Rock

McCartney III (CD)

On both McCartney (1970) and McCartney II (1980), the legendary Beatle played all the instruments and sang all the vocals himself, a tradition he now continues with 2020's McCartney III. Perfectly suited for lockdown, the new installment revives the spirit of the 1970 record (his solo debut), often referencing a quieter life -- for instance, on the acoustic “Winter Bird/When Winter Comes” -- allowing a sense of loose experimentation to lead the way. "Seize The Day" is a welcome Beatles-esque tune with a strong melody and phrasing. In case there was any doubt, McCartney also shows that he can still rock out on the playful "Lavatory Lil" and the bluesy "Slidin'."

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K.G. (CD)

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard's new album KG serves as a sort of Volume 2 for 2017's Flying Microtonal Banana. Embracing classic psych-rock's Eastern music influences, while adding plenty of modern indie rock and world music flavors, the Aussie band delivers on a grand scale with epic, soundtrack-ready numbers like "Automation." "Straws In The Wind" is an intriguingly groovy and ominous track while "Ontology," with its near-frantic rhythm, is celebratory and danceable. There are even shades of desert blues rhythms like in "Minimum Brain Size," contrasted with hazy, Stones Roses-style vocals. Lots of good stuff here on this furiously eclectic and accomplished set.

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Delta Tour Live EP (LP)

Folk/rock stars Mumford & Sons have gifted their many fans with a new live EP from their last three years of touring in support of 2018's chart-topping album, Delta. The six-track Delta Tour Live EP includes recordings from England, Belgium, Sweden, and the U.S., wrapping up with a lively cover of The Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends" performed in London. Tunes like "Slip Away" are captured here in all their breathless sincerity and vigor, with the crowd audibly singing along. It's the perfect companion release to their hit record.

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Silver Linings (CD)

Ska-punk favorites Less Than Jake have released Silver Linings, their 9th studio album and the first without Vinnie Fiorello - the band's longtime drummer and lyricist. The catchy single "Lie To Me" is a quick blast of nostalgia with those characteristic horns and singer/bassist Roger Lima's nasal voice, now singing lyrics penned by the other band members. Despites lines like, "All these years and my nerves are spent," driving pop-punk tracks like "Dear Me" are proof that the band's energy has never slackened - and is possibly reinvigorated by new drummer Matt Yonker (Teen Idols). The album also includes a tribute to The Descendents' Bill Stevenson.

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Too Slow To Disco NEO: The Sunset Manifesto (CD)

From the folks who brought you the '70s yacht-pop fest of Too Slow To Disco Volumes 1-3, comes Too Slow To Disco NEO: The Sunset Manifesto, capturing that same hazy-with-excess West Coast vibe from more recent artists around the globe. Disco beats are certainly present here amid dreamy electronics, for example on "Heart and Soul" by Turbotito (Ima Robot, Poolside). Elsewhere there are breezy spy themes like "Hotel Sorriso" from the Netherlands' Kraak & Smaak, and tropi-lounge like the lush "Do Beijo" from Brazil's Yuksek.

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Point The Flashlight And Walk (CD)

Felix Walworth's first album as Told Slant since 2016, Point The Flashlight And Walk embraces a sparkling sense of mournfulness with mostly deep vocals and airy, ambient/folk arrangements. "Bullfrog Choirs" is softly uplifting despite the sad refrain "I am always alone," floating off into busy percussion and electronic sounds in its outro. "No Backpack" has a lovely melody and swells like a synth-pop tune. Album opener "Meet You In The City" is another highlight with its lightly plodding rhythm and soothing vocals.

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The White Stripes Greatest Hits (CD)

Here's an unexpected gift from The White Stripes, the quirky duo that shook up the world of alternative rock back in 1997, and introduced us all to the prolific Jack White -- a greatest hits album. The "siblings" behind that scrappy hit "Fell in Love With a Girl" went on to win four Grammys and go platinum with 2001's White Blood Cells. The Greatest Hits double album is an appropriately non-obvious set that goes beyond the standard collection of singles, including lesser known tracks like "The Nurse" from Get Behind Me Satan. But the album does wrap up with the anthemic "Seven Nation Army" and kicks off with their very first single, "Let's Shake Hands," just like at their concerts.

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Arctic Monkeys Live At The Royal Albert Hall (CD)

Back in 2018, Arctic Monkeys performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London and admirably donated the proceeds to War Child, which supports children in conflict areas. Now the audio recording of that concert is available as a double album, also in support of the foundation, featuring a fun setlist that includes tracks from each of their six studio albums. The evolution over the years of this beloved British band's sound is encapsulated here with full rock-star energy, making this a must-have for fans, especially those that haven't made it to a show.

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Tea For The Tillerman [Deluxe Edition] (CD)

It's the 50th anniversary of Yusuf/Cat Stevens' Tea For The Tillerman from 1970, which he reimagined this year with his son. The original classic with its beloved singles like "Wild World" and "Where Do The Children Play?" has been remastered for this anniversary edition and paired with a disc of demos and live tracks from The Troubadour and KCET Studios in L.A. as well as BBC Radio. The second disc also features the previously unreleased track "Can This Be Love?" -- another reminder of Stevens' clear-eyed romantic songwriting.

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The Collection [Box Set] (CD)

For the late Amy Winehouse's considerable fanbase, this new box set includes her two studio albums Frank and Back To Black as well as Lioness, her 2011 rarities album. Also featured for the first time is the full audio release from her 2007 I Told You I Was Trouble: Live in London DVD -- probably her last best performance -- and fifteen remixes from artists like Hot Chip and Jay-Z, the highlight of which may be Mylo's upbeat, fuzzy version of Winehouse's salty "F*** Me Pumps" from Frank. Also excellent is The Rumble Strips' sped-up, livelier remix of "Back To Black."

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