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The power of words isn’t lost on longstanding Americana triumvirate The Devil Makes Three—Pete Bernhard, Lucia Turino, and Cooper McBean. For as much as they remain rooted in troubadour traditions of wandering folk, Delta blues, whiskey-soaked ragtime, and reckless rock ‘n’ roll, the band nods to the revolutionary unrest of author James Baldwin, the no-holds barred disillusionment of Ernest Hemingway, and Southern Gothic malaise of Flannery O’Connor.
In that respect, their sixth full-length and first of original material since 2013, Chains Are Broken, resembles a dusty leather-bound book of short stories from some bygone era. As the band began writing ideas for Chains Are Broken, they veered off the proverbial path creatively. Instead of their typical revolving cast of collaborators, The Devil Makes Three stuck to its signature power trio, with one addition. This time, they invited touring drummer Stefan Amidon to power the bulk of the percussion.
Another first, they retreated to Sonic Ranch Studios in El Paso, TX a stone’s throw from the Mexican border to record with producer Ted Hutt [Dropkick Murphys].
The incorporation of new sounds as well as the experimentation in space finds the Devil Makes Three crafting a new yet still familiar sound. Coupled with a continued focus on in-depth lyricism that tells a story in every song, Chains Are Broken is a liberating, rump-shaking collection of past, present and future.
In November 1968, millions of double LPs were shipped to record stores worldwide ahead of that tumultuous year’s most anticipated music event: the November 22nd release of The BEATLES (soon to be better known as ‘The White Album’). With their ninth studio album, The Beatles took the world on a whole new trip, side one blasting off with the exhilarating rush of a screaming jet escorting Paul McCartney’s punchy, exuberant vocals on “Back In The U.S.S.R.” “Dear Prudence” came next, John Lennon warmly beckoning his friend and all of us to “look around.” George Harrison imparted timeless wisdom in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” singing, “With every mistake we must surely be learning.” Ringo Starr’s “Don’t Pass Me By” marked his first solo songwriting credit on a Beatles album. For 50 years, ‘The White Album’ has invited its listeners to venture forth and explore the breadth and ambition of its music, delighting and inspiring each new generation in turn.
On November 9, The Beatles will release a suite of lavishly presented ‘White Album’ packages (Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe). The album’s 30 tracks are newly mixed by producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell in stereo and 5.1 surround audio, joined by 27 early acoustic demos and 50 session takes, most of which are previously unreleased in any form.
“We had left Sgt. Pepper’s band to play in his sunny Elysian Fields and were now striding out in new directions without a map,” says Paul McCartney in his written introduction for the new ‘White Album’ releases.
This is the first time The BEATLES (‘White Album’) has been remixed and presented with additional demos and session recordings. The album’s sweeping new edition follows 2017’s universally acclaimed Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition releases. To create the new stereo and 5.1 surround audio mixes for ‘The White Album,’ Martin and Okell worked with an expert team of engineers and audio restoration specialists at Abbey Road Studios in London. All the new ‘White Album’ releases include Martin’s new stereo album mix, sourced directly from the original four-track and eight-track session tapes. Martin’s new mix is guided by the album’s original stereo mix produced by his father, George Martin.
“In remixing ‘The White Album,’ we’ve tried to bring you as close as possible to The Beatles in the studio,” explains Giles Martin in his written introduction for the new edition. “We’ve peeled back the layers of the ‘Glass Onion’ with the hope of immersing old and new listeners into one of the most diverse and inspiring albums ever made.”
Set for release on November 9, the bands fourth LP 'Take Good Care' is previewed with the first single 'All My Friends,' a song brimming with confidence that unleashes the bands next chapter. The track which is already Top 3 at AAA and Top 10 at Modern Rock. 'All my Friends' will cross over to Hot AC in early October followed by Top 40. This is just the start! 'You Said it All', 'Oh No' and 'Some People Say' are just a few of the potential chart-toppers in this collection, which was co-produced with Dave Cobb (Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton) and Andrew Dawson (Kanye, Fun) it's a project showcasing new found depth and craft that mark a band bent on proving they are far more than a band synonymous with a single song.
Near the end of Reagan's first term, the Western Massachusetts Hardcore scene coughed up an insanely shaped chunk called Dinosaur. Comprised of WMHC vets, the trio was a miasmic tornado of guitar noise, bad attitude and near-subliminal pop-based-shape-shifting. Through their existence, Dinosaur (amended to Dinosaur Jr. for legal reasons) defined a very specific, very aggressive set of oblique song-based responses to what was going on. Their one constant was the scalp-fryingly loud guitar and deeply buried vocals of J Mascis. A couple of years before they ended their reign, J cut a solo album called Martin + Me. Recorded live and acoustic, the record allowed the bones of J's songs to be totally visible for the first time. Fans were surprised to hear how melodically elegant these compositions were, even if J still seemed interested in swallowing some of the words that most folks would have sung. Since then, through the reformation of the original Dinosaur Jr lineup in 2005, J has recorded solo albums now and then. And those album, Sings + Chant for AMMA (2005), Several Shades of Why (2011) and Tied to a Star (2014) had all delivered incredible sets of songs presented with a minimum of bombast and a surfeit of cool. Like its predecessors, Elastic Days was recorded at J's own Bisquiteen studio. Mascis does almost all his own stunts, although Ken Miauri (who also appeared on Tied to a Star) plays keyboards and there are a few guest vocal spots. These include old mates Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession), and Mark Mulcahy (Miracle Legion, etc.), as well as the newly added voice of Zoë Randell (Luluc) among others. But the show is mostly J's and J's alone. He laughs when I tell him I'm surprised by how melodic his vocals seem to have gotten. Asked if that was intentional, he says, “No. I took some singing lessons and do vocal warm-ups now, but that was mostly just to keep from blowing out my vocal cords when Dino started touring again. The biggest difference with this record might have to do with the drums. I'd just got a new drum set I was really excited about. I don't have too many drum outlets at the moment, so I played a lot more drums than I'd originally planned. I just kept playing. [laughs] I'd play the acoustic guitar parts then head right to the drums.” There is plenty of drumming on the dozen songs on Elastic Days. But for those expecting the hallucinatory overload of Dinosaur Jr's live attack, the gentleness of the approach here will draw easy comparisons to Neil Young's binary approach to working solo versus working with Crazy Horse. This is a lazy man's shorthand, but it still rings true. Elastic Days brims with great moments. Epic hooks that snare you in surprisingly subtle ways, guitar textures that slide against each other like old lovers, and structures that range from a neo-power-ballad (“Web So Dense”) to jazzily-canted West Coasty post-psych (“Give It Off”) to a track that subliminally recalls the keyboard approach of Scott Thurston-era Stooges (“Drop Me”). The album plays out with a combination of holism and variety that is certain to set many brains ablaze. J says he'll be taking this album on the road later in the year. He'll be playing by himself, but unlike other solo tours he says he'll be standing up this time. “I used to just sit down and build a little fort around myself -- amps, music stands, drinks stands, all that stuff. But I just realized it sounds better if the amps are higher up because I'm so used to playing with stacks. So I'll stand this time.” I ask if it's not pretty weird to stand alone on a big stage. “Yeah,” he says. “But it's weird sitting down too.” Ha. Good point. One needs to be elastic. In all things. --Byron Coley
Charles Bradley's forthcoming LP, Black Velvet is an extraordinary collection of 10 tracks making their LP debut. In addition to fan favorites like Charles covers of Nirvanas 'Stay Away', Neil Young's 'Heart Of Gold', and Rodriguez's 'Slip Away' - this album features 4 never-before-heard tracks from Producer Tommy 'TNT' Brenneck's vaults.
ARCHITECTS UK are a band who’ve never shied away from challenging the world around them. After suffering the loss of co-founder /guitarist Tom Searle to cancer in 2016, the band returned to the road and the studio in 2017 releasing the hit track “Doomsday”, which climbed the Active Rock Radio charts and went on to be one the bands most successful songs. Long lauded as some of modern metal’s most progressive-thinking minds, for the past decade, the quintet have pushed boundaries, redefined genres, and never feared having to question themselves in order for their art to leave its mark on this Earth. ARCHITECTS UK, are a band like few others; The quintet all practice a vegan lifestyle, tour with a consciousness about their footprint on the world, and devote time and energies to environmental causes. Their 8th studio album, Holy Hell is the return to the studio for a band that have come through the grieving process with more drive and determination than ever before. Drummer Dan Searle- Desbiens takes on the helm as lyricist and writes music with his bandmates vocalist Sam Carter, guitarist Adam Christianson, bassist Alex Dean and new guitarist Josh Middleton. For the follow-up to their 2016 album All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us , ARCHITECTS UK recorded at Middle Farm Studios in Devon, UK with bandmates Dan Searle Desbiens and Josh Middleton behind the board as producers.
Sarah Brightman returns with her new studio album, HYMN, reuniting with long time producer and collaborator Frank Peterson, with whom she created chart topping albums such as Timeless (Time To Say Goodbye), Eden, La Luna, Harem, Symphony, and A Winter Symphony. HYMN is an inspirational collection of orchestrated, choir-based songs. Brightman, kept thinking about the word, HYMN, and to her it suggested joy a feeling of hope and light, something that is familiar and secure. For Brightman, every project comes from an emotional place, and HYMN is no exception. HYMN was recorded over the past two years in Hamburg, Miami, London, Vancouver, Los Angeles, New York, and Budapest, and encompasses songs by such modern composers as Eric Whitacre (Fly To Paradise), Japanese superstar musician and songwriter Yoshiki (Miracle), and German DJ Paul Kalkbrenner (Sky and Sand). HYMN's mystical, uplifting tone is set with its title track a song by British prog-rock band Barclay James Harvest. From there, the album becomes excitingly eclectic, encompassing many styles. Sogni, described as a mash-up of two arias from two different operas by French composer Georges Bizet, is flawlessly sung by Brightman and French tenor Vincent Niclo. Also included are Canto Per Noi, written by famed Italian composer Ennio Morricone and Romano Musumarra, and Follow Me, the love theme from the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty. Finally, the album closes with a new rendition of Brightman s signature smash duet with Andrea Bocelli, Time To Say Goodbye, in a new solo rendition with lyrics Sarah wrote herself, and sung in English for the first time.
Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus formed boygenius after booking a tour together, but the trio had subconsciously been in the works for longer than that. Through a series of tours and performances together, and chance encounters that led to friendships – including Bridgers’ and Dacus’ first in-person meeting backstage at a Philadelphia festival, greenroom hangouts that felt instantly comfortable and compatible, a couple of long email chains and even a secret handshake between Baker and Dacus – the lyrically and musically arresting singer-songwriters and kindred spirits got to know each other on their own terms.
JD McPherson presents A Christmas Album, SOCKS. Featuring 11 original tracks written by JD McPherson and his friends. SOCKS is an album of Holidays songs sure to be standards while you are decorating the tree. Come get warm by the fire with songs such as , "All The Gifts I Need" and "Every Single Christmas." Or, burn the cookies to "SOCKS" and "Ugly Christmas Sweater." There is something for everyone on this record to enjoy whether you are in the Christmas spirit or if you just wanna say, "Bah Humbug".
My childhood memories of Christmas aren't warm and fuzzy. The holidays were more of a nuisance for my parents than cause for celebration. This is not to say that on behalf of their only child they didn't give the season a halfhearted try. There were Christmases when I found under the tree an electric football set, a Daisy pump air-rifle and a basketball goal that never got nailed up. But, there were also mornings when apples, oranges, hickory nuts and a hammer signified that year's bounty. Which is to say that Christmas in our household was mostly a wait-and-see proposition. I was finally ready to record an album of original Christmas songs. With Dan Knobler producing and some very gifted musicians and vocalists lending their talents, the making of the album Christmas Everywhere ranks as some of the most enjoyable recording sessions I've ever experienced. The record was close to being finished when it occurred to me that to set the tone for the albums mostly irreverent subtext, I needed to compose a lyrical prelude. In honor of Clement Moore, who wrote the poem we all know as, 'The Night Before Christmas,' I came up with a short piece called 'Clement's Lament (We'll See You in The Mall)'. Tania Hancheroff and Kim Keyes stopped by the studio and performed the tune with Jordan Lehning's orchestral backing and the album was pronounced complete. Seasons Cheer, Rodney Crowell
Since the early 90s Sweden’s Opeth have stretched the boundaries of heavy music. From the progressive death metal the band began with on classics like “Orchid” and “My Arms, Your Hearse” to the records like “Blackwater Park” and the band’s recent record, 2016’s “Sorceress”, Opeth has continually invited their growing audience along with them as they grew into the musically respected band they are today. Filmed and recorded in 2017 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside of Denver, “Garden of the Titans (Opeth Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre)” is a 2-CD/BLU-RAY + DVD release (along with several vinyl color formats) consisting of tracks spanning the band’s nearly 30 year career.
The verb, the noun, the substance, the action, the command: make a mark! With that, PAINT (guitarist/singer Pedrum Siadatian of the Allah-Las), is making his mark too with his first, self-titled solo record.
PAINT started by four-tracking his own strange, slow-growing ideas just after Allah-Las third album Calico Review (2016) fed or led by a certain acid-bitter poetry and the murky music of Kevin Ayers and Syd Barrett. Siadatian found a producer in Frank Maston, who instinctively understood these songs would fall apart if scrubbed too roughly in the studio.
Think of it this way: PAINT’s first album isn’t always clean, but it’s very very clear. Sometimes the mess is the message.