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Rock - To be released October 22, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Rock - To be released October 15, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Rock - To be released October 15, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Pop - To be released October 15, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Punk / New Wave - Released September 24, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Rock - Released September 17, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Musical Theatre - Released September 17, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Musical Theatre - Released September 17, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Musical Theatre - Released September 17, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Musical Theatre - Released September 17, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 3, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Rock - Released September 3, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Pop - Released September 3, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Ever since the success of their first single “Let’s Go Surfing,” the Drums have spent equal amounts of time tracing that song’s sound and distancing themselves from it. They continue to do so on Portamento, beginning their second album with a pair of jaunty kiss-offs to religion and exes. “Book of Revelation” is the album’s first and catchiest track, offering a decidedly secular take on living for the moment; “Days,” meanwhile, follows in the footsteps of the band’s idol Morrissey with lyrics that are so archly self-pitying that they become funny. Indeed, many of Portamento's songs are kind of miserable -- or at least they would be, if these knowing, glum lyrics weren’t paired with naïve melodies and tempos that are too brisk to be mopey. It’s hard not to read the Drums' downbeat outlook as a response to Adam Kessler's departure from the band (during their first U.S. tour, no less), and Portamento's sound reflects that change as well. The band’s overt ‘50s and ‘60s pop worship is largely sublimated in favor of post-punk and synth pop, with the notable exception of “What You Were,” a jangly number with a sax solo that recalls both ‘50s rock and the post-punk and new wave acts that resurrected that sound the first time around. However, the Drums still fall into the same traps that plagued their debut when the songwriting isn’t quite up to snuff: “Money” goes from jangle to jingle with irritating catchiness, and the repetitive “Hard to Love” ends up emphasizing the permanent whine in Jonathan Pierce's upper register. At first, Portamento seems more cohesive than The Drums was, but the album’s second half wanders off in several directions. The strangest is “Searching for Heaven,” which begins with a symphonic synth intro that seems cribbed from Switched on Bach, then segues into a searching, heartfelt melody that stands in sharp contrast to “Book of Revelation”’s confident atheism. Likewise, “Please Don’t Leave” and “In the Cold” are surprisingly earnest, but curiously, Pierce is less appealing here than when he’s smirking through his tears. “If He Likes It Let Him Do It” suggests a promising compromise for the band, mixing their experimental impulses with a convincing bid at sincerity, but enough of Portamento hints that while the Drums realize they need to break out of their self-imposed restrictions, they’re not sure of the best way to do that. © Heather Phares /TiVo

Alternative & Indie - Released September 3, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 3, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Pop - Released August 27, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Rock - Released August 20, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Rock - Released August 6, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Queen guitarist Brian May's first complete attempt at a solo album, Back to the Light, focuses on the hard rock sound that Queen often abandoned in the 1980s. While obviously sounding similar to some of the work by his former band, May's path is far more hard-edged and emotionally punched than the majority of Queen's work. His vocals are sometimes weak for a singer, but they also add a certain tenderness that most hard rock frontmen seem to lack. The album succeeds best on its heaviest tracks such as the cover of "Rollin' Over" or "Resurrection," which features pounding drums courtesy of Cozy Powell and thundering guitar riffs with Queen-like multi-tracked vocals. References to Queen can also be heard in the eccentric humor of such numbers as "Love Token," which includes a back-and-forth dialogue in the middle of the song. Likewise, the low-key country song, "Let Your Heart Rule Your Head," is reminiscent of "'39" off Queen's A Night at the Opera. The ballads are not as strong or as interesting and are not helped by well-meaning but overly sentimental lyrics and light rock arrangements. Unfortunately, the instrumental, "Last Horizon," ends up sounding like Muzak. "Driven By You," the album's biggest hit, was originally written for a Ford commercial, and it shows. That said, it is great to hear May finally get a chance to rock out and while the over-the-top and eccentric stylings of the album might put off some, it is those same traits that will also attract many to this work. [Note: The CD version of the album contains a remix of "Driven By You."] © Geoff Orens /TiVo
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Rock - Released August 6, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Queen guitarist Brian May's first complete attempt at a solo album, Back to the Light, focuses on the hard rock sound that Queen often abandoned in the 1980s. While obviously sounding similar to some of the work by his former band, May's path is far more hard-edged and emotionally punched than the majority of Queen's work. His vocals are sometimes weak for a singer, but they also add a certain tenderness that most hard rock frontmen seem to lack. The album succeeds best on its heaviest tracks such as the cover of "Rollin' Over" or "Resurrection," which features pounding drums courtesy of Cozy Powell and thundering guitar riffs with Queen-like multi-tracked vocals. References to Queen can also be heard in the eccentric humor of such numbers as "Love Token," which includes a back-and-forth dialogue in the middle of the song. Likewise, the low-key country song, "Let Your Heart Rule Your Head," is reminiscent of "'39" off Queen's A Night at the Opera. The ballads are not as strong or as interesting and are not helped by well-meaning but overly sentimental lyrics and light rock arrangements. Unfortunately, the instrumental, "Last Horizon," ends up sounding like Muzak. "Driven By You," the album's biggest hit, was originally written for a Ford commercial, and it shows. That said, it is great to hear May finally get a chance to rock out and while the over-the-top and eccentric stylings of the album might put off some, it is those same traits that will also attract many to this work. [Note: The CD version of the album contains a remix of "Driven By You."] © Geoff Orens /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 6, 2021 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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  • Gimme Some Truth!
    Gimme Some Truth! John Lennon’s Gimme Some Truth, an extensive 4-disc compilation album, was released in 2010. Is the Autumn 2020 version an anniversary re-release? Has the music industry got to the stage where it just reissues compilations every ten years? No, not quite. This version actually celebrates Lennon’s ...