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The album cover you’re looking at might lead you to conclude Charley Crockett is on one hell of a roll. You wouldn’t be wrong. Ten records in six years is some kind of prolific. The latest, a double album, suggests the artist has some songs worth paying attention to. It’s clear that he’s invested as much time in the studio, recording storytelling songs, and making storytelling videos, as he has barnstorming around the United States and Europe playing live shows.
Not bad for a thirty-seven-year-old late bloomer.
Charley Crockett has been a fairly remarkable artist to follow. He’s got a sound. He’s got something to say. He has a look. And there’s a gauzy veil of mystery surrounding him suggesting he knows more than he’s letting on.
All those records in such a short amount of time have come with a “No Two Alike” guarantee, particularly the last three releases: the darkly prescient Welcome to Hard Times; the semi-autobiographical, hard-core country-roots The Valley; and 10 for Slim, his tribute of songs by the obscure and wholly authentic Texas honky-tonk maestro James Hand.
His voice is one-of-a-kind. His distinctive, plaintive vocals crack unapologetically with emotion, and he phrases his lines around the beat like a jazz singer, while he expounds upon personal relationships and the world beyond.
Now comes Charley’s tenth album in his six-year career. In the Crockett tradition, it is as ambitious and ground-breaking as each piece of recorded music he’s put out so far. And it’s not just an album. It’s a double album of Charley Crockett originals, each song going the distance to further define this singer-songwriter-performer-artist who came out of the proverbial nowhere.
Charley has endured the collapse of the recording industry, no money, petty crime, societal ennui, the Covid-19 pandemic, open heart surgery, one-night stands, long distance rides in a van, loud truck stops and diners serving stale lukewarm coffee to get to where he is now.
His reward – and yours – is this collection of Charley Crockett originals.
Sad, uplifting, hard, and sweet, complex and delicate all at once, his songs are like life its ownself, just like the songs’ creator: like nothing you’ve heard or seen before, a genuine Texas original.
JOE NICK PATOSKI
Billie Eilish has announced her highly anticipated sophomore album. The 16-track studio album, titled Happier Than Ever, will be released via Darkroom/Interscope Records on July 30. Continuing the tradition on from her multi-GRAMMY Award, record-breaking debut album WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, Happier Than Ever features no outside songwriters or producers, and was written by 19-year-old Billie Eilish and her brother FINNEAS who produced the album in Los Angeles. The album includes Top 40 #1 single “Therefore I Am” and “my future.”
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Los Angeles based band, Los Lobos, have always been inspired by their surroundings and the place they call home. Their music is influenced by rock and roll, Tex-Mex, country, zydeco, folk, R&B, blues, brown-eyed soul, and traditional music such as cumbia, boleros and norteños. With Native Sons the band set out to showcase all of these influences with their own take on the songs of Los Angeles from some of the cities greatest songwriters. Native Sons features 13-songs from well known LA artists such as Buffalo Springfield, WAR, Jackson Browne and the Beach Boys as well as deep cuts from the Jaguars, The Basters and The Premiers. The album title track is the sole original composition written by the band.
2020 was not quite what Jay Farrar was expecting for the 25th anniversary of Son Volt, the band he started in 1995 after leaving the seminal group Uncle Tupelo, whose No Depression album helped define the alt-country and Americana genre. The group had just finished an Outlaw Country Cruise when the pandemic hit and sent them into their homes on lockdown.
Instead of a triumphant tour marking the illustrious landmark, Farrar was forced indoors by the pandemic, and his “Reverie” during that time helped define Electro Melodier, Son Volt’s 10th studio album – and third for influential Nashville indie Thirty Tigers. The title, taken from the names of two vintage amplifiers from the late ‘40s and early ‘50s, also describes the disc’s unique blend of folk, country, blues, soul and rock – an electric troubadour with melodies that hit and stick. Social protest songs like “Living in the U.S.A.” and “The Globe,” the former about the promises of this nation gone wrong, the latter referencing the street protests accompanying the Black Lives Matter movement, exist side by side with odes to long-term relationships (specifically his 25-year marriage) in “Diamonds and Cigarettes” and “Lucky Ones.”
Once again accompanied by the current Son Volt line up – keyboardist/steel guitarist Mark Spencer, bassist Andrew Duplantis, guitarist Chris Frame and drummer Mark Patterson – Farrar takes a slight turn from 2019’s politically pointed Union to a series of songs that asks questions rather than demanding answers – think of “Living in the U.S.A.” as Farrar’s version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.,” Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” or Patti Smith’s “People Have the Power,” an anthem to unite the populace.
One listen to Electro Melodier, which opens with “Reverie,” describing Farrar’s contemplative state gazing out his window, enlivened with Mark Spencer’s “Wichita Lineman” guitar riffs and the lush Big Star melodies, and you wonder why no other rock ‘n’ roll bands or singer/songwriters are making albums like this about what we’re all going through.
With tour dates scheduled before the end of 2021, Son Volt is ready to return to what they know best after a welcome period of introspection.
The songs of Electro Melodier help remind us to be thankful of what we still have – new music from Jay Farrar and Son Volt.
Parker McCollum will be releasing his major label debut- Gold Chain Cowboy on MCA Nashville on July 30th. He is born and raised in the Houston-TX market and has been based in Austin-TX since he released is first independent single and EP in 2013. He has performed and will headline numerous radio station festivals during the summer. The 10 Tracks on his debut album will feature the #1 Platinum-"Pretty Heart" and his current Top 40 hit- "To Be Loved By You".
Vinyl: $103.98 PREORDER
Recorded in the spring of 2010 and then mysteriously abandoned by Prince before its release, the statement album Welcome 2 America documents Prince’s concerns, hopes, and visions for a shifting society, presciently foreshadowing an era of political division, disinformation, and a renewed fight for racial justice. The album features some of Prince’s only studio collaborations with the bassist Tal Wilkenfeld, drummer Chris Coleman, and engineer Jason Agel, with additional contributions from New Power Generation singers Shelby J, Liv Warfield, and Elisa Fiorillo and keyboardist Morris Hayes, who Prince also recruited to co-produce the album. The Deluxe Edition of Welcome 2 America combines the 2LP and CD versions of the album with a never before released Blu-Ray of Prince’s full April 28, 2011 performance at the Forum, part of the Welcome 2 America Tour’s historic 21 Nite Stand in Los Angeles. The show is presented in stereo, 5.1 surround and Dolby Atmos, and includes 24 tracks from across Prince’s career, from his biggest hits to fan favorites to ten rare covers. In addition, the deluxe edition features a 32 page 12x12 book, exclusive poster and an embossed vellum envelope of limited edition memorabilia all housed in a luxe, gold embossed package. Experienced as a complete package, the Deluxe Edition provides an immersive view of Prince’s creative genius during his spontaneous, energetic, and thought-provoking Welcome 2 America era.
To accompany the unrestrained awesomeness of DC’s Dark Nights: Death Metal comic series, executive producer/composer Tyler Bates (Guardians of the Galaxy, John Wick) presents the Dark Nights: Death Metal soundtrack. Directly inspired by the comic series’ storyline, the diverse soundtrack illuminates the darkest corners of each DC character’s psyche. Limited Edition Red 7" Single Flexi Disc. Packaged in polybag with comic book. Indie Exclusive.
To accompany the unrestrained awesomeness of DC’s Dark Nights: Death Metal comic series, executive producer/composer Tyler Bates (Guardians of the Galaxy, John Wick) presents the Dark Nights: Death Metal soundtrack. Directly inspired by the comic series’ storyline, the diverse soundtrack illuminates the darkest corners of each DC character’s psyche. Limited Edition 7" Single Flexi Disc. Packaged in polybag with comic book. Indie Exclusive.
To accompany the unrestrained awesomeness of DC’s Dark Nights: Death Metal comic series, executive producer/composer Tyler Bates (Guardians of the Galaxy, John Wick) presents the Dark Nights: Death Metal soundtrack. Directly inspired by the comic series’ storyline, the diverse soundtrack illuminates the darkest corners of each DC character’s psyche. Limited Edition 7" Single Yellow Flexi Disc. Packaged in polybag with comic book.
Vinyl: $199.98 PREORDER
8 LPs on 180-gram vinyl collects 70 tracks, including 47 (42 previously unreleased) demo recordings, session outtakes, and studio jams. Slipcase packaging contains a 60-page scrapbook by Olivia Harrison and a replica of the original album poster.
In celebration of the 50th Anniversary, George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass is being celebrated with a suite of new releases highlighted by a stunning new mix of the classic album by Grammy Award-winning mixer/engineer Paul Hicks, overseen by executive producer Dhani Harrison.
Vinyl: $35.99 PREORDER
On July 13, 2006 the Drive-By Truckers set up shop at Plan 9 Records in Richmond, VA. It was the 25th Anniversary of the store. The band performed to a packed house and played a blistering set of fan-favorites featuring the songs, “18 Wheels of Love”, “Let There Be Rock”, “Goddamn Lonely Love” and “Daddy’s Cup.” The performance was also set up to benefi t the Bryan and Kathryn Harvey Family Memorial Endowment. The foundation provides, among other things, music scholarships in the Richmond area. Lead vocalist and songwriter, Patterson Hood ended up writing the song “Two Daughters and A Beautiful Wife” about Bryan Harvey and his family.Following the release of this record on 2020 RSD Black Friday, this 3 LP set will be pressed on color vinyl for the fi rst time. The updated packaging includes original artwork from acclaimed artist and long time collaborator, Wes Freed. Now available on CD for the fi rst time as well
Merlot Wave Vinyl. Guccihighwaters is the artistic persona of 21 year -old, artist/producer, Morgan Murphy. Since his debut single in 2017, Murphy has exploded in the cloud rap community and his music has been streamed over 200 Million times. His new album, joke's on you, is his debut for Epitaph Records and will be his first available on vinyl. Guccihighwaters is the keystone to the label's dedication to this sound that we feel is the future of Alternative music. Spending his formative years growing up in rural Ireland, Murphy was shy and when his family returned to their native New York, that shy 15 year-old turned to home recording/bedroom production and starting making his own beats. He began to indulge his musical vision by exploring community on the internet, finding a place to belong that he had not found prior. As a singer, Murphy was a bit of an outsider to the SoundCloud rap world he'd begun to orbit. "I was grouped in because of the time and place and platform," he says. His use of original piano with a classic touch and his angelic singing gave him an original voice within the scene's crowded world. Even if he wanted to blend in, he didn't know how. With Jokes On You, he says, "basically my goal was to make it sound like me. " Some members of that community, like Powfu and nothing, nowhere, feature on the album, adding their voices to Murphy's signature sound. Guccihighwaters is a top digital artist in the Indie Pop/Cloud Rapspace, releasing his music on vinyl for the first time. Album features include lo-fi sensation powfu , top emo rapper Convolk and popular alt/hip hop artist, nothing, nowhere. For Fans of powfu, Lil Peep, nothing, nowhere and Lund
The only artist to ever achieve #1 albums in SIX consecutive decades, Barbra Streisand’s Release Me 2 is yet another musical gem in her unparalleled career. The follow-up to her acclaimed 2012 album, Release Me, this new collection contains previously unreleased tracks from Barbra’s vault, including duets with Willie Nelson and Kermit the Frog. With songs by Burt Bacharach, Hal David, Barry Gibb, Paul Williams, Randy Newman, Michel Legrand and Alan & Marilyn Bergman, Harold Arlen, and Carole King, Barbra describes Release Me 2 as, “A lovely walk down memory lane…a chance to revisit, and in some cases, add a finishing instrumental touch to songs that still resonate for me in meaningful ways.” This Exclusive Picture Vinyl is limited to 3,000 units and available exclusively via Independent Record Stores.
Imbued with the grit of vintage country music and the grace of gospel, Leah Blevins’ debut album is a scrapbook of sorts, a collage of feelings and memories from a decade spent working in the big city of Nashville while missing the small town she left behind. “It’s a timestamp of my twenties,” says the Sandy Hook, Kentucky, native. “Here are all the stories and all the experiences from that decade. Here are all the mixed emotions I’ve felt about things I’ve gone through and people I’ve met along the way.” First Time Feeling turns tribulations into what Blevins calls “bundles of triumphs,” which lend weight to her well-observed lyrics and gravity to her soulful vocals. “It’s about coming into womanhood, but it’s more than just a coming-of-age story. It’s me discovering that I’m capable of writing a song on my own. I’m capable of staying sober. I’m capable of all these things that once felt so far out of reach. Within those walls these songs had to be unapologetically honest.”
First Time Feeling is an album about leaving. Just as she had to leave Kentucky, she had to leave her beloved Nashville—a city that has nurtured and inspired her over the past ten years—to make this record.
Blevins leaves “First Time Feeling” open-ended: Finding that sensation will be difficult but not impossible. Even the darkest songs on this record hold out hope for a happy ending. “I want people to find something relatable within these ten songs. But for me they’re a reminder that all the pain that I went through—which isn’t that different from the pain every human goes through—it’s all mine. By making this album, I’ve taken it, I’ve owned that pain, I’ve made it mine, and I’ve wrapped it up with a bow on top.”
Multi-platinum rock band STAIND are back with their first album in nine years, Live: It’s Been Awhile, May 7 via Yap’em / Alchemy Recordings. The band is comprised of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Aaron Lewis, lead guitarist Mike Mushok, bassist and backing vocalist Johnny April, and drummer Sal Giancarelli. Over the course of their career, the band has released seven studio albums and eight Top 10 singles, selling over 15 million albums worldwide. Break The Cycle, released in 2001 and RIAA certified 5x platinum, featured the smash single, “It’s Been Awhile,” one of the most played songs in modern rock radio history, spending 20 weeks at Number 1. In 2019 after a five-year hiatus, STAIND reunited for some unforgettable festival performances, and a hometown reunion show at Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, CT where their upcoming album, Live: It’s Been Awhile was recorded.
Vinyl: $186.99 PREORDER
Demon Records presents Distortion: Live, the fourth and final edition in a series of expansive vinyl box sets chronicling the solo career of legendary American musician Bob Mould. Bob Mould’s career began in 1979 with the iconic underground punk group Hüsker Dü before forming the beloved alternative rock band Sugar and releasing numerous critically acclaimed solo albums. The final volume in the series features 8LPs of live recordings from across Mould’s solo career.
Vol.1: Distortion: 1989-1995 [8LP Box Set]
Vol.2: Distortion: 1996-2007 [Signed 140-Gram Clear Splatter Vinyl]
Vol.3: Distortion: 2008-2019 [Signed 140-Gram Clear Splatter Vinyl]
Vol.4: Distortion: Live [Indie Exclusive Limited Edition Signed 140-Gram Clear Splatter 8LP Box Set]
Rip It Up: The Best Of Specialty Records brings together some of the most important tracks to be released on the notable Los Angeles record label. Founded in 1945 by Art Rupe, Specialty Records made a giant impact in the fields of gospel, rock n roll, and R&B. With legendary artists including Little Richard, Lloyd Price, Sam Cooke and Roy Milton – this completion features 18 tracks that helped to shape R&B as we know it.