The band Real Estate gets tossed into the indie-rock genre, but the band has a reputation for crafting clean, orchestral pop gems that goes far beyond the usual rough-around-the-edges indie rock sound.
On its latest release, In Mind, the band furthers its clean, polished sound, while pulling in elements of psych, classic rock, dream pop and more. As Consequence of Sound reports:
“In Mind is a thorough portrait of Real Estate’s comforting scripture. The touching points are pretty much the same as before — the psych-tinged ‘60s rock of The Beatles and The Byrds through to the Pink Floydian prog touches and the misty guitar lines of ‘80s groups like Galaxie 500 and Echo & the Bunnymen — but the six-piece bring their own hazy lucidity. There’s the odd bit of reverb, but the band don’t douse their arrangements in it. Instead, it’s the clear symphonies, lustrous melodies, and singer Martin Courtney’s sweet vocals that take you into a kind of hallucination. In Mind invites you deep into the narrator’s subconscious. Grasping with these songs is like trying to reconstruct a dream you had the night before.”
02. Serve The Song
03. Stained Glass
04. After the Moon
05. Two Arrows
06. White Light
07. Holding Pattern
09. Diamond Eyes
10. Same Sun
Fiddle master, vocalist and bandleader extraordinaire Alison Krauss has been holding bluegrass court for decades. In that time, fans have seen her go from traditional bluegrass artist to being one of the artists pushing the genre into the mainstream.
For the last couple of decades, Krauss has recorded with her all-star band, Union Station. On her latest release, Windy City, however, Krauss returns to her roots as a solo artist.
The album sees her covering classic country numbers, including “All Alone Am I,” the hit by Brenda Lee, John Hartford’s “Gentle On My Mind,” and Willie Nelson’s “I Never Cared for You.”
NPR describes the album, which features Union Station musicians Ron Block and bassist Barry Bales, along with Hank Williams, Jr., Jamey Johnson, Sidney and Suzanne Cox and Dan Tyminski, as “pros romping through their repertoire, with Krauss making each song charmingly personal.”
It’s Goodbye and so Long to You
I Never Cared for You
River in the Rain
Dream of Me
Gentle on My Mind
All Alone Am I
You Don’t Know Me
Windy City (Live)
River in the Rain (Live)
Losing You (Live)
I Never Cared for You (Live)
The Tedeschi Trucks Band is one of the best live bands around. With Susan Tedeschi taking frontwoman duties, guitar wizard Derek Trucks holding down lead duties, and a massive, all-star band that takes the power-couple from great to freaking amazing, the band is a must-see for anyone who loves that sweet spot where rock, blues and jam collide.
The outfit’s latest release is a live album and film titled Live From the Fox Oakland. Recorded and filmed on September 9th, 2016, the album and film provide what the band’s website describes as an “in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the touring juggernaut.”
1. Don’t Know What It Means
2. Keep On Growing
3. Bird On The Wire
4. Within You, Without You
5. Just As Strange
6. Crying Over You
7. Color Of The Blues **Film only
8. These Walls (featuring Alam Khan)
10. Right On Time **CD only
11. Leavin’ Trunk
12. Don’t Drift Away
13. I Want More (Soul Sacrifice outro)
14. I Pity The Fool
15. Ali ** CD only
16. Let Me Get By
17. You Ain’t Going Nowhere **film only
In 2013, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Valerie June released her major label debut album, Pushin’ Against a Stone. June immediately caught the attention of roots fans for her fresh take on blues, folk, soul, gospel, country and bluegrass.
Hailing from Memphis, Tennessee, June is one of the most extraordinary artists around, reworking traditional music into something entirely unique.
Her new release, The Order of Time, sees June furthering her exploration of disparate sounds. As PopMatters reports:
The Order of Time continues June’s fusion of a diverse set of influences into a modern eclectic style. The title defines the album’s driving force as time and the joys, heartbreaks, and pain one naturally encounters in life. Lyrics explore those elements, and June’s unique vocals stands as strong as on her debut, but the rhythmic background and integration of a strong series of organ performances creates a sonic quality for time that personifies the album’s theme.
01. Long Lonely Road
02. Love You Once Made
04. If And
05. Man Done Wrong
06. The Front Door
07. Astral Plane
08. Just In Time
09. With You
10. Slip Slide On By
11. Two Hearts
12. Got Soul
The Shins are back with Heartworms, the first album since 2012’s Port of Morrow.
Once a band, the Shins is now a one-man project, the brainchild of frontman and songwriter James Mercer.
For Heartworms, Mercer played the role of writer, musician and producer. The album brings Mercer’s loner tendencies to the surface. As Pitchfork reports:
Heartworms…is the first album where he fully embraces the reality that he is the Shins. Self-produced and recorded with a smaller cast than its predecessor, it’s the most hermetic LP he’s released since 2001’s Oh, Inverted World, the last album he recorded himself. At times it overtly calls back to that debut. With its psychedelic patter, “Dead Alive” is an almost direct sequel to “One by One All Day,” drawing out that song’s reverb-soaked outro into its own romp, like some kind of self-written fan fiction.
01. Name for You
02. Painting a Hole
03. Cherry Hearts
04. Fantasy Island
06. Rubber Ballz
07. Half a Million
08. Dead Alive
10. So Now What
11. The Fear
Ryan Adams is a darling of the Americana music world. As frontman for pioneering alt-country band Whiskeytown, Ryan helped bring the genre into the mainstream and established himself as one of the standout artists of his time.
As a prolific solo artist, Adams continued to break barriers and explore his own life and experiences through his music. He has a long history of sharing his heartbreak, love, struggles, sobriety, emotional overwhelm and everyday joys with an authenticity that matches his I-am-who-I am personality.
His latest offering, Prisoner, sees Adams exploring his divorce from actress/singer Mandy Moore. As NPR reports:
“Prisoner in many ways feels like a retreat: to self-reflection, to primal emotions, and to a tense, rootsy rock sound that recalls the mid- to late-’80s work of Bruce Springsteen…More than anything, though, Prisoner has a welcome urgency to it: With their raw, vivid imagery of agony and isolation, these songs could only come from this time in his life. He’s not much for faking it — which, come to think of it, is itself a good way to carve out a nice, long career.”
Several years ago, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears played an in-store concert at Streetlight Santa Cruz. The band blew the audience away with its driving blend of soul, garage, rock, psych and punk.
Lewis and company just dropped the band’s fifth album, Backlash, the first since 2013’s Electric Slave.
The album sees the band doing what it does best: creating driving grooves full of gritty guitar, spot-on drums, catchy horns and Lewis’ skillful and catchy vocals.
As American Songwriter puts it:
“There’s occasional funk, as in the hip-swiveling “Global,” and even a six-minute psychedelic/jazzy ballad (“Maroon”) that closes the disc. But this is predominantly a rowdy, raucous, garage-punk album with nods to the wonderfully unhinged likes of Swamp Dogg, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Andre Williams, who also mixed the wilder aspects of rock with a crazed soulful attack.
“If the frantic Black Keys-styled riffing “Shadow People” was slowed down, you’d even have a decent heavy metal track. It’s hard to make out what’s going on lyrically since Lewis’ wild-eyed vocals lash out like a rabid dog (and there are no printed words), but it really doesn’t matter. The appropriately titled Backlash is all about gritty attitude, pulsating groove and the kind of freewheeling, irreverent swagger that defines music’s most iconic figures.”