New Release Round-Up 02-08-19
Bob Mould - Sunshine Rock - Merge Records
The cliché that circulated after the 2016 election foretold a new artistic golden age: Artists would transform their anger and anxiety into era-defining works of dissent in the face of authoritarianism. Yet Bob Mould calls his new album Sunshine Rock. It’s not because Mould—whose face belongs on the Mount Rushmore of alternative music—likes the current administration. His decision to “write to the sunshine,” as he describes it, comes from a more personal place—a place found in Berlin, Germany, where he’s spent the majority of the last three years. Here Mould would draw inspiration from the new environments.
Jessica Pratt - Quiet Signs - Mexican Summer
Jessica Pratt is not a loud performer. She does not have to be. In a club of a few hundred, even the bar staff are known to go quiet while she's on stage. Her third album, Quiet Signs, feels like a distillation of this power. The album leads off with "Opening Night," a nod to Gena Rowlands' harrowing, brilliant performance in the John Cassavetes film of the same name. It’s also an emblem of where this spare, mysterious collection of songs falls in the course of Pratt’s career.
Ariana Grande - Thank U, Next - Republic
Ariana Grande returns with her fifth studio album Thank U, Next. Following the release of her previous studio album Sweetener (2018), Grande began working on a new album in October of the same year, enlisting writers and producers such as Tommy Brown, Max Martin, Ilya Salmanzadeh and Andrew "Pop" Wansel. The album was created in the midst of personal matters, including the death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller and breaking up with fiancé Pete Davidson.
LCD Soundsystem - Electric Lady Sessions - Sony
Recorded at the famed Electric Lady Studios in NYC's Greenwich Village Electric Lady Sessions is a live collection featuring classic LCD Soundsystem songs, three covers, and newer material from the band's # 1 album from 2018, American Dream.
Yak - Pursuit Of Momentary Happiness - Third Man Records
Few albums in rock ‘n’ roll history have seen its creator’s obsession veer so close to self-destruction, as Yak's Pursuit Of Momentary Happiness. For singer, guitarist and driving force Oli Burslem, making his band’s second album became about pursuing his artistic vision at the expense of all else, including his own financial security, and mental health. Who else these days invests every single penny available to them into recording, to the point where they become homeless? If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Where have all the guitar rockstars gone?,” we have an answer: they are sleeping in the back of an old Citroën in a London alleyway awaiting the release of their hard-earned masterpiece. Listening to Pursuit Of Momentary Happiness, you frequently feel the white-knuckle monomania of Yak’s mission. It’s one of those once-in-a-decade records, whose sheer sense of belief and commitment pulsates through every nanosecond of boundary-breaking sound – like Spiritualized’s Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, and Tame Impala’s Innerspeaker, both of whose creators had a part to play in its genesis. Guitar music is alive and well on Pursuit of Momentary Happiness, and with Yak on the scene, we expect it’s not going anywhere.
The Lemonheads - Varshons 2 - Fire Records
The Lemonheads follow up the critically acclaimed Varshons from nearly ten years ago with another eclectic collection of covers. Produced by director Matthew Cullen and mastered by Howie Weinberg (Beastie Boys, Nirvana, The Ramones), their tenth studio album brims with the slowly-matured vocal of Evan Dando as he lures a host of personal faves to his melodic lair. He really has become one of the great expressive singers of our time.
J.S. Ondara - Tales Of America - Big Machine Records
J.S. Ondara offers a unique take of the American dream on Tales Of America, his debut album. Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, J.S. fell in love with Bob Dylan and moved to Minneapolis Minnesota when he was 20 to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter. He notes other musical influences as Neil Young, Noah Gundersen, Damien Rice and Ray LaMontagne. His debut album, Tales of America, is an examination of the American Dream from an outsider's perspective; an introspection on a universal matter.
For more information on these and other releases out this week, check out our New Releases charts by week section.