New Release Round-Up 03-03-17
ED SHEERAN - ÷ (Divide) - Atlantic
One of the most anticipated global releases of 2017, ÷ sees the 25-year-old in his finest form yet. Drawing inspiration from a wide array of experiences and subjects, Ed Sheeran takes you through a hugely personal journey; be that reflecting on past relationships, family memories, his musical career or his time off travelling the world in 2016. Musically, ÷ is a varied collection of beautifully orchestrated and emotive ballads, impassioned raps laid over hip hop beats, timeless acoustic guitar masterpieces, and innovative, idiosyncratic pop music. Constantly on the move, the album was recorded between LA, London, Suffolk and while crossing the Atlantic aboard the RMS Queen Mary 2. Executive produced by multi-Grammy winner Benny Blanco and Sheeran himself with additional production coming from frequent collaborator Johnny McDaid, Grammy winner Mike Elizondo, and Brit Award winner Steve Mac. Sheeran also created the album artwork concept for ÷ , even painting the cover himself.
GRANDADDY - Last Place - Sony
Last Place is the new album from Grandaddy: Jason Lytle (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Kevin Garcia (bass guitar), Aaron Burtch (drums), Jim Fairchild (guitar), and Tim Dreyden (keyboards). The band formed in Modesto, CA in 1992, and after four albums disbanded in 2006. Jason Lytle relocated to Montana, where he happily made two solo albums, and reconnected with the natural world around him. Eventually though, life uprooted him again, taking him to Portland, Oregon until he eventually returned to his former home of Modesto. The return to California was practical (he needed to be near his bandmates) but also appropriate, as he had started writing songs that he felt would be fitting for another Grandaddy album.
DIA FRAMPTON - Bruises - Nettwerk Records
Dia Frampton writes cinematic pop that inspires and pulls at the heart. She has spent the past ten years building towards this moment, beginning at just fifteen with her sister (in Meg and Dia) and enchanting millions on a then-upstart show called The Voice. Her new music draws from all of the elements she has learned from - soaring pop vocals, orchestral grandeur and a never-ending DIY spirit. The aptly titled Bruises is her sophomore solo album. The 12 songs on Bruises form an autobiographical narrative arc that intersperses light and dark, traveling from self-doubt to fierce determination and will reconnect her with her large fanbase to showcase her more mature sound.
COLIN HAY - Fierce Mercy - Compass Records
Fierce Mercy is an epic, cinematic step forward from singer-songwriter, Colin Hay, most beloved for his intimate, confessional live shows and songs that can draw a tear from the most unlikely listeners. Fierce Mercy explores the themes of love and loss but always with the singular perspective and acerbic wit that has defined Hay's work since his days as frontman of the wildly popular '80s band, Men at Work. Now finding himself in the unprecedented place of having both '80s fame and indie credibility, Hay has created a new classic in his already impressive body of work, using a palette of pop songcraft, Americana flourishes, and soundtrack-ready strings. Recorded in both Los Angeles and Nashville and mixed by Vance Powell (Chris Stapleton, Jack White) and Gordon Hammond (Buddy Miller, Don Williams), it's possible that Hay has delivered the defining album of his career.
MINUS THE BEAR - Voids - Suicide Squeeze
On their sixth album, Voids, Minus The Bear started with a blank slate, and inadvertently found themselves applying the same starting-from-scratch strategies that fueled their initial creative process. Album opener "Last Kiss" immediately establishes the band's renewed fervor. An appropriately dizzying guitar line plunges into a propulsive groove before the chorus unfolds into a multi-tiered pop chorus. From there the album flows into "Give & Take," a tightly-wound exercise in syncopation that recalls the celebratory pulse of early Bear classics like "Fine + 2 Pts" while exploring new textures and timbres. "Invisible" is arguably the catchiest song of the band's career, with Jake Snider's vocal melodies and Knudson's imaginative guitar work battling for the strongest hooks. All in all, it’s an album that reminds us of everything that made us fall in love with Minus the Bear in the first place, and a big part of that appeal is the sense that the band is heading into uncharted territories.
For more information on these and other releases out this week, check out our New Releases charts by week section and don't forget that many of these titles are also available on vinyl.