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Tank and the Bangas
Green Balloon Verve
Green Balloon represents a musical evolution for Tank and The Bangas – who have been blowing up since finding a new audience based on their NPR Tiny Desk Concert. "Green Balloon is a sister to Think Tank," says Tarriona "Tank" Ball. "We never say: that sounded too blues-y, that sounded too country, that's too hip-hop. It's just that's what this feels like, so let's push that feeling to its completion, make it feel good."
The Big Exercise Sub Pop
Big Exercise, the second album by Dutch band The Homesick, finds the group keenly second-guessing their core chemistry as a live unit, imbuing their angular post-punk workouts with baroque elements such as piano, acoustic guitar, percussion, and even clarinet. "It's the opposite of trying to translate recorded music to the stage," guitarist Elias Elgersma comments. "We were already playing these songs live for quite some time, so for this album, we wanted to unlock the potential of these songs further in the studio." Very, very cool.
Suite For Max Brown NONESUCH
Though he invited in collaborators for this project, Jeff Parker is very much a solo artist on Suite for Max Brown. He constructs a digital bed of beats and samples; lays down tracks of his own on guitar, keyboards, bass, percussion, and occasionally voice; then invites musician friends to play and improvise over his melodies. The results feel like in-the-moment jams, boasting the rhythmic flow of hip hop and the soulful swing of jazz – which, as we know, have always been spiritually connected. Bright Eyes' Nate Walcott is among the guests. You need this.
The Best Ones of The Best Ones Hidden Note Records/AWAL
Dashboard Confessional's first-ever career-spanning compilation, The Best Ones Of The Best Ones, is a thoughtfully curated collection of the band's most beloved songs and features selections from all seven studio albums, the So Impossible and The Drowning EPs, and the band's legendary MTV Unplugged performance. The Best Ones Of The Best Ones showcases the profound durability of Dashboard Confessional's music over the past two decades, highlighting singer/songwriter Chris Carrabba's extraordinary ability to give a cathartic voice to the messiest of emotions.
Juno Award winning singer-songwriter William Prince had planned a career as a doctor before turning to music, and the title of his new album, Reliever, expresses his dedication to providing relief and comfort to his listeners. "These songs were born in a time of great challenge," he says. "Where these songs sound hopeless, let them be a testament to resilience. When they move slow, it is for better observation of the lesson at hand. Where they sound joyous and confident, picture the light breaking like the dawn, just after it was darkest." Produced by the ubiquitous Dave Cobb.
U.F.O.F. is the highly anticipated third record by Big Thief –the follow-up to 2017's excellent, Capacity, which deservedly found its way on many a best-of list. U.F.O.F. was recorded rural western Washington at Bear Creek Studios' large cabin-like room. The raw material came quickly: Some songs were written on tour; others were written only hours before recording. All were explored in search of perfected moments of dynamic feedback and spiritual, rhythmic togetherness. One of 2019's best.
MAGDALENE Young Turks
Created in a period where her confidence was knocked following heartbreak and surgery, Magdalene is the sound of FKA Twigs reconfiguring – emotionally and physically. "I never thought heartbreak could be so all-encompassing," she explains. "But the process of making this album has allowed me… to find compassion when I have been at my most ungraceful, confused and fractured." Magdalene, as a result, is aggressively sensual and psychedelic – sometimes claustrophobic… Other times intimate. And, in the case of "cellophane" all of the above. A brilliant follow-up.
Anima XL Recordings
Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke follows up his 2018 score to Suspiria with his third full-length solo effort, Anima. Produced by longtime collaborator Nigel Godrich, Yorke notes that Anima was inspired by dystopia, anxiety, and reaching a crisis point in our social system. Though the subject matter shouldn't surprise Radiohead fans, the music might. Fat synths swell around skittering rhythms with unexpected pacing – dynamics that suggest Yorke still had scoring films on the brain. "Dawn Chorus" is simply one of his most beautiful songs.
Suspiria XL Recordings
In Luca Guadagnino's 2018 remake of Dario Argento's cult classic 1977 horror film, Suspiria, a darkness swirls at the center of a world-renowned dance company. Thom Yorke provides his first ever film score featuring 25 original compositions recorded and produced by the Radiohead frontman and Sam Petts-Davies. Comprised of instrumentals, interludes and more traditional songs, additional contributions are made by the London Contemporary Orchestra and Choir, flutist Pasha Mansurov, and Yorke's son Noah on drums. Goblin's original score, Krautrock, and '70s-era Berlin all served as inspiration for Yorke's mesmerizing score.
Walk Through Fire NON
Yola's solo debut, Walk Through Fire, is a contemporary twist on a traditional sonic tapestry of orchestral strings, fiddle, steel, and shimmering tremolo guitars – all featuring Yola's arresting vocals. Producer Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) assembled his Easy Eye Sound all-star house band – featuring bassist Dave Roe (Johnny Cash) as well as drummer Gene Chrisman and pianist Bobby Wood, who played on hits by Dusty Springfield and Elvis Presley.
Keep On Concord
Keep On, the sophomore album boundary-breaking Memphis combo Southern Avenue, brilliantly captures Southern Avenue's combustible chemistry, with the emotion-charged energy of such distinctive originals as "Whiskey Love," "Savior," "Too Good for You," and "We Are Not So Different" reflecting the players' evolving talents as well as the influence of the extensive roadwork that they've invested in the band. The album was recorded at Memphis' legendary Sam Phillips Recording, and counts seminal Stax Records artist William Bell among its guests.
While I'm Livin Fantasy
Produced by (and co-written with) Brandi Carlile and Shooter Jennings, While I'm Livin' marks Tanya Tucker's first release of all new material since 2002's Tanya. "It's a musical biography of sorts," says Carlile, "about Tanya's real life and the places she's seen… And it's narrated by the greatest country-and-western singer this side of Johnny Cash." While I'm Livin' also features some well-chosen covers, including "The House That Built Me" (a track made famous by Miranda Lambert). The album's cornerstone, "Bring My Flowers Now," speaks to the importance of showing appreciation to those we love before it's too late.
Look Now Concord
Look Now is the first album Elvis Costello has made with The Imposters – Steve Nieve (keyboards), Davey Faragher (bass), and Pete Thomas (drums) since 2008 – but it's not Look Now's only reunion: "Don't Look Now," "He's Given Me Things," and "Photographs Can Lie" were co-written with Burt Bacharach (who also plays piano) while "Burnt Sugar Is So Bitter" was written with Carole King. Other highlights include the jubilant "Under Lime" and the low-key, soul-inflected "Unwanted Number," which Costello initially wrote for the 1996 Allison Anders movie Grace of My Heart.
Innovators refashion, reup, and recharge the genre in order to usher it forward. Michigan quartet I Prevail not only redefine themselves on their sophomore offering, Trauma, but they also redefine the genre for tomorrow's generation. Flipping the script, the group uplift rock to a plateau where soundscapes can unpredictably toss and turn between heavy metal, alternative, hip-hop, and electronic moods without warning, boundaries, or rules. Meanwhile, the lyrics team with confessional emotionality as if ripped from the pages of a secret diary. Vulnerable, vital, and visceral, the 15-track opus illuminates the future—and it's as bright and bold as each anthem is. I Prevail represent the potential of rock music in 2019 and beyond.
12 Little Spells Concord
12 Little Spells arrives just one year after Exposure, in which 4x Grammy Award-winner EsperanzaSpalding composed and recorded a new album entirely from scratch in just 77 hours – all while live-streaming every minute of the process to the world. The concept is a continuation of Spalding's exploration of different ways to create, experience, and process music – particularly the healing powers of art and how music and the body interact. Each song is inspired by a different body part.
Oklahoma, the new album from four-time Grammy Award winner Keb' Mo', reflects theexpansive creative vistas of the eponymous state's wide-open spaces – not to mention it's very rich and complicated cultural tapestry, which weaves Native American culture, natural and man-made disasters, incredible musicians (the Tulsa Sound), and western ruggedness, and racial strife, including a notable mention of "Black Wall Street," which was infamously destroyed in 1921 in one of the most devastating (and seldom discussed) massacres in the history of US race relations (Watchmen fans take note). Robert Randolph and Roseanne Cash are among the guests.
My Finest Work Loma Vista
My Finest Work Yet finds Andrew Bird grappling with themes of current day dichotomies and keeping one's moral compass amidst such divisive times. He tackles these topics with a more direct songwriting approach than his previous releases, taking greater risks both lyrically and in recording. Bird and the band taped all the songs live without headphones or separation attempting to create a sound that insists on bleeding together – itself an apt metaphor. "It's pretty up musically," says Bird. "Though it doesn't pull any punches when it comes to the lyrics."
I'm With Her
See You Around Rounder
I'm With Her features multi-Grammy winners Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O'Donovan. Their full-length debut See You Around reveals the commitment to creating a wholly unified sound. With each track born from close collaboration, I'm With Her builds an ineffable magic from their fine-spun narratives and breathtaking harmonies. The result is intricate and emotionally raw. Co-produced by Ethan Johns and recorded at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios.
Calexico and Iron & Wine
Years To Burn Sub Pop
Calexico and Iron & Wine first made an artistic connection with In the Reins, the 2005 EP that brought Sam Beam, Joey Burns and John Convertino together. Although they often talked about rekindling their collaboration in the studio and on stage, it wasn't until 2018 that their schedules finally aligned. Years to Burn features contributions from both Beam and Burns in addition to Convertino. Another stunner.
The Teskey Brothers
Run Home Slow
Over the 11 wide-ranging tracks on Run Home Slow, The Teskey Brothers more than deliver on the promise of their first record, Half Mile Harvest, with an album that not only pushes their music in new directions but, in the process, solidifies their sound into something truly their own. Produced by Paul Butler (Michael Kiwanuka, St Paul & The Broken Bones), it's modern masterpiece of blue-eyed soul.
Miss Anthropocene 4AD
Canadian artist Claire Boucher – aka Grimes – follows-up 2015's ArtAngels with her highly-anticipated fifth studio album, Miss Anthropocene. An amalgamation of three albums Grimes recorded over the past three years, Miss Anthropocene is based on a neologism commonly used in scientific circles (sounds like somebody has been hanging out with an eccentric techno-billionaire). Miss Anthropocene refers to both the misanthrope's loathing of humanity and the Anthropocene era in which our planet is dominated by human activity. Glad to know that, even in “The Future,” puns reign supreme. The 10-track collection is introduced by the breathy and beat driven "Violence,” the atmospheric "So Heavy I Fell Through The Earth," and features guest appearances by 潘PAN and i_o.
The Coalition of Independent Music Stores (CIMS) is a national level organization comprised of the best independent record stores in America. CIMS was founded in 1995 with the goal of uniting like minded independent store owners, giving them a more powerful voice in the music industry. The stores that make up CIMS are all very different, but we share the same desires – to be the heart of our communities, to super-serve our customers, to support and develop artists, and to share our love of music.
For more information about CIMS and the stores in our organization, please visit cimsmusic.com or find us through social media with the #cimsmusic hashtag. And please remember to always shop local by supporting your neighborhood record store.