Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Music Friday - December 2, 2016

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

John Legend - Darkness and Light

Sonically and thematically, John Legend doesn't stray far from 2013's Love in the Future on this album; many of the songs still read as love letters to his wife. One difference on his fifth album are the range of musicians he worked with. Some aren't too surprising, with other R&B/hip hop impresarios like Chance The Rapper and Miguel. Others I found more unexpected; Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes and Will Oldham (aka Bonnie "Prince" Billy), two artists I wouldn't have expected to be on Legend's radar.

Watch: "Love Me Now"
Listen: "Penthouse Floor" (featuring Chance The Rapper)

Vaults - Caught in Still Life

Vaults formed in 2013 and makes synthpop that feels like the midway point of Poliça and Chvrches. They first caught my ear with their early singles, "Lifespan" and "Vultures." They've released two EPs, 2014's Vultures and Cry No More last year. Caught in Still Life is their debut full-length.

Watch: "Lifespan"
Watch: "Poison"

Other Full-Length Releases

Peter Doherty - The Hamburg Demonstrations

Watch: "I Don’t Love Anyone (But You’re Not Just Anyone)"
Listen: "Kolly Kibbler"

The Rolling Stones - Blue & Lonesome

Watch: "Hate to See You Go"
Watch: "Ride ‘Em on Down"

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

Bob Dylan - The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert

Listen: "Tell Me, Momma"

Hamilton Mixtape

Listen: Usher - "Wait for It"
Listen: Nas, Dave East, Lin-Manuel Miranda, & Aloe Blacc - "Wrote My Way Out"

Jean-Michel Jarre -Oxygène 3

Kweku Collins - "jump.i"

Watch: "jump.i"

Lady Lamb - Tender Warriors Club

Listen: "See You"
Listen: "We Are Nobody Else"

The Last Shadow Puppets - The Dream Synopsis EP

Watch: "Le Cactus"
Watch: "Is This What You Wanted"

The Magnetic Fields - The Wayward Bus/Distant Plastic Trees Remastered

Listen: "Lovers from the Moon"
Listen: "The Saddest Story Ever Told"

Nathan Fake - "Degreeless"

Watch: "Degreeless" (featuring Prurient)

Permit - Vol. 1

Listen: "Track #6"
Listen: "Track #5"

Star Slinger - We Could Be More

Listen: "We Could Be More" (featuring D∆WN)
Listen: "Pardon" (featuring Tunji Ige)

Andrew Bird at Madison Theatre

When: September 14, 2016
Where: Madison Theatre in Covington, KY

This year, Andrew Bird released what may well be one of my favorite albums of this year, Are You Serious?. It's become a favorite of my boyfriend's as well, and I'll often find him mindlessly humming the opening notes of "Capsized." When it was announced that his tour would be stopping in the Cincinnati area, a trip across the river was a no-brainer.

As has become a tradition whenever we attend shows at the Madison, we swung by Riverside, a spectacular Korean restaurant right down the street, for dinner. We got back to the Madison just in time to catch the end of the somewhat odd opening act's, Gabriel Kahane, set. We also ran into some good friends who, it turned out, had made a last minute decision to catch the show.

These friends provided some good entertainment between the sets. My friend Katie had stashed the day's crossword puzzle in her bag and I always have a pen with me, so we spent some time challenging our brains.

Andrew Bird came on stage and, without too much warning, launched into the very song that Adrian loves so much. He played songs spanning his 20-year career, though the highlight of the show was when he performed "Left-Handed Kisses" from his newest record. The song is originally a duet with Fiona Apple, but she was not in attendance, so he performed both parts, but kept the sneering back and forth of the recorded version.

It was a spectacular show and a great night with great friends!

Mini setlist:

"Pulaski at Night"
"Left-Handed Kisses"

Thursday, December 29, 2016

New Music Friday - November 25, 2016

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

The Weeknd - Starboy

The Weeknd's first two albums, Kiss Land and Beauty Behind the Madness, made him a bona fide star. For his third record, he looked to two recently-departed icons for inspiration. Elements of the album's sound are influenced by Prince, while the album's title is a take on David Bowie's "Starman." With this record, The Weeknd has earned himself another hit; the album hit number one on the Billboard charts.

Watch: "Starboy" (featuring Daft Punk)
Watch: "False Alarm"

Other Full-Length Releases

Young Legionnaire - Zero Worship

Watch: "Disappear"
Watch: "Candidate"

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

The Afghan Whigs - Black Love 20th Anniversary Reissue

Listen: "Regret"
Listen: "Bulletproof"

Bleed for This (Original Soundtrack Album)

Listen: Julia Holter - "Fighting Duran"
Listen: Willis Earl Beal - "Too Dry to Cry"

Dowager - Title Track

Listen: "Sleep Paralysis"
Listen: "Gutterflower"

Flume - Skin Companion

Listen: "v"
Listen: "Heater"

Gillian Welch - Boots No. 1: The Official Revival Bootleg

Listen: "Dry Town " (Demo)
Listen: "One More Dollar" (Demo)

Minor Victories - Orchestral Versions

Watch: "Give Up the Ghost" (Orchestral Version)
Watch: "Cogs" (Orchestral Version)

Polyvinyl Plays Polyvinyl

Listen: Beach Slang - "Younger Us"
Listen: The Dodos - "Never Meant"

Prince - Prince4Ever

YG - Red Friday

Watch: "I’m a Thug Pt. 2"
Listen: "Down Bitch"

Sunday, December 25, 2016

New Music Friday - November 18, 2016

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

D∆WN - Redemption

Dawn Richard left the made-on-TV band Danity Kane behind in 2009 (disregarding a short-lived reunion four years later), and embarked on a string of critically-acclaimed solo releases starting with 2013's Goldenheart. Redemption completes a trilogy started with that album; exploring a theme of self-realization.

Listen: "Renegades"
Listen: "Vines" (Interlude)

Justice - Woman

The duo Justice became the poster boy for modern French house music when they released their debut album in 2007. Woman is their third album, following a five year break in new studio recordings. The album isn't much of a departure, their sound is still epic, with hard rock riffs, choirs, and industrial sounds.

Watch: "Alakazam!"
Watch: "Fire"

Pink Martini - Je Dis Oui!

Pink Martini is a 20+ year-old music group whose sound is a combination of jazz, Latin, and pop. Known for featuring other prominent artists on their recordings, their seventh album has contributions from Ari Shapiro, Kathleen Saadat, and Rufus Wainwright.

Listen: "Al Bint Al Shalabiya"
Listen: "Joli garçon"

Other Full-Length Releases

2Leaves - Every Ocean Tells a Story

Listen: "Napo"
Listen: "Ene"

Cory Hanson - The Unborn Capitalist from Limbo

Listen: "Ordinary People"

Floating Room - s u n l e s s

Listen: "Fun"
Listen: "Bed"

Split Single - Metal Frames

Watch: "Blank Ribbons"
Listen: "Leave My Mind"

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

Frankie Cosmos - Covers

Jay Som - Turn Into Reissue

Watch: "Ghost"
Listen: "Turn Into"

Jhené Aiko - "Maniac"

Listen: "Maniac"

Lanikai - Lanikai

Watch: "I’m Glad"
Watch: "I Need Love"

Let All the Children Boogie: A Tribute to David Bowie

Listen: Ted Leo - "Heroes"
Listen: Antibalas - "Let’s Dance"

Lou Reed - Lou Reed - The RCA & Arista Album Collection, Vol. 1

Listen: "Perfect Day"
Listen: "No Money Down"

PC Music - Volume 2

Watch: Danny L Harle - "Super Natural" (featuring Carly Rae Jepsen)
Watch: Hannah Diamond - "Fade Away"

Pink Floyd - Animals Reissue

Listen: "Dogs"
Listen: "Sheep"

R.E.M. - Out of Time Reissue

Listen: "Half a World Away"
Listen: "Belong"

Sylvan Esso - "Radio"

Watch: "Radio"

Thee Oh Sees - An Odd Entrances

Listen: "Poem"
Listen: "You Will Find It Here"

This Is the Kit - "Christmastime Is Here"/"La Peregrinacion"

Listen: "Christmastime Is Here"
Listen: "La Peregrinación"

Tori Amos - Boys for Pele Reissue

Listen: "Hey Jupiter"
Listen: "Little Amsterdam"

The Who - My Generation Super Deluxe Reissue

Listen: "My Generation"
Listen: "Baba O’Riley"

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Upcoming Album of the Week (Ending December 17)

Christmas is coming soon, and it's the season for ugly sweater parties. Rapper 2 Chainz created the perfect sweater for showing everyone else up; it will only set you back a cool $90,000 (proceeds go to charity). Head over to my Upcoming Releases page to see a list of more reasonably-priced releases from some of my favorite artists!

This week, Rhiannon Giddens announced her second studio album, Freedom Highway.

Giddens started her career in 2005 as a member of Sankofa Strings, which eventually morphed into the Carolina Chocolate Drops. She's released seven albums with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, as well as multiple albums with other projects.

She first went solo last year, releasing Tomorrow Is My Turn in February. Unlike that debut, this record will be made up primarily of original songs, though the title track, which she also released this week, is a cover of a song by The Staples Singers.

Freedom Highway will be released February 24.

Also announced this week:

BJ the Chicago Kid - The Lost Files: Cuffing Season (out now)
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - The Tourist (February 24)
Fancey - Love Mirage (January 27)
Julia Holter - In the Same Room (March 31)
Michael Angelakos - Merry Christmas, Mr. Fields OST (out now)
NOISE (December 20)
P.O.S. - Chill, dummy (January 27)
Paul McCartney - Flowers in the Dirt Deluxe Reissue (March 24)

Sunday, December 11, 2016

New Music Friday - November 11, 2016

Be sure to view a list of upcoming releases here!

Essential Full-Length Releases

Martha Wainwright - Goodnight City

The Wainwright Family remains one of the most prolific families in the music industry. Just one year after the release of the debut album, Songs in the Dark, from the Wainwright Sisters (Martha and Lucy Wainwright Roche), Martha is back with a new solo effort. The album features contributions from Merrill Garbus, Glen Hansard, and several members of her family, including her brother Rufus Wainwright.

Listen: "Around the Bend"
Listen: "Take the Reins"

oddCouple - Liberation

oddCouple, Zach Henderson, is the house producer for the Chicago record label Closed Sessions, which boasts signees Kweku Collins and Jamila Woods. His new album showcases some of the best that Chicago hip-hop has to offer, including labelmates Woods and Collins, as well as GLC and Joey Purp.

Listen: "Love Above" (featuring Jamila Woods & Kweku)
Listen: "Eidetic"

Sad13 - Slugger

Sad13 is Sadie Dupuis, best known as the frontwoman for Speedy Ortiz, with which she has released two albums, including last year's excellent Foil Deer. The band hasn't gone anywhere, but Sadie has struck out on her own as a solo artist. She first debuted the Sad13 project earlier this year on a collaborative single, "Basement Queens," with rapper Lizzo. Her debut album takes on a poppier approach, but seeks to counter the typically misogynistic messages expressed in the genre.

Watch: "Less Than 2"
Watch: "Get a Yes"

Sleigh Bells - Jessica Rabbit

Sleigh Bells could have easily been a gimmick and lasted no longer than one album. The duo is defined by heavily-distorted guitars and pop melodies. As they release their fourth album, they haven't lost what made their sound distinctive, and seem to almost defiantly continue to flout it. When in doubt, be extra, and Sleigh Bells are definitely extra (that's a compliment)!

Watch: "It’s Just Us Now"
Watch: "I Can Only Stare"

A Tribe Called Quest - We Got It From Here, Thank You for Your Service

A Tribe Called Quest seemed like a done deal following the release of 1998's The Love Movement. With the death of central member Phife Dawg earlier this year, hopes for any full return were further diminished. It turned out that Phife had already rejoined his bandmates and a new album had been recorded. They even brought back original member Jarobi White, who had departed following their debut album. They have announced that this is their final album; if so, they've gone out on a high note, returning to the roots of their sound.

Watch: "We the People"

Other Full-Length Releases

Daniel Bachman - Daniel Bachman

Listen: "Brightleaf Blues I"
Listen: "The Flower Tree"

GUM - Flash in the Pan

Listen: "Gemini"
Listen: "Flash in the Pan"

Luke Temple - A Hand Through the Cellar Door

Watch: "Maryanne Was Quiet"
Listen: "Birds of Late December"

The Men - Devil Music

Listen: "Lion’s Den"
Listen: "Devil Music"

Simian Mobile Disco - Welcome to Sideways

Watch: "Remember in Reverse"
Listen: "Far Away from a Distance"

Singles, EPs, Soundtracks, etc.

A-Trak - In the Loop: A Decade of Remixes

Listen: "Oh!"
Listen: "Kilometer"

The Band - The Last Waltz 40th Anniversary Edition

Bob Dylan - The 1966 Live Recordings

Listen: "Tell Me Mama"

Body/Head - No Waves

Listen: "The Show Is Over"

Broken Social Scene - Feel Good Lost Reissue

Listen: "I Slept with Bonhomme at the CBC"
Listen: "Guilty Cubicles"

David Bowie - Legacy

Listen: "Space Oddity"
Listen: "Changes"

Forth Wanderers - Slop EP

Watch: "Slop"
Watch: "Know Better"

Hudson Mohawke - Ded Sec - Watch Dogs 2 (Original Soundtrack)

Listen: "Shanghaied"
Listen: "Play N Go"

Pink Floyd - The Early Years (1967-1972)

Listen: "Arnold Layne"
Listen: "See Emily Play"

The Rolling Stones - Havana Moon

Watch: "Brown Sugar"
Watch: "Paint It Black"

Yoko Ono - Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins Reissue

Listen: "Side One"
Listen: "Side Two"

Yoko Ono - Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with Lions Reissue

Listen: "Cambridge 1969"
Listen: "No Bed for Beatle John"

Yoko Ono - Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band Reissue

Listen: "Why"
Listen: "Mother"