CIMS In The Groove
'It's all rock & roll -- no golf!' is how acclaimed singer/songwriter/violinist Amanda Shires describes her electrifying firth album, To The Sunset. She's borrowed a lyric from the effervescent track 'Break Out the Champagne,' one of ten deftly crafted songs that comprise her powerful new recording. The Texas-born road warrior, new mom, and recently minted MFA in creative writing has mined a range of musical influences to revel an Amanda Shires many didn't know existed. 'Isn't it refreshing?' Shires asks. Indeed. Distorted electric guitars, effects pedals, swirling keys and synths, and rockin' rhythms certainly suit Shire's visceral songcraft and lilting soprano.
Miss June is what happens when angst matures. Raised in the embers of punk rock, Miss June harness jagged, noisy guitars filtered through the unrivalled stage presence of frontperson Annabel Liddell, unafraid, unapologetic and ready to wake up the music scene. Described as "some unholy union between Sonic Youth and Le Tigre" the NZ four piece, completed by the music school alumni recruited by Liddell - guitarist Jun Park, bass player Chris Marshall and drummer Tom Leggett - has built a reputation for fierce, formidable and head-spinning live shows. Miss June have caught the attention of acts like The Foo Fighters, Shellac, Wolf Alice and Idles who have all eagerly harnessed their support on stage. Over the past 12 months Miss June have held industry figures and tastemakers alike in the palms of their hands following the buzz generated from their 2018 BIGSOUND showcase, a ground swell which culminated in the band choosing to sign early in 2019 with New York label Frenchkiss Records (Passion Pit, Bloc Party, The Hold Steady, Local Natives, The Drums, & The Antlers). 2019 is set to be a landmark year for Miss June. On May 31st they release the lead single "Best Girl", backed with fan favourite "Twitch", taken from their impending debut album Bad Luck Party (expected September 2019). Combining elements of post-punk, no-wave and rock, the Tom Healy (Jen Cloher, Tiny Ruins, Die! Die! Die!) produced record sees Miss June still holding close their DIY roots while creating a blistering, reckless sound full of melodic hooks and overdriven riffs that are at once immediately recognizable and yet entirely their own. Miss June are fast growing into a force to be reckoned with. Miss June demand attention. There has never been a better time for Miss June to make noise. Get in now. Or miss out.
The original motion picture soundtrack to the Showtime documentary film “Hitsville: The Making of Motown” releases on 8/16. Highlighting the founding years of Motown, the album celebrates icons such as The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, The Supremes, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, and more. Revisit the music of Berry Gordy’s storied Detroit label and the artists who defined “the sound of young America”. Remastered audio on CD, deluxe double CD & Vinyl.
The ? anniversary 2CD Deluxe Edition features the original album, all of its instrumentals, and the entire A GHETTO CHRISTMAS CAROL EP. Bonus CD also includes new original material, newly remixed songs, and unreleased voice memos taken during the making of ?. Four panel digital packaging features a booklet filled with never-before-seen photos.
Power pop legends The Rubinoos are known for turning bubblegum into gold with ridiculously catchy tunes like "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," their cover of Tommy James & The Shondells' "I Think We're Alone Now," and the theme song to Revenge of the Nerds. They were the backing band when Jonathan Richman recorded the alternate version of "Roadrunner" and they opened 56 shows for Elvis Costello on his Armed Forces tour. But what's most impressive is that The Rubinoos are approaching their 50th anniversary and penning some of their finest songs to date. "From Home" is a homecoming recording of sorts. It reunites the original lineup of the band and was recorded in the same studio where they recorded their first single for Beserkley Records nearly half a century ago. The album was co-written and produced by Chuck Prophet, and right from the opening of the lead track "Do You Remember," you'll realize that The Rubinoos never left and are here to take you back to Berkeley with them.
A sweeping introduction to an artist deep into their practice, Kendra Amalie's Intuition is a star map to a new and developing sound space. An exploratory and (sometimes) shredding finger-style 12-string guitarist (both acoustic and electric), band leader, synthesist, new media creator, and experimental producer, the Wisconsin-based musician is also a songwriter occupying an ethereal zone between galaxy-brain cosmic transmissions and deep, personal expression. There's a concept and narrative arc to Intuition, too, the action moving from underwater locales to boat to city to global consciousness to farmland to the etheric plane and back to water. Shifting her music-making energies over the past several years, Intuition is the sound of a powerful new voice in focus. Intuition is a sound-based cross-section of a larger body of work. An arrival and a destination, Intuition is also surely a stopover, too. Meet Kendra Amalie.
There is an entire sub-genre of poetry devoted to rivers and their persistent, meditative flow. Emily Dickinson’s “My River Runs to Thee” compares them to the cycle of life, while Alfred Tennyson’s “The Brook” deems them eternal and Kathleen Raine’s “The River” muses on the dream-state they evoke. For transcendent folk-pop artist Shannon Lay, the river is all of the above: It’s the metaphor driving her latest album, the exquisitely uplifting August, which doubles as an aural baptism renewing her purpose for making music. “I always picture music as this river. Everyone’s throwing things into this river, it’s a place you can go to and feed off of that energy,” she says, “and feel nourished by the fact that so many people are feeling what you’re feeling. It’s this beautiful exchange.” The album’s name, August, refers to the month in 2017 when Lay quit her day job and fully gave herself over to music. This was her liberation as an artist, and the album is devoted to paying that forward to her listeners. Lay may be the most chilled-out artist you’ll ever meet. Despite fronting her tranquil solo act and being a guitarist/singer in the indie-rock band Feels, she never pressures herself to overachieve. Nonetheless, she regularly does: in a glowing review, Pitchfork anointed her last album, Living Water, “captivating.” With her life devoted to music, Lay often spends hours a day simply playing the guitar, challenging herself to become better. “It just feels so good, doing something that is so much bigger than myself. I think so much of music is that, realizing that it’s coming from something beyond and you are just the messenger” says Lay, who took guitar lessons at age 13, which introduced her to Neil Young and The Beatles. After high school, she moved from Redondo Beach, Calif., to Hollywood and joined an indie-rock band. “It was an energy I needed to release,” she says. The exact type of energy may have changed, but her drive hasn’t. August was mostly written in three months, during Lay’s first solo tour for Living Water. “For the most part, all of the songs were just guitar and voice,” she says. In keeping with the humbled, contemplative nature of August, most tracks clock-in at three minutes or less. She saved indulgence for the production. “Some songs as they were had this room to grow,” says Lay, who recorded the album with her longtime friend, musician Ty Segall at his home studio on the East Side. “I believe whoever you record with tends to affect the mood of music and Ty really brought this jovial sense that I hadn’t really explored yet,” she says. Also in the mix is Mikal Cronin, who played saxophone on the album’s opener, “Death Up Close.” “A lot of my friends who are really tough have admitted that they shed a tear when they hear my songs, and I think that really speaks to the visceral aspect of folk music,” Lay says. “It’s this ancient form of expressing yourself.” Think of August as a warm hug for your psyche. “I want to create as much music as I can,” she says, “and leave this spot by the river where people can go sit and enjoy.”
Two-time GRAMMY-nominated band The Lumineers are back with their third album, III, a cinematic piece presented as a narrative in three chapters, with each one centering on one main character. III’s concept began while the band was writing in the Catskill mountains, where producer Simone Felice works. Decidedly darker than their previous work in concept, but replete with their trademark expressive vocals and dynamic arrangements, III boldly and expertly goes in an artistic direction not yet traveled by the band. The Lumineers have enjoyed substantial commercial success; their 2012 self-titled debut featuring the hit single “Ho Hey” was certified triple-platinum in 2018, and their sophomore album Cleopatra was certified platinum in the same year after its 2016 release. They’ve had multiple #1 hits on the Triple A and Alternative radio charts, and have sold out tours across the world; over 300,000 tickets were sold on 2017’s Cleopatra world tour. The Lumineers have also supported icons and their musical heroes on the road, including Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and U2’s Joshua Tree tour.
On his latest album, OVER THE RAINBOW, Herb Alpert began the same way he has done for all of his albums over the years: searching for great melodies. That search has resulted in the prolific trumpeter’s latest offering, a collection of 11 classics and 1 brand new, original track. That original song, “Skinny Dip”, opens the album with a quirky, fun vibe before things move on to recognizable tunes from the great American songbook, which are included for various reasons close to Herb’s heart. He felt the danger in the tightrope walk of recording his own version of the iconic “Over The Rainbow”, which was cemented within pop culture by Judy Garland's performance and many other fantastic recordings. And whether it’s a tribute to Gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt on “All Love”, Bill Withers on “Ain’t No Sunshine”, or the great Louis Armstrong on “What A Wonderful World”, there is always a deeper connection and meaning for Herb on every cover selected for this album, making it one of the most personal projects he has ever worked on. OVER THE RAINBOW will be available everywhere on September 20 from Herb Alpert Presents.
The Competition, the anticipated fourth album from Lower Dens, is a pop album with a concept both emotionally and politically urgent. The title is lead singer and songwriter Jana Hunter’s term for a sociopsychological phenomenon that, in different ways, binds us all. Modern capitalism by nature generates a psychosis that accelerates our insecurities and anxieties to the point of total overload, corroding our intimacies, our communities, and our senses of self. The Competition speaks, in various ways, to the necessity of “socially de-conditioning ourselves and learning how to be people,” Hunter says. “The issues that have shaped my life, for better or for worse, have to do with coming from a family and a culture that totally bought into this competitive mindset.” The band’s first three albums—Twin-Hand Movement, Nootropics, and Escape from Evil—formed a narrative of sorts, about finding community, and identifying one’s responsibilities. This trajectory was interrupted by personal crises including frustrating battles with mental health. At the same time, Hunter was and is still undergoing a gender transition they had been deferring for many years. “I repressed the idea for a long time,” Hunter says. Hunter studied Western classical music growing up, “but I was wild and in a lot of pain, and it didn’t really touch that. What did, especially as a very young person, was pop — a spectrum ranging anywhere from Prince to Anne Murray. Home life was very bleak, and pop songs were a guaranteed escape to a mental space where beauty, wonder and love were possible. I wanted to write songs that might have the potential to do that.” The Competition draws on influences ranging across decades of Western pop music and chronicles messy, vulnerable humanity at a time of upheaval and chaos — through immersive, four-minute songs meant to give pleasure as much as provoke self-examination. It channels an urgent, restless desire to connect. “My voice is gonna be different when I perform these songs than it was when I recorded them,” Hunter says. “I’m equally terrified of and excited by that, but I always want to be more myself onstage, to reach people.”
Ride return with the 6th studio album of their career and their second since reforming in 2015 and signing to Wichita. As with their previous album, the highly acclaimed Weather Diaries, Erol Alkan was in the producers chair, whilst career-long collaborator Alan Moulder (with Caesar Edmunds) mixed the album. The albums title was inspired by one of the hobo code symbols once used by those who travelled the railroads of the US, and then found in the early artwork of Jean-Michel Basquiat. The phrase clearly resonates with the current state of the world politically and environmentally. This Is Not A Safe Place is arguably the Ride album with the broadest sonic palette thus far. You can hear sounds and styles that span their entire catalogue but, both musically and lyrically, this is clearly an album made by a band who love being back together and who are at the very top of their game.
Combining the lulling ambience of shoegaze with the iconic melodies and vocal prowess of classic American country music, enigmatic outlaw cowboy - Orville Peck, croons love and loss from the badlands of North America. The resulting sound is one completely his own, taking the listener down dusty rose-colored desert highways, through a world where worn out gamblers, aloof road-dogs and lovesick hustlers drift in and out of his masked gaze. Orville’s upcoming debut album, Pony, delivers a diverse collection of stories that sing of heartbreak, revenge and the unrelenting tug of the cowboy ethos. Warm lap steel guitars and echoing drums move through dreamy ballads, campfire lullabies and sometimes frantic buzzsaw tunes, all the while paying homage to his country music roots. Orville’s music has been featured by Nylon magazine, ID mag, Vice, The Needle Drop, as well as numerous Apple Music and Spotify playlists. He has also had magazine features in New York’s Hello Mr. and the UK’s Notion.
Close It Quietly is a continual reframing of the known. It’s like giving yourself a haircut or rearranging your room. You know your hair. You know your room. Here’s the same hair, the same room, seen again as something new. Close It Quietly takes the trademark Frankie Cosmos micro-universe and upends it, spilling outwards into a swirl of referentiality that’s a marked departure from earlier releases, imagining and reimagining motifs and sounds throughout the album. The band’s fourth studio release is a manifestation of their collaborative spirit: Greta Kline and longtime bandmates Lauren Martin (synth), Luke Pyenson (drums), and Alex Bailey (bass) luxuriated in studio time with Gabe Wax, who engineered and co-produced the record with the band. Recording close to home— at Brooklyn’s Figure 8 Studios— grounded the band, and their process was enriched by working closely with Wax, whose intuition and attention to detail made the familiar unfamiliar and allowed the band to reshape their own contexts. On opener “Moonsea,” an unaccompanied Greta begins, “The world is crumbling and I don’t have much to say.” Take that as a wink and a metonym for the whole album, as her signature vocals are joined by Alex’s ascending bassline and Lauren’s eddying synths, invoking a loungey take on Broadcast or Stereolab’s space-disco experimental pop. There’s much more than “not much” to say here, and it's augmented and expanded by experimentation with synth patches, textures, and other recording nuances courtesy of Wax. As the lineup has solidified into the most permanent expression of full-band Frankie Cosmos, the bandmates have felt more comfortable deviating from their default instruments and contributing bigger-picture ideas to continue pushing the sound forward. The band’s closeness and aesthetic consistency freed its members to take more risks, notes Luke: "Everything will sound like Frankie Cosmos because Greta has such a distinct voice (literally and figuratively). We have so much latitude to experiment with the instrumental music, and this time around we really took advantage of that." Without losing any intimacy of prior albums, Close it Quietly is different, is outer. The album functions as a benign doppelganger, a shadow self of past releases; where other Frankie Cosmos records shine brightest looking inward, Close it Quietly refracts the self into the world, and vice versa, miraculously echoing Thoreau’s assertion that “when I reflect, I find that there is other than me.” Reflection--and refraction--isn’t tidy. “Flowers don’t grow/in an organized way/why should I?” Greta sings on “A Joke.” Growth isn’t linear. Change happens in circles. While recording the album, Alex says, “I closed my eyes a lot.” Stand in the sun, listen to Close it Quietly, and do the same.
‘Cause and Effect’ is Keane’s 5th studio album. Their 4 previous albums have all entered the UK charts at number 1 and accumulated sales of over 13m worldwide and 2.6 billion streams. The birth of this new album came as something of a surprise even to the band. Singer Tom Chaplin had released two successful solo albums but missed his old sparring partner Tim Rice-Oxley. Written by Keane and produced by David Kosten and the band themselves, the album features 11 new songs recorded in London.
Like a personal fantasy, Tove Lo invites you close enough to see, hear, and feel the moment just before it evaporates back into the ether once more. In 2018, she officially relocated to Los Angeles and dove headfirst into creating her fourth full-length, Sunshine Kitty. It represented a new season for Tove marked by a reclamation of confidence, hard-earned wisdom, more time, and a nascent romance. It starts with the confident and catchy single “Glad He’s Gone.”