Fresh Audio For Your Ears – Friday, June 3, 2016

The Kills
With the unofficial start of summer behind us, car windows are rolled down and new tunes are being blasted onto the streets across America. The High Note Blog has some new albums released Friday, June 3 to put on your playlist. Why can’t we be friends? #TheHighNote on FacebookTwitterGoogle+Instagram and Pinterest.


  • The Kills come back after a five-year hiatus with an explosive album of lo-fi alternative rock on “Ash & Ice” [continue reading]
  • Paul Simon is no stranger to the worldly sounds he explores on “Stranger To Stranger” [continue reading]
  • Canadian pop duo Tegan and Sara create danceable dramatic songs on “Love You to Death” [continue reading]
  • Weird worlds collide on “Monolith of Phobos” by The Claypool Lennon Delirium [continue reading]
  • William Tyler makes melodica Americana music sound sexy on “Modern Country” [continue reading]
  • Michael Franti & Spearhead blend electronic dance music with rock and reggae on “SOULROCKER” [continue reading]
  • Robert Ellis has mastered his compelling sound of country rock with elements of jazz on “Robert Ellis” [continue reading]
  • Fantastic Negrito goes back to his roots on his third-act debut “The Last Days of Oakland” [continue reading]


The Kills - Ash and IceThe Kills – “Ash & Ice”

It’s been five years since we’ve heard the duo of Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince as The Kills, and the band is back with a fiery passion on “Ash & Ice” released Friday, June 3. Things seem to be moving in fives for the band that been together for 15 years and in anticipation of its fifth album, Hince closed a car door on his hand and all five fingers, requiring tendon transplant. Mosshart, on the other hand, has been busy with her projects including The Dead Weather with Jack White. On “Ash & Ice,” The Kills capture lo-fi excellence pulling together the elements from its previous albums to create an emotional, alternative rock collage. Currently, Mosshart and Hince are creating a short film of the 15 symbols from “Ash & Ice,” the 13 songs and the volcano and martini glass from the album cover, being tattooed on people’s bodies. You can sign up to get a tattoo, in the Los Angeles area, here. See The Kills Friday, Sept. 23 at Terminal 5 in New York City. Get “Ash & Ice” from Domino Records, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and Tidal.


Paul Simon- Stranger to StrangerPaul Simon – “Stranger To Stranger”

Paul Simon is going back to his roots from 1986’s “Graceland” where the singer-songwriter explored various musical cultures to create an incredible album. On “Stranger To Stranger,” released Friday, June 3, is Simon sounding just as adventurous as he did 30 years ago. Those same influences of gospel and African instruments are present, but with a newfound passion for electronic dance music and custom-made instruments. Constantly exploring genres, Simon was turned on to Italian EDM producer Clap! Clap! by his son Adrian and collaborated with the artist on three tracks: “The Werewolf,” “Street Angel” and “Wristband.” Simon also visited The Garden State to record with custom-made instruments the Cloud-Chamber Bowls and the Chromelodeon created by Harry Partch, a mid-20th century music theorist at Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey. See Paul Simon Saturday, June 25 at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Get “Stranger To Stranger” from iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and Tidal.


Tegan and Sara - Love You to DeathTegan and Sara – “Love You to Death”

The duo from the land of Degrassi are back with their eighth studio album of electro-bubble-pop hits, “Love You To Death,” released Friday, June 3. Last month, Canadian singer-songwriters Tegan and Sara dropped the album’s first single, “Boyfriend,” and it sets the pace for the 10-track album produced by Greg Kurstin. The Canadian twin sisters Tegan and Sara Quin are deeply influenced by 80s rock and pop. The songwriting on these tracks are tighter than ever before, drawing from deep and emotional stories and presenting them in a form that will keep dancing inside your head for hours after you’re done listening. Songs like “Stop Desire” are made to fuel sweaty festival dancathons and drives to happy hour. Even on the raw piano ballad, “100x,” the band pulls off polished pop while breaking hearts. See Tegan and Sara Thursday Nov. 3 at The Fillmore in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Get “Love You to Death” from Warner Bros. Records, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and Tidal.


The Claypool Lennon Delirium - Monolith Of Phobos

The Claypool Lennon Delirium – “Monolith Of Phobos”

Primus bassist Les Claypool has teamed up with Sean Lennon of Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger for a weirdly abstract project, The Claypool Lennon Delirium, and have released a debut album, “Monolith of Phobos,” Friday, June 3. The 11-track album is psychedelic, sounding like a warped mashup of Frank Zappa and The Byrds, and both Claypool and Lennon share vocal and instrument duties. Claypool, is a masterful bassist and Lennon will surprise many with not only his guitar chops but how he takes to beating the skins. Songs like “Mr. Wright” are pure space prog rock and let the artists explore throughout the space between refrains. See The Claypool Lennon Delirium Saturday, Aug. 13 at The Peach Festival in Scranton, Pennsylvania; with JJUUJJUU Tuesday, Aug. 30 at Irving Plaza in New York City, and with Marco Benevento Wednesday, Aug. 31 at The Fillmore in Philadelphia. Get “Monolith Of Phobos” from Club Bastardo, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and Tidal.


William Tyler - Modern CountryWilliam Tyler – “Modern Country”

There has recently been a resurgence of Americana music and William Tyler beautifully catches that wave on his fourth album, “Modern Country,” released Friday, June 3. The Nashville, Tennessee native recorded the seven tracks with bassist Darian Gray, who has recorded with Jim O’Rourke; percussionist Glenn Kotche of Wilco, and multi-instrumentalist Phil Cook. The instrumental album is constructed with catchy melodic themes that approach this old soul material with a youthful zeal. Songs like “I’m Gonna Live Forever (If It Kills Me),” wrap the listener up in this tightly wound progression that builds layers tightly woven within the opening melody. This is the type of album that will inspire people to learn how to play guitar. Get “Modern Country” from Merge Records, Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and Tidal.


Michael Franti and Spearhead - SOULROCKERMichael Franti & Spearhead – “SOULROCKER”

I was lucky enough to get blown away by Michael Franti & Spearhead playing an incredible style of rock, reggae, soul and blues songs at the Dave Matthews Band Caravan in Atlantic City five years ago. With influences of electronic dance music being added to the mix since then, Michael Franti & Spearhead released “SOULROCKER,” Friday, June 3. “I make music for one reason; I care about people and I care about the planet we live in,” Franti said in a release. “Right now the world needs music that speaks out against hate and violence, that speaks up in support of the planet, in support of justice for all of humanity — and also makes you dance!” See Michael Franti & Spearhead Sunday, June 5 at Mountain Jam in Hunter, New York; Sunday, June 19 at The Fillmore in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Friday, July 15 at the Playstation Theater in New York City. Get “SOULROCKER” from Michael Franti & Spearhead, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and Tidal.


Robert Ellis - Robert EllisRobert Ellis – “Robert Ellis”

Houston-based singer-songwriter Robert Ellis has mastered his signature country rock style on his fourth, self-titled album released Friday, June 3. “Robert Ellis” blends elements of jazz with country and rock throughout 11 tracks that beautifully blend his compelling voice with exceptional songwriting. The second track, “How I Love You,” with a powerful refrain, is absolutely my favorite track on the album. Although it’s hard to pick when there are songs like “California” that feature moody organ riffs. You will also hear elements of pop as well as the occasional pedal steel guitar and violin on the agonizing “Amanda Jane.” See Robert Ellis with Tom Brousseau Wednesday, June 22 at The Bowery Ballroom in New York City and Saturday, June 25 at MilkBoy in Philadelphia, Pa. Get “Robert Ellis” from iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and Tidal.


Fantastic Negrito - The Last Days of OaklandFantastic Negrito – “The Last Days of Oakland”

Exploring the roots of his own past in Oakland, California with songs born from traditional roots music Fantastic Negrito released his debut album “The Last Days of Oakland,” released Friday, June 3. Singer-songwriter Xavier Dphrepaulezz draws from influences of delta blues, soul, rock, hip hop and jazz as well as some intensely traumatic events that have shaped his life. Raised in an orthodox Muslim household in Massachusetts, Negrito moved to Oakland when he was 12-years-old then soon after 20, the multi-instrumentalist was working with a deal from Interscope Records before a nearly-deadly car accident. The 10 tracks on “The Last Days of Oakland,” are a phoenix rising from the ashes of dreams born, killed and resurrected from pure passion. See Fantastic Negrito on the Chris Cornell Acoustic Higher Truth Tour Wednesday, June 29 at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood, New Jersey. Get “The Last Days of Oakland” from iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and Tidal.