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AFIAFI (THE BLOOD ALBUM) (DIG)Released Friday, January 20, 2017
Price: $12.99 (sale priced)Punk / Hardcore
Tilt your ears a certain way and you can hear Sing the Sorrows echoes in contemporaries like Touch Amor, White Lung, and Deafheaven. During their surprising 2014 Coachella appearance, a sizable crowd witnessed a limber, vigorous performance of their hits that attested to frontman Davey Havoks wholesome lifestyle choices. And while its been over a decade since theyve appealed to anyone outside their core audience, the same could be said of peers like Jimmy Eat World, Deftones, and even Taking Back Sunday, who all made vital additions to their catalogs in 2016. With a self-titled record whose artwork is a blatant callback to Sing the Sorrow, the timing could not be better for AFIs similarly triumphant comeback. Instead, they just sorta came back.


CLOUD NOTHINGSLIFE WITHOUT SOUNDReleased Friday, January 27, 2017
Price: $11.99 (sale priced)Rock & Pop
Cloud Nothings have demonstrated album by album that they are moving through an emotional narrative which resonates with many listeners but feels and sounds inherently personal. Life Without Sound takes the next step forward from their previous album, Here and Nowhere Else, situating the listener in a more stable and uplifting--but still emotionally charged--environment. As the album progresses, the band hopes to guide the listener through the same process that structured their previous albums, and I think they have once again succeeded.


BRANTLEY GILBERTDEVIL DON'T SLEEP (FEELIN BLUE) (DLX)Released Friday, January 27, 2017
Price: $16.99 (sale priced)Country
While his first album in three years does include several songs that go along with his image, dont take that for anything more than Gilbert being true to his roots. Material such as You Could Be That Girl and Its About To Get Dirty will no doubt find a willing ear from its audience, but its a slice of life that Gilbert knows a lot about. You see, in Jefferson, Georgia (population 9,432), people really do cruise around town and have their parties out in the field. There are also several rebels in Jackson County looking for the girl that turns them around, as the former of those two songs illustrates. This is real life, and Gilbert can attest to that.


GRATEFUL DEADGRATEFUL DEAD (50TH ANNIVERSARY DELUXE EDITION)Released Friday, January 20, 2017
Price: $16.99 (sale priced)Rock & Pop
Before they were the Grateful Dead, they were San Franciscos Grateful Dead. At least thats how they were to be billed on the title of their debut album: a scuzzy, organ-drenched oddity, more representative of the era it came from than the band it introduced. Leading up to the records release in 1967, the Grateful Dead had fortified their reputation as an uncontainable force, a live act who had to be seen to be believed. They were a band inextricably linked to their locale (Haight and Ashbury, San Francisco) and the scene it had hatched (namely Ken Keseys Acid Tests, for which the Dead served as the house band). In a spirited but nascent Vancouver show attached to this 50th anniversary reissue, mostly comprised of embryonic attempts at original songs (Cream Puff War, Cardboard Cowboy) and jumpy renditions of soon-to-be standards (I Know You Rider, New Minglewood Blues), the audience greets the band with silence.


JAPANDROIDSNEAR TO THE WILD HEART OF LIFEReleased Friday, January 27, 2017
Price: $11.99 (sale priced)Rock & Pop
Japandroids upcoming third LP Near to the Wild Heart of Life. Judging from Brian King's paradigmatic, one-man band riff and David Prowses pound-the-steering-wheel drum fills in the albums title track, the duo did not spend the last half-decade immersing themselves in musical arcana and broadening their sonic scope. At most, they probably killed a drunken weekend debating whether to spike the chorus with all right!, yeah! or WHOA! Still, five years is still a long time, and as with their previous record, Japandroids wisely recognized that simply letting life happen is their best way of updating the format, especially during a suspiciously long gestation period that included new romantic relationships for both King and Prowse and a new label. In their absence, the supposed obsolescence of capital R rock and the often-suffocating earnestness of indie rock have reigned supreme in 2016


KREATORGODS OF VIOLENCE (W/DVD) (DLX)Released Friday, January 27, 2017
Price: $14.99 (sale priced)Metal / Goth
Kreator likes to take their time between albums, and it pays off with some incredibly high quality metal. The new CD Gods of Violence is a fantastic thrash album, layered with varied tempos and a generous portion of melodic heavy metal. Their last release several years ago, Phantom Antichrist, was a scorcher, and while Gods of Violence retains that same basic approach with frequent bursts of high velocity, these songs are maybe a bit more thoughtful and diverse. Phantom was one of my favorite Kreator albums, and this one stands a good chance to earn the same praise. There's no question that it has an epic quality, which was an intentional move. Kreator fans should love it, as it's stuffed with classic Mille riffage, excellent drumming, impeccable songwriting, and a little bit of something for any metal fan.


MCCLINTON DELBERT / SELF-MADE MENPRICK OF THE LITTERReleased Friday, January 27, 2017
Price: $10.99 (sale priced)Blues
At 76, Delbert McClinton still delivers the goods as a singer and songwriter. While it's true that his vocal delivery is a tad more grainy and not quite as powerful as in decades past, like all great stylists, he's learned to compensate and is no less expressive as a result. Despite its title, Prick of the Litter is the gentlest album he's ever released. The set showcases a softer side of his instrument in beautifully arranged tunes that derive inspiration from the songs of Johnny Mercer and Nat King Cole, Percy Mayfield (whose 'The Hunt Is On' he covers here), Solomon Burke, and even Louis Armstrong. With his working band the Self-Made Men (keyboardist Kevin Mckendree, guitarist Bob Britt, bassist Michael Joyce, and drummer Jack Bruno), backing vocalists Vicki Hampton and Wendi Moten, and guests ranging from Lou Ann Barton and Jimmie Vaughan to Al Perkins and Glenn Clark, McClinton delivers tunes that range from airy ballads and grooving jump blues to classic American pop and swing.


RUN THE JEWELSRUN THE JEWELS 3 - INDIE CHEAP ONEReleased Friday, January 13, 2017
Price: $8.99 (sale priced)Rap
Nearly a decade after airing out the Bush family, the duo, as Run the Jewels, have found a creative renaissance. The groups latest self-titled album, Run the Jewels 3, is a well timed, finely tuned rap epic that confronts the ruling class (here addressed as the masters) with deadly precision; its rap as resistance.With a demagogue waiting in the wings to assume the presidency, their particular Molotov mix of explosive shit-talking and unfiltered insubordination feels vital. Their interplay is instinctual this time around; the songs move and shuffle with its MCs intuitively trading bars, filling the gaps in each others phrases, and feeding off each others energies, using their booming voices to cut through the startling noises of a future dystopia. Poor folk love us the rich hate our faces/We talk too loud, won't remain in our places, El-P raps on Everybody Stay Calm. Theyre both observers who refuse to sugarcoat.


SEPULTURAMACHINE MESSIAHReleased Friday, January 13, 2017
Price: $10.99 (sale priced)Metal / Goth
Musically, 'Machine Messiah' is adventurous. Andreas Kisser spreads his main styles into a logical order where thrash, power metal, tribal, folk, jazz and even soul (thanks to a gorgeous clean intro sung by Derrick Green) flow systematically, befitting the album's theme. Green is drawing upon two decades fronting SEPULTURA, and his tenure has been valiant. Green remains one of the best growlers out there and he deserves more upbeat press than the general indifference he's weathered. He is (still) unnecessarily held accountable to his predecessor, who is long past this band, 'Roots' road revival notwithstanding.


SLEATER-KINNEYLIVE IN PARISReleased Friday, January 27, 2017
Price: $11.99 (sale priced)Rock & Pop
In 2015, after a nine-year separation, Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss dusted off their guitars and created Sleater-Kinneys eighth album No Cities To Love. On Friday, Mar. 20, 2015, the trio performed live at the historic La Cigale in Paris, and fans collectively lost their minds. Blistering with explosive energy, the night is remembered as a cult concert. Now, fans will be able to relive the experience in all its feminist post-adolescent rebellion ferocity. The tracklist begins with Price Tag and ends with Modern Girl, and all 13 songs promise the relentless, unyielding fire that comes with live Sleater-Kinney performances. This may be exactly the lightning in a bottle you need to jump-start 2017 into high gear. Until the Jan. 27 release, find the Live in Paris tracklist below, and beneath that, you can check out a video of the band performing Surface Envy.


TYCHOEPOCHReleased Friday, January 20, 2017
Price: $13.99 (sale priced)Eletronica &Techno
What separates and differentiates Scott Hanson from his contemporaries is his ability to structure his Boards of Canada-indebted ambient-dance numbers in a way that is relatable and immediate, keeping his actual chord progressions astoundingly simple but embellishing each production with enough atmosphere and tiny details that each track feels like a personal epic, a custom-designed soundtrack scoring you and your life. Fans have responded in kind, turning out in droves to his live shows and going so far as to put his heralded 2014 effort Awake in the Top 25 of the Billboard 200an astounding feat for a post-rock instrumental set.


XXI SEE YOUReleased Friday, January 13, 2017
Price: $14.99Rock & Pop
the xx's third album, with a more expansive sound that's thick with disco throb, eclectic pop grandeur and big-?ballad hunger.The way the vocals are strung between hope and hurt feels especially intense, as if the singers are characters in a modern noir romance. The opening track, 'Dangerous,' begins with heraldic trumpet flares before settling into a skittering, dark-lit groove; Croft and Sim sing together, 'I won't shy away should it all fall down,' like their relationship is a house of cards they're willing into something stronger. The single 'On Hold' recalls the Human League with its brooding boy-girl back-and-forth: 'Every time I let you leave/I always saw you coming back to me,' Sim sings, as a brittle electro-burble pushes against a cleverly flipped sample of Hall and Oates' 'I Can't Go for That (No Can Do).' Croft is especially potent, further cementing her place in the great tradition of introspective English synth-pop divas, from Yaz's Alison Moyet to Everything But the Girl's Tracey Thorn; she can make a line like 'here come my insecurities' feel like a late-night battle cry.