GORILLAZ - Humanz - Warner Bros.
Produced by Gorillaz, The Twilight Tone of D /\ P and Remi Kabaka and recorded in London, Paris, New York, Chicago and Jamaica, Humanz comes seven years on from the release of albums The Fall and Plastic Beach. Murdoc Niccals (bass), Noodle (guitar), Russel Hobbs (drums) and 2D (vocals) are - as always - joined by a stellar line up of featured artists which includes Jehnny Beth (Savages), Danny Brown, Benjamin Clementine, De La Soul, D.R.A.M., Peven Everett, Anthony Hamilton, Grace Jones, Zebra Katz, Kelela, Mavis Staples, Vince Staples, Popcaan, Pusha T, Jamie Principle and Kali Uchis among others.
MEW - Visuals - PIAS America
Visuals marks the Danish dream pop outfit’s seventh overall following 2015’s + –. According to frontman Jonas Bjerre, the upcoming LP came together as a direct result of the touring the band did behind +-. “The live shows around that album saw us hit a creative peak, writing tracks on-the-road and the spark was lit,” he explained in a press release. “Breaking the normal cycle felt right and we wanted to make an album spontaneously retaining the energy we’d generated on that world tour, rather than wait the normal three or four years.” Recorded and self-produced in less than 12 months in Copenhagen, Visuals is said to capture MEW at their “most concise, each song representing its own little chapter and narrative.”
THE CRANBERRIES - Something Else - BMG
The Cranberries have an utterly distinctive sound, not least due to the instantly recognisable vocal of Dolores, which on this album is brought to the forefront due to its unplugged nature. As such, Something Else offers a fantastic opportunity for a reintroduction to the band, with some of their most familiar tracks being present on this selection of songs.
OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW - 50 Years Of Blonde On Blonde - Sony
The 14-track album, 50 Years Of Blonde On Blonde, was recorded LIVE at the CMA Theater located inside the historic Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum located in Nashville, TN in May 2016. Mixed by GRAMMY Award-winning Ted Hutt and Ryan Mall. "Fifty years is a long time for a place like Nashville, Tennessee. Time rolls on slowly around here like flotsam and jetsam in the muddy Cumberland River. But certain things have accelerated the pace of our city. And certain people have sent the hands of the clock spinning. Bob Dylan is the greatest of these time-bending, paradigm-shifting Nashville cats," says Ketch Secor, the primary vocalist of the Old Crow Medicine Show. "By deciding to record his newly found rock n' roll voice in 1966 Nashville, Bob swung the gates of Country music wide open; so wide, in fact, that 50 years later there was still enough of a crack left for Old Crow Medicine Show to sneak its banjos and fiddles through the gates with string band swagger.
MARK LANEGAN - Gargoyle - PIAS America
Gargoyle follows the critically acclaimed ‘Phantom Radio’ which was released in 2014. The 10-track LP features guest appearances from long-time collaborators Josh Homme, Greg Dulli and Duke Garwood. The album title comes from a lyric in Blue Blue Sea – “Gargoyle perched on gothic spire” – and was chosen for its hint of self-deprecation. “I’m most proud of the songs that are atypical to stuff that I’ve done in the past” says Mark Lanegan. “So I really like Old Swan, because it’s an expression of positivity, which is completely anti-anything I’ve done before!” He laughs. “Y’know, I haven’t played this record for too many people yet. I played it for Greg Dulli, who played on some of it, and he was like, ‘Wow, I had to listen to it twice – it sounds like he’s having a good time…’
WILLIE NELSON - God's Problem Child - Sony Legacy
God's Problem Child is Willie's first album to debut all-new songs since 'Band of Brothers' in 2014. It includes 13 new songs, including seven recently written by Willie and Buddy Cannon, his longtime collaborator and producer. The album's title track, penned by Jamey Johnson and Tony Joe White, includes vocals by both writers and the legendary Leon Russell (on what may be Russell's very last recording). Closing the album is "He Won't Ever Be Gone," a song written by Gary Nicholson that pays tribute to Willie's outlaw country comrade, Merle Haggard.
VOK - Figure - Nettwerk Records
"Figure" is the debut album by the Icelandic electronic pop group Vök. Formed in 2013, the band is comprised of Margrét Rán (vox/guitar/keyboard), Andri Már (sax/synth), Ólafur Alexander (guitar/bass), and Einar Stef (drums/percussion). Featuring tracks such as “Show Me" and "BTO", "Figure" is brimming with nocturnal electronica and downtempo beats that oozes sensual atmospherics, all held together by Rán's dreamy melodic vocals.
CHRIS STAPLETON - From A Room: Volume 1 - Mercury Nashville
Chris Stapleton's highly anticipated new album, From A Room: Volume 1, will be released May 5 on Mercury Records Nashville. The highly anticipated full-length record is the first new music from Stapleton since 2015's breakthrough double Platinum solo debut Traveller and will be followed by From A Room: Volume 2 coming later this year. The album takes its name from Nashville's historic RCA Studio A, where it was recorded during the winter of 2016-17. Once again produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb, Volume 1 features eight original songs as well as a rendition of "Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning," written by Gary P. Nunn and Donna Sioux Farar and made famous by Willie Nelson.
THE AFGHAN WHIGS - In Spades - Sub Pop
“Divination/Cleromancy/Comes the card that I refused to see” – The Afghan Whigs, “Oriole” “Cleromancy” isn’t a word one normally finds in rock lyrics. Then again, In Spades – the forthcoming album by The Afghan Whigs, from which the new song “Oriole” hails – is defined only by its own mystical inner logic. The term means to divine, in a supernatural manner, a prediction of destiny from the random casting of lots: the throwing of dice, picking a card from a deck. From its evocative cover art to the troubled spirits haunting its halls, In Spades casts a spell that challenges the listener to unpack its dark metaphors and spectral imagery. On the one hand, In Spades is as quintessentially Afghan Whigs as anything the group has ever done – fulfilling its original mandate to explore the missing link between howling Midwestern punk like Die Kreuzen and Hüsker Dü, The Temptations’ psychedelic soul symphonies, and the expansive hard-rock tapestries of Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd. At the same time, this new record continues to push beyond anything in the Whigs’ previous repertoire – another trademark, along with the explosive group dynamic captured on the recording. Indeed, the chemistry of the lineup – Dulli, guitarists Dave Rosser and Jon Skibic, drummer Patrick Keeler, multi-instrumentalist Rick Nelson, and Whigs co-founder/bassist John Curley – set the tone for In Spades’ creation. When it came to follow up the band’s triumphant return to recording – Do To the Beast (Sub Pop 2014), which was the band’s first ever Top 40 album, – the die was cast. “This is the first time since Black Love [the Whigs’ 1996 noir masterpiece] that we’ve done a full-blown band album,” Dulli says. The joys, sorrows, and upheavals of innocence and experience echo throughout In Spades: it powerfully documents where The Afghan Whigs have been, and where they might go next. For Dulli and Curley, it’s a journey that, since their origins as one of the first Sub Pop acts to be signed from outside the label’s Pacific Northwest base, has spanned decades. Dulli notes they were barely in their twenties when they first started the band, and yet here they are, fulfilling dreams long held and frequently realized. “Having a break from the Whigs helped me remember what made it so rewarding,” Curley says. “Over the course of a lifetime, there are constants, and there’s also change. You see who’s dropped off the vine – who’s going in reverse, and who’s still by your side. It’s interesting to see where life takes you, and where it doesn’t. That’s the journey and it hasn’t stopped.” In Spades was recorded at Rick Nelson’s studio Marigny Sound in New Orleans, LA.
ANGEL SNOW - Magnetic - Nettwerk Records
The music of Angel Snow is moving, ethereal and at times, chillingly honest. The Nashville based singer songwriter’s music is always evolving; combining her accomplished songwriting with haunting, engaging vocals and electronic textures. This new album combines her Americana roots with these more electronic textures, creating a fresh sonic landscape that is at once raw and beguiling.
CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD - Betty's Self-Rising Southern Blends Vol. 3 - Silver Arrow Records
Chris Robinson Brotherhood's acclaimed live album series, 'Betty's Blends,' returns with 'Volume 3: Self-Rising, Southern Blends.' Recorded and mixed live from the soundboard by legendary Grateful Dead archivist and recording engineer Betty Cantor Jackson, this latest edition captures the CRB on a Southern swing through Atlanta, Raleigh and Charleston in November 2015. The 2-LP/2-CD set includes original staple CRB material like, Clear Blue Sky, Roan County Banjo, and Oak Apple Day, but focuses on the band's sprawling selection of cover material ranging from Allen Toussaint's Get Out Of My Life Woman to the Leiber/Stoller classic I'm A Hog For You, Bob Dylan's She Belongs To Me to the Slim Harpo rarity The Music's Hot. It also marks the first release in the series with current CRB drummer, Tony Leone. In Robinson's own words, With Betty, we trust her sonic sensibilities and give her the space and freedom to do what the woman does, and what she does is beautiful and unique. It's the stuff rock n' roll dreams and recordings are made of. Viva la Betty!
For more information on these and other releases out this week, check out our New Releases charts by week section and don't forget that many of these titles are also available on vinyl.