Old 97's return with Twelfth, their aptly titled 12th studio album, recorded this spring in Nashville, Tennessee between a tornado and a pandemic. 2016's Graveyard Whistling took the 97's to new heights lead by the single "Good With God" - a bona-fide hit at non-commercial radio. Twelfth's lead single "Turn Off The TV" might be the unintentional anthem of 2020, celebrating the occasional and necessary need to turn off the TV set and tune out the outside world.
Norah Jones’ seventh solo studio album Pick Me Up Off The Floor features collaborators from Brian Blade to Jeff Tweedy, and grew out of her acclaimed singles series of the past 2 years as the songs she hadn’t yet released unexpectedly congealed into an album of tremendous depth and beauty connected by the sly groove of her piano trios, lyrics that confront loss and portend hope, and a mood that leans into darkness before ultimately finding the light.
Recorded direct to acetate - all live, no overdubs - Capitol Cuts - Live from Studio A captures a powerful moment in time. After months of cancelled shows Black Pumas went to Los Angeles this past fall and laid down eight explosive tracks at the famed Capitol Studio A. The recording brims with pent up energy, nearly bursting through the grooves on the expansive and mind-blowing seven minute rendition of “Colors.” A few weeks later the song would received a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year.
The new album from Charley Crockett is perhaps even more potent proof of his literal heartbreak than the scar on his chest. After undergoing open heart surgery that saved his life, Charley says he considered calming down for “just a minute” but once he recovered he did just the opposite. He states boldly with one eyebrow raised, “I wanted to make an album that would change the entire conversation about country music.”
That album is Welcome to Hard Times , an aptly-named collection that perfectly fits these troubled days even though it was made just before the pandemic hit. The music was shaped by his heart issues and producer Mark Neill’s desire to make “a dark gothic country record.” Charley certainly knew how to deliver that. “I think you can hear that deep, dark sadness in this record,” he says, “but I think it’s the kind of darkness that will uplift others.”
“These songs should make you want to fall in love with somebody, or miss somebody, or want to do something outrageous with your life,” says Justin Furstenfeld, vocalist and lyricist for the unstoppable alt-rock band Blue October. He’s talking about the tracks on the quintet’s tenth studio album, This Is What I Live For, releasing in September 2020. The first single, ‘Oh My My,’ is sure to make a lasting impression.
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Pop on Floor It!!!, the new and second full-length effort from the Texas Gentlemen, and prepare your eardrums to be hit with everything from woozy, brass-fueled Dixieland-style jazz (“Veal Cutlass”), to slinky, chicken-scratch country funk (“Bare Maximum”) to lushly orchestrated pop-soul balladry (“Ain’t Nothin’ New”)—and that’s all in just the first 10 minutes of play time.
While the Gentlemen’s sound is clearly steeped in the classic roots, rock and pop music of the ‘60s and ‘70s, there’s a dreamy (the lilting “Sing Me to Sleep”), spacey (“Skyway Streetcar”) and occasionally progressive (“Dark at the End of the Tunnel”) element to what they do that seems to detach the music from belonging to any particular place and time. Add in elements of funk, soul, country, r&b, southern rock, gospel and essentially any other style that catches their musically omnivorous ears; an expansive and detailed approach to arrangement that sees the songs adorned with all manner of horns, strings and heavenly background vocals (“Hard Road”) and you have a collection of tunes that is more than just a mere album. Rather, Floor It!!! is a rich and righteous ride.
Wire Mountain is Will Johnson's 6th solo album and sits atop a back catalog that includes Centro-matic, South San Gabriel, Marie/Lepanto, and Molina Johnson. When he's not writing and recording his own projects he's often contributing to others, like co-producing Austin Lucas' Immortal Americans, or playing drums in Strand of Oaks. Wire Mountain is Johnson's second album recorded with Britton Beisenherz at his Austin studio Ramble Creek Recording and together they further develop new palettes and textures for Johnson's songs, this time enlisting fellow Austinites Thor Harris (of Swans and Thor & Friends) and minimalist folk-duo Little Mazarn to help shape and define them. Britton also plays on the album, along with Austin legend Jon Dee Graham. "Cornelius" begins with a squall of feedback before giving way to acoustic guitars and an anthemic chorus that plunges into a dizzying electric guitar solo. "A Solitary Slip" is fragile folk, a lilting lullaby of finger-picked guitar, plucked banjo, and single piano notes with Little Mazarn's Lindsey Verrill mirroring Johnson's words. The last track is a hopeful instrumental, a calm before the next thing. "(You Were) Just Barely You."
Conquest Of Kingdoms is a compendium of career-spanning live performances, b-sides, covers and rarities, culled from the complete studio album recordings of The Sword. This 3-LP set features 16 previously unreleased tracks. Triple gatefold packaging.
The GRAMMY® Award-winning maverick channels his signature sense of soul from the crossroads of rock ‘n' roll, blues, jazz, hip-hop, reggae and punk. Clark's most accomplished songwriting and virtuosic performances to date; THIS LAND delivers socially relevant, transcendentally ambitious, and musically rich declaration as unapologetic, undeniable, and unique as he is. He emerges with a body of work that is dynamic in every sense, embodying an ever-evolving sound that transformed him into an artistic force anointed by everyone from President Barack Obama to the late Prince.