This was a great week to come back to the blog because there were so many great new releases that it was tough to get them all.
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The best new music releases Friday, Sept. 9, 2016:
- Southern soul band St. Paul & The Broken Bones is back with its sophomore album “Sea of Noise” [continue reading]
- The “King of Darkness” Nick Cave brings the brooding to “Skelton Tree” [continue reading]
- Indie-rock band The Head and the Heart release its best album to date with “Signs of Light” [continue reading]
- Indie-rock band Local Natives bring a Southern California energy to “Sunlit Youth” [continue reading]
- Indie-rock band Wilco releases its anticipated 10th album “Schmilco” [continue reading]
- Blues revivalist Jack White releases his songwriting catalog on “Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016” [continue reading]
St. Paul & The Broken Bones – “Sea of Noise”
Soul music has made a major comeback in the past few years. Leading that classic sound is the Alabama-based sextet St. Paul & The Broken Bones with its latest album, “Sea of Noise,” released Friday, Sept. 9.
The band’s sophomore album is packed with a slow and steady soul sound as well as energetic rhythm-and-blues shout-out-loud anthems like “All I Ever Wonder.”
Led by vocalist Paul Janeway, the band has been together since 2012 and gained attention for its 2014 debut, “Half the City.” At 15 tracks and a little more than 40 minutes, the band’s best elements are on display with little-wasted space.
There are elements of funk on “Flow With It (You Got Me Feeling Like),” some 70s soul on “I’ll Be Your Woman,” New Orleans brass on “Sanctify” and the beautifully-delivered “Crumbling Light Posts” suite.
See St. Paul & The Broken Bones Thursday, Nov. 10 at Terminal 5 in New York City; and Friday Nov. 11 and Saturday, Nov. 12 at 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. Get “Sea of Noise” from St. Paul & The Broken Bones, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and Tidal.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – “Skeleton Tree”
If you have never heard of Australian alternative rock singer-songwriter Nick Cave; he’s dark, a little strange and a lot amazing. “Skeleton Tree,” the 16th studio album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, released Friday, Sept. 9, is the follow-up to the masterful “Push the Sky Away,” released in 2013.
Consisting of eight tracks and spanning nearly 40 minutes, this album was recorded in the subsequent years after “Push the Sky Away” with Cave’s bandmate and producer Warren Ellis, who is not the comic book writer. The first single from the album, “Jesus Alone,” is emotional, complex and mystical.
The album is also part of a simultaneous release of performances by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds “One More Time With Feeling,” and marks another highlight in the artist’s longstanding career. Cave also tragically lost his son due to an accidental death during the recordings of this album and did little press in advance of “Skelton Tree.”
The Head and the Heart – “Signs of Light”
Seattle-based indie-folk band The Head and the Heart are looking for a third, lucky charm with its latest album, “Signs of Light,” released Friday, Sept. 9.
The Head and the Heart recorded its second album with Warner Bros. Records. in Nashville, Tennessee. The first single, “All We Ever Knew,” was written around the time of the band’s second album, “Let’s Be Still.” From there, the band sounds rejuvenated on this album, more lively with handclaps on “City of Angels,” but also has its moments that capture a lo-fi resonance similar to Dawes on “Rhythm & Blues.”
“Signs of Light” has not only terrific songwriting but a more folk-rock sound and the best production of an album by The Head and the Heart to date.
See The Head and The Heart Thursday, Oct. 20 and Friday, Oct. 21 at Terminal 5 in New York City; Saturday, Oct. 22 at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall Hall in Washington, D.C. and Sunday, Oct. 23 at The Fillmore in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Get “Signs of Light” from The Head and the Heart, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and Tidal.
Local Natives – “Sunlit Youth”
The sun-drenched psychedelic Los Angeles-based indie-rock band Local Natives released its third album, “Sunlit Youth” Friday, Sept. 9.
The opening track, “Villainy” begins with the words “I want to start again,” and the album takes its cues from there. With progressive synthesizer loops layered throughout the 12 tracks, “Sunlit Youth” is an ambitious adventure for Local Natives.
The band’s signature drumming seems to have gotten better on the track “Past Lives,” which sounds like a wink to U2. The sleeper hit “Fountain of Youth,” is sandwiched in the middle of the album and perfectly timed to inspire Indian summer nights.
See Local Natives Sunday, Oct. 16 and Monday, Oct. 17 at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C.; Wednesday, Oct. 19 at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Tuesday, Oct. 25 and Wednesday, Oct. 26 at Terminal 5 in New York City. Get “Sunlit Youth” from Local Natives, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and Tidal.
Wilco – “Schmilco”
Chicago-based alternative rock band Wilco released its 10th album “Schmilco” Friday, Sept. 9 to much acclaim after months of anticipation. Led by singer-songwriter Jeff Tweedy, the latest Wilco album follows last year’s “Star Wars,” which had absolutely no connection to the movie franchise. “Schmilco” picks up where “Stars Wars” left off with its first single, “Locator.”
With a stripped-down approach, Wilco goes lo-fi on acoustically-led songs like “If I Ever Was a Child,” and “Someone to Lose.” The basic sound allows Tweedy’s songwriting to stand out on all 12 tracks on “Schmilco.”
Jack White – “Acoustic Recordings 1998–2016”
Spanning 18 years and 26 tracks, “Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016” includes tracks released by the White Stripes, The Raconteurs and solo recordings by Jack White. The album also includes a previously unreleased White Stripes song, “City Lights,” as well as a bluegrass version of “Top Yourself” and “Carolina Drama,” both by The Raconteurs. These songs highlight not only White’s songwriting but also expose his inspiration from blues to rock, country and folk music. White also released an interactive timeline of his songwriting during this time that includes, stories, photos, videos and the songs that explifies just how prolific he has been in such a short amount of time. Get “Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016” from Third Man Records, iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and Tidal.