New Release Round-Up 05-05-17
CHRIS STAPLETON - From A Room: Volume 1 - Mercury Nashville
Chris Stapleton's new album, From A Room: Volume 1, is out now on Mercury Records Nashville. The highly anticipated full-length record is the first new music from Stapleton since 2015's breakthrough double-platinum solo debut Traveller and will be followed by From A Room: Volume 2 later this year. The album takes its name from Nashville's historic RCA Studio A, where it was recorded during the winter of 2016-17. Once again produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb, Volume 1 features eight original songs as well as a rendition of "Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning," written by Gary P. Nunn and Donna Sioux Farar and made famous by Willie Nelson.
VARIOUS ARTISTS - Cover Stories: Brandi Carlile Celebrates 10 Years of the Story (An Album to Benefit War Child) - Sony Legacy
This year marks the 10th Anniversary of Brandi Carlile's breakthrough album, The Story. To celebrate she recruited artists like Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Pearl Jam, The Avett Brothers, Adele and many more for this Cover Stories album to benefit the charity War Child. Brandi describes this project as "...a David and Goliath story. Since becoming a mother, the reality of a child's beautiful little life being torn apart by war felt like too big of a problem for me. So I asked my heroes and friends to help me launch a rock at the giant that is our refugee crisis and help in the only way we know how, through the power of music."
BLONDIE - Pollinator - BMG
Pollinator is Rock And Roll Hall Of Famers Blondie's 11th album. Pollinator has been two years in the making and follows on from 2014's 40th anniversary celebrations and the subsequent release of Ghosts Of Download. Alongside original band members Chris Stein, Debbie Harry and drummer Clem Burke, the album also features contributions from Johnny Marr, Sia, Dev Hynes, Charli XCX, Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio), Nick Valensi (The Strokes) and The Gregory Brothers.
THE AFGHAN WHIGS - In Spades - Sub Pop
From its evocative cover art to the troubled spirits haunting its halls, In Spades casts a spell that challenges the listener to unpack its dark metaphors and spectral imagery. On the one hand, In Spades is as quintessentially Afghan Whigs as anything the group has ever done – fulfilling its original mandate to explore the missing link between howling Midwestern punk like Die Kreuzen and Hüsker Dü, The Temptations’ psychedelic soul symphonies, and the expansive hard-rock tapestries of Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd. At the same time, this new record continues to push beyond anything in the Whigs’ previous repertoire – another trademark, along with the explosive group dynamic captured on the recording. Indeed, the chemistry of the lineup – vocalist/guitarist Greg Dulli, guitarists Dave Rosser and Jon Skibic, drummer Patrick Keeler, multi-instrumentalist Rick Nelson, and Whigs co-founder/bassist John Curley – set the tone for In Spades’ creation. When it came to follow up the band’s triumphant return to recording – Do To the Beast (Sub Pop 2014), which was the band’s first ever Top 40 album, – the die was cast. "This is the first time since Black Love [the Whigs’ 1996 noir masterpiece] that we’ve done a full-blown band album," Dulli says.
MAC DEMARCO - This Old Dog - Captured Tracks
According to the DMV, MacBriare Samuel Lanyon DeMarco is 26. But in working-dog years, ol’ Mac DeMarco here could easily qualify for Social Security. To stay gold, turns out all he needed was some new tricks. Though used to and pretty happy with that annual grind, it was a little space—in time, location, and method—that inspired DeMarco while making This Old Dog. Moving from his isolated Queens home to a house in Los Angeles helped give the somewhat transient Canada native a broader base, and a few more months on his calendar to create did their job as well. Arriving in California with a grip of demos he’d written in New York, he realized after a few months of setting up his new shop—complete with a few new toys—that the gap was giving him perspective. DeMarco wrote some demos for This Old Dog on an acoustic guitar, an unusual yet eye-opening method for him. He also attributes some of the delay to his exploration of new gear he’d purchased, specifically a CR-78 drum machine, which he used while writing and can be heard on his album tracks for the first time ever. "That thing helped a ton, especially for demoing," he says. "It’s on the album a lot, maybe four or five songs. I usually demo on a drum machine and then record real drums, but I liked that machine so much I kept it on the album. The majority of this album is acoustic guitar, synthesizer, some drum machine, and one song is electric guitar. So this is a new endeavor for me."
SLOWDIVE - Slowdive - Dead Oceans
The world has finally caught up with Slowdive. A band whose reach goes far beyond just influencing music is back, with their first new album in 22 years. The album is called Slowdive - self-titled in an echo of their debut EP from 1990 - and is remarkably direct. "We were always ambitious," says frontman Neil Halstead. "Not in terms of trying to sell records, but in terms of making interesting records. Maybe, if you try and make interesting records, they're still interesting in a few years' time." Now, in 2017, the record is ready and first single from which, "Star Roving," shot to the top of the Billboard Trending 140 Chart. "There's a different energy about it," says drummer Simon Scott. "It took ages to get back together and write songs and for it to click in the studio, but this album doesn't feel like a bolt-on - it's got an energy that's as vibrant as Souvlaki and Just for a Day. It feels very relevant to now."
AT THE DRIVE IN - In.Ter A.Li.A - Rise Records
The music industry sees artists come and go on a regular basis. Plans change, life gets in the way and bands fade away. Occasionally we’re lucky enough to see an important band return from their silence: enter At The Drive In. While At The Drive In was quiet, the members (Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Tony Hajjar and Paul Hinojos) were incredibly busy, selling millions of albums, winning Grammys and putting out a lot of quality music with their other projects (The Mars Volta, Antemasque, Gone Is Gone and many more). After a 15-year break, the band returned to the studio to create the follow-up to 2000’s Relationship of Command. It’s the moment fans have been waiting for since their return to the stage as 2012 Coachella and Lollapalooza headliners ... In.Ter A.Li.A. Produced by the band’s own Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Rich Costey (Muse, Sigur Rós, Santigold), in·ter a·li·a includes eleven songs that resonate the classic At The Drive In intensity that fans love, while breaking the band’s 15-year drought with something fresh and exciting, that slides right into 2017.
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.