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Barn

Neil Young

Rock - To be released December 10, 2021 | Reprise

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It's amazing how Neil Young and Crazy Horse's collaborations can seem like a lost moment in time, captured in amber. You feel it right away on their 19th studio album with opener "Song of the Seasons": that evocative harmonica, Nils Lofgren's sentimental accordion, Young's voice wavering on the last half of the line "We're so together in the way that we feel/ That we could wind up anywhere;" it's as easy as a worn suede glove and nostalgic for a moment you don't even know. Then again, that moment might just be the classic Harvest Moon, on which this sweet song (all about connection, a running theme on Barn) would have been right at home. It helps that Young goes all in. He has played with two-thirds of the band since 1968, and the album was recorded in circumstances about as romantic as you can get: "under a full moon, in a restored off-grid 19th century barn high up in the Rockies," the press release details. Goosed by ragged guitar, "Heading West" gets dreamy about childhood and how your parents' decisions change you. "Shape of You" is an out-and-out love song ("You changed my life for the better/ Wore my love like your favorite sweater"), an inspired blues roll warmed up by Billy Talbot's lumbering bass and Young's right-hand piano shimmy. Ditto "Tumblin' Thru the Years," which sounds more like it's about the band's connection than any romantic love, and is just about as pretty as anything Young's ever written. It's not all mellow and cozy, though. "Human Race" is a spitfire stomp, complete with searing guitar solo, and you can feel the frustration of Young, who has been warning of climate change for decades: "Today no one cares/ Tomorrow no one shares/ Because they all will be gone but the children." (A ghostly chorus drifts in to chant the line "Children of the fires and floods.") The band adopts a blues rag to chronicle Western dependence on petroleum for "Change Ain't Never Gonna." As Young looks both backward and forward at the same time, he's aware it sounds familiar—but hopeful it might finally sink in. "I been singin' this way for so long/ Riding through this storm," he reminds us on "Welcome Back," later warning: "Before the world has closed us in/ We might still allow for changes to be made ... Before your computer turns on you." "Don't Forget Love" closes the album on a note of genuine hope, Young reassuringly singing, "When you're takin' and you could be givin'/ When you're dyin' and you could be livin'/ Don't forget love." © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz
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BBC Sessions

Green Day

Alternative & Indie - To be released December 10, 2021 | Reprise

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Welcome Back

Neil Young

Rock - Released December 3, 2021 | Reprise

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First Listen

Michael Bublé

Pop - Released December 3, 2021 | Reprise

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Waiting

Green Day

Alternative & Indie - Released December 3, 2021 | Reprise

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Hitchin' a Ride

Green Day

Alternative & Indie - Released November 26, 2021 | Reprise

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Christmas

Michael Bublé

Christmas Music - Released October 14, 2011 | Reprise

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Walking Contradiction

Green Day

Alternative & Indie - Released November 19, 2021 | Reprise

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Stuck with Me

Green Day

Alternative & Indie - Released November 12, 2021 | Reprise

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Hushed and Grim

Mastodon

Metal - Released October 29, 2021 | Reprise

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The double album is a high-risk, high-reward exercise that many artists have broken their teeth on. How do you make a long piece of content both digestible and exciting when you have so much to say? Mastodon does not seem to have troubled itself with such questions or to have been daunted by the challenge. They just did what came naturally. Hushed and Grim is first and foremost a tribute to Nick John, a close friend and manager who died after a painful battle with cancer in 2018. The four musicians thought he was a man who richly deserved an album. This was the source of their inspiration, which gave birth to 15 songs spread over almost an hour and a half.Hushed and Grim's two-disc length is mainly due to its long duration. There is no two-part concept at work here, with, say, one side dark and the other brighter, or one side electric and the other acoustic... No, this album is incredibly coherent throughout and can be enjoyed from start to finish without guessing at any artifice or pretences behind the generous tracklist. Mastodon lend its incredible sense of writing and melody free rein, coupled with some devastating firepower, somewhere between metal, stoner and progressive rock, all delivered masterfully.Ferocity and melancholy combine from the opening track Pain with an Anchor, before the band unleash on a formidable and uncompromising Savage Lands, with a detour into ballad, by way of the sublime Had it All for which Kim Thayil (Soundgarden) pays a visit, to lay down an inspired and appropriate solo. A record that highlights the incredible vocal work done by Troy Sanders and Brann Dailor; Bent Hinds having taken a back seat for the duration of this majestic sonic journey. There are no weak points, no lapses of taste, despite running to a length that usually leaves some room for some filler or slack. Mastodon succeed in producing an album that is as sublime as it is ambitious. It can be savoured all in one sitting, as it flirts with the best of prog without ever falling into cliché (Peace and Tranquility), right up to the grandiose closing track Gigantium. This album of the year is a slab of material that can be savoured with disarming ease. It is made by one of the greatest metal bands of the last twenty years, if not the best. © Chief Brody/Qobuz
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Heading West

Neil Young

Rock - Released October 29, 2021 | Reprise

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Basket Case

Green Day

Alternative & Indie - Released October 29, 2021 | Reprise

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2000 Light Years Away

Green Day

Alternative & Indie - Released October 22, 2021 | Reprise

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Sickle and Peace

Mastodon

Metal - Released October 20, 2021 | Reprise

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Song Of The Seasons

Neil Young

Rock - Released October 15, 2021 | Reprise

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Carnegie Hall 1970

Neil Young

Rock - Released October 1, 2021 | Reprise

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Even though Neil Young fans have something to celebrate almost every month these days, October 2021 is set to be special, with the launch of a new collection of unreleased material. As the name suggests, the Neil Young Official Bootleg Series focuses on live material, hitherto only available in bootleg form, but now officially released at last. The fun begins with a solo concert by the Loner, given in New York's prestigious Carnegie Hall on 4 December 1970. It was an intense time for the Canadian. A few weeks after Everybody Knows This is Nowhere came out in May 1969, Neil Young signed a lucrative deal with David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash, which gave rise to the album Déjà Vu, a dreamlike hippy piece which leapt to the top of the charts and made the foursome global stars. Amid this feverish whirl, he took advantage of his fame to bring out After the Goldrush in midsummer 1970, his third solo work which contains some of the most beautiful songs he ever recorded. The record was mostly made in his house in Topanga Canyon, California. A perfect blend of rock, folk and country, he took it on tour at the end of that year, travelling solo, and playing a date in the Big Apple. The tracklist from Carnegie Hall 1970 mixes songs from Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and brand-new material from After the Goldrush. Neil Young even offers the audience a taste of the follow-up in the form of Old Man, which was to be the opening track for his famous Harvest, which came out in February 1972. Over a long night, a purely acoustic set (one piano, one guitar) can wear a little thin. But Neil Young's songs from this period are such masterpieces that it's impossible to get bored with them: we are captivated by this colourful, melodic, rural ride for the full hour-and-a-half-plus runtime. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Teardrinker

Mastodon

Metal - Released October 1, 2021 | Reprise

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Let It Snow!

Michael Bublé

Ambient/New Age - Released October 1, 2021 | Reprise

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See the Sky About to Rain

Neil Young

Rock - Released September 24, 2021 | Reprise

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Lindsey Buckingham

Lindsey Buckingham

Rock - Released September 17, 2021 | Reprise

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It is positively spooky how consistently interesting Lindsey Buckingham's 30-year solo career has been. For a musician whose core creative philosophy seems rooted in the way art emerges from dramatic chaos, his own output—both within and without Fleetwood Mac—always manages to be immediately familiar and completely surprising. And although it's been ten years since his last proper solo album, his 2017 collaboration with Christine McVie (featuring Mick Fleetwood and John McVie) felt more like "Buckingham with guests" than the "Fleetwood Mac without Stevie Nicks" album the lineup suggested, as it leaned heavily on Buckingham's unique vocal and guitar phrasings. However, when confronted with a true Lindsey Buckingham solo effort—as in, "written, performed, and produced by"—it's abundantly clear just how differently he thinks when left to his own devices. For a man who turns 72 in October, 2021, and is among the most famous rock musicians alive, it's remarkable just how weird and fearless he still is. The tenor and textures here are uniquely his, as is the distinct approach to multi-tracked self-harmonies, drum machine programming, and slightly off-kilter layers of instrumentation that evoke a mood that somehow is both claustrophobic and exploratory. It's an "in-the-box" sound that's less rock-oriented than 2011's Seeds We Sow (Buckingham calls it "pop," but it most definitely is not, despite how catchy some of the tunes are here), and more aligned with the coke-sheen new wave he was making on Mirage and Law and Order in the early '80s. And while a cut like "Blind Love" blatantly revisits the drum pattern of "Trouble," Buckingham has reconfigured the approach into something stranger and much more introspective here. Frenetic harmonies and digidrum patterns on a track like "Swan Song" show an artist in anxious conversation with himself. Some may be a bit disappointed that there's not a tremendous amount of guitar here, but when it does show up, it's mightily impressive; Buckingham flexes his fingerpicking skills on the glitchy and melodic "I Don't Mind" and the, er, electric "Power Down," both brisk reminders of what an underrated and unique player he is. Of course, it's not the '80s anymore, and for an artist exiled from the band that made him famous and looking at his eighth decade on the planet, it's probably not surprising that the lyrics here can get a little melancholy. "On the Wrong Side" is an explicit exploration of old age, but in typical Buckingham fashion, it's a bit askew and maybe a little cynical, while the more direct and melancholy "Dancing," closes the album out on a somber note of poetic reflection. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz

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