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“Several times, as I listened to M. Ward’s Supernatural Thing, I asked myself what year it was. Was it 1952, and was I listening to a track from the Harry Smith Anthology? Was it 1972, and was I eavesdropping on the recording session for After the Gold Rush? No, it’s 2023, and M. Ward is one of the special contemporary artists who invite such questions. Ward has clearly mastered the whole vocabulary of American popular music and made serious decisions about how to employ it for his own ends. What Ward shares with Harry Smith’s artists and Neil Young is a context of musical and human values: authenticity and intimacy. Supernatural Thing’s original songs sound freshly pulled from the ground, with a little earth sticking to them. Ward’s lyric delivery has that slight rawness the ear loves, and his voice has quiet dignity and great tenderness. Supernatural Thing is an open-hearted, inviting album.
The album’s guest stars — First Aid Kit, Shovels & Rope, Scott McMicken, Neko Case, Jim James, others — enliven the album with surprises. On “Too Young to Die,” the women’s voices in First Aid Kit spread a light frosting over the melody, and their Beach Boys-like chorus on “Engine 5” makes the song sound like an instant hit. Eight of the album’s ten songs are Ward originals. There’s an unusual Bowie choice, “I Can’t Give Everything Away” from Blackstar, and a live rendition of Daniel Johnston’s ‘Story of an Artist.’” -By James Cushing
Both as a solo artist and as one-half of She & Him, M. Ward became one of the defining voices of the American indie landscape in the 2000s, earning fans and critical acclaim for his distinctive brand of breezy West Coast Americana which pulled from folk, country, blues, pop, and experimental indie rock elements. Ward established himself with warm, analog-minded releases like 2003’s Transfiguration of Vincent and 2006’s Post-War before joining forces with singer/actress Zooey Deschanel to form the highly successful indie pop duo She & Him in 2008. Over the following decade, Ward split his time between projects, releasing a 2009 album with indie supergroup Monsters of Folk, several high-profile albums with Deschanel including She & Him’s Columbia-issued 2014 set Classics, and critically acclaimed solo releases like 2009’s Hold Time, 2012’s A Wasteland Companion, and 2018’s What a Wonderful Industry. Ward kicked off the next decade with a deeply atmospheric set called Migration Stories and a Billie Holiday covers album Think of Spring most recently.
GRAMMY-winning global superstar Kelly Clarkson is set to release her highly anticipated tenth studio album chemistry, arriving June 23rd, 2023. On her most personal album to date, these songs explore the arc of a relationship. About the album, Kelly says “having chemistry with someone is an incredible, and overwhelming, feeling. It’s like you have no choice in the matter. You are just drawn to each other. This can be good and bad. This album takes you down every path that chemistry could lead you down.”
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Avenged Sevenfold’s new album, Life Is But A Dream is a timeless work of art that blurs genres. Best served as a whole and consumed en masse to truly appreciate its musical breadth and sonic depth, it marks their boldest statement and most revolutionary work to date. Written and recorded over the span of 4 years, it was produced by Joe Barresi and Avenged Sevenfold in Los Angeles and mixed by Andy Wallace in the Poconos, PA. Inspired by Albert Camus’ The Stranger, the album is a journey through an existential crisis; a very personal exploration into the meaning, purpose and value of human existence with the anxiety of death always looming. Immerse into this experience…
The fourth solo album from Angelo De Augustine, Toil and Trouble exists according to its own quixotic logic, inhabiting a psychic landscape as sublimely mystifying as a fever dream or fairy tale. In creating such an all-enveloping body of work, the Southern California-based artist spent nearly three years working alone and exploring the vast expanse of his imagination. “This album came from thinking about the madness of the world right now and how overwhelming that can be,” says De Augustine. “I used a sort of counter-world as a guide to try to gain some understanding of what’s actually going on here—I had to take myself out of reality in order to try to understand reality.” At turns bewitching and devastating and ineffably lovely, the result is the most visionary work yet from a singular songwriter, revealing his profound capacity to alchemize pain into extraordinary beauty.
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Wild Creatures is a career retrospective album containing twenty-three of Neko Case’s most impactful tracks from her discography, and will now be available on CD and 2x LP.
With a career spanning over twenty years, she has famously collaborated with The New Pornographers and Case/Lang/Veirs in addition to releasing many critically acclaimed solo albums, including ‘Fox Confessor Brings The Flood’, ‘Middle Cyclone’ and most recently 2018’s ‘Hell-On’.
Gathering power year after year, Neko sings with the fierce abandon of a newborn infant crying in a basket in the woods. Since escaping the labels of country and Americana, the gorgeous train-whistle vocals of her early career sit submerged in her later style, where their ghost can appear any minute. When her voice jumps an octave, it’s almost visible, like sparks at night. “I never knew where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do with my voice,” she says, “but I just wanted to do it so bad.”
The Vinyl configurations include: 2 LPs with printed inner sleeves, in a Gate- fold jacket.
Gag Order is an album that finds the GRAMMY-nominated pop star, Kesha, excavating the deepest recesses of her soul to date. The record, which Kesha has labeled “post-pop” and was produced by Rick Rubin, is a full-bodied collection that flows like a stream of conscious journey through the psychedelic dark depths of the human psyche followed by basking in the cleansing light when finally reaching the surface.
Charlie Watts “Anthology” is an affectionate retrospective and a reflection of just how frequently Watts was able to exercise his jazz muscles between Rolling Stones commitments to create a bespoke discography of his own. The Anthology includes an extended essay by Paul Sexton which documents Charlie Watt’s jazz career and the essential albums covered in the collection.
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After forty years of marriage, Buddy and Julie Miller have learned to welcome a song however it arrives, questioning only where the song is taking them rather than where it originated. There’s no process, no assembly-line procedure, just an openness to those bursts of inspiration and those hours of refinement, which means their fourth album together, In the Throes, sounds lively and diverse, eccentric and slightly askew: a deeply soulful collision of mournful gospel, dusty country, cosmic blues, lusty rockabilly, ecstatic r&b, and anything else that crosses their minds.