Soul master Charles Bradley’s third album for Daptone is a knockout. Beginning with a genuine interlude of “God Bless America,” the album positions Bradley as someone who has gone though career and personal difficulty and come out on top, sounding upbeat and grateful to be alive and working. On “Good to Be Back Home,” Bradley flips things to explore the dual nature of home and what that means, singing of being back in the land where he was born, “sometimes it hurt so bad, sometimes, so good,” before unleashing a howl that better expresses the notion than any words could. That passion runs through the heartfelt and extremely affecting love songs like “Nobody But You.” Throughout, the Menahan Street Band’s expertly played and recorded horns and jazz grooves deliver the ideal backdrop, while there’s some experimentation beyond classic soul on tracks like “Ain’t Gonna Give It Up,” its moog and bass-drum-heavy groove reminiscent of krautrockers like Can. And if you don’t get goosebumps during Bradley’s cover of Black Sabbath ballad “Changes,” check your pulse. A playful flexibility within the carefully cultivated classic soul sound Bradley and many Daptone artists work within proves to be incredibly fruitful here. It’s Bradley’s best release yet from his second wind, as Bradley remains an expert at getting to the heart of soul music.
Hey! It’s almost spring. That means a ton of great albums are on the way. Check out this list of 20 that we’re looking forward to.
The alt-rock trio’s third album was recorded in the band’s native Wales. Check out the fun video for “The Last Thing on my Mind” below, which flips the tables on the female objectification. (It’s kinda NSFW.)
The former lead singer of Husker Du and Sugar’s latest album is a “triumph of opposing forces and properties” from “the master of balancing personal darkness with melodic brightness,” according to a press release. Watch the video for the introspective “Voices in My Head” below.
Photo by Nicole Anne Robbins
Bleached features sisters Jessie and Jennifer Clavin at the helm, formerly of punk greats Mika Miko. Their first album, Ride Your Heart, was a blast of fizzy guitar riffs and sugary, snarling melodies. This time around, they've teamed with engineer Joe Chiccarelli (Morrissey, The Strokes, Elton John) and co-producer Carlos de la Garza (Paramore, YACHT) and added bassist Micayla Grace to the fold.
White Fence – “Like That”
It can be a drag when artists who’ve previously recorded in lo-fi trade for something cleaner. But while the first song from Tim Presley’s fifth album as White Fence, For the Recently Found Innocent, was recorded in a studio and not the bedroom and features live drums, “Like That” isn’t some self-important statement or anything. It just better reveals the tunefulness that has always been prevalent in White Fence’s sprawling releases in a British Invasion-style subtle rocker. Ty Segall’s behind the boards this time—the last time these two got together to record, we got the collaborative album Hair, so we’re expecting great things this time around, too. For the Recently Found Innocent is due July 22 on Drag City.
Wand - "Flying Golem"
Speaking of Ty Segall, the band he's touring with is pretty sick. They're L.A.-based Wand, and "Flying Golem" sounds like it's named after a Castlevania monster and rocks with a big, confident three-chord stomp. Ganglion Reef is due Aug. 26 on Segall's label, God?
Cheatahs – “Get Tight” video
Cheatahs are the latest announcement for the upcoming Red Bull Sound Select show we’ve curated at Amoeba, which takes place Feb. 27 at The Echoplex (RSVP here for $3 tickets) and also features FIDLAR, Cherry Glazerr and Isaac Rother & The Phantoms—click on those links for interviews with each band. We’re excited to have Cheatahs on board—“Get Tight” is a shoegazey little slice from their self-titled debut, out now, with a trippy ass video to boot.
Thee Oh Sees Are Back Together! Stream “Penetrating Eye”
Well that didn’t last too long, thankfully. With frontman John Dwyer moving to Los Angeles from S.F., Thee Oh Sees were going to hang their hats after releasing many excellent albums over their run. Now they’ve announced a new LP, Drop, releasing April 19 (Record Store Day!) on Castle Face. After all, why call it quits when the band continues to put out such skin-melting goodness?