God turns her into a pillar of salt. “Na,” meanwhile, is the chemical symbol for sodium. “Nah” is a passive refusal and the universal song word. It means nothing and stands for nothing. It is “as it is.” Musically, Pillar of Na is Saintseneca’s most ambitious album to date, with Little aiming to incorporate genre elements he’d rarely heard in folk. “I wanted to use the idiom of folk-rock, or whatever you want to call it, and to try to do something that had never been done before,” Little explains. I told Mike Mogis I wanted Violent Femmes meets the new Blade Runner soundtrack. I’m looking for the intersection between Kendrick Lamar and The Fairport Convention.” - SAINTSENECA WILL TOUR THE WORLD IN SUPPORT OF PILLAR OF NA, THEY JUST COMPLETED A TOUR WITH HOPALONG - PRODUCED BY MIKE MOGIS (BRIGHT EYES, RILO KILEY)
TASH SULTANA is a dynamic young artist who has commanded world attention since homemade videos of Tash jamming went viral. A true virtuoso, Tash was soon selling out massive theaters globally and playing at the world's biggest festivals - no mean feat for an artist who just a year before was recording songs on a go pro in a bedroom. The virtuosic playing of over 18 instruments, vocals that shine with a magical quality and the natural gift for melody that Tash possesses needs to be seen to be believed. Tash has sold over 200K tickets globally with 50K in the US, is selling out theaters and clubs around the world, played major festivals including Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, ACL and more, and amassed hundreds of millions of streams globally on her Notion EP. Tash has received 4x Aria award nominations and multiple APRA nominations.
Most people know Aaron Lee Tasjan as one of the wittiest, most offbeat, brilliant, weed-smokin’ & LSD microdosin’ Americana troubadours writing and singing songs today. And the New York Times, NPR and Rolling Stone will all gladly corroborate. But steel yourselves, folk fans, because he’s about to follow his restless muse straight out from under the weight of everyone’s expectations into the kind of glammy, jingle-jangle power-pop- and- psych-tinged sounds he hasn’t dabbled in since his younger days playing lead guitar for a late-period incarnation of The New York Dolls.
Karma for Cheap is Tasjan’s third LP and second for his label New West Records, based in his current hometown of Nashville. The record was co-produced by ALT and his friends Jeff Trott (Stevie Nicks, Liz Phair, Meiko, Joshua Radin) and Gregory Lattimer (Albert Hammond Jr.) and features Aaron Lee’s road band—guitarist Brian Wright, bassist Tommy Scifres and drummer Seth Earnest—with whom he’s been touring heavily for the last two years.
While the stylistic shift from Tasjan’s palpably stoned ‘70s-country-channeling 2015 debut, In the Blazes, to his more sophisticated, introspective and lushly produced 2016 follow-up, Silver Tears, was relatively incremental, Karma’s rocked-up Brit-pop-influenced Beatles-Bowie-Badfinger vibes underscore a significant departure. The album boldly reminagines these vintage sounds, pushing the boundary of what can be considered Americana.
The roots of Tasjan’s Karma for Cheap, stretch deep, drinking up the sounds of a Southern California childhood spent listening to The Beatles while riding around with his mom at the wheel of their navy blue Volvo station wagon—back to the very first pre-teen year he picked up a six-string and started figuring out all the pretty little chords in those Lennon-McCartney tunes. Back to the pure, blissful unfiltered innocence of falling in love with music for the first time. A huge sonic touchstone for ALT’s new record is The Beatles Anthology, one of his childhood favorites. In songs like “If Not Now When,” “Song Bird” and “The Rest Is Yet to Come,” you can hear echoes of George Harrison’s vibrant guitar riffs and Jeff Lynne’s lavish production on those lo-fi John Lennon demos the surviving Beatles dug up and polished off in the mid ‘90s.
Perhaps the most poignant moment on Karma for Cheap is the anthemic, hypnotic “Heart Slows Down,” a tune rife with musical and lyrical references to the Beatles and Tom Petty, anchored by an unforgettable chorus with a Traveling Wilburys vibe that finds the sweet spot between Tasjan’s two earliest musical heroes. “When I was a kid, my favorite CD to fall asleep to was Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ Greatest Hits, and the last song is a cover of that Thunderclap Newman song ‘Something in the Air.’ From the time I was a little kid to when I was teenager, I used to listen to that song on headphones almost every night—I heard it in that space between wake and sleep so many times. And Tom’s passing—he was a really big hero of mine, so it hit me pretty hard. We were in Seattle playing a show when I heard, and it was a heavy thing to process. But all of those elements are there in ‘Heart Slows Down.’ The chorus, ‘I will always be around,’ is a reminder that all the good you ever got out of listening to this music is still around you. You’ll always have that.”
Aaron Lee Tasjan says he aims to use his music for good, but he’s no protest singer. And Karma for Cheap isn’t some heavy-handed, didactic political record cramming a set of talking points down anyone’s throat. It’s a finely tuned rock & roll seismograph measuring the dark and uncertain vibrations of the time in which it was created. A cracked mirror reflecting back the American zeitgeist in this foul year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Eighteen. With Karma, Tasjan establishes himself as an artist who not only evolves over time, but isn’t afraid to risk reinventing himself completely from one record to the next.
Passenger is Mike Rosenberg, the Brighton-born singer/songwriter known for busking his way to the global hit “Let Her Go” which topped the charts in 19 countries. Produced by Rosenberg, along with longtime collaborator Chris Vallejo, the new album is largely inspired by the North American landscape and geography, both musically and lyrically, and taps into Rosenberg’s family roots in New Jersey. This brings a fresh new approach and sound, and speaks to the road going traveler in all of us.
Although civilization’s transition into a cyborg world seems inevitable, there are still those who recognize the beauty and power of a human touch to complement the circumvention. Jack Tatum understands this balance, and through a decade making music as Wild Nothing he has learned to embrace both sides of that dynamic—but perhaps never as distinctly as on Indigo, the fourth Wild Nothing album. On one hand, it is a return to the fresh, transcendent sweep of his debut, 2010’s Gemini, and on the other, a culmination of heights reached, paths traveled, and lessons learned while creating the follow-ups, Nocturne and Life of Pause. Indigo finds Tatum at his most efficient, calculated, and confident—resulting in an artful blend of hi-fi humanity and technology that fires on all circuits and synapses.
To make Indigo, Tatum confronted the Man vs. Machine dichotomy by seizing on the surrounding synergy. Finding the right people to work on the album was integral, as was the proper place to record it. So, Tatum booked four days at legendary Sunset Sound’s Studio. Afterwards, producer Jorge Elbrecht (Ariel Pink, Gang Gang Dance, Japanese Breakfast) and Tatum built out the rest of the album’s sound by adding new parts and repurposing sounds from Tatum’s demos. The resulting Indigo is its own cyborg world, utilizing the artful mechanisms of human touch with the precision of technology to create the classic, pristine sound Tatum had been seeking his entire career. From the opening drum beat, chiming guitar, and sweeping synth of “Letting Go” to Tatum’s Bryan Ferry vocal turn on “Oscillation” to the ’80s-heavy blips, clicks, and strut of “Partners in Motion,” it’s clear that Indigo is at once vintage Wild Nothing and a bold, new leap into a bigger arena.
In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of The Band’s landmark debut album, Music From Big Pink is released in a limited edition of two black vinyl LPs that feature a new stereo mix of the album, produced by Bob Clearmountain from the original four-track analog master. This new mix achieves a striking clarity and incorporates some previously unreleased chatter from the studio sessions. For the LP, Chris Bellman cut the vinyl lacquers for the album’s new stereo mix at 45rpm at Bernie Grundman Mastering, expanding the album’s vinyl footprint from one LP to two.