New Releases for June 4th (6/4/21)

Garbage – No Gods No Masters
Available on CD & LP!

"It would be an understatement to say that Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson has never been one to suffer fools. On every magazine cover in the ‘90s, she was calling people out on their bullshit and spotlighting prejudice. Her Instagram account is a one-woman battle for justice, and she even used her acceptance speech for the 2018 NME Icon Award to demand everyone in the room do their bit for gender diversity at festivals. In these dumpster fire times we’re living in, did you really think she’d let all the horror go unchecked?

On No Gods No Masters the band have amped up the drama and ambition of its predecessor, carrying generations of influences with a future-marching stomp and a modern sheen, all delivered with a spirit and personality that can only be Garbage. The sonic ambition is necessary for the reckoning brought by Manson’s words.

It all adds up to using elements of the past to paint a bleak and filmic picture of the present and our potential future. Seven album and nearly 30 years into their career, these veterans have pulled off a record that’s seductive in its sound and resonant in its message, as well as proving a triumph in showcasing not only the lineage that led to Garbage but also their mastery of alt-tinged dark-pop that led us the likes of Chvrches and Lana Del Rey – with even newbies Rina Sawayama and Olivia Rodrigo counting them as influences. It’s no mean feat that No Gods No Masters is not only Garbage’s best album in 20 years – at least – but one that could only have been made now.”

Get the full scoop at NME

Danny Elfman – Big Mess
Available on CD & LP!

"To fully recognize Danny Elfman‘s expansive CV would take up the rest of the word count of this review. The singer, songwriter and composer began his career in the early ’70s with Oingo Boingo and branched out into scoring films, penning television theme songs and composing for live concert performances. The breadth of Elfman’s influence is a staggering feat. For his first solo work in more than 30 years, the composer draws on his decades of experience and channels it into an unexpected and exciting place.

It’s unfair to sum up the project as simply a rock album, as it covers ample musical ground along the way. There are echoes of modern alternative, the bombast of Muse, the electro-aggression of Nine Inch Nails or the larger-than-life presence of a David Bowie. There might even be a pinch of Tool in this “throw the rules out the window” mindset. Songs like “In Time” bring something entirely different, a dark and percussive journey that feels very much like it could score the opening scene of a summer blockbuster. Elfman’s vocals are deep, lush, and feel like like they’re narrating rather than singing.

Big Mess is anything but. It’s worthy of a listen for fans of Danny Elfman or hard rock, or even orchestral enthusiasts. The album’s highly creative work may not necessarily be for everyone, but at its finest moments, Elfman absolutely soars."

Read the full review at Riff Magazine

Sleater-Kinney – Path of Wellness
Available on CD and LP!

"Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker recorded Sleater­-Kinney’s tenth album, Path of Wellness, in Portland, Oregon, last summer against a backdrop of unrest. For weeks, protesters marched through the city, demanding racial justice while being tear-gassed by the Portland Police Bureau. Brownstein and Tucker split their time among the numbing routines of life in quarantine, protests, and the studio. “It’s not the summer we were promised,” Brownstein croons on “Down the Line,” a gritty rocker situated in the closing stretch of the new record. “It’s the summer that we deserve.”

For Brownstein and Tucker, the album, out June 11, is a recommitment: the band’s first since 1996 recorded without drummer Janet Weiss, who left Sleater-Kinney in 2019 because she felt she no longer had an equal say in its direction. (Brownstein said at the time that this came as a surprise.) The pop-oriented songwriting of the last album with Weiss, The Center Won’t Hold, produced by St. Vincent’s Annie Clark, looked to some fans like a curveball. In contrast, Path of Wellness, the first album Brownstein and Tucker produced themselves, takes cues from Sleater-Kinney’s forebears in punk and classic rock.

The album is, as its title suggests, a song cycle about weathering rough times and learning to live and love again afterward, experiences we’re all processing to one extent or another this year. I spoke to Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein over the phone the day after the release of The Path to Wellness’s lead single 'Worry With You' this month about making art in Portland while the city battled for its very soul, and the continuing evolution of Sleater-Kinney since reconvening in 2015. 'It was like restarting the band again, in a way, during such intense chaos and crisis,' says Tucker. 'But it was also something that was joyful.'"

Read the review and an interview with Carrie and Corin at Vulture

Sharon Van Etten – Epic Ten
Available on CD & LP!

"epic’s seven songs of survival and becoming marked the firm arrival of then-29-year-old Sharon Van Etten from New Jersey to Brooklyn and the forefront of indie rock. With a lingering twang from five turbulent years in Tennessee, epic was her first time playing with a full band, and she sounded newly poised. In interviews, she spoke openly about the partner she’d left behind, who discouraged her songwriting and worse. 'I had just come from an abusive relationship [...] and I was really lost,' Van Etten says in a short documentary that accompanies this 10th-anniversary epic reissue. 'I played music because it made me feel better.'

Her healing path brought complexity and depth to epic — where there’s a grave narrative, there’s an empowered hook; where there’s horror, there are peace signs—and this revelation rings through every note. There’s comfort in her radiant harmonizing with folk singers Meg Baird and Cat Martino, in the intensity and warmth of her melodies, in the sunstruck instrumentation that builds on the best of Tusk-era Fleetwood Mac, and the harmonium that graces 'Love More' — it’s all relief. Van Etten was building her confidentudio collaborators, including members of She Keeps Bees and the War on Drugs; her label, Ba Da Bing, where she was an intern-turned-signee; and the community at Zebulon, the Williamsburg venue where these songs first took flight. As Van Etten states in the epic Ten film, letting people in is a difficult step in moving forward as a survivor, but a crucial one. epic is the sound of interconnection and growth."

Read the full write-up at Pitchfork

Lukas Nelson – A Few Stars Apart
Available on CD and LP!

A Few Stars Apart was recorded over 3 immersive weeks and the upshot is unmistakable: a sound that's considered, spacious, and beautifully lush. With Dave Cobb's masterful production, every note is in service of the song. A testament to finding a human connection: between close family and friends as well as one's own heart. These 11 songs reveal what it means to come home again, to be still, and to find community and yourself."

Get more info and order your copy HERE