Each month is always brimming with exciting new music, but this fall will prove to be a great season for your listening pleasure. Firstly, we’d like to pay special tribute to a few major artists whom we recently lost, including Prince, David Bowie, Gregg Allman, Tom Petty, Charles Bradley and Clyde Stubblefield (James Brown’s drummer) among others. The re-mastered version of Prince’s “Purple Rain” released this year was a timely tribute, and the re-mastered tracks sound amazing. Though we definitely lost some major figures in the musical pantheon this year, their music surely will stand the test of time.
This past spring and summer featured some great releases from household names to newcomers on the scene. Arcade Fire released “Everything Now” to great critical praise. And according to our customers, it was one of their best releases to date. Tempering their signature shout-singing vocal style with mutations of vintage disco, soul, and even reggae, Arcade Fire show that they can maintain their identity while exploring new stylistic ideas.
Jack Johnson’s latest release “All The Light Above It Too” delivers, as always, with mellow vibes perfect for the beach or back porch hangs. If you’re ready to crank it up a bit, Foo Fighters “Concrete and Gold” will get you where you want to be. It’s a solid rock album but with a few new directions, as evidenced in the single ‘The Sky Is A Neighborhood,” where founder/vocalist Dave Grohl seems to break new ground, inspiring one critic to call it “dream metal,” which isn’t too far off.
Moving off the beaten path, we saw seasoned artists make great follow-up albums, as well as new artists emerging with stellar debuts. James Murphy’s electronic project LCD Soundsystem released their greatly anticipated album “American Dream” to the delight of fans and critics alike. Displaying his dry wit amid catchy vintage synthesized compositions, Murphy and his group guide us on an enjoyable romp through ’70s and ’80s electronica, while keeping his vibrant personality at the helm.
Chicano Batman (great name, great band) landed on our radar this year with their third album, “Freedom Is Free,” which we keep in constant rotation at the record store. Their stylistic diversity, ranging from jazz-driven tropicalia to psychedelic rock and a little bit of everything in between, brings a freshness every time we spin it. “Freedom Is Free” has proven to be one of the most eccentric yet accessible albums released this year.
Garage-pop dynamo Ron Gallo hit us hard with his debut release “Heavy Meta,” exhibiting a boundless but focused approach to rock that made a big impression with our customers this season. His performances are proving to be one of the most exciting shows going right now, too.
Gregg Allman’s swan song release, “Southern Blood” was completed before his passing a few months ago, and released just a few weeks after. It is a fitting tribute to one of the most original and recognizable southern voices of our time. The album was recorded at FAME studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala., where Allman laid down some of the earliest tracks of his career. It is both a tribute to his musical influences as well as a personal testimony, in both its beauty and turmoil. The music is both nostalgic and forward thinking as Allman leaves us with a final thought on “My Only True Friend”: “I hope you’re haunted by the music of my soul when I’m gone.”
Hopefully you’ll find some good musical tips here, whether it’s an artist you already know or one that you’re glad you discovered. More recommendations to come — there’s a lot of music out there!