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Alternative & Indie - To be released November 5, 2021 | Nonesuch

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Classical - Released September 17, 2021 | Nonesuch

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Dance - Released September 17, 2021 | Nonesuch

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Country - Released September 3, 2021 | Nonesuch

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Legend has it that by the late 1980s Emmylou Harris was growing tired of singing over an electric band, which she'd been doing since the early '70s. She dissolved her crack electric outfit, collectively known as The Hot Band (which initially included the likes of guitarist James Burton and pianist Glen Hardin—both from Elvis Presley's TCB band—and Rodney Crowell), and formed the acoustic backing band the Nash Ramblers (Sam Bush, Jon Randall Stewart, Roy Huskey, Jr., Al Perkins, Larry Atamanuik). In 1991, Harris and her new band recorded At the Ryman, at the historic, original home of the Grand Ole Opry, which hadn't hosted a public performance since 1974. Released in 1992, the live album captured their evolution into a supremely tight and musical unit and also led to the Ryman's much needed renovation. Turns out an even earlier show, at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, was captured, too. Both are well-recorded, with the Ryman set flatter and closer-miked and The Lost Concert incorporating more of the sound of the room. The biggest difference between the two sets—but what also makes them a matched set of sorts—is that while the Ryman show concentrated on material that had not appeared on any Harris studio records, Ramble in Music City: The Lost Concert is a stroll down memory lane for both Harris and longtime fans alike as she digs into familiar repertoire from her time on Reprise and Warner Bros records (1975-1990). She and the Ramblers—who even this early have obviously gelled—run through classic Harris covers like "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues," "Amarillo," "Blue Kentucky Girl," "Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight" and the closer, "Boulder to Birmingham" from her still potent Reprise debut, Pieces of the Sky. A rhythmic, chunka chunk version of Delbert McClinton's "Two More Bottles of Wine" (from her Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town album) equals or exceeds the studio version. And Harris again shows her special way with Paul Simon's "The Boxer." Having Jon Randall Stewart and his high tenor on harmony vocals was hugely key to the Nash Ramblers success, along with the fleet string skills of Bush, Randall and the late Roy Huskey, Jr. The group's musical camaraderie is most obvious on a version of "Mystery Train" whose pace is pure rock 'n' roll. The band stretches out on the instrumental jam, "Remington Ride" and benefitting from the lower volumes, Harris gives a particularly tender and feathery version of the Jesse Winchester ballad, "My Songbird." Best of all, the band seem to be enjoying themselves throughout. Superb from start to finish, The Lost Concert is a wonderful surprise from the inestimable James Austin who rediscovered the tapes, unheard for 30 years, of a terrific show by Harris' other hot band. © Robert Baird/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released September 3, 2021 | Nonesuch

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Country - Released August 10, 2021 | Nonesuch

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Country - Released July 20, 2021 | Nonesuch

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Country - Released June 29, 2021 | Nonesuch

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Classical - Released June 25, 2021 | Nonesuch

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Caroline Shaw is the definition of an artist in its purest form. She is someone who denies categorisation. Shaw began as a classically trained violinist and vocalist, and later branched out into composition and production. From there she has worked with artists such as Kanye West (The Life of Pablo; Ye) and Nas (NASIR), and has contributed to records by The National and Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry. And as if that wasn’t already an impressive resume, in 2013 Shaw not only won, but was the youngest ever recipient of a Pulitzer Prize in music for her Partita in 8 Voices, and her 2019 album Orange won a Grammy Award. Let the Soil Play Its Simple Part is a collaboration between Caroline Shaw and contemporary percussion ensemble Sō Percussion (Eric Cha-Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting). The group were given three days of gratis studio time, and three little days were all it took for them to get out this versatile, radiant and sometimes surprising album. It's a pick'n'mix of songs with lyrics inspired by their own eclectic interests: James Joyce, the Sacred Harp hymn book, a poem by Anne Carson, the Bible's Book of Ruth, the gospel standard "I’ll Fly Away," and the pop prowess of ABBA, among many others.The opening track, "To the Sky", takes its lyrics from a hymn by Anne Steele in the Sacred Harp. The album begins like haunting meditation with sprinkles of sporadic synthesiser, drum and marimba rhythms that eventually evolve into a rolling rhythm section that keeps the piece moving as Shaw's vocals soar over the top. Shaw mentions "This (hymn) I love in particular. There's a line, 'Frail solace of an hour/ So soon our transient comforts fly/ And pleasure blooms to die.' It’s meditation on the ephemeral, and I love it." This track leads into the second track "Other Song" which has a similar rhythmic groove and is accompanied by Shaw's vocals and lyrics which she wrote herself.  The title track is one of the surprises mentioned earlier, a simple duet between Shaw and Josh Quillen that only took two takes to get down. Quillen's playing is sensitive yet refined and you can feel the energy bouncing between the two artists as Shaw passes lyrics reminiscent of a lost loved one to Quillen, and he palms back soft lines of resonant melodies on the steel drum.The lyrics to "The Flood is Following Me" are quite literally just "the flood is following me," taken from James Joyce's Ulysses. Although simple, they are effective, and are accompanied by an indie-pop influenced backing. Speaking of pop music, there is another beautiful surprise right around the corner with Sō and Shaw's interpretation of the ABBA hit "Lay All Your Love on Me." This marimba/vocal duet is a darker, more sombre take on the classic that's hauntingly effective. After the familiar melody, the track then spirals into a Bach chorale accompanied by Shaw's backing harmonies, an ingenious move on the artist's behalf.  The piece progressively builds in tension as old and new are blended to create this sublimely sensitive and modern interpretation of a classic. Truly something that has never been done before.As the album progresses, each track seems to be an evolution of the one prior. "Long Ago We Counted," a duet between Jason Treuting on drum kit and solo voice, has a rough and hard to understand beginning, yet somehow we are lulled into this rolling vocal loop as it settles into a indie-rock type track.  Album closer "Some Bright Morning," based on a 12th century liturgical song, is a glorious beam of light at the of Shaw and Sō Percussion's twisted tunnel. The droning of Cha-Beach on the Hammond organ supporting the resonant vocal line is a simple but powerful close to the album.As you look through the credits, which is strongly recommended, you will find an assorted array of inspirations who have contributed to the lyrics. As you listen, the album continues to unfold into a monolithic, multifaceted masterpiece of contemporary classical, indie-pop, rock rhythm, world music inspiration and literally everything else in between. Shaw's ability to understand text and construct complete new meanings and unique settings for those words is unparalleled.  Let the Soil Play Its Simple Part is unlike anything else and defies classification; one needs to take the time to explore the ins and outs of the entire album to fully comprehend the masterstrokes of Caroline Shaw and Sō Percussion. © Jessica Porter-Langson/Qobuz
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Dance - Released June 25, 2021 | Nonesuch

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Classical - Released June 24, 2021 | Nonesuch

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Classical - Released June 17, 2021 | Nonesuch

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 12, 2021 | Nonesuch

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Jazz - Released June 11, 2021 | Nonesuch

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While the impulse to mix jazz and classical music into a new hybrid is compelling and seems achievable, outside of works by Duke Ellington and George Gershwin, it's never really produced lasting results. Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau, who has always held outsized ambitions to be more than just a jazz player, first premiered Variations on a Melancholy Theme with the 34-piece Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in 2013 at Carnegie Hall. Based on the keyboard variations used in Bach's Goldberg Variations and Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Mehldau the jazzer has described the piece as what would happen if "Brahms woke up one day and had the blues." Following its premiere, this series of what was originally 11 variations was retooled and for this recording became 12 short variations followed by a cadenza, a long postlude and an encore: "Variations "X" & "Y"". Precisely recorded by Adam Abeshouse in 2013 in the acclaimed acoustics of Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA, the pianist's melancholia starts slowly, with a bluesy melody carried by the piano abetted by reeds and brass. By "Variation 3" it shifts—true to the pianist's description—into sweeping, lushly orchestrated Romantic contours. Evolving into a tone poem led by piano, the most coherent passages in the entire piece are when the piano is the featured instrument as in "Variation 5" when Mehldau ranges up and down the keyboard accompanied at times by flute accents and bursts of clattering percussion. With "Variation 9" briefly toying with the notion of an atonal tangent and the closing "Postlude" becoming overwrought while trying too hard to be weighty and consequential, the overall effect falls short of being successful; an inspirational fusion of orchestra and jazz-influenced piano never quite emerges. The highlight here is the closing "Encore" where Mehldau, untethered from the orchestra, improvises a sprightly jazz coda. A pleasant if minor piano exploration with orchestral accompaniment, Variations continues the search for a musical alloy that remains elusive. © Robert Baird/Qobuz
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Pop - Released June 4, 2021 | Nonesuch

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It's just an American lad and his mandolin. One imagines an Appalachian grandpa strumming the bluegrass hits with calloused fingers – since Bill Monroe, the instrument has become a symbol of the genre. But Chris Thile, a gifted virtuoso, is playing something else. This man started playing mandolin at 8 and released his first album at 12. He is now 40, and he has taken the mandolin places it was never expected to be seen: classical music, jazz, various progressive forms of traditional music. Laysongs is the first album where he truly performs a solo act with mandolin and vocals. Recorded in a deconsecrated church in New York, this album is a miracle. This is not an exercise in style, but an album by a folksinger who plays his instrument with the free dexterity of a jazzman and sings with a suppleness reminiscent of the Buckleys. His songs are spirited and bright, like elusive fireflies. The genres and epochs change up fluidly, between classical music, early Americana and pop. Here is a piece of Bartók's sonata. And here, the bluegrass pearl Won't You Come and Sing for Me by Hazel Dickens. And also God Is Alive Magic Is Afoot by Buffy Sainte-Marie, which is a musical setting of a poem by Leonard Cohen. With an effect-free, all-acoustic performance, Chris Thile delivers rich music which is full of mysteries. This man is a unicorn in the vast prairie of American music, lacking a horn but packing a mandolin. © Stéphane Deschamps / Qobuz
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Dance - Released May 28, 2021 | Nonesuch

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The first remix album from Canadian pop vocalist k.d. lang, 2021's Makeover compiles dance-driven remixes of some of lang's best-known material. Originally created between 1992 and 2000, Makeover marks the first time that these remixes have been issued collectively; among them are alternate versions of "Sexuality," "Summerfling," "Lifted by Love," and "If I Were You." © David Crone /TiVo
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Blues - Released May 14, 2021 | Nonesuch

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The Black Keys—childhood friends Dan Auerbach on vocals, guitar, bass and keyboards, and Patrick Carney on drums—found success after forming in Akron, Ohio, and moved to Nashville a decade ago. But geography seemingly has never had much bearing on this duo, who started out playing Mississippi hill country blues and who, now, 10 albums in, have recorded a collection of covers by legends including Junior Kimbrough, John Lee Hooker and R.L. Burnside. Delta Kream was recorded over just two days with the duo joined by Mississippi hill country guitar specialists Eric Deaton, who backed up Kimbrough until his 1998 death, and Kenny Brown, who Burnside considered his "adopted white son." (The album's name comes from the cover photo, a classic shot by photographer William Eggleston of a car parked in front of a run-down drive-in, the Delta Kream.) It's easy to revert to cynicism when listening to a new Black Keys record: Here's the beer commercial song, the truck commercial song, the sports league song. This time, the game is: Who did this one inspire? You can detect the low-key Hendrix vibe in Kimbrough's "Stay All Night," with its slow-psych guitar and Carney's hard-working but never showy fills, riffs and tambourine punches. Big Joe Williams' "Mellow Peaches"—woozy organ, loose-limbed rhythm, and a slow build into a (mellow) frenzy—has clear through-lines to the Allman Brothers. The sweltering stomp and serpentine guitar of Kimbrough's "Walk With Me" surely had an effect on ZZ Top. And, of course, there are plenty of "sounds like Creem" moments: Kimbrough's "Come On and Go with Me" and a terrific, slinky take on Kimbrough's cover of John Lee Hooker's "Crawling Kingsnake," complete with what Auerbach calls "almost a disco riff." But, more than anything, you hear exactly where the Black Keys' own style has its roots. Burnside's country blues "Poor Boy a Long Way From Home" exemplifies it with wild, possessed moments when the guitars completely erase the need for vocals. A cover of Rainie Burnette's "Coal Black Mattie" chugs and nods and struts like a rooster, the guitars sliding all over the place, and would've been right at home on the Keys' great El Camino. (Same goes for Burnside's "Going Down South," gussied up with Auerbach's falsetto.) And in fact, Kimbrough's "Do the Romp" showed up on their 2008 debut The Big Come Up as the delightfully nasty "Do the Rump"; this time around, it gets a spit-shine makeover that sounds like sexy confidence. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz
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Classical - Released May 13, 2021 | Nonesuch

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Let the Soil Play Its Simple Part is Caroline Shaw's second release for 2021 in a collaboration with So Percussion for Nonesuch Records. Featuring Shaw's vocals, So accompanies her in a manner similar to a rock band or jazz ensemble, offering a variety of interesting harmonic and rhythmic support exclusively with acoustic percussion and electronics. On the first track, "To the Sky," So behaves more like a rock band, with obvious bass, rhythmic, and harmonic foundation. Bowed percussion gives an ethereal harmonic effect, blending seamlessly with Shaw's layered vocals. The ever-changing marimba percolations are reminiscent of Steve Reich, maintaining a driving rhythmic flow. Jason Treuting's drumming is delightfully spontaneous and syncopated. The constantly shifting rhythms, textures, and timbres are refreshing and perpetually fascinating. One idea for the album was for Shaw to record a duet with each individual member of So. These duets are surprisingly full and dynamic with the use of electronics, loops, and layering. One of the most striking of these duets is "Lay All Your Love on Me," originally written by the band Abba, and based on a Baroque chorale. This unlikely juxtaposition begins (and ends) softly with the marimba, played by Adam Sliwinski. Shaw's voice quietly enters and gradually builds to a powerful soaring climax. "Long Ago We Counted" is a duet with Shaw and Treuting on the drum set. The concept of a melodic instrument (in this case Shaw's voice) being accompanied by a non-pitched instrument brings some interesting challenges with the lack of tonal representation in terms of bass and harmony, but Shaw and Treuting skillfully overcame this with the application of vocal layering and electronics. Also notable is Shaw's use of some of the more contemporary extended vocal techniques and sounds, such as throat singing and grunting-type sounds. Overall, this album is very innovative with Shaw and So pushing hard against established stylistic boundaries. © RJ Lambert /TiVo
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Jazz - Released May 12, 2021 | Nonesuch

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Dance - Released May 11, 2021 | Nonesuch

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Nonesuch in the magazine