Sing the Delta
Considered “one of the finest artists of her generation” (All Music), Iris DeMent has returned with her first album of original music in 16 years, Sing The Delta, out October 2 on her own Flariella label. The album brings the delta to life through timeless songs, DeMent’s richly evocative voice and support from a cast of first-call musicians including Al Perkins, Reese Wynans, and album co-producers Bo Ramsey and Richard Bennett.
Sing The Delta is uplifting and heartbreaking, ripe with twang and soul. Dixie horns, weeping slide guitar balladry and bright, Gospel-tinged piano swirl as Iris contemplates religion, love and family with introspection and imagery that few singer-songwriters can convey. Iris’ voice soars over a bluesy crawl on “The Kingdom Has Already Come” while “The Night I Learned How Not To Pray” is a vivid story about the tragic death of a young boy and subsequent religious reckoning.
Landing on a Hundred
Universally hailed as a thrilling new figure in music for his edgy, lo-fi debut, The Headphone Masterpiece, back in 2002, Cody ChesnuTT is a soul troubadour whose frank, socially conscious ruminations on life continue to challenge popular notions of what modern soul music can look and sound like: a raw storyteller for the people wearing a guitar and a toothpick-chewing smirk; a wide-eyed, intense soul brother in a crazy-fly get-up singing about bedraggled love in the land of Lost Angeles – he’s all of that, but wiser now while still wearing poetic license on his skin like a battle scar. The Atlanta native has always stood his own creative ground ever since he first holed himself up in his bedroom to record The Headphone Masterpiece, armed with his DIY musical arsenal: a drum machine, an array of instruments, a dusty four-track cassette recorder and a giant pair of headphones to block out the world. The result was an unvarnished collection of songs — 36 in total, which alchemized his love of a multitude of styles: classic rock, rhythm and blues, pop, punk and gospel music.
Shields, the fourth and most fluid album by Grizzly Bear to date, will be released on Sept. 18, 2012. The quartet of Chris Bear, Ed Droste, Daniel Rossen and Chris Taylor have never made a quick follow-up; it took them three years to get from Horn of Plenty to Yellow House, three more to get from Yellow House to Veckatimest. Between those records, though, they’d not only toured (headlining as well as with the likes of Radiohead, Feist, Wilco, TV on the Radio and more), but issued singles and splits, EPs, remixes and solo projects. The potential energy gathered in tour vans and busses, in studios and on stages for years was finally released, giving the individual band’s pieces the chance to recover and, after a year, return to being Grizzly Bear, and delivering their best album yet. “This has a different energy behind it,” concludes Ed Droste. “Veckatimest was a little more of a polite album; the desire to keep the vocals smooth might have kept a little distance between us and the audience. This one feels a bit more rough and exposed, so that on Shields, everything speaks for itself.”
Other cities, other plans; different friends, different dreams; former loves, former lives. After fifteen years in Death Cab for Cutie, Ben Gibbard didn’t make his first solo album in search of a new beginning; instead, it closes a door. “These songs span eight years, three relationships, living in two different places, drinking then not drinking” he says of the dozen tracks that comprise Former Lives. “They’re a side story, not a new chapter.
Until the Quiet Comes
Composed, according to FlyLo, as “a collage of mystical states, dreams, sleep and lullabies”, Until the Quiet Comes has the distinct feel of this nocturnal trip. From the twitching descent into a subconscious state and the out-of-focus time-ether of the journey that follows, the sound is an unhinged, yet elegant evolution of the melodic and rhythmic interplay that is woven into the DNA of Flying Lotus’ aural personae. The album, featuring guests Erykah Badu, Laura Darlington, Niki Randa, Thundercat & Thom Yorke, is set for release on October 2. UTQC is fueled by FlyLo’s first ever full US Tour, multiple videos, creative visual assets and massive support from his ever-growing group of press and fans. Notable followers include Odd Future (Earl Sweatshirt collaboration with Adult Swim online now), Schoolboy Q (who’s been in the studio) and rising super-producer Clams Casino.
First Aid Kit
The Lion’s Roar
First Aid Kit is Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg. The first single and title track to their sophomore album, “The Lion’s Roar”, was recorded with producer Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Monsters of Folk, Jenny Lewis) in Omaha, NE. The record sees the band exploring a bigger sound and more instrumentation than on their debut album”The Big Black and the Blue”, but maintains the signature storytelling and harmonies they have become renowned for.
Widespread Panic’s Wood combines fan favorites and first time played songs from the band’s 11-date, four-city dubbed”2012 Wood Tour” which was Panic’s first-ever fully acoustic tour. The Sold out tour began on January 24 with two nights at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD, followed by three nights at The Tabernacle in Atlanta, GA, January 27-29, then to CO for three nights at The Fillmore -Denver, February 10-12 and wrapped up with three shows at the intimate Belly Up-Aspen in Aspen, CO, February 17-19.
For Traveling Alone, Tift Merritt’s Yep Roc Records label debut, Merritt put together her dream cast to make a record that was real, raw and live off the ﬂoor. Recorded in Brooklyn in 8 days, this album was produced by Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, My Morning Jacket), features a guest appearance by Andrew Bird and a band that includes Marc Ribot (Tom Waits), Eric Heywood (Pretenders, Son Volt), John Convertino (Calexico) and longtime collaborator Jay Brown. These songs were written and traveled by Tift Merritt.
Time’s All Gone
The Black Keys
The Big Come Up
There is something hugely satisfying about the unfettered moans of a vintage Fender Telecaster. For some solid sonic evidence, look no further than the gutsy 2002 debut of Ohio blues duo, The Black Keys. If you’re not hooked by the time Dan Auerbach finger-picks his way into the whining guitar groove of opener “Busted,” then the delivery of his sandpaper vocal drawl – ably assisted by Patrick Carney’s whiplash drumming and ‘medium fidelity’ production – will assure you that, in the US Midwest, they still keep their blues traditionally bottled. And therein lies the key to The Black Keys’ brilliance – the ability to make exciting new tunes sound raw and well-travelled, without falling into lame pastiche or parody. Check out the woozy, melodic leanings of “Yearnin’” or the straight-out garage barnstorm of “I’ll Be Your Man” – both tracks successfully fusing valve-humming cool with a contemporary edge that, five years and four LP’s down the line, remain founding cornerstones of The ‘Keys unique and wickedly uncoiled oeuvre. – Ross Bennett / Mojo