On What Happens Next, roots singer-songwriter and guitarist Davy Knowles boldly steps forward with timeless and cohesive songwriting, sleek modern production, and a lyrical, play-for-the-song guitar approach informed from soul, folk, rock, and blues. It’s 12 songs are equally influenced by The Black Keys, Fantastic Negrito, Gary Clark Jr., as they are Muddy Waters, Junior Kimbrough, and R.L. Burnside.
11:11 is an unqualified triumph, an album that seizes listeners with hook-filled songs imbuing feelings of warmth, urgency, and poetic beauty, even as it asks some of life’s big and difficult questions. “It spends equal time on optimism, community, reaffirming what we are and how it’s our duty to look out for one another” says singer Evan Stephens Hall. “There’s anger, love, hope and grief. The record has all of that.”
Five years sober, creatively rejuvenated, and sagely insightful, Gales is ready for the fight of his career. Aptly, he calls his masterful new album, Crown. Here, the blues firebrand opens like never before, sharing his struggles with substance abuse, his hopes about a new era of sobriety and unbridled creativity, and his personal reflections on racism – all delivered with clarity and hope for positive change.
A fever dream in sonic form, The Alien Coast is the first album recorded in their hometown of Birmingham, AL. The bands fourth full-length is a dizzying convergence of rock & roll and R&B, psychedelia and stoner metal, gospel and jazz-funk. At turns explosive, elegant, and thrillingly unhinged - it makes for a majestic backdrop to the groups visceral exploration of the strangest dimensions of the human psyche.
Dawn FM is the fifth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter The Weeknd. The album is narrated by Jim Carrey, and features guest appearances from Tyler, the Creator and Lil Wayne. Majority of the production was handled by The Weeknd himself alongside Oneohtrix Point Never-who produced the majority of the tracks-as well as Max Martin, Oscar Holter, Calvin Harris, and Swedish House Mafia, among others.
With Swan Song, The Plot In You have laid their souls bare and offered us access to the most honest and intimate parts of themselves. Perhaps it’s their way of cleansing themselves, or them taking the opportunity to reassure us as the listener – and themselves – that life gets better when things are bleak. The record is harrowing and beautiful in equal measure, and one of the most important learning experiences this year will offer.
Although a gospel album has been a long-time dream for Cobb, it has only come to fruition now due to a near-death experience in July 2020, when the vehicle that he was driving, with his young son inside, got T-boned. Following in the footsteps of his country music heroes, his new album, And Now, Let’s Turn to Page… offers eight familiar hymns alongside an original song written with his wife. The collection feels reverent as well as rowdy, and completely in his comfort zone.
Alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins follows-up his acclaimed debut, Omega, with another striking album featuring his remarkable quartet with pianist Micah Thomas, bassist Daryl Johns, and drummer Kweku Sumbry. An hour-long suite comprised of 7 movements strives to bring them closer to complete vesselhood by the end, where the music would be entirely improvised and channeled collectively.
Lu's Jukebox is a six-volume series of mostly full-band performances recorded live at Ray Kennedy's Room & Board Studio in Nashville, TN. Each volume features a themed set of songs by other artists curated by the multi-Grammy award winner, Lucinda Williams. The series aired as ticketed shows in late 2020 with a portion of ticket sales benefitting independent music venues struggling to get by through the pandemic.
Over the course of a more than 40-year career, Steve Vai has routinely transformed what would appear to be outrageously impossible into something very, very possible... and still also pretty outrageous. Inviolate’s nine-song opus does indeed push the boundaries of instrumental guitar music as this time out, Vai quite literally invented not just a new guitar, but also a new guitar-playing technique.
The career defining album from Pennsylvania's heaviest, The Last Ten Seconds of Life is the sound of a band attempting to transcend the turning of tides within their scene. Straddling the Nu Metal, Rock, Death Metal and Downtempo genres in equal measure, TLTSOL have created a magnum opus of a record that will appeal to fans of Korn and Slipknot as much as it will to fans of Alice in Chains or Pantera.