Where to begin on such a jam-packed week of amazing music released Friday, Sept. 30? This week we have a little bit of everything from old-time country to prolific piano-driven pop. Be sure to check out the B-sides at the bottom. I’m really digging the new Bon Iver album, but it’s always hard to pick a favorite so let me know what you’re listening to and connect with The High Note on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest.
Best new music releases Friday, Sept. 30, 2016:
- Bob Weir turns to an album of cowboy tunes for, “Blue Mountain,” his first album in more than 10 years [continue reading]
- John Prine picked the best female country singers for an album of classic duets, “For Better Or Worse” [continue reading]
- Regina Spektor fuses her talent for catchy hooks and enchanting songwriting on “Remember Us To Life” [continue reading]
- Drive-By Truckers combine a classic southern feel with thought-provoking lyrics on “American Band” [continue reading]
Bob Weir – “Blue Mountain”
Grateful Dead torchbearer Bob Weir is pointing his wispy mustache toward the west for an album of acoustic cowboy songs, “Blue Mountain,” released Friday, Sept. 30.
The singer and guitarist was only 16 years old when he met and began performing with the late Jerry Garcia – they would share a stage for 30 years. He recently joined the band’s 50th anniversary concerts at Solider Field in Chicago has now taken the campfire stories from his youth while living on a ranch and turned them into incredibly personal songs.
This is Weir’s first solo album in more than 10 years and includes 12 new songs created with John Ritter, and Bryce and Aaron Wessner of The National, who themselves recently recorded a tribute album of Dead songs.
Weir paints the sleepy western landscape for the album from the opening track, “Only a River.” With boot-stomping rhythms, Weir’s guitar strumming and fingerpicking, and soulful electric guitar fills, “Blue Mountain” is an intimate glimpse into the world that shaped Weir.
See Bob Weir Wednesday, Oct. 12 at The Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania; Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14-15 at The Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, New York, and Sunday, Oct. 16 at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. Get “Blue Mountain” from iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Tidal.
John Prine – “For Better Or Worse”
Responsible for penning some of the greatest topical folk songs ever written, John Prine has assembled the most revered female country vocalists for an album of duets, “For Better Or Worse,” released Friday, Sept. 30.
After beating two bouts of cancer, Prine has surrounded himself with some of the most powerful women in country music to make this incredible throwback album.
From the first track and single, “Who’s Gonna Take the Garbage Out” featuring Iris DeMent, Prine puts his soul and wry smile into energizing the track made famous by Loretta Lynn and Ernest Tubb. Alison Krauss lends her voice to “Falling In Love Again,” and Susan Tedeschi shines on “Color Of The Blues.” In addition, Prine picks Miranda Lambert for “Cold Cold Heart,” and the fearless country singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves for “Mental Cruelty.”
Regina Spektor – “Remember Us To Life”
Pairing an angelic voice with inspiring songwriting, Regina Spektor released her seventh studio album of pop-infused, piano-fueled indie-folk songs “Remember Us To Life,” Friday, Sept. 30.
Spektor, born in the Soviet Union, is a classically-trained pianist who is heavily influenced by jazz, classical, blues, rock, punk and indie-pop and is oft-compared to a female Ben Folds.
The first single, “Bleeding Heart,” features some includes some of the incredible elements from her early work on “Soviet Kitsch” and “Begin to Hope” including an emphasis on rhythm changes and abstract humor. Spektor is an intense storyteller, even in the lighthearted moments on tracks like “Older and Taller.” Spektor bangs out emotional chords on the ballad “Black and White.”
Regina Spektor is playing two sold out shows: Monday, Oct. 17 at The Town Hall in New York City and Tuesday, Oct. 18 at Rough Trade in Brooklyn, New York. Get “Remember Us To Life,” from iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and Tidal.
Drive-By Truckers – “American Band”
Alternative southern-rock revivalist band Drive-By Truckers turns its jaded eye toward modern politics for its 11th album, “American Band,” released Friday, Sept. 30. With a punk-rock attitude and roots firmly planted in the south, Drive-By Truckers brings to the forefront the challenging questions facing its country.
On the standout of 11 equally authentic, ragged and hard-hitting tracks, “Surrender Under Protest,” takes a fiery and firm stance against keeping the Confederate Flag at the South Carolina State House. Is it a protest song? What about the even more critical “What It Means?”
Drive-By Truckers capture a freewheeling spirit on the appealing “Kinky Hypocrite,” that creates a musical illusion to bring us back to as simpler, more southern time.
See Drive-By Truckers Wednesday, Nov. 9 at Union Transfer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Get “American Band” from Drive-By Truckers, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and Tidal.
B-sies Friday, Sept. 30, 2016
Pixies – “Head Carrier”
The 90s-era alternative-rock band Pixies are back with the band’s fourth iteration now featuring bassist Paz Lenchantin replacing founding member Kim Deal for its sixth album “Head Carrier,” released Friday, Sept. 30. Get “Head Carrier” from Pixies, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and Tidal.
Suicidal Tendencies – “World Gone Mad”
In what could be the final record by thrash metal band Suicidal Tendencies, “World Gone Made,” was released Friday, Sept. 30. It’s the first album to feature Slayer co-founder Dave Lombardo on drums, guitarist Jeff Pogan and Ra Díaz on bass. Get “World Gone Mad” from Suicidal Tendencies, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and Tidal.
Yellowcard – “Yellowcard”
Pop-punk band Yellowcard has released its self-titled breakup record Friday, Sept. 30. Fans of the bands first single “Ocean Avenue” can relive all those emo moments one last time Wednesday, Nov. 9 at the Playstation Theater in New York City; Friday, Nov. 11 at The Paramount in Huntington, New York; Saturday, Nov. 12 at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Sunday, Nov. 13 the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey. Get “Yellowcard” from Yellowcard, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Spotify.
Bon Iver – “22, A Million”
Led by the singer-songwriter Justin Vernon, Bon Iver released its first album in five years and most ambitious album to date, “22, A Million,” released Friday, Sept. 30. Circling around the theme of symbology, 22 represents Vernon and A Million represents the rest of the unknown world. Bon Iver will play two sold-out New York shows in December. Get “22, A Million” from Bon Iver, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and Tidal.
Eric Clapton – “Live in San Diego”
Blues guitar guru Eric Clapton is joined by J. J. Cale, Derek Trucks, Robert Cray and Doyle Bramhall for his 13th live album “Live From San Diego,” released Friday, Sept. 30. Recorded March 15, 2007, the album includes 16 tracks, five featuring the late Cale and all with Trucks’ sweet slide guitar. Get “Live in San Diego” from Eric Clapton, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and Tidal.
Van Morrison – “Keep Me Singing”
Irish troubadour Van Morrison released his 36th studio album of blues- and jazz-inspired rock tunes, “Keep Me Singing,” Friday, Sept. 30. Get it from Van Morrison, iTunes, Amazon and Google Play.
Hayley Kiyoko – “Citrine”
Actress and songwriter Hayley Kiyoko released her third pop EP, “Citrine,” Friday, Sept. 30. The five empowering psychedelic electro-pop tracks on her major-label debut are thoughtful and show her unique storytelling. See Hayley Kiyoko Wednesday, Nov. 2 at The Studio at Webster Hall in New York City and Thursday, Nov. 3 at The Foundry at The Fillmore in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Get “Citrine” from iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and Tidal.