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Jassbusters (CD)

Connan Mockasin

New Zealand outsider pop weirdo Connan Mockasin returns after a five-year hiatus with the sunny, ultra mellow Jassbusters . Imagine a left field take on smooth, swooning ‘80s style jams, like Ariel Pink and MGMT teaming up to sing the songbook of ABC. Sounds a little goofy, sure, but it’s mostly lovely, dreaming, and pretty entrancing. This luxuriant work might slightly freak out the squares but it definitely should garner Connan a bigger audience.

Golden Hour (CD)

Kacey Musgraves

For Kacey Musgraves' new record, Golden Hour , she subverts her charmingly rebellious and cynical persona by revealing softer vulnerability and experimenting with arrangements that include vocoders and even disco beats. Emotional ballads like the title track and “Space Cowboy” are more frequent here than clever retorts like “High Horse,” alternating between blissful and melancholy, distrust of true love, and worried introspection. The songwriting and her disarming vocals hold strong throughout.

Drogas Wave (CD)

Lupe Fiasco

Lupe Fiasco’s seventh LP, DROGAS Wave , comes out swinging. It’s lengthy, clocking in at twenty-four tracks — fortunately there’s no filler on here. Lupe imagine a narrative, an alternate reality in which the slaves who died on the brutal passages overseas are reborn as underwater creatures called LongChains who guide the ocean waves, helping others to freedom. Similarly, on “Jonylah Forever” Lupe reimagines the too brief life of Jonylah Watkins, the infant killed by gunfire in Chicago, and what she would’ve done, how she would’ve made a difference in her community if she lived. Tribute is also paid to drowned three-year-old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi on “Alan Forever.” While it may sound dark, there’s a buoyancy to Lupe’s lyrics and a wondrous dreaminess to the melodies. The experience of listening to the full album, one track after another, is a thing of heartbreaking, hope-filled beauty.

Una Noche Con Rubén Blades (CD)

Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra

Salsa legend Ruben Blades joined Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in 2014 for a critically acclaimed series that crossed genres and blended swing standards with Blades' own Afro-Cuban numbers. Now the experience is available on CD, with highlights including the singer's “Pedro Navaja” and “El Cantante” as well as Cole Porter's “Begin the Beguine,” all arranged by the orchestra's bassist Carlos Henriques. On the single, “Ban Ban Quere,” the exciting combination of rhythms from these virtuoso players dances around Blades' flexible voice with an infectious live energy.

Vital Idol: Revitalized (CD)

Billy Idol

Over 30 years after the remix album Vital Idol was released, comes this compilation of brand-new remixes of Billy's classic hits and some lesser known gems features Moby, Crystal Method, Paul Oakenfold, RAC, Cray, and more.

Bottle It In (CD)

Kurt Vile

Kurt Vile’s been doing his distinctive fuzzed out lo-fi college rock thing for a decade now. So how does Bottle It In still sound so fresh? There’s a familiarity and a warmth to lead singles “Bassackwards” and “Loading Zones,” yet they’re both so addictive that it’s hard to get enough of these charming, sprawling numbers. Kim Gordon, Cass McCombs, and Mary Lattimore all make excellent contributions to this immediately likable LP. A thoroughly enjoyable homecoming for one of indie rock’s most loved artists.

Una Noche Con Rubén Blades (CD)

Rubén Blades

Salsa legend Ruben Blades joined Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in 2014 for a critically acclaimed series that crossed genres and blended swing standards with Blades' own Afro-Cuban numbers. Now the experience is available on CD, with highlights including the singer's “Pedro Navaja” and “El Cantante” as well as Cole Porter's “Begin the Beguine,” all arranged by the orchestra's bassist Carlos Henriques. On the single, “Ban Ban Quere,” the exciting combination of rhythms from these virtuoso players dances around Blades' flexible voice with an infectious live energy.

Rockstone (CD)

Jr Thomas & The Volcanos

With their sophomore LP Rockstone , Jr. Thomas & The Volcanos have created a throwback gem that sounds like it comes from the vaults, with the relevance and contemporary spirit of the modern era. Part of this timelessness is likely due to Tom McDowall's (aka Jr. Thomas) inspirations for the album. He has stated that Rockstone is more than a simple love letter to Jamaican roots music, it’s a love letter to family and friends, his wife, and his bandmates. That amount of tender care and devotion is evident in the album: the melodies never take a misstep, the lyrics are soulful and heartfelt, and the entire thing glistens like a jewel. It’s an album filled with gratitude and grace — not to mention some killer roots rock numbers.

Songs Of The Plains (CD)

Colter Wall

Old school Canadian cowboy singer Colter Wall’s Songs of the Plains sounds like a long-lost find from the earliest era of country music. The album is a blend of original tunes penned by Wall plus covers and traditional songs. Wall’s work fits nicely into the evocative, now distant world of backroads honky-tonks and depression era deals with the devil but what makes his oeuvre unique is his focus on the experience of life on the wide open plains of Canada, perhaps most evident in his earnest “Plain to See Plainsman.” Fans of classic country will find this sparse, homespun LP irresistible.

Imagine: The Ultimate Mixes (CD)

John Lennon

A truly unique expanded edition of one of the most iconic albums of all time. Imagine: The Ultimate Mixes takes us on incredibly personal journey through the entire songwriting and recording process, providing a remarkable testament of the lives of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in their own words.

Look Now (CD)

Elvis Costello and the Imposters

At this point, Elvis Costello has truly done it all. Out of nearly any living musician, it would be understandable for him to rest on his laurels at this point, yet the dude never stops giving us more and more. With his album count already well into the thirties, Look Now finds new ways to tweak the sound that has unquestionably become his own, which is, at its heart, a blend of Bacharach-inspired pop classicism and good old fashioned rock ‘n roll. Taking the ornate and lavish orchestration of Imperial Bedroom as a starting point, Costello modifies this formula to feature a heavy '70s soul influence, from the subtle Shaft guitars that pop on “Unwanted Number” to the Philly sound strings that grace “Suspect My Tears.” There are backing vocals all over the place, easily the most on a Costello record since the R&B-loving Punch The Clock , and they provide an authentic texture to complement Costello’s nostalgia and are a perfect counterpoint to his nasally baritone. Look Now is the sound of a genius; endlessly, restlessly tinkering with the music he loves.

Una Noche Con Rubén Blades (CD)

Wynton Marsalis

Salsa legend Ruben Blades joined Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in 2014 for a critically acclaimed series that crossed genres and blended swing standards with Blades' own Afro-Cuban numbers. Now the experience is available on CD, with highlights including the singer's “Pedro Navaja” and “El Cantante” as well as Cole Porter's “Begin the Beguine,” all arranged by the orchestra's bassist Carlos Henriques. On the single, “Ban Ban Quere,” the exciting combination of rhythms from these virtuoso players dances around Blades' flexible voice with an infectious live energy.

Amoeba Exclusive


Pre-order Sharon Van Etten's new album, Remind Me Tomorrow, on Amoeba Exclusive Translucent Violet Vinyl! Out 01/18/2019. Limited Edition of 500.

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