May 2021

Voyager (CD)

Nick Rattigan returns as Current Joys with Voyager, an intriguing new album of melancholy but stirring indie rock. "American Honey" highlights his world-weary voice alongside lilting strings and softly toe-tapping guitar, while "Money Making Machine" is an exciting ride with driving guitar, summoning the best parts of artists like Wolf Parade and Wymond Miles. "Amateur" offers a cyclical keyboard melody and warm strings, then adds a danceable drum beat before building enjoyably in intensity. There's a pleasant variety to these well-written gems from the talented singer/songwriter.

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Daddy's Home (CD)

Daddy's Home is St. Vincent's sixth studio album featuring Annie Clark's evolving art/rock sound. Continuing her collaboration with Jack Antonoff who produced 2017's Masseduction, the new album incorporates elements of '70s soul and funk into her eclectic sound. "The Melting of The Sun" is an example of this on the subtle end, with its sweetly psychedelic outro. "Pay Your Way In Pain," on the other hand, is tongue-in-cheek electro-funk, impeccably arranged as ever.

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The Ides Of March (CD)

The Ides of March, the second solo album from Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge, Slash and The Conspirators), is a set of melodic rock tracks with a taste of the blues and classic rock, featuring his powerful voice. The dynamic title track offers hushed, jangly verses and a Muse-like anthemic chorus, as well as Santana-style guitar on the bridge. "In Stride" is particularly strong -- a catchy, bluesy rocker with an upbeat chorus, while "Get Along" is more straightforward pop-rock with a bit of '90s alternative flair.

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Pop/rock band Levara make their debut with a polished self-titled album. '80s pop influences are strong in tracks like the melodramatic "Ever Enough" with guitarist Trev Lukather (son of Toto's Steve Lukather) showing off his chops on the bridge. The title track is unabashedly hooky with more impressive guitar soloing, while "Chameleon" starts out as a smooth rock ballad and builds into a feelgood epic outro. Read more
The Poet (CD)

Bobby Womack's 1981 release The Poet revitalized the soul legend's career, combining a slick contemporary sound with his bluesy vocal style. This year it receives a 40th anniversary reissue, remastered with new liner notes. Like much of the album, the hit single "If You Think You're Lonely Now" has a timeless R&B feel, with groovy bass, gentle electric guitar and a soaring back-up chorus. "Where Do We Go From Here" is another familiar classic while "So Many Sides of You" with its strong bassline and jazzy piano chords is a fun, catchy track.

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The Poet II (CD)

Part two of Bobby Womack's The Poet has just been remastered and reissued to accompany that album's 40th anniversary edition. With its release in 1981, The Poet had already shot Womack back onto the charts, but for The Poet II in 1984, he kicked things up a notch and brought in Patti LaBelle. The legendary LaBelle's guest vocals light up the first three tracks, especially "Love Has Finally Come At Last." Part two also features the funky dance hit, "Tell Me Why."

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One Night In Miami... [OST] (CD)

One Night In Miami features an imaginary meeting between Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown in 1964, during which X inspires Cooke to write his poignant hit about civil rights, "A Change Is Gonna Come." Leslie Odom Jr.'s impressive performance as Cooke in the film is captured here on the soundtrack with that tune as well as "You Send Me," "Chain Gang," and others. Terence Blanchard's soulful compositions make up the rest of the album, apart from the lively "Howl For Me Daddy" by Keb' Mo' and New Orleans artist Tarriona "Tank" Ball, and Billy Preston's 1962 classic "Greazee."

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The Devil All The Time [OST] (CD)

The Netflix thriller, The Devil All The Time, owes a lot of its Southern gothic atmosphere to its soundtrack of folk, country and dreamy '50s pop. Two tracks by Pokey LaFarge, including "Washed In The Blood" which he performs in the film, and compositions by Saunder Jurriaans & Danny Bensi are complemented by well-curated classics from artists like Jimmie Rodgers, Wynn Stewart, Sonny James, and Bill Phillips with Dolly Parton ("Put It Off Until Tomorrow"). The many highlights include Ferlin Husky's "Wings of a Dove" and The Delmore Brothers' "Hillbilly Boogie."

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Forever Isn't Long Enough (CD)

18-year-old indie pop artist Alfie Templeman presents his new mini-album (or his fifth EP), Forever Isn't Long Enough, with the artful, catchy single "Everybody's Gonna Love Somebody." The title track is a slick, funky dance hit, reflecting his R&B influences in addition to the hints of '80s pop/New Wave on the record. "Shady" is another example of this, combining booming bass with synths and funky electric guitar, while the groovy "Wait, I Lied" shows off his flexible vocal stylings.

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You And Me (CD)

It might be hard to believe, but Heart's Nancy Wilson has only just released her first solo album, entitled You and Me. Working with longtime Heart collaborator, Sue Ennis, but leaving behind the powerful rock vibes of the band, the title track of You and Me is a sweet, simple ballad for Wilson's mother. There's also a gentle, Americana-pop take on Bruce Springsteen's song, "The Rising." Naturally, she excels on that restrained guitar solo in the bridge, reminding us of her legacy. And on that note, she includes the instrumental "4 Edward," a soulful, riff-y tribute to the late Eddie Van Halen.

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