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Alternative & Indie - To be released October 9, 2020 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 31, 2020 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 27, 2020 | Jagjaguwar

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International Pop - Released January 16, 2020 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 24, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

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Lousy with stadium concert excess, rock star foppery and the profuse heresies of disco, 70s music was once an easy target for defamers. But that much-maligned era has become a ubiquitous influence in today's fractured musical soundscape. Young guitar bands routinely gulp down Zep licks and Iommi chords, digest the relevant lessons and chunder up fresh manifestos, which in the case of heavy stoner/psych rock lords Black Mountain's fifth full length means hard, fast knots of guitar riffage, Hawkwind-esque lyrics and a devotion to the twin lyrical icons of 70's rock: cars and sex. Black Mountain founder/leader Stephen McBean recently added high octane fuel to his awe for 70's-influenced rock by learning to drive at the tender age of 48. Getting behind the wheel for the first time led to "Licensed to Drive," where he echoes Deep Purple's immortal "Highway Star," by exclaiming, "Live now / Speed thrills / Hunted by the radar / The Thunder of the Steel" while synthesizers wail with abandon. Rather than a KISS allusion, the album's title is supposedly named for a short-lived Dodge muscle car that was discontinued in 1985. With his road jones satiated he moves toward pleasures of the flesh in "High Rise": "Thrusting cement into heaven / Penetrating the clouds / Staring us down / Thinking you're all that the world spins around / The loneliest cock in the sky." Mixed by John Congelton, Destroyer is sonically compressed, in-your-face and meant to be played loud. A blunt-edged continuation of Black Mountain's evolution into intricate layering, inventive, hooky arrangements and odd touches like acoustic guitar openings and vocoder choruses, Destroyer, dedicated to "all the warriors who have left the stadium," finds new driver McBean mastering the musical wile of looking in the rearview while simultaneously keeping an artistic eye on what's ahead. © Robert Baird / Qobuz
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Soul - Released May 10, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

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What is my purpose? What will come of the legacy of those who have influenced me? And what will I leave behind? These are all the big questions that Jamila Woods asks herself going into her second album suitably named Legacy! Legacy!, a Qobuzissime album! Three years after the release of Heavn, the soul sister from Chicago brings together twelve songs all named after the artists that influenced them. Musicians, painters, writers, activists, poets, they’re all there! And the lucky few are: Betty Davis, Zora Neale Hurston, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Frida Kahlo, Eartha Kitt, Miles Davis, Muddy Waters, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Sun Ra, Octavia Butler and James Baldwin. There is nothing obvious or didactic here as the young African-American who is ever-so attached to her native Chicago never does out-and-out covers but less subtle “in the style ofs” all while retaining her own distinct style. A poet one day (she acts as artistic director for YCA, a center dedicated to young poets) and a musician the other, she is even a teacher on bank holidays! As the worthy heir of Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill, all her words are wrapped around ultra-slick grooves with a modernized nu-soul twist. When it comes to features, Jamila Woods helps her local economy by inviting along friends that, for the most part, come from the underground scene of the Windy City: the trumpetist Nico Segal, MC Saba, Nitty Scott, theMIND, Jasminfire. Chance the Rapper’s protégé has mixed intelligence and class, commitment, enjoyment and groove into 49 minutes. Perfect. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Soul - Released May 7, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

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Soul - Released March 19, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 8, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

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Soul - Released February 5, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 9, 2019 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 14, 2018 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 17, 2017 | Jagjaguwar

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Saturday Night is the solo debut of Ought lead singer and guitarist Tim Darcy. (Formerly known as Tim Beeler, he legally adopted his mother's maiden name in 2015.) It was recorded in Toronto rather than in his group's base of Montreal, and features backing vocals and drums by Toronto singer/songwriter Charlotte Cornfield. The album gathers songs of a more personal nature than were fitting for his band's fierier post-punk disposition, with a few actually predating Ought. Not that Saturday Night is a sullen acoustic-guitar record; rather, Darcy is more reflective here, sometimes channeling early solo Lou Reed and sometimes wandering into more experimental meditations. The opener, "Tall Glass of Water," is an infectious burst of raw, skittering guitar and drums with Darcy questioning the state of the world and our state of mind ("Is it rain or is it toxic fire?/Is it love or is it desire?"). Similarly, "You Felt Comfort" feels like a basement live show with its quick tempo, limited number of churning chords, and overdrive. He's more restrained on songs like the spare piano ballad "What'd You Release?" and "Still Waking Up," a sauntering, melodic ditty devoid of his usual punchy delivery, opting instead for the spirit of Roy Orbison. The title track and the instrumental "Beyond Me" have more experimental sounds, such as shrill, bowed strings and dissonant improvised piano. The latter closes Saturday Night on a note of chaotic melancholy that seems to capture the spirit of the album's lyrics even without any of its own. © Marcy Donelson /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 6, 2016 | Jagjaguwar

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 26, 2016 | Jagjaguwar

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IV

Alternative & Indie - Released April 1, 2016 | Jagjaguwar

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Some bands study their influences simply to reproduce their effects, while others strive to learn from them. Black Mountain's trademark blend of hard rock, prog, psychedelia, and a dash of folk drives their fourth album, insightfully titled IV. (Well, it's their fourth album if you don't count their soundtrack to the film Year Zero, and they clearly don't.) Black Mountain have long had one foot firmly planted in rock's past, but on IV they don't sound as if they're caught in a loop of nostalgia. Instead, the band have embraced the stylistic elements of late-'60s and early-'70s smart people's rock, but use them to shape the way they approach the material. The banks of keyboards, the barking report of the guitar, and the occasional drift into the aural cosmos certainly peg the era of greatest influence for Black Mountain. But the group's melodies remain fortunately straightforward, even when the arrangements stretch out to invite the spirit (such as on "Over and Over [The Chain]" and Space to Bakersfield"). And despite the group's obvious psych/prog leanings and fondness for stretched-out jams, there isn't a lot of empty virtuosity displayed on IV. Black Mountain favor texture and drama over instrumental acrobatics, and if the musicians don't aim to impress with their chops, their ideas easily get over on this album. IV often sounds majestically trippy but rarely noodly, and the clear, full-bodied audio producer Randall Dunn brings to these sessions is a perfect complement for the material. At their best, Black Mountain approach '70s rock with a 21st century mindset, and that's the sort of sound and feel that make IV so effective. © Mark Deming /TiVo