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Rock - To be released November 6, 2020 | Reprise

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Rock - To be released November 6, 2020 | Reprise

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Rock - Released September 25, 2020 | Reprise

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Unless System Of A Down reunites and proves us otherwise, there's no nu-metal band that's aged better than Deftones. Sure, the Sacramento group has always veered closer to alt-metal auteurs like Tool and A Perfect Circle than Korn or Limp Bizkit, and if that maturity came at the cost of some cheap commercial hits back in the day, then it's paid off tenfold in the long haul. On their ninth record Ohms, their first in four years, Deftones are a bunch of guys pushing 50 who sound fresher and more energized than most metal bands half their age. The band spent the 2010s toying with increasingly experimental and cerebral concepts—the sort of thing artsy bands do when they're 15 years into the game—but Ohms is a brilliant and undeniable return to form. The album marks a reunion with their original producer Terry Date (who worked the boards for their first four records), but it also brings some new blood into the fold: guitarist Stephen Carpenter's nine-string guitar. The beastly axe allows for subterranean low-ends that sound spectacular in contrast to Chino Moreno's soaring vocals. On songs like "Error" and "Radiant City," the palm-muted chugs recall gurgling djent tones, adding a rejuvenating heft to Deftones' signature blend of dreamy and dastardly. Beyond the exquisite production and all-around knockout performances, Ohms is just a great collection of songs. "Ceremony" features a smashing chorus, just a total wallop of a song, while tracks like the surging, spastic "This Link Is Dead" and the metalcore-ish "Urantia" center their unmatched might. The record's title-track closer features a bluesy riff that splatters into gangly shredding, ending the album on a mountainous peak that brings to mind early Mastodon. Considering how long Deftones have been at it, Ohms is technically a late-career record. But in this instance, at least, age is just a number. This band sounds like they're just hitting their stride. © Eli Enis/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 25, 2020 | Reprise

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Rock - Released September 18, 2020 | Reprise

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 18, 2020 | Reprise

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Rock - Released September 11, 2020 | Reprise

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Twenty years into their career, Mastodon are harder to describe than ever before. The Georgia group started off playing energetic sludge metal, took a sharp turn into beautifully complex prog, and then spent the 2010's dabbling with hard rock and offering quotes to journalists that disavowed their categorization as a "metal" band. Whatever you want to call them, Mastodon are Mastodon more than anything else, and their new rarities compilation Medium Rarities is a celebration of their elastic identity. The project is a grab bag of covers, instrumentals, live renditions, TV soundtrack contributions, and one brand new track that spans their entire discography and showcases their musical interests both within and outside the metal playbook. If you were to make a venn diagram of the bands Mastodon covers here (Feist, The Flaming Lips, Butthole Surfers, and Metallica) their sound exists in the center, and they excel at taking on the character of each of those acts while still remaining firmly themselves. Their Game of Thrones score "White Walker" and Aqua Teen Hunger Force cameo "Cut You Up With A Linoleum Knife" are respectively stoic and off-the-wall ridiculous, a dichotomy the band have always balanced in their best moments. The myriad instrumental versions of tracks from their 2010s catalog take on a new life without the vocal performances, which some fans found grating compared to their earlier, gnarlier singing deliveries. However, there's plenty of headbanging fodder to be found in the live tracks: the blisteringly technical "Capillarian Crest," the ugly "Circle of Cysquatch," and the raucous "The Crystal Skull" from 2006's Blood Mountain, as well as whipping fan favorites "Blood and Thunder" and "Iron Tusk" from 2004's Leviathan. The new song "Fallen Torches" features guest vocals from Scott Kelly of Neurosis, which serves as a complementary pairing between alt-metal veterans. No matter what era of Mastodon you're most partial to, there's bound to be something on Medium Rarities that connects. © Eli Enis/Qobuz
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Hard Rock - Released September 11, 2020 | Reprise

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 28, 2020 | Reprise

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Rock - Released August 21, 2020 | Reprise

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Rock - Released July 31, 2020 | Reprise

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Rock - Released July 31, 2020 | Reprise

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 8, 2020 | Reprise

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Blues - Released June 26, 2020 | Reprise

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The potential for a collaboration between B.B. King and Eric Clapton is enormous, of course, and the real questions concern how it is organized and executed. This first recorded pairing between the 74-year-old King and the 55-year-old Clapton was put together in the most obvious way: Clapton arranged the session using many of his regular musicians, picked the songs, and co-produced with his partner Simon Climie. That ought to mean that King would be a virtual guest star rather than earning a co-billing, but because of Clapton's respect for his elder, it nearly works the other way around. The set list includes lots of King specialties -- "Ten Long Years," "Three O'Clock Blues," "Days of Old," "When My Heart Beats Like a Hammer" -- as well as standards like "Hold on I'm Coming" and "Come Rain or Come Shine," with some specially written and appropriate recent material thrown in, so King has reason to be comfortable without being complacent. The real danger is that Clapton will defer too much; though he can be inspired by a competing guitarist such as Duane Allman, he has sometimes tended to lean too heavily on accompanists such as Albert Lee and Mark Knopfler when working with them in concert. That danger is partially realized; as its title indicates, Riding With the King is more about King than it is about Clapton. But the two players turn out to have sufficiently complementary, if distinct, styles so that Clapton's supportive role fills out and surrounds King's stinging single-string playing. (It's also worth noting that there are usually another two or three guitarists on each track.) The result is an effective, if never really stunning, work. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 26, 2020 | Reprise

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Rock - Released June 19, 2020 | Reprise

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Neil Young's "lost album," Homegrown, gets its debut 41 years late. Young shelved it because he "just couldn't listen to" the heartache, which followed the collapse of his romance with actress Carrie Snodgress. Meant to fall between Harvest and Comes a Time, the 1974 time capsule fits neatly in that space. "Separate Ways" and "Try," both featuring drums by Levon Helm, truly feel like an extension of Harvest: the former a noir-country lament and the latter an ambling plea for love lifted aloft by Emmylou Harris' backing vocals. Throughout, train-whistle harmonica is a Greek chorus, popping up on the gorgeous and hopeless "Star of Bethlehem" ("All your dreams and your lovers won't protect you") and stripped-bare "Love Is a Rose"—which would be made famous in '75 by Linda Ronstadt and here ends with urgent guitar chords like exclamation points of warning. There are moments of indulgence—you're safe to skip any title that's the name of a place—but also songs that stand with his best. The blistering "Vacancy" ("You poison me with that long, vacant stare") and high-lonesome "White Line," with Robbie Roberston, aren't to be missed. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz
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Rock - Released June 19, 2020 | Reprise

Neil Young's "lost album," Homegrown, gets its debut 41 years late. Young shelved it because he "just couldn't listen to" the heartache, which followed the collapse of his romance with actress Carrie Snodgress. Meant to fall between Harvest and Comes a Time, the 1974 time capsule fits neatly in that space. "Separate Ways" and "Try," both featuring drums by Levon Helm, truly feel like an extension of Harvest: the former a noir-country lament and the latter an ambling plea for love lifted aloft by Emmylou Harris' backing vocals. Throughout, train-whistle harmonica is a Greek chorus, popping up on the gorgeous and hopeless "Star of Bethlehem" ("All your dreams and your lovers won't protect you") and stripped-bare "Love Is a Rose"—which would be made famous in '75 by Linda Ronstadt and here ends with urgent guitar chords like exclamation points of warning. There are moments of indulgence—you're safe to skip any title that's the name of a place—but also songs that stand with his best. The blistering "Vacancy" ("You poison me with that long, vacant stare") and high-lonesome "White Line," with Robbie Roberston, aren't to be missed. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz
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Rock - Released June 12, 2020 | Reprise

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Pop - Released June 11, 2020 | Reprise

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 29, 2020 | Reprise

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