New Releases for April 9th (4/9/21)

Rhiannon Giddens – They're Calling Me Home
Available on CD and LP!

"For Rhiannon Giddens, 'home' is a fluid concept. It could be Limerick, where she lives, near her two children; Greensboro, North Carolina, where she was born; or on the road, with Francesco Turrisi, her partner in music and love. “We used to call the hotel the ‘home-tel’ – you set up your stuff, then it’s home,” she says."

'Home' takes on a metaphorical resonance on their new album, They’re Calling Me Home. On the title track, Giddens sings about an old friend on his death bed, yearning to be reunited with friends of yesterday. It is a powerful reminder that people live on through memories – a balm for anyone who has lost someone this past year.

The music emerged when the pair performed a series of lockdown live-streams they had hoped would compensate for cancelling so many concerts. They needed new songs. “We kept playing all this material we’d been touring with, but it was soul-crushing, because we kept going, ‘This isn’t a performance because this isn’t how we performed this last,’” she says, from her kitchen. There is a stopped clock on the wall – the perfect symbol for a life on pause. “So we started playing all these really old comforting songs from my past and culture and from Francesco’s past and culture.” The effect is uplifting but sobering, an aural gauge of living through a global pandemic that has riven families apart. Though many tracks sound like they were written fresh for the album, only one, “Avalon”, which imagines a family reunion beyond the grave, is a Giddens original, and even that was composed 11 years ago. 'I did rewrite some of the verses about being alone and dying alone; they came out of the pandemic.'”

Read the full review over at iNews

Nick Waterhouse – Promenade Blue
Available on CD & LP!

"There’s an old soul residing inside guitarist/singer/songwriter Nick Waterhouse’s head; the kind that loves the hip-shaking early ‘60s groove of New Orleans music, American garage rock and AM radio pop. That retro sound has been established through a decade of work that yielded four previous albums. He doubles down on this, his fifth and arguably finest release.

Co-producer Paul Butler (best known through his groundbreaking work for Michael Kiwanuka) ups the ante on this set by leaning into a fuller, occasionally more Phil Spector-esque approach. That’s immediately obvious on the opening “Place Names,” swamped with strings, ghostly backing vocals and a widescreen vista that only a studio full of musicians can provide. The all mono recording also references Spector’s similar basic recording concept.

No less than 20 musicians and backing vocalists are credited on Promenade Blue. While most are not playing or singing simultaneously, it shows the attention to detail that went into the construction and arrangement of this material. Any of these gems would sound natural emerging out of a tinny ‘60s transistor radio. That’s clearly what Waterhouse and Butler were aiming for on an organic album that feels fresh and alive while respecting and recalling the past."

Scope the full review at American Songwriter

Ariana Grande – Teenage Gizzard
Available on CD & LP!

"During the spring of 2019, in the interval between two titanic releases, Ariana Grande posted her brain on Instagram. The image was from a scan, and it showed regions of her mind lit up from the effects of PTSD, the disorder revealed in clear, screenshot-able form. 'That’s why her hair’s so big,' she joked, referencing a line from Mean Girls, 'it’s full of trauma.' The grace with which Grande has navigated horrors—the ability to name their impact and steer towards healing, to make a top-charting song about a panic attack—has become fundamental to her music. Sweetener dazzled because its joy was defiant. thank u, next caromed through phases of glee and grief, moving from pink Champagne bravado into stark confessions. Positions, her third album in two years, searches for peace. It traces the quiet work of piecing yourself together, the terror of re-learning how to trust. 'All them demons help me see shit differently,' she sings 20 seconds into the album, 'so don’t be sad for me.' That statement clears the way for some of the record’s goofier moments; it also functions as a kind of thesis.

Grief sneaks up on you, and on Positions, it’s woven into Grande’s attempt to process love. Musically and spiritually, much of the album builds off of “ghostin,” a delicate, pulsing track from thank u, next about navigating a lost love with a new partner. 'Though I wish he were here instead/Don’t want that living in your head,' she sang then, before diving into the mantra-like refrain: 'We’ll get through this, we’ll get past this.' On the new record, the hopeful conclusion is less immediate. You hear her wrestling for control, asking instead of answering. The stunning Ty Dolla $ign-assisted 'safety net' interrogates and negotiates with fear: 'Don’t know if I should fight or fly,' she sings, the physiological language set over constant, murky sighs. 'Will I ever love the same way again?' she cries on “off the table,” a syrupy ballad with The Weeknd. 'Do I just sit this one out and wait for the next life?' The song blooms over wisps of strings and heavy, heady drums, like an artifact from his Trilogy mixtapes. 'I’ll wait for you,' he sings, 'Even though it feels like I’ll always be number two to someone you can’t hold anymore.' On 'six thirty,' Grande’s silky harmonies glide in over and over to ask, 'Are you down? What’s up?', but the lyrics framing it reveal the weight of the question. 'I know this shit kinda heavy,' she murmurs, wondering if her lover’s equipped to support her, and if she’s even ready to ask."

Read Pitchfork's full review HERE

black MIDI – John L (12")
Available on LP!

"'John L' is a dizzying swirl of violin and guitar with Geordie Greep’s ominous and sometimes booming spoken-word delivery (and with a particularly mind-bending video at that). I don’t know if it’s quite right to say that this is black MIDI’s most disorienting track, seeing as how so many of their other songs tend to take you to some weird and unexpected places. But it has an exhilarating feeling that all control is bound to be lost, which might well be the band’s greatest talent—reining in chaos just enough to feel like the chaos might ultimately win, but never quite gets there."

Read the full review at Treble

Cheap Trick – In Another World
Available on CD & LP!

"In Another World, Cheap Trick’s first album since 2017’s We’re All Right! and Christmas Christmas, features 13 tracks, including the band’s cover of John Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth,” which they previously released as a Record Store Day exclusive in 2019. In Another World is out April 9th in a variety of formats, including a limited-edition blue and white splattered vinyl only available at independent record stores and a limited edition picture disc..."

Read the full press release at Rolling Stone