The power of words isn’t lost on longstanding Americana triumvirate The Devil Makes Three—Pete Bernhard, Lucia Turino, and Cooper McBean. For as much as they remain rooted in troubadour traditions of wandering folk, Delta blues, whiskey-soaked ragtime, and reckless rock ‘n’ roll, the band nods to the revolutionary unrest of author James Baldwin, the no-holds barred disillusionment of Ernest Hemingway, and Southern Gothic malaise of Flannery O’Connor.
In that respect, their sixth full-length and first of original material since 2013, Chains Are Broken, resembles a dusty leather-bound book of short stories from some bygone era. As the band began writing ideas for Chains Are Broken, they veered off the proverbial path creatively. Instead of their typical revolving cast of collaborators, The Devil Makes Three stuck to its signature power trio, with one addition. This time, they invited touring drummer Stefan Amidon to power the bulk of the percussion.
Another first, they retreated to Sonic Ranch Studios in El Paso, TX a stone’s throw from the Mexican border to record with producer Ted Hutt [Dropkick Murphys].
The incorporation of new sounds as well as the experimentation in space finds the Devil Makes Three crafting a new yet still familiar sound. Coupled with a continued focus on in-depth lyricism that tells a story in every song, Chains Are Broken is a liberating, rump-shaking collection of past, present and future.
The brainchild of Matthew Logan Vasquez (Delta Spirit), Glorietta was born of a desire to collaborate with friends that Vasquez has collected over the years. Those friends; Noah Gundersen, Kelsey Wilson (Wild Child), David Ramirez, Grammy-winner Adrian Quesada, and Jason Robert Blum came together over the course of a week in a rented house in Glorieta, NM. "We chose Glorieta because it was isolated enough to feel like we were at camp" said Vasquez, "the only requirements were vaulted ceilings and a jacuzzi. The days were long with the tape running constantly as the players bought songs in various stages of completion to their new family of collaborators. Midway through the sessions the group was joined by a guest appearance from Nathaniel Ratliff, who drove straight through the night to join the party. The result is their self-titled debut record; a beautiful mix of voices from six band leaders, that fit perfectly together.
Hypochondriac, the third full-length album from San Diego band The Frights, is an album full of addictively catchy songs about fear and frustration. “I’ve gotten better with time, but I’m pretty paranoid about most things, especially health issues—I think everything’s killing me,” says Mikey Carnevale, vocalist/guitarist for The Frights. “That, mixed with anxiety, means that I can be a real baby. All of these songs address this in one way or another.” The album is their first full-length for Epitaph Records, who signed The Frights in early 2018. Produced by FIDLAR frontman Zac Carper, Hypochondriac follows The Frights’ 2016 album You Are Going To Hate This and marks a period of major creative growth for the band (which also includes bassist Richard Dotson, drummer Marc Finn, and guitarist Jordan Clark). “I wrote every song on an acoustic guitar, which is something I made a point to do,” says Carnevale. Throughout Hypochondriac, The Frights build a brilliant tension between their shiny hooks and painful lyrics, their goofball spirit and melancholy outlook. In the end, the album unfolds as their most emotionally honest work so far, just as the band intended it to be.
Recorded mainly in Neil Finn's Auckland studio, Lightsleeper bursts with melody and the trademark euphoric flips that are the Finn family trademarks. When Neil's iconic pop sensibility meets Liam's lo-fi atmospherics, it's produces a feeling of intimacy and awe that makes it easy to wonder why the dynamic father and son duo haven't written together sooner. The simple Finn family ethos of making music with friends and family continues right through to the personnel recruited for the album. Lightsleeper features the touring band, Sharon Finn (Neil's wife, and Liam Finn's mother) plays bass on two of the songs, Elroy Finn (Liam's brother) plays drums on seven, good friend Connan Mockasin returns for four and legendary Mick Fleetwood turns up to play on ''Anger Plays A Part'', ''Any Other Way'' and ''We Know What It Means''. The unmistakable spirit of musicians at their peak, bound together by a still-hot desire to make music that is brewed within the bones, love, quiet revelation and the perfectly-evoked euphoria of being alive is what makes Lightsleeper such a gorgeous progression in the Finn family musical history.
On August 24th Interpol will release their sixth studio album Marauder on Matador Records worldwide, available on CD and vinyl. For the first time since 2007’s Our Love to Admire, Interpol have opened themselves up to the input of a producer. For two-week spells between December of 2017 to April of 2018, they travelled to upstate New York to work with Dave Fridmann – famed for recording with Mercury Rev, Flaming Lips, MGMT, Spoon, Mogwai, and countless others. In the run up to writing and recording, Sam found himself immersed in soul drummers such as Al Jackson Jr (Otis Redding’s drummer) and 80’s funk producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. “How can I make shit swing?” was the question Sam repeatedly asked himself, and the answer is in the striding gallop of opener “If You Really Love Nothing,” the embellished skip ‘n’ bounce of “Stay in Touch” and the R&B swagger of closer “It Probably Matters.” Interpol have always been world-beaters at creating a feeling, but Marauder is where the feel is just as crucial. Paul may have stepped out of the shadows as a bassist, but he’s stepping into an even brighter light as a songwriter. During Interpol’s previous albums, the singer largely kept himself out of his own work, preferring to fill his lyrics with detached thoughts, characters, and observations, often phrased in abstract. But more than 20 years on since forming at NYU, the frontman is finally allowing himself to play a role in his own stories. “This record is where I feel touching on real things that have happened to me are exciting and evocative to write about,” he explains. “I think in the past, I always felt autobiography was too small a thing for me to reference. I feel like now, I’m able to romanticize parts of my own life.” “A swift and searing song centered around a blown-out drum stomp and a prickly lead guitar riff. Singer Paul Banks’ vocals drift above the mix with a slight sneer soaked in echo.” - Rolling Stone “[The Rover] is Interpol as shit, which means ricocheting guitars and an unstoppable rhythm section.” - Noisey “Interpol are back with ignited energy.” - Stereogum “A driving and relentless bit of post-punk revivalism” - Cons. of Sound
White Denim's new album 'Performance' collects nine expertly crafted songs that twist and turn, bending genres in the band's unique style. Students of rock music, White Denim has clearly listened to and learned from the best albums ever made from T. Rex to XTC to Little Feat to Jim O'Rourke...but they write songs just dumb enough to drink, dance, and fight to. Rock and roll music that aims for the whole body. Recorded in hometown Austin, Texas in their new Radio Milk studio, Performance displays a band of extraordinary musicians at their creative peak.
Recorded in LA, Pasadena and Joshua Tree, With Animals is the second album by Mark Lanegan and Duke Garwood, two artists who've spent their careers stalking the peripheries and mapping sounds of the small hours. As befits a record called With Animals, these dusty songs feel like they were created in the company of the denizens of the night. Analogue and dust flecked, it's as if Lanegan and Garwood have been holed up in a '60s recording studio while the apocalypse rages outside. Over the last decade, Lanegan and Garwood have worked in tangent on 2013's Black Pudding as well as on Lanegan's solo records (2012's Blues Funeral and 2017's Gargoyle after which Garwood toured as part of Lanegan's band).
TASH SULTANA is a dynamic young artist who has commanded world attention since homemade videos of Tash jamming went viral. A true virtuoso, Tash was soon selling out massive theaters globally and playing at the world's biggest festivals - no mean feat for an artist who just a year before was recording songs on a go pro in a bedroom. The virtuosic playing of over 18 instruments, vocals that shine with a magical quality and the natural gift for melody that Tash possesses needs to be seen to be believed. Tash has sold over 200K tickets globally with 50K in the US, is selling out theaters and clubs around the world, played major festivals including Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, ACL and more, and amassed hundreds of millions of streams globally on her Notion EP. Tash has received 4x Aria award nominations and multiple APRA nominations.
Although civilization’s transition into a cyborg world seems inevitable, there are still those who recognize the beauty and power of a human touch to complement the circumvention. Jack Tatum understands this balance, and through a decade making music as Wild Nothing he has learned to embrace both sides of that dynamic—but perhaps never as distinctly as on Indigo, the fourth Wild Nothing album. On one hand, it is a return to the fresh, transcendent sweep of his debut, 2010’s Gemini, and on the other, a culmination of heights reached, paths traveled, and lessons learned while creating the follow-ups, Nocturne and Life of Pause. Indigo finds Tatum at his most efficient, calculated, and confident—resulting in an artful blend of hi-fi humanity and technology that fires on all circuits and synapses.
To make Indigo, Tatum confronted the Man vs. Machine dichotomy by seizing on the surrounding synergy. Finding the right people to work on the album was integral, as was the proper place to record it. So, Tatum booked four days at legendary Sunset Sound’s Studio. Afterwards, producer Jorge Elbrecht (Ariel Pink, Gang Gang Dance, Japanese Breakfast) and Tatum built out the rest of the album’s sound by adding new parts and repurposing sounds from Tatum’s demos. The resulting Indigo is its own cyborg world, utilizing the artful mechanisms of human touch with the precision of technology to create the classic, pristine sound Tatum had been seeking his entire career. From the opening drum beat, chiming guitar, and sweeping synth of “Letting Go” to Tatum’s Bryan Ferry vocal turn on “Oscillation” to the ’80s-heavy blips, clicks, and strut of “Partners in Motion,” it’s clear that Indigo is at once vintage Wild Nothing and a bold, new leap into a bigger arena.
Across two decades, eight albums, and a multitude of singles, splits, and EPs, Alkaline Trio has built a reputation as a defining act in punk rock’s modern era. Formed in Chicago by vocalist-guitarist Matt Skiba in 1996, the band would come into its own with its debut album Goddammit in 1998. Since then, the band has continually evolved, incorporating new influences with each record while achieving artistic, critical, and commercial success along the way. It’s been 5 years since Alkaline Trio released their last studio album, My Shame Is True. In that time, they’ve toured the world, sold over a million records, including a 20th Anniversary – 8 LP live box set, recorded on their 2014-15 Past Live tour. Since those Past Live shows, Andriano and drummer Derek Grant both released solo albums, and Skiba joined blink-182, releasing the chart-topping album California with the band. Alkaline Trio’s live shows have always been thrilling due to the fact that, even as the band ascended through the ranks of punk, they always retained the feeling of three friends excited to be on stage together. “When I think of a Trio live show,” says Skiba, “I always go back to the humble beginnings of the band, and I want that to always be in this band.” Alkaline Trio closed 2017 with a coveted opening slot for The Original Misfits, a band Skiba describes as his “first love,” Alkaline Trio is primed to step back into the spotlight. “We have the wind at our backs, it seems,” says Skiba. “Every aspect of the band—be it business or artistically or whatever—it feels like the Gods are in our corner.” Andriano agrees, and says that he’s ready to make the band’s best record yet. “I wanna be a band that people want to hear new stuff from. Because I feel like I’m still in a band that wants to write good, new music.” “Is This Thing Cursed?” will prove that good, new music is worth the wait.
Most people know Aaron Lee Tasjan as one of the wittiest, most offbeat, brilliant, weed-smokin’ & LSD microdosin’ Americana troubadours writing and singing songs today. And the New York Times, NPR and Rolling Stone will all gladly corroborate. But steel yourselves, folk fans, because he’s about to follow his restless muse straight out from under the weight of everyone’s expectations into the kind of glammy, jingle-jangle power-pop- and- psych-tinged sounds he hasn’t dabbled in since his younger days playing lead guitar for a late-period incarnation of The New York Dolls.
Karma for Cheap is Tasjan’s third LP and second for his label New West Records, based in his current hometown of Nashville. The record was co-produced by ALT and his friends Jeff Trott (Stevie Nicks, Liz Phair, Meiko, Joshua Radin) and Gregory Lattimer (Albert Hammond Jr.) and features Aaron Lee’s road band—guitarist Brian Wright, bassist Tommy Scifres and drummer Seth Earnest—with whom he’s been touring heavily for the last two years.
While the stylistic shift from Tasjan’s palpably stoned ‘70s-country-channeling 2015 debut, In the Blazes, to his more sophisticated, introspective and lushly produced 2016 follow-up, Silver Tears, was relatively incremental, Karma’s rocked-up Brit-pop-influenced Beatles-Bowie-Badfinger vibes underscore a significant departure. The album boldly reminagines these vintage sounds, pushing the boundary of what can be considered Americana.
The roots of Tasjan’s Karma for Cheap, stretch deep, drinking up the sounds of a Southern California childhood spent listening to The Beatles while riding around with his mom at the wheel of their navy blue Volvo station wagon—back to the very first pre-teen year he picked up a six-string and started figuring out all the pretty little chords in those Lennon-McCartney tunes. Back to the pure, blissful unfiltered innocence of falling in love with music for the first time. A huge sonic touchstone for ALT’s new record is The Beatles Anthology, one of his childhood favorites. In songs like “If Not Now When,” “Song Bird” and “The Rest Is Yet to Come,” you can hear echoes of George Harrison’s vibrant guitar riffs and Jeff Lynne’s lavish production on those lo-fi John Lennon demos the surviving Beatles dug up and polished off in the mid ‘90s.
Perhaps the most poignant moment on Karma for Cheap is the anthemic, hypnotic “Heart Slows Down,” a tune rife with musical and lyrical references to the Beatles and Tom Petty, anchored by an unforgettable chorus with a Traveling Wilburys vibe that finds the sweet spot between Tasjan’s two earliest musical heroes. “When I was a kid, my favorite CD to fall asleep to was Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ Greatest Hits, and the last song is a cover of that Thunderclap Newman song ‘Something in the Air.’ From the time I was a little kid to when I was teenager, I used to listen to that song on headphones almost every night—I heard it in that space between wake and sleep so many times. And Tom’s passing—he was a really big hero of mine, so it hit me pretty hard. We were in Seattle playing a show when I heard, and it was a heavy thing to process. But all of those elements are there in ‘Heart Slows Down.’ The chorus, ‘I will always be around,’ is a reminder that all the good you ever got out of listening to this music is still around you. You’ll always have that.”
Aaron Lee Tasjan says he aims to use his music for good, but he’s no protest singer. And Karma for Cheap isn’t some heavy-handed, didactic political record cramming a set of talking points down anyone’s throat. It’s a finely tuned rock & roll seismograph measuring the dark and uncertain vibrations of the time in which it was created. A cracked mirror reflecting back the American zeitgeist in this foul year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Eighteen. With Karma, Tasjan establishes himself as an artist who not only evolves over time, but isn’t afraid to risk reinventing himself completely from one record to the next.
Check out the new album SCOUT from Calpurnia, in record stores now on CD, Vinyl and Limited Edition Indie Exclusive Vinyl