“Alpha Games was conceived on the road, playing in front of amazing crowds on our last tour and then brought to life with the fire and the frustrations of 2020,” says Kele Okereke on Bloc Party’s first new album in seven years.
The first Bloc Party album written and recorded as this four piece; adding the musicality of Justin Harris (bass) and the unbridled energy and power of Louise Bartle on the drums to capture the spark of their live shows and to deliver the most exciting Bloc Party album yet.
“We wanted to can what was happening at those massive gigs in 2019, to showcase what Louise can do, what Russell is capable of and most importantly the electricity coming off the audience. We knew that Nick & Adam were the right choice of producers to do that and the result feels like fire in a bottle.”
Produced by Nick Launay & Adam Greenspan (Nick Cave, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, IDLES), the 12 tracks of Alpha Games veer from the intense & confrontational (Traps, Day Drinker) to melodic and introspective (If We Get Caught, By Any Means Necessary) and marks a new and important chapter in one of music’s most important voices in Kele Okereke and important bands in Bloc Party.
Richard Thompson’s score for Grizzly Man – Werner Herzog’s 2005 documentary film of real life and death in the Alaskan wilderness – is one of the best-kept secrets in the British guitarist’s epic canon: an instrumental masterpiece disguised as a movie soundtrack. Recorded over two days as Thompson played live in the studio to Herzog’s footage – mostly alone, at times in chamber settings with cello, piano and percussion – these tenderly detailed melodies and quietly visceral improvisations are cinema in their own right, rendered with pictorial instinct and the dazzling technique forged in Thompson’s lifelong passage through traditional folk, psychedelia, North African modes and intensely personal songwriting. Here is Thompson at his natural best – finger-picking dance; snake-curl twang and singing-wire harmonics – in a solo clarity that runs from jig-like joy to deep-note meditation, the “Grizzly Man” blues march with its echoes of Fairport Convention’s “Sloth” to the long night of “Treadwell No More,” a harrowing darkness in slicing treble and tremolo shiver. Produced by guitarist Henry Kaiser, Grizzly Man is a record of powerful solitude – as bold and majestic as the land in Herzog’s film; as intimate as prayer – and essential Richard Thompson.
2022 release. Introduced to the world ten years ago, Emeli Sandé MBE has become an icon of British singer-songwriting; emotional, honest, and prolific in the kind of manner that cements you as a go-to artist for heartfelt pop sensibility. In 2021, it's time for a reintroduction. Newly signed to independent label Chrysalis Records, Sandé has freed herself from the expectations of others in order to make an album of expansive creativity, flexing her holistic skills as a songwriter, producer and vocalist in new, versatile ways. Something of an artistic rebirth, it draws on old familiarities and brave beginnings, uniting fans old and new in her endless drive to use music as a tool for inspirational lift.
Calexico occupy their signature sound on the new album, El Mira- dor; riding the continental divide between dream pop, Mexican folk and Americana. If any band understands how to expand their sound without losing the brilliant essence of the band, it’s Calexico. Their songs run the gamut from retro-tinged alt-rock, to sentimental folk to southwestern tracks with an impressive display of vision and expertly honed skills. With vocals that intertwine English and Spanish, El Mirador embraces the musical heritage of the southwest, and features guest artists from all musical genres including: Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) who drops backing vocals on “Harness the Wind”, Jairo Zavala of Depedro is featured vocalist on “Cumbia Peninsula” Gaby Moreno and Mexican Institute Of Sound are featured on “Cumbia Del Polvo”.
Kristine Leschper’s The Opening, Or Closing Of A Door, is a paean to the sensory world. It’s the first Leschper has released under her given name, having retired the moniker Mothers after eight years of performing and releasing music under it. Though both projects are guided by Leschper’s idiosyncratic approach to songwriting, they couldn’t sound more different. While Mothers drew inspiration from the stark, skeletal sounds of post-punk and contemporary folk, Leschper’s new work is practically baroque, integrating an array of synthesizers, strings, woodwinds, and over a dozen percussive instruments. “Earlier work didn’t involve recording as part of the writing process, recordings were simply made as a document of something that had been written and rehearsed. I have since discovered a deep affection for home recording and sound exploration, finding that I thrive in those rabbit holes of texture, timbre, rhythm, which can add so much complexity to the emotionality of a composition.”
The at-home recording process gave Leschper freedom to set her personal ethos to music divorced from the pressure of an audience. As she worked on The Opening, Or Closing Of A Door, the constellation of ideas that had guided her personal transformation began to cohere into something communicable through music.
“We’re a bunch of outsiders who refused to be kept out,” says High Pulp drummer Bobby Granfelt. “We’ve never had an academic approach to jazz—most of us grew up playing in DIY bands—so it was the rawness and the energy and the absolute freedom of the music that called to us in the first place.”
Indeed, there’s something defiant, something utterly liberating about High Pulp’s remarkable ANTI- Records debut, Pursuit of Ends. Drawing on punk rock, shoegaze, hip-hop, and electronic music, the band’s brand of experimental jazz is both vintage and futuristic all at once, hinting at times to everything from Miles Davis and Duke Ellington to Aphex Twin and My Bloody Valentine. The songs here balance meticulous composition with visceral spontaneity, and the performances are nothing short of virtuosic, fueled by raw, ecstatic horn runs ducking and weaving their way around thick bass lines and dizzying percussion.
While the Seattle-based collective is centered around a crew of six core members, they also make judicious use of a broad network of collaborators on the album, wrangling special guests like sax star Jaleel Shaw (Roy Haynes, Mingus Big Band), harpist Brandee Younger (Ravi Coltrane, The Roots), GRAMMY-nominated trumpeter Theo Coker, and keyboardist Jacob Mann (Rufus Wainwright, Louis Cole) to help stretch the boundaries of their already-expansive sonic universe. The result is a lush, cinematic collection that’s as unpredictable as it is engrossing, an urgent, exhilarating instrumental album that manages to speak to the moment without uttering a single word.
Leyla McCalla finds inspiration from her past and present. Whether it is her Haitian heritage or her adopted home of New Orleans, she — a bilingual multi-instrumentalist and alumna of Grammy award-winning African-American string band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops — has risen to produce a distinctive sound that reflects the union of her roots and experience. McCalla has produced a multi-disciplinary music, dance and theatre work, Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever, which follows her personal journey as she uncovers the history of Radio Haiti, the first radio station in Haiti to report news in Haitian Kreyol - the voice of the people. Through this juxtaposition of voices - the personal and political, the anecdotal and the journalistic - McCalla gives expression to the enduring spirit of Haiti’s marginalized poor in the face of several centuries of political oppression. Performances of the theatre work are currently scheduled in New Orleans and Philadelphia with more to be announced in soon. The process of creating Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever included listening to countless archival recordings of interviews by Radio Haiti’s journalists, and McCalla specifically wrote “Fort Dimanche” after listening to a testimonial interview that Michele Montas - the prominent former journalist and station director at Radio Haiti - had conducted with a survivor of Duvalier’s political prison. In the interview, the man outlined his living conditions, the daily terror and torture that these political prisoners were subjected to and the events that led to his arrest. This album is a soundtrack of sorts to the theatre piece, featuring the songs that Leyla McCalla wrote and performs in this work.
Most known for his role as songwriter and lead singer of punk rock band Pennywise, JIM LINDBERG has been making inspiring, thought-provoking music since the 1990’s. Musically, he is influenced by an array of genres from punk and folk music to old school country and americana. Lyrically, Jim takes inspiration anywhere from transcendental philosophers to real life events; seeking always to tell a story or find the answers to life’s big questions.
This acoustic solo project is the first from JIM LINDBERG. Produced and mixed by Tedd Hutt (Gaslight Anthem, Lucero, Dropkick Murphys) it’s full of heartfelt songs, some rousing some sentimental, that are a departure for Jim but will appeal to diehard Pennywise fans and fans of folky punk singers like Chuck Regan and Frank Turner.
Christian Lee Hutson starts his new album Quitters with a laugh. In this follow up to his ANTI Records debut, Beginners, Hutson moves away from a focus on growing up to the dread and complications of growing older. Written under lock down, the laugh that announces Quitters is the kind you’ll find at the end of John Huston films, one of resignation and release, and somehow a cosmic laugh that says “California,” a place where lonely people gather together like birds.
The song “Rubberneckers” follows the story a romance from beginning to breakup, with backing vocals by Phoebe Bridges, who returns as producer along with Conor Oberst. Quitters is a departure from the digital recording of his debut. Hutson shares, “With this record, Phoebe and Conor had an idea that it would be fun to make it to tape. Phoebe is my best friend and making Beginners with her was so comfortable and easy. So I wanted to work with her again and Conor is someone who I really respect as a lyricist.”
If every great record is a world, then this is Christian Lee Hutson’s world. It’s one filled with the fuzzy haze of a dream, and the half-remembered moments of a forgotten life. It’s a record brave enough to say, In the good old days, when times were bad. But beyond the songs, it is this voice. The voice of someone who was alive in 2021 and recorded a group of songs with his friends for us to hear.
A Bit of Previous is a classic Belle and Sebastian album preoccupied with songs and melodies that won't leave your head and lyrics that can make you smile and ponder and sometimes be melancholic. It's an album self-produced and recorded by Belle and Sebastian (with contributions from Brian McNeil, Matt Wiggins, Kevin Burleigh and Shawn Everett) and their most hands-on since The Boy With The Arab Strap.
So what is a A Bit of Previous? It's a bit of everything, and a lot of what makes Belle and Sebastian so special and enduring. It's a band tackling the in- sight, experience and responsibility that come with getting older with humour and irreverence and lyrical exactitude and musical bravado. It's one of the UK's most beloved pop portraitists asserting themselves as an infallible source of energy and fun.
Spiritualized will release "Everything Was Beautiful" via Fat Possum on 2/25/22. It is the ninth studio album from Spiritualized and it comes 30 years after the debut album. This is the follow up to 2018's "And Nothing Hurt". Jason Pierce performs 16 different instruments across the album. It is recorded at 11 different studios and includes more than 30 musicians across the album. There will be an indie exclusive Pink vinyl inserted into a gold foil sleeve, housed in a high gloss UV Jacket that includes a removable pill box with braille inlay. Some assembly required. Designed by Farrow Design.
Scheduled for release in April 2022, the 10-song sophomore full-length album showcases Kirke’s unselfconscious, country-twinged vocals alongside a brightly colored candy shop of glam-twang guitar riffs, department store tv commercial synth stylings, and swooping, lilting, unabashedly feminine background vocals. Lady For Sale channels a high-spirited insouciance that feels invigorating and familiar, decidedly more easy-going and fun-loving than what we’ve come to expect from its genre (and the world in general) in recent years. This is a party you’ll want to attend.
'Lil G.L. Presents: Jukebox Charley' is the 4th installment in Charley Crockett's 'Lil G.L. Presents' series of releases, which focus on heartfelt renditions of songs from some of Charley's biggest musical influences. This newest cover record is packed with songs originally written by greats such as Tom T. Hall, Willie Nelson, Johnny Paycheck, George Jones and more. Look out for Charley Crockett in your local independent record store.
When a few friends offered to make a debut recordon him, Nashville songwriter Aaron Raitiere simply agreed to go along with it. In the four years since that first session for what would become Single WideDreamer, the auspicious project has retained its casual charm even as its guest list gradually expanded.Anderson East and Miranda Lambert, who co-produced the album, now appear alongside Nashvillemusicians like Dave Cobb, Natalie Hemby, Ashley Monroe,and Waylon Payne, as well as RobertRandolph, Foy Vance, and Bob Weir.“I think the record kind of made itself, and that was the vibe I was going with,” Raitiere says. “It was just a bunch of friends getting together trying to help me create something, because they thought I needed a record." The first sessions took place in East Nashville, where Lambert had just completed work on her album, The Weight of These Wings. Raitiere gave his producers complete creative control, from curating the songs to suggesting arrangements to adding guest vocals.He even rode into the studio with them everyday. Two years later, to round out the project, Eastand Raitiere reunited in RCA Studio A, ultimately ending up with 18 tracks in all and narrowing them down to 10.With a laid-back, speak-singing delivery, “SingleWide Dreamer” immediately conveys Raitiere’s contentment in living a low-key life. And although every song on the album could be considered a love song in its own way, what really ties them together is his observant writing, which is sometimes reflective, sometimes irreverent, but always inspired by his own experiences.
• Reissue of the classic 1967 release
• Contains 13 previously unissued bonus tracks
• Fully authorized by the Estate of Bobby Cole
• Produced for release by Grammy®-winner Cheryl Pawelski and remastered by Grammy®-winner Michael Graves, with a new essay from Grammy®-nominated writer Randy Poe
Frank Sinatra walks into a bar . . .
Well, Frank called it a “bistro”—and Jilly’s on 52nd Street even had matchbooks that when opened read, “My favorite bistro–Frank Sinatra.” It also featured Frank’s “favorite saloon singer,” Bobby Cole, who held court there for many years. His other gigs around New York landed him a recording contract with Columbia, but the 1960 release from The Bobby Cole Trio, while well reviewed, failed to gain traction. It featured no original material from Cole, and was essentially a recorded version of his Jilly’s act—one hard to capture on LP.
Judy Garland walks into a bar . . .
In 1964, and after hearing Cole’s performance of and after hearing Cole’s performance of one of her favorites, Cy Coleman’s “You Fascinate Me So,” Garland invited him to become the new musical arranger for CBS’s The Judy Garland Show in Los Angeles. When that show ended, Cole returned to New York and Jilly’s.
Jack Lonshein, whose day job was creating covers for artists including Sarah Vaughan, Maynard Ferguson, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, (and eventually Big Brother & The Holding Company and The Amboy Dukes!), was a friend of Cole’s. He knew Bobby’s magic, and original songs, were what the jazz world needed. Taking things into his own hands, A Point of View was released on Lonshein’s own Concentric Records, and as can happen, no matter how well received and reviewed a record is, finding a copy was half the battle for fans. A Point of View made waves in the boroughs, was raved about in Billboard and Cash Box, and then disappeared—but became a coveted prize by those who experienced it. Artists including Freddy Cole (Nat’s brother) and Tom Jones covered material from it.
A Point of View now returns 55 years later, fully authorized by the Estate of Bobby Cole. Produced for release by Grammy®-winner Cheryl Pawelski and lovingly remastered by Grammy®-winner Michael Graves, this new version presents the original release, plus thirteen previously unissued bonus tracks drawn from sessions likely intended for a follow up release to A Point of View that didn’t happen. A fascinating and thorough essay from Grammy®-nominated writer Randy Poe tells the story of Cole, the scene, and the music.
Available on CD and Digital April 15, 2022 (with a double-LP version slated for Fall of 2022), A Point of View will be finally seen and heard, appreciated, and revered, as originally intended.