Categories :

Albums

HI-RES$14.99
CD$12.99

Alternative & Indie - Released March 15, 2019 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama
What an odd duo: On the left, the ex-singer of the garage band Yeah Yeah Yeahs. On the right, the second half of Gnarls Barkley, who managed to take some time off from the thousands of projects she is already involved with. Their collaboration gives birth to a series of vintage and sophisticated pop songs, enigmatic at first but ultimately fascinating. Laidback and melancholic, both sensual and opulent, Karen O’s voice has a dreamlike quality reminiscent of major singers from the 1960’s. Facing her, Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse, pulls out smooth beats and evanescent productions of both pop and cinematic quality. Both are well-read music lovers. They like to quote their inspirations, but their quotations are always sincere. They offer a wink to Motown (Woman), a look towards the solemnity of Pulp (à la This Is Hardcore), and a swim in ethereal soundscapes in the style of Pink Floyd while always remaining truthful to their identity. With frequent uses of reverbs, baritone guitars, analogical keys, indulgent and meticulous violins, and many refined melodies, Karen O and Danger Mouse have created the most elegant record of the moment. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
CD$12.99

Rock - Released December 11, 2018 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

After having written songs for Rihanna, Cher, Christina Aguilera and the Backstreet Boys, Laura Pergolizzi, aka LP, started her career as a solo artist in 2001 and has now released her fifth album. It’s an expert mix of nicely balanced rock, spunky electro pop and powerful soul, but this time, LP is confiding in us. In a more intimate style, her singing is less epic and overpowering than on her previous albums and is more heartfelt and the result is truthfully quite compelling, especially on the hit Recovery. You can tell that Heart to Mouth serves as an emotional outlet for LP, like therapy after a recent, painful breakup. By exposing herself in this way, the Italian-American woman endows her pop with a strength that wasn’t there before. Clotilde Maréchal/Qobuz
HI-RES$20.99
CD$17.99

Rock - Released March 29, 2019 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

Hi-Res
It wasn’t until 1988 that Keith Richards, at the age of 45, finally launched his solo career. Mick Jagger had recently preceded him with the albums She’s the Boss in 1985 and Primitive Cool in 1987, both of which were met with some commercial success, but are now somewhat forgotten from the history of rock’n’roll. With a smaller public reception, Talk is Cheap is evidently more rock oriented than Jagger’s albums. The master of riffs brings his influential know-how to a collection of relaxed tracks. He is supported by Steve Jordan’s solid drum rhythms and Charley Drayton’s bass. Somewhere between classic Stones rock, vintage honky-tonk, and hints of New-Orleans delta blues, Richards displays himself as more a crafter of melodies than a conventional songwriter. This solo debut resembles, above anything, an enormous, joyous jam session between friends. Such friends include: Ivan Neville (piano), Bobby Keys (sax), Waddy Wachtel (guitar), Bootsy Collins (bass), Chuck Leavell (keys), Maceo Parker (saxo), Mick Taylor (guitar), Bernie Worrell (keys) and Willie Mitchell. All in all, without his eternal other half, Keith Richards copes fairly well. Hence his return one year later with the album Steel Wheels … © Max Dembo/Qobuz
HI-RES$18.99
CD$16.49

Rock - Released April 20, 2018 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

Hi-Res
After 14 years of silence, alt-metal supergroup A Perfect Circle returned with Eat the Elephant. Previously active on 2004's antiwar eMOTIVe -- when the U.S. was embroiled in a different state of social upheaval -- they re-emerged in 2018 at another pivotal time with just as much to say. While much transpired in their absence, A Perfect Circle evolved, addressing government shifts, technological advances, and social deterioration in a manner befitting of frontman Maynard James Keenan, who delivers some of the most wickedly barbed lyrics of his career. Here, Keenan and co-founder Billy Howerdel are joined by a revamped lineup that includes James Iha, Matt McJunkins, and Jeff Friedl, as well as producer Dave Sardy (Oasis, LCD Soundsystem). This matured incarnation of the band balances brute force with softer moments that may surprise, yet digging deeper reveals a wealth of poetic lyricism and social commentary. The title track ushers in this new era, a melancholy prelude that sounds eerily similar to Cat Power's bittersweet "The Greatest." As Keenan repeats "Just take the bite/Just go all in," he's not only convincing himself to commit to this daunting, long-incubating endeavor (while also slyly explaining the album's proverbial title), but also beseeching listeners to join him. As the plaintive entreaty fades out, Eat the Elephant kicks into gear without looking back. Highlight "Disillusioned" is a gorgeous lament about the pitfalls of modern technology, while "The Doomed" twists the seven deadly sins into "new beatitudes," crushing the eponymous members of society who value decency while blessing the "fornicators... the rich... the gluttonous." "TalkTalk" takes aim at gun violence ("Thoughts and prayers/Like cake in a crisis/While you deliberate/Bodies accumulate"), challenging the falsely pious to "try walking like Jesus." On the cheeky "So Long, And Thanks for All the Fish" -- a reference to Douglas Adams' book of the same name -- the state of the union is so dire that even the dolphins have bailed, along with Gene Wilder, Carrie Fisher, David Bowie, Prince, and Muhammad Ali. Elsewhere, Keenan and Howerdel pull the sonic touchstones closer to home. "By and Down the River" builds like a lost track from Tool's Lateralus sessions, while the ominous "Hourglass" counts down with crunching guitars and industrial programming, blending Depeche Mode and Primus. "The Contrarian" also tips its hat to Depeche Mode, as well as Nine Inch Nails, while "DLB" sounds like a lost instrumental from the latter band. "Get the Lead Out" closes the effort with unexpected DJ scratching by UZ and a vocal performance oddly reminiscent of Alt-J. It's a lot to unpack and digest, but altogether satisfying. Adding another interpretation to the album's multi-layered title, Eat the Elephant might also refer to the Indian parable of the blind men describing the titular pachyderm: each song a wildly different part of the whole, yet unmistakably belonging to the same powerful beast. It's a cohesive and bold statement from A Perfect Circle, a triumphant comeback after too much time away. ~ Neil Z. Yeung
CD$14.49

Pop - Released February 15, 2019 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

Roughly a year after Avril Lavigne released her eponymous fifth album in 2013, she was diagnosed with Lyme disease. Her illness informs Head Above Water, which arrives six long years after Avril Lavigne -- the longest time separating Lavigne albums by far. Considering that half-decade gap and all the personal turmoil the singer endured, it scans that Head Above Water unveils a different Avril Lavigne, one who proudly bears her scars and is eager to share her journey. Head Above Water has its moments of darkness, but they're not sad, they're stirring. The album is designed to offer solace while also being a rallying call. Inspirational music, in other words, so it's not entirely surprising that its title track was serviced to Christian radio in advance of its release -- a gambit that proved successful, since "Head Above Water" went to number five on the Christian radio chart. Despite this, Head Above Water can't be called Christian music by any measure -- no album with "Dumb Blonde," a cherry bomb stomp of defiance featuring a Nicki Minaj verse could -- but its quieter, contemplative moments, of which there are many, do veer toward the aspirational pop of Rachel Platten, a sign Lavigne is no longer the mall punk of lore. Although the album is weighed heavily by ballads suited for adult contemporary radio, Lavigne fortunately peppers it with moments of levity: "Tell Me It's Over" sways with echoes of a '50s slow dance, "Crush" is so light it floats into the stratosphere, and "Bigger Wow" swells with strings reminiscent of vintage Vanessa Carlton. Such moments provide a needed contrast to the motivational ones while also connecting to Lavigne's bubblegum roots, a move that makes the overall maturation of the album feel earned. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
CD$14.49

Soul - Released February 15, 2019 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

India Arie Simpson's first proper album since 2013's SongVersation, Worthy is truly the follow-up to 2017's SongVersation: Medicine, an EP. Quietly released, SongVersation: Medicine missed the Billboard 200 but did gain enough recognition to be nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best New Age Album. With its soft, atmospheric sound and emphasis on affirmation and wellness, the EP wasn't out of place beside the other nominees and suggested that Simpson could thrive outside the strictures of the urban adult contemporary format. A fair portion of Worthy can be added to an India.Arie playlist of songs promoting inner strength, but Simpson also has a lot to say about good and bad aspects of relationships, the effects of systemic racism and greed, and how to be an undaunting force for change. Production-wise, this contains some of her slickest, most pop-leaning material, but she puts forth a message of optimism and compassion over all of it, even when the observations are inflamed. Those who have been with her since the debut are bound to be pleased by the album's second half, where Simpson's beatific and organic modes dominate. ~ Andy Kellman
CD$12.99

Alternative & Indie - Released March 15, 2019 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

What an odd duo: On the left, the ex-singer of the garage band Yeah Yeah Yeahs. On the right, the second half of Gnarls Barkley, who managed to take some time off from the thousands of projects she is already involved with. Their collaboration gives birth to a series of vintage and sophisticated pop songs, enigmatic at first but ultimately fascinating. Laidback and melancholic, both sensual and opulent, Karen O’s voice has a dreamlike quality reminiscent of major singers from the 1960’s. Facing her, Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse, pulls out smooth beats and evanescent productions of both pop and cinematic quality. Both are well-read music lovers. They like to quote their inspirations, but their quotations are always sincere. They offer a wink to Motown (Woman), a look towards the solemnity of Pulp (à la This Is Hardcore), and a swim in ethereal soundscapes in the style of Pink Floyd while always remaining truthful to their identity. With frequent uses of reverbs, baritone guitars, analogical keys, indulgent and meticulous violins, and many refined melodies, Karen O and Danger Mouse have created the most elegant record of the moment. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
CD$12.99

Electronic/Dance - Released September 6, 2019 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

CD$12.99

Pop - Released March 1, 2019 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

CD$12.99

Rock - Released June 28, 2019 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

CD$12.99

Alternative & Indie - Released September 21, 2018 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

After the synth-driven, very polished Pagans in Vegas, Metric returned with a more guitar-driven, rock & roll-centric approach on their seventh album, 2018's Art of Doubt. Metric have never been shy about shifting their sound, and each time they do their core strengths never fade. Emily Haines' powerful voice and evocative lyrics, their rock-solid rhythm section, and their ability to craft immediately hooky modern rock; these things are out in full force on Art of Doubt. This time, the guitar playing of James Shaw makes the leap to a starring role. He's been great at playing a supporting role on their last few albums, but here his slashing guitar lines, rippling fills, and atmospheric pedal work give the songs a sometime gritty, sometime spacy edge that harks back to the 2005 album Live It Out. To match his energy and fiery playing, the whole band sounds energized in a way it certainly wasn't on Pagans in Vegas. Songs like "Dark Saturday" and "Art of Doubt" are whip-smart rockers that punch like heavyweights, with Shaw laying down spiky guitar and Haines pushing her vocals to the far edge. Less aggressive songs like "Dressed to Suppress" and "Risk" may not batter the speakers, but they do have a almost menacing Strokes-y swagger; "Love You Back" struts with a self-assured nature and they deliver a healthy number of slightly melancholy pop songs that tug at the heartstrings while injecting warm melodies into the bloodstream ("Now or Never Now" and "Seven Rules" are a couple of fine examples). They haven't done away with the synths entirely, as they feature heavily on the ballads (like "Anticipate" and the dreamy, album-ending "No Lights on the Horizon") and provide a sleek underpinning to most of the rest of the tracks. It's a thoroughly modern sound but it never feels overcooked, and the passion brought to the songs by Shaw -- and especially the always reliable Haines -- is impressive. Metric synthesize the stadium rock of Fantasies, the moody hookiness of Pagans in Vegas, and the new wave spunkiness of their early albums into something that's recognizably their own, instantly memorable and one of their best overall albums yet. ~ Tim Sendra
HI-RES$14.99
CD$12.99

Alternative & Indie - Released March 15, 2019 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

Hi-Res
Tal Wilkenfeld made her bones as a bass prodigy, impressing such heavy-hitters as Herbie Hancock, Lee Ritenour, and Jeff Beck when she was in her early twenties. Wilkenfeld gained their attention through the dexterous chops she displayed on her 2007 debut Transformation. An audacious if slightly old-fashioned exercise in jazz fusion, Transformation has little to do with Love Remains, the sophomore set Wilkenfeld delivered 12 long years later. Wilkenfeld spent those years working as a sidewoman -- her main gig was in Jeff Beck's band, but she also worked with Toto, Ryan Adams, Todd Rundgren, and Jackson Browne -- while also redefining her solo music, moving firmly into the realm of '90s alternative rock. With its cascades of roiling guitars and dark, churning rhythms -- heavy textures tempered by a clutch of songs anchored on insistent acoustic guitars -- Love Remains seems to belong to another time: one that existed just after grunge and ceased to be after the rise of Total Request Live. What gives Love Remains a bit of a spark is Wilkenfeld's evident passion. Given her background, a high level of craft should be expected -- Wilkenfeld and her supporting musicians do not flaunt their skills, but rather hit their marks with precision -- but what's surprising is how Wilkenfeld pours herself into these retro-'90s anthems, and that level of emotional engagement prevents Love Remains from an exercise in throwback alternative rock. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
CD$22.99

Country - Released June 14, 2019 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

CD$12.99

Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released May 25, 2018 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

Singer/songwriter Jennifer Warnes celebrates her 50th anniversary as a recording artist with Another Time, Another Place, her first recording since 2001's The Well. Since the 1990s, Warnes has worked only when she's wanted to -- a decade passed between The Well and its predecessor, The Hunter. In this century, she has lent her voice to recordings by Sonny Landreth, Chris Hillman, Leonard Cohen, and his son Adam Cohen. Warnes and longtime collaborator Roscoe Beck (Cohen's bassist and music director and her own producer on Famous Blue Raincoat and The Hunter), began working in Austin and Los Angeles in 2015. But a string of profound losses -- a niece, two sisters, a longtime manager, ex-boyfriend, her dog and Cohen -- sidetracked the sessions several times. Aside from or perhaps because of all that tragedy, Another Time, Another Place offers a stellar reflection of Warnes the interpretive singer. She co-wrote only one tune here, the lilting, Americana road song "The Boys and Me" with Michael Smotherman. The rest are covers that range from country to jazz to pop, all delivered with her sensual, expressive contralto. She opens with a completely revisioned version of Pearl Jam's "Just Breathe." Amid a weave of strings, upright bass, acoustic and electric guitars, and poignantly played B-3 and French horn, she offers the song's melody with bittersweet knowledge and its projective lyric as if singing into a mirror for reassurance. A breezy and bluesy read of the jazz standard "Tomorrow Night" -- cut by everyone from Lonnie Johnson to Bob Dylan to the Texas Hill Country's own Johnny Nicholas -- features Beck's strolling upright bassline atop drums (Vinnie Colaiuta), percussion (Lenny Castro), and Jim Cox's subtly swelling Hammond as she leans hard into the tune's elegant swing. Mickey Newbury's "So Sad" is delivered with warm, rounded edges as Greg Leisz's pedal steel winds around the grain in her smoky vocal to underscore each moment of loneliness and pain in the wake of a lover's departure, and those of friends who've shuffled off this mortal coil. Warnes convincingly weds jazz, cabaret, and musette in her version of "I See Your Face Before Me." Landreth appears on resonator and electric slide guitar on a swampy yet altogether cinematic take on Ray Bonneville's "I Am the Big Easy," complete with a laid-back second-line rhythm. Two tracks later she offers "Back Where I Started," another country-esque soul number by the Tedeschi-Trucks Band. The tension between emotional conviction and sweetness in its lyric is a perfect match for Warnes' unflinching honesty and vulnerability. While Marcus Hummon's "Freedom" wasn't written for Warnes, it could have been. Backed by an all-star choir that numbers Ruthie Foster and Blondie Chaplin in its quintet, it relays the notion of freedom as both a state of abundance and an illustration of loss. As a result of these intimate performances, Another Time, Another Place is return to the world after a prolonged period of solitude and grief. Warnes offers these songs with the same aplomb, grace, discipline, passion, and dignity that she has displayed her entire career, and imbues these songs with new shades of meaning in the process. ~ Thom Jurek
CD$12.99

Rock - Released August 24, 2018 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

Although Alice In Chains wasn’t spared by the hecatomb that decimated the current to which it was somewhat hastily affiliated, they’re back − against all odds − with a sixth album that worthily celebrates their thirty-first anniversary. Way heavier than most of their peers, Jerry Cantrell’s band wasn’t necessarily delighted to be associated with Nirvana or Pearl Jam. To Soundgarden, why not… But they felt compelled to record their most grunge album to date, Rainier Fog being a heartfelt tribute to the Seattle scene. The musicians even went back to the “scene of the crime”, the former studio Bad Animals where they had recorded their last album (Alice In Chains) with the late Layne Staley in 1995 − putting aside the live Unplugged and the subsequent live and compilation albums. Without going as far as asserting that William DuVall, “guitarist and co-singer” (with Cantrell) merely imitates his predecessor – whose longevity in the band he now matches with this album −, one cannot but recognize that he’s been able to adapt and add a strong dose of emotion in often severe and heavy compositions. The vocal harmonies, wonderfully packaged by the faithful Nick Rasculinecz (Rush, Food Fighters), work wonders throughout the album. That being said, Cantrell’s role is more obvious than ever. On multiple occasions, Rainier Fog starts resembling his solo albums Degradation Trip Vol. 1&2.Probably distressed by Chris Cornell’s passing, like he was for Staley’s, Cantrell has embarked his band in a sort of remembrance ceremony, with a shade of Soundgarden (The One You Know, All I Am), echoes of Nirvana (Rainier Fog), fragrances of Temple Of The Dog (Drone), and even a slight mention of the cursed Stone Temple Pilots (Fly)… A few lighter or seventies rock titles, like Maybe or the effective Never Fade (whose chorus will certainly remind Skunk Anansie’s I Can Dream to some) are much welcomed to compensate for the somewhat gloomy and painful aspect of the whole. © Jean-Pierre Sabouret/Qobuz
CD$12.99

Alternative & Indie - Released April 12, 2019 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

Following 2015's Dogs and Men, Next Time is the fourth LP from American folk-pop singer/songwriter Sophie Auster. Featuring haunting vocal melodies and mellow acoustic guitar, the effort was produced by Tore Johansson (Tom Jones, New Order). The record is led by the singles "Mexico" and "Dance With Me." ~ Rob Wacey
CD$12.99

Film Soundtracks - Released May 24, 2019 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

CD$12.99

Rock - Released July 26, 2019 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

Down to a duo of Mark McGrath and Rodney Sheppard, Sugar Ray rebrand themselves as a breezy pop group with Little Yachty. As its winking title suggests, Little Yachty is indebted to the cool, smooth sounds of Yacht Rock, that specific brand of '70s soft rock that's tied to the sea and sand. It's a long way from the punk-funk of Lemonade and Brownies, but not too far removed from Music for Cougars, the 2009 album released after McGrath's immersion in reality TV. During the decade that separates Music for Cougars and Little Yachty, McGrath continued to work the peculiar byways of stardom, appearing on The Celebrity Apprentice, Celebrity Wife Swap, and Celebrity Big Brother, which means that even though time marched on, the singer didn't chase trends. Given this, it should come as no surprise that Little Yachty also feels weirdly frozen in time. While there is some slight production flair that ties the album to 2019 -- notably, it all bears an entirely too-crisp digital sheen -- the record could've come out roughly a decade earlier and nobody would've been the wiser. What does make Little Yachty notable is that this is the work of men who are comfortable in their middle age -- McGrath and Sheppard are all in on the soft rock vibe -- they not only resolutely refuse to crank their amplifiers, they wind up covering Rupert Holmes' singles-bar staple "Escape (The Piña Colada Song). Sugar Ray don't always replicate the sunny vibes of yacht rock; they spend a fair amount of time indulging in island rhythms and gently bouncing reggae beats, the kind of music that's perfect for a Saturday afternoon on a beach. These are executed skillfully but the highlights of the album come when Sugar Ray bend their own SoCal sound to the softer side of things ("Perfect Mornings," "Coconut Bay," "Trouble," "Make It Easy") and, especially, when they co-opt the outlaw vibes of Christopher Cross for the closing "California Gold," which is about as good a yacht rock pastiche as could be imagined. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
HI-RES$17.99
CD$15.49

Country - Released September 20, 2019 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC

Hi-Res
The ghost of Sir Rosevelt looms over The Owl. Zac Brown's dance side project released an album soon after Welcome Home, the 2017 album from the Zac Brown Band, but it was buried, not even making an appearance on Billboard's Top 400. Brown didn't interpret this lack of success as rejection. Instead, he decided to push the Zac Brown Band firmly into pop, inviting Max Martin, Ryan Tedder, Poo Bear, and Skrillex into the studio to collaborate. This list of premium pop and dance producers suggests that The Owl is a far cry from the downhome charms of the Dave Cobb-produced Welcome Home, and that's true. The Owl gleams like a shiny new trinket from an upscale mall, its individual songs designed to ease onto any playlist you'd fancy. Nominally country, The Owl often throbs to electronic rhythms and is slathered in synths, to the point where even a funky blues number like "Me and the Boys in the Band" is polished so it could be considered pop. Unlike so many pop moves from country artists, The Owl is executed cleverly, never renouncing the core elements of the Zac Brown Band: "Shoofly Pie" is a loose-limbed rocker designed to keep the crowds moving during the mid-set, and "Leaving Love Behind" leans into Brown's James Taylor side. These cozy numbers just happen to be anomalies on The Owl. The rest of the record finds Brown defiantly bringing the glitzy party sensibility of Sir Rosevelt into the Zac Brown Band, getting his main group to play EDM rhythms, take a detour into rap, and play a ballad co-written by Shawn Mendes. The fact that a good chunk of the numbers work does not erase how deeply strange this album is. A band who once celebrated the simple pleasures of toes in the sand are now singing about champagne glasses filled with diamonds and, no matter how many times The Owl is spun, it's impossible to tell how they got to this point. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
CD$12.99

R&B - Released January 11, 2019 | BMG Rights Management (US) LLC