Archive for the What We’re Into – Recent Interest Category

RECORD STORE DAY 2017 has come and gone, and what else can we say other than THANK YOU, we love you and let’s do it all again next year!

RECORD STORE DAY 2017 has come and gone, and what else can we say other than THANK YOU, we love you and let’s do it all again next year!

We’re speechless, which doesn’t happen often around here. We just had one of our biggest Record Store Day celebrations EVER, without all the ROSANNE CASH & PEARL JAM buzz that blessed last year’s RSD, or the once-in-a-lifetime JASON ISBELL show that highlighted 2015. From the fun-filled vinyl rush at 9am to the steady love til 10pm, to the rainy day shoppers who came out on Sunday, Record Store Day’s 1oth anniversary event was simply amazing. Y’all rock, we’re grateful. Dere it is.

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RODNEY CROWELL’s new album “Close Ties” is in-stock now on NEW WEST RECORDS on CD & LP. It’s a stunning look back at the regrets and joys of a life lived hard.

RODNEY CROWELL’s new album “Close Ties” is in-stock now on NEW WEST RECORDS on CD & LP. It’s a stunning look back at the regrets and joys of a life lived hard.

The rise of Americana music has struck a nerve with Crowell. “I have declared my loyalty to Americana. It’s a hard category for people to get their heads around, or at least the terminology is. But all the people who represent it—Townes van Zandt, Guy Clark, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle and more recent stars like John Paul White and Jason Isbell—share a common thread, and that thread is poetry. Whether they are actual poets or their music exemplifies a poetic sensibility, generally speaking, the Americana artist shuns commercial compromise in favor of a singular vision. Which resonates with me.” There is also a powerful undercurrent of the blues running through the record. “Recently, I think—I hope—that my study of the blues is starting to show up in my music. Those artists, whether it’s Lightnin’ Hopkins or John Lee Hooker or the acoustic Delta players, connected to something fundamental. With that in mind, I’m trying to move forward but also get back there.”

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NEW RELEASES 4/28: April is going out large as we get in new stuff from GORILLAZ, ROBERT CRAY, WILLIE NELSON, MARK LANEGAN, RON SEXSMITH, TROMBONE SHORTY & more!

NEW RELEASES 4/28: April is going out large as we get in new stuff from GORILLAZ, ROBERT CRAY, WILLIE NELSON, MARK LANEGAN, RON SEXSMITH, TROMBONE SHORTY & more!

Robert Cray has been bridging the lines between blues, soul and R&B for the past four decades, with five Grammy wins and over 20 acclaimed albums. For his latest project, Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm, the Blues Hall of Famer traveled to Memphis with his friend, renowned Grammy Award winning producer Steve Jordan, to make a classic soul album with Hi Rhythm, the band that helped create that sound. Set inside an old theatre, the funky Royal Studios looks much as it did when Al Green was cutting those classics for Hi Records. Guitarist Teenie Hodges has passed away, but his brothers Rev. Charles Hodges (organ and piano) and Leroy “Flick” Hodges (bass), along with cousin Archie “Hubbie” Turner (keyboards), were still there.

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NEW RELEASES, 4/14: YES, we do have the new KENDRICK LAMAR in-stock NOW, but that’s not all. We’ve got new STRING CHEESE INCIDENT, JOHN MAYER, and some jazz-classical love for Mr. Gene!

NEW RELEASES, 4/14: YES, we do have the new KENDRICK LAMAR in-stock NOW, but that’s not all. We’ve got new STRING CHEESE INCIDENT, JOHN MAYER, and some jazz-classical love for Mr. Gene!

Less obviously haunted by the influence of George Clinton than its predecessor, Damn still sounds rooted in early-70s soul. There are nods towards the luscious, harmony-laden mellowness of the Stylistics and the Chi-Lites (opener Blood even features a warped version of the kind of spoken-word monologue found on the latter’s single Have You Seen Her?), to the stentorian bellow that opens Curtis Mayfield’s If There’s a Hell Below We’re All Gonna Go and to the dense sound of psychedelic soul – by way of Outkast – on Pride. If it seems a more straightforward listen than To Pimp a Butterfly, there’s a cheering sense that this doesn’t equate to a lessening of musical ambition. There’s none of that album’s wilfully jarring quality – its sudden, anxious musical lurches and abrupt, short-circuiting leaps between genres – but the tracks on Damn still feel episodic and expansive: XXX alone goes from massed harmony vocals to a downbeat rap over glitching, stuttering samples, to a thrilling moment where it explodes in a mass of sirens, screeching tyres and heaving basslines, to a dramatic drop in tempo and an understated guest vocal from Bono in the space of four minutes. Rather than angsty disruptions, there’s a more subtle sense of disquiet here. The heavy-lidded drift of Yah would sound relaxed were it not for the presence of two grating bass notes that fit with the lyrics’ prickly unease, where images of contented family life rub up against “theories and suspicions”. Meanwhile, on the brilliant Pride, troubled lyrical shifts from modesty and confusion to self-belief – “I can’t fake humble because your ass is insecure” – are mirrored by a rap electronically treated so that its pitch gradually speeds up and slows down amid the woozy atmospherics and falsetto vocals. Elsewhere, there’s brilliant, dexterous storytelling on Duckworth – the saga of how Lamar’s father narrowly avoided being murdered by a criminal called Anthony, complete with an eye-popping, no-spoilers twist – and another demonstration of Lamar’s nonpareil ability to write songs about the pressures of wealth and success that somehow manage to elicit the listener’s sympathy rather than a roll of the eyes.

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NEW RELEASES 4/7: Yes, we have the new FATHER JOHN MISTY, not to mention the NEW PORNOGRAPHERS, CORY BRANAN, FUTURE ISLANDS, and an incredible collaboration between YO-YO MA, CHRIS THILE & EDGAR MEYER!

NEW RELEASES 4/7: Yes, we have the new FATHER JOHN MISTY, not to mention the NEW PORNOGRAPHERS, CORY BRANAN, FUTURE ISLANDS, and an incredible collaboration between YO-YO MA, CHRIS THILE & EDGAR MEYER!

Towards the end of Pure Comedy’s 13-minute centrepiece track, Josh Tillman offers a glum assessment of the album’s commercial chances. His career’s current status, he claims, is under threat. “I’m beginning to begin to see the end of how it all goes down between them and me / Some 10-verse chorus-less diatribe plays as they all jump ship,” he sings, eight verses into the 10-verse chorus-less diatribe of Leaving LA. “‘I used to really like this guy / This new shit really kinda makes me wanna die.’” Even if it seems unlikely that Pure Comedy is actually going to end Tillman’s career – numerous excitable reviews certainly suggest the opposite – you can see still why he might have had some trepidation about releasing it. On the surface, it doesn’t sound that different from his 2015 breakthrough album, I Love You, Honeybear. A little starker and more subtle, perhaps – the wilfully cluttered Phil Spector-isms of its predecessor are largely confined to one track, Things It Would Have Been Helpful to Know Before the Revolution – but the main musical influence audibly remains the records Elton John made in his first flush of superstardom.

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NEW RELEASES, 3/31: RODNEY CROWELL, AIMEE MANN, TIM O’BRIEN, MASTODON, THE MAVERICKS, BOB DYLAN, and many more. Whew!

NEW RELEASES, 3/31: RODNEY CROWELL, AIMEE MANN, TIM O’BRIEN, MASTODON, THE MAVERICKS, BOB DYLAN, and many more. Whew!

The title of Aimee Mann’s latest solo effort, her ninth, registers like a punch to the gut. In a world full of self-consciously clever and willfully obtuse album titles, Mental Illness is the equivalent of washing someone’s mouth out with soap. It’s not something you mull over or analyze in search of some hidden subtext or meaning. Instead, it smacks of cold reality. Mental Illness lays its hurt and sadness out so effectively that it’s hard to completely accept it as pure fiction. But even if we’re to take Mann’s word for it that these songs were created with some personal distance,

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NEW RELEASES 3/24: Holy cow, do we have lot of new stuff, from ODDISEE, DREW HOLCOMB, JESUS & MARY CHAIN, CRAIG FINN, RUTHIE FOSTER, and a bunch of jazz/classical titles for Gene!

NEW RELEASES 3/24: Holy cow, do we have lot of new stuff, from ODDISEE, DREW HOLCOMB, JESUS & MARY CHAIN, CRAIG FINN, RUTHIE FOSTER, and a bunch of jazz/classical titles for Gene!

Oddisee, a Maryland native and Brooklyn transplant, has been one of the country’s top independent hip-hop producers for more than half a decade, amassing a sizeable fan base out of the rap nostalgists and beatheads attracted to his mellow, expansive instrumentals. But his new record marks a first; the rapping on The Iceberg—fluid, dynamic and above all, thoughtful—finally matches the pull and urgency of his production. In the past, a solemn chorus of horns and bass, like the one on Iceberg opener “Digging Deep,” may have outstripped the lyrical overlay. Here, though, the music provides a backdrop for Oddisee to explain the album’s premise: Our actions are only comprehensible once you understand the circumstances that have shaped our respective characters. The Iceberg zeroes in on those circumstances, while serving up another selection of near-perfect beats. On the clear standout, “You Grew Up,” one verse traces the divergent paths of Oddisee and a white friend who grows up to become a murderous police officer; another examines a man whose self-loathing leads him to radical Islam. Oddisee offers a complex portrait of both men, and his storytelling is complemented by sharp lyrical asides. The Iceberg uses dynamic narratives to avoid the sanctimony that has stained the genre, pairing Odd’s always-reliable board work with a new commitment to lyrical exploration.

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NEW RELEASES, 3/10: SHINS, MAGNETIC FIELDS, the REVEREND PEYTON’S BIG DAMN BAND, MARTY STUART, PIETA BROWN, and more!

NEW RELEASES, 3/10: SHINS, MAGNETIC FIELDS, the REVEREND PEYTON’S BIG DAMN BAND, MARTY STUART, PIETA BROWN, and more!

The Shins’ freaky fifth album, Heartworms, teems with psychedelia that’ll please the lava-lamp-and-incense crowd. From Magical Mystery Tour-styled sound effects (“Painting a Hole”) to hypnotic island vibes (“The Fear”), the project contains some of the band’s most adventurous music yet. And songs like “Name For You” and “Cherry Hearts” prove Mercer still pens some of indie-rock’s most addictive pop melodies.Mercer’s lyrical luster has diminished somewhat since the band’s halcyon days, but he still flashes poetic brilliance often on Heartworms.

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NEW RELEASES 3/3: BELA FLECK, GRANDADDY, MINUS THE BEAR, BOMBADIL, DANKO JONES, IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE, DANIEL HOPE & more!

NEW RELEASES 3/3: BELA FLECK, GRANDADDY, MINUS THE BEAR, BOMBADIL, DANKO JONES, IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE, DANIEL HOPE & more!

Béla Fleck is the world’s premier banjo player, a 16-time Grammy Award winner nominated in more categories than any other musician, a genre-busting collaborator, a film producer and a composer. Foremost, though, he is a dad. The impact of fatherhood on Béla is reflected in Juno Concerto, named for his firstborn son with fellow folk musician Abigail Washburn. The album was recorded with the Colorado Symphony, conducted by José Luis Gomez and also includes two tracks with the Brooklyn Rider string quartet: ‘Griff’ and the second movement of ‘Quintet for Banjo and Strings,’

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NEW RELEASES 2/24: OLD 97’s, RHIANNON GIDDENS, WESLEY STACE (aka JOHN WESLEY HARDING), BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE and more!

NEW RELEASES 2/24: OLD 97’s, RHIANNON GIDDENS, WESLEY STACE (aka JOHN WESLEY HARDING), BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE and more!

It’s an interesting week here at New Releases central. We’ve got a potpourri of new stuff that ranges all over the map, genre-wise, from the return of Old 97’s to Wesley Stace’s return to his true name, to a double-album of weirdness from The Brian Jonestown Massacre to some serious loveliness from Rhiannon Giddens. There’s […]

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  • NEW RELEASES 4/28: April is going out large as we get in new stuff from GORILLAZ, ROBERT CRAY, WILLIE NELSON, MARK LANEGAN, RON SEXSMITH, TROMBONE SHORTY & more!
    Robert Cray has been bridging the lines between blues, soul and R&B for the past four decades, with five Grammy wins and over 20 acclaimed albums. For his latest project, Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm, the Blues Hall of Famer traveled to Memphis with his friend, renowned Grammy Award winning producer Steve Jordan, to make a classic soul album with Hi Rhythm, the band that helped create that sound. Set inside an old theatre, the funky Royal Studios looks much as it did when Al Green was cutting those classics for Hi Records. Guitarist Teenie Hodges has passed away, but his brothers Rev. Charles Hodges (organ and piano) and Leroy "Flick" Hodges (bass), along with cousin Archie "Hubbie" Turner (keyboards), were still there.
  • NEW RELEASES, 4/14: YES, we do have the new KENDRICK LAMAR in-stock NOW, but that’s not all. We’ve got new STRING CHEESE INCIDENT, JOHN MAYER, and some jazz-classical love for Mr. Gene!
    Less obviously haunted by the influence of George Clinton than its predecessor, Damn still sounds rooted in early-70s soul. There are nods towards the luscious, harmony-laden mellowness of the Stylistics and the Chi-Lites (opener Blood even features a warped version of the kind of spoken-word monologue found on the latter’s single Have You Seen Her?), to the stentorian bellow that opens Curtis Mayfield’s If There’s a Hell Below We’re All Gonna Go and to the dense sound of psychedelic soul – by way of Outkast – on Pride. If it seems a more straightforward listen than To Pimp a Butterfly, there’s a cheering sense that this doesn’t equate to a lessening of musical ambition. There’s none of that album’s wilfully jarring quality – its sudden, anxious musical lurches and abrupt, short-circuiting leaps between genres – but the tracks on Damn still feel episodic and expansive: XXX alone goes from massed harmony vocals to a downbeat rap over glitching, stuttering samples, to a thrilling moment where it explodes in a mass of sirens, screeching tyres and heaving basslines, to a dramatic drop in tempo and an understated guest vocal from Bono in the space of four minutes. Rather than angsty disruptions, there’s a more subtle sense of disquiet here. The heavy-lidded drift of Yah would sound relaxed were it not for the presence of two grating bass notes that fit with the lyrics’ prickly unease, where images of contented family life rub up against “theories and suspicions”. Meanwhile, on the brilliant Pride, troubled lyrical shifts from modesty and confusion to self-belief – “I can’t fake humble because your ass is insecure” – are mirrored by a rap electronically treated so that its pitch gradually speeds up and slows down amid the woozy atmospherics and falsetto vocals. Elsewhere, there’s brilliant, dexterous storytelling on Duckworth – the saga of how Lamar’s father narrowly avoided being murdered by a criminal called Anthony, complete with an eye-popping, no-spoilers twist – and another demonstration of Lamar’s nonpareil ability to write songs about the pressures of wealth and success that somehow manage to elicit the listener’s sympathy rather than a roll of the eyes.