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GARY CLARK JRLIVE NORTH AMERICA 2016Released Friday, March 17, 2017
Price: $11.99 (sale priced)Rock & Pop
Gary Clark Jr. is back with Live/North America 2016, a series of live recordings over his North American tour last year. Having seen Gary Clark Jr. live for the first time back in 2012 I was very much looking forward to this release as the concert I saw him was honestly one of the best live shows Ive seen. Clark is just one of those artists that has to be heard live.


RODNEY CROWELLCLOSE TIESReleased Friday, March 31, 2017
Price: $13.99 (sale priced)Country
For a song cycle that turns around death and mortality, Rodney Crowells Close Ties is a decidedly jubilant affair. Co-produced by Kim Buie and Jordan Lehning, the introspective work finds the great American songwriter, who has had hits on the country, pop, rock and Americana charts, settling into his place as an elder statesman by surveying the path that brought him here.Three sheets in the wind, brick shy of a load/ Easy Houston Blues down a nowhere road, Rodney Crowell wails gleefully on East Houston Blues, Close Ties freewheeling opener. Shimmying with joy, the song establishes his hardscrabble raising, as that electric sense of being alive frames these reflectively autobiographical postcards.


DEMON HUNTEROUTLIVEReleased Friday, March 31, 2017
Price: $11.99 (sale priced)Metal / Goth
'These are trying times/ we will make the dead rise,' Demon Hunter frontman Ryan Clark laments on the opening track of the bands eighth studio album, Outlive fitting opening lines for an album that marks new life for this band. Outlive is almost an anthology of sorts of Demon Hunter's career up to this point, containing all the best elements of the sound they've developed over the past 15 years, gathered in what is perhaps their most complete collection of songs to date. While it's not a major stray from their last two albums, Demon Hunter take a few welcome risks on Outlive that, indeed, breathe new life into their tried-and-true brand of metal.


NELLY FURTADORIDEReleased Friday, March 31, 2017
Price: $11.99 (sale priced)Rock & Pop
Sixth album, The Ride, achieves a balance. Taking cues from recent collaborator Dev Hynes, an artist who makes emotional synth-pop, Furtado's first album on her own label finds a home in crunchy indie-centric melodies that perfectly fit her imaginative lyrics. Opening track 'Cold Hard Truth' is one of her finest in years, a catchy single with one of the album's heaviest beats. The alluring 'Paris Sun' carries a menacingly sexy synth reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails' 'Closer' but with a softer touch.The influence of producer John Congleton (St. Vincent, Explosions in the Sky) is clear, Furtado exerting pop-adjacent weirdness with a healthy dose of fuzz and charm.


GOLDFRAPPSILVER EYEReleased Friday, March 31, 2017
Price: $12.99 (sale priced)Eletronica &Techno
But the direct approach suits this new album, the groups first since 2013s Tales of Us. Ever since the pair swapped the John Barry ambience of their debut album Felt Mountain for the electro-glam of its successor Black Cherry, theyve staked their identity on being able to assume new identities at will. Wanna double down on that sexy Spirit in the Sky shimmer? Theres Supernature. Wanna go pastoral? Check out Seventh Tree. Wanna trade Gary Numan and Marc Bolan for the Pointer Sisters and circa-Jump Van Halen? Head for Head First. By contrast, Silver Eye is a synthesisa combination of all the things the group has done well.


JESUS & MARY CHAINDAMAGE & JOYReleased Friday, March 24, 2017
Price: $13.99 (sale priced)Rock & Pop
On Damage and Joy, the first Jesus and Mary Chain album in nearly two decades, the brothers and company aim to right the bands course, even reaching into their back catalog to rework previous material. The result is a satisfying if not uneven release that never drags in its lament, looking toward the next ballad lost among the chaos. Richly produced fuzzed-face guitars and clattering percussion accentuate the bands classic noise-pop formula without ever feeling staid. (Theres a tambourine on all but one song, too.) As fucked up as they get, they never overstay their welcome, a talent perfected back when they were doing 20-minute sets of reckless violence or debilitating inebriation.


AIMEE MANNMENTAL ILLNESSReleased Friday, March 31, 2017
Price: $11.99 (sale priced)Rock & Pop
Aimee Mann doing an album called Mental Illness is a concept so fitting it took her a lifetime to find it. Having already delivered a new wave smash, scored an Academy Award nomination, recorded eight stylistically diverse solo records as well a fiesty collaboration with punks Ted Leo, Mann is rightfully pissed that shes nevertheless pigeonholed as a dreary fabricator of slow, sad-sack songs. So shes answered her critics with her slowest, sad-sack-iest album yet, one populated by ordinary people struggling against operatic levels of existential pain at odds with their humdrum lives.


COCO MONTOYAHARD TRUTHReleased Friday, March 24, 2017
Price: $14.99 (sale priced)Blues
On Hard Truth, Montoya unleashes one career-topping performance after another, the music immediately ranking among the best hes ever recorded. Produced by Tony Braunagel (Eric Burdon, Curtis Salgado, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt), the album features eleven songs, each delivering a hard truth of its own. From the radio-friendly, gospel-inspired celebration of love, I Want To Shout About It, to the haunting Devil Dont Sleep to the icy-hot cover of Albert Collins The Moon Is Full, Hard Truth covers substantial emotional ground. Montoyas unpredictable guitar playing and smoking soul vocals blend effortlessly with a backing band featuring renowned musicians bassist Bob Glaub.


CONOR OBERSTSALUTATIONSReleased Friday, March 17, 2017
Price: $14.99 (sale priced)Rock & Pop
Last years Ruminations was like no Conor Oberst album before it, and hopefully, none to come. Performed entirely solo, released with little fanfare and bearing a distressing, cabin-fever ambience, it offered the first and final word on a once-unspeakably rough time in his life. Ruminations was Obersts strongest record in years, but no one would want him to make it a second time. Less than six months later, Salutations is an even more curious move. Oberst re-recorded all 10 songs with a full band and a host of guests, added seven new ones and hit shufflea decision that drags Salutations down and bring its predecessor along with it. After a series of lesser-loved guisesinscrutable mystic, folk-rock yeomanOberst has found a more interesting and sustainable point of view. A kind way of putting it would be world-weary raconteur. Perhaps a more accurate way would be kind of an asshole. The prospect of hearing another dude do this for about 70 minutes is a hard sell at a time when Father John Misty, Drake, Mark Kozelek, and Future have released approximately 9 hours of music in the past year that wearily postulates from a position of privilege on their dissatisfaction with sex, drugs, and everyone outside of their immediate circle.


OBITUARYOBITUARY (BONUS TRACK) (JEWL)Released Friday, March 17, 2017
Price: $12.99 (sale priced)Metal / Goth
In the late 90s Roadrunner Records, Obituarys then-label, released the Drilling the vein video compilation featuring cuts from bands on their roster. I bought it because it had clips from Fear Factory and Machine Head, both bands I was into, but in the midst of the tape (yep, I go back a bit) was a video featuring a raging John Tardy in an urban wasteland. It was Obituarys I dont care and, in all honesty, I just didnt get it. It was brutal, searing, unpleasant and, above all, a million miles away from mechanistic Fear Factory and the day-glo Coal Chamber. Raw, primal and ugly, Obituary stood outside my sphere of experience, and yet I found myself repeatedly drawn back to it. For all its viciousness, it was darkly catchy and the I dont care refrain lodged itself in my brain.


TEDESCHI TRUCKS BANDLIVE FROM THE FOX OAKLANDReleased Friday, March 17, 2017
Price: $16.99 (sale priced)Blues
The Tedeschi Trucks Band pulled into the historic Fox Theater in Oakland on September 9, 2016 for their second of two consecutive shows at the Bay Area venue. On March 17, the band will release a concert film and live album recorded that night as Live From The Fox Oakland on vinyl and as 2-CD/DVD and 2-CD/BluRay via Fantasy Records.Live From The Fox Oakland features 15 blistering live tracks, never-before-seen behind the scenes footage and interviews with both Marc Maron and David Fricke. In addition, Fricke contributed liner notes to the set, calling it an authentic, widescreen group portraitsimply the truth of what happened, in all of its shared glory. The film was produced, edited and directed by Jesse Lauter and Grant James, while Derek Trucks served as music producer and mixed the release at his Swamp Raga Studios in Jacksonville.


TREY SONGZTREMAINE THE ALBUMReleased Friday, March 24, 2017
Price: $14.99 (sale priced)Soul - Funk - R & B
Although I go into every new album with an open mind as any halfway decent music reviewer should I must admit I was a bit skeptical of Trey Songzs seventh solo LP. Mainly because it seemed that Trey himself was skeptical. Despite tons of press about his new reality show and the launching of his next tour this summer, Triggas been relatively mum about this album outside of a couple Instagram posts and quietly released singles. When an artist as vocal as Trey starts playing the shy guy (word to Diana King), red flags start flying. Besides, Trey is at a career crossroads. As we discussed on a recent edition of the YouKnowIGotSoulInStereo podcast, Trey finds himself at an awkward stage still too young to be boxed into urban adult contemporary radio playlists, but way too old to be singing about pouring liquor.