We need PEARL JAM now more than ever, and they’ve answered the call with their new album, GIGATON. It’s out NOW on LP & CD. Visit our webstore to get yourself a copy!

We’ll be honest with you: We’re a little biased here at HORIZON RECORDS when it comes to PEARL JAM. It’s not just because they broke the boundaries of grunge to become something bigger, better and bolder. It’s because of their passion for music; PHYSICAL music, and the indie-stores who deliver it, and also because of their social consciousness, whether that means fighting high ticket prices or saving the planet. Check out what PJ singer EDDIE VEDDER said onstage at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena on April 16th, 2016 after guitarist MIKE MCCREADY paid us a Record Store Day visit:

“Today is Record Store Day, it’s a big day! Mike brought us all some incredibly nice gifts, trying to contribute to the local economy, and we’re going home with some really nice vinyl from Horizon Records. You’re lucky because not all cities have record stores. You’re very lucky and we’re very happy to get this opportunity to give a shout-out to Horizon Records and Gene Berger.”

We are not worthy, but we are damn grateful.

So we are naturally excited about GIGATON, the first new Pearl Jam album in seven years, and easily the most wide-ranging collection of songs they’ve ever recorded. That’s particularly impressive when you consider that, gulp, Pearl Jam and its grunge-era brethren are officially classic rock.

It’s been an entire generation since Eddie and the boys were hailed as the voice of theirs. Nineties teens can now tell their children of a distant time when musicians with guitars roamed the MTV airwaves currently occupied by “Teen Mom OG” and “Jersey Shore Family Vacation.”

At this stage in their career, the hometown legends have evolved into a cult-favorite live band, their shake-’em-up set lists earning them a rabid following akin to jam bands like Phish. Caravanning fans will pack arenas and stadiums regardless of the ’90s rock heroes’ present day studio habits, yet Gigaton is the work of a band unafraid to shake things up in recording sessions, too — just not as drastically as fans may have initially thought.

In January, the dancey curveball “Dance of the Clairvoyants” became a certified talker when it was released as the lead single. With Eddie Vedder barking like a disgruntled David Byrne over a digitally steeped drum beat and funky post-punk guitar barbs, the synth-splashed bop sounds nothing like anything the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers had conjured in its 30 years.

Polarizing? Maybe. But it’s the most exciting and unexpected track the band has unleashed this century, perking the ears of some who’d tuned out ages ago and rankling a few of the die-hards. This sort of split is always a sign of creative health from a veteran band with nothing to prove. Down the road — when bands are able to hit the road again — “Dance” is likely to slide into Pearl Jam’s always-unpredictable set lists..

The outlier’s closest sibling on Gigaton is probably the marching “Quick Escape,” which feels like a sci-fi warning from a future with unmitigated climate change. Featuring another round of mechanical post-punk guitars, the churning track with a shout-along chorus is punctuated by a supernova of a solo from a peak-form Mike McCready. Throughout “Gigaton,” the celebrated axeman unleashes torrents of stadium-slaying guitar heroics with the restraint of a quarantined kid hitting the park for the first time in weeks.

Just like he’s doing HERE, actually, in a shirt that looks a bit familiar:

Whether a product of added time or fresh studio blood with Seattle’s Josh Evans taking over producer duties from frequent Pearl Jam collaborator Brendan O’Brien, the quintet seemed eager to experiment on its 11th studio album. But never fear: Despite some stylistic dalliances, Gigaton has plenty of tried-and-true Pearl Jam. Midtempo bruisers arrive with varying spice levels, with classic rock-indebted “Never Destination” serving as a highlight. Vedder comes out charging like a younger Springsteen with Whovian power and swagger. We half expected friend of the band Pete Townshend to come windmilling in after the first chorus. Meanwhile, “Comes Then Goes” is a classic Vedder acoustic ballad as savory as any. Instead of feeling cliché, his “the kids are alright” lyric comes off as a knowing wink to the past and future from a 50-something rock star with half a lifetime’s wisdom to draw from.

Ultimately, “Gigaton” may not appeal to anyone who hasn’t kept up with grunge gods, but it rivals the more cohesive “Backspacer” as a late-career high water mark.

If the kids are alright, so are their MTV-generation parents who refuse to settle for a reboot.

Sounds like a winner to us.

Stay safe, but keep rockin’.

Gigaton is in-stock now at HORIZON RECORDS, available NOW at our WEBSTORE for curbside pickup. We might just have a few other Pearl Jam titles in-stock, too. Give us a call at 864-235-7922!


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