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Let The Bad Times Roll (CD)

So-Cal punks The Offspring have returned with their first new album since 2008! The band describes Let The Bad Times Roll, their blistering and triumphant 10th album, as "the most cathartic thing we've done. The messages might be dark, but at the end what's left is that communication is important, working through feelings is important and most of all, hope is important."

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50 Years Of Funk & Soul: Live At The Fox Theater, Oakland, CA, June 2018 (CD)

50 Years of Funk & Soul: Live at the Fox Theater captures legendary soul-funk-R&B outfit Tower of Power with no-holds-barred victory lap concerts in Oakland, CA over two nights in June 2018. These historic, career-spanning performances include special guests Chester Thompson, Lenny Pickett, Francis ‘Rocco’ Prestia, Bruce Conte, and Ray Greene.

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Roped In (LP)

Roped In is an atmospheric, intimate, and often spare album anchored by Patrick McDermott’s intricate guitar and the haunting pedal steel work of Barry Walker. Harpist Mary Lattimore and guitarist William Tyler also make delicate appearances throughout. Across the album’s nine tracks, McDermott and Walker use simplicity and the directness of communicating emotions through music as both a jumping off point and a parameter. It’s about the clarity that can come from quiet moments, and how those moments are worth sticking with for as long as we possibly can.

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G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END (CD)

The inimitable GYBE returns with another soundtrack for our times. As the heretical anarcho-punk spirit of the title implies, Godspeed harnesses some particularly raw power, spittle and grit across two riveting 20-minute side-length trajectories of noise-drenched widescreen post-rock: inexorable chug blossoms into blown-out twang, as some of the band’s most soaring, searing melodies ricochet and converge amidst violin and bassline counterpoint. Field recordings and roiling semi-improvised passages frame these fervent epics, and two shorter self-contained 6-minute pieces find the band at its most devastatingly beautiful, haunting and elegiac. Poignant atmospherics, noise-drenched orchestration, drone, hypnotic swingtime crescendos, inexorably-layered towers of distorted clarion sound: STATE’S END encapsulates every beloved facet of the band. Twenty-five years on, this new album is as vital, stirring, timely and implacable as any in Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s storied discography. Recorded and mixed by Jace Lasek, the veteran award-winning indie producer (and co-founder of The Besnard Lakes) who works with Godspeed for the first time on this recording.

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1975 (CD)

1975 is songwriter/scholar Julian Saporiti's new album for his multi-media No-No Boy project. Saporiti tackles the complex issues of immigration and the Asian American experience with impeccably arranged folk/rock songs that include clips from field recordings. "Imperial Twist" leans toward garage rock with lyrics about rock n' roll and the Vietnam war, while "The Best God Damn Band in Wyoming" is a freewheeling folk tune about "a bunch of 'Japs' playing jazz." The elegant "Close Your Eyes and Dream of Flowers," with its delicate percussion and warm cello, talks about people stuck waiting at the Mexican/U.S. border. This is a strong set for fans of both indie rock and American history.

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Clouds (The Mixtape) (CD)

Rapper NF follows up October 2020's emotional single "CHASING_(DEMO)" with CLOUDS (THE MIXTAPE), featuring guest turns from Hopsin and Tech N9ne. The slow-building title track's lyrics reflect a highly relatable frustration with the pandemic: "Hanging onto songs this long is daunting...You doing all right? / Your year really sucked / Yeah that's what I figured." Wryly introspective, rapid-fire lyrics - deliberately void of expletives - are accompanied here by restrained beats and dramatic pulses of synths or strings. CLOUDS is a strong set of tightly constructed, accessible rap with a pop flair.

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Life In Your Glass World (CD)

Citizen's new album, Life In Your Glass World, is energetic indie rock interspered with elements of both pop/rock and their early emo/post-hardcore style. Double kick pedal and driving rhythms go hand-in-hand with dance-y guitar lines and soaring vocals. The strong single "I Want to Kill You" is an example of this composite sound on its poppier side - despite a subtle, angsty scream in the chorus - while "Black and Red" shows off the edgier spectrum, with a guitar riff that sounds like The Hives.

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Smith/Kotzen (CD)

Two guitar heroes, Iron Maiden's Adrian Smith and Richie Kotzen (Poison, Mr. Big), have teamed up for a new project. Smith/Kotzen blends classic rock, blues and '90s alternative - especially since Kotzen's vocals sometimes sound like Chris Cornell's - with melodic hooks and guitar solos. The two artists trade off vocals as effectively as they jam together on guitar. "Taking My Chances" and "Scars" are solid grunge-inspired tracks, but "Running" doubles down on the subtle catchiness of the former and adds an anthemic '80s vibe. Elsewhere "Solar Fire," featuring Iron Maiden's Nicko McBrain on drums, digs into '70s rock and "Glory Road" revels in the blues.

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Shore [Crystal Clear Vinyl] (LP)

Fleet Foxes' new album offers gentle indie rock with soaring melodies like "Can I Believe You," as well as quiet folk tunes like "Wading in Waist-High Water." Overall, the arrangements on Shore are intricate and cinematic. "Jara" is rhythmic and engaging with a lovely, jangling energy; "Featherweight" offers a darker melody and steady strumming. Then there is the dynamic, epic track "Cradling Mother, Cradling Woman," which calls to mind Illinois-era Sufjan Stevens.

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Songs From The Bardo (CD)

The initial seed of Songs From The Bardo was planted a decade ago, when Tibetan singer/multi-instrumentalist Tenzin Choegyal and composer/activist Jesse Paris Smith (daughter of Patti) met at a fundraiser to benefit the preservation of Tibetan culture. Along the way performance artist icon Laurie Anderson was added to the fold, and the result is the mesmerizing Bardo, an 80 minute presentation of text from The Tibetan Book Of The Dead. The work is meant to "draw the listener into the present moment and provide a framework for inner exploration," and works beautifully on multiple levels, transformative both musically and mentally while incorporating a rich verbal and instrumental heritage into a contemporary and accessible setting.

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