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Country - Released June 19, 2020 | Aeronaut Records

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Country - Released May 8, 2020 | Aeronaut Records

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Country - Released May 1, 2020 | Aeronaut Records

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International Pop - Released May 1, 2020 | Aeronaut Records

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Pop - Released September 7, 2018 | Aeronaut Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 9, 2018 | Aeronaut Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 16, 2018 | Aeronaut Records

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Folk/Americana - Released November 3, 2017 | Aeronaut Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 16, 2016 | Aeronaut Records

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Folk/Americana - Released May 13, 2016 | Aeronaut Records

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Jazz - Released December 11, 2015 | Aeronaut Records

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Pop - Released December 15, 2014 | Aeronaut Records

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Folk/Americana - Released June 3, 2014 | Aeronaut Records

Heaven is songwriter-guitarist Robert Francis' fourth album since 2007, but his first with new band the Night Tide -- drummer David Kitz and bassist Ben Messelbeck. Francis also acts as producer. The songs in this set detail a particularly difficult period in his life, when he not only lost his sense of identity as a person, but his work; the tunes strive to rediscover both. Musically, Heaven is all over the place. There are few references to his earlier work, which is a good thing. There are intimate, confessional songs such as the brief opener "Something Tells It Not To" and the skeletal single "Wasted on You," which aspires to Townes Van Zandt. "Baby Was the Devil" is a nearly anthemic rocker that crosses bright indie rock with E-Street Band-esque crescendoes and melodic choruses, complete with a tenor saxophone solo. "Love Is a Chemical," with its poignant hypnotic guitar hook and harrowing lyric, ride atop a rhythm section that insists on propulsion in spite of the melody's reluctance. It's one of the catchiest broken love songs --with a dreamy guitar interlude -- in recent memory. The gorgeous meld of indie pop, surf, and desert rock illustrate the reflective lost-in-the-wilderness feel of "Ukiah." See You Around" commences as a sparse singer/songwriter tune, but takes a sharp left turn at pop pysch as a truckload of reverb, additional percussion (by brother-in-law Joachim Cooder), organ, and calliope keyboard effects fill out the sonic portrait. The latter feel colors the blue-eyed soul of "Give You My Love." Take a listen to "Take You to the Water" and you'll hear a direct melodic line to the storytelling and melodic influence of Phil Lynott. Francis' sister, Carla Commagere, adds backing vocals to the baked, spacey "Blue," and the atmospheric, dreamy, American Gothic of "Hotter Than Our Souls." The latter contains the line the entire set hinges on: "If there's a road you are forgiven long as it goes." It's followed by a solo country blues in "I've Been Meaning to Call." Speaking of country, "Everything Will Pass" is an Americana killer that weds suggestions of both Van Zandt and Jeff Buckley. Francis' writing has never been more sophisticated, nor his guitar playing so canny and inventive. Some production choices are questionable, but can be overlooked given the unflinching honesty in these songs, and the guts it took to helm a session like this without previous experience. Personal pain is often a motivating factor in the act of creation. It can be difficult to maneuver, however, and result in maudlin excess. Heaven, with its temerity, craft, and ambition, succeeds at using difficult emotional terrain to approach art, in spades. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 6, 2014 | Aeronaut Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 8, 2014 | Aeronaut Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 14, 2014 | Aeronaut Records

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Pop - Released September 17, 2013 | Aeronaut Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 3, 2012 | Aeronaut Records

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Rock - Released October 11, 2011 | Aeronaut Records

Regardless of whatever one thinks of Nous Non Plus being a real French band or not due to the members being from all over the place and some decidedly tongue-in-cheek pseudonyms -- then again, are all the bands from non-Anglophonic countries singing in English fake? -- the group's third album, Freudian Slip, is definitely out to be at once a retro treat and something that's sonically of this century, if only because the production sounds so immediately crisp and punchy as opposed to being a remaster of a sound from 30 or 50 years ago. If anything, the initial role model for Nous Non Plus this time around seems to be the Smiths, with the opening "J'en Ai Marre [Had Enough]" sounding like it should be from around that band's debut album, aside from Celine Dijon's lead vocals. But the tenser minimal groove of "Pas la Peine [(Oh No) Not Again]" is a little too keyboard-heavy for that group and by the time of "Acte Manqué [Freudian Slip]" it's full-on synth pop/dance-rock/disco, in a much lighter vein than some of the more recent monsters to have come from France itself but nonetheless suggesting the dancefloor to the full. From there it's a hop and skip through eight songs on this short, enjoyable release, seemingly best designed for summer listening despite first appearing in fall. If the whole thing is a clearly derivative exercise, it's still an engaging one, wrapping up with the easy boulevardier swing of "Ne Dis Pas [Indian Summer]." Then there's "All I Want Is You" -- not a Roxy Music cover, but that would be a good idea in French -- playing up the whole scenario by being an English-language duet that might as well be about a guy meeting a French lady at some peppy dance party somewhere. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Country - Released November 10, 2009 | Aeronaut Records