On her second full-length record, Head of Roses, Jenn Wasner follows a winding thread of intuition into the unknown and into healing, led by gut feelings and the near-spiritual experience of visceral songwriting. The result is a combination of Wasner’s ability to embrace new levels of vulnerability, honesty and openness, with the self-assuredness that comes with a decade-plus career as a songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and prolific collaborator. Simply put, Head of Roses is a record about heartbreak, but from a dualistic perspective. It’s about the experience of having one’s heart broken and breaking someone else’s heart at the same time. But beyond that, it’s about having to reconcile the experience of one’s own pain with the understanding that it’s impossible to go through life without being the source of great pain for someone else. “Part of the journey for me has been learning to take responsibility for the parts of things that are mine, even when I’m in a lot of pain through some behavior or action of someone else. If I’m expecting to be forgiven for the things I’ve done and the choices I’ve made and the mistakes that I’ve made, it would be incredibly cowardly and hypocritical to not also do the work that’s required to forgive others the pain they caused me.” Showcasing the depth of Wasner’s songwriting capabilities and the complexity of her vision, Head of Roses calls upon her singular ability to create a fully-formed sonic universe via genre-bending amalgamation of songs and her poetic and gut punch lyrics. It’s the soundtrack of Wasner letting go – of control, of heartbreak, and of hiding who she is: “I think I’ve finally reached a point in my career where I feel comfortable enough with myself and what I do, that I’m able to relax into a certain simplicity or straight forwardness that I wasn’t comfortable with before.” Head of Roses puts Wasner’s seismically powerful voice front and center. Those vocals help thread it all together -- it’s a textured musicality, quilted together by intentionality and intuition. Wasner and producer Nick Sanborn (Sylvan Esso, Made of Oak) assembled Head of Roses in the same way you’d put together a mixtape, painstakingly and carefully melding disparate parts into a whole, transcending genre to weave a story of heartache and healing together. And in the same way a homemade, painstakingly-crafted mixtape plays out, with the maker’s fingerprints left all over its songs – so goes Head of Roses. Carefully curated and culled from the depths of Wasner’s heartbreak and healing, it’s deeply, intensely personal. But just as we change ourselves by embracing the pain of loss and uncertainty, so too are the purpose of these songs changed through the act of creating them. Having succeeded in healing the person who made them, they now exist for those who find them in their own moments of need. Always in motion, the original spirit of creation has already flown from this place—but it’s left behind a blueprint, a tool for you, to lean on, too.
There’s a sense of wonder that permeates throughout every song indie rock band Hey, King! has written. Canadian songwriter, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist Natalie London and her partner, Tucson, AZ vocalist and percussionist Taylor Plecity, approach music with a childlike curiosity and adventurous spirit—fitting for a band whose name comes from a Where the Wild Things Are line. Their 2020 debut EP ‘Be Still’ was raved by Under the Radar Mag as “heartfelt indie rock” with songs that showcased “London and Plecity’s ability to turn tragedy into an exuberant celebration of life and love.” But now, the band finally follows it all up with their highly-anticipated self-titled debut LP.
Produced by 4x Grammy winner Ben Harper, Hey, King! is a dazzling 11-track collection that matches the overwhelming emotional intensity of the band’s live show, a concert experience that Vancouver Weekly called “a powerhouse” and “quite possibly the music world’s best kept secret.” In fact, many of the songs were directly informed by the 2018 North American tour where Hey, King! opened for Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals. Many of the band’s rawest early songs dealt with London’s years-long, near-death battle with Lyme disease and her recovery. London explains: “With all the uncertainties, insecurities, and worries, you just say ‘I don’t know where I’ll be or where I’m going but I do know it’s going to be beautiful.’ “ This is the ethos of Hey, King! and hearing these songs will give you that same optimism, even when things are dark.
Cuttin' Grass Vol. 1 (Butcher Shoppe Sessions) is now available on Vinyl & CD.
In 2008 Etienne de Rocher paused his budding career as a songwriter in the Bay Area to relocate his growing family to the fertile artistic grounds of Athens, GA. The new locale was immediately a creative inspiration. Although it would take years to complete, he began soaking up the musical energy of his new home and writing some of the songs that would become Haunted Shed’s debut “Faltering Light” immediately.
“Faltering Light” is more than just a love letter to the Classic City though. It’s a love letter to life. 11 rocking, thoughtful, psychedelic, literary songs about Etienne’s experience with life raising kids, restoring homes, cooking, holidays and his inward contemplations of dreams, emotions, and nightmares.
Recorded at Chase Park Transduction with Drew Vandenberg (of Montreal, Faye Webster) at the helm, Haunted Shed’s debut album is a thoughtful, fun collection of stories from someone who’s experienced enough life to have some good ones.
MP3 Album: $8.99 Download
On Promises, Sam Shepherd, the British electronic producer, DJ, musician, co-founder of Eglo Records, and leader of 16-piece group Floating Points, has come together with the legendary American jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders and the London Symphony Orchestra on a unique and mind-expanding masterpiece.
Building on the success of “Perception” and “The Search,” consecutive No. 1 Billboard Top 200 albums (both RIAA certified platinum), Michigan rapper NF is back with his first ever mixtape, “CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE).” The project comes as a surprise for fans who are sure to enjoy NF’s signature blend of introspective lyrics and thematic elements, and features from Hopsin and Tech N9ne. Produced by Tommee Profitt, the album boasts a wide range of new sounds, including heavy hitting hip hop tracks “CLOUDS,” “LOST,” and “TRUST,” alongside melancholic anthems “JUST LIKE YOU” and “PRIDEFUL.”
Like clockwork, Swedish stoner rockers GREENLEAF spread their concentrated sludgy energy to disciples of the genre by releasing Echoes From A Mass in 2021, the successor to their 2018 epic, Hear The Rivers. The album opener, “Tides”, immediately draws the listener into a swirl of guitar driven soundscapes, while Arvid Hällagård’s remarkable voice merges with hypnotizing background vocals, ceremonially inviting the listener into a heavy reverie. Floating hypnotic grooves set the stage for the compelling yet chilling “Needle In My Eye” — with its incisive, driving drums and roaring riffs, the record’s third song accumulates piece by piece into a modern rock standout, taking the mind by storm. “Love Undone” breaks in with Tommi Holappa's acclaimed, blistering guitar riffs that will keep the listener moving to the mesmerizing, distinctive sonic layers of GREENLEAF. The bluesy mid-tempo track “Bury Me My Son” digs deep with its poignant lyrics and an extensive, grooving bass solo, reminiscent of their roots in the Dozer days. With “March On Higher Grounds”, the Swedes deliver a dusting of desert-vibes, merging into a truly catchy refrain, while closer “What Have We Become” offers a hallucinatory realm of calmness, setting a bold exclamation mark at the album’s epic end. Once again, GREENLEAF prove that they dare to think outside the box and deliver a heavy roller comprised of Sebastian Olsson's rumbling drumming performance, fuzzy guitars, Fröhlich's haunting bass lines, Arvid Hällagård's powerful yet ghoulish vocals and undeniable, heavy stoner, southern desert and blues vibes. Echoes From A Mass was recorded at Studio Gröndahl in October 2020 by former band member Karl Daniel Lidén, who also mixed and mastered the record at Tri-Lamb Studios. Lidén is recognized for his work with well-known acts such as Katatonia, Bloodbath, Lowrider and Crippled Black Phoenix, to name a few.
SMITH/KOTZEN is the exciting partnership between guitarists & vocalists Adrian Smith & Richie Kotzen. Part-time LA neighbors, full time friends with a healthy mutual respect—their music is evocative of the classic rock bands of the 70’s brought bang up to date with punchy hooks, harmonies and sheer guitar virtuosity. Debut track “Taking My Chances” sets the tone for this electrifying collaboration between two hugely admired rock music trail-blazers.
ASSEMBLY showcases carefully curated singles, fan favorites, and archival rarities from the JOE STRUMMER solo catalog. This 16-track compilation features three previously unreleased versions of classic Clash tracks, including the never-before-heard “Junco Partner (Acoustic)” and electrifying live performances of “Rudie Can’t Fail” and “I Fought The Law,” the latter two of which were recorded by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros at London’s Brixton Academy on November 24, 2001.
George Harrison’s passion for introducing the world to new music expressed itself in May of 1974 when he created his own new label – DARK HORSE RECORDS. The label contained a variety of talented artists on its roster, including George himself. ASSEMBLY marks the first new JOE STRUMMER title released via the newly relaunched Dark Horse Records.
All tracks remastered by Grammy Award Winner Paul Hicks (The Beatles/George Harrison/ The Rolling Stones/John Lennon)
Package includes new written foreword by Jakob Dylan
Green to Gold is the much-anticipated new album from New York based, Indie/Folk band, The Antlers. Perhaps what distinguishes Green to Gold from the rest of The Antlers’ canon is its, well, sunniness. Conceived and written almost entirely in the morning hours, Green to Gold is the band’s first new music in nearly seven years, and easily their most luminous to date. ”I think this is the first album I’ve made that has no eeriness in it,” singer and primary songwriter Peter Silberman asserts. “I set out to make Sunday morning music.”
The brighter outlook emerged, paradoxically, after a succession of ominous events. In 2015, Silberman suffered with an auditory condition that made touring near impossible and he retreated to the quiet of Upstate New York to heal. His return in 2017 with a solo album was short lived when he was diagnosed with lesions on his vocal chords, which required surgery and again a quiet rest and recovery period. Silberman explains. “I took these health obstacles as a sign that I should change course for a little while. I hadn’t made a full stop like that since The Antlers began.”
But he still felt the strong pull to spend time and work with longtime drummer Michael Lerner, and frequently invited him up to visit the idyllic hamlet he now called home. The two friends’ days typically involved long walks in the woods, but routinely ended up in Silberman’s converted-garage studio. “I would record him playing drums in the studio while he listened to old soul and R&B songs in headphones... and those drum recordings ultimately served as starting points for the songs that followed. At the time, we were merely attempting to make music together again, without really knowing how to approach it, or to what end.”
“I think the shift in tone is the result of getting older. It doesn’t make sense for me to try to tap into the same energy that I did ten or fifteen years ago, because I continue to grow as a person, as I’m sure our audience does too. Green to Gold is about this idea of gradual change,” he sums up. “People changing over time, struggling to accept change in those they love, and struggling to change themselves. And yet despite all our difficulty with this, nature somehow makes it look easy.”
Musician and producer, Noga Erez finds her feet on KIDS, her bold second album for City Slang made with her creative and life partner Ori Rousso. Building from the raw politics of her 2017 debut, Off The Radar, KIDS moves closer to home while retaining her signature smarts and swagger. Its earworms and crisp productions are locked around lyrics that deal with the personal and the political; mortality and loss; war and peace, insecurity and ambition. As with Off The Radar, Erez never pulls her punches, whether that's with politics or production. After a series of singles, KIDS comes packed with chart-worthy outspoken pop anthems for the 21st century. KIDS replaces the shadow and fury of Off The Radar with neon brights, bold lines, in determinedly audacious and confident productions that swap ferocity for bounce, gloomy moods for fierce swagger. Erez has truly found her style, growing into a crisp bombastic sound she crafts with Rousso, that contains tension and release, anxiety and remedy, and masterly melodic licks in swipes of stomping brass, all wrapped around Erez's versatile vocals that quick-switch from clipped flow to smoky purr; from stadium chorus to street-ready beats.
"Skegss have cemented themselves as one of the most intoxicating acts to come out of Australia in years." - Rolling Stone. Skegss are an Australian 3-piece power trio originally from Byron Bay. They combine surf, garage, and slacker elements to create their dynamic sound. The band - comprised of Benny Reed (guitar and vocals), Toby Cregan (bass and vocals) and Jonny Lani (drums). CD Softpak.
Just two months after the release of his seminal album After The Gold Rush, Neil Young played a solo show at The Shakespeare Theater, Stratford, CT on January 22 1971. The show was filmed and recorded, and the concert shown on German TV later in 1971.
In 2020, while Neil and his team were reviewing his Archive for future projects, Neil re-visited the 16mm film and audio recording of this show that had been preserved in the Archive for almost 50 years. Piecing together the tapes and footage, Neil realized that he had the full concert – the film of which is the earliest live footage of Neil performing that is known to exist.
Neil has written on NYA that this show is “superior to our beloved “Massey Hall”. A more calm performance, without the celebratory atmosphere of Massey Hall, captured live on 16mm. “Young Shakespeare” is a very special event. To my fans, I say this is the best ever.”
As an insight into Neil’s prolific song writing at the time, the concert features two songs from the recently released After The Gold Rush but four songs from the classic Harvest album that was still over a year away from being released. The wonderful set list also includes acoustic renditions of favorites such as “Ohio”, “Cowgirl In the Sand”, “Helpless”, “Down By The River” and “Sugar Mountain”.
The ancient analog tapes have been lovingly restored – resulting in (as Neil says on NYA) “one of the most pure sounding acoustic performances we have in the Archive”.
This beautiful concert is being released on LP and CD, plus a deluxe boxed edition that includes both LP and CD and, for the first time ever, a DVD of the concert.
Young Shakespeare is being released almost exactly 50 years after the original performance.
With a history 50+ years in the making, Tower of Power has been a funk institution since 1968, knocking out hits like “What is Hip,” “So Very Hard to Go,” “This Time It’s Real” and “You’re Still a Young Man" while lending their soulful sound to collaborations with Santana, the Grateful Dead, Elton, Huey Lewis, Justin Timberlake and everyone in-between. "50 Years of Funk & Soul - Live at the Fox Theater" captures their storied career with no-holds-barred victory lap concerts in Oakland, CA, performing their full spectrum of life-affirming funk and soul hits to sold out audiences in 2018. Available as a 3-LP set, 2-CD/1-DVD package, standalone DVD and digital audio configuration, these historic performances include alumni special guests Chester Thompson, Lenny Pickett, Francis ‘Rocco’ Prestia, Bruce Conte and Ray Greene.
For two decades, Sara Watkins has been one of the most visible artists in roots music, with her catalog ranging from solo albums and Watkins Family Hour, a duo with her brother Sean Watkins, to her Grammy-winning bands Nickel Creek and I’m With Her.
With the nostalgic and gentle new album Under the Pepper Tree, Sara Watkins offers a comforting record for those moments as daily rhythms fade into nightly rituals – and when a child’s imagination comes to life.
Made with families in mind, the personal project encompasses songs she embraced as a child herself, as well as the musical friendships she’s made along the way. Recorded in Los Angeles with producer Tyler Chester, Under the Pepper Tree brings storytelling, solace, and encouragement to the listener, no matter the age.
Mute is delighted to announce a new album from Visionist, his first for the label, which will be released in March 2021. A Call To Arms will be Visionist’s third album release and where previously the artist used his vocals as samples, for the first time we hear his singing voice in the form of song and lyric. Along with the addition of Visionist’s vocals, the album will host a varied list of collaborators.
2020 was a terrible year for gardening. It was terrible for peppers, it was terrible for tomatoes, it was terrible for the condition of the soul. But Chad VanGaalen somehow raised a garden all the same: carrots and sprouts and broccoli and a revivifying new album, all of them grown at home. He likes to eat directly off the plant, he says—"I get down on my knees and graze. It's nice to feel the vegetables in your face"—and the 13 songs on World's Most Stressed Out Gardener were harvested with just such a spirit: in their raw state, young and vegetal, at the very moment, they were made. What that means is that the Calgary songwriter's new album is a psychedelic bumper crop. A collection of tunes that does away with obsessiveness, the anxiety of perfectionism, in favor of freshness and immediacy — capturing the world as it was met while recording alone at home over a period of years. "Don't overthink it," VanGaalen told himself again and again, despite the push/pull love/hate of his relationship with songwriting. "I'm always trying to get outside of the song—but then I realize I love the song." This is a record that gleams with VanGaalen's musical signatures: found sound, reverb, polychromatic folk music that is by turns cartoonish and hyperphysical—like ultra magnified footage of a virus or a leaf. Apparently, the LP began life as a "pretty minimal" flute record. (There's only a vestige now, on "Flute Peace"—one of three instrumentals.) Later it became an electronic record "for a while" and finally, "right at the last second," it "turned into a pile of garbage." The good kind of garbage: glinting, useful, free. Music as compost—leaves, and branches ready to be re-ingested by the earth, turned into a flower. Throughout these 40 minutes, VanGaalen floats from mania to solace to oblivion, searching for zen in all the wrong places. "Turn up the radio / I think we’re dead," he sings on "Nothing Is Strange"; or, on the inside-out rocker "Nightmare Scenario": "You’re stressed out when you should be feeling very well." The singer's mental landscape is rotting and redemptive, beautiful in spite of itself—and his soundscapes reflect this fertile decay. He has been influenced by his instrumental work on TV scores (Dream Corp's third season began this fall), but still "nothing can really replace the human voice,” he admits. Like Arthur Russell or Syd Barrett, it’s VanGaalen’s vocals that shine a path through the swampland—from the cello-lashed “Water Brother” to “Starlight”’s krautrock pipe-dream. These days, VanGaalen cherishes the privacy of the studio, the capacity to wander around, get distracted, and "move at the speed of life." Whereas once he would obsess over mic techniques, now he puts the microphone in the same place every time—trying to capture a song quickly, the idea at its heart. He'll act on his infatuations—for the flute, a squeaky clarinet, his basement's copper plumbing (remade into xylophones for "Samurai Sword")—and then he'll try to get out, "veering away from responsibility," before he overdoes his stay. In the end, it's like gardening. You have to live with your horrible decision-making; the weather's going to fuck you if it wants to; and if you plant a hundred heads of broccoli, "now you gotta eat a hundred heads of broccoli—or watch them go to seed." But mostly VanGaalen just tries to be a deer: "I remember seeing some deer come out in the Okanagan Valley once," he says, "watching them wait for a sunbeam to hit a perfect bunch of grapes—and then eating them right out of the sunbeam. I'd recommend that."