CHARLES BRADLEY - 'Changes'
The remarkable against-all-odds rise of Charles Bradley since the release of his 2011 debut album No Time For Dreaming has been well documented. He transcended a bleak life on the streets and struggled through a series of ill-fitting jobs before finally being discovered by Daptone's Gabriel Roth. The year following the release of No Time For Dreaming was one triumph after another. The soul singer’s ascent continued with the 2013 release of his triumphant second album Victim of Love, which saw Bradley emerging from emerging from his past heartaches stronger and more confident, confident, overflowing with love to share.
Bradley was close to his mother, as seen in the 2012 documentary Charles Bradley: Soul of America. The pair reconnected in the mid-90s after a tumultuous relationship throughout his early life, and he spent most of the last two decades as her primary caretaker. She passed away in January 2014, the same night Charles was set to perform to a sold out hometown audience at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg. Not one to disappoint his fans, he went on to perform that night and dedicated his emotional performance to her, and now also dedicates Changes to her.
Bradley’s longtime producer and co-songwriter Thomas Brenneck returns to the fold, though the album does see some changes from previous albums. Where the first two albums were recorded with Dunham Records’ house band Menahan Street Band, Changes sees Bradley collaborate and perform with musicians from across the Daptone universe including members of MSB, Budos Band, the Dap-Kings, and Charles’ touring band The Extraordinaires, and a number of prominently featured background vocalists (Sha La Das, Gospel Queens, Saun & Starr). The result, in songs like "Change For The World" and "Ain't Gonna Give It Up," is Bradley's most contemporary sounding album to date.
With Changes, funk & soul powerhouse Charles Bradley brings music fans of all ages another unforgettable set of songs and will continue to bring his live show to stages around the world. Look for the album in stores April 1, 2016 via Dunham Records / Daptone Records.
Add Date: 3/1
Focus Tracks: 6, 5, 10
Format: Americana, Modern Rock Specialty, Top 200, Triple A
Seven time GRAMMY award winning recording artist Ziggy Marley will release his sixth solo studio album, Ziggy Marley, on May 20th through Tuff Gong Worldwide. Recorded in Los Angeles and produced by Ziggy, the new self-titled album marks his first release in 2 years, following 2014’s critically acclaimed Fly Rasta, which took home the 2015 GRAMMY award for Best Reggae Album.
This summer Ziggy will embark on a major North American tour (official dates TBA). Confirmed dates so far include shows at the Spotlight 29 Casino on May 27th in Coachella, CA, BottleRock Festival on May 28thin Napa, CA and the Magic City Blues Festival on August 6th in Billings, MT.
ABOUT ZIGGY MARLEY
A seven time GRAMMY winner, Emmy winner, humanitarian, singer, songwriter and producer, Ziggy Marley has released twelve albums to much critical acclaim. His early immersion in music came at age ten when he sat in on recording sessions with his father, Bob Marley. As front man to Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers, the group released eight albums that garnered three GRAMMYs, with such chart-topping hits as "Look Who’s Dancing," "Tomorrow People" and "Tumbling Down." Ziggy's first solo album, Dragonfly (RCA Records), was released in 2003. His second solo release, Love is My Religion (Tuff Gong Worldwide), won a GRAMMY in 2006 for Best Reggae Album. His third solo album, Family Time (Tuff Gong Worldwide), scored him a 5th GRAMMY award for Best Children’s Album. In 2011, Ziggy released his critically acclaimed 4th studio album Wild And Free, which earned him a GRAMMY nomination, as well as his first ever graphic novel entitled MARIJUANAMAN. Ziggy Marley Organics, a GMO-free product line including flavored coconut oils and hemp seed snacks, was started in 2012. The products are distributed throughout the US and are available in over 1000 stores nationwide. His 2012 live album Ziggy Marley In Concert, earned him his 6th GRAMMY award for Best Reggae Album. Ziggy also recently released his debut children’s book I Love You Too, a co-production of Akashic Books and Tuff Gong Worldwide. The multicultural picture book is based on one of Ziggy’s most beloved songs of the same title from his GRAMMY Award-winning album Family Time, which explores a child’s relationship with parents, nature and the unstoppable force of love. Ziggy’s fifth studio album, Fly Rasta, also released on April 15th, 2014 to mass critical acclaim and gave Ziggy his 7th GRAMMY win for Best Reggae Album in February of 2015.
Add Date: 5/3
Focus Tracks: 2, 9, 7
Format: CMJ Radio 200, Triple A, World
"Tough, but not hard...sharp around the edges but soft on the inside"
“Some of the most compelling songs I’ve heard in a long time.” - Sharon Van Etten
“Glorious” - Noisey
"In the weeks after a loss, even as you convince yourself you're doing better, the physical weight of grief can take you by surprise and crush all your good intentions. Adrianne Lenker sounds like she's fighting those dark forces on 'Masterpiece,' where her ragged, reaching voice—somewhere between Sharon Van Etten, Hop Along's Frances Quinlan, and a drunk country singer—steers Big Thief's doleful riffs as they slump and sway along the bottom." - Pitchfork
Big Thief’s music, rooted in the songs of Adrianne Lenker, paints in vivid tones “the process of harnessing pain, loss, and love, while simultaneously letting go, looking into your own eyes through someone else’s, and being okay with the inevitability of death,” says Adrianne.
Masterpiece, Big Thief’s debut album (Saddle Creek), is filled with characters and visceral narratives, songs that pivot in the space of a few words. Adrianne's voice and guitar playing speak of rich emotional territory with grace and insight. In her words, the record tracks “the masterpiece of existence, which is always folding into itself, people attempting to connect, to both shake themselves awake and to shake off the numbness of certain points in their life. The interpretations might be impressionistic or surrealistic, but they’re grounded in simple things. Adrianne met her longtime musical partner, guitarist and singer, Buck Meek, in Brooklyn a few years ago, and they quickly formed a creative bond tempered by the experience of traveling and performing for months on end in old dive bars, yards, barns, and basements together. They recorded a pair of duo albums (A-Sides and B-Sides), and Adrianne showcased her songs on a solo album, Hours Were The Birds.
Now, as a full rock and roll band, with Buck on guitar, Max Oleartchik on bass, and James Krivchenia on drums, they bring a steady wildness, giving the songs an even deeper layer of nostalgia. "These guys feel like a pack of wolves at my back," says Adrianne, "they make the songs howl and bark with a fierce tenderness that gives me courage.”
After spending last July in an old house that they turned into a studio on Lake Champlain with producer Andrew Sarlo, the resulting collection soars on what Big Thief fan Sharon Van Etten calls "… a real journey, with intelligent stories and twist-and-turn melodies."
Add Date: 5/31
Focus Track: 13
FCC: 2, 7
Formats: Americana, Triple A
"Margaret Glaspy writes canny songs and delivers them with lean, bluesy understatement…”
– Jon Pareles, The New York Times
“Rising singer-songwriter...with hot barbs of electric guitar.” - Rolling Stone
ON TOUR WITH LUCIUS, MILK CARTON KIDS, & MOUNT MORIAH
CONFIRMED FOR BONNAROO & AUSTIN CITY LIMITS
WORLD CAFE, WFUV, KUTX, & KXT SESSIONS CONFIRMED; GREAT EARLY ENTHUSIASM FROM THE CURRENT
FEATURED ON ALL SONGS CONSIDERED ON APRIL 6
New York City’s Margaret Glaspy crafts searing, captivating, guitar-driven pop songs, wielding a silver tongue and an electric guitar. Her raw sound draws heavily from Elliott Smith to Joni Mitchell. Glaspy is poised for a big year in 2016, as her debut album, Emotions and Math, is set to be released on June 17 via ATO Records. The album was recorded at the legendary Sear Sound and was mixed by Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes, Lucius). With these new songs under her arm, Glaspy is also set to hit the road with Lucius, The Milk Carton Kids, and Mount Moriah in the coming months around the record's release.
These 12 tracks waste no time cutting to the bone and present an artist who has arrived – intricate, unique rock songs underscored by “hot barbs of electric guitar” (Rolling Stone).
“She’s pure American muscle. Guitars snarl and spit, stares are deep and wise…”
“All snarl, swagger, and crunch with clever lyrics and noodling hooks”
– The Village Voice
“A stomping rocker with a DGAF attitude” – Brooklyn Vegan
“Complex, deceptively heavy riffs with vocals that really stand out and grab you around the throat.”
– VICE Noisey
Add Date: 6/7
Focus Tracks: 1, 4, 7, 13
FCC: 3, 6, 9
Formats: College, Modern Rock Specialty
GREGORY ALAN ISAKOV
“Isakov’s presence [is] delicately hypnotic…” – Rolling Stone
“…an eloquent lyricist who delivers soul-searching rumination filled with cosmic pondering, nomadic wisdom and plenty of earthy metaphors. His understated voice has a hushed force akin to that of José González, and at its best, the alluring comfort of Paul Simon’s.” – The Washington Post
“When you listen to Isakov’s music, it’s instantly clear that he’s got a gift similar to The Boss.” – Esquire
“It’s such a rich arrangement and there’s so much texture.” – NPR
Set for release on June 10 via Suitcase Town Music, Gregory Alan Isakov with the Colorado Symphony marks a milestone for the Colorado-based singer-songwriter. On this exciting musical venture, Isakov and the Colorado Symphony reimagine songs from his previous three studio albums: The Weatherman, This Empty Northern Hemisphere, and That Sea, The Gambler–and they additionally debut a studio recording of “Liars,” a staple of Isakov’s live show and a favorite among fans. The album will be released on limited-edition vinyl, CD, and it will be available digitally. With orchestral arrangements by Tom Hagerman (DeVotchKa), Jay Clifford (Jump, Little Children), and with the renowned Scott O’Neil (Colorado Symphony Orchestra) conducting an orchestra of nearly 70 classical musicians, the songs are being cast in new and revelatory ways.
Isakov and his band will take the record on the road this summer with accompaniment from a symphonic ensemble dubbed The Ghost Orchestra, a collective of Colorado musicians (some of whom are also members of The Colorado Symphony). Isakov will also collaborate with other symphonies along the way, including the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra–all part of a tour that kicks off in early June.
Add Date: 6/14
Focus Tracks: 1, 3, 4, 8, 9
After an 11 year hiatus, and two brushes with death, former Rusted Root founding member Jim Donovan roars back with a new album & band called Sun King Warriors. The music is best described as sing-along groove rock, blended with rootsy acoustic goodness + two tons of drums. Think Led Zeppelin III & IV mixed with Rusted Root’s “When I Woke” era positivity & rhythmic intensity topped off with authentic vocal emotion ala' Michael Franti.
“As the consummate music lover that he is, Jim Donovan continues to explore new musical territory and challenges himself as a musician.Stepping beyond the drum kit, Donovan takes on vocals and assorted instruments, creating highenergy, world infused rock. As the former drummer for Rusted Root you can count on a heavy dose of rhythmic percussion, infectious melodies, and a party atmosphere. If you’re searching for the perfect cartrip music, I suggest this!” – Rosemary Welsh Afternoon Drive WYEP
“I wouldn’t expect anything but greatness from one of the great musicians out of Pittsburgh and that’s exactly what you get with this release! Jim Donovan and The Sun King Warriors is definitely something that should be in your collection.”
– Valerie Porter Music Director, WDVE
“Although they have their own voice and a fresh, modern perspective, Jim Donovan and the Sun King Warriors’ foundation lays strongly in Rusted Root’s wheelhouse. The music is fun, fast, rhythmic and ready for a sunny day. Jim Donovan’s big heart comes through loud and clear on this new record.”
– Cindy Howes Morning Mix Host WYEP
“Donovan leads stellar band in real, emotional record.”
– Pittsburgh Tribune Review
“Donovan proves on “Sun King Warriors” that he is a master of all manner of rock and world music genres. This is one of the most eclectic, and exciting, discs to come out in some Time.” – Washington Times
“Sun King Warriors do venture into reggae and “Graceland” world music territory, but also hit heavier with Zeppelinsized riffs. Mr. Donovan’s strong vocals put him in that rare company of drummers (Phil Collins, Levon Helm, Don Henley among them) worthy of singing lead.” – Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Add Date: 6/14
Focus Tracks: 3, 7, 1
Formats: Americana, College, Triple A
NAHKO & MEDICINE FOR THE PEOPLE
Some people go a lifetime without knowing their mission in life, without feeling they have true calling, and without knowing why they even do what they do. Nahko is not one of them. And that calling and mission has never been clearer than it is on Nahko and Medicine for the Peopl's third full-length album, HOKA.
On HOKA, Nahko's voice is strong. His mission is clear. The mandate has been thrown down. "Hoka is a Lakota word, an indigenous tribe from the Great Plains, it is a call to action. It's what Crazy Horse would say when he went into battle, 'Hoka, hey!' My call is to put action to the words that I speak and the lyrics I sing. Not just to talk, but to do," says Oregonborn singer/songwriter Nahko, who is of Puerto Rican, Native American (Apache), and Filipino descent.
"This is the soundtrack of the movement for a better planet," he continues. "I want to challenge myself and others to make a change." "Hoka," which is the intro to the first track, "Directions," is one of the album's many song intros used as a way to round out the storytelling on the tracks. "On this intro, my uncles are chanting the lyrics to 'Directions' in Lakota, and the three female voices include a clairvoyant, an astrologer, and a friend who all had important messages for me that are a big part of my story," he explains.
It's been three years since the Los Angeles, California based Nahko and Medicine for the People's last record, Dark As Night. That release reached No. 4 on Billboard's Top Alternative New Album, No. 6 on the Heatseekers album chart, No. 36 on the Top Independent Album chart, and No. 7 in Australia on Triple J's Top 10 Roots Albums of 2013. Nahko and Medicine for the People gathered more members of their global tribe of likeminded fans as they spread their powerful and impactful musical message on tour with such acts as Michael Franti, Xavier Rudd, SOJA, and Trevor Hall, and on festivals including Outside Lands, Electric Forest, Wanderlust, Bumbershoot, California Roots Music Festival, Byron Bay Blues & Roots Festival, and many more.
Critics have praised the group's worldly blend of rock, hiphop, and altfolk. OC Weekly called the group which also includes Chase Makai (lead guitar), Justin Chittams (drums), Pato (bass and kora),Tim Snider (violin) and Max Ribner (horns), "empowering" and "powerful. "The Huffington Post called Dark As Night "beautiful and stirring," and compared Nahko to Bob Marley and a "musical prophet."
That prophetic nature comes through even stronger on HOKA, which was produced by Grammy Award winning producer Ted Hutt (The Gaslight Anthem, Old Crow Medicine Show, Lucero, Dropkick Murphys) "Over the last three years, I've been cracked open so deeply in my own healing to really give this record my all," explains Nahko. "My style of writing and my intentions with how I put things together has evolved a lot. I'm able to better paint the picture after time on the road, seeing firsthand the emotional state of the people of the world, of how sick people are, and how much healing they need."
The personal healing that he refers to, is based on the fact that he is product of a mother who was just 14 years old when she was forced into human trafficking. He was adopted at 9 months old and in his 20s, learned about his family’s tragic backstory. This is the inspiration for his life's work and music.
To that end, "San Quentin" is a pivotal song in the telling of his story. It was inspired by Nahko's visit with the imprisoned man who murdered his father a father he had never met. "It's about forgiveness," says Nahko. "I went there to forgive this man and in forgiving him, I freed myself. It only hurts yourself to hang onto hate. Forgiveness empowers you to create change. I believe everything happens for a reason good and bad. People are put in your life for a reason, and you need to turn that pain into something positive to make the world a better place."
"Make a Change," which features singer/songwriter Zella Day, represents the heart of this record. "I was challenging myself to take action on what's important, to not make the same mistakes over and over, and continue to evolve. It's aimed at the youth, in a sense, because we as the youth have to be the ones to get out of the vicious cycle of negativity," he explains.
Another pivotal song is "Tus Pies (Your Feet)," which was inspired in part by Chilean poet and politician Pablo Neruda. "It's about friendship and being an anchor for someone. Pies is the Spanish word for 'feet.' At the end of that poem, Neruda says a line I cherish: 'I love your feet for how they walked on the mountains and through the rivers and through the valleys until they found me.' I've always loved that picture of how we find people in life and all of the intricate twists and turns that it takes for someone to arrive."
"It Is Written" tells the story of how Nahko finally got closure on his past, giving him even more motivation to continue on his musical path and social mission. "This song is the story of the clairvoyant, who speaks on HOKA, who reached out to me to tell me some very important things. She said, 'I talked to your dad and he's really sorry for what he did. I talked to your [Indian] grandma and she's gathering the nations for you. It is written. Don't push your destiny. Just let it happen.' This was a big step in my healing process and the first real step to letting go. They are my guides."
Other guests include Trevor Hall, Xavier Rudd, Rising Appalachia's Leah Song, and the female trio Joseph on both “Directions” and "The Wolves Have Returned." Hawane, a Hawaiian singer, and Pua Case, one of Nahko's spiritual teachers and Hawane's mother, appear on "Ku Kia'i Mauna."
The album cover, by artist David Hale, sums up the theme as well. Nahko explains, "It's a warrior dancer. The warrior needs to be strong, and the dancer represents grace. Through the merging of the two you get change through peace. You get Hoka.”
Add Date: 6/21
Focus Tracks: 2, 5, 16, 10
Formats: Americana, CMJ Radio 200, Triple A
BACAO RHYTHM & STEEL BAND
Keeping in the tradition of Steel Drum records, 55 is a journey through re-interpolations and covers with an updated approach, pushing Steel Pan music to uncharted territory.
Flawlessly bringing previously untouched genres into the steel pan cannon ranging from Underground Hip Hop tunes to staple Funk tracks and some of all that falls in between. From the smoothed out Reggae cover of John Holt’s “Police In Helicopter” to the DJ sure shot cover of Faith Evan’s “Love Like This” BRSB’s 55 is reinvigorating tunes both well known and helping to shed some light on tunes still largely undiscovered. However, some of the strongest tunes on the album are original compositions, from spaced out Disco vibes on “Beetham Highway Ride” and “Port Of Spain Hustle” to the ugly face inspiring drums of “Laventille Road March”.
Recorded to analog 8 track tape at The Mocambo Studios in Hamburg, 55 is a gritty, punchy journey in sound drawing on music from around the world, using production aesthetics from across both eras and genres, all coming together seamlessly.
Add Date: 7/12
Focus Tracks: 1, 5, 9, 11
Formats: CMJ Radio 200, World
RED MARTIAN - 'Retrailing' (BugHLT)
Red Martian is a band that revels in the experimental. On its seventh full-length, Retrailing, the band departs from the neue-shoegaze sound of their recent releases for a synth-based one. As frontman Stephen Jones puts it, “All of us…are interested in synthesizers and electronic sounds. We’ve kind of had a history of this back and forth between the two [styles].”
The band crafted Retrailing with a synthesizer based on a unique Mattson Mini-Modular that Jones—alongside legendary inventor and synthesizer technologist/pioneer George Mattson —helped design and create for Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins. Jones explains, “A few years ago I helped to build a custom 3 tiered MMM with George Mattson for Billy Corgan. During the building we bulk purchased parts so that we could build additional units. The Retrailing MMM is essentially one Tier of Billy’s design but features 4 MIDI interfaces.” The Mattson Mini-Modular used during the creation of album was controlled manually via a CV keyboard, with the majority of the material being recorded using multi-tracking.
The use of analog instrumentation provides a level of warmth and clarity to the record that is often missing from contemporary electronic music. Retrailing feels modern while remaining true to the electronic sound of the late 70s and early 80s. Think Kraftwerk, YMO, and Klaus Schulze.
Add Date: 7/12
Focus Tracks: 1, 13, 5
CRAWLING WITH COPS
One can only imagine if Crawling With Cops were a quartet quite how loud they would be, as this is a duo who need to be heard with ears bleeding and walls shaking.
The duo switch voices through tracks giving the compositions immense vocal range and melody and the blistering guitar fires like an arrow though the speakers. It is the sub-woofers that struggle as the impatient drum-kit emits thumps from each skin and piece of metal whilst the sublime bass makes the listener want to melt into the sonics.
The band consists of writer, performer Chris G. Simmons who founded such bands as Lick City, The Vagues and The Niki Taylors who gigged constantly with Marilyn Manson in their early days and also is the creative force behind experimental projects The Push Up Daisies, Comejungle, Gloriovs Dead and Parijs Plague; and Claire Lempke who was discovered in a church choir and whose angelic voice makes CWC's sound so unique. Oojah Cum Pivvy marks Claire's studio recording debut.
The band has opted for returning to the studio to record their 2nd album in lieu of a US tour.
Add Date: 7/19
Focus Tracks: 11, 2, 3
Formats: College, Modern Rock
Jacob Collier is recognized as one of the world’s most distinctive, inventive and prodigious young musicians. He is only 21 years old. Based in London, UK, Jacob has been inspired by many sounds – his music combines elements of Jazz, A cappella, Groove, Folk, Trip-hop, Classical music, Brazilian music, Gospel, Soul and Improvisation (to name a few), which culminate to create the world of "Jacob Collier.”
Jacob is well known for his viral YouTube videos which have turned numerous legendary artists into fans, including Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Jamie Cullum, Take 6 and Quincy Jones— who is now his manager.
Jacob has recently developed a new live show with MIT, which spurred The Guardian to herald Collier as “Jazz’s New Messiah” after witnessing the performance. He also recorded the soundtrack to the Beats by Dre Rugby World Cup campaign and is featured on Snarky Puppy’s Family Dinner Vol. 2.
Add Date: 7/19
Focus Tracks: 3, 7, 8, 1
Formats: College, Soul, Triple A
The legendary Angela McCluskey has just released "You And Me," the single off her upcoming album. The powerful Scottish singer behind BIG GIGANTIC's current hit "The Little Things" (#12 Billboard Dance/Electronic Songs Digital chart, Top 5 Spotify Viral chart) and the Grammy-nominated "Breathe" from TELEPOPMUSIK will release 'The Roxy Sessions' on September 9th.
Add Date: 7/26
Focus Track: 1
Formats: Modern Rock Specialty, Triple A
“White-thug Everlast pushing Richard Ashcroft sheen.” – Ariel Pink
“I like the languid desperation of their voices.” – Moby
Dog Orchestra met at a club in high school – “Niklas got thrown out, and his mom came and picked us up in her car,” Daniel says. “I slept on a small couch in his room that night and dreamt of a nuclear holocaust. After that, we were friends.” Niklas and Daniel, who make up Dog Orchestra, moved to Stockholm and on Feb 1, 2010 began their artistic partnership.
Dog Orchestra was born of Niklas and Daniel’s artistic synergy. Daniel says, “We never wanted it to be about us. We wanted it to be about the band and the music as a separate entity.” Adds Niklas, “As much as I love being part of Dog Orchestra I want to enjoy it the same way an audience member might. No wall between the band and the listener—that’s the goal.”
Stats: Featured on Spotify Weekly Buzz; Over 120k Spotify streams; #11 on iTunes Alternative chart!
Add Date: 7/26
Focus Tracks: 1, 2
FCC: 3 (Clean version available)
Formats: CMJ Radio 200
For nearly two decades, Eric Krasno has been an omnipresent figure in popular music. We’ve heard his virtuosic, innovative guitar playing with Soulive and Lettuce (both of which he co-founded), seen him onstage supporting the likes of the Rolling Stones and The Roots, watched him take home multiple GRAMMY Awards, and benefited from his deft, behind-the-scenes work as a producer and songwriter for everyone from Norah Jones, Tedeschi Trucks, and 50 Cent to Talib Kweli, Aaron Neville, and Allen Stone. Krasno’s rousing new solo album, Blood From A Stone, reveals a previously unknown and utterly compelling side of his artistry, though, inviting us to bear witness as he both literally and metaphorically finds his voice.
“My writing partner Dave Gutter and I have been composing songs with vocals for other people for awhile,” explains Krasno, who sings for the first time on Blood From A Stone. “So some of the initial ideas that would eventually wind up on the album were written thinking others would sing them, but when they were introduced to different artists, it wouldn’t necessarily work out. Eventually I realized some of the songs we’d been writing were more personal and would be better suited for me to sing.”
It might sound strange hearing Krasno discuss the idea of “finding his voice” so deep into a career already chock full of remarkable songwriting, but as he sees it, there’s something new, something intimately personal about this album that urged him to step up to the microphone for the first time. And though so much about this album feels like uncharted territory, in some ways, it brings him all the way back to his musical roots.
"Growing up, I listened to Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and the Grateful Dead, along with a lot of hip-hop,” remembers Krasno. “When I linked up with Soulive, we played instrumental music, and that’s the path I’ve mostly been on ever since. This record loops back to those initial bands and songs I loved, but with the added experience and influence of the past 20 years.
When it came time to begin formal work on the album, Krasno left his home in New York City to join Dave Gutter from Rustic Overtones in Maine for the first writing session, which turned out to be so productive that the two had penned most of the album in just a few days. In a shift from the looser, jam/funk spirit that has marked Krasno’s previous work, the songs for Blood From A Stone took shape as tight, infectious, highly structured blues and R&B-based tracks. Krasno and Gutter commiserated over recent relationship turmoil and their shared love of music like Bobby “Blue” Bland’s ‘Dreamer’ and Muddy Waters’ ‘Electric Mud’ to create a sonic palette at once classic and modern, deeply personal and totally timeless. Deciding to strike while the iron was hot, the duo headed into Gutter’s barn along with Ryan Zoidis (Lettuce) to lay down what they envisioned to be demos, but in fact turned out to be the backbone of the album.
“We set up an old tape machine and pieced together gear and borrowed microphones and cobbled a little studio together,” remembers Krasno. “It was one of those things where, once people heard the songs we were coming up with, every musician in town started coming by with gear and helping out. We didn’t realize we were actually making the record, so there was no pressure, and that let us experiment in really cool ways. There’s a lot of rawness to the recordings, and that really bled into the performances and my vocal delivery.”
It’s apparent from the first moments of the funky, Hendrix-esque album opener “Waiting On Your Love” that Krasno’s voice has been an ace up his sleeve this whole time. Rich, warm, and full-bodied, his tone blends earnest sincerity with casual swagger and, much like his guitar playing, taps into a deep vein of emotion. On “Torture” and “Jezebel,” he sings as a bruised survivor of love-gone-bad, while the slow-jam of “Please Ya” channels Otis Redding soul, and “On The Rise” builds off a bass-and-percussion groove with psychedelic samples and gorgeous harmonies. The album has its lighter moments, too, from “Unconditional Love”—inspired by the spirit-lifting arrival of Gutter’s daughter after school every day—to “Natalie”—a romantic ode to an automobile originally written during Krasno’s Soulive days. It’s an eclectic collection, to be sure, but it’s all tied beautifully together through Krasno’s understated vocals and skillful songcraft, which always leaves enough room for him to stretch out on his six-string.
As brilliant as Krasno’s guitar work is throughout the album, though, Derek Trucks arrives as a special guest on “Curse Lifter”—a hypnotic instrumental that lands somewhere between Santana and the Allman Brothers—to give him a real run for his money.
“Derek is my favorite guitar player in the world,” says Krasno. “I’ve known him for close to 20 years, because the first national tour Soulive ever did was with the Derek Trucks Band, and we’ve been super close ever since. I’ve watched him progress into the best, and it was really important to have him on this record.”
The track’s gorgeous, evocative guitar harmonies are a fitting way of bringing things full circle for Krasno, who’s so often utilized his guitar in the service of others. In the end, he may not have drawn blood from a stone, but Krasno discovered deep wells of soul and untapped reservoirs of talent by recording this album, and he opened up entirely new worlds for himself as an artist in the process.
“It’s something I didn’t know was there,” he concludes. “I would have been totally content just being a guitar player and writing songs for other people, but this inspiration just happened, and I’m really glad it did, because it’s changed things. I didn’t know I had this in me.”
Add Date: 7/26
Focus Tracks: 6, 1
Formats: CMJ Radio 200
On July 22, 2016 Floating Points released his Kuiper EP – his first since last year’s standout debut Elaenia - via Luka Bop (N&SA)/PLUTO (UK/EU).
Previously the London-based composer/producer shared the title track and A-side “Kuiper,” which he also performed live during his recent KEXP Session.
Today he shares the EP’s B-side “For Marmish Part II,” a track about which he says; “It was recorded way before 'For Marmish' on the album but the two tracks happened to be written around the same time.”
“Since starting a band to realize the music from my LP, it has sparked a deep interest in the band itself, and so Kuiper is the result of playing with Leo, Alex and Susumu. Each time we play it, its completely different. We set the scene with electronics, and some drum machines that form the foundation to allow the unfurling of the rest of the track. The version on this EP – believe it or not – was recorded at 8am! – Sam Shepherd
Add Date: 7/26
Focus Tracks: 3, 4
THE GET RIGHT BAND
“Hip-shaking, earthquaking pure funk fun.” – The Alternate Root
“Put these guys on your radar, they’re undeniably talented and they know how to throw a party!” – The Grateful Web
“Groove with rock melodies built on funk attitudes--all energy and swagger.” – Alli Marshall, The Mountain Xpress
“The Get Right Band is one of those acts that make Asheville’s music scene so vibrant and exciting. They lay down some very cool grooves.” – Martin Anderson, WNCW
“An ass shaking good time.” – Relix Magazine
Who’s In Charge? was recorded in Asheville, NC at Echo Mountain Studio (whose clients include The Smashing Pumpkins, G. Love, T. Bone Burnett, The War on Drugs), engineered by Julian Dreyer (who has worked with The Avett Brothers, Dawes, Band of Horses, Zac Brown Band), and is being mastered by 6 time Grammy winner Brian Lucey (who has worked with The Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys, Dr. Dog, Beck). While seamlessly blending elements of rock, funk, and reggae, the album is held together by The Get Right Band’s honest songwriting, fierce playing, and strong self-identity. The powerful songs and the pop/rock/psychedelic approach to production puts the album in the realm of acts like My Morning Jacket, Dr. Dog, and The Black Keys (with hints of Sublime and early Chili Peppers).
Add Date: 7/26
Focus Tracks: 15, 5, 8
Formats: CMJ Radio 200, Triple A
Multi-instrumentalist and producer Brian Brater lives, works, and makes music in New York City. After cofounding Rawkus Records (which put out releases from artists like Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Black Star, Company Flow, Pharoahe Monche, Big L, Common) and co-founding digital media company UPROXX, he is launching an artist collective called Sherbert Gang. It's first project, Sherbert Gang EP, features original songs with drum programming and music production by Brian and visual creative direction and animation production by Los Angeles based painter and artist Amir H. Fallah.
Amir is the former editor and founder of Beautiful Decay, a critically acclaimed magazine that documented and promoted experimental and cutting edge design and art from around the world. Amir was the first magazine editor to feature global street artists like Shepard Fairey, Barry Mcgee, ESPO, and Jeff Soto.
Recorded in NYC and Illustrated and animated in Los Angeles, the Sherbert Gang EP and "Far Away" animated video explores collective joy and pain, contemporary haze and confusion, our constant drive forward, mixing original drum programming, analog synths and chopped up vocals with fluid illustration and dynamic animation.
Fallah and Brater collaborated on Brater's previous musical project, Brian Irving's Radiant Things and "Eyes Wide" Video, which garnered praise and recognition in outlets ranging from The Huffington Post to Earmilk. Sherbert Gang will release a forthcoming eponymous Sherbet Gang EP and additional animated videos later this year and play a series of intimate shows in support of it.
Add Date: 7/26
Focus Tracks: 1, 2, 4
Low Light, the eighth album from independent recording artist Sean Hayes, captures his distinctive sound at its most intimate. Recorded both at home and in the studio, Low Light weaves its way through genres, incorporating the pulse and yearning of R&B with the low-fi grit and crackle of folk. From the gauzy, beat-driven title track to the aching, old-school country “Sing Me Your Love Song,” Hayes’ voice glides between a growling purr and seductive vibrato, transporting the listener into a rich, sensual late-night world.
In his twenty-year career as a San Francisco-based musician, Hayes has won acclaim from fans and critics alike. He’s performed with Aimee Mann, toured with Ani DiFranco and Cold War Kids, been covered by The Be Good Tanyas, remixed by DJ Mark Farina, and had his music featured in a variety of television shows, films, and commercials. Raised in North Carolina and honed as an artist in Northern California, Hayes crafts music that, as SF Weekly puts it, “succeeds on the tension between warm, resonant soul and dirt-road folk, all laced with a wandering troubadour’s coo.” In the track “Home I Left” Hayes sings of leaving San Francisco—“headed north with my young family/needed space to grow”—and this album is structured to represent snapshots of his life in the four years since. Low Light thrums with songs of desire, sanctuary, and the redemptive power of love.
Add Date: 8/2
Focus Tracks: 4, 2, 3, 6
Formats: Americana, College, Modern Rock Specialty
SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS
It is our distinct pleasure to present: Miss Sharon Jones! Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. The film, directed by two-time Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple, follows the dynamic front-woman through her 2013 battle with cancer and her triumphant return to the stage around the 2014 release of Grammy-nominated album Give The People What They Want.
The soundtrack, featuring the exclusive song "I'm Still Here," boasts a selection of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings classics ranging from her early singles on Daptone to tracks from Give the People What They Want. Much like the film, the soundtrack gives you an intimate, candid look into the life of a woman who refuses to be defined by the challenges she faces—the perfect accompaniment to a truly extraordinary film.
See dates for the Miss Sharon Jones! theatrical release this summer, brought to you by Starz Digital, and watch the film trailer here.
“No mere music doc, Barbara Kopple's celebration of soul queen Sharon Jones captures the tiny singer's incredible strength in the face of cancer” – Variety
“veteran documentarian Barbara Kopple serves up another portrait of female strength and resilience with Miss Sharon Jones!” – Hollywood Reporter
Add Date: 8/2
Focus Track: 16
Formats: Americana, College, Modern Rock Specialty, Triple A
Formed by Márcio Menescal, son of bossa nova artist Roberto Menescal, Grammy Award nominees Bossacucanova combine traditional bossa nova with electronica and groove- based dance music. Bossacucanova launched with Menescal plus fellow Brazilians, Alexandre Moreira and DJ Marcelinho Da Lua, all working under a name that means "bossa with a new mind," a sound first heard on their debut album, Revisited Classics, which was released Six Degrees Records in 1999. Their sophomore effort, 2001's Brasilidade featured Bossa pioneer (and Marcio’s Dad), Roberto Meniscal on guitar. That record was nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2002, in the Best Brazilian Contemporary Pop Album category. Uma Batida Diferente arrived in 2004 with guest vocals from Chris Delanno, who soon became the group’s touring singer and a regular member of the ensemble. The late Oscar Castro-Neves and many other Brazilian luminaries appeared on the group's 2014 effort, Our Kind Of Bossa, an album that found the group adding sambas to their repertoire.
The Best Of Bossacucanova is just that, a collection that brings together some of the group’s most popular tracks, taken from a cross section of their releases, many of which feature some of Brazil’s greatest singers and instrumentalists. The package is rounded out with a never before released track and a new remix by famed Brazilian fusioneers, Da Lata.
“After more than 15 years on the road, we are more than a big band—we are a large family!” says Marcio Menescal. “Somehow we keep doing it our own way, with our own beat, in a unique studio process and production that makes this band so special and timeless,” he concludes. “We play and produce wholeheartedly, and the albums are consistent. Above all we end up learning a lot and getting better in the studio, as well as growing personally, which gives us a more solid result at work.”
Now for the first time, some of the best of that irresistible body of work if available on one great collection.
Add Date: 8/9
Focus Tracks: 13, 14
Formats: College, Triple A, World
Andrew Stogel took some time away from the outside world after a personal and painful time, and drifted into a dream-pop realm of his own creation. He’s emerged with the band, LOVEYOU.
On the group’s debut, Sparkle & Crush, tucked beneath darkly majestic hooks and hazy shoegaze atmospherics is shrouded enlightenment. These anthems for the introspective helped him through a transformative time. Pull back the mystical layers of sound and meaning of the group’s debut, and there is the raw-nerve emotionality of LOVEYOU’s enigmatic principal songwriter.
Sparkle & Crush is a majestic 8-song debut that beneath oblique wordplay offers intimate personal revelation. “Art is healing, for me the intrinsic value of making music comes first. Despite the cluttered feelings and ideas I have about my songs, I would come to realize that they were the right responses to how I was feeling when I wrote them,” he says.
The album bursts open with the jangly Beatles-esque “I Want To (Make You Feel Happiness)” which captures the essence of Stogel’s melancholy pop. The hooks are huge, but there is a sweet longing beneath the sugar high. The sleepy psychedelic confessional “Awake At Last” is a blissed out journey into self-realization that’s both tragic and triumphant. “Outed The Time” is a coming of age song about harsh realities forcing you to go within, look at your life, and make brave changes. Other standouts include the shoegaze pop of “Your Love Is,” and heavy-lidded closing track, “Fuzzy Logic.”
For Stogel, his journey in music is inseparable from his growth as a person. Filled with epiphanies and new hope from Sparkle & Crush, he’s already preparing another entry of mind-altering pop.
"Stogel has re-emerged fronting the new band LOVEYOU, with his heart-on-the-sleeve emotions matched by crushing, crashing guitars and atmospherics." – BUZZBANDS L.A.
"'Sparkle & Crush' fluctuates its silvery synth textures with crisp, uptempo melodies that are sometimes free-floating, other times rhythmically punchy. Never shies away from delivering the kind of sumptuous hooks that continue to reward with multiple listens." – THE DELI
"Groovy, dark and swirly indie-pop" – THE BIG TAKEOVER
"LOVEYOU’s music has the simplicity of a note sneaked between students at class. A first crush earnestness runs through the L.A. duo’s debut full-length 'Sparkle & Crush.'" – DIY
"Earnest lyrics and majestic elements of psychedelia that sees a songwriter clearly on the rise." – PURE VOLUME
Add Date: 8/9
Focus Tracks: 1, 3
Formats: College, Modern Rock, Triple A
For seven years running, decker. has been recording and performing some of the most vital music to be released from America's Southwest. The music is clearly drawn from the land itself—all that is at once comforting, eerie, haunting, healing, harsh and beautiful. He carves something unique out of the essence he grasps in his red rock home of Sedona, Arizona—a land of red clay mountains and vortexes. The music takes on a spiritual mantle, a deeper, ancient calling rooted to the land itself, tapping into the mysticism of old, weird America, divining its power, resurrecting what he sees fit and crafting it into musical odysseys of treachery, redemption, enlightenment and tenacity.
While seemingly possessed by his desert dwellings, decker. has approached his music with a blue-collar ethic, pressing himself to perform 150 shows a year and self-releasing six studio records in the last seven years. The songwriter has been either recording an album or touring in support of one since the fall of 2009 with relentless vigor—surviving a 2012 van rollover on tour, raising a young son and maintaining a relentless show schedule. The 2014 release, Patsy saw decker. make a hardy push to spread his desert lore, touring the U.S. three times over with all the fervor, he says, “of a drowning man.” Magnet raved, “[Decker] bursts with emotion at every edge,” while No Depression declared, “[Decker] combines dark mystic lyrics and off-kilter attitude with taut musicianship and psychedelic romanticism.
With barely a pause to reflect, Decker returned home and wrote what would become his 6th studio album, Snake River Blues, set for release September 23. Inspired by legendary psychedelic blues classics like Muddy Waters’ Electric Mud and Chuck Berry's San Francisco Dues, Snake River Blues is comprised by tales of treachery and conquest, in blues archetypes viewed through decker.’s unique lens. The album signifies growth, while also a departure from his more acoustic and methodic efforts. It harnesses an American desperation, while being simultaneously rife with audacious confidence, grit and focus. Self-described as “psychedelic desert folk,” Snake River Blues is altogether decker.’s tightest and most succinct effort to date.
Add Date: 8/16
Focus Track: 1
Formats: College, Modern Rock Specialty, Triple A
“…ludicrously infectious…It’s a slice of absurdist neon-drenched pop with an equally surrealist accompanying video” – Stereogum
"After witnessing their atomic live set, you'll be rendered breathless," says SPIN magazine, who also named the band one of their favorite things from SXSW 2015. "Make sure to watch to the end" urges The Wall Street Journal, as audience members are regularly exposed to glittery crowd surfing, sweaty drum solos, and being fed cake until they reach "a cacophonous climax."
Holiday Mountain is an electronic music duo founded by Mexican-American songwriter/keyboardist Laura Patiño and drummer/producer Zander Kagle. The two met in Boston while attending Berklee College of Music and together found a genre-expanding sound, fusing together their affinity for electronic music, hip-hop, and pop to create a force so strong. When describing their sound, NPR exclaimed "resistance is futile."
The Austin duo of Patiño and Kagle combine hip-hop, electronic, reggae, dub, and Cumbia to create their own genre of heavy futuristic dance. Patiño cites surprising influences, such as Billie Holiday and Amy Winehouse, that, along with the visuals and Kagle’s production, manifest itself as art in the leagues of Major Lazer, Die Antwoord, and Peaches. SHIA is a balanced mix of freaky club bangers with a touch of vulnerability and sweetness. Says the band, “For us, SHIA signifies the end of compromise and the end of fearing what others will think or do when you become exactly who you want to be. SHIA is realization with a fuck-everything-else attitude.”
Add Date: 8/16
Focus Tracks: 3, 2, 5, 4
FCC: 1, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 (Clean versions available)
Formats: College, RPM, Triple A
Katie Burden’s stylized atmospheric rock and shamanistic delivery often conjure up the ghost of Jim Morrison but in a modern context, falls somewhere between Bat for Lashes and Joan As Police Woman.
After being raised in a small hippy town in Colorado, Burden spent her formative years bouncing around NYC and later San Francisco. In 2012 she moved to LA and after attending a meditation retreat, synchronistically fell in with a group of blue chip musicians including drummer/producer Norm Block (Mark Lanagan, Sweethead and Jenny Lee of Warpaint) and guitarist Jen Turner of Here We Go Magic and Exclamation Pony.
Katie happened to have hundreds of song sketches recorded as voice memos on her phone and after she played them for her new friends there was no looking back. Block stepped into the role of producer while Turner helped flesh out the recordings that became Burden’s debut EP My Blind Eye. The 5 song set was released on Norm’s Cautionary Tail label and was met with critical kudos from Buzzbands LA, Impose and a video premiere on USA Today who noted the debut had a “mysterious, experimental appeal.” The EP also made a fan of Jenny Lee (Warpaint) who asked Katie to sing backup vocals on her newest LP, right on!.
Katie toured My Blind Eye up and down the West Coast, being welcomed into major musical hotspots including The Deer Lodge in Ojai, Hotel Utah in San Farn and El Cid back in LA where she opened for Jenny Lee. Upon her return she felt pulled back into the studio where she began tracking her follow up full length, Strange Moon, with her now tightly-knit band of collaborators.
The dark and moody undercurrents of the new material called for Burden to dig deeper into her emotional well, something that she struggled with when performing the songs. “I have a hard time feeling emotions sometimes” the songwriter notes. “Art makes me less afraid to feel and also less alone.”
Add Date: 8/16
Focus Track: 1
Formats: College, Triple A
“Valida has shown an unwavering commitment to edgy new music deejaying in the greater Los Angeles area over the past decade. She is well-suited to compliment the KCRW airwaves with her winning taste and instinct for the most exciting sounds around.” – KCRW
Dubbed by LA.com in 2006 as “one of the most important figures in L.A.’s nightlife scene,” the Bosnian native’s steady rise comes from her exceptional musical sensibilities and a knack for seamless blending of a variety of music styles– gaining a reputation as one of LA’s most loved eclectic DJs, fearlessly fusing everything from disco to country and anything in-between.
Since purchasing her first set of turntables in 1998, worldwide DJ bookings have brought her musical eloquence to Winter Music Conference in Miami, SXSW Festival in Austin, Regine’s in Paris, and various clubs in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Tokyo, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Barbados, San Salvador and her native Bosnia. In Spring of 2010 she co-founded Hollywood’s Monday buzz-night, School Night at Bardot, where she was the resident DJ and assisted with weekly production and talent booking. She departed a year later to pursue her love of music making, which, due to a demanding DJ schedule, had been on hiatus since 2006, the year she lent her vocal prowess on a soulful confessional “Anything,” which landed a sync on ABC’s Scoundrels.
Cocooned in her home studio since 2011, Valida has since released “Mine To Take” (people compared to Lana Del Ray meets Twin Peaks soundtrack), Never-Ever (a 50s doo-wop number) two covers (Stevie Nicks + Lindsay Buckingham…“Wild Heart” premiered on Buzzbands…) Also remixes for LA’s Foster The People (KCRW blog premiere), Jenny O., Saint Motel, Milo Greene, and a Bosnian pop icon, Dino Merlin.
When she comes up for air, she can be spotted behind the decks at select parties around Los Angeles, but her most notable recent contribution to the Los Angeles’ music tapestry, besides her radio appearances on select Sunday mornings on KCRW (89.9 FM), is Desert Nights at The Standard Hollywood, where each Wednesday evening she transforms its Cactus Lounge into an intimate evening of live music introducing the audiences to an array of eclectic acts ranging from folk to future jazz…just like her DJ sets.
Add Date: 8/16
Focus Track: 1
Formats: College, Modern Rock Specialty, RPM
COMPASS: MEXICAN INSTITUTE OF SOUND + TOY SELECTAH - 'Compass' (Six Degrees)
Producers Toy Selectah and Camilo Lara have traveled the globe in the name of music. They have played in front of thousands of fans at important festivals and have performed on some of the world’s most prominent stages. These two DJs who produce, write and make music utilizing creative and high-energy beats with sharp melodic centerpieces, have been colleagues and friends for years. They’ve always known that someday they would work together on a project of a bigger scale. Then one night the musical yarn inside Toy’s head—and laptop—began to spin.
Known for his pioneering work as a maestro of the hip hop en español movement, Toy has been traveling the world for the last 15 years DJing, producing and pioneering the New Cumbia and Global Bass phenomena. Toy sent Camilo a series of intricate beats he was saving for something special. Upon hearing the thumps and the bumps of those fast-moving and hypnotic rhythms, Camilo called Toy to say he was ready to begin work. In that moment, a new album concept was born out of their friendship and commitment to uniting the masses through music. They called it COMPASS, a name that refers to both the magnetized instrument and a shortened word for compadres or godfathers, and it would take two years of their lives in between gigs, tours and other projects to come to fruition.
“Toy and I had worked on Los Angeles Azules project,” says Camilo. “I told Toy that we should do an album of collaborations with people from around the world and the project grew from that. Before we knew it, we had traveled to 9 cities and worked with about 90 artists.”
The release features a 13-track set introducing a global pool of artists who signed on for the high-energy project and features genres such as reggae, punk, dance hall and electronica, and other musical styles.
The producing duo traveled to US, England, Brazil, Jamaica and Mexico. They also made side trips to places such as China and Japan, reuniting with artists, colleagues and friends they met through the years. In each city they collaborated musically by including these musicians in the process of creating songs for COMPASS.
“In some ways this project felt old school meets new school,” Toy says. “Artists came together in the studio like a community and understood that the possibilities were endless and that the project was driven by the creative vision of making good music. We even began getting calls from actor friends like Gael Garcia Bernal and others who don’t typically record music, asking to be part of the album. These reactions made everything much more exciting.”
To make the COMPASS journey a reality, Red Bull signed on, lending their studios in various countries and filming many of the sessions. The innovative and independent label Six Degrees Records, known for representing recording artists from around the world, picked up the project.
Toy and Camilo called on a global pool of collaborators and friends to create the super-charged album that mixes a variety of musical elements to create a project with global appeal and a Latin edge. More than 90 artists participated, legendary Jamaican singer/songwriter, Toots Hibbert (Toots & the Maytals), MC Lyte, Cornelius, Eugene Hütz (Gogol Bordello) , Rob Birch (Stereo MCs), Kool A.D. (Das Racist), Emicida, Maluca, Kelli Ali, Tiombe Lockhart, Nina Sky, Tanto Blacks, Crystal Fighters, Bonde do Role, Mercurias, Bruno Morais, El Dusty, Gael Garcia Bernal and others. (Full list included below)
“It was incredible to see 90 artists coming to the table so wanting to collaborate, fulfilling the mission of this project to bring artists together in the name of great music” says music veteran Colin Finkelstein, CEO at YEBO Music, who represents Camilo and managed the album. “The project has a lot of Toy and Camilo in it, but it’s also very contemporary and a lot of people showed up to be part of this because of these two creative and thoughtful minds who have several decades of impressive work between them.”
For the COMPASS project, both Toy and Camilo worked together creating the beats and the music. Once they had songs, the two instinctively knew which artists would gravitate towards certain tracks. Says Camilo, “We made music we liked very much and quickly figured out what worked with certain artists, who also had say and input in the songs.”
Most songs, says Camilo, have multiple artists from different parts of the world each contributing to a different part of the track. The bilingual and cumbia-inspired song “Explotar” (Explore), for example, features Rob Birch (from the UK’s Stereo MCs), Kool A.D. (from NYC’s Das Rascist), Emicida (Brazil) and Maluca (from the Dominican Republic). Once in the studio, each artist had the freedom to help the song evolve into a unique experience that was heartfelt and genuine at each recording.
“This project is about democratization on the dance floor,” Camilo says. “This album intends to show that rock, electronica and dance music, among other styles, can co-exist. This is part of a community being part of this musical experience.”
Toy has a unique perspective about the project as a way of unifying artists from a variety of backgrounds.
“This album is a little like good tequila,” says Toy. “Tequilas come from specific regions and you can taste the difference. Music is similar in that all these artists represent where they come from and their own life experience.”
Camilo, who lives in Mexico City and who is best known for his work as a DJ, producer and for his electronic music project known as Mexican Institute of Sound (MIS) and his Mexrrissey Mexico Goes Morrissey project, most recently produced the Los Angeles Azules album that included the iconic band’s greatest hits. “Como Te Voy a Olvidar,” which was nominated for a Grammy, went #1 and spent 79 weeks on the charts in Mexico.
Toy Selectah, well known as commander of forward thinking mixing of traditional Latin music and modern beats, is Monterrey's pride and joy, particularly for his work in Urban Music through Control Machete, Celso Piña, 3BallMTY and Major Lazer which pioneered the hybrid sounds mixing Mexican soundscapes with modern touch. Toy is also deeply involved with Diplo’s Mad Decent label, and he produced the Los Angeles Azules’ album along with Camilo.
COMPASS was produced by Camilo and Toy and mixed by Toy and Frank “El Medico” Rodriguez, who also recorded and mastered the album.
Already Toy and Camilo are suggesting that there may be a COMPASS VOL. 2, since there is a deep well of material that can support another project. “That’s always a possibility, but first we want to show the world what this project is about and that’s a part of the process we look forward to seeing evolve.
Add Date: 8/23
Focus Tracks: 4, 1, 9, 11
Formats: College, RPM, Triple A, World
“One of the nation's best bands has made what very well might be its greatest album.”
– NPR Music
The new Drive-By Truckers album American Band is in stores September 30th. It’s a timely and timeless protest album, with powerful statements from both Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley.
"Surrender Under Protest" is a ripping Cooley penned tune with a Clash–like urgency inspired by the removal of the confederate flag from the South Carolina courthouse last year, and those who refuse to abandon tradition even when hate is at it’s root.
"It's like a lost track from 'Exile On Main Street,' imbued with higher consciousness." – NPR Music
Add Date: 8/23
Focus Track: 1
Formats: College, Triple A
DEATH BY UNGA BUNGA
2016 looks to be Death By Unga Bunga’s most prolific year yet. After releasing Pineapple Pizza in March, the band plans to simultaneously reissue its debut record, Juvenile Jungle, and release the brand new Fight! EP on September 9th. Three releases in one year should justify a few pats on the back, but the band has no intention of slowing down anytime soon.
A common misconception is that DBUB leans heavily on the retro rock trend, and in particular good ol’ garage rock. It’s been a while since the boys listed The Sonics as their main source of inspiration, and people who have followed the band for the last couple years obviously know that they have grown to become one of Norway’s best power pop/rock bands. Few bands have cooler riffs or choruses than DBUB right now.
Following Pineapple Pizza’s release earlier this year, the band has mainly been on the road, especially in the US. The Americans welcomed them with open arms, and more than one hundred radio stations added the album. This made them one of the most played bands on American college radio. Their fans are screaming for more, and that’s just what Death By Unga Bunga intends to give them!
Fight! gives listeners four new songs, with the guitar distorted to the max and melodies that are guaranteed to start a sing-along at your next party. The EP’s title does not describe the band’s love for fistfights or meaningless quarrels, but is rather a tribute to the fight for quality music. Because quality music does exist, and Death By Unga Bunga ranks among its steadiest suppliers.
Add Date: 8/30
Focus Track: 1
Formats: College, Modern Rock Specialty, Triple A
THE FRIGHTNRS - 'Nothing More to Say' (Daptone)
“From the start, both the band’s sound and presentation stood out from common Caribbean interpretations by other young American bands...favoring instead earnest ballads with a deep soul groove.”
– The New York Times
The release is a testament to the belief that the classic sound of Jamaican Rocksteady, when treated with the utmost respect and devotion, can be reimagined to speak to a new generation. It is a testament to the powerful forces that can be unleashed when a strong aesthetic is pursued through the relationship of a band, a record label and a producer. And finally it is a testament to the creative genius, as both songwriter and vocalist, of Frightnrs Lead Singer, Dan Klein who passed away in June 2016 after being diagnosed with ALS in November of 2015.
Nothing More To Say is a true collaboration between the band, black belt producer and arranger Victor Axlerod aka Ticklah and Daptone Records. In 2015, Daptone released the Frightnrs cover version of the Etta James classic “I’d Rather Go Blind” to great acclaim. The single stayed true to the soulful roots of Jamaican Rocksteady (a revered genre that famously appeared in Jamaica in 1967 and had petered out by late 1968 yielding some of the greatest Jamaican music ever made) while imbuing the genre with a crisp energy that casts away any overtures to imitation or nostalgia. Daptone had long wanted to make a full length Rocksteady LP with Victor Axelrod at the helm and The Frightnrs were the band to do it. “Rocksteady was the first style of Jamaican music that Dan and me fell in love with,” explains Frightnrs keyboardist Chuck Patel, “and the idea of making a classic album for a classic label like Daptone was a dream come true.”
The band immediately set to work, writing and playing every day, and coming up with some of the most beautiful and complex songs they had ever done. Working within Daptone’s time frame and the constraints of crafting only rocksteady tunes, forced the Frightnrs to display a singular focus to great benefit. As Victor Axelfod says “The fact that the direction of the album was determined by it being a DAPTONE record was crucial. We wanted to make a solid and cohesive record and so chose songs that most fit the Daptone aesthetic and the result was the best music that Dan and the Frightnrs had ever made with truly expanded levels of creativity.”
When they hit the studio with Victor, the songs that make up Nothing More to Say began to flow. With the exception of two soul covers (both from the Daptone catalog: Bob & Gene’s "Gotta Find a Way” and Saun and Starr’s “Gonna Make Time”,) the record is populated by original compositions of the highest order. They are simply great songs, and though the songs stick to the rocksteady sound, each one of them has the melodic and lyrical substance to hold it’s own in any genre. “Till Then” invokes the coquettish hyper-rhymes of top-form Smokey Robinson, while “Hey Brother” sounds like it fell off the desk of Gamble and Huff, and “Purple” defies any comparison at all. From the first cracking snares of “All My Tears” through the final pulsing echoes of “Dispute,” the murderous rhythms of Rich Terrana (drums,) and brothers Preet and Chuck Patel (bass and piano, respectively) can be heard chunking mercilessly towards oblivion as Dan Klein pours his endearing poetry over the top like some other-worldly falsetto potion. The combination is a sound birthday-suit raw --mesmerizing, infectious, and above all, lovely.
This record will long be treasured by lovers of Jamaican music, lovers of soul and anyone who has ever loved the bittersweet pain of being in love.
The Frightnrs were formed in 2010 in the borough of Queens – far beyond the gilded wealth of Manhattan and the pretentious hipsterdom of Brooklyn. The four piece ensemble took the cooled out vintage vibes of Jamaican rock steady, combined it with the raw energy and vocal stylings of 80s Rub A Dub and added a touch of punk rock spirit to create an entirely unique sound that redefines what a reggae band can sound like. For the past seven years, The Frightnrs have been one of the hardest working bands in New York, crafting their live set and developing their sound in the DIY underground of NYC reggae and its mosh up of live bands and sound system culture. Their hard work paid off as The Frightnrs debut release garnered attention and airplay from reggae / radio legend David “Ram Jam” Roddigan and Mad Decent’s Diplo, who released a Frightnrs EP on his Mad Decent imprint in the Summer of 2015. With Nothing More to Say, being released in September 2016, The Frightnrs have issued a brilliant final testament to their late lead singer Dan Klein, and will continue to go forward, representing the sound of now standing firm on the traditions of the past.
Add Date: 8/30
Focus Tracks: 2, 5, 9, 11
Formats: College, Triple A, World
There is nothing like the sound of siblings singing together. Whether it’s the Beach Boys or the Everly Brothers—or, more recently, First Aid Kit—absorbing the same breathing rhythms and speech patterns adds an element to vocal harmonies that can be pure magic. With the release of I’m Alone, No You’re Not, the mesmerizing, hypnotic sound of the trio known as Joseph—made up of sisters Allison, Meegan, and Natalie Closner—joins this elite company.
“It’s just second nature, like a fifth limb that’s already on you,” says first-born Natalie. “There’s an ability to anticipate what’s going to happen and blend with it. When Meegan and Allison sing, they know exactly what I’m going to do and when.”
But the Closners didn’t actually start singing together when they were growing up in Oregon, the children of artistic parents (their dad was a jazz singer and drummer, their mom a theater teacher). Natalie was the performer—“the older sister who stood on the edge of the fireplace and told everyone, ‘Watch me!,’“ she says. Twins Meegan and Allison stayed out of her lane, joining in for their mother’s musical theater productions but otherwise avoiding the spotlight.
When Natalie was in college, she began pursuing music more seriously. The summer before her senior year, she went to Nashville to check out the scene and work on her guitar playing and songwriting. She had recorded an EP and done a few rounds of touring when a friend sat her down one day.
“It was kind of dramatic,” she says, “He took me aside and said, ‘I don’t think you really believe in this.’ It stopped me in my tracks.” She thought deeply about the music she was making and had a curious epiphany; she decided to ask her sisters if they would consider singing with her.
Initially, they didn’t really get it. “We thought she was asking us to be background singers, so we didn’t take it that seriously,” says Allison. “It was more commitment than I was expecting—I even tried to leave at one point, but after a while, I was convinced.”
A transformation occurred when the Closners were in the process of recording their first album, Native Dreamer Kin. At the time, they were calling themselves Dearborn, but their producer felt that the name didn’t fit the strength of the music. They went to visit their grandfather Jo, in the eastern Oregon town of Joseph. Allison made a playlist for the trip and called it “Joseph,” which is what influenced the band’s name.
“Once she said it, it just hit us all—that’s what this is and who we are, these are the sounds of the land that we’ve lived on,” says Natalie.
With this new sense of themselves, Meegan and Allison began taking a more active role in the group’s songwriting. Meegan notes that while the process was a “totally new journey” for her, it felt similar to the candor and vulnerability of her long-time journaling—just “pulling out the gold and arranging that into neater lines."
She and Natalie both point to the song “Honest” as a keystone for the development of I’m Alone, No You’re Not. “We were trying really hard to write a song, but nothing was coming,” recalls Natalie. “One night, Meegan was working on some lyrics and getting frustrated, so she wrote in the margin of the page, ‘I can't say a true thing. It's hard to be that honest.’ Immediately after that, her most honest sentence spilled out—‘There's always two thoughts, one after the other: I'm alone. No, you're not.’ And she thought, ‘Oh, there's the song.’"
Meanwhile, the group was cultivating a devoted fan base in the most traditional ways possible: touring the Western states playing living room shows, backyard parties, and secret house party gigs; reaching an audience directly through such platforms as Noisetrade; selling their self-released CD and building a loyal following step by step. By the time they were approached by ATO Records, Joseph had already built a strong community of fans on its own.
As they moved toward making their second record, the project took an additional turn when the Closners decided to work with some other songwriters in Los Angeles. “We were afraid of it at first because the songs were more pop than we were used to writing,” says Meegan, “but as we internalized them, they started becoming super-important to us.”
They point to “More Alive Than Dead,” co-written with Ethan Gruska, as an example of these contributions. “That song describes an experience with a partner where you have hard things in your combined past,” says Natalie. “You’re haunted by them until you realize that those things are dead, and as long as you dwell on them, you're missing the real live person in front of you.”
She adds, though, that Gruska was critical in clarifying and sharpening the nuanced emotion of the lyric. “When Ethan sent us back the demo, I lost it, He was able to see the heart of the song and bring it out, cut to the core of what I was trying to say.”
Finally, the women of Joseph recorded the album with acclaimed producer Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Jenny Lewis, First Aid Kit) at his studio in Omaha. He was able to open up their expansive, evocative vocal sound with powerful and striking arrangements, adding depth while highlighting their haunting intensity.
“This was our first time doing a recording like this,” says Natalie, “and we learned so much about creativity. Mike is a genius, and he’s just a total maniac as a musician, so he took these bare bones songs and brought them to life with lush, gorgeous textures and sounds.”
The initial reaction to the music on I’m Alone, No You’re Not has been remarkable. Joseph was selected as a #SpotifySpotlight artist, and booked for festivals including Bonnaroo, Pickathon, and Sasquatch even prior to the release of the single “White Flag,” a song inspired by an article predicting a massive earthquake for the Pacific Northwest.
“Reading that created a heaviness that was making us jumpy, scared, and miserable,” says Natalie. “It became clear we had two options: be scared and cowering, backing away from the world into paralysis, or keep moving and live. Defy fear. Wear peace. Find better ways to love the people in our lives instead of huddling together like frightened sheep thinking about earthquakes.”
Most rewarding for the Closner sisters has been feeling the audience response to the new songs, as they tour supporting such artists as James Bay and Amos Lee. “This is really when you learn what’s special about a song, or if it’s special,” says Natalie. “It’s this crazy firecracker thing that happens—‘Am I feeling something? Is anyone? What is this song, what does it do, which parts make the most sense?’
“It really is about connection with people, and we’re so grateful we’ve gotten the chance to do that. This has been a totally wild journey, and we’re constantly blown away with possibility of what could be.”
Add Date: 8/30
Focus Tracks: 8, 2, 3
Formats: College, Triple A
JUST A GENT
#1 HypeM artist Just A Gent (Jacob Grant) has set his sites on the U.S. with a new EP Stories To Tell on Lokal Legend ft. his breakout hits "Heavy As A Heartbreak" (ft. LANKS) + “Loaded.”
In anticipation of the release next week, Jacob droped the the electric new single "Rolling Dice" ft. Ella Vos & Joey Chavez with This Song Is Sick on Friday, now boasting nearly 50K streams on Soundcloud alone and available to stream/share.
Speaking of his inspiration for the single, Jacob explains; “Every big decision in life is a risk, at some point we all have to roll the dice and see what happens.”
Boasting more than 45 Million streams worldwide and a combined social media following of more than 160K, the 19 y/o Aussie production whizkid pairs dirty bass and sick beats w/ experimentalism and epic hooks.
Just A Gent has received support from the largest names in electronic music including Skrillex, Diplo, & Dillon Francis and praise from Indie Shuffle, Earmilk, Music Ninja, Dancing Astronaut + more. In addition to his solo work Jacob has been tapped to do official remixes for Peking Duk, Alison Wonderland, Wolfgang Gartner, Temper Trap + more.
Add Date: 8/30
Focus Tracks: 5, 4, 3
Formats: College, Triple A