Here are the favorite new releases our music and air teams have been enjoying.
From Inessa Anderson, Music Director
The Bones by J.R. Jones – A Celebration
The first is a new to me artist, a one-man band who goes by the name The Bones of J.R. Jones. Check out this song that caught my ears and heart and see if you don’t agree, J.R. is special!
“Over the course of three full-length albums and two EPs, Jonathon Robert Linaberry — the songwriter, storyteller, visual artist, and one-man band behind The Bones of J.R. Jones — has woven his own tapestry of American roots music. It’s a classic sound for the modern world, influenced not only by blues, soul, and forward-thinking folk, but also by J.R.’s environment. From the bustle of New York City, where he launched The Bones of J.R. Jones with 201’s The Wildness, to the rustic solitude of his current home in the Catskills, J.R. has always looked to the world around him for inspiration.” (From the artist’s website)
Dr. Lonnie Smith – Breathe
The second album that caught my attention was from an artist that I was unfamiliar with had it not been that my long-time fave Iggy Pop collaborated with him on two different songs on Dr. Lonnie Smith new release ‘Breathe’. Dr. Smith is an American jazz Hammond B3 organist who was a member of the George Benson quartet in the 1960s.
Film: Sound of Metal
And finally, something for your eyes and ears in a film that ironically addresses the deaf and the hearing. Here’s what this movie is about: metal drummer Ruben begins to lose his hearing. When a doctor tells him his condition will worsen, he thinks his career and life is over.
“Sound of Metal is presented with open captions, meaning that in cinema screenings (remember those?) deaf and hearing audiences can experience the film together. That’s fitting for a film that deserves to be seen by the widest possible audience, reminding us of cinema’s unique ability to challenge, entertain, uplift and unite.” From: The Guardian
Sound of Metal is on Amazon Prime and in cinemas from May 17 th. Here is the trailer:
From Asia Wagner, Music Curator, Host of beat | side
Public Library Commute – 1000 Summers
Public Library Commute is Conrad Hsiang, a New Jersey native, LA-based singer-songwriter. 1000 Summers is a beat-forward bedroom pop fare with smooth feel. He has previously released two other albums.
“Pulling from notable influences that range from Kanye West to King Krule to Hawaiian folk music, Public Library Commute curates a tracklist uniquely attuned to himself. He fills each lyric with nostalgia and weaves a masterful work that showcases his musical prowess.” (Sparky)
Barra Brown – LFT:RT
Barra Brown is a name well known on the Portland music scene. As a multi-instrumentalist and one half of the local beat-making duo Korgy & Bass, Barra has been a part of several successful projects. LFT:RT is his debut solo album, which features eleven tracks produced remotely, in collaboration with a number of local musicians. The LP offers jazz rich, beat forward sound with a hint of hip hop, all wrapped up in electronic finish.
Music Documentary – Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell
Unlike many previous documentaries about Christopher Wallace, this one zeroes in on his life rather than controversial death. Specifically, it gives us a glimpse at the early years, before he became the Notorious B.I.G. Through many home videos and interviews with family members and closest friends, we learn about BIG’s musical beginnings, incredible talent, and influences that came from his Jamaican roots, which undoubtedly set him apart from many other rappers. The documentary pays homage to his life unlike any other.
It’s available on Netflix. Here is the trailer:
From Veronica Bisesti – Artist Liaison, Host of Subculture
Book: Will Sergeant – Bunnyman
The magical fingers behind the distinctive sound of Echo and the Bunnymen, Will Sergeant has penned a telling tale of true stories about, well, one of my favorite bands of all time. This “Post-War kid to Post-Punk guitarist” memoir is bound to give us a glimpse into one of the 80’s most iconic bands and I for one am THRILLED!
The Black Angels – Live at Levitation
Arguably one of the best modern psych rock bands around, The Black Angels compiled what feels like a “best of” but it’s actually LIVE recordings from the Levitation Festival (back when it was known as the Austin Psych Fest) between 2010 and 2012. Perfection!
From Jenna D – Host of Theme for a Tuesday, Music Team
Tash Sultana – Terra Firma
“Terra Firma is mostly rooted in laid-back, gentle grooves, with more room for personal introspection and ruminations on relationships and one’s place in the larger world. Sultana’s vocals have gained some range and nuance since their first album, and there’s a welcome sense of the artist embracing the joys of pushing the boundaries; the guitar work here is very fine but not flashy, and shares the stage with keyboards and other flavors that give the tracks a rich and varied sound.” – AllMusic
“Easy listening, bubbly, psych-pop-come-soul-come-funk and perhaps every other genre you could conjure up, Tash Sultana has come a long way from ‘Flow State’. Their sound hasn’t evolved but simply bettered itself, and as per usual, finds its way around an extensive (and slightly absurd) range of instruments.” – Clash
Pete Yorn – Pete Yorn Sings The Classics
“This is, notwithstanding, an uplifting romp, and the mood rarely falters… This is an unashamed celebration of songs and how they are crafted… There is the combination of lightness of touch with more layers than seem at first apparent.” – Cover Me
“Each track features a slight grungy feel, yet has a different flavor and is reminiscent of the original performance while maintaining consistency as an album… Possibly most surprising was Yorn’s version of ‘Moon River,’ which was originally performed by Audrey Hepburn. Yorn’s track maintains the delicate melody which creates a lovely combination with his raw and gentle vocals. Ethereal bells and layers drift dreamily throughout the song, occasionally moving into a grittier sound, but quickly releasing back into the tender feel of the piece. Overall, it is a beautiful, eclectic gem and a stellar finish to the album.” – mxdwn.co
From Cyrus Nabipoor – Host of Bridge City #BAM
People Museum – I Could Only See Night
The New Orleans based dream/dance pop duo is simultaneously very familiar and also like nothing you’ve ever heard before. Featuring the ‘verbed-out vocals of Claire Givens, powerful trombone hooks from Jeremy Phips and glued together by the drum/production wizardry of Aaron Boudreaux.
Pharoah Sanders & Floating Points – Promises
A collaboration between saxophone legend Pharoah Sanders, electronic collective Floating Points, and the London Symphony Orchestra. Incredibly patient and subtly complex, it takes repetition of a motif further than it’s ever been taken before, creating a 45-min meditation that lulls the listener into the depths of their own consciousness.
From Ray Gill Jr. – Host of Rudeboy Radio
Tamar Aphek – All Bets are Off
Israeli artist Tamar Aphek recently released her solo debut record “All Bets Are Off” via Portland label Kill Rock Stars featuring one of my favorite single of the year so far, “Crossbow.” Musically, this album roars but remains confidently under the control of the Aphek’s beautiful and melodically refrained voice. The complex execution in balancing these two forces is what makes this album one I can’t stop listening to and recommend every chance I get.
Miss Grit – Imposter
Miss Grit is the solo project of Korean-American musician Margaret Sohn. Her newest release “Imposter” touches me personally digs into her battles with identity and insecurity within a world that attempts to define her by ethnicity before she can even define who she is for herself. The title track is an amazing examination of this identity struggle while providing a message of strength which can apply to most all of us in our person journey of self. “’Imposter’ is the shredder I put all nagging voices in head through” Sohn said in a statement.
Arlo Parks – Collapsed in Sunbeams
Arlo Parks’ debut “Collapsed In Sunbeams” is a subtle rhythmic groove that supports Parks’ beautiful vocal delivery with a synergetic perfection. Sparks delivers a simple message of support with sincerity that digs right into the soul and tears it apart before putting you back together again. This transformative effect is on another level beyond the confines of whichever genre you may attempt to box her into. A wonderful example of this would be the track “Hope” which comes at the perfect time as so many find themselves struggling through so much.
Jamie Drakos – Host of NW Honky Tonk
Kasey Anderson and The Honkies – Let the Bloody Moon Rise and Wednesday Night ‘Round Nine
Kasey Anderson is back with a new set of albums! Kasey was buoyed in 2020 by the new audience he garnered from the viral video titled and featuring his song The Dangerous Ones. This led him to tackle a project that had been shelved for years, his Let the Bloody Moon Rise album. It is now fully produced and mastered, and sounds fantastic! It is an amalgam of rock, Americana, and straight up R&B (horns deliciously a-blazing). The album evokes comparisons to the greats of alt-rock and alt-country. It includes versions of Don’t Look Back and Teenage Gravity that are so sublime, you’ll want to hear them. The companion album, Wednesday Night ‘Round Nine, is a live album, recorded at a concert in 2009. It is a fun concert with a band bringing you their best. They are just off their tour with Counting Crows, back in their home base of Seattle, and sounding sharp and tight. This is a great pandemic date night album – put her on and enjoy a new live show!
Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno – Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno
These two musicians have created such a lovely, contemplative, country/old-time/Americana album for us during quarantine. Vivian’s sweet, buttery voice sails through the entire album. Riley Calcagno backs her up with a nice bluegrass harmony on most of the tracks, but also showcases his soft, milky smooth voice on Love and Chains. They’ve got guitar, fiddle, and sometimes steel guitar that makes it feel so true to the roots of old-time American music. This album is a beautiful summer evening on a back porch, or a slow dance with your best friend. Go find yourself some lemonade and sit back and listen.