Albums

679 albums sorted by Date: from newest to oldest
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Soul - Released October 19, 2018 | Craft Recordings

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1968 was a pivotal year in Stax Records' history and a fascinating story in itself. Otis Redding (their biggest star) and four members of the Bar-Kays were killed in a plane crash in December 1967. Their distribution agreement with Atlantic Records was dissolved, resulting in the loss of several more artists from Atlantic, and in the loss of their entire back catalog to Atlantic, which meant Stax earned no revenue from its previous recordings. Then, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis exacerbated racial tensions not just nationwide, but acutely in Stax's hometown of Memphis (King was in Memphis to support striking sanitation workers). Rising from the ashes, Stax had an ambitious plan to create an entirely new catalog in just over a year. Otis Redding's posthumous classic "Dock of the Bay" was a tremendous help in getting the label off the ground again. But the model of a house band and single producer that had given Stax their legendary sound was not going to work for the amount of material that had to be created in order to give them a solid catalog. To that end, they had to bring in outside producers, which began to upset what had essentially been a cooperative up to that point. At the same time, the music business was shifting from singles sales to album sales, and Stax was keen to make that transition as well. All this is extensively chronicled in the accompanying book. As far as the music, it's all top-notch, but you can hear the change in sound taking place. Of course, there are songs you recognize, but there are at least as many that you probably don't. Despite the pervasive unrest, the songs never get overtly political. Even "Tribute to a King" isn't about Dr. King, but about the King of Soul Music, their friend Otis Redding. The music stands on its own, of course, but the story behind it all is remarkable and largely untold. Stax '68 is a great collection of music, and this excellent set places it in a proper historical context, telling the story of the rebirth of one of America's great soul labels. ~ Sean Westergaard
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Rock - Released October 12, 2018 | Concord Records

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From the release of his debut album, My Aim Is True, in 1977, Elvis Costello expressed his musical gluttony by mixing explosive pub rock, reggae tones, almost country-like ballads and pop songs sculpted with crystalline arpeggios. It was this eclecticism that allowed him to work with people as diverse as George Jones (the godfather of country music), Burt Bacharach (the master of pop lounge), the mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, the jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, and even the rappers from The Roots, just to name a few… Forty years later, the elusive spectacled Brit (having always been fond of concept albums), releases Look Now with the Imposters, featuring Steve Nieve on keyboards, Davey Faragher on bass and Pete Thomas (already the drummer of his group Attractions). This group, with whom he recorded Momofuku in 2008, give him the chance to get his writing pen out once again… and it’s as sharp as ever. Here he has shared the writing responsibilities with the great Carole King on Burnt Sugar Is so Bitter, co-written 25 years earlier, as well as with Bacharach on Photographs Can Lie and Don't Look Now. Once again, it feels like Costello is searching for the perfect pop song. He takes an approach that screams 1960s. However, the timelessness of the album anchors the songwriter well in his time, in 2018. Costello succeeds in writing melodies and lyrics that stick in his listeners’ heads. A good song, as we all know, is ageless and Elvis Costello certainly reminds us of that here... © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released October 12, 2018 | Sunnyside

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Even if the Oblique Quartet are moving forward together, Dave Liebman looks like a leader. The fact that his name appears on more than 300 albums and his CV includes “freelancing” for Miles Davis and Elvin Jones, to name but a few, gives an indication to the calibre of this saxophonist from Brooklyn. Fortunately for Liebman, who is now 72 years of age, he quickly succeeded in establishing his own name away from his famous employers. He is joined by pianist Marc Copland, double-bassist Drew Gress and drummer Michael Stephans, who is in fact the real mastermind behind this quartet and adds a Coltrane-esque air to a repertoire essentially comprising of classics, three of which are written by Miles (Nardis, All Blues and So What) and one by Duke (In a Sentimental Mood). Recorded live at the Deer Head Inn in Delawere Water Gap, Pennsylvania, this is a wonderful array of improvisations that were never very well-known or acclaimed. A real instrumental whirlwind to be experienced right the way through in one go. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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World - Released October 12, 2018 | Glitterbeat Records

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Classical - Released October 12, 2018 | Ramée

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The present recording constitutes more than just a new version of the Vespers. It is the first recording of the Vespers in the alternative version proposed by the composer, without concertato instruments. It reveals the underlying matrix of the work we all know, the ‘original version’ to which Monteverdi added concertato instruments for use in large-scale performances. Respecting the structure of the Office of Vespers, Ludus Modalis has chosen to frame the psalms with the antiphons corresponding to a Marian ceremony. The interpretation proposed here is one influenced by the Renaissance tradition. It places the work in perspective in a musical world at the point of equilibrium between prima and seconda prattica, between the achievements of tradition and the contributions of modernity. © Alpha/Outhere
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Solo Piano - Released October 5, 2018 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Pianist Igor Levit moved from Russia to Germany when he was eight, but there's still a lot of Russian in his outlook: an attraction to the pure virtuoso tradition, and a tendency toward big statements and the big questions. Nowhere has this been more true than on Life, an album that succeeds both thematically and as a thrilling embodiment of late-Romantic pianism at its best. The title, and the contents, refer to the album's memorial function: Levit chose the program to honor a close artist friend who died in an accident. The music is monumental enough to live up to its death-haunted theme, rising out of silence in the Fantasia after J.S. Bach of Busoni and continuing with a remarkably sustained mood of soberness and dignity, punctuated by frenetic outbursts. Busoni is one major presence on the program; the other is Liszt, and the two come together in the Busoni transcription of the Fantasy and Fugue on the Chorale Ad nos, ad salutarem undam of Liszt, originally for organ and an impressive virtuoso task on the piano. So the program works well also as a revival of pure late-Romantic pianism: you can easily imagine that Liszt would have loved this, and loved to play it. A third theme interweaving the works on the program is that of reinterpretation, as in the Brahms transcription of the Chaconne from the Bach Partita for solo violin in D minor, BWV 1004; the fact that Levit has played these works in different orderings in recital testifies to the program's remarkable cohesiveness. There is music by Frederic Rzewski in a memorial vein, and Bill Evans' serene Peace Piece is a lovely conclusion. Bravo!

Reggae - Released October 5, 2018 | Yotanka Records

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 5, 2018 | Domino Recording Co

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A guitar held up by the neck, a child's head pressed against the holder's body. Cat Power reveals a lot with the cover of her tenth album. The American is up and running again and now she is a mother. At 46, Chan Marshall seems to be doing... better? Well, It's not as if her life, which has been studded with internal chaos, turbulence, a lot of moving around, depression and addiction is going to be all plain sailing from here on in, but Wanderer contains some of her most beautiful songs yet. Stripped-down compositions. A simple piano. A few notes on a guitar. A lean rhythm section. It's clear that the message here is "less is more." Perhaps her aim is to return to the roots of her old folk and blues mentors. Bringing a child into the world during the Trump era is enough to get anyone thinking again... And Cat Power hasn't sung for years. Her tones with their bluesy style, unmistakeable from the first syllable, reach sublime heights here. After a slightly electro detour with Sun, mixed by Zdar from Cassius, she doesn't give us too many surprises here in terms of the pretty classical form of her songs, but the surprise comes in the sheer quality of the tracks. One of her biggest fans, Lana Del Rey, makes an appearance on the album on the track Woman maintaining the sober feel to this beautiful and honest record. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz  
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Contemporary Jazz - Released October 5, 2018 | TRAIN FANTOME

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Indispensable JAZZ NEWS
It takes guts to name your album L’Odyssée. But Fred Pallem has always been a real jazz adventurer, never happy to let the genre just run its cause... And his 2018 release is yet another daring and dense piece of work, built around strong rhythms and delicious arrangements. Here, Pallem, alongside his trusty Sacre du Tympan creates some layered pieces, often very funky and very filmic. Nothing surprising there, when you think of his 2017 album Soul Cinema about blaxploitation and his homage to François de Roubaix published the previous year, two records which have rubbed off on Odyssée. The Odyssée experience is like watching a spoof film that's part thriller, part comedy, with a sort of 70s vintage feel to it. The arrangements are precise and well crafted and the soloist parts are always very original. © Max Dembo/Qobuz
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 28, 2018 | BMG Rights Management GmbH

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Eight years have passed since the Californians of Cypress Hill’s last album yet the band are still all over the scene, both with solo projects and collaborations. Cypress Hill’s energy on stage is unparalleled, which guarantees them a place at most festivals around the world. The promise of this new album, “Elephants on Acid”, is primarily based on the return of DJ Muggs, their brilliant producer, who is picking up right where he left off, between sixties psychedelics, blazing breakbeats and smoky mysticism. Just like on the very detailed gothic album cover, Muggs unearths a monster buried deep underground and resurrects the legend of “Temple of Boom”, the band’s labyrinth album released in 1995. Between drugs and spirituality, B-Real, the main rapper, reinterprets Cypress Hill’s rather dark repertoire, halfway between Los Angeles Latino culture and hallucinating fantasy à la H.P. Lovecraft. With a few more recreational tracks like “Crazy” or “Oh Na Na”, which make the group sound like a mutant gypsy marching band, Cypress Hill are revitalised, though slightly removed from the saturated guitars of their earlier releases. Ending on “Stairway To Heaven” which is reminiscent of the ethereal soul of Portishead or Massive Attack, “Elephants on Acid” is a multi-layered journey around the mind, in which listeners can both lose and find themselves. © Aurélien Chapuis/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 28, 2018 | Cracki Records

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Rock - Released September 28, 2018 | Lupus Lounge

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French Music - Released September 28, 2018 | [PIAS] Le Label

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Contemporary Jazz - Released September 21, 2018 | Label Bleu

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Indispensable JAZZ NEWS
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R&B/Soul - Released September 21, 2018 | Warner Bros.

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
Two years after his premature death, Prince’s Ali Baba cave has offered up its first treasure. With the aptly named album Piano & A Microphone 1983, it’s with the simplest devices that his art is heard. At only 25 years old, Prince had already released five albums (For You, Prince, Dirty Mind, Controversy and 1999) and was just about to release the album that would turn him into a global star, Purple Rain. The multi-instrumentalist spent his days and nights in the studio and we find him here alone at the piano for a medley of personal compositions and two covers: Joni Mitchell’s A Case Of You and the gospel song Mary Don’t You Weep. The intimate context of this recording only amplifies the intensity of this unpublished work. Just close your eyes and you’ll find yourself alone with Prince… With his elastic voice and skilled playing, the musician from Minneapolis proves to those who doubted him that he was a true artist; both entertainer and composer, showman and improviser. His stripped back version of Purple Rain touches on the sublime and the track Strange Relationship gives an insight into the evolution of his productions, as four years later the track appeared, more muscular this time, on the album Sign o’ the Times. While Piano & A Microphone 1983 may be primarily aimed at Prince fans, novices – if there are any left – will no doubt enjoy discovering this impressive artist. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 14, 2018 | La Dolce Volta

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros - Choc de Classica
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 14, 2018 | Naive

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Symphonic Music - Released September 14, 2018 | Aparté

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Solo Piano - Released September 14, 2018 | Mirare

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Rock - Released September 14, 2018 | Parlophone UK

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As the icon of a generation, a bona fide star since his beginnings with the Jam, the Modfather has always inspired and fascinated fans, even just with his haircut! And in the year of his 60th birthday, Paul Weller is still giving his best. As always… Made up for the most part of acoustic songs, True Meanings, his 26th album (the 14th in solo), is far removed from his 2015 Saturns Pattern. Here, Weller seems to take a step back and reflect. He goes back to something extremely simple, straightforward, a floral and poetic album. As if the recording took place in a flowery meadow on a summer evening for an audience of insomniac romantics. Introspection is under way. The British artist studies the elements around him, dwells on his memories, sings a fanciful tribute to Bowie, all without omitting his distortions between jazz and soul… True Meanings in itself is a Wellerian praise of ballad. It starts nicely and slowly with a guitar theme, before being wrapped in violins and background vocals. It’s an absolute delight to hear the Modfather live up to his seventies masterpieces like English Rose and Liza Radley. Even though Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler are no longer by his side in the studio, Paul Weller has always managed to surround himself with talent, as illustrated by the guests on True Meanings: Rod Argent from the Zombies (The Soul Searchers), Lucy Rose (Books), Tom Doyle (Movin On) and even a small appearance of Noel Gallagher on White Horses… A calm, laidback voice that fits perfectly with the few compositions of songwriter Erland Cooper from the band Erland and the Carnival. Two lyricists for an album that discreetly and subtly draws from genres, like this invention of a glam-rock picking ballad: Mayfly. A beautiful reference to T. Rex’s Get It On, without the glitter of course. No doubt about it, Paul Weller is a “Changingman” with delicate taste. © Clara Bismuth/Qobuz