In The Groove
The Old North State is tattooed on the bones of front man BJ Barham, who has never lived more than two hours from his hometown in Reidsville. But, more so, what better to represent an album about loss than a place built to save the lives of shipwrecked mariners and passengers? Song as a sort of salvation is something Barham hopes this album can do for the band’s established and growing fanbase. Sometimes when we’re drowning, music keeps us afloat.
“When these massive life changes happen, we feel like we are the only ones facing these problems,” Barham said. “I hope this album serves as a salve to anyone who has experienced this sort of loss over the last few years. I hope it makes them feel a little less isolated and disconnected. I want them to know that someone out there is going through the exact same shit and that they are not alone.”
With tracks tackling personal loss—the loss of his mother and grandmother, the loss of a child, the loss of youth and time and the creative spark that drives him—Chicamacomico feels stripped down and bare-boned in its instrumentation compared to earlier records. The orchestration is dialed back leaving the lyrics to stand naked front and center. It’s reminiscent of Rockingham, Barham’s 2016 solo album, and this may be in part a result of producer Brad Cook, who produced both albums as well as the band’s 2015 record Wolves. But it’s likely more a sign of the maturing sound and expanding scope of a songwriter now fully comfortable and confident in his own skin.
“When you are young, you want to play everything loud and fast and I think that comes, at least in part, from uncertainty. I hadn't fully found my voice back in those early days so the louder and faster the songs were the less chance someone could actually hear what I was saying. I'm not afraid of the lyrics sitting way out front anymore because I am confident in the songwriting. The band can still cut loose and take over a song, but they aren't expected to do all the heavy lifting these days.”
Few songwriters swing the hammer as hard and precise as Barham and it is a testament to the humility and trust of his bandmates that they take the back seat and allow his storytelling to drive us home. With a heavy tour the rest of the year and a backlist of brass-knuckled bangers, each will surely have their fair share of time at the wheel.
But as for this record, be thankful for the subtlety, for the stillness and for the quiet. For ten songs, Chicamacomico will hold your head above water.
In April of 2021, 13 months into quarantine, Rick Springfield and his band performed his most iconic album, “Working Class Dog,” from start to finish live at Rick’s home in Malibu in celebration of its 40th Anniversary. The resulting work is a renewed interpretation of a classic. The DVD features behind-the-scenes footage, all the joyful live performances, plus 4 bonus Rick Springfield hits: “Love Somebody,” “Don't Talk to Strangers,” “State of the Heart,” and “Affair of the Heart.”
Hank Williams, Jr.’s sound has always been built on the blues, and his latest album, Rich White Honky Blues, is a sonic testimony to that. The project came together over three hot days in Nashville, recorded live with the finest blues session players in the country at producer Dan Auerbach’s legendary studio, Easy Eye Sound. Never one to rest on his laurels, even after 56 studio albums, the acclaimed Country Music Hall of Fame member is still finding new creative ground to explore.
Songs My Friends Wrote is an album I’ve been threatening to make for years. It’s a bunch of tracks that are my versions of a bunch of…songs my friends wrote. I’m fortunate to count a lot of world class songwriters as good pals and I wanted to shine a little light on some of my favourite examples of their work. In most cases I’ve picked relatively obscure songs that have always spoken to me, even though many of them won’t be so familiar to people. There’s a pretty good chance of a Volume Two, Three and Four eventually, because there were a lot of friends and a lot of songs to choose from. The best part about recording all these tunes was that they reminded me of all the people who I haven’t been able to hang out with for the past two years because of the plague we’ve all been dealing with. All of these tunes bring a smile to my face and I hope they do the same for you. - Corb Lund
Foals take a fresh, thrilling new direction on with their upcoming album ‘Life Is Yours’, which will be released on June 17th via Warner Records. ‘Life Is Yours’ is the follow-up to the triumphant, two-part ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost’, which proved to be a pivotal pinnacle in the band’s story. Not only did it result in the band’s first ever UK #1album, but the ambitious scale of the Mercury-nominated album saw Foals win their first BRIT Award for Best Group.
‘Life Is Yours’ feels like a natural evolution for Foals, its disco-tinged guitars, tight syncopated rhythms and punchy, insistent hooks echoing their roots as purveyors of rambunctious house party chaos. Thematically, it’s escapist, transportive and in rapture at life’s endless possibilities. It’s a record that’s perfectly in tune with the prevailing atmosphere of this moment in time – a life-affirming celebration as the world is reunited.
Not The Smile as in ha-ha-ha, more The Smile as in the guy who lies to you every day"... so speaks Thom Yorke on the inspiration behind the name of the new trio consisting of himself, his Radiohead bandmate Jonny Greenwood and drummer Tom Skinner of UK jazz outfit Sons of Kemet. The description is borne out by The Smile's acerbic first single "You Will Never Work In Television Again," a 2:48 blast of ragged, raw energy that moved The New York Times to rave: "Over a bruising 5/4 beat and flailing guitars climbing through three chords, Yorke snarl-sings his avenging fury at 'some gangster troll promising the moon' who'd devour 'all those beautiful young hopes and dreams,' and you can almost feel the spittle flying." Additional singles "The Smoke", "Skrting the Surface" and "Pana-Vision" - which epically closed the series finale of hit show Peaky Blinders - followed with equal critical acclaim; all are collected on The Smile's first album, A Light For Attracting Attention, produced by Nigel Godrich.
Stella makes her Sub Pop debut with the mesmerizing Up and Away, an old-school pop paean to the pangs and raptures of love. From the Greek folk-inflected get-go, we're swept up in Stella's world - and it's quite the captivating place to be. The singer-songwriter joined forces with artist and producer Tom Calvert (aka Redinho), and it was a match made in Athens; the results are heavenly. Tom caught one of Stella's gigs on a visit to the city. He reached out, they started hanging out, and the pair soon clicked creatively. Both mention chemistry when asked about their collaboration and it's clear, from what we hear, they had it in spades. The meld is seamless. Stella's songs have always riffed on American and Greek mid-century pop but Up and Away doubles down on the vintage aesthetic. Tom says he styled the record "as if it was a rare gem from the '60s found in a box of records in Athens," and Stella notes she was ready for a more "deeply Greek touch - it felt comfortable and right, smoothly fusing with the pop." The bouzouki appears on a full five tracks played by Christos Skondras who, she says, "was brilliant at improvising," while Sofia Labropoulou on the kanun "brought an insane amount of dreaminess to the last two songs. Having these amazing musicians play for Up and Away - I couldn't be more grateful."
Rufus Does Judy at Capitol Studios is a live album by Rufus Wainwright, slated to be released by BMG in June 2022. The album was recorded at Capitol Studios, during a virtual concert of the same name, which saw Wainwright re-create Judy Garland's live album Judy at Carnegie Hall.
From Orpheus to Icarus, depths to heights, and the thresholds in between. I’m interested in the moment when something becomes something else, when somewhere becomes somewhere else. That membrane that separates inside from outside. Retreating as we do in to the underlands , to molt our plumage, to exorcise our inside problems and emerge like newborn foals shaking, naked, squinting in the light. Don’t you know that I’m an irrepressible optimist working with a fatal flaw? The ghost that refuses to appear in the clock across the hall. You can set the table and call to her, but she decides when to visit. So, we imbue objects with crazy power to forget that we’ve been abandoned at a truck stop on the Ohio turnpike. To forget that we took a scouring pad to the places where art, music and community thrive. Promise to resist until you die and never fall apart again. - ANDREW BIRD
• Produced by Mike Viola
• Recorded at United Recording
• Featuring musicians: Alan Hampton, Madison Cunningham, Abe Rounds, Jimbo Mathus, Mike Viola
Diamond Star Halos is the brand new album from Def Leppard, their first since their chart topping self-titled Def Leppard record in 2015. Written by the band over the past two years it features 15 tracks including the anthemic, stadium-ready singles “Kick” and “Fire It Up”, with guest vocals from Alison Krauss on “This Guitar” and “Lifeless”. The album title references T. Rex’s “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” with nods to T.Rex, David Bowie and Mott The Hoople across the album, which mixes the sound of their classic spirit with modern fire. The 1CD features a black & white cover with color logo, packaged in a jewel case.
“One thing I learned these last couple of years is that people need people,” shares Franti. “I wrote many songs about connection, resilience and finding the light, even in the midst of all the crazy. Somewhere in there we find resilience, and I hope Follow Your Heart gives fans the courage to continue looking for and holding onto that perseverance.”
Michael Franti & Spearhead will embark on the Follow Your Heart World Tour on May 13, performing across North America through the summer with plans to announce additional dates, before heading to Europe in early 2023. Tickets are on sale now at MichaelFranti.com.
Upon arrival during the fraught summer of 2020, Flower of Devotion felt like Dehd’s necessary prescription for us all. That was, of course, a moment of unprecedented anxiety and uncertainty, when just contemplating the future could seem overly optimistic. But Dehd captured and shared the precarious balance between real life and real hope, a feat mirrored by instant pop melodies and infectious punk energy. The Chicago trio had the audacity to look ahead when many of us didn’t, to imagine improvement through mere existence. It was an album we needed. We need its follow-up, the triumphant Blue Skies, even more.
Dehd’s fourth album (and first for Fat Possum) is also the band’s second consecutive breakthrough, loaded with the most compelling, compulsive, and expansive songs of their career. Blue Skies offers another jolt of timely hope, only with twice the power. These 13 hits feel like flashlights in the dark, acknowledging how difficult everything from love and sex to living and dying can be while supplying the inspiration of their own experiences. “There’s a hole in my window/I was wondering how the rain was getting in,” Emily Kempf sings during the magnetic “Window,” acknowledging the problem before jubilantly exclaiming she’s moving toward something new. “Blue skies!”
The rapturous reception of Flower of Devotion gave Dehd access to more resources — budgets, studios, producers. Rather than seek something new, however, they invested in themselves, their process, and their deep belief in what they have always done. They booked the same studio where they had recorded Flower of Devotion but tripled their stay, giving themselves time to play with arrangements and delight in a wonderland of drum machines and synthesizers.
Through Dehd’s career, Jason Balla has been building his chops as a producer, so this was a chance to indulge and explore. Eric McGrady, meanwhile, considered how much more he could deliver as a drummer, adding layers to the thump of his past. And Emily, who admits that the process of making records has always been emotionally draining, focused on harnessing her indomitable energy, funneling her power into these songs without being overpowered by them. Dehd gave themselves runway to make mistakes and the space to make a statement. Blue Skies is their poignant, redemptive, and deeply fun testament to trusting and pushing yourself.
These 33 minutes run like a series of interconnected singles, each song so hooky and strong that you’ll be hard-pressed to name a favorite. The triumphant “Bad Love” is a surge of self-liberation, Emily leading the charge through an anthem about admitting your faults, seeking forgiveness, and finding a way forward. “I got a heart full/I got a heart full of redemption,” she offers at the start, a moment that suggests Springsteen writing with The Go-Go’s. A Tom Verlaine quiver to his voice, Jason takes a nighttime walk in the city as anxiety closes in during the irrepressible “Stars,” calming himself with a concrete reminder he’s still here. And there’s Eric’s splendid “Hold,” a chiming wonder with elastic bass lines and cascading piano parts that interlock beneath his hypnotic voice. He affirms the impact of simple acts of love.
But even when they sound ebullient, Dehd has never shied from troubles, the balance that has made them so magnetic. Above wafting synths and marching drum machines, “Memories” feels first like an electro dirge, memorializing lost friends. Such moments — and there are several clouds amid these Blue Skies — are pointed signals of our collective woe. Dehd presses ahead, though, into a future that offers something else if not always something better. What hope, after all, is more dependable? They end “Memories” in a refrain of pure persistence: “I’m doing all I can.” Blue Skies gets real. Blue Skies never wallows.
Toward the end of 2021, Dehd shared stages with Julien Baker, their first substantive chance to take Flower of Devotion on the road. Every night after their set, fans would tell the band how those songs had helped during the toughest times of the last two years. Those listeners had recognized what makes Emily, Jason, and Eric so compelling — they put their individual experiences on the page, then project them together with heart and empathy into instant hooks. Those post-show admissions could be a lot to process for the band, but they provided galvanizing confirmations that they’d made the right decision with Blue Skies. They would keep pulling light out of the dark with songs that feel so fucking good to hear right now.
The writing is sharper and smarter on Blue Skies. The harmonies and rhythms are more sophisticated and considered. The moods are deeper, the swings between them more inspiring. But this is still Dehd, just more wild and wonderful than ever before. “This is all we get,” Emily shouts with relish on the record’s last lines, during a song about the ways geologic deep time should free us all to live more. “Best to take the risk.” Heard, loud and clear.
With If I never know you like this again, SOAK's Bridie Monds-Watson (they/them) have shaken the hangover of their starry Mercury-nominated debut Before We Forgot How To Dream and their ambitious follow-up album Grim Town, and the pressures that came with them. Having written much of their new album when time felt at its slowest, Bridie, who has always had an obsessive need to document each chapter of their life, now makes a marvel of the mundane. On If I never', SOAK's brilliant melodies are on full display. Lead single 'Last July' features a masterfully off-kilter vocal set against swooning guitars, creating a lush pop song that wouldn't be out of place in the end credits of a 90s coming-of-age film. Lyrically, Bridie manages to be both playful and self-aware. The idea of identity is central to the record, and Bridie's lyrics are as deeply personal as they are universal. 'This record is the most accurate picture of me. I felt no pressure at all, it was almost like I was ranting as I was writing,' they explain. Bridie's memories string together to create intimate vignettes of a life richly lived. Tapping into their specific experiences, the result is a record that is deeply relatable and sparkling, as it traverses the ups and downs of their journey to becoming a fully realized person.
A product of generations of underground music in L.A. and beyond, The Linda Lindas’ debut, Growing Up, channels classic punk, post punk, power pop, new wave, and other surprises into timelessly catchy and cool songs sung by all four members—each with her own style and energy. A handful of cuts have already been previewed at shows and enthusiastically approved by diehard followers in the pit at L.A.’s DIY punk institution The Smell and Head in the Cloud festival goers at The Rose Bowl alike. The Linda Lindas are stoked to unleash Growing Up.
The Linda Lindas first played together as members of a pickup new wave cover band of kids assembled by Kristin Kontrol (Dum Dum Girls) for Girlschool LA in 2018 and then formed their own garage punk group just for fun. Sisters Mila de la Garza (drummer, now 11) and Lucia de la Garza (guitar, 14), cousin Eloise Wong (bass, 13), and family friend Bela Salazar (guitar, 17) developed their chops as regulars at all-ages matinees in Chinatown, where they played with original L.A. punks like The Dils, Phranc, and Alley Cats; went on to open for riot grrrl legends Bikini Kill and architect Alice Bag as well as DIY heavyweights Best Coast and Bleached; and were eventually featured in Amy Poehler’s movie Moxie.
When the pandemic put a pause on shows, The Linda Lindas went on to self-release a four-song EP, make their own videos and grow a following beyond Los Angeles. But they never expected or could have even dreamed that their performance of “Racist, Sexist Boy” for the Los Angeles Public Library in May 2021 would take them from punk shows to TV shows.
A month later, when the school year ended and summer began, The Linda Lindas got to work on their first full-length LP. Having written a mountain of new material individually while sheltering in place and attending class virtually, the
band was more than ready to enter the studio where Mila and Lucia’s dad (and Eloise’s uncle and Bela’s “uncle”) Carlos de la Garza oversaw recording and production. The Grammy-winning producer’s work includes Paramore, Bad Religion, Best Coast, and Bleached.
Having taken some time out after the busy schedule surrounding their 2003 debut album Keep On Your Mean Side, The Kills returned with No Wow in 2005, a dark and brooding musical examination of the period in which New York's punk scene became its dance scene. This 2022 reissue features new mixes of the original album by Tchad Blake (Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, Sheryl Crow).
The legendary CAVE IN makes a highly anticipated return with their Relapse Records debut, Heavy Pendulum, their first full studio record in over a decade. The band (Stephen Brodsky - Guitar/Vocals, Adam McGrath - Guitar/Vocals, John-Robert Conners - Drums) sees a revival following the addition of Nate Newton (Converge, Doomriders, Old Man Gloom) on bass and vocals. Produced by Kurt Ballou at God City, Heavy Pendulum showcases everything that has long established CAVE IN as one of the best contemporary rock, hardcore, and metal bands since their monumental 1998 debut Until Your Heart Stops. From the driving tracks such as crushing opener "New Reality" to the metallic edge of "Blood Spiller", Heavy Pendulum sees CAVE IN look back at their discography and capture their most memorable, visceral, and forward-thinking moments to create a record that is all at once familiar and in true CAVE IN fashion, ahead of the mainstream.
Co-produced by Hornsby and Tony Berg, the 12-track album features additional production work from Rechtshaid and Wayne Pooley. ‘Flicted also features a duet with Danielle Haim on the pandemic shut-down era piece “Days Ahead” as well as further contributions from Rob Moose who provided several arrangements and performances individually and as a member of yMusic. The record also includes a re-imagining of Chuck Berry’s “Too Much Monkey Business,” marking the first cover song to ever appear on Hornsby’s studio releases.
As she has so eloquently accomplished over the past 25 years, acclaimed singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier has used her art once again to traverse the uncharted waters of the past few years. “I’m the kind of songwriter who writes what I see in the world right now,” she affirms. Thankfully, amid dark storms of pandemic loss, she found and followed the beacon of new love: Her gift to us, the powerful Dark Enough to See the Stars, collects ten sparkling jewels of Gauthier songcraft reflecting both love and loss.
Her eleventh album, Dark Enough to See the Stars, follows the profound antidote to trauma, Rifles & Rosary Beads, her 2018 collaborative work with wounded Iraq war veterans. It garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album, as well as a nomination for Album of the Year by the Americana Music Association. Publication of her first book, the illuminating Saved by a Song: The Art and Healing Power of Songwriting, in 2021, brought her more praise. Brandi Carlile has said, “Mary’s songwriting speaks to the tender aspects of our humanness. We need her voice in times like these more than we ever have.” The Associated Press called Gauthier “one of the best songwriters of her generation.”
Horsegirl are best friends. You don't have to talk to the trio for more than five minutes to feel the warmth and strength of their bond, which crackles through every second of their debut full-length, Versions of Modern Performance, out June 3rd. Penelope Lowenstein (guitar, vocals), Nora Cheng (guitar, vocals), and Gigi Reece (drums) do everything collectively, from songwriting to trading vocal duties and swapping instruments to sound and visual art design. 'We made [this album] knowing so fully what we were trying to do,' the band says. 'We would never pursue something if one person wasn't feeling good about it. But also, if someone thought something was good, chances are we all thought it was good
Before Dan Klein's unfortunate passing, The Frightnrs agreed to keep a promise he asked of them - continue making music together. Part of that promise has been made manifest here...Daptone Records is proud to present ALWAYS! - the raw, soulful new long player from The Frightnrs. The road to Always began with a period of intense songwriting back when The Frightnrs and producer Victor Axelrod (Ticklah) were working on the group's debut, rocksteady masterpiece, Nothing More to Say. In addition to the scorchers heard therein, Axelrod and The Frightnrs agreed many of the recordings were too sweet to tamper with in order to fit the rocksteady mold. Some were created at their headquarters in Queens with Dan on the mic, some were elaborations on older ideas, others were brand new creations made at the finish line. Thanks to the vocal stems they had captured in this golden period, Dan Klein's other-worldly voice lived on, giving The Frightnrs all the raw material they needed for an entire album's worth of new, original music. So with that, The Frightnrs and Axelrod returned to the studio and painstakingly conceptualized, tracked, re-tracked and mixed them into a complete album with their beloved friend singing lead. The fruits of this arduous process lay bare the undying love and respect between musical brothers.The last song written for this album, "Why Does it Feel Like a Curse", married two song concepts with one of Dan's original vocal performances - creating a beautiful, flawless composition that not only serves as a highlight reel of their editing skills and songwriting prowess, but also as a kind of metaphor for The Frightnrs journey. The perfect ending for ALWAYS.