Feature ·

[February 26, 2008] Heading to the record store? Here's what's new.

Each week, we preview a handful of notable albums scheduled to hit the shelves. [more:]



Erykah Badu
New Amerykah
It’s been five years since Badu's released Worldwide Underground, and a world of change has happened: a new relationship, a new child, and a whole new way to make and think of music. Evidently time hasn't passed her by. For her fourth album, Badu returns with a new look -- dig the Kozik-like cover art -- and an up-to-date sound (Madlib and 9th Wonder highlight her new production team). ~Dan Nishimoto

Artist: http://www.erykahbadu.com
Label: http://www.umusic.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/erykahbadu

Beach House

Album number two from Baltimore-based chamber-pop duo Beach House brings much of the same sounds the band made its name on: thick, gorgeous keyboards, processed drum beats, reverb-laden guitars, vocals that sound like they’re coming down a mile-long hallway. But when all of that worked so well on the band’s 2006 self-titled debut, why change things too much? Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally are broadening their horizons a bit here, looking back past the shoegaze haze that defined Beach House’s first album to older hallmarks like Laurel Canyon folk and Motown pop magic. Devotion’s eleven tracks include a cover of Daniel Johnston’s “Some Things Last a Long Time.” ~John Zeiss

Band: http://www.beachhousemusic.net
Label: http://www.carparkrecords.com  
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/beachhousemusic

Cowboy Junkies
Trinity Revisted

Bands revisiting their classic records is en vogue right now, thanks in no small part to the Don’t Look Back series. So last year, to mark the twentieth anniversary of The Trinity Session, Cowboy Junkies returned to the Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto to have another go at the album. Helping the band recreate Trinity were friends including Vic Chesnutt, Ryan Adams, and Natalie Merchant. This two-disc set includes a DVD that captures this process of rediscovery and recreation. ~John Zeiss

Band: http://www.cowboyjunkies.com
Label: http://www.zoerecords.net
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/cowboyjunkies

Toumani Diabate
Mande Variations

Toumani Diabate is a modern master of the kora, a twenty-one-string harp native to West Africa. Playing the instrument runs in his family; his father was once known as “King of the Kora.” Over a storied career, Diabate has helped bring the musical traditions of his native Mali to a larger audience. He’s created albums with fellow musicians such as Taj Mahal and Ali Farka Toure. Mande Variations is the final installment in the Hotel Mande sessions trilogy of albums, which have all been recorded by Nick Gold in the Mande Hotel in Bamako, Mali. The first was 2005’s Grammy-winning In the Heart of the Moon, a duets album with Toure; and the second was 2006’s Boulevard de L’Independence. ~John Zeiss

Artist: http://www.myspace.com/toumanidiabate
Label: http://www.nonesuch.com

The Bee Made Honey in the Lion's Skull
Southern Lord

With the days of feedback-laden doom-drone epics firmly behind them, Dylan Carlson and Earth have stretched out into even more disturbing territory with their work for Southern Lord. The Bee Made Honey in the Lion's Skull explores the same hellish Americana as Earth's previous two Southern Lord releases. But where Hex and Hibernaculum dragged themselves through empty ghost towns, The Bee Made Honey in the Lion's Skull populates its elemental creepers with majestic tones from the piano, organ, electric bass and, on three tracks, the guitar of Bill Frisell, no stranger to spooky twang himself. ~Etan Rosenbloom

Band: http://www.thronesanddominions.com
Label: http://www.southernlord.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/earthofficial

Seventh Tree

It’s a banner week for lush, lovely new albums from boy-girl duos. Goldfrapp’s Seventh Tree is like a transatlantic counterpart to Beach House’s Devotion. Not because Beach House has added dance elements but because Goldfrapp has toned down the club-ready nature of its music to focus on a more pastoral pop sound. The band says the album is full of the “English surrealism shared from Lear to Lennon.” Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory wrote, produced, and laid down Seventh Tree, the band’s fourth full-length, in Goldfrapp’s home studio in Somerset, England. ~John Zeiss

Band: http://www.goldfrapp.co.uk
Label: http://www.mute.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/goldfrapp

Rocket from the Crypt

There was a time when “rock” meant an eardrum-shattering roar and a stubby tattoo of a '50s-inspired rocket throttling upward. That all went up in flames when the ringleaders of Rocket from the Crypt called it quits on Halloween 2005 in their hometown San Diego. Fortunately, there is CD and DVD documentation: the aptly titled R.I.P. And, of course the tattoos are still there. ~Dan Nishimoto

Band: http://www.rftc.com
Label: http://www.vagrant.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/rocketfromthecrypt1

Pete Rock
NY's Finest
Nature Sounds

Pete Rock understandably bristles upon being acclaimed for the umpteenth time for his groundbreaking work in sample-based production more than a decade ago. He has remained consistently active, though hardly as noted as during those halcyon days. In declaring his current relevance, he has burned a few bridges to that illustrious past, but he has also made strident efforts to stay in the present. NY's Finest finds him in company with peers (Redman, Masta Ace, Lords of the Underground) and latter-day stars (Jim Jones, Papoose, Styles P). Perhaps it's time to retire the Chocolate Boy Wonder tag? ~Dan Nishimoto

Artist: http://www.myspace.com/peterock
Label: http://www.nature-sounds.net

Punch Brothers

Punch Brothers is the new project helmed by Chris Thile, now that Thile’s old group, Nickel Creek, has called it quits. Thile is joined in the Punch Brothers by a formidable group of musicians who have played with Leftover Salmon, the Infamous Stringdusters, Beck, Willie Nelson, and Randy Newman. The band, originally called the Tensions Mountain Boys, takes its current name from the Mark Twain short story “Punch, Brothers, Punch!” This debut album is centered on a four-movement Thile composition entitled “The Blind Leaving the Blind,” with other, shorter pieces the band wrote together interspersed throughout. ~John Zeiss

Band: http://www.punchbrothers.com
Label: http://www.nonesuch.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/punchbrothers

Living Bridge
Rare Book Room

Living Bridge is a compilation of artists and bands recorded by Brooklyn-based producer/engineer Nicolas Vernhes. Vernhes, who has recorded numerous indie darlings before they became über-darlings (Cat Power, Fiery Furnaces, Silver Jews, Fischerspooner), features exclusive tracks from several of his famous friends, in addition to previously unreleased works from numerous soon-to-be darling types (Samara Lubelski, Telepathe, Tara Jane O'Neil). The two-disc compilation also marks the debut of Vernhes's venture into record distribution. ~Dan Nishimoto

Label: http://www.rbrrecords.com
Audio: http://www.myspace.com/rarebookroomrecords
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Week in Preview

Badu, Pete Rock, Del and Cowboy Junkies are all of interest... but I'm not gonna rush out to get any of them I don't think.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/prefix/no-user-pic.gif noise redux

I liked what I heard enough at the listening party to go get Erykah's new one. I'm also interested in Del.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/onelouderphoto/icon.jpg Chris Owyoung

I hate to say this... but from what Ive heard of the 11th hour so far... I can say its disappointingly boring.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Al/batmulletjpg.jpg Al

I haven't gotten around to listening to the Del yet, but I would be real disappointed if it was boring. ugh.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

The Erykah did sound good.
I really like a lot of the stuff on the Rare Book compilation 'Living Bridge' also.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

I heard that early editions of the Badu album come with a t-shirt at Circuit City.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/prefix/no-user-pic.gif noise redux

the artwork is crazy for the Badu album.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

New Del? I'm hoping for good things.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/mannya/manny3.jpg mannya

i misread b's comment as, "early editions of the Badu album come with a Circuit City t-shirt."

and became strangely excited.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/sintalentos/240dan-nishimoto-2.jpg sintalentos

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