In The Groove
The Old North State is tattooed on the bones of front man BJ Barham, who has never lived more than two hours from his hometown in Reidsville. But, more so, what better to represent an album about loss than a place built to save the lives of shipwrecked mariners and passengers? Song as a sort of salvation is something Barham hopes this album can do for the band’s established and growing fanbase. Sometimes when we’re drowning, music keeps us afloat.
“When these massive life changes happen, we feel like we are the only ones facing these problems,” Barham said. “I hope this album serves as a salve to anyone who has experienced this sort of loss over the last few years. I hope it makes them feel a little less isolated and disconnected. I want them to know that someone out there is going through the exact same shit and that they are not alone.”
With tracks tackling personal loss—the loss of his mother and grandmother, the loss of a child, the loss of youth and time and the creative spark that drives him—Chicamacomico feels stripped down and bare-boned in its instrumentation compared to earlier records. The orchestration is dialed back leaving the lyrics to stand naked front and center. It’s reminiscent of Rockingham, Barham’s 2016 solo album, and this may be in part a result of producer Brad Cook, who produced both albums as well as the band’s 2015 record Wolves. But it’s likely more a sign of the maturing sound and expanding scope of a songwriter now fully comfortable and confident in his own skin.
“When you are young, you want to play everything loud and fast and I think that comes, at least in part, from uncertainty. I hadn't fully found my voice back in those early days so the louder and faster the songs were the less chance someone could actually hear what I was saying. I'm not afraid of the lyrics sitting way out front anymore because I am confident in the songwriting. The band can still cut loose and take over a song, but they aren't expected to do all the heavy lifting these days.”
Few songwriters swing the hammer as hard and precise as Barham and it is a testament to the humility and trust of his bandmates that they take the back seat and allow his storytelling to drive us home. With a heavy tour the rest of the year and a backlist of brass-knuckled bangers, each will surely have their fair share of time at the wheel.
But as for this record, be thankful for the subtlety, for the stillness and for the quiet. For ten songs, Chicamacomico will hold your head above water.
In April of 2021, 13 months into quarantine, Rick Springfield and his band performed his most iconic album, “Working Class Dog,” from start to finish live at Rick’s home in Malibu in celebration of its 40th Anniversary. The resulting work is a renewed interpretation of a classic. The DVD features behind-the-scenes footage, all the joyful live performances, plus 4 bonus Rick Springfield hits: “Love Somebody,” “Don't Talk to Strangers,” “State of the Heart,” and “Affair of the Heart.”
Songs My Friends Wrote is an album I’ve been threatening to make for years. It’s a bunch of tracks that are my versions of a bunch of…songs my friends wrote. I’m fortunate to count a lot of world class songwriters as good pals and I wanted to shine a little light on some of my favourite examples of their work. In most cases I’ve picked relatively obscure songs that have always spoken to me, even though many of them won’t be so familiar to people. There’s a pretty good chance of a Volume Two, Three and Four eventually, because there were a lot of friends and a lot of songs to choose from. The best part about recording all these tunes was that they reminded me of all the people who I haven’t been able to hang out with for the past two years because of the plague we’ve all been dealing with. All of these tunes bring a smile to my face and I hope they do the same for you. - Corb Lund
Foals take a fresh, thrilling new direction on with their upcoming album ‘Life Is Yours’, which will be released on June 17th via Warner Records. ‘Life Is Yours’ is the follow-up to the triumphant, two-part ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost’, which proved to be a pivotal pinnacle in the band’s story. Not only did it result in the band’s first ever UK #1album, but the ambitious scale of the Mercury-nominated album saw Foals win their first BRIT Award for Best Group.
‘Life Is Yours’ feels like a natural evolution for Foals, its disco-tinged guitars, tight syncopated rhythms and punchy, insistent hooks echoing their roots as purveyors of rambunctious house party chaos. Thematically, it’s escapist, transportive and in rapture at life’s endless possibilities. It’s a record that’s perfectly in tune with the prevailing atmosphere of this moment in time – a life-affirming celebration as the world is reunited.
Not The Smile as in ha-ha-ha, more The Smile as in the guy who lies to you every day"... so speaks Thom Yorke on the inspiration behind the name of the new trio consisting of himself, his Radiohead bandmate Jonny Greenwood and drummer Tom Skinner of UK jazz outfit Sons of Kemet. The description is borne out by The Smile's acerbic first single "You Will Never Work In Television Again," a 2:48 blast of ragged, raw energy that moved The New York Times to rave: "Over a bruising 5/4 beat and flailing guitars climbing through three chords, Yorke snarl-sings his avenging fury at 'some gangster troll promising the moon' who'd devour 'all those beautiful young hopes and dreams,' and you can almost feel the spittle flying." Additional singles "The Smoke", "Skrting the Surface" and "Pana-Vision" - which epically closed the series finale of hit show Peaky Blinders - followed with equal critical acclaim; all are collected on The Smile's first album, A Light For Attracting Attention, produced by Nigel Godrich.
Rufus Does Judy at Capitol Studios is a live album by Rufus Wainwright, slated to be released by BMG in June 2022. The album was recorded at Capitol Studios, during a virtual concert of the same name, which saw Wainwright re-create Judy Garland's live album Judy at Carnegie Hall.
GRAMMY® Award- nominated artist/producer/songwriter Maggie Rogers new album, Surrender, will be released via Capitol Records on July 29. Co-produced Kid Harpoon (Florence + the Machine, Harry Styles) and Rogers, Surrender is the follow-up to Heard It in a Past Life,Rogers’ massively beloved 2019 debut album, which entered Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart at No. 1 and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. Praised by the likes of NPR, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, TIME Magazine, and many others, Heard It in a Past Life landed Rogers a nomination for Best New Artist and went on to amass over one billion combined global streams.
Meet The Moonlight, Johnson's eighth studio LP and first full-length release in five years, was produced by Blake Mills (Alabama Shakes, Perfume Genius, Jim James) and recorded in Los Angeles and Hawaii. The creation process marks a major artistic milestone from past work, taking shape from a one-on-one collaboration with Mills and unveiled an intimate and highly experimental process that involved embedding Johnson's elegantly stripped-back arrangements with enchanting sonic details.
2022 release. Introduced to the world ten years ago, Emeli Sandé MBE has become an icon of British singer-songwriting; emotional, honest, and prolific in the kind of manner that cements you as a go-to artist for heartfelt pop sensibility. In 2021, it's time for a reintroduction. Newly signed to independent label Chrysalis Records, Sandé has freed herself from the expectations of others in order to make an album of expansive creativity, flexing her holistic skills as a songwriter, producer and vocalist in new, versatile ways. Something of an artistic rebirth, it draws on old familiarities and brave beginnings, uniting fans old and new in her endless drive to use music as a tool for inspirational lift.
A product of generations of underground music in L.A. and beyond, The Linda Lindas’ debut, Growing Up, channels classic punk, post punk, power pop, new wave, and other surprises into timelessly catchy and cool songs sung by all four members—each with her own style and energy. A handful of cuts have already been previewed at shows and enthusiastically approved by diehard followers in the pit at L.A.’s DIY punk institution The Smell and Head in the Cloud festival goers at The Rose Bowl alike. The Linda Lindas are stoked to unleash Growing Up.
The Linda Lindas first played together as members of a pickup new wave cover band of kids assembled by Kristin Kontrol (Dum Dum Girls) for Girlschool LA in 2018 and then formed their own garage punk group just for fun. Sisters Mila de la Garza (drummer, now 11) and Lucia de la Garza (guitar, 14), cousin Eloise Wong (bass, 13), and family friend Bela Salazar (guitar, 17) developed their chops as regulars at all-ages matinees in Chinatown, where they played with original L.A. punks like The Dils, Phranc, and Alley Cats; went on to open for riot grrrl legends Bikini Kill and architect Alice Bag as well as DIY heavyweights Best Coast and Bleached; and were eventually featured in Amy Poehler’s movie Moxie.
When the pandemic put a pause on shows, The Linda Lindas went on to self-release a four-song EP, make their own videos and grow a following beyond Los Angeles. But they never expected or could have even dreamed that their performance of “Racist, Sexist Boy” for the Los Angeles Public Library in May 2021 would take them from punk shows to TV shows.
A month later, when the school year ended and summer began, The Linda Lindas got to work on their first full-length LP. Having written a mountain of new material individually while sheltering in place and attending class virtually, the
band was more than ready to enter the studio where Mila and Lucia’s dad (and Eloise’s uncle and Bela’s “uncle”) Carlos de la Garza oversaw recording and production. The Grammy-winning producer’s work includes Paramore, Bad Religion, Best Coast, and Bleached.
Multi-platinum rock band Shinedown have released their lead single “Planet Zero,” the title track from their newly announced seventh studio album out April 22 on Atlantic Records. Planet Zero serves up an incisive look at the issues at hand: cancel culture run rampant, the corrosive effects of social media on mental health and society, and the increasingly toxic division among those of differing ideologies. Featuring Shinedown’s explosive yet artfully crafted sound and urgent lyrics, single “Planet Zero” rings the alarm on a dystopian warning of the dangerous consequences to come when it all goes too far, and we begin to lose our respect for those with differing opinions and our compassion for one another.
Says Brent, “If we shut each other down and allow ourselves to be divided by the information we consume and the way we talk to each other, we lose our humanity. When you look outside of your phone, you’ll see there are so many people doing good things and trying to take care of each other. But we’re starting to see parts of society slip into an unknown. Planet Zero was written for all of us. The fact is that we’re all here on this planet no matter what, so it’s time to actually move forward together with empathy, perseverance and strength. With that said….welcome to PLANET ZERO.”
Over the last two decades, Shinedown have cemented their status as one of the most vital and forward-thinking powerhouses in modern rock.Their most ambitious and masterfully realized work to date, Planet Zerois a high-concept, ultra-vivid, viscerally charged saga. A critical yet optimistic look at the fractures and frays of a society that has undergone many challenges in the last few years, the album is part social commentary and part in-depth exploration of the human psyche. Produced by Shinedown’s Eric Bass (who also produced the band’s 2018 acclaimed album ATTENTION ATTENTION,) and recorded at Bass’ newly built Big Animal Studio in South Carolina, Planet Zero matches its immersive world-building and takedown of authoritarianism with a deliberately unvarnished sound, and the album is spliced with interludes featuring Cyren, an insidious and unsettling robot character that appears throughout the Planet Zero journey. While a raw ferocity fuels much of Planet Zero on tracks like “The Saints of Violence and Innuendo,” “No Sleep Tonight,” and “America Burning,” there is also hope, triumph, and reminders that we all need one another on songs like “Daylight,” “Dysfunctional You,” and “A Symptom of Being Human.” After all, it is the band’s impassioned striving for unity that has long been at the heart of their creative output and deeply informed the making of Planet Zero.Not only a driving force for their songwriting, their humanitarian outlook led Shinedown to be one of the first artists to fundraise for non-profit humanitarian aid organization Direct Relief in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, raising more than $400,000 with their “Atlas Falls” relief effort.
Stella makes her Sub Pop debut with the mesmerizing Up and Away, an old-school pop paean to the pangs and raptures of love. From the Greek folk-inflected get-go, we're swept up in Stella's world - and it's quite the captivating place to be. The singer-songwriter joined forces with artist and producer Tom Calvert (aka Redinho), and it was a match made in Athens; the results are heavenly. Tom caught one of Stella's gigs on a visit to the city. He reached out, they started hanging out, and the pair soon clicked creatively. Both mention chemistry when asked about their collaboration and it's clear, from what we hear, they had it in spades. The meld is seamless. Stella's songs have always riffed on American and Greek mid-century pop but Up and Away doubles down on the vintage aesthetic. Tom says he styled the record "as if it was a rare gem from the '60s found in a box of records in Athens," and Stella notes she was ready for a more "deeply Greek touch - it felt comfortable and right, smoothly fusing with the pop." The bouzouki appears on a full five tracks played by Christos Skondras who, she says, "was brilliant at improvising," while Sofia Labropoulou on the kanun "brought an insane amount of dreaminess to the last two songs. Having these amazing musicians play for Up and Away - I couldn't be more grateful."
Mixing old school blues and folk with new school hip-hop and funk, G. Love’s electrifying new album, Philadelphia Mississippi, brings together both sides of the genre-bending pioneer’s eclectic career in a wildly innovative and deeply reverent sonic pilgrimage to the heart of the South. Produced by North Mississippi All-Stars’ Luther Dickinson, the collection is loose and spontaneous, full of joyful, improvised performances and freewheeling collaborations with a slew of special guests including blues torchbearers like Alvin Youngblood Hart and Christone “Kingfish” Ingram and rap icons like Schoolly D and Speech. It would have been easy for G. Love to play it safe coming off his GRAMMY-nominated 2020 release, The Juice, but Philadelphia Mississippi is perhaps his most adventurous collection to date, ditching all the rules as it experiments with form and function in an ecstatic celebration of music’s power to connect across genres and generations.
Born Garrett Dutton in Philadelphia, PA, G. Love first broke out in the early ’90s with his band, Special Sauce, on the strength of their Gold-selling self-titled debut. Over the next three decades, he would go on to release seven more critically acclaimed albums with Special Sauce (plus five on his own), become a fixture on festival lineups from Bonnaroo to Lollapalooza, and collaborate on the road and in the studio with artists as diverse as Lucinda Williams, Dave Matthews, The Avett Brothers, Jack Johnson, Keb’ Mo’, and DJ Logic.
The Deslondes are a five-piece band from New Orleans. The band splits up songwriting and lead vocal duties among its five members, continuing its democratic ethos and musical versatility. Multiple members have released solo recordings between their sophomore release, Hurry Home (2016) and their latest release Ways & Means but throughout the time between albums the Deslondes continued to build on their inventive take on New Orleans country and R&B. Ways & Means finds the band leaning on the country-folk of their debut along with the sometimes-psychedelic, electrified gospel-soul sound of Hurry Home. The sound will continue to draw comparisons to the country-funkiness of The Band, Link Wray and others but Ways & Means is the sound of a band that understands the history of American music, while embracing their own contemporary approach.
Conan Gray has emerged as one of the pre-eminent pop superstars of his generation. After the commercial success of the global multi-platinum hits, “Heather” and “Maniac,” his music maintains its unflinching authenticity and originality. Gray’s debut album, Kid Krow, reached #5 on the Billboard 200, #1 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart, and was the biggest new artist debut of the year. Gray’s much anticipated sophomore album, SUPERACHE, is set for release on June 24, 2022.