Gary Clark, Jr. just released his new album, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim. Over the last several years, the extraordinary blues and rock guitarist has shared the stages with many guitar playing legends including Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and Keith Richards – all of whom have sung Clark’s praises. Continue reading →
Mysterious Minneapolis electronic pop trio Polica fast became and XPN favorite following the release of their 2012 debut Give You The Ghost. After a year and a half of heard touring – which brought them to NonCOMM in 2012 and XPoNential Music Festival in 2013 – the band returns this fall with its followup LP, Shulamith. The album will be released on October 22 via Mom + Pop Music, but you can listen to it a week early via NPR Music’s First Listen series. NPR’s Andrea Swesson said this record sees the band finding its voice:
Not only does it build on the band’s established sound — a slinky, otherworldly style of electro-pop that mixes Channy Leaneagh’s angelic voice with distorted, occasionally disturbing sound manipulations and harrowing dual drums — but it also pushes them forward into exciting new creative areas. Whereas Give You the Ghost sounded like a Ryan Olson record with a guest vocalist finding her way to the forefront (Olson laid some of the groundwork for its sound as leader of Gayngs), Shulamith is a Channy Leaneagh record, plain and simple.
Listen to Shulamith in its entriety via NPR Music here. XPN Welcomes Polica to Union Transfer on Tuesday, November 5th. Tickets and information can be found here. Below, watch a video of the band performing at XPo Fest.
After a 12 year recording hiatus, the Washington D.C. band The Dismemberment Plan release their new album, Uncanney Valley on Tuesday, October 15th. While lead singer Travis Morrison and his band mates pursued careers outside of rock and roll, the band did a show at the Roots’ picnic in June, 2011 during which bassist Eric Axelson told me, “Everyone’s pretty open to whatever happens,” when asked what the future for the band looked like. At the time Axelson said, “if we write, it’ll be fun, but we don’t want to force it.” Clearly not forced, the long wait for new D-Plan music is over with the release of their new album.
Stephen Thompson of NPR Music says Uncanney Valley “finds the band comfortably wearing its most playful face yet. Throughout the album, Morrison remains a wryly funny, deadpan-candid craftsman where words are concerned, while the band backs him with alternately loose and jittery arrangements.”
It’s been since June, 2011, when Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion of Cults released their debut album. The band has a new record, Static, being released on Tuesday, October 15th. Stephen Thompson, of NPR Music writes: “Like Cults’ self-titled 2011 debut, the duo’s new album keeps its sound rooted in a kind of plaintive shimmer — Follin remains approachable even as her words tap into the mystery and desolation wired into many of the arrangements.”
You can listen to the new Cults album in its entirety here. You can sample a new song, “High Road,” below.
The band performs at the TLA on Wednesday, October 23rd. Go here for tickets and more information.
Our Artist To Watch this month is the Los Angeles based band of sisters Haim. They release their debut album, Days Are Gone, next Tuesday, September 30th. You can listen to their debut now, in its entirety here via NPR Music. Ann Powers of NPR writes:
HAIM’s thoughtful, playful music is good for the radio, good for rock, and good for music lovers of all ages who need to carve out a little space to dream. Diving into so many different musical wellsprings, HAIM discovered its specific superpower: the ability to channel influences most listeners recognize within a fresh, personal sound. It’s easy to play the game of references on Days Are Gone. “Honey & I” re-imagines Fleetwood Mac as a duo with just Lindsey and Christine; “The Wire” throws its Shania Twain guitar riff against a wall built by The Bangles. The wonderfully moody “My Song 5″ imagines a perfect union of Nirvana and TLC. “Running If You Call My Name” runs up that hill in the Kate Bush and finds Tom Petty free-falling on the other side. And so on, until the jukebox is exhausted.
Listen to Days Are Gonehere.
Purchase the album here.
Mazzy Star will release Seasons Of Your Day next Tuesday, their first new album since 1996. NPR Music has chosen the record for its First Listen feature this week and you can stream the full LP here. From NPR’s Will Hermes:
Seasons of Your Day (out Sept. 24) is the first Mazzy Star record in 17 years, and it comes as the group’s sound is being echoed by younger artists — see Baltimore’s shadowy Beach House and the mutable glam-pop of Lana Del Rey. It’s a lovely, intoxicating record, but the group’s sound has also evolved…. Sandoval’s singing has become much more interesting since those early days — her phrasing more nuanced, less somnambulant, no longer so smothered in reverb. David Roback, Mazzy Star’s other central figure, is playing more acoustic guitar alongside his signature summer-of-love electric, and there’s a strong English folk and blues flavor on Seasons that recalls albums by Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions, the singer’s project of the past decade.
Tickets and information for Mazzy Star’s show at Union Transfer on November 22nd can be found here. Stream Season Of Your Day here and listen to “California” off of the new record below.
Singer Lauren Mayberry, a former music journalist who’s toiled in local bands around Glasgow, has an idiosyncratically lovely voice to match her understanding of what builds a frontwoman’s mystique; she knows how and when to project charm, vulnerability, guts and grit.
The Bones of What You Believe does a fine job gathering up all of Chvrches’ charms into one diverse but cohesive collection of brightly rendered buzzy wonders. Those who’ve followed the band’s rise closely will recognize roughly a third of these songs: “The Mother We Share,” “Lies,” “Recover,” and “Gun” have already surfaced as singles in the run up to this, a big moment in its short but eventful history. But those fully vetted highlights don’t overwhelm the eight lesser-known tracks here — even those in which Mayberry cedes the spotlight to capable bandmates Iain Cook (a veteran of Aerogramme) and Martin Doherty (a touring member of The WTilight Sad ). Instead, all 12 songs help paint a picture of Chvrches as a band ready for the world; one that bridges styles and eras on the strength of its own charisma.
Chvrches play Union Transfer this Wednesday, September 19th. Go here for tickets and more information to the show.
Listen to Chvrches The Bones of What You Believehere in its entirety.
Veteran indie-rockers Sebadoh – Lou Barlow, multi-instrumentalist Jason Loewenstein and drummer Bob D’Amico – return with a new album, Defend Yourself, on September 17th. Listen to the new Sebadoh album in its entirety here.
“In a year packed with unlikely indie-rock reunions — including new material by everyone from to to — it’s a thrill to hear Sebadoh return, sounding as all-over-the-map glorious as ever. Even as Barlow offers up clear-eyed postmortems of a wrecked marriage, Defend Yourself exudes the live-wire energy of a vital band brought back from the brink.”
Sebadoh perform at Johnny Brenda’s on Saturday, November 2nd. Go here for tickets and more information.
Listen to the new Sebadoh album in its entirety here via NPR Music.